number 1179
week 16


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:

and become a supporter!


DE FABRIEK - APXHAIX (2CD by De Fabriek) *
JFK - WEAPON DESIGN (CD by Fourth Dimension) *
JESSICA PAVONE – IN THE ACTION (CD by Relative Pitch Records)
  (CD by Relative Pitch Records)
ANNI HOGAN – LOST IN BLUE (CD by Cold Spring) *
  MIC Lithuania)
PYLONE - A JAMAIS/PING (LP by Sound On Probation)
JEANS BEAST - GIFT (CDR by Econore) *
EMERGE - MATERIA (CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
ACTIVE DENIAL - WHAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF (cassette by Cheap Food Records)
ÞÓRIR GEOR - FALLID ER DAID (cassette by Orphanology) *
EXITCODE - TOO MANY TVS (cassette by Orphanology) *
APR - THE FURIES INSIDE ME OST (cassette by Eh?) *


Here we have the follow-up to the release with the same title and its part of a trilogy. I didn't know
that the first time around (Vital Weekly 1117). I quite enjoyed that release but this new one is even
better. Here Durand plays the Pan-Ney flute on all three tracks, as well as tenor saxophone on the
first and the third piece, and on the second piece also a Shruti box and retuned Hohner Organetto;
no homemade instruments this time. That second piece, called 'Wald' (forest) is about thirty-seven
minutes and already worthwhile getting this release for. Durand is a minimalist at heart. His music
has very little changes but it sounds wonderful. I believe that in all of the pieces he uses a Max/MSP
delay patch to layer the sound and on top of that adds a bit more flute and saxophones. The result
reminds me of the phase shifting techniques of early Steve Reich, but Durand keeps matter at an
even more minimal level, taking more time to go from one section to the next. Tones are repeated,
almost on end. That is not so clear in the opening piece, 'Spiegel', but certainly in the second piece,
in which the Shruti box adds a raga-like element to the music. While 'Spiegel' is somewhat chaotic
at times in which Durand may try to put in too many notes (even at this minimalist level), 'Wald' and
'Panga' certainly aren’t. This is the kind of music that puts the listener in a transcendent state, a Zen-
like state perhaps. I had this CD on repeat for about four hours, so effectively heard it four times
completely, and I had to leave the house for a while, otherwise, I would have kept it playing for
some more time. This is the album of the week, I should think; should we be doing that sort of
thing. (FdW)
––– Address:


London based musician we met before (Vital Weekly 1051 and 1141), and here teams up with a
trio from Iceland, Stereo Hypnosis, behind Oskar Thorarensen (once a member of Inferno 5) and
his son Pan and Thorkell Atlasson. Together they set up shop in the town of Hvammstangi in
northern Iceland and recorded this album live. Atlasson plays guitar and electronics, Oskar plays
synthesizer, his son field recordings and electronics and Chaplin plays synthesizer and electronics.
The two Thorensen men are involved in the organisation of an electronic festival called Extreme
Chill, and by the sound of that, one can assume this is an ambient music festival. The four pieces
on 'Bjarmi' might have been improvised in the studio; they sound like pretty coherent pieces of
ambient music to me. It is not some long washes of synthesizer sounds, well, not just that, but it
comes with a warm guitar sound that reminded me, at times, of a trumpet and sometimes of a very
light-hearted Robert Fripp. There are also sparse intersections of 'other' sounds, which I assume
come from various field recordings. In 'Tangi', the final piece, there is a bit of very sparse rhythm
ticking time away. At thirty-nine minutes and four pieces of almost equal length (nine minutes plus
each), this feels like a natural album. It is not too long, or too short and it feels for me it has the right
length. There is some magic in there, a fine spark of ambient delicacy. Maybe not so new and
innovative but executed with great care. (FdW)
––– Address:

DE FABRIEK - APXHAIX (2CD by De Fabriek)

For more than thirty years, the amorphous Dutch group De Fabriek (“The Factory”) have been
committed to two things: collaboration with artists from around the world, and resistance to
consistency. I tend to think of De Fabriek as being similar to Doc Wör Mirran, in that they make
whatever music they’re moved to make with whomever they want to make it with… one album
may or may not sound like the others you’ve heard. The last De Fabriek album I listened to was
an electronic industrial album of heavy synthetic beats and synthesizer noise. This one is the
exact opposite. The 52 tracks are presented without an index so that each disc runs together into
one track apiece. The material is notable for how sparse it is, and how deliberate the pacing; one
track could contain just two or three elements, perhaps a baroque cello and a voice. Or a distant
drone and some rainfall. Or a gently understated acoustic guitar pattern and an environmental
recording, or a jaw harp and some light electronic processing, a folk song and piano. A track
appears for a couple of minutes, then segues into the next. Voices are prominent on
“APXHAIX” (which is Greek for “Archaic”), in multiple languages; I think I heard Dutch, Italian,
English, maybe German, probably more than those… if I understood multiple languages, I might
have gotten more out of these sections, but literal meaning might be secondary to sonic character.
I chose to hear the words as musical elements instead of text. A very even pace persists across all
two+ hours of the album; the effect is like listening to a late-night radio station with a DJ moving
steadily between classical strings and stranger tape music but being careful not to shatter the
overall hushed atmosphere. Frans actually described the album to me as being “like a DJ set”,
and I think that’s accurate. It doesn’t seem necessary to take in everything on these two discs in a
single sitting. The episodic nature of “APXHAIX” seems well-suited to being played in the
background, the listener allowing it to shape the room’s ambience, dipping in and out when a
particular passage grabs their attention. (HS)
––– Address:

JFK - WEAPON DESIGN (CD by Fourth Dimension)

I reviewed the original LP edition of this album in Vital Weekly 1142. Here’s what I said then:
“spare, cyborg beats adorned with metal-shearing sheets of synthesizer squelch. This is industrial
music in the sense that it sounds as if it might have come straight out of a factory. Sonically full yet
compositionally minimal, “Weapon Design” has a pervasive atmosphere of icy robotic alienation,
more stripped-down and coldly inhuman than his previous album "Nganga" (released by Chondritic
Sound in 2017). The eight instrumental songs on “Weapon Design” are built around relentlessly
pulsing rhythms that once set in motion, march single-mindedly forward with little (apparent)
change. Slow, heavy bass throbs provide a sickening counter to martial beats and looping fuzz.”
The CD reissue appends two more songs that are of a piece with what came before.
“Enantiodromia” (which was Jung’s term for the tendency of an extreme to slowly become its
opposite) is another stuttering cyborg temper tantrum, while “Interference II” continues where part
one left off… which is to say, a relentless thump with a menacing circuit-fried backup band. What I
like most about this is how uncompromising it is; Anthony DiFranco (known for his work in Ramleh,
Ax, Ethnic Acid, etc) holds back from being too harsh or too friendly. That tension never abates.
There’s tons of threat and no release. (HS)
––– Address:

Since 1999 Oliver Schwerdt is leading his Euphorium Freakastra. It is Schwerdt’s main vehicle for
his modern and improvised music, operating in different line-ups. ‘Grande Casino’ took place at
the occasion of Günter Sommer’s 75th birthday in 2016 for the Leipzig naTo Event, and is now
released by Schwerdt on his Euphorium label. Schwerdt invited Barry Guy to participate, arranging
a musical meeting between two players who both belong to the first generation of European
improvisers. Although it is normal practice for improvisers to play in many different combinations
over the years, both these players never played together so far.
    Earlier Schwerdt initiated an impressive series of releases for his label centring around Ernst-
Ludwig Petrowsky, another veteran of the (East-) German improvisation and jazz scene: This time
he compiled an equally impressive 3cd-set featuring Günter Baby Sommer. In the days of the
German Democratic Republic Sommer was a member of the Ernst-Ludwig-Petrowksy-Trio,
Zentralquartett and the Ulrich Gumpert Workshopband. Later much other collaborative work
followed with Leo Smith, Cecil Taylor, and many European improvisers. Schwerdt who is also a
musicologist wrote a very extensive work on Sommer. I don’t want you to withhold the full title
although it is in German: ‘Zur Konstitution, Repräsentation und Transformation des Räumlichen in
der Musik. Eine Untersuchung des von Günter Sommer musikalisch realisierten Symbol-,
Instrumental- und Handlungs-Raums’(2012). For ‘Grande Casino’ Sommer (drums, percussion)
shared the stage,  besides Barry Guy (double bass), with Pierre-Antoine Badaroux (alto sax),
Bertrand Denzler (tenor sax), Patrick Schanze (trumpet), Oliver Schwerdt (grand piano, percussion,
little instruments), Daniel Beilschmidt  (electric organ), Friedrich Kettlitz  (electric guitar, little
instruments), John Eckhardt (double bass), Burkhard Beins (percussion); a very international line-
up of improvisers of different generations and background. By the way, behind Friedrich Kettlitz
hides Schwerdt, who enjoys playing with different identities (a.k.a. Elan Pauer, Ra Ra da Boff).
Most of the time the nine musicians play in different small sections that not always have Sommer
participating. Improvisations by the blowers, like ‘Serielle Schwanenattacke’ for trumpet and sax,
practice a minimalistic and static approach of improvisation that had the most compelling impact
on me. On the other end of the spectrum are improvisations like ‘Return of the Sun of Sharif
Schekcheft’ where the improvisers indulge in lovely cacophonic interaction. The percussion by
Sommer I especially enjoyed in duets with Schwerdt as in ‘Oma Eierschrecke’. Also, there are a
few very introvert pieces like ‘Soujhmar’. Very enjoyable are also some solo sections like the
improvisation by Beilschmidt on organ, or by Guy in ‘Syrdillischer Octus’. Humour is not only in the
titles that – I suppose – Schwerdt dreamed up but also in the music itself like in the playful ‘Beinwell-
Krk’, built from short gestures and interactions of the players. So we are offered a very diverse and
multi-coloured mosaic of improvisations, 24 in total, distributed over three CDs (in chronological
order?) that last more than two hours, starting and developing from very different angles. Excellent
work! (DM)
––– Address:

JESSICA PAVONE – IN THE ACTION (CD by Relative Pitch Records)
  (CD by Relative Pitch Records)

