number 1195
week 33


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!

Vital Weekly in the summer of 2019:

1196: 27 August

[ISM] – METAPHOR (CD by Umlaut Records)
 Records) *
 Eyesore) *
DAN ARMSTRONG - A LONG TIME COMING (CD by Reflection Records) *
MASSIMO TONIUTTI - CAVA XI.XI.86 (CD by Ferns Recordings) *
 Records) *
GIUSEPPE FALIVENE - VISIONS (cassette by Cloudchamber) *
GIOVANNI LAMI - RAW (cassette by Cloudchamber) *
AUDIO OBSCURA - OBSIDIAN TIMELINES (cassette by Cloudchamber) *
KRUELECO - TERREUR A UNE ETOILE (cassette by Stupro Rituale)
JACKEN ELSWYTH/ALULA DOWN (split cassette by Betwixt & Between)
  KNUST 1983-2019 (book by Uitgeverij Vantilt)
TOWNER (CDR/cassette by Crush Grove Records)

While I am playing this new CD by Edward Ka-spel, one of the two leading men behind The
Legendary Pink Dots, I am thinking about a few things, all of them that have to do with The
Legendary Pink Dots and Ka-spel. How many different albums by both have I heard since I first
ever discovered the band, back in 1983 (I believe)? About how many different albums did I write?
I could easily draw up a top ten of my favourite albums, but perhaps that would be a longer list.
Stuff that I no longer recall, but does it matter? Also; how often did I see them in concert? Surely,
there are dots fans out there who would love at my twenty or so concerts, but that's not the point
of course. Over time, the catalogue of the Pink Dots and Edward Ka-spel solo (The Silverman's
solo releases are sparser) releases expand and expand. It is not easy to point out all the small
differences between all of these. For example, in recent years I thought that Ka-spel's solo work
slowly developed towards an abstract painting in sound, expansive, spun out, a story if you will,
poetry set to music, and that the mother ship, the band, was the place for a more pop music
(excuse le mot; I mean it in a most wide sense of the word, including all highly alternative
forms) approach to electronics. But then the Pink Dots did a most experimental record, '8118'
(Vital Weekly 1147), which was all instrumental and wildly experimental; roles reversed. Now
there is 'The Moon Cracked Over Albion', a new solo album by Edward Ka-spel, which he
worked on for the last year or so. And much to my pleasant surprise, we find Ka-spel here with
something different than some of the recent solo releases. Right from the opening start, 'Safe
Landing', you know he returned to the world of rhythms, tunes, melodies or whatever you call
this. There always has been a thin line, as I just noted, between what constitutes as Edward
Ka-spel solo and The Legendary Pink Dots. Well, I give you this: in this solo work we find very
little use of guitars, which in the Dots come courtesy of Erik Drost. Otherwise, this could have
been a Pink Dots release. Edward Ka-spel sounds refreshed, reborn even, and with new
vibrancy plays these songs. As ever, with all music that has lyrics, I have very little idea what
these are about, no doubt about the current deplorable state of the world, but then packed in
more poetic words and some great music. It even links to minimal techno, such as in the opening
of 'Sacred Cow', yet it all stays dark and atmospheric, with 'God & Rainbow' being the darkest of
those moments. This is an excellent CD. And then the new Legendary Pink Dots record should
be out soon. I'm very curious about how that will work if this one is already this great. (FdW)
––– Address:

Hold on. 'Radioland'? Was there not a review before? Yes, sure, in Vital Weekly 629. I wrote back
then: "It's been a while since we last heard something new by Stephan Mathieu solo. Maybe 'The
Sad Mac' was the last one? I honestly don't recall. But, of course, things haven't been quiet for him.
In the recent years, he toured quite a bit with his 'Radioland' work. Here he plays with real-time
processed shortwave signals. Picking up from a simple receiver, feeding it into his self-built max-
MSP patches and transforming the signals into what is best described as 'Mathieu music'. Stephan
Mathieu, whom I like to regard as one of the true masters of ambient glitch music, produces music
here that is once again of absolute great beauty and expands beyond the 'softer' side of ambient
music and goes into a bit louder area, working with overtones created through multi-layering of
such sounds. However, don't expect this to be harsh music or static music. Mathieu knows how to
move stuff around, finding small details in the music, amplifying them, lifting them out of the music
and giving them life on their own. The minimalism of the godfathers of this kind of music (LaMonte
Young, Palestine and Niblock) resonates through the computerized (but oh so warm!) version of
Mathieu. What a great CD! And what a lovely package. A continuing peak in quality."
   These days, Stephan Mathieu is less "on the road" and has set up his mastering shop and part
of that is, I guess, also re-mastering his back catalogue. Some of these appear online only, others
are granted a release on a CD and even receive bonus material. In this case, it is 'Ken', which is
exactly fifty minutes long, taking the ideas of the shorter pieces from the original and expand them
into what sounds like a carefully treated recording of a church organ, growing into an amorphous
mass of angelic hiss, should such a thing even exist. It works through several mutations and never
rests, never stops, always on the run, growing and mutating further. If there were a two-hour version
it would still be changing. In that respect, Mathieu could be taking the route of Brian Eno and
release apps that self-generate such mutations. Maybe he already is exploring that. Can't wait for
that to happen one day. (FdW)
––– Address:


As everyone knows by now, I am the world’s foremost authority on Frans de Waard Record
Reviews. Do you think you’ve written more Frans de Waard record reviews than I have? You are
incorrect. Go ahead, count all the Frans de Waard record reviews that you’ve ever written and tell
me how many there are. Oh, is that all? I’ve written more. You cannot win. Looking at my recent
contributions to the subgenre of music journalism of which I am the indisputable champion, I notice
that my critical expertise is most frequently turned towards de Waard’s solo albums as Modelbau
and Quest/QST. However, as the Reigning King of Frans de Waard Reviews that we all agree I
am, I happen to know that the (unofficial) Mayor of Nijmegen thrives on collaborations. This latest
pair of albums show off his versatility with two very different, yet equally excellent, pieces of
electronic music made with the cooperation of two very different composers.
    It’s amazing to think that “Oordeel” is the first album-length album that de Waard and veteran
German composer Asmus Tietchens have done as a duo. Both are prolific and enthusiastic
collaborators, so it seems natural that they’d come together at some point. Both gents share a
disinclination to explain themselves, preferring to follow their musical instincts wherever they lead
and to let an image or a title stand as the only signpost to guide listeners. The way that  the title
“Oordeel” is pronounced in English, the word describes something difficult to endure; a protracted
unpleasant or traumatic experience. The Dutch word, however, means “judgement”. I suspect that
neither interpretation is intended to frame this music literally, and that the title was more likely
selected for it’s aesthetic appeal. I could be wrong, but then again I’m the greatest reviewer of
Frans de Waard records on the planet, so… let’s just assume I’m right, okay? Indeed, this music is
not in any way an ordeal to sit through, nor does it seem to be judging anything. The album’s
sequence of short, discrete pieces offers no clues as to a concept or even compositional strategy,
and yet it sounds very specific. Every piece seems to be created from similar materials united by a
background ambience of incorporeal breath, which makes it hang together as a single idea.
There’s a cool hermetic quality to all eleven vignettes, each one offering sharp clicks and carefully
sculpted hums that skip lightly over a surface haze. I’m reminded of smooth 1970s plastic,
mercilessly austere and yet vaguely sinister in its indifference. Only one piece breaks up the set:
“VII” temporarily shatters the reverie with a buzzing whine of dial-up modems and hostile radio
static. Once “Oordeel” gets that out of its system, though, it returns to the holodeck and stares out
at the cosmos for awhile.
    After absorbing the white-walled alien restraint of “Oordeel”, the double-cassette “Sibilants
Repertoire” album seems positively epic. Edward Sol (né Solomykin), as anyone familiar with his
solo work knows, is more interested in oblique drama and implied narrative than Tietchens’ prickly
distance. This album is comprised of four side-long episodes that each has a distinct story to tell.
“Starter” (a pretty good title for the first track on an album!) sets things up with a hike through a forest
made of plastic combs. The wind whips through the manufactured branches, but something seems
to be hiding in the periphery just a few steps behind, whistling ominously. When the hiker spins
‘round to see the thing that’s been darting out of the corner of his eye, he sees that it’s only a pack
of feral pigs hoping to snatch some fallen some bread crusts. The second track, “Flat Music”, begins
with a hopeful hovering sunset that soon dissipates into dust. Out of the particles, flocks of hawks
and toy frogs arise and start arguing with each other about who got there first. Once the frogs beat
their war drums, the birds get the message and everyone agrees that perhaps they over-reacted
and ought to call it a day. The third side, “Counterfeit”, is all ominous implication and tightly-coiled
threat which slowly falls asleep and drifts toward dawn. The stately side four conclusion, “Global
Question”, follows a faraway Residential rhythm until it all melts down into placid piano and watery
hiss with a coda of twirling radio interference. “Sibilants Repertoire” comes in two versions: a
regular double-tape edition and a deluxe edition with a bonus CDR of session out takes
(unheard by me). (HS)
––– Address:
––– Address:

[ISM] – METAPHOR (CD by Umlaut Records)
[ISM] is a trio of Pat Thomas (piano), Joel Grip (double bass) and Antonin Gerbal (drums). The trio
debuted in 2015 with the release of their album ‘Nature in its Inscrutability Strikes Back’ for Umlaut
Records. Together with Seymour Wright, they had the quartet Ahmed, devoted to the work of
Ahmed Abdul-Malik, who played as a bassist with Blakey, Monk, among others. For their second
work as a trio, they choose a shorter title, ‘Metaphor’, recorded on one day in November 2018 in
Japan, and released again for Umlaut Records. The release contains two extensive improvisations
deeply embedded in the jazz tradition: ‘Cockscomb’ and ‘Marguerite’, named after two flowers.
Each one takes over 30 minutes. Pianist Thomas plays a prominent role. He's playing in the first
improvisation is more abstract, dissonant and full of unexpected moves and interruptions, whereas
the second improvisation passes by in a more harmonious flow, full of swing. Grip and Gerbal
prove very capable companions, interacting very stimulating from their positions with Thomas.
But is Thomas who turns the pages in these intensive, risk-taking excursions. Sophisticated
improvisations that are constantly transforming and flowering in many directions, played by three
high-level musicians! (DM)
––– Address:

Mesmer is Riccardo Morpurgo (piano), Giovani Maier (contrabass) and Pietro Ricci (drums,
percussion). This trio started in 2017 to honour the work of drummer and composer Paul Motian.
On this debut release, they present their interpretation of six compositions by him, plus one by
Charlie Haden (‘Blues in Motion’). Anyway, Motian was a jazz composer and drummer who
worked with Lennie Tristiano, George Russell, Carla Bley, Keith Jarrett, before he started to work
as a bandleader as well since the 70s. He died in 2011. I’m not familiar with Paul Motian’s work,
so I can’t make any comparison. No idea if they selected the most well-known compositions by
Motion or lesser-known ones. Nor can I tell you how they treat his compositions. I can only tell
about the impression it made on me. Maier is a reputed bassist from the Italian scene, active since
the 90s, who is on dozens of albums, often released on his own Palomar Records, as is the case
with this new release. What I can trace both about Rizzi and Morpurgo is that they are of a younger
generation. They make a very tight trio playing in a very lyric and poetic style, a very subtle and in
a laid-back way. They produce a kind of jazz that I’m not used listening to very often. But their
sensitive and concentrated playing is a joy. Very proportionate and to the point they gave these
old compositions a new and relevant life. Very well done! And I even really started to like it. (DM)
––– Address:

I’m going to assume that, if you’re reading this, you already know who these giants are. But just in
case you’ve lived in a cave without Wi-Fi for twenty years: Ashtray Navigations is the long-running
“band” name of the singular Phil Todd, a living goddamned treasure whose music from the early
90s all the way until today, a hundreds-strong catalogue that shows no sign of slowing down or
running on empty, is worth as much of your time as you can spare. Argentinian guitarist Alan
Courtis was a member of psych/rock/noise/drone/conceptual-art/??? band Reynols, but for more
than a decade he’s become a super-prolific serial collaborator. In fact, Courtis has worked with
such an impressively disparate group of musicians (a few examples to prove my point: Andy Bolus,
V/Vm, Masami Kawaguchi, Richard Francis, Ralf Wehowsky, Usurper, Tom Dimuzio, Alan Jones,
Pain Jerk, PBK… see what I mean?) that it’s nigh impossible to predict what his next recording
might sound like. And so we have “Protozoic Rock Express”, a Marvel Team-Up of molten drone
that is just as fabulously gooey as you want it to be.
           The credits state that it was recorded in both Leeds and Buenos Aires over a period of six
years, implying a long-distance and long-term collaboration, but you could’ve fooled me… if
instead, you’d told me it was recorded live in a cathedral somewhere, or as a single take in the
courtyard of a disused European castle, I’d believe it; or in a dark cavern below the surface of the
Earth (or perhaps on a Siberian Earth Curve). Todd and Courtis’ mind-meld is rather perfect.
However, the “rock” part of the title seems to have vanished under immense gravitational pressure
the players will into being, apparently taking the “express” part with it. This album is time-stoppingly
slow; it doesn’t “rock” so much as it establishes cranial space and commences delivering serious
delta waves. The first untitled track sets the tone with a thick layer of molasses. Some drums and
cymbals can be heard in the background, giving a faint hint of forwarding motion… but then the
music takes on raga-like inner-space-psychedelic moods that explode in thick clouds of narcotic
reverie. When the second track ended, I glanced up to see how much time had passed and was
shocked to find that the whole thing was just 11 minutes long. What? Not an hour and a half?! Ah,
but the last track is a 22-minute behemoth is immense beyond what came before it, volleys of
feedback sent above the clouds as every vacuum cleaner on the planet is switched on at the same
moment by the people below. In short, this is a monumental album, better than the sum of its (quite
excellent independently) parts. Never mind the inaccuracy of 2/3 of the title; this is not rock and it’s
the opposite of express… but “protozoic”? Sure. These 40+ minutes could be a re-enactment of the
music made before humans existed. (HS)
––– Address:

At first, I thought this was a joke: "My name's Dan Armstrong, and I've just been reading some
your reviews on the Vital Weekly page", the e-mail said. The joke being, for me that is, that I know
someone named Dan Armstrong for a long time and, while not appearing a lot in these pages, he
surely had his moment (Vital Weekly 804 or 486). He was also a member of the short-lived, much
fun band Vacuum Boys (Vital Weekly 326) and a great help for Vital Weekly when it came to being
a bit more professional with website and mailing; a friend of the family. So, those made me wonder
about the slightly formalistic intro there. Turns out, of course, this is a different Dan Armstrong; this
one is a keyboard player who worked as a programmer, producer and engineer for UB40, but also
"Darren Alboni (Ella Henderson), Gwen Dickey/Rose Royce)". The quotation marks as to indicate I
have no idea who these people are; I never got beyond the first UB40 album, which was way
before Armstrong worked with them. This is his first solo album, made from a long-time desire to
produce some 'ambient chill-out' music, as he calls it. The cover mentions a bunch of computers,
software and hardware (as far as I can judge matters like that) and he is surely capable of handling
these matters very well. Ambient exists in many forms; from the original Brian Eno 'Music For'
series, via nineties ambient house, to warm glitch music and lo-fi drones of the moment. Armstrong
has a love for the variation that was quite big in the mid-'90s, ambient house. Now, in case you
were not around then, or forgot, the ambient house scene of the '90s was not a very tight
movement, with one, more or less, defined sound. Don't let the word 'house' misguide you there; it
not always had to do with house music. Pick up Aphex Twin's 'Selected Ambient Works Volume 2'
from that period and you know what I mean. Armstrong has his many influences ("Future Sound of
London, Global Communication, Biosphere, Aphex Twin, Si Matthews, William Orbit, Speedy J,
Sabres of Paradise, Bill Laswell and Chicane"), and that shines through these eight pieces. There
is surely a bit of rhythm here and there, but it never develops into a pumping beat; lush pads, deep
drones, a thumb on a bass synth make up the core of the music, but also a sweet melody, a lighter
arpeggio tinkling neatly around all of this, all topped with a fine dash of reverb, to suggest space
and depth. Back in the day, I was a massive fan of this kind of music, and still have a fondness for
it, playing some early Biosphere or Pete Namlook. Dan Armstrong does a great job here; not
necessarily by adding something new to genre, far from it, I guess, but playing some of this kind of
music that is these days a lot less in rotation here, works like a time machine for me, a reminder of
being so much younger than I am today. Like time ticking away, as much as the clocks in 'Epsilon
Wave' here. Dan Armstrong does a fine job in controlling this time machine. It's time for a bit of
holiday after writing these reviews; Armstrong reminded which music to take with me. This and its
ancestors for sure. (FdW)
––– Address:

MASSIMO TONIUTTI - CAVA XI.XI.86 (CD by Ferns Recordings)
Several decades ago, when I was a young nerd, I remember reading a description of a 3”CD by
the Dutch group BMB Con in a Soleilmoon Records mail order catalogue. Paraphrasing from
memory, the text said something like: “Imagine the sound of the garbage truck driving by your
house, picking up your trash cans, and dumping them out on the street. Buy this and be glad that
we have a returns policy”. Impressionable 17-year-old me thought: challenge accepted! I bought
the thing and remain a BMB Con fan to this day. Perhaps you’re similarly inclined. I tell you this
now to prepare you for my review of this fine CD reissue of Massimo Toniutti’s self-released 1987
cassette: imagine, if you will, the garbage truck coming ‘round your street…
           Both Massimo and his brother Giancarlo are immensely (sometimes dauntingly) thoughtful
artists, responsible for radio plays, sound installations, and of course the Enrico Piva 5CD box set
they excavated earlier this year. This album seems to contain music in a pure form, no overarching
concept or extra-musical framing device or narrative. The bulk of it is a reissue of work from 1986.
Two contemporaneous pieces are added to the end. The first section of four pieces, “Gravi”, begins
with a maelstrom of metal percussion. Bins tipped over, clanging pipes and clangourous metal
ringing. The sound is deep and detailed, like a less feral “Changez Les Blockeurs”. Indeed, the list
of sound sources includes things you might find in your garage: metal ladders, clothes horse,
railings, metal cans, hacksaws, wrenches, drill bits and so on. As the side moves on, pieces dwell
less on hardware attack and more on texture. The sustained bowing of “Camera-Cava” reminds
me of the work of percussionists like Le Quan Ninh or Eddie Prevost, activating resonances and
allowing the chiming overtones to overlap in glutinous clouds. By the piece’s conclusion, we’re
back in the high-density territory, rapid acoustic thumps chasing each other around and knocking
over toolboxes.
           The second piece, “Le Ghiale”, was side 2 of the original cassette and takes up three tracks
on this CD. While occupying the same general sound world of non-traditional percussion, the
composition is more steadily paced and open. Comparisons to solo percussion music still hold…
while I know that the music was composed on a multi-track tape, one could imagine this as the
work of a single drummer moving slowly around a kit made of rubber bands, oil drums and
hacksaws. The statelier tempo brings the music’s studio creation into focus; I can hear (what might
be) tape edits, feedback, elements dropping in and out or shifting across the stereo field. The
bonus tracks continue where the album leaves off and provides a better ending with the extended
cello-like low tones of “Cava Recovery” bringing the music to a contemplative close. (HS)
––– Address:

While listening to this LP by Ovod from Russia I asked myself: how come there is some much
ambient made in Russia? It is not a question that I would need an answer for; it was more like
wondering about that. I don't know much about Ovod. It is the musical project of Ivan Lavrov from
Saint Petersburg and he plays modular synths ("Moog format and Eurorack"), hardware effects
and guitars. On his Bandcamp page, he also says, "no 3rd party samples, libraries or vst
instruments were used", just in case we would think otherwise. His album, released in an edition
of thirty copies (!) has six tracks (seven in the download) of ambient music with a bit of tacky, sweet
feel. It also feels like it was all recorded live, especially the way we stumble into the first track. It is
like we pick it up somewhere in the middle. That is quite nice. The ambient music of Ovod is a
neatly flowing matter of slightly rhythmic bumps made on the synths that, somehow, never fully
wander to a real beat. Sometimes these tones sound like a rainmaker, core instrument to any
good (or bad) new age record. On top of that he samples the lowest string on the guitar to make
a bass line (or perhaps another module does that?) and his guitar plays sustaining notes, courtesy
of an e-bow, I would think, which gives the music a bit of psychedelic 70's feel. The words new age
were already mentioned, and sometimes I had the impression that Ovod leaned towards that, in
'Lost' for instance, but it's the amount of reverb used that makes it perhaps something that stays
away from it. It is a very solid record; subtle dark enough, with quite some variation, and yet still
with quite a homogenised feeling to it. Nice one, indeed. (FdW)
––– Address:

So far Dolf Mulder, perhaps indicating that they are works of a free improvised nature, reviewed
most releases by Matt Weston. Out of interest, and perhaps also it was quiet around the house, I
started to play the latest release by Weston, before shipping it off to mister Mulder. I heard it and
changed my mind. This is something that has not much to do with the world of improvised music,
or free jazz, and all the more with composing with sound. In this case, sounds performed in
concert and athletic building and even the Symphony Hall in Chicago; locations with a massive
reverberation. Weston is a drummer, but listening to this record, a rather short one (under twenty-
five minutes) in total, one could think otherwise. He sneaks into a place with a recording device
and something to bang the drums, does a quick set-up and plays; I assume before leaving the
place in a hurry, before getting caught by the night watch. Back home, he assembles these
recordings in pieces of music, shifting back and forth between various recordings. On some of
these recordings, the sense of space is an important factor but on other perhaps a lot less. On
'Under The Rifle Sights Of Snipers' for instance there are voices and electronic sounds, all which
seem to be recorded close of the microphone until Weston starts mingling them with wilder sound
material. Drums, as said, play a role, but not the overall important one. It is the use of drums
(played in both traditional and less traditional manners), voices, electronics, and last but certainly
not least, spaces and such that make all the fine components for a great composition. Weston, so I
assume, uses the computer to paint a fine picture of music. It merges musique concrete,
improvisation and is not shy for a bit of noise. It is all, perhaps, a bit grim, with that title for the
 album, of titles like 'We Want You To Panic', but there is a fine delicacy in this music too. Weston
surely works with a refined style to tell his audio stories. (FdW)
––– Address:

Like The Legendary Pink Dots (see elsewhere), I have heard a lot of music by Idea Fire Company.
In fact, unlike the Pink Dots, I can safely say I heard maybe 95% of all music that was produced by
IFCO. The label mentions that this new LP is their 25th album and the group continues their
exploration of acoustic and electronics, a development that has been going on for some years
now. I guess since 'Music From The Impossible Salon' (Vital Weekly 778), when they first explored
this territory, leaving behind their more electronic sound that found its base in the use of
synthesizers, effects, shortwave radio and keyboards. The core of IFCO is still Karla Borecky,
whose recent solo works playing the piano now stretches out to the same instrument here and
Scott Foust on trumpet and synth. There is a guest player here, who is more than just a guest player
I should think, as Mike Popovich appears on many other records by IFCO, as well as collaborating
with Foust in The Pickle Factory and The Tobacconists. He is responsible for the bass here. The
piano is the main instrument on this record I would think and Borecky is a fine, somewhat naive
player of the instrument. She plays simple and slow melodies, and she keeps the pieces together.
Popovich on the bass is almost like a nightclub jazz bassist, providing sparse notes here and
there. His sound, however, is not always a pure, clean bass, but slightly distorted, adding a spooky
element to the music. And then there is Foust on the trumpet, also sounding jazzy, but in his own,
free manner; he appears with this instrument on only a few of the pieces. Probably one could say
as naive as Borecky is on the piano, and, like Popovich, he places accents here and there. The
synthesizer and electronics are perhaps the two oddballs here, providing context and texture
(contexture?), an occasional swirl of weird sounds that sound like faded audio memory of the
group's past, such as the industrial opening of 'Is It Love', before Borecky lays down some slow
chords and Popovich distorts his bass even a bit further. Or the wind effects on the title track
against a rather cheerful piano. Nevertheless, the synth/electronics part plays an important role,
adding textures to the record that makes it sound not very polished, alien and very much like an
IFCO record. Exactly as we would hope it would sound. Great record indeed. (FdW)
––– Address:

The first time Törst and Canecapovolto worked together was in 2005 and then they release the
album 'Standard And Normal', which wasn't reviewed here. I have no idea why they waited so
long, but now there is 'In France'. It is not clear where this title comes from; it is perhaps recorded
in France, but the cover and information do not specify a recording location; no date either. Without
being specific as to who did what here, they used Tibetan bowls, guitars, circuit-bent keyboards,
[d]ronin, flutes, percussion instruments and piano, with addition found vocals by Stephen Conway
and John Crosby playing the guitar on one track. The eleven tracks are relatively short, two or
three minutes, with some being close to six. Within each of these tracks, they explore a limited
number of sounds and ideas, looped around or in real-time (it is not entirely clear), through which
they cut some other sounds, object abuse, electro-acoustics or the voice of Conway. Thus each
piece becomes a small picture of sound, a collage if you will or various elements. Because
nothing seems to last very long there is a prompt flow in these pieces. If they would have been
longer, I think they were any longer than what they are now, it would have all been a bit boring.
Now there is this brief, sketch character and with the relative speed it all happens, it is just long
enough and you don't notice the same sort of compositional approach too much. This is a neat
little item. (FdW)
––– Address:

GIUSEPPE FALIVENE - VISIONS (cassette by Cloudchamber)
GIOVANNI LAMI - RAW (cassette by Cloudchamber)
AUDIO OBSCURA - OBSIDIAN TIMELINES (cassette by Cloudchamber)
Not so long ago I first heard music by Italy's Giuseppe Falivene. The release in questions was 'Air
Chronicles' (see Vital Weekly 1176). I still don't know much about this composer, other than he has,
still unheard, releases on labels such Purlieu Recordings and Shimmering Moods Records. We
know nothing about instruments used, or none at all, or his methods of processing. The music, I
must say, doesn't provide me with a lot of clues. Anything I say about it might be wrong. My best
guess is that Falivene uses guitars here and some kind of computer set up to transform the
sounds, rather than what I thought before, which was that he uses perhaps software synthesizers
or field recordings. Inside the computer, the material gets transformed into lengthy, sustaining
masses of sound, which this time around have a slightly fuzzy feel. It is as if Falivene is interested
in playing a laptop version of shoegazing, with the extended granular process of guitar sounds,
creating fuzzy fields. In 'Spazi Vuoti - Empty Spaces' this becomes quite noisy somewhere along
the way, just as 'Distanze, Echi, Sirene. - Distances, Echoes, Sirens' is a very heavy-weight slab
of noise, complete with the wail of sirens. This is some top-heavy music, to be approached with
some caution.
           Music from Giovanni Lami has been reviewed before (Vital Weekly 1099, 1030 and 946 for
instance), however, that makes me no expert of what he does. Somehow, somewhere I know it has
to do with the manipulation of tapes, magnetic fields, pick-ups and field recordings. He stresses
here that "all the tracks come from single sessions recorded in stereo, no other sounds or layers
were added in the mix", and they were all taped in concert. This is quite a short release, clocking
in at twenty-three minutes and within the five pieces he explores a few sounds; as to how these
sounds are explored, we are kept in the dark. The online footage of Lami in concert sees the man
armed with a reel-to-reel machine and long tape loops; it seems that some of the irregularities of
the tapes are captured, flapping in the wind, adding a careful, additional layer of crackling and
noise. We don't see him creating sounds with objects/and or contact microphones, even when that
is something that the music as we hear it suggests. It has a very tactile feeling, this music, even
when the footage may seem to suggest otherwise. Lami plays what I would call lo-fi cassette
music, but has his different take of it. He is not that much interested in a bunch of drones from
hissy cassettes but owes more to the world of microsound in terms of delicacy and quietness. This
is another fine addition to this catalogue.
           Neil Stringfellow is the man behind Audio Obscura, which is a great name of course. I had
not heard of the man before or his releases on TDO Cassettes, Bibliotapes, Naviar Records. The
recordings he uses here were made in a modern concrete car park, ten minutes before going into
work, or coming out of it; just to clear his head, yet noticing some strange acoustics of the car park.
Listening to the eight pieces on this release, I must admit I don't hear much of that sounds. Just
what I thought it would have been I don't know. Whatever Audio Obscura did to the material, it
surely sounds quite obscure. I would think this is a process of going over and over the material,
feeding a level of a process into the machines as new raw material. Unlike Lami, I would think that
Audio Obscura is mostly a digital effort, with the laptop being centre stage. While there is surely a
high-level abstraction in this material, there is also a bit of melody shining through all of this. It is
sometimes a hint towards that it, slightly different pitches making this sort of musical touch (maybe
generated through stretching the sounds out a bit, surely in 'Cerulean'), but it adds a delicate extra
thing to the music, which you don't see often. I was thinking that there is perhaps also the use of
instruments here, a synthesizer playing in the background? The eight pieces are a neatly varied
bunch, going through various motions, yet always stays on the darker side of things. That is
something that is just bound to be part of this kind of music. I thought this was quite a fine
introduction to the sound world of Audio Obscura. (FdW)
––– Address:

KRUELECO - TERREUR A UNE ETOILE (cassette by Stupro Rituale)
Before listening to this, due to no accompanying blurb, I spent some time online attempting to find
some information... The “Label's” site has no mention of this cassette, and the Krueleco site also
lacks any information and like many now is out of date, in this case by 5 years. shows details, track listing and that this is a release of 30 tapes, it also
lets you hear these tracks for yourself, so I'll give only a perfunctory description such that if it sounds
of interest you can hear the actual tracks for yourself. The Bandcamp site gives the information
“Krueleco plays black harsh noise: harsh noise sounds in the vein of the Japanese noise masters
mixed with the spirit of black metal.”.... ”The purpose is to mix both sounds and aesthetics to obtain
a new level of sickness.” Terreur ŕ une étoile's (Terror with a star) tracks are, Reprise: les vices des
morts (Resumption: the vices of the dead), Analyse de sequence: bouillis vifs (Sequence analysis:
boiled alive), Cinéma reutrové: le violeur de l'au-delŕ (Reutrové cinema: the rapist of the afterlife),
Hommage au tetęs volantes (Tribute to flying heads), Dossier antropophagie (Folder anopophagy
(autophag? self devouring.)), Enquęte: l'horreur apolitique (Investigation: apolitical horror). The
somewhat bland? translation is down to Google, I did French at school, but was a poor student and
anyway after the 31st October Europe will cease to exist! This is a feeble joke though does highlight
a problem for the Black Metal Occultist, they seem in today's world a benign influence if anything at
all. All the real horror these days isn't apolitical but from mainstream political parties. A horror mixed
with stupidity, well I blame it on the internet, facebook, twitter or the boogie. The overall impression
of the 6 tracks varies from fairly gentle abstract electronic 'insect' sounds to denser almost improv
free jazz guitar-like work. Certainly not harsh noise and only minimally verging on black metal,
sounds, which are far from “a new level of sickness”. The “heavy and frenzy rhythms, screams,” I
couldn't hear, there were some vocals on the last track, but certainly not screaming, but lying in a
deep bass rumble with a few added high pitched sounds. The previous two tracks on the B side
being denser than those on the A-side, pulses and repeated 'themes' of fairly 'musical' noise.
Jazzy', at times, and nothing 'sudden' or alarming. The side begins with a track of electronic
'insects', bees buzzing in pleasant enough textures, the second track is more pronounced, static
and the sound of crickets, still with deep bass, whilst the third track has a more 'watery' and 'wind
like' textures of sounds. The Bandcamp blurb says “true primitive sonic rites from a servant of
Chaos”, which is problematic, chaos seems to be at odds with any rite, “a body of customary
observances “, “a social custom, practice, or conventional act”, but what we do have it seems, if we
take this at all seriously, is something found in Will to Power, “to schematize – to impose upon
chaos as much regularity and form as our practical needs require” (515), which is here the need
to make electronic music with an aesthetic and a purpose, even if this purpose is contradictory.
And to anticipate any denial, “Not being able to contradict is proof of incapacity, not of “truth” (ibid) (jliat)
––– Address:

JACKEN ELSWYTH/ALULA DOWN (split cassette by Betwixt & Between)
As I was curious to know what the label name meant, I found out it means "in a midway position /
neither one thing nor the other". Ah, that explains, perhaps, a bit of the confusion I had with the
previous release I reviewed from this label (see Vital Weekly 1182). Jacken Elswyth, who is behind
this label, found that confusion amusing as it was assumed over there, that this weird folk would fit
the many weird styles of our little publication. Yes, it does, indeed but still somewhat confusing.
That confusion is also something I have with this new release. Maybe more with The Alula Down
side than Jacken Elswyth to be honest. Not sure if Alula Down is a band or not, but on Bandcamp,
it is referred to as 'they', so let's say it is. There are a female voice and guitar as the main
ingredients, but also "sampled birdsong, glass harmonica, harmonium drones and delicate
feedback". There are four songs, four English folk songs. To these untrained (and dazed and
confused) folk ears, it all sounds all pretty conventional upon superficial but played on repeat I
started indeed to note some of the weirdness in here. It is that delicate feedback and harmonium
drones that add a spooky nature to the music, one that works well. The voice is a traditional
fairytale-like, which works well with the music indeed.
           On the other side, we find three live pieces by Jacken Elswyth from Cafe Oto of December
last year and she plays the banjo. She does that in a rather unusual way, I would think, in which
there is a drone generated from the banjo, I assume via a loop sampler, which makes a fine sort
of hurdy-gurdy drone-like sound. On top of that Elswyth improvises freely around on her banjo,
apparently on the old folk song 'Sweet Lemeny' (which Alula Down also play on the other side, in
case you want to another, more traditional version), and takes to an extremer level of improvisation
on the short next bit (not on any theme). Her last song is based "around the traditional Appalachian
dance tune Last Chance, combining it with Sandy River Belle and Cumberland Gap", and sounds
like the most traditional one, being all upbeat and fast. Do I like it? Yes, both sides here indeed.
Can I give the appropriate context? I don't think so. (FdW)
––– Address:

  KNUST 1983-2019 (book by Uitgeverij Vantilt)
Only recently, in Vital Weekly 1190, I wrote that "Recently I read some children books from the ’50s,
Eric Idle sort of autobiography, Stephen Morris personal insight on Joy Division, a book on the
printing place connected to Extrapool and a magazine, whose issue this month is dedicated to
Factory Records". Somebody commented privately that he wouldn't mind seeing a review from me
on all of these, but I don't think book reviewing is my forte, even when they concern music. Yet, I
feel one of these books is worth mentioning here, even when it is not so much about music, and in
Dutch. Read on, if you are interested, even when you not likely to read the book. It is the book that I
refer to as 'the printing place connected to Extrapool'. What's that all about? Extrapool might be a
name you heard about, through these pages, or elsewhere, being a small, dedicated venue in the
hometown of Vital Weekly, and thus frequently visited by one of us, for new music, art, performances
and films. A place with their programming and thus less interested in regular (music) programming;
a place notorious for non-replying to mails. Before and beside Extrapool, there is Knust, a print
place connected to Extrapool, and that's what this book is concerned with. The story starts in the
early '80s when young artists lived together got offered a stencil machine (sometimes called a
mimeograph), starting to explore the possibilities of small-run magazines, comic books. Usually, a
stencil machine was used by the church to send out a one-colour, badly printed newsletter, but
these young artists learned the trade of cleaning the ink drum, adding a new colour and thus they
could use mix various colours and each booklet had, more or less, its unique character. Sometimes
a print run had a bit redder, less blue, and thus the colour purple would be different. These artists
lived together in a squat and while seen as outsiders to the leftist/squat/art movement, they started
organising events of their own; at one point they housed a recording studio, owned by members of
Mekanik Kommando. This was in effect a self-contained do-it-yourself movement, of writers, comic
artists, painters, musicians, poets and performers. Knust experimented from very early days with
the format of magazines, books, and record sleeves and later also CD covers. Wild affairs that
involved folding, creasing, sewing and stitching. In 2019 the print place still exists and no longer
using the old stencil machine. In the 90s they went 'digital' with a process that owes to the world of
risograph, a digital technology that is similar to stencil, using drums with ink. Now the printing has
become more precise, but still with variations in colour; and of course, if the paper is not in the
same place, the image can shift. These days many places use this technology, yet Knust is one of
the undisputed masters of this technology. Leaving the squat in the late 80s, they moved to a new
place and started a 'proper' venue that got the name Extrapool. They are still in the same building,
although the print place is housed next door.
           This book tells the story of this place but also touches on many of the corresponding issues
that came along. The squat movement and the dynamics in there, with hardliners and lesser
fanatics, the struggle with the art world, with local politics, finances as well as the personal
dynamic between the people doing the job. All of this supplemented with original documents
(letters, articles) and many interviews with a wide range of people that are connected to Knust but
also Extrapool. All of this in a very dry style, which could have used a bit more humour, and the
many names used, no matter how small their role was, make it all perhaps a bit much (or as
someone at the presentation said to me; 'if all of the people mentioned once in the book buy one,
they have a hit on their hands') but the many images of print work and other releases make this
also a fascinating book to go through; the design by Redbol is a true feast. A great memory of
those crazy creative days in the 80's when everybody had enough time on their hands; or so is
how I remember it. And how I remember it most fondly! (FdW)
––– Address:

TOWNER (CDR/cassette by Crush Grove Records)
The people at Crush Grove salute me with 'Dear Franz', which, I know, is just a name, man, who
cares how to spell it, but it might also be a signifier for the lack of research they put into sending
out promotional copies. Towner is a quartet from AnnArbor, MI, drawing influences from
"Suyperchunk, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever and Titus Andronicus". I am convinced there is a
universe where people who go 'oh wow, influenced by Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever", but in
this parallel world, it is met with a complete, blank stare. "Recorded mostly live and in the moment,
this release showcases an organic reverb-drenched surf backdrop with garage-quality minimalistic
drums". I (Franz) couldn't have said it better. Well, or worse for that matter. Vital Weekly, often
accused of not knowing something about heavy metal, C&W, rap or organic reverb-drenched surf,
 is probably not the place to review such things, nor will ever be such a place. A little bit of
research could have told you that, Crush Grove. Sorry, it went the wrong way, I guess. At least a
(non-) review like this could have two upshots; one, our readers, who always thought "damn, I wish
there was organic reverb-drenched surf in my favourite rag", know it is out and are now able to
seek it out; second, labels who release "organic reverb-drenched surf" may now have a clue
where not to send their review copies. That goes, of course, for the other musical fields. (FdW)
––– Address: