number 1180
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week 17
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A SPIRALE & CHRIS COGBURN - AUTOCANNIBALISM (CD by Insub Records) *
TRONDHEIM EMP – POKE IT WITH A STICK / JOINING THE BOTS (2CD by Cronica)
DENZLER GRIP JOHANSSON – ZYKLUS 1 (2CD by Umlaut Records)
HANS KOCH & JACQUES DEMIERRE - INCUNABULUM (CD by Herbal) *
BURKHARD BEINS & MAZEN KERBAJ & MICHAEL VORFELD - SAWT OUT (CD by Herbal) *
YAN JUN & JASON KAHN - NONE OF US (CD by Herbal) *
BEINHAUS - ZAEHNE (CD by Audiophob/Krater Recordings) *
MANDELBROT - ZEITSPRUNG (CD by Audiophob) *
HYPERAKUSIS (CD compilation by Audiophob)
PATERAS/BAXTER/BROWN - BERN/MELBOURNE/MILAN (2CD by Immediata) *
ANTHONY PATERAS - COLLECTED WORKS VOL. II (2005-2008) (5CD by Immediata) *
CELER - XIEXIE (2CD by Two Acorns) *
DAN MELCHIOR & SIGTRYGGUR BERG SIGMARSSON - COD WAR KIDS (CD by Some) *
VIDNA OBMANA - SOUNDTRACK FOR THE AQUARIUM (CD by Zoharum) *
DREN - TIME & FORM (CD by Zoharum) *
BRIAN HARNETTY - SHAWNEE, OHIO (CD by Karlrecords) *
EBAUCHE - FORMIC SYNTAX (LP/CD by Supple 9) *
HANNES LINGENS – PIECES FOR PERCUSSION (LP by Umlaut Records)
DANIELE PECORELLI/MARK SCHAUB - & (split LP by Anomala Soundscapes)
CIRO BERENGUER - EL MAR DE JUNIO (CDR by Eilean Rec.) *
ANDREW TASSELMYER - SURFACE TEXTURES (CDR by Eilean Rec.) *
JON UNGER - MEMORY INDICATOR (3"CDR by Taalem) *
FLAVIEN GILLIE - RITUELS DOMESTIQUES (3"CDR by Taalem) *
A.F. JONES - FOR ESCHRICHTIIDAE (OMNIANA) (3"CDR by Taalem) *
CONTINUOUS DUTY ZONE - DEATH OF THE MACHINE (CDR by T81 Records) *
CONTINUOUS DUTY ZONE - MONITORING (CDR by T81 Records) *
EGBERT VAN DER VLIET - CEL (cassette by Rotzooi Tapes)
KLINIKUM -DIA OF GREEN MOUNTAINS (cassette by AlienPlace 2019) *
EDWARD SOL - TEEN SHARP (cassette by Village Tapes)
ALTAR OF FLIES & EDWARD SOL (split cassette by Sentiment)
UNIVERSALFILTER - MYSTERIOUS ISLAND (cassette by Endtitles) *


A SPIRALE & CHRIS COGBURN - AUTOCANNIBALISM (CD by Insub Records)

Just what 'Autocannibalism' is supposed to mean, I have no idea. To eat oneself? Here we have
recordings made in the basement of A Spirale in Naples. This is a duo of Maurizio Argenziano on
electric guitar and Mario Gabola on feedback sax. They team up with Chris Cogburn, who plays
percussion and electronics. I had heard of A Spirale before, but Cogburn slipped from memory (he
is on a trio CD with Bonnie Jones and Bhob Rainey; see Vital Weekly 762). This is a disc of
improvised music, but albeit one of a more extreme kind. There is a fine level of control being
exercised here, in which the feedback is kept well under control. Each player seems to be
experimenting with feedback and in all pieces they let it slip out, carefully, in order to take it right
back and let it work again. Much of this also deals with sustaining notes, of unwilling moves and
gestures of the instruments. It is very hard to figure out what Cogburn does here; I would think
much of it is about stirring up the electronics by moving objects around on the drum skins and let it
all pick up with speakers below the skins. Also, the saxophone might get a similar treatment of
feedback and control. The guitar seems to be the only instrument, which we recognize as such,
even with the amount of distortion put on it. The seven pieces last 'only' thirty-two minutes but I
would believe that is pretty much enough. It is not because I don't like it, far from it as I am quite
enjoying this. The music is quite demanding on the listener. In order to fully grasp what's going
on, you need to focus all your attention to it, but it's a most rewarding experience! (FdW)
––– Address: http://insub.org/records/



TRONDHEIM EMP – POKE IT WITH A STICK / JOINING THE BOTS (2CD by Cronica)

Trondheim Electroacoustic Music Performance (EMP) is an ensemble performing improvised
electroacoustic music. The project started in 2011 with the involvement of many different
musicians over the years. It originated from “the performance explorations around music
technology at Department of Music, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU),
investigating how technology makes us play differently, how it enables new modes of
communication within the ensemble, and new creative improvisation methods inspired by the
sonic sculpting enabled by custom made audio processing software and instruments.“ To
introduce their latest work I take another quote from the liner notes: “This project explores cross-
adaptive processing as a radical intervention in the communication between performing musicians.
Digital audio analysis and processing techniques are used to enable features of one sound to
inform the processing of another. This allows the actions of one performer to directly influence
another performer’s sound and doing so by means of the acoustic signal produced on the
instrument. This may be reciprocated, too: the sound of the second performer may in turn influence
the sound processing of the first.” Øyvind Brandtsegg is the mastermind beyond all this. He started
as a rock musician, educated in vibraphone as well as in creating software.  He is very much
interested in research into the role of technology in the process of creating music. Listening to this
work I asked myself what motivates him most of all. Did it start from a technical interest in creating
new procedures and techniques? Or from a musical idea that led to new procedures in order to
realize it? I guess we are dealing here with the first option as the dominant one. I can’t make any
judgment how inventive and promising this cross adaptive processing may be. But if results count,
I didn’t found this one musically very satisfying or surprising. The release is made up of two CDs,
both carrying their own name, representing different phases of their research. The first cd (‘Poke It
With a Stick’) reflects the exploration phase, the second one  (‘Joining the Bots’) the phase of
knitting together, etc. Most tracks on the first cd have one or two musicians or vocalists improvising,
with Øyvind Brandtsegg doing cross-adaptive processing. For sure interesting parts passed by, but
overall I missed clear focus and urgency. One can easily identify the instruments and follow the
dynamic of the acoustic improvisation. This is also the case for the second cd that has the
impressive vocals By Ratkje and Tone Ase in a prominent role. But it is difficult to put a finger on
how the acoustic improvising and the academic electronics interact.  No doubt interesting
technology is introduced here by the inventive Brandtsegg, but musically it didn’t convince me.
An ambitious and daring release by Cronica, a media label in Porto, Portugal. (DM)
––– Address: http://www.cronicaelectronica.org/



DENZLER GRIP JOHANSSON – ZYKLUS 1 (2CD by Umlaut Records)

‘Zyklus 1’ is the third statement by the Denzler Grip Johansson trio, also known as Neuköllner
Modelle. First and second release date from 2017 and 2018. We hear Bertrand Denzler on tenor
saxophone, Joel Grip playing the double bass and Sven-Åke Johansson on drums. Recordings
for this double bill took place on two days in November 2017 at Isotop in Berlin. Bertrand Denzler
is a profiled Swiss musician operating in diverse contexts of contemporary improvised music, new
music and free jazz in projects all over the planet. Recently he took part in the Euphorium
Freakastra, that we reviewed earlier here. Swedish drummer and composer  Sven-Åke Johansson
worked mainly in Germany since the sixties, as part of the Globe Unity Orchestra, and numerous
other collaborations. On Joel Grip, I couldn’t find much, except that he is the founder of the Umlaut
label and also works as a producer. This acoustic trio excels in spun out jazz-oriented
improvisations with the sax most of the time in a prominent soloing role, evoking sometimes a
trance-like effect. As my ears are not very much jazz-educated ears, it sounded at first hearing as
a relatively traditional approach. More educated listeners will certainly notice diverse influences of
the modern jazz tradition and how they use them. But besides working with traditional elements,
especially in ‘Out of Time – Timeless’, I noticed how they reach for a quality that is ‘beyond’ all this,
beyond the vocabulary they use. With an approach that is minimalistic and repetitive, their open
and extended improvisations bring you in another state. Superficially not much is happening in a
way. But the opposite is the case. They operate as one organism, their interplay and togetherness
are impressive and full of drive. Each of the performers makes inspired solo manoeuvres like
Denzler halfway in ‘Timeless’. The drum style practised by Johansson is fascinating. Their lengthy
excursions are very sensitive and communicative. They are very tuned in to one other and invite
one other to deepen the conversation. So please have patience with this one, as this kind of
improvisation may not immediately talk to you. I needed repeated listening before the music
opened itself for me, or the other way around… (DM)
––– Address: http://www.umlautrecords.com/



HANS KOCH & JACQUES DEMIERRE - INCUNABULUM (CD by Herbal)
BURKHARD BEINS & MAZEN KERBAJ & MICHAEL VORFELD - SAWT OUT (CD by Herbal)
YAN JUN & JASON KAHN - NONE OF US (CD by Herbal)

Because I quite enjoyed Jacques Demierre's 'recent' solo release (Vital Weekly 1134) and also
Hans Koch's various solo releases (Vital Weekly 964) I decided to start this new trilogy of releases
on Herbal with their duet. The title means something like 'early book print', and I am not sure that
title means anything in relation to the music. Koch plays 'reeds' and Demierre plays the spinet,
which, as I have noted before is a most unusual instrument for improvised music. They recorded
the eight pieces over two days in May last year in Biel, Switzerland. It is some wonderfully strange
music in which both instruments are on display in a lot of different ways. The spinet in 'But I’ve Been
Living Here For A Long Time' sounds like a spinet you know from a film about knights, but right in
the next track I would think Demierre treats it as an object, using objects to play the strings and it
sounds like it has gotten the reel-to-reel tape treatment. Koch does something similar with his reeds
but with him, it seems that is most of the times not as recognizable and his approach seems to be
more abstract. I might very well be wrong of course. They bounce from something quite hectic ('But I
Imagined Him Racing Madly Down The Beach To Dive Into The Surf') to a beautiful, quiet and
introspective piece as 'But This Was All Kind Of New To Me'. It is this variation that makes this a
great release. There is an excellent interaction going on between both players and they both
approach their instruments and music in a serious and open way. The experience they bring to
the table is all too clear.
    Experience is also something that comes with the next disc, a trio of Burkhard Beins (percussion),
Mazen Kerbaj (trumpet) and Michael Vorfeld (percussion). In September 2016 they were two days
in a studio in Berlin and recorded four pieces, ranging from eight to seventeen minutes. Beins did
the mixing and editing afterwards, which I guess means we never know how much of this we hear
is 'as is' or in some way multi-layered. All three have extensive experience playing with people and
in their playing together this shows. All three know how to approach their instruments in both
conventional and non-conventional manners. You would think this is some rhythm heavy release,
with two musicians on percussion, but it's far from it. All three of them treat their instruments, as
objects that produce sound and sometimes this can be rhythmical, but most of the time it is not.
Throughout these four pieces there is quite some noise to be detected; feedback like (but it may
very well be no feedback, just very sharp sounds produced with cymbals or microphones up close
to the microphone) and lots of rubbing and scratching of surfaces going on here. The trumpet is
very rarely sounding like a trumpet, but sometimes the drums do. I have no idea who is the more
conventional drummer of the two (if at all that is the case), but the dynamic range of the music
works very well on these pieces. This is another intense release, except a bit longer and probably
a little less intense at that, but certainly no easy listening either.
    Which is when we arrive at the perhaps the most difficult release of this new lot on Herbal, a duo
recording of Yan Jun and Jason Kahn, who both use their voice only. Curious reading on the
cover; for track one to three it says that they are voice rehearsals but also "all voices were deleted",
and for the fifth track, a collection of five different concerts, that "all voices of performances and
speeches were muted". This was recorded in China and has all the markings of Yan Jun's
conceptual approach to music. His recent solo release (Vital Weekly 1171) was a great release,
so I was quite curious about this one; Kahn is a versatile musician, whose music surprises me
since twenty or so years. There is very little 'music' on this release. That is not to say it is all-quiet;
there is some sound on here as well as also quite some silence (although hardly ever completely
silent). It has something to do with voices being used on tour but not heard on this recording. I must
admit I seem to fail to understand why this is, i.e. what is the bigger concept behind all of this. I am
sure there is something but maybe I am too lazy to bother thinking about. Do you realize that 'silent'
is an anagram for 'listen'? Maybe therein lies the key to this? (FdW)
––– Address: https://herbalinternational.blogspot.com/



BEINHAUS - ZAEHNE (CD by Audiophob/Krater Recordings)
MANDELBROT - ZEITSPRUNG (CD by Audiophob)
HYPERAKUSIS (CD compilation by Audiophob)

First up is "Zaehne" (=Teeth) by German Industrial trio Beinhaus. Their previous release came out
back in 2015 and before that the band had the occasional release all the way back into the 90s.
Even though they apparently have been around since 1995, this is the first time I've come across
them. And that is a pity indeed. I think their work offers quite an interesting crossover between on
the one hand your classic deafening metal percussion and power tool timbres and on the other
tight post-industrial programming, that one doesn't see that often out there nowadays. Still, the one
genre being very much the offspring of the other, uniting the two under one banner can't really be a
novelty within the industrial world. However, Beinhaus combines this with crushing stabs of dubstep
nastiness and dark drum'n'bass bass growls - a feature that easily bumps their work right back into
this century. Nothing in a jarring manner though; it all melts together seamlessly.
    The 12 songs - and yes they are actual songs - are relatively short and to the point. The vocal
delivery ranges from poetic musings in "Wo jeder hingehört" to caustic Blixa-like snarls in Zähne
and after a brief glance at the titles it may not come as a surprise that all of it is in German.
Comparisons with Neubauten are therefore to be expected I suppose, but that is not to say that
Beinhaus doesn't sport their own specific flavour of industrial. Also the contemporary production
and the sequenced parts give Zaehne a powerful directness and a presence that saves it from
sounding painfully retro.
    "180 auf Null" is easily my favourite track of the album; it’s just the eager way it stomps on with
its coercive up-tempo beat that had me come back to it a couple of times. But also "Das Messer",
which has a slightly carnivalesque groove to it, is a nasty little track that manages to hooks itself into
one's mind immediately. So yeah, if you're into old school industrial this one will definitely be worth
your time.
    Mandelbrot is of course Barbara Teichner (Monokrom, The Rorschach Garden) and Philipp
Münch (Synapscape, Ars Moriendi), both of whom are proper veterans in the world of post-
industrial. Now, a good five years after the release of "Kaleidoskop" - which was released by
Audiophob too - we are presented with its successor, "Zeitsprung".
    After the lush, ethereal warm-up we get from "Mermaid", the duo dives into the pulsating deep
end of seasick drones and high-end harmonics with "Krabat". In "Das kalte Herz" we hear how 70s
synth stabs underline the puzzling arpeggios of retro sci-fi experiments, with sparse percussive
punctuation. "Herr der Berge" seems to continue this dream of wires, while its culminating tension
finds a playful release in a audible memory of derelict theme parks. Off to “Blocksberg” in hot
pursuit with the syncopated flashing of Baustelle road signs in the corners of our eyes. After getting
out of the car, the throbbing radiation of “Dornengestrüpp” alters the fabric of reality and
subsequently allows echoes of 80s blockbuster soundtracks to ripple our ear drums. "Feentanz"
shows us the alien rhythmic staggering of beings that have crossed the veil into this plane. Their
movement is too estranging to be properly called a dance. Meanwhile we see a "Boy with the Red
Balloon" suspended in the air in the distance. Strange winds slowly sweep him along through a
patch of thunder clouds. Back on solid ground we descend "Again into the Catacombs" for a proper
underground rave experience, on-beat strobes flashing in the corners of our eyes. The morning
after we wake up in the fae realm of "Zauberwald" and while we can't believe our eyes, very soon
we find out that this is not a place for mere mortals to be. The initial corporeal overtones of
"Eisenhans" become increasingly more amplified by synthetic counterparts. Plucked string accents
mock us while we struggle with the physical pressure of it all, until the kalimba marks the end.
Technically Zeitpunkt seems to be similar to its predecessor, albeit perhaps slightly less obviously
rhythmic. The production is again well-balanced, as even the harsher parts never become
punishing - or too lengthy for that matter. Therefore, the dense and sometimes alienating
atmospheres never seem to outstay their welcome. As it happens the two most obviously stomping
tracks (and some special love here for the "Catacombs" track) invited to a pleasing change of pace,
rather than straining the overall framework too much. A well-crafted and intense plunge into the
unknown.
    Like the infamous Frans de Waard, I don't care so much for samplers/compilations. However,
there is some Darkrad and Mandelbrot on this one, so let's just give it a spin. “Hyperakusis III” is
very much an overview of the current Audiophob roster, so no surprises there. It kicks off with two
Negativity Bias tracks, the first of which is a mid-tempo industrial techno track with a fair amount of
side-chaining pounding about. It takes some time for the track to get to the point, but the climax is
worth it. Don't care much for the odd dissonance that the tremolo chords in the background create,
but eh, what can you do. The second track is happy-slapping around on a decent mid-tempo as
well, but after the beat drops there's too much erratic stuff going on in the stereo-image for my taste,
nor does it really seem to go anywhere before it suddenly breaks off. But perhaps that was the
point and I just don't get it.
    Not familiar with the work of Wesenberg, still "Fink" has an occasional low end growl to it that
manages to keep the playful breathing of envelope release interesting. The bit that seems to be the
part where the climax comes in is a bit underwhelming, then again the meandering nature of the
piece does give it a improvy touch, which might be engaging if that is your thing. Up next are two
Mortaja tracks which are straight up EBM, with samples rather than vocals, which yes, will flash you
right back the 90s. Some techno elements, proper upfront production; so nothing new, but all good.
The other track is a remix by Spherical Disrupted which takes the whole thing down a couple of
notches. I don't know the original so it's hard to compare the two, but you'll find a lot of space in this
one and an addictive loop that is somewhat overshadowed by the rest. If you're a fan of either act,
do check it out. This segues nicely into another track by Spherical Disrupted. It's a dense ambient -
or rather 'illbient', if that's still a thing - track that consists of a phased two-chord loop upon which the
rest of track is built. The structure of it is far too linear for me, but there are bound to be people who
are into that. Deep and desolate Darkrad isn't frugal with the amount of the effects, but then that is
very much the sound that she goes for. Again, it leave us staring into the abyss at the dead of night;
definitely a great track. Alarmen manages to surprise with modelled mallet timbres in one swirling
melodic progression from an ambient tapestry towards finally landing the whole thing on a basic
rhythmic frame which serves as the climax of the track. Mandelbrot delivers a four part track that
shapeshifts from space age noise, via post-industrial and metallic overtone drones to ambient acid.
Just lovely. I'll say this: there's a nice track progression on this one compared to samplers where it's
just the one random thing after the other. In that sense it did kind of work together as an album, with
some stretching of the concept there. (PJN)
––– Address: http://www.audiophob.de



PATERAS/BAXTER/BROWN - BERN/MELBOURNE/MILAN (2CD by Immediata)
ANTHONY PATERAS - COLLECTED WORKS VOL. II (2005-2008) (5CD by Immediata)

Sad to say it, but these two are the final releases by the Immediata series, a label run by Anthony
Pateras. Not just a label to release a CD with great music, but each of the releases came with an
extensive booklet, in which (one of them) performing musician(s) gets a lot of space to explain or
discuss the music at hand; through personal memories but also through philosophical notes about
such notions as 'what is music', 'what is composition' and 'what is improvisation'. All of these topics
are touched upon by Sean Baxter, who discusses the four live recordings on the double CD from
the trio of himself on drums, David Brown on prepared guitar and Anthony Pateras on prepared
guitar. His story follows the development of the trio from when they started out in 2002 up to the
present day. The first disc has seven pieces from two concerts and the second disc has five pieces
from two concerts; although the first two are recorded during the trio's very first rehearsal in 2002,
so maybe not great a concert recording ('when is a concert a concert?', a topic that I didn't see
covered yet). I remember their first release, 'Ataxia', in 2004 and declaring it later on as one of the
best discs of that year (see Vital Weekly 427); later releases were also great but never beat the
surprise of the first one. Three of the four recordings are from a period when they were really active
(and yet I somehow missed out on seeing them live, ever) and then there is a recording from 2017,
after a period when they didn't play together for six years. It is with this recording that the double CD
starts and over the years they seemed to have become a bit more 'mellow' in their improvisations.
Before it was all spikey and edgy, with a lot of cracking sounds, a very vibrant mood. Now it seems
less edgy but the still keep their vibrancy, which is great. The instruments can be recognized in
their original form and yet it also sounds distinctly different. With all the preparations going on they
occasionally (or perhaps; a lot!) sound like a percussion trio. Especially on their earliest pieces,
they have that harshness in their music that I liked so much. They play very hectically, partly even
noise based free improvisation, with many sounds tumbling over each other and in their 2002
recording it sounds very acoustic, very dry, very direct, which added a great quality to the music.
The space in which the music is recorded plays no role here, unlike in the Milan, which follows; a
big space in which the sounds can resonate around easily, adding new colours to the already
lively music. Excellent stuff!
    The other release is the second volume of 'Collected Works', following the first one from 2012
(see Vital Weekly 831). This time he focuses per disc on pieces that belong together. There are
two discs of solo instruments (usually played by others, but not exclusively), two discs of
'improvising ensembles' and one disc with three pieces for trios (although one is a saxophone trio
with Pateras as the fourth person on electronics). For each of the pieces Pateras wrote a few notes,
sometimes from memory, sometimes considerations beforehand, or what happened during the
recordings. There is a wealth of great pieces to hear on these discs. There is, for instance, quite
some difference between both of the improvising ensemble discs. On the first disc, the two pieces
offer a wealth of minimalist movements, small microscopic changes and slow development,
whereas on the second disc there is more a modern classical approach, certainly in the longer
pieces performed by Australian Art Orchestra and Le Grand Orchestre de Muzzix with their grand
gestures. Twitch performs five shorter pieces that are to be found in the realm of electro-acoustic
improvisation. Also, the 'solo & electronics' pieces have quite a bit of different approaches.
Sometimes the electronics seem hardly present, such as in 'A Happy Sacrifice' (the other
instrument being the contrabass), which could have been for a bigger number of strings, but when
it comes to piccolo and electronics in 'Burning Is The Thing' it surely does and reaches from some
extreme frequencies, as well as in 'Rules Of Extraction'. 'Down To Dust' is a beautiful piece for cello
and electronics, one of the highlights here. There is one piece that features Pateras solo, and that
is 'The Sound Sings The Speed' in which he plays prepared piano and EMS VCS3. Another
highlight is a duet of Pateras on the Doepfer A-100 and Vanessa Tomlinson on the tam tam. Disc
three in the middle then has three pieces for trios, including five parts of 'Early Warning System', for
crotales and vibraphone, which is a great minimalist piece, moving from high-end to the more low
end of the sound spectrum is a beautiful way. The other two pieces seem to be more improvised
(but who knows? It might be that all of these pieces are composed; the booklet suggests that), and
belong to my least favourites of this disc. The saxophone trio was just not my 'thing', I guess. 
Otherwise, I thought this was a great release. Question: who will release his third set of five discs
of collected works? (FdW)
––– Address: http://metamkine.com



CELER - XIEXIE (2CD by Two Acorns)

'Xiexie' is a Chinese word meaning 'thank you, thanks'. When Will Long went to China he bought
a dictionary but in the end, only used this word. These two CDs reflect something of that trip to
China, using four field recordings as starting points. So the first CD opens with some street sounds
and people talking but then slowly, over the course of two minutes moves from fading out these
street sounds and the drones then move in and slowly, as ever with Celer, transform from one thing
to the next. Music that is like cascading waves breaking on the beach, but all in slow motion. In
'Rains Lit By noon' (disc one, second track) there is a pleasant mild distortion to be noticed but the
piece ends near silence before going into 'In The Middle Of The Moving Field', which the kind of
Celer you know best, flowing beautifully and right at the end the next field recordings come in and
that's only a brief fragment of a train at 303 Km/h (you could have fooled me) and two more lengthy
drone pieces. Throughout it seemed to me that the pieces on the second disc were a bit more
'distorted'; you have to count in that in the quiet world of Celer anything 'less quiet' may count as a
bit distortion. There is of course not really 'noise' on this record, far from it; it just is a little something
different, and occasionally at that, that is going on here, such as in the closing track 'Our Dream To
Be Strangers'. That makes that this Celer is a bit different from many of his other works, and while
not a radical break with the old 'Celer', for me at least quite a surprise. Also available on 2LP! (FdW)
––– Address: http://celer.jp



DAN MELCHIOR & SIGTRYGGUR BERG SIGMARSSON - COD WAR KIDS (CD by Some)

This is the second collaboration of Sigmarsson and Melchior, following their 'Dark Arc' LP, reviewed
in Vital Weekly 1146. I still have not much idea who Dan Melchior is, other than a guitarist. If there is
a lot of guitars here is hard to say. Surely in a short piece like 'Wyno Ryder Forever' yes, but overall?
I am not so convinced; it is not so important either, I would think, and both gentlemen do whatever
they want to do, using whatever apparatus (hard and software, instruments, sounds etc.), they find
suitable and do a great job, once again, in creating some beautiful weird music. This is music that
is sort of genre-defying. There are some great creepy bits, playing on an organ, in 'Blind Curtains
& Curious Eyes', along with singing/humming/sighing/screaming, there are field recordings of a
rather hard to define nature, there is surely some heavily obscured laptop doodling going (like on
Sigmarsson's previous solo release, see Vital Weekly 1169) but there is also the aforementioned
guitar piece, which complete with vocals (no words) and rhythm is almost like a proper song. I am
strongly reminded here of Nurse With Wound, but perhaps that is something that can be said of all
the six pieces here. These two gentlemen share the eclecticism of the nurses; it is any music that
you care to make, thrown together and it still sounds pretty coherent. The overall quality of the
pieces is a bit dark, I thought, especially in their use of voices, which is the sort of unearthly
humming; a drunken monk or a Middle-earth creature? Your guess is as good as mine. Sounds
are provided by Helgi Porsson ('spooky synth sounds') and Frans de Waard (oh) and Tom Smith
("additional sounds"; I wish I could say what it is; I should know, don't you think?) and it's a great
release (not because of those additional sounds; I was at conclusion before I reached the track in
which they are used). It is experimental, dark, funny and solid. The fun is mainly in their strange
titles (another NWW influence?), such as 'This Is The Scene Where Siggy And Dan Receive Their
Prophecies From The Witches". This is an excellent place to start exploring the sound world of
Sigmarsson and from there go to his solo work. (FdW)
--- Address: <stilluppsteypa@gmail.com>



VIDNA OBMANA - SOUNDTRACK FOR THE AQUARIUM (CD by Zoharum)
DREN - TIME & FORM (CD by Zoharum)

Dirk Serries, the man behind Vidna Obmana (and Fear Falls Burning), is a lucky man. His Vidna
Obmana project is put into a deep sleep but is kept alive at the same time via a string of re-issues,
mostly on the Polish Zoharum label. With the vast catalogue he has from that moniker (which ran
from 1986 to 2017, give or take) and much of his older work is unavailable (I didn't check Discogs
for availability!) and labels long gone. It seems I never reviewed the first version of the ‘Soundtrack
For The Aquarium’, not in the weekly online version, of the Vital-as-fanzine version (1986-1995). I
am pretty sure I heard it as a worker in various record shop-like constellations. The music was
composed for the Antwerp Zoo, in particular, the aquarium, and a similar commission went to the
(also) Belgium Hybryds, whose work was re-issued ages ago (Vital Weekly 818). Theirs was a
slightly more rhythmical affair, but Vidna Obmana keeps it closer to his interests of long-form
ambient sounds, played using "electronics, loops, tapes, flute, rain sticks and voice" and, no
doubt, quite a bit of effects (although perhaps that is already covered with the "electronics' bit).
Reverb and delay, pitch shifting and such like play an important role in the music, along with the
dripping of water; I was thinking that if it's played in an aquarium why would you want to add more
water sounds? There are surely enough drips in such a place? There are seven pieces here, in
total some seventy minutes of music and Vidna Obmana here is in great form. The ambient music
still has quite an experimental edge, but at the same time is also very spacious to let yourself go on
a long drift away. I am not sure I would say this is an essential album, but it is surely one of his
better releases and it gives you a fine idea of how Vidna Obmana sounded in the early '90s.
    Dren is a new duo from Tri-City (apparently a city in Poland) and 'Time & Form' was recorded
shortly after Natt and Akton started Dren early 2018. Zoharum has faith in this as it is available on
CD and LP and I can see why it would appeal a wider audience. First of all the music is dark, with
lots of dark synthesizers being wielded, but it comes with quite a bit of rhythm. These rhythms are
inspired by Pan Sonic most of the times, but also by drum 'n bass in 'Vermillion' or military
marching in 'Shadow Of The Sun'. That is something people would surely like. Dren also has an
all-out ambient piece in the form of 'Form (Way Of Perdition)'. Throughout the music leans towards
the industrial end of things, with much of this being quite loud and vicious; even in the quieter
moments. It is all quite varied, which is good, I guess. I can imagine that in concert there is
something to alternate with. It also means that the CD is perhaps a bit out of balance like Dren
doesn't know yet which way to go. Time will surely tell. This is quite a promising start. (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.zoharum.com



BRIAN HARNETTY - SHAWNEE, OHIO (CD by Karlrecords)

a small village in the Appalachian, that is Shawnee, Ohio and its where the ancestors of Brian
Harnetty settled in the late 19th century. He doesn't live there anymore, but since 2010 he went
back a lot to sift through archives, talk to people and investigate the history of the town. He found
a box of cassettes from the 1980s of people, now probably gone, talking about the past, a boy
interviewing his grandmother, recordings of people gathering, but also murder songs and a song
about fracking, which is where the town makes it's money these days. Harnetty set this to music
while playing the piano and receiving help from people on flute, saxophone, bass clarinet, banjo,
violin and cello; the latter being played by Paul de Jong, formerly of The Books, and the only name
I recognized. Everything is documented in the booklet in this package and makes it a fine and
thoroughly piece of anthropology as well as a disc of some interesting music. Music and text/field
recordings/archival recordings surely fit very well together. Harnetty stays close to home with his
musical interpretations. At least, that's what I think, as I am not really an anthropologist when it
comes to musical traditions in the USA from, say, 1800 onwards until now; what is typical
Appalachian music? And to what extent this is not, really? Those are questions I can't answer, of
course, based on the near-absent knowledge I have of this music. It all sounds quite intimate like
we're sitting in a barn and in one corner there is small ensemble playing sparse music, while in
another corner there is a conversation going, or a talk, or such like and you can easily listen to
both at the same time. You can also decide to close your eyes and listen to the voices as a
supplement to the music. For me, that is also something that worked very well. At the same time, I
would think that the music is perhaps also a little outside of our normal musical digest. (FdW)
––– Address: http://karlrecords.bandcamp.com



EBAUCHE - FORMIC SYNTAX (LP/CD by Supple 9)

This is the fourth album by Alex Leonard, originally from Ireland but based in Berlin. His first album
was released in 2005, and before that, he had classical and vocal training in the 90s. He also does
film soundtracks, gathers field recordings and plays concerts. The six pieces on 'Formic Syntax' are
quite a varied batch. I could even easily believe if someone said it was a compilation record. There
are some extensive liner notes on the backside of the cover, telling the story of how he released a
cassette on Cosmic Winnetou (the label run by Günter Schlienz) and that he liked those pieces
very much that he decided to release the material on LP, CD and digital as well. Ebauche uses
much granular synthesis on this record and I would think it is richly filled with field recordings that
he collected over the years. It works out into various things; from deep and mysterious ambient
colours in 'Das Schweigen Auf Der Bernhard-Lichtenberg-Straße', to the apparent chaos of 'A
Bipolar Retraction' (living up to its name I guess) or the short 'Unmeshing Cinematic Realism',
with it's rhythm being granulated around in a more electro-acoustic music fashion (fusion?).
'Alcovic Arch' on the other hand has a straight forward rhythm, dark and unsettling and reminding
me of Clock DVA (perhaps because I was playing some of that the other day). As you see, the
album bounces over the place, and you could wonder if not too much variety but overall, I think,
it is all pretty worthwhile. It works rather well, like a colourful journey going from place to place
and each new place is a unique one. In all, this is a great record. (FdW)
––– Address: https://supple9.com/



HANNES LINGENS – PIECES FOR PERCUSSION (LP by Umlaut Records)

Recently we met Hannes Lingens here as a member of  Die Hochstapler, one of the outfits that
are part of the Umlaut collective. Lingens operates in the field of contemporary and experimental
music as a drummer and accordionist. He worked with improvisers like Tetuzi Akiyama, Olaf Rupp
and collaborated with several composers (Philip Corner, Chiyoko Slavniczs, a.o.). Under his own
Lingens released ‘Four Pieces for Quintet’ in 2013, and now he returns with a new solo effort: 
‘Pieces for Percussion’. The material on this percussion album was composed and recorded over
a period of six years. The album consists of eight compositions. Three of them were written for two
players, two other ones for four players. In these cases, overdubs were used, as we have Lingens
doing it all by himself here. Lingens worked with strict limitations. For each composition, he uses
only one percussion instrument. The works differ very much structure, but all they underline sound
aspects are important for Lingens. The album opens with ‘Cymbal I’, which is recorded with
extremely close microphones, catching every detail. The same is the case for ‘Cymbal II’. By
zooming in this way one better hears the fullness and richness of the sound of this instrument.
‘Arhythmic Perfection’ (great title)  is the only work, together with its reprise, that plays with rhythm.
They function as friendly miniatures that make a strong contrast with for example ‘Etwas Runder
IV’ that is built from heavy cyclic drones. ‘Four Cymbals’, the most lengthy piece (15 minutes) is
an intriguing multi-layered soundscape. And the closing piece ‘Early Spring’ is built from
environmental sounds of birds and children playing outdoors, with embedded sparse percussion
part of the environment. In all a very interesting work with Lingens succeeding in evoking immense
worlds and atmospheres from a very strict and limited concept. (DM)
––– Address: http://www.umlautrecords.com/



DANIELE PECORELLI/MARK SCHAUB - & (split LP by Anomala Soundscapes)

This is a very limited release of just 100 copies and both the label and artists are new to me, but
then a quick search learned that Mark Schaub is one Marco Ramasotto and that he is also
responsible for the two releases by Maath that were reviewed in Vital Weekly 1176. This is a more
recent work. It is announced as “a blind date in a split album. The & project was designed to be
released on vinyl from its very beginning. The work of both musicians is presented on each side
separately, neither of them has heard the work of the other until the final release." I am not sure
what the added value of that is, other than two musicians being asked for a piece without the other
knowing what is produced. Both pieces fall neatly in the category of ambient glitch music, but with
minor differences. Recordings of instruments were taken apart by the digital joys of the computer
and re-assembled later on, complete with whatever the processing added to the recordings; a bit
of glitch, hiss, distortion and so on, but at the same time we can still recognize much of the original
input of string sounds, synthesizers and perhaps field recordings. Pecorelli's music is the warmer
of the two and Schaub relies more on the digital, colder processed sounds. I can imagine that he
uses a bit more field recordings (birds, frogs, insects? Who knows) and over the course of these
almost thirteen minutes, he creates a fine, harsher computer processed piece of ambient with
these. Pecorelli's piece is more complex and moves through stages. It has overall a warmer tone
of sad, melancholic colour, with a soaring organ bit in the middle. Quite a lovely record, this one;
not much of a surprise when it comes to new music, but overall with two fine longer pieces. For
Maath surely a break from the two previous CDs I heard from them. (FdW)
––– Address: https://anomalasoundscapes.com/



CIRO BERENGUER - EL MAR DE JUNIO (CDR by Eilean Rec.)
ANDREW TASSELMYER - SURFACE TEXTURES (CDR by Eilean Rec.)

Eilean Recs has a rather neat structure that ties their prolific catalogue together: each album on
the label is numbered according to locations on a map. The map has 100 marked locations, so
Eilean Rec (which is curated by the French artist Mathias van Eecloo, aka Monolyth & Cobalt) will
produce exactly 100 albums and then stop. While you might think 100 is an ambitious number, but
even though the label began in 2014, it’s already up to releases 88 and 89. The aesthetic is rather
specific and easily recognizable: for the most part, van Eecloo chooses albums of tranquil ambient
music. The design of each album gives a clear idea of the music contained within: sober and simple
with Earth-toned images of sunrises, trees, overcast skies, clouds. These albums, the label’s 88th
and 89th so far, are composed of different materials but strike a similar tone: placid, nearly
weightless ambient lull.
    Ciro Berenguer is a guitarist from Argentina, currently living and working in Barcelona. “El Mar
de Junio” contains nine hushed songs that trace soft lines around loose, languid melodies. It’s not
quite a drone, more like gentle textures that rise and fall at a uniform pace and density. There are
no sharp edges or rough patches; at its core, the sound is effortlessly lovely and rather conducive
to daydreaming. I’m reminded very much of the work of Federico Durand or Chihei Hatakeyama,
with music-box-like songs peeking out from behind wisps of electronic processing, slight harmonic
ripples, digital bleeps, babies cooing and birds chirping. “El Mar de Junio” is nothing if not pleasant,
occasionally bordering on twee… you’ll know right away if this sort of sound lowers your pulse rate
or drives you up to a tree.
     American artist Andrew Tasselmyer builds his “Surface Textures” album out of environmental
recordings made in several continents, but the tone of his album is very similar to Berenguer’s.
”Surface Textures” does have some sonic tricks up its sleeve, making it somewhat more engaging
as an active listening experience than Berenguer’s background ambience. It’s still primarily
ambient music, though: Tasselmyer’s source sounds seem to have been ocean waves, distant
voices, birdsong… along the same lines as what you might hear in music by similar artists. He also
brings in overheard conversation and mysterious movements, but everything seems to drown in
worn tape and reverb. Each song floats by at a similar pace, no individual sound disturbing the
overall serene bliss. (HS)
––– Address: https://eileanrec.bandcamp.com/



JON UNGER - MEMORY INDICATOR (3"CDR by Taalem)
FLAVIEN GILLIE - RITUELS DOMESTIQUES (3"CDR by Taalem)
A.F. JONES - FOR ESCHRICHTIIDAE (OMNIANA) (3"CDR by Taalem)

The name Jon Unger only came up when I reviewed a cassette by Woodbender, the duo he has
with Martijn Pieck (see Vital Weekly 1077), or is mentioned when Pieck has new (solo) release
out. Pieck is more active to solo releases than Unger, who 'Memory indicator', is his first solo
release. With Woodbender I had no idea who did what, but here it is mentioned that Unger plays
guitar, pedals, electronica and field recordings. He has two pieces to offer here and in both of
these, the concept of darkness plays a big role. The guitar is put to great use here in shaping
these two drone pieces. Field recordings might be in use here but are hard to recognize anymore.
The guitar is, no doubt I'd say, played with an Ebow and the sound is looped around and all
played together at the same time., In 'No Dominion' the guitar strumming is somewhat easily
recognized at the beginning but in 'Hum' (effective title!) it's all long cascading waves on a cloudy
night. The first piece ends with a loud noise that takes about two minutes but luckily that is not
repeated at the end of the second one. This is some good, solid drone music. Nothing spectacular
or new, but rock solid.
    Apparently, Taalem released something by Flavien Gillé before, but that release never made it
to these pages. In fact the only I reviewed his music was in Vital Weekly 1038, which was a
 release by Unfathomless. Gillé hails from France, but lives in Belgium and has had also released
on Gruenrekorder. For the three pieces on 'Rituals Domestiques' he takes credit for 'drones, field
recording, editing and mix'. Not the singular of field recording, which I am not sure means that he
uses the same field recording on every piece, or perhaps that it is one per piece, all different. On
'Reaccordage' I believe to hear the water and cowbells, along with stringed sounds on a subtle
drone move. It is quite a fine and subtle piece. It is also the longest piece. The other two pieces
don't 'reveal' any of the original field recordings that went into it and are more monolithic affairs
of drone sounds. Of the three, the last one, 'Souen' is the darkest of the three and also the most
processed one. Here too we are dealing with some music that also not something you have not
heard before, but it does sound lovely.
    A.F. Jones is quite active, also within the realm of field recordings. He writes that this is the "the
first in a series called omniana and is presented on behalf of two grey whales that frequent the
Puget Sound and the Straits of Juan de Fuca" and to that end, he uses underwater recordings
from a ferry approaching and docking in Port Townsend (in Washington, USA). The piece is about
underwater noise pollution and how that affects marine life. Unlike the other two releases, this one
has very little to do with drone music and it is to be found at the more noisy end of the field
recording spectrum. There is the sound of the propeller, slowing down, stopping and then starting
again. There is also the sound of water and motor sounds and despite the fact that is noise
pollution, it is also the noise that sounds very good. It ends with the deep bass sound of water
and motor sounds with the occasional bump at the shore. This is a great piece of music. I have
no idea to what extent Jones used any editing or processing if any at all of course, but this is a
truly fascinating release. (FdW)
––– Address: https://taalem.bandcamp.com/



CONTINUOUS DUTY ZONE - DEATH OF THE MACHINE (CDR by T81 Records)
CONTINUOUS DUTY ZONE - MONITORING (CDR by T81 Records)
EGBERT VAN DER VLIET - CEL (cassette by Rotzooi Tapes)
KLINIKUM -DIA OF GREEN MOUNTAINS (cassette by AlienPlace 2019)

In the last weeks, I have been a lot in contact with Egbert van der Vliet, after a hiatus of many
years. In the very late 80s, early 90s I started to lose interest in cassettes and he, being a bit
younger, just started his cassette label, Interrupt Product, releasing three long compilations
cassettes and three cassettes from luminaries of the Dutch industrial music scene. After that, he
went into 'hibernation' and now returned. I received various of his works, and I have no idea if
any of this is for sale (still/if at all), most of this seems to have vanished again, but the Klinikum
cassette is surely still online. All of this is very much 'work in progress', before settling upon
names I have no clear picture of how Van Der Vliet works with sound, but I would think he
records everyday acoustic objects and after he sprinkles some sound effects on top of that,
creating effective short loops, going into distortion and feedback modus. On both of the
Continuous Duty Zone tapes this is the case, with 'Monitoring' being a fourteen-minute piece
and on 'Death Of The Machine' we have three short blasts, in total eleven minutes of music,
which is all just a bit too short.
    On the very short-lived Rotzooi ("trash") Tapes there was a one-sided C90 cassette, called
'Cel', which might be a prison cell or a blood cell. On the side with the sticker was no music and
on the b-side the music. Not sure if that was a small error or a conceptual thing. The music takes
also, perhaps, a more conceptual approach of sounds being stretched and looped but there is a
multitude of loops being spun around, perhaps using a freeware editor, and the whole thing has a
nice ring to it; the industrial version of ambient music or the ambient re-creation of what happens
in a factory? A bit of both I'd say.
    As Klinikum Van Der Vliet has now three cassettes so perhaps this is a name that will stay? I got
the 'Dia Of Green Mountains', which has eight pieces, and lasts about forty minutes. This is the
product of quick maturing quality. Whereas the three previous releases all seemed to be the
product of quickly realizing an idea, here Van Der Vliet works with various sounds, drums, effects,
processed voices and sounds from objects (such as the paint-brush; he's also quite a gifted painter
and I'm not saying because one of them graces my living room) and creates pieces with these
materials that actually constitutes as fully formed pieces (or songs; I have no idea what Van Der
Vliet prefers), with sounds coming and going, additional bits that lasts for only a part of the piece
and throughout quite far away from the world of industrial noise. It is at times, via the use of
sampling of radio/TV/vinyl, even to be called melodic. This tape certainly holds quite a promise
for the future! (FdW)
––– Address: https://egbertvandervliet.bandcamp.com/



EDWARD SOL - TEEN SHARP (cassette by Village Tapes)
ALTAR OF FLIES & EDWARD SOL (split cassette by Sentiment)

Here we have two further releases by Edward Sol. He writes to me that the solo EP "'Teen Sharp' is
a female 'inner' body music, lots of body sounds, contact microphones etc.", which on the cover are
called 'tapes, loops, field recordings, cassettes, electronics etc. I have not much idea about 'inner'
body music, but it sounds creepy, certainly with the depicted female nudity on the cover. Perhaps it
is all tongue in cheek? (What sound is that?). Sol here continues the explorations we know from
him so well; carefully he places sounds together, which may not have much relation at all, but in
this collage form certainly makes quite a bit of sense. Music, one could say, with a strong filmic
character. This is all quite lo-fi in approach, which means sounds recorded on cassette and
Dictaphones, cheap synthesizers and other means of production that aren't too expensive. Sol
avoids the world of drones and it is all quite a collage-like approach. The 'inner' body music or
sounds from the body was something I didn't quite grasp from hearing all of this, but all in all, this
is another fine work by this Ukrainian composer.
    The other tape is a split of Edward Sol with Altar Of Flies, the project of Mathias Gustafsson,
who we know better these days from work carried out under his real name (Vital Weekly 1173
and 1070). In 2016 he was on tour with The Skull Defekts and armed with a reel-to-reel, tape
recorders, equalizer, oscillator, field recordings and contact microphone he plays some intense
electronic music. Recorded with a microphone on 7/4/2016 in Göteborg, we experience some
rather dark tones being produced via slowed down the tape and looped around, so it seems.
You could imagine the sound of a rowing boat, perhaps, taped on a rusty cassette, with some
other highly obscured sounds to go along. It is a very fine piece of music that needs to be heard
with considerable volume, I think. Edward Sol's piece is called 'Silence Is Not The Gift' and is
basically a montage of various concerts, spanning a total length of fifty minutes. It is interesting to
hear this, right after 'Teen Sharp', which had quite a collage-like approach but with much shorter
pieces and throughout not as many drones. In a live situation, apparently (I never saw him play a
concert), he goes for a more drone-like approach, curious enough and there is a lot less 'other'
sounds in here, or they exist in the background. It sounds like one solid concert, going through
various motions, and it is hard to say how many concert excerpts have been used, yet it is a most
enjoyable supplement to the Edward Sol we heard in recent times. Much darker and it is also a
more monolithic approach that he is going here for. I'd say that putting up the volume is a
requirement here. (FdW)
––– Address: https://www.facebook.com/villagetapes/
––– Address: https://www.facebook.com/sentimentalproduction



UNIVERSALFILTER - MYSTERIOUS ISLAND (cassette by Endtitles)

Here's something I can be brief about, as I don't think it is something for Vital Weekly. This trio of
Tim, Biggles and Kid Schurke hail from Switzerland and play pop music; perhaps a little bit on the
alternative side of things, but vocals, guitar and piano play an important role here (all by Biggles),
with Tim on steel drum, volca beat and monochord and Schurke on monotribe. All of the songs deal
with Jules Verne and the current state of the USA. The music is very melodic and somewhat
introspective and melancholic, even when the drum machine occasionally is a bit more techno. In
most tracks, there is some sort of radio voice to be heard, the narrative aspect of the music. I
thought it was all quite good, but in all honesty, I have not much idea to write about it. Pop music is
just not very much our 'thing'. Maybe it's yours and in that case: do check this out. It is certainly
worthwhile, intelligent modern alternative pop music. (FdW)
––– Address: http://universalfilter.org/






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