Two new very inspired works released by Relative Pitch Records. Both are in memory of co-founder
of the label Mike Panico, who tragically died last year. Hopefully, his mate Kevin Reilly will succeed
in finding a new companion for continuing this label that has an excellent taste for improvised
music. These two new releases may serve as further proof of this.
    Jessica Pavone is a composer and player of viola, violin and electric bass. Settled in New York
since 2000 she works in the contexts of improvisation, avant jazz, folk, soul, chamber music, etc.
She has her own string ensemble, is part of Anthony Braxton’s Tri-centered Orchestra,  in a duo
with guitarist Mary Halvorson, played with Andrew Raffo Dewar, Elliot Sharp, Glenn Branca, to
name a few of her collaborations. As a solo artist, she debuted in 2014 with ‘Knuckle Under’,
followed by ‘Silent Spills’ in 2016.  That makes ‘In the Action’ her third solo statement and a second
one for Relative Pitch Records. She focuses on ‘the tactile experience and use of the body while
creating sound’. We are dealing here with a short work of four very profiled improvisations taking
altogether some 27 minutes. From a minimalistic approach, Pavone created some very different,
but equally evocative works. ‘Oscillatory Salt Transport’ is a breathtaking, beautifully resonating
work with far echoes from folk music. ‘And Maybe in the End’ introduces more electronic treatments
with a bluesy feel in the distant. ‘In the Action’ has a delightful acoustic violin, playing repetitive
patterns, combined with pulsating noise in the background. Near the end, the acoustic sounds are
transformed into very distorted noisy sounds. ‘Look Out - Look Out - Look Out’ is a heavily
processed noisy work. From just hearing it I couldn’t connect it to the violin. But what counts is that
it is a very physical job, very communicative and sensual like the acoustic works. ‘In the Action’ is
a very worthwhile and relevant recording!
    With ‘Quand fond la neige, où va le blanc?’ we are in the company of two other improvisers that
are new to me:  Christine Abdelnour and Chris Corsano. Abdelnour is of Lebanese origin, living
and working in France. Since 1997 she is mainly active as an improviser involved in sound
experimentation using sax more or less only. From what I could trace she mainly works solo and
developed that way her very own musical language and procedures. Chris Corsano is a drummer
from New England who works in the contexts of collective improvisation, free jazz, avant-rock, and
noise music. He worked a lot with saxophonist Paul Flaherty, Thurston Moore, Nate Woolley and
many others. From their duo effort, I learn that Abdelnour is an extraordinary player, who creates a
unique sound world by just playing her saxophone without electronic gadgets, although it sounds
sometimes as if she using some. Listen for example to the opening section of ‘The Mended Lid’. 
She developed her very own handwriting, using extended techniques, in order to create fascinating
sound textures that are very subtle and nuanced. “She employs subtle tonguing techniques,
unpitched breaths, spittle-flecked growls, biting, slicing notes and breathy echoing sounds from
the bell of her horn.” Because she is more into sound than into structure the improvisations were
sometimes a bit monotonous for me. But they are also very nice passages to be enjoyed where
both players are equally engaged in a musical dialogue, like in ‘Sixth Hinge’ or the jazzy
improvisation ‘Every Extra Thing’. (DM)
––– Address:


For quite some years now, The Epicurean has been your one-stop address for massive impact
quality noise, power and harsh electronics and ambient, presenting releases by the likes of
grandmasters Dave Philips, Anemone Tube and Last Dominion Lost (ex-Merge, ex-SPK). More
recently the label has included a surprisingly pop sounding record by Nikolas Schreck (The Futura
Model EP) and now Ilges, by Skeldos marks a move towards other as yet uncharted territories. This
Lithuanian composer delivers the most intimately touching and most deeply moving album The
Epicurean has released to date.
    With Ilges musical mastermind Vytenis Eitminavicius peers into the unknown recesses of human
nature, its existence existentially analysed, broken down, composed and re-configured. His is an
aural world of wonder and melancholy, of nostalgia and shattered dreams, of distant bodies and
tender longing. Skeldos works with the poetics of the soul to tune his lyre to the shape of the
deepest and truest of dark mirrors – smashed into myriads of shards and splinters for us mere
listeners, mere mortals to pick up, mend, puzzle together into a holistic unity again. Or: to leave as
is, and move ahead – beyond.
    Skeldos's musical vistas bring to mind the sweeping statements of Desiderii Marginis or Raison
d'Etre, and also: Maeror Tri or Troum. However, unlike these acts, Skeldos's 'darkness' is quite the
opposite of claustro-sinister or deathly hollow. His is a floating precision operation deep in the
human soul, beneath layers of kept-up (or: fallen down) appearances and flesh and blood. His is
a journey of hope and despair, told from recesses where natural light doesn't manage to reach. Its
darkness as a state of as-is; black as a property, not a quality.
    The testament to musical emotive power that is Igles is especially effective because Eitminavicius
doesn't use the omnipresent and dreaded cave-reverbed dark-ambient preset synthesizer in his
work. He composes his epic pieces for accordion, Lithuanian zither, guitar and violin. Their
resonant tones, the little imperfections, unexpected harmonies or dissonances; all of these
contribute to the absorbing organic nature of Igles; slightly ambiguous or unsettling, bleak and
warm and with a realisation that the vast horizons which this record draws up and projects in
mesmerizing detail are really the most important of dioramas up close and dearly personal. (SSK)
––– Address:


Anni Hogan’s resume reads like a who’s who of the famous: she worked with Deux Filles (working
with Simon Fisher Turner), Mekon, Yello, Marc Almond, Matt Johnson, Attrition (she even looks a bit
like Martin Bowes on the front cover image on this CD) and Barry Adamson (on his best album
‘Moss Side Story’). She started life as a DJ in local clubs, was a member of Marc and the Mambas
and worked with Almond on a number of his solo records. Impressive. Here we have her new solo
album ‘Lost in Blue’, in her own words ‘A journey through the tunnels of love and the ghost trains of
life’. O dear. That aside, for the moment, we are treated to 11 songs co-written by the likes of Dave
Ball (Soft Cell) and Gavin Friday (Virgin Prunes). Anni tinkles most of the ivories herself with a host
of friends, including Dave Ball on bass, supporting. The vocals, however, are given over to
luminaries such as Kid Congo Powers, Richard Strange, Wolfgang Flür, Lydia Lunch and Gavin
Friday. Droney opener ‘Lost Somewhere’ together with piano power ballad ‘Thunderstruck’ are two
of the three songs to feature Hogan’s own vocals on this album. Kid Congo Powers, of Gun Club
and Cramps fame, is featured on the song ‘My Career’, which is one of the highlights and personal
favourite of this album, then we have Wolfgang Flür’s typical sprechgesang on both ‘Silk Paper’
and ‘Golden Light’, Richard Strange (Doctors of Madness) on ‘Torch Song’ and Gavin Friday on
torch ballad ‘Angels of Romance’ which sounds like it was taken straight from one of his early solo
albums. The jazzy ‘Ghosts of Soho’ is the third Anni Hogan vocal, this one reminding me a bit of
mid-80s Anne Clark. There is, in fact, a ‘tortured’ mid-80s feel to this whole album. As such, ‘Lost
in Blue’ features heartfelt, well crafted and produced songs with more than a hint of nostalgia.
Despite the variation in vocalists ‘Lost in Blue’ sounds very much a coherent album, which is an
achievement considering the number of vocalists involved. There are, in my opinion, of course, two
things that do not do this album well: the first thing is that all songs are set in low to mid-tempo. By
the time I got to the end of this 50+ minutes listening experience, I was desperately longing for
something a little more up-tempo. The other thing is the end of the album itself: title song ‘Lost in
Blue’ closes the album with some of the worst lyrical cliché’s imaginable. Sample lyric: ‘I never felt
so lonely / Ah, babe are you feeling lonely too / I got a broken heart now / is your heart breaking too’
set to a chorus of ‘Let’s get high tonight / on the edge of the sky tonight. Having said that, this album
is a very fine record by Anni Hogan, who certainly deserves all the respect and interest possible,
featuring some amazing vocalists and great music. Tip of the day: buy this album and consider
skipping the final track and play ‘Confidential’, The Beat’s new album, next. That’s what I did and it
worked perfectly! (FK)
––– Address:


Ftarri is a Japanese label with some extreme sonic variations. These discs are further proof of that.
For no particular reason, I started with the duet of Axel Dörner on trumpet and electronics and
Toshimaru Nakamura on no-input mixing board. Now the latter might be known for some of the
extreme music he produces as 'no-input mixer' basically means routing the output to the input and
the result is feedback; feedback that has actually a lot of possibilities. Dörner is someone who
plays the trumpet as an object that produces quite a bit of sound when amplified. On May 15, 2017,
the two of them met at Yan Jun's studio in Berlin and on this single day they recorded the four
pieces on this disc. Pieces that were mixed by Nakamura later on. It starts with 'Hemp', which
serves us the full treatment of radical tones; a collision of feedback, distortion and noise. It's raw
and untamed, never, so it seems, there is a very quiet moment. Dörner very occasionally blows
tones on the trumpet, most notable in 'Feathers', but it has trouble sticking out above the playing
field of all the electronics working overtime. It is, and this is no exact science, perhaps 80% of all
electronic sounds and 20% acoustic sounds sticking up its head in selected places.
    The always-present Bruno Duplant is present here with two pieces that he composed but doesn't
perform on. One is a string quartet, the other a quintet (cello, viola, violin, Fender Rhodes and
guitar). Three players are present on both pieces. There is no recording date or venue mentioned
and the music is the radical opposite of that of the previous duet I just heard. Throughout these two
pieces are very quiet, with extended tones held for some time and quite a bit of silence between
those notes. No doubt I would think there is some sort of graphic score at the basis of this, leaving
the players freedom to fill in how to play these pieces. Overall both pieces are very quiet. I assume
this is a choice on behalf of Duplant, to keep this music quiet in order to meet up with aspects of
contemplation; if of course, that is a thing that Duplant wants. The difference between both pieces
that in the quintet piece there is full on quietness to be noted but in the quartet, it never becomes
really quiet. The soft volume drops, but never seems to go away. Here small gestures are played
by all four players in a more or less continuous mode, wherein the quintet piece, the various blocks
consists of compressed notes of all players together, so it seems at least, before going back to
complete silence for some time (all these intervals are irregular). This I thought was a fine release,
but I wouldn't have minded it was all a bit louder.
    The name of Zhao Cong popped up in Vital Weekly before, both times on compilations by Ftarri.
Now she is granted her release of all of her own music, and she uses daily objects, mixer,
condenser microphone and voice on all three pieces, card-paper tube  (track one and two), no-
input feedback 9tracks two) and contact microphone and home ballroom light on the final piece.
The two previous introductions were a bit too short to get a proper idea; now it's seventy-two
minutes so there is indeed something to discover. I am not sure what the title refers to; perhaps the
rotation of objects in front of a microphone. The first two pieces were recorded 'at home' in Beijing
in 2016 and one live in Ftarri (they have a record store and performance space as well) in 2018.
She plays long tracks and also of a radical nature. It is somewhere in between the noise of
Nakamura/Dörner and the silence of Duplant. Cong goes either way as there is quite a bit of
feedback on this release of room amplification with those microphones, especially, obviously, on
'Electric Rotating', but also it can be very silence with Cong rubbing some objects together in front
of the microphone. She does it all with great care and much love for the sound itself, but also at
times seems to be taking a bit too much time to do it all and I think all three pieces could have
been a bit shorter. (FdW)
––– Address:


The name of this band is surely inspired by the punk band Million Of Dead Cops, I would think,
and like that this band has a political side that is firmly on the left-wing side of the political spectrum.
The band name is a response against what they call 'Airbnb-ed cities', but also they have a song
called 'Social Media As A Concentration Camp' (inspired by Culturcide’s ‘Consider Museums As
Concentration Camps’?) and a song about "one of the tragedies of our times is the colonization of
the human imagination by economics". The music is very far removed from the world of punk music,
however. The line-up is Iason (electronics, which I believe are a synthesizer, such as the Yamaha
CS20, Erebus, Nanozwerg, audiomulch) and Sotiris and Yiannis, who both play bass guitar and
effects. One song has "vocals, lyrics and tapes" by Alyssa Moxley. I gather that still doesn't say
much about the music they play, which is an excellent form of electronic music, with lots of rhythm
and lots of synthesizer sounds. The opener is a fine melodic piece of arpeggio's synths, a steady
fast rhythm out of a box and the two bass guitars playing along in a fine post-punk modus. 'Nothing
Is Possible' is a much darker beast, with a more complex rhythm, many taped voices and vocals. A
similar layer of voices is in the song 'Social Media As A Concentration Camp', but with the basses
again driving the piece forward, synth locked down and slowly going into a multi-tone colour with
the bass drum in mid-tempo ticking time away. In the final piece 'The Long And Sufficiently
Agonizing Death Of A Chicago Boy' we find the group in their most experimental form, with the
basses doing much of the work, going through various effects and the synths in a more supporting
role. The sequencer decides upon a rhythm but it stays pretty abstract throughout the twelve
minutes this piece lasts. It is the end of a much-varied disc, clocking in forty minutes, which is too
short, I think. I understand the time constraint for this as it is also available on LP but I would not
mind a bit more. All of this brought to you by the guy who brought you P.S. Stamps Back before,
operating in a similar field of very leftfield techno music. The political message is there but not
preached too much in the songs, which is a good thing I should think. (FdW)
––– Address:

  MIC Lithuania)

Sometimes the reviewer is expected to be a know-it-all; a person of impeccable taste. I like to think I
am not that person. There is massive blank space here when it comes to composers, genres,
musicians and such like. I know lots of people think the world of the music of Maryanne Amacher
(1938-2009), but I am afraid I am one of those people who still have to hear anything by her
properly. Well, of course, I heard 'Petra' now, the CD in front of me, which I have to review. Based
on my very limited knowledge I had expected some electronic piece, but 'Petra' is a work for two
pianos and premiered in 1991. Amacher was back then one of the two players, and the other was
Marianne Schroeder, who is also playing it here, in this 2017 recording, with Stefan Tcherepnin.
The press text talks of this being in an "acoustic realm that alludes to the music of Giacinto Scelsi
and Galina Ustvolskaya"; I heard the music of the first only, but not enough to say if I would agree
with such a statement. The thirty-eight minutes of 'Petra' is throughout most solemn and quiet, and
only on a few instances cluster the notes loudly together. I think it's a great work, but then I easily
admit that reviewing modern classical music is not something for me (or I should think many of my
co-reviewers); we lack the knowledge and lingo.
    For perhaps a lot of the Vital Weekly readers the name Zbigniew Karkowski (1958-2013) is
synonymous for noise music; loud, vicious noise music. But Karkwoski was a trained modern
classical composer, who scored all sorts of classical works. I don't think I heard any of these before.
Here is a piece for electronics and a small choir, of eight voices, male and female. Karkowski
provided the electronic material and the voices imitate the electronic sounds. There are four
sections here, flowing into each other. The electronic sounds are quite rudimentary; drones,
Shepard tone ("creates the auditory illusion of a tone that continually ascends or descends in
pitch, yet which ultimately seems to get no higher or lower"), white noise and noise towards the
end, combined with female voices. Male voices are in the opening drone part. While this piece is
partly rooted in the world of noise, it is also very much a modern classical work (hence all these
releases lumped together for a narrative), but brutal and dirty. It is, perhaps, the kind of modern
classical music I understand, or even better, I like. It reminded me at times of Cardew's 'The Great
Learning', with not as many voices but with the same creepiness. There are two versions of this
piece on this CD, one with the electronic parts as realized by Wolfram and one by Constation
Popp, which is the one I preferred of the two, but I couldn't say why. They were quite similar but
Popp's version seemed to be edgier.
    A composer of modern classical music that is a new name is Ernstalbrecht Stiebler, whose
earliest compositions are from the early 60s and he still composes, until this very day. He’s now
85 years old and on this record, we clearly hear his love for reductionist music, along the lines of
Cage, Feldman and Scelsi. Each side has one piece and was recorded in very different locations,
configurations (although 'small orchestra' could fit all four performances) and times. The oldest
recording is from 1999 and the most recent from 2018. Each piece is 'explained' on the insert and
talks about intervals, octaves, semitones and microtonality. Each of the pieces has a very calm and
slow development. I would think this is not music to play and do something. It's better to sit down
and fully concentrate on the music itself. Only then it opens some of its beauty; otherwise, I can
imagine this would work your nerves. The ultra minimal approach in these pieces is something I
quite enjoyed; it reminded me of acoustic drone music, but of an even more careful nature.
Otherwise, I found it hard to discuss this in terms of modern classical music.
    Which brings me to the last in this small series of classical music releases; give or take. Surely I
wrote these words many times before but there are tons of genres that nobody at Vital Weekly can
discuss. Music that simply eludes us. Modern classical music is one that even when, as we just
have seen, to various degrees these releases are interesting, appealing or great. Sometimes I just
don't know, and I can only give some details. There is an ensemble by the name of Synaesthesis
and they perform works by Lithuanian composers such as Ričardas Kabelis, Julius Aglinskas,
Ramūnas Motiekaitis, Rytis Mažulis, Dominykas Digimas, Rita Mačiliūnaitė and Andrius Arutiunian.
The ensemble has players for flutes, clarinet, horn, saxophone, trombone, percussion, piano, violin,
viola, cello, double bass and electric guitar. The music they play sure sounds like modern classical
music, and so we arrive at were we failed: that's all I can write about this. It sounds pretty good,
actually. I am sure that's not what a review is about, but that's all I have to offer. I am pleased there
is a Music Information Centre in Lithuania that is so active in the production of CDs. All they need is
a somewhat more streamlined mailing for target reviews. (FdW)
––– Address:
––– Address:
––– Address:
––– Address:

PYLONE - A JAMAIS/PING (LP by Sound On Probation)

Laurent Perrier is a busy man, working under different names. These days he works mostly with
modular synthesizers, regardless of the names he is using to play his music. The differences lie
mainly in the outcome of the music. It can be more techno (etc.) based but as Pylône it all more in
the realm of electro-acoustic music. On this LP he presents one piece per side. On 'A Jamais' he
uses the "writings and voice of plastic artist Lyne Vermes as the sole audio source' and 'Ping' "has
been produced solely from audio generated by triggering a twinpeak filter by Epoch Modular"; I
guess for those who know that might mean something. I am not one of them; I have no idea what
that means. It is interesting to see Perrier working his way around some more serious approaches,
next to his more rhythm-based music. However, I must say I am also not entirely convinced by this
and I do not find it easy to say why. Maybe the whole problem is with me, really. Maybe I have a
hard time concentrating on this. Right now, the music sounded like a stream of sounds,
consciousness sounds that move in and out of the total mix. I seem to get lost in the composition
of it all. Perrier uses quite some interesting sounds and 'A Jamais' has portions that go along with
the best of musique concrete/electro-acoustic tradition, but overall here I had problems keeping
my attention span up. This is surely something that will find its way among those who are interested
in modular synthesizers and something for me to return to at a later date. (FdW)
––– Address:


Like I said last week, I gave up thinking about why things happen as they happen. So I have no
idea what prompted Econore to send me this 2017 release by Jeans Beast (as of writing 'only 9
remaining' on Bandcamp). This is the project of label boss J. Flemming, and recorded over a time
span of five years, 2012 to 2017, in four different cities (Mönchengladbach, Oldenburg, Limoges
and Beine-Nauroy. He uses "guitars, cymbals, keys, electronics, contact mic, piano, field
recordings, metal junk, turntable, self-made instrument, waterphone" here and it's all the noisy
beast; noisy, but not necessarily for the sake of noise. While these pieces are loud most of the
times, especially when those guitars how around, Jeans Beast also cuts down and pulls back and
asserts some level of control. In a piece like 'Häxan' Jeans Beast opens up the door to drone land
and plays around with dark tones and controlled feedback while playing the cymbal with a bow
 and it's the longest piece here, which is quite nice. It offers a fine counterpoint against such
exercises as 'Conduct' or 'Maze', both with some furious noise guitars. Not all of the instruments
can easily be heard in these ten pieces, but I am sure they are there. Sometimes there are some
odd production values at work, in which one hears a sound that is very apart from the rest of the
music; like Jeans Beast recorded some of this while holding a microphone in front of a speaker.
Strangely captivating and surprising that was.
    On 'Floorcleaner' we find two more recent pieces by Sindre Bjerga. Like almost all of his
releases in recent years, all music was recorded in concert. He plays quite a few of them every
year so there is probably quite a backlog of recordings. The two recordings here were made within
the space of three days in June last year while being on tour in the Baltic States. On June 27th he
was in Estonia and the thirtieth in in Latvia. Like we also know from Bjerga, his concerts are more
or less always between twenty and twenty-five minutes. It should be no secret, and I am sure I wrote
this before, that I saw quite a few of Bjerga's concerts over the recent years (easily about 20 since
2015!) and he always does the same thing so it seems. It does not always sound the same, which
is an important difference. Bjerga uses lo-fi techniques, such as old cassettes, a cheap microphone,
a spring reverb and handheld speakers (built in from one of the cassette players) and some
children's toy and his voice to create a dense collage of sound. Especially when he puts the reverb
on the speaker he can create a nasty drone mass. Nothing smooth or fancy there. Here the Estonia
piece is somehow opener/less dense with a thorough concentration on rubbing surfaces together
while tapes are played in slow motion, while in Latvia the mood is darker and the sound denser. At
the same time you can easily see where both pieces are rooted (the lo-fi machines he uses) and
it's another fine showcase of his live work.
    A recording from April 30 2015 from San Diego found it's way to a December 2018 release by
Econore and here we have Tim Barnes playing the snare drum and Jeph Jerman some stringed
instrument with two e-bows and no doubt small objects (I am looking at the pictures of them
together on the cover of this release). I didn't know they played together but so they do. Barnes
plays his snare drum like an object, a resonating box in which you can put objects and have them
resonate as well as use their overtones with mild amplification. Jerman in recent years used rocks,
sand and dirt for his music, so I am quite surprised by the content of this thirty-one-minute recording.
It is actually quite loud! It is a microphone recording that adds a bit of rawness to the music, but
otherwise, there is already some drone like proceedings going on. It all buzzes and swirls like it
has been locked inside a bunch of sound effects and around the seventeen-minute reaches a
feedback like peak, but the sonic overload is quickly removed but throughout the whole piece
seems to have quite a bit of effects; either from amplification, ebows or the hand rubbed snare
drum that is like a faulty loop device. It is overall quite some intense music; if it is intense in
recording, it sure must have been an intense concert that night in 2015. For both gentlemen, but
especially Jerman (I would think) this is a very surprising recording. I am not sure if this is a one-
off for him but it's certainly a fine move. (FdW)
––– Address:


Along with these two CDRs, Michel Guilet writes to me that I previously reviewed his work in 2014,
"maybe you remember". To be honest; I didn't. But I also I have no idea what I wrote last week and
it's not old age, but simply the vast amount of reviews that have been written over the years. He
also writes that since 2014 he changed his way of working with music and now only uses a guitar
and four effect pedals. Everything is recorded in a single take. There are three pieces on these two
new releases, simply called 'Breakthrough 1', and 2 and 3 of that. I would have easily believed that
it would result in some drone music, but that doesn't seem to be his interest. The music he produces
leans towards the noisy end of electronics and the guitar is not always easily recognized in this
music. It is an instrument that is used to activate the effects and throughout Guillet also aims for a
more collage-like approach. Sometimes passages are crudely interrupted and changed to
something entirely different. When the guitar is to be recognized, and it surely is at times, Guilet
seems to be influenced by a more rock approach, crashing and burning the strings. One of the
important questions, I guess, would be: what's the difference between both releases, if any at all?
I would say that the forty-minute third 'Breakthrough' examines the rhythmical end of the work that
is on the other pieces a more fragmented version. On the third one, bits and bobs are looped
around and explore from there on. On the first two pieces, it is more broken up with the occasional
touch of rock guitar thrown in for good measure. It is all sturdy, serious experimenting. One of the
things I wouldn't recommend is playing both in a row; I did that at first and found it all a bit much
and that clouded my judgement. (FdW)
––– Address: <>

EMERGE - MATERIA (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)

These days much of the catalogue of Attenuation Circuit is available as a free pay-what-you-want
download and it something of a surprise to receive a CDR by EMERGE, which is one of the strong
forces behind the label. There have been lots and lots of EMERGE releases and over the years the
music got better and better. I wrote this before, but it has been a while so I'm saying it again, but in
some way, EMERGE reminds me of a rough version of Asmus Tietchens. Whereas the old German
master is very quiet in his music, certainly in recent years and relying on analogue technique to
process his sounds, EMERGE is someone who uses two samplers, fed with field recordings that
are worked and re-worked on the spot. 'Materia' is made with sounds from materials such wood,
stone and plastic, but nothing as such can be easily recognized in the thirty-one minutes of this
piece, which is a live recording from January last year. The overall mood of the piece is quite dark,
with those sounds slowed and pitched down. Loops of smaller and longer variations are used
here, subtly moving along each other so that there is never a 'proper' rhythm going but rather
sounds like the moving of ice plates on a frozen pond. It is a curious form of drone music that lacks
the long form, ongoing sounds that are more common with drone music. Through the various
movements are quite slow in development, but just in the right moment EMERGE changes his
music ever so slightly and moves to the next set of variations. This is a damn fine piece of music,
and it is easy to understand why he wanted to release this on a CDR. (FdW)
––– Address:

ACTIVE DENIAL - WHAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF (cassette by Cheap Food Records)

Having just heard Satori last week and thinking about the whole notion of 'power electronics', I got
this tape by Active Denial. It has four tracks; Side A is about five minutes and the flip about nine.
Active Denial is a duo of Bucorvus Leadbeater (sound) and Jack Knife (voice). I looked on Discogs
for some more information and found that this was (also?) released by Outsider Art. In fact, there is
no such tape on Cheap Food Records, even when the cover clearly indicates that. Maybe this is a
second 'pressing'? It also says for this tape: "To be listened to when walking along the seafront
during inclement weather", which made me think it is something else, really than what I am hearing. 
The sound, as I assume, primarily made up of one or two synthesizers of which the keys are taped
down and Leadbeater twisting the various LFO's and VCO's control, while mister Knife shouts down
the microphone; a bit of delay provides a bit of feedback. It is the sort of typical lo-fi power
electronics that is released on a cassette. It is just not very powerful; there is a world to gain in the
department of mastering here, I should think. It's not bad at all, but just a bit too naive. Maybe
people call that outsider art? (FdW)
––– Address:

ÞÓRIR GEOR - FALLID ER DAID (cassette by Orphanology)
EXITCODE - TOO MANY TVS (cassette by Orphanology)

Orphanology is a sub-division from Bluesanct, Mkl Anderson/Drekka's label, and they have the
'alphabet' series, in which there will be a release for every letter in the English alphabet, plus, as
we will see, also some Icelandic ones. None of the three names seemed to me names I heard
before so I began with Mark Trecka, which sounds like Drekka, right? So thought it was a nickname
for Anderson, but it's not. Trecka’s cassette lasts thirty-five minutes and the first piece covers the
entire first side of the cassette. Piano notes roll by, covered with quite some reverb and then at one
point Trecka's voice coming; a slow and deep baritone and it was quite a surprise. I was reminded
of Dead Can Dance's Brendan Perry and Joe Papa of Controlled Bleeding. It is surely something
highly charged with emotions. It is not the sort of music I play a lot (there is one Dead Can Dance
album, though, I really like) but I like the emotionally charged ambiences that Trecka evokes here
with his music. It is, perhaps, also the fact that Trecka has a slightly more experimental edge to his
music; it's not all one big sad/tears cliche, which is a good thing. Especially in the instrumental
'Sheep Ranch' and 'You, road - home + Image- Taos crow, death signal + Sonoran bats, 11 Oct
2015' this all works extremely well.
    The next release is by þórir Geor, adding the Icelandic letter to the alphabet there. I never heard
of him, but apparently, he is active in Iceland within genres as experimental ambient, black metal,
industrial hardcore, sadcore folk and shared the stage with Drekka, Óreiða and ROHT. On the day
in January of last year when Mark E. Smith (singer of The Fall, in case you were wondering) he
recorded this piece called "Fallið er Dáið", which can be translated as "The Fall is Dead"). It has
little to do with the music of the Fall. It is a very ambient piece of music, with hissy keyboards played
in slow motion and something that sounds like turning the pages in a windy underpass. It lasts
nineteen minutes (split on the cassette, but on the Bandcamp download as one piece, which is
better for enjoying this, I would think. Over the course of the piece, there is some slow development,
more hiss, less hiss, some extra reverb on objects falling (!) towards the floor in the same tunnel, or
children playing far away. It is a very thoughtful and massive piece of music. Even without the
context which was used in the recording of this piece, the death of a singer (whom you may or may
not like), this is a beautiful and sad contemplation carved into music, and it works well in the
context of mourning for a loved one.
    Following these two more or less contemplative music releases we go to Exitcode (or EXITCODE
as seems the preferred way of writing) with their first physical release and it's something of a cold
shower after the warmth of the previous two Bluesanct releases. The four pieces are throughout
loud and menacing, except for 'CH3', which is a very dark slab of ambient darkness thrown around.
It's the sound of a glacial movement that moves over the listener, who subsequently drowns here.
The other three are shorter (between three and seven minutes) and equally slow in development,
but using guitars, much sound effects and a fine touch of feedback to create something that goes
along the way of power electronics when done by Stockhausen ('Ch 2') or by any loud rock (can't
think of anyone in particular) burning guitars and recording the sound of that. This is twenty-seven
minutes of sick music and that is a compliment. (FdW)
––– Address:

APR - THE FURIES INSIDE ME OST (cassette by Eh?)

Of course, you know that 'OST' stands for 'original soundtrack'. It seems every week we have one
and now it's time for a "motion picture 'The Furies Inside Me", of which I saw two trailers on YouTube
and happy to quote the blurb that was below that: "Based on a true story, THE FURIES INSIDE ME
tells the story of young boy named Gil, who was brutally raped by his uncle, forever damaging the
rest of his life. Constantly struggling against the rage buried deep inside, Gil, now twenty-three, tries
to have a normal life, hanging out with friends and meeting a new girlfriend. But suddenly one night,
drunk and lost, Gil finds himself at the doorstep of his former molester, who will be the victim
tonight?" It is all shot in black and white and looks quite grim. APR's music surely fits the style of
what I just saw a bit of. They are a trio of Peter Aaron (electric guitar, effects), Bobby Previte (trap
drums, electric guitar), John Rosenthal (electric bass, electric guitar). There are nine relatively short
explosions of a rock sound to be noted here, played with a lot of spirit and aggression. Top energy
stuff; all instrumental and noise rock meet punk rock. Lovely stuff, but not really the sort of thing, I
would think that fits these pages. Play loud would be my best suggestion and fully let your self go.
Not that the music isn't already very loud, in terms of recording.
    The first release that Miguel A. Garcia and Ilia Belorukov worked together they had a release
called Wolkokrotz, now they adopted that name to be the name of the apparently ongoing musical
collaboration. Garcia simply gets credit for electronics, while Belorukov plays fluteophone, iVCS3
(which is a great app simulating the old VCS synth), samples, field recordings and electronics. The
five pieces in this cassette were recorded during four different concerts in Switzerland in December
2016. There is no Bandcamp download for this, which is, I think, a pity since some of the music is
pretty delicate and doesn't necessarily do well on cassette. Some of this is noise based, especially
the opening of either side of the cassette and of course that fits quite well. It all sounds like one
long track per side, in which they go through various motions. It is all improvised, obviously, and it
all sounds very electronic. From loud surface based noise of 'Diretto' to the very quiet, almost
ambient approach of 'Der Überlebende' (if I got that right of course). Throughout there is an
interesting 'direct' approach to sound here, like it has been taped using a Walkman in front of the
speakers (or maybe on stage taping the monitor sounds), which makes this rougher, even in it's
more delicate places, such as the sonic overload of 'Sweet Poolside', which is deep drones and
more object/surface scanning with contact microphones. This is an excellent release, going through
from electronic to acoustic, from digital to analogue and from delicate to rough. That's what we like
here at the VW HQ! (FdW)
––– Address:


The four releases I reviewed by Masayuki Imanishi (Vital Weekly 1024, 1080, 1115 and 1128)
were all solo affairs, but here he teams up with another player for what is surely a duet of
improvised music. I don't think I heard of Serrato before. He plays the double bass, while Imanishi
gets credit for "field recordings, speaker, and contact microphone". It also says "recorded in Sevilla
and Osaka by Masayuki Imanishi and Nacho García, December 2018/January 2019", but I am not
sure if that means that this is one or two concert recordings or perhaps some kind of collaboration
through the mail. Perhaps the latter would be an odd thing for the world of improvised music, and
certainly how this sounds, but you never know. Throughout the music is quite careful with lots of
'small' sounds from Imanishi, who also seems to be providing us with voice/mouth sounds and
Serrato's more traditional approach to the bass, via bowing, strumming and plucking the strings.
Sometimes he leaps out to a more abstract playing of his instrument and scans the surface of the
instrument to produce some additional sounds. Overall I would think that '#1' is the quieter brother/
sister of '#2', which seems to be overall much more present, not allowing for much silence there. I
enjoyed that more densely orchestrated piece over "#1', which I found occasionally a bit too
haphazard in the way it went. Too many small sounds but not yet a piece of music, if you get my
drift. (FdW)
––– Address: