number 1196
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week 35
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CIRCULAR - GHOSTWHITE (CD by Loki-Found) *
FRODE HALTLI - BORDER WOODS (CD by Hubro) *
HYUANA PARK TRIO – HER MORNING WALTZ (CD by Internova Records) *
JAZ, DREVO – CYCLES AND LULLABIES (CD by Palomar)
REMOTE VIEWERS TRIO – NOTES IN A LOST FIELD (CD by Remote Viewers) *
PROPAN - TRENDING (CD by Sofa Music) *
TAKAMITSU OHTA - THREE WAYS TO OUTPUT FROM A RECORDER (CD by Careful Catalog) *
DEREK PIOTR - AVIA (CD by DPSR) *
ARCHES - WITH ALL YOUR MYSTERIES IN THE OPEN AIR (CD by Inexhaustible Editions) *
THE FORESTRY COMMISSION - FROST BURNING (CD by FMR Records) *
THE DEONTIC MIRACLE - SELECTIONS FROM 100 MODELS OF HEGIKAN ROKU (2LP by Blank
 Form Editions/Empty Editions)
KARELFOUSEK - IN THE FOREST (LP by Second Editions) *
EVA-MARIA HOUBEN – ERWARTUNG 1 UND 2 (LP by Second Editions) *
ELEPHANT HOUSE - CHOLLIMA (LP by Adaadat) *
SUBURBAN CRACKED COLLECTIVE - PRIVATE FAILINGS (LP by No Confidente Dictae Recs)
BRANDON AUGER - WHEN SAILS FOLD (CDR by Mystery & Wonder) *
RIPPLEGANGER - TOURI MICHI (CDR by Mystery & Wonder) *
ANGELO BIGNAMINI - BUGS (CDR by Hologram Label) *
ANGELO BIGNAMINI/AROKIN - #0704/2018/COTIDIE MORIMUR (cassette by Nausea/Spettro
 Records)
CARSTEN VOLLMER - ARBEIT NUMMER 22 (CD by Bad Alchemy & Cat Killer) *
THE TUESDAY NIGHT MACHINES - WAEVER (cassette, private) *
TAKAHIRO MUKAI - FOUNTAIN (cassette by Barreuh Records) *


CIRCULAR - GHOSTWHITE (CD by Loki-Found)
 
'Ghostwhite' is the fifth release by Johannes Riedel from Leipzig, Germany (fourth, if don't count his
split release with Inada). He sure takes his time to create his music, as his debut is from 2006. I
only heard his third and fourth, 'Cycles Of Remembrance' and 'Radiating Perpetual Light' (see Vital
Weekly 757 and 889). It took him three years to record the music on 'Ghostwhite'; I assume he didn't
work on it all day, every day. On the inside of the cover, we see a birds view of the studio, which, as
far as this untrained non-nerd can say consists of a bunch of synthesizers with keyboards, modular
synthesizers and computers. Perhaps as you would expect this look like, judging by the music.
Listening to this new album, you could quite rightfully argue there is very little development in the
music of Circular. On previous releases, he tapped into the rich history of cosmic music, and that's
what he does here. The label says that Circular added new elements, such "vocal samples,
becoming louder in the mix", I must admit I didn't hear many vocal samples; unless of course they
are heavily processed, in which I can safely say: well done, I didn't notice that. I am listening to this
on the first fully rainy day in a long time, so my opinion is clouded (pun intended), but despite there
being not many new roads taken with this music, Circular does again a pretty damn fine job in
taking the tradition of cosmic music a bit further; he makes it all a bit darker, spookier using lengthy
sustaining pads on the synthesizers, a slow bounce of the sequencer and a sufficient amount of
reverb to create a darker trip. Nothing new under the sun, or moon, but it is all very well made, and
that's what counts most, I should think. (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.loki-found.de


 
FRODE HALTLI - BORDER WOODS (CD by Hubro)
 
The previous time I wrote about Frode Haltli, the 'Avant Folk' album (Vital Weekly 1132) was about
a year ago. I came back from a few days being away and wanted to quickly select releases on my
desk for various reviewers. I started with Haltli but got stuck straight away. This was something that
I wasn’t able to place somewhere, yet it had something quite captivating that kept me listening.
Now the band returns with 'Border Woods'. Frode Haltli is the main man on accordion but is
surrounded by Emilia Amper (nyckelharpa) and Hakon Stene and Eirik Raude (both percussion),
so it is a smaller selection of instruments here than on the previous release. The main idea of the
music here is to combine traditional Nordic folk forms with world music, contemporary music and
improvisation. Last year I had no clue what that was about, and I still have no clue. I have little to
no knowledge at all when it comes to world music (is that even a term that can still be used? That,
I also don't know), so it all boils down to: do I like this? Yes, I do, and a lot of it. At times I thought
this sounded like entering a mediaeval castle on a festival day, with fiddle and accordion greeting
is. The two percussion players seem to play not always a big role and sometimes seem to get lost
in the melancholic touches of the other two. The music is a melting pot of styles, taking the listener
easily all over the world, to places I have no idea where they are, but even these untrained ears
could hear it is all over the place. And the results are wonderfully beautiful. I may lack all the skills
to say something sensible about this, so check this out for yourself. (FdW)
––– Address: http://hubromusic.com



HYUANA PARK TRIO – HER MORNING WALTZ (CD by Internova Records)
 
No idea what made this label decide to send a CD to me? A brief look at what we cover shows this
one exactly is not our piece of cake. Yes, we cover lots of improvised music and also a bit of jazz.
But plain easy listening jazz is not what we do. So let us - with all respect - be short on this one,
released by the very young Internova label. Hyuna Park is New York-based pianist from Korea,
who makes her debut with this trio recording. Austrian-born Peter Traunmuller, a New York-based
drummer, composer and arranger, assists her, working as a sideman and doing his projects. Also,
Myles Sloniker is a New York-based musician, bassist and composer. They perform nine
compositions all by Park except two: with ‘Boy from Ipanema’ Park gives her twist to composition
by Jobim, an animated version. The other one is ‘They Can´t Take That Away From Me’ (Gershwin).
Park makes some peculiar gestures and moves in her piano playing that may be an influence of
her Korean background. I can´t judge about that, but it marks her style of playing with jazzy material.
She doesn’t eschew dwelling in very romantic atmospheres like in ´Flight of Migrants´. This is an
entertaining release for those who are into this style. (DM)
––– Address: https://www.internovarecords.com/



JAZ, DREVO – CYCLES AND LULLABIES (CD by Palomar)
 
Again, we have here a trio with Giovanni Maier. Recently we met him in a trio with Pietro Ricci and
Riccardo Morpurgo in an excellent recording of Paul Motian compositions. This time we are dealing
with something completely different. For ‘Cycling and Lullabies’ Maier (cello) is joined by Boris
Janje (double bass) and Cene Resnik (tenor sax) for intriguing collective improvisation. Boris Janje
is a Croatian double bassist and composer based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. And Resnik is also from
Slovenia and studied at the Conservatory of Klagenfurt in Austria. He is practising Buddhist
meditation that helps him in “developing a focus on the present moment, which supports him in his
daringness and spontaneity of his improvised music.” With his Cene Resnik Quartet, he released
an album for Clean Feed. As a trio, they make an excellent first statement of improvised chamber
music with depth. They play with many musical ingredients in a very communicative way.
Sometimes they follow a strategy of contrasting movements and gestures. Leading up to very
intense and expressive sequences like near the end of ‘Microtonal Serenade’. They are very well
attuned to one other and very focused. Their relevant musical interactions show they know where
they are heading. Their improvisations are very solid, rich and dynamic and up to date. An
excellent opportunity to find out more about these talented performers you may not know yet. (DM)
––– Address: http://www.giovannimaier.it/palomarrecords/


 
REMOTE VIEWERS TRIO – NOTES IN A LOST FIELD (CD by Remote Viewers)
 
Since about 20 years now David Petts (tenor sax) and Adrian Northover (soprano sax) work
steadily on a very consistent and high-level corpus, with new records almost every year. They
started as a trio, but over years The Remote Viewers had different extended line-ups. Since their
last one, however - ‘Last Man in Europe’ (2018) - they returned to the trio format. They continue in
this line-up and even changed their name into Remote Viewers Trio, suggesting this might be a
stable unit for the coming times. We will see. Again John Edwards joins on bass as the third
member. The CD gives room to 15 short works, most of the compositions by David Petts. Five of
them resulted from group improvisation. Like the opening track, ‘You Won’t Hear The Bullets’, that
has the three producing a tight and long extended bundle of noisy sounds. In contrast the second
track ‘The Lighthouse’ is a modest work, starting with a delicate intro by Edwards. Maybe I’m
mistaken, but I’m pretty sure David Petts doesn’t take part in other musical projects besides his
one. He doesn’t leave his musical world very often, what illustrates or partly explains why this
music has such a strong individual identity. Surely this is due to the idiosyncratic and strict
compositional language of Petts and all dedication that is implied here. Northover however
regularly appears in other musical projects. He worked with Pierre Bastien, Steve Noble, Marcello
Magliocchi, among others. The title track ‘Notes lost in a Field has them in their most melodic and
lyrical shape. Moreover, we find them performing very precise and to the point in the typical
constructions delivered by Petts. Compositions, which are adventurous and distinct on one hand
and very disciplined and sober on the other hand. As ever Petts refrains from all ornaments and
unnecessary gestures. Defining a clear space for inspired improvisations as well. Excellent and
inspiring! (DM)
––– Address: http://www.theremoteviewers.com/


 
PROPAN - TRENDING (CD by Sofa Music)
 
So far I had not heard of Propan, the duo of Natali Garner and Ina Sagstuen; they both get credit
for vocals and effects. They have been going since 2011 and in 2017 had their debut CD on Va
Fongool. They also are very active when it comes to playing concerts. It is a strange album, I
thought. Which does not equal 'it is a bad album'. Far from. It is all rather intriguing. I have no idea
what these effects are; they could play live to process via the methods of a laptop, they could Kaos-
pads or old-fashioned stompboxes. I would think loop stations are certainly to be found in their set-
up. Not because they use a lot of rhythms, sampling their voices into beats, but things loop around.
Propan use methods of improvisation to create the thirteen pieces that we find within the forty-three-
minutes of this album. That means that most of these pieces are short, which keeps the flow going.
They sample some of their voices, stretch these out, sing on top of that, and I am not sure if these
are words or vocalisations and touch upon many genres. There is a bit of whispering that makes it
all a bit ambient (in 'A Beauty'), industrial ('Smack On The Back'), sound poetry (most of the pieces
really), wildly improvised and sometimes I seem to miss the point entirely. Some of the effects seem
to be used rather simple, hence, me thinking kaosspad, but in the end, because of the brief
character of the pieces, that doesn't matter. This might be one of those things that I may not fully
understand but so be it. I quite enjoyed most of it anyway. (FdW)
––– Address: http://sofamusic.no


 
TAKAMITSU OHTA - THREE WAYS TO OUTPUT FROM A RECORDER (CD by Careful Catalog)
 
I dunno how they did it, but some operative from NY’s Careful Catalog label managed to sneak
into my house late one evening and plant some sort of device into my brain that determines exactly
what music I want to listen to. Then, they used that ill-begotten information to make records. I
suppose there could be another explanation for why I love every weird thing the label is putting out,
but hell if I can figure out what it might be. Their most recent LP was “Private Hate” by Shots, which
seems to be a sonic document of three people staring at each other in an empty parking garage for
an hour. Easily one of the best things I’ll hear in 2019. And then, this CD: “Three Ways to Output
From a Recorder” by installation artist Takamitsu Ohta, which consists of three games of dodgeball
played by teams of hyperactive mice. Now, that’s not what this album is… I gave it several closer
listens before bothering to read the artist’s deceptively simple explanatory notes describing exactly
how each piece was made (spoiler alert: very small repeated actions involving percussive noises
and rudimentary outputs). I’m glad that I formed an impression before educating myself about how
it was made; not because the process is uninteresting, but because I was able to apprehend the
music as music before developing a mental image of a person doing a specific thing to generate
these sounds. Some artists do process music very well; Toshiya Tsunoda and Eric La Casa, for
example, can tell you precisely what each of their field recordings document and how each was
recorded, but the power comes from the poetry of the sonic result compared to the recordings’
matter-of-fact prosaic origins. Takamitsu Ohta’s work is like that too, in a way. It’s made from
prosaic actions with strict compositional limitations, but there’s a living pulse to it and coursing
blood behind the implied facade of stoic documentary remove. The first piece, titled
“cqicx,qikcco.cqqico” for obvious reasons, is what you’d hear if you were shrunk down to one inch
tall and lowered into a cage full of termites nibbling on sandpaper. The second piece, which of
course is called “zvzzivuvae”, sees Ohta tipping his hand just a bit and showing us that he’s been
hiding a contact microphone in there. Compared to the relatively restrained first track, this one is
practically athletic. It’s a high-speed thumb-wrestling match between Ohta’s own two thumbs, but
he really wants to win and is just waiting for one hand to get tired and drop its guard. Both thumbs
are persistent, though. After 15 action-packed minutes, the ref calls it a draw. The final piece is
cleverly titled “kxz|dbn|pqq” (if you dunno what that means, I’m afraid I’ll have to see some ID
before I can explain it to you) and consists of a toy robot made entirely out of thin cardboard,
practicing his one best dance move over and over again in the mirror. Or maybe it’s a recording
of a fireplace burning for a month and then sped up so that the tape only lasts 15 minutes. There’s
the slightest hint of room tone here, implying that “Three Ways…” was recorded by an actual
human in a real place on (I presume) the same planet that we’re on right now… but yeesh, was
it? Was it? I pretty much want to listen to recordings like this one every day, so I’m glad the brain
implant worked out. Looking forward to Careful Catalog telling me what I want to hear next. (HS)
––– Address: http://www.carefulcatalog.com



DEREK PIOTR - AVIA (CD by DPSR)
 
Continuing a steady string of great albums is Derek Piotr from the USA and the quality goes up
and up. In the earliest work, he showed an interest in processing his voice and was not unlike the
work of AGF. But over time his music slowed changed and expanded and this new work sets off in
a different direction. Two days after he finished his previous album 'Grunt' (Vital Weekly 1149) his
grandmother passed away. This new album is about his grandmother and central is her voice.
Piotr started to record her voice when she was 91 until her death at 99. The music is based on
instruments, generated with computers and some played by Piotr or friends. These instruments
include organ, violin, viola da gamba, piano, harp, keyboards, glass marimba and saxophone. I
would think and it uses snippets of conversations, which I believe were taped in secret. Well, one
side of it anyway, as we only hear the grandmother's voice. Piotr used some of his voice material
to create drones. It is not that these voices prevail, as Piotr created a rather musical album, in
which voices occur seemingly random; popping up out of the blue and disappearing again. These
voices give the music a rather field recording-like character and it works well. It sounds like a
documentary, even when we don't always know what is said, or what it is about. The music is
melodic and rather sad, with minor chords and melancholic tunes and it is perhaps the most
musical work by Piotr so far. Expanding his musical horizons certainly pays off here and while
not entirely leaving his original body of work; it is good to see it extended to other areas. This is
part microsound, part glitch and yet also has quite a modern classical feel to it. This is his best
work so far! I'm very curious to hear his next move. (FdW)
––– Address: http://derekpiotr.com


 
ARCHES - WITH ALL YOUR MYSTERIES IN THE OPEN AIR (CD by Inexhaustible Editions)
 
Recently I was very pleasantly surprised by a disc by Jon Heilbron (Vital Weekly 1170) who
played the Bontempi organ on a disc with some great drone music. As I had not heard of him
before, I was not aware that he is (also?) a double bass player and as such he is a member of
Arches, a duo he has with Fredrik Rasten on acoustic guitar and e-bows. They played a concert in
Ausland, Berlin in July 2017, recorded and mixed by Adam Asnan and now released as a four-
piece disc. While Heilbron may play different instruments, judging by the two releases I heard
containing his music, I'd say he's a man who loves his drones. On the Bontempi one, it may have
been a question pressing down the keys and holding them, here it is all bit fluid; the bow goes
over the strings making slow, majestic gestures on those strings while the e-bow on the guitar of
Rasten provides a more continuous, sine-wave like drones. The music is like two paths; the curly
one by Heilbron and the straight lines by Rasten. It is quite thoughtful music, almost solemn in
approach. I was thinking of Alvin Lucier, had not Heilbron being using the bow that much, but it
surely shares a similar sound world there, especially in the slowest of the four pieces, which is
entitled 'Four'. This is an excellent disc, merging a more or less modern classical music approach
with improvised music and that works very well here. (FdW)
––– Address: http://inexhaustible-editions.com/



THE FORESTRY COMMISSION - FROST BURNING (CD by FMR Records)
 
When a group of improvisers pick a name for their gang, I tend to think they do that because their
work together is more of a permanent thing. I might be wrong, of course. The forest Commission is
a trio of Biliana Voutchkova (violin), Alexander Fragenheim (double bass) and Antonis Anissegos
(piano). They recorded their seven pieces already in February 2016 and it is a work of improvised
music that borders on both the traditional end of it, as well as some of it being modern, by which I
mean they sometimes treat their instruments not the way they are intended for. They pluck, hit,
scratch and do that with some hectic approach to it, which is, for me at least, the traditional way of
playing improvised music. Music that can be highly annoying or fascinating and I don't mean
within different people; I mean it just for me. Sometimes I move music like this aside, saying it is
too much improvised or free jazz alike, but I can also be entirely fascinated by such an endless
stream of sounds; like a stream of consciousness. I was wondering about the conditions for such
an experience, and I guess much of this boils down to being in the mood to hear it. That varies
from day to day, but today, a rather mild summer's day in The Netherlands, this works well. This
trio produces a fine gentle stream of free improvisation, free jazz (in 'Archive 6 27') even, that is
never really too weird, too loud and rather pleasant to hear. This is something take in easy; at
least, that worked for me best. (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.fmr-records.com/


 
THE DEONTIC MIRACLE - SELECTIONS FROM 100 MODELS OF HEGIKAN ROKU (2LP by Blank
 Form Editions/Empty Editions)
 
Now, the name The Deontic Miracle is perhaps something that rings no immediate bell, but if one
looks at the spine of this double LP it also mentions the name Catherine Christer Hennix and that
might be more familiar. She was born in Sweden and returned there in 1971 and was inspired by
La Monte Young and his Theatre Of Eternal Music to start an ensemble of her own. Initially with
her brother Peter Hennix and Hans Isgren, along with a dozen jazz musicians, naming the group
and pieces according to the Angus Maclise calendar. The jazz musicians were quickly dropped
because they could play the intervals of just intonation and the three players became The Deontic
Miracle. The instruments played are amplified renaissance oboe, live electronics and sine wave
generators (Catherine Christer), the same oboe and amplified sarangi (Peter) and the Hans just
the amplified sarangi. In case you, like me, had no idea what that was; "The sārangī is a bowed,
short-necked string instrument from the Indian subcontinent, which is used in Punjabi dhadi music
and Hindustani classical music. It is said to most resemble the sound of the human voice – able to
imitate vocal ornaments such as gamaks and meends." The recordings on this album were made
in 1976 and the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, being the only concert that saw them "channelling
late-period John Coltrane and the sopranino and soprano saxophone of La Monte Young and
Terry Jennings". Spread out over four sides, in total some eighty minutes of music, this is some
excellent minimal music. Each record is one piece, 'Music Of Auspicious Clouds' and 'Waves Of
The Blue Sea'; obviously, I am a snobby saying that I would have preferred this to be on a double
CD with no interruption after twenty minutes, but I know we live in times where people find added
quality in the use of vinyl. It is very powerful, with a continuous, almost hurdy-gurdy sound being
the drone element and the two oboes making these cascade like movements, making slow and
majestic moves. 'Waves Of The Blue Sea; seems to be a bit darker, denser and less slow than
'Music Of Auspicious Clouds', starting at one point to make quicker movements on the oboe, but
essentially, so I would think, both these pieces use a similar trajectory of meditative improvisation.
This is something that one should experience at a somewhat louder volume setting, in which one
is fully immersed in the music. You may have heard music by La Monte Young or Henry Flint, and
Hennix is slowly getting the recognition she deserves; this is the second release of historical
recordings by her released by Blank Forms Editions/Empty Editions (see also Vital Weekly 1147)
and hopefully, there is more to come. This is easily among the best I heard from her so far. (FdW)
––– Address: https://emptyeditions.bandcamp.com/



KARELFOUSEK - IN THE FOREST (LP by Second Editions)
EVA-MARIA HOUBEN – ERWARTUNG 1 UND 2 (LP by Second Editions)
 
The previous releases I heard from Montreal based musician Karel Fousek were all on cassette;
now it is time for an LP and it is his score for a film by David Hartt, also called 'In The Forest'. The
film is "about the Habitat Puerto Rico project by Moshe Safdie", and not seen by me, so I have very
little idea how image and sound relate. If, of course, music and images are related at all. On his
previous releases (see Vital Weekly 946, 1061 and 1106) I assumed he was working with modular
electronics and this continues to this new, rather short (twenty-five minutes) album, but the music
seems to have progressed from before. Whereas in the previous work I would think there was
certainly some more popular music tends to be spotted, now he works in favour of a more abstract
approach in which we find him in a rather sparse mood. The five pieces here are more like empty
spaces in which a few sounds sparkle about; a bit here, some there and in 'Chapter 1' and 'Chapter
3' also with some more drone-like approach. I quite enjoyed these pieces, in all their austerity.
There is maturity in these pieces that I had not yet encountered in his previous work. I am, in all
honesty, not sure if the music made me more curious to see the film; I would think the music is
quite strong by itself.
           Eva-Maria Houben is a different composer and performer. Her work is found in the best
Wandelweiser tradition. The title of this new record she borrowed from Arnold Schönberg's one-
act monodrama ‘Erwartung Op.17’, in which a woman wanders through the night in search of her
(dead) lover. According to Schönberg, his work aims "to represent in slow motion everything that
occurs during a single second of maximum spiritual excitement, stretching it out to half an hour".
Houben has two pieces; one per side. One is for the piano and the other for pipe organ. They are
quite different. The piano piece shows her sparse side, in which she plays a note, followed by
some silence and then another note, apparently disassembling the twelve-tone chord of the
original. It is a very calm piece, very Wandelweiser, one could say and it is quite in contrast with
the pipe organ piece on the other side. Here we have various blocks of sounds produced on the
pipe organ, which may or may not always be chords or keys but also can be the mechanism that
adds air to the organ, cutting back and forth between louder and softer variations of these sounds.
There is also variety within a sound fragment and very little silence, if any at all, between the parts.
The contrast between both pieces is extensive, but also it is possible to see the similarities
between the two; the slow approach and the maximum spiritual excitement arising from both
pieces. This is a great record! (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.secondeditions.org/


 
ELEPHANT HOUSE - CHOLLIMA (LP by Adaadat)
 
From London hails this Sino-Greek duo that is Shenggy Shen (acoustic drum kit, percussion, 808
drum kit, vocals) and Christos Fanaris (synths). The latter also plays bass in Daniel O' Sullivan's
band, whereas Shen was a member of Hang On The Box, the "first all-female punk band from
China" and in a duo with Zhang Shou Wang under the name of White as well as appearing on the
next album by Einsturzende Neubauten. Adaadat calls this group a "psychedelic drone ensemble",
and that is a fine description. I must admit I didn't hear many voices on this album, but perhaps they
are muffled away somewhere. The ten pieces on this record are the most enjoyable. Don't let the
word 'drone' distract you here; it has very little to do with a bunch of keys on a keyboard on hold ad
infinitum. The synthesizers that are wielded here are in the best tradition of Tangerine Dream or
Vangelis, to stay closer to Fanaris' home. Add to that the various types of percussion, both acoustic
and digital and there is perhaps more Vangelis along the line, or indeed many other early krautrock
and synth pioneers, or even prog rock in its most experimental form. It is not that Elephant House is
shamelessly copying historical examples; they deliver much their take on the matter. In 'Adamantine'
for instance, there is the sustaining drone keyboard sitting next to fast arpeggio ones and the drums
bounce around neatly in the background. Not in a sort of techno vein but more rocky, which is fine
for a change. The only voice I think I heard was in the nice Steve Reich inspired phase shifting 'Tao
Tie'. The record veers nicely between an introspective piece like that and a wilder approach of the
title track and goes back and forth like that. Great stuff! (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.adaadat.co.uk


 
SUBURBAN CRACKED COLLECTIVE - PRIVATE FAILINGS (LP by No Confidente Dictae Recs)
 
This is not a collective, but a one-man project from Newcastle, Australia. That one man is Shaun
Lacey. The collective has two previous cassette releases, by Altered States Tapes and Chemical
Imbalance and early 2018. Lacey recorded the music in his garage. Four pieces on the first side
and one long piece on the second side, which he created for the 'Ears Have Ears' radio program.
Not mentioned are any instruments used and it is not easy to figure what they are. I would think,
but I could be wrong altogether, that there is a whole bunch of electronics at work here in
combination with keyboards/synths and for percussion some kind of percussion. That might be a
drum, but it could also Lacey banging a few cans in the aforementioned garage. Somehow they
sound rather muffled, but that might, of course, be the idea of it, as it fits the rest of the music, which
is also quite obscure. In the four pieces on the first side, this works out to be an interesting mixture
of lo-fi electronics with an oddly fine melodic undercurrent, especially in ‘The Secret Chief’ and ‘A
Space Above The Mind’. The rhythms are consistent, yet somehow broken up in the background,
but the synthesizers are employed to play a simple, repetitive yet fine melody and it also has a very
fine melancholic, minor touch the music. The long 'The Bird Ceased To Be Articulate' on the second
side takes matters a bit further in terms of lo-fi approach to drum sounds and minimalist electronics.
There are sustaining sounds with a strong minimalist tendency and perhaps, composition-wise, it is
a bit too minimal. It sounds like being stuck in an endless twirl of sound but certainly has its charm.
It all made me curious to hear and know more about this; it seems to be all a very personal
approach here, devoid of style or scenes. (FdW)
––– Address: https://noconfidantedictaerecs.bandcamp.com/releases



BRANDON AUGER - WHEN SAILS FOLD (CDR by Mystery & Wonder)
RIPPLEGANGER - TOURI MICHI (CDR by Mystery & Wonder)
 
Both of these new releases by the Mystery & Wonder label from Montreal contain music by people
I had not heard of before. They are both from a different angle of the world of improvised music.
First, there is the music of Brandon Auger, who is called a "minimal modular-synth player and
construction worker". That last thing is of importance here, as he uses construction sites to record
his music. He has ten pieces here, all rather short and to the point. Two are over four minutes, the
best close to two minutes. There is, as is perhaps to be expected, a kind of roughness to these
pieces, of electronic sounds bouncing off hard against concrete walls. Maybe I am just hearing
what I already know? That is, of course, not easy to deny now, but that's what it is. There is quite
some speed and variety in these pieces, with the two longer ones being the more introspective
and spacious ones; in the shorter pieces firm blocks of white noise, sine waves and oscillations
are sparked off most vibrantly. Auger is not shy of a bit of feedback noise from time to time and
reminded me occasionally of Arcane Device. That is, of course, in my book a good thing. I would
not have minded if there was a bit more of this brutal approach.
           Behind Rippleganger we find a duo of Maya Kuroki (voice) and Rainer Wiens (kalimba and
prepared guitar). As said, they play improvised music and recorded their the three pieces on 'Touri
Michi' live on July 29th 2018 at Bar 'Le Ritz' P.D.B.in Montreal. I am not sure if these three pieces
are the result of mixing and editing; I didn't notice any changes in between the three pieces and
they sounded to me like a continuous piece of music. The music is very much the sort of thing you
would expect from all things improvised; not too easy, not too quiet, not too loud and a free ride on
the instruments and voice and I would think the vocals don't contain words, but reflections of
emotions and Kuroki sings them rather than using her voice in a more radical way, where the
mouth becomes the instruments. Altogether, however, I might be wrong and it is all words. The
more I listened to it the more I became convinced they were indeed words. It is all very and radical
and at the same time pretty accessible, taking a rather musical approach to it all. Most enjoyable
indeed. (FdW)
––– Address: https://mwrecs.com/


 
ANGELO BIGNAMINI - BUGS (CDR by Hologram Label)
ANGELO BIGNAMINI/AROKIN - #0704/2018/COTIDIE MORIMUR (cassette by Nausea/Spettro
 Records)
 
Here we have two releases involving music by Angelo Bignamini. I only heard his music when it
was part of a duo he has with Luca de Biasi, called Filtro (see Vital Weekly 1079 and 1117).
These two releases contain solo work by him, as well as someone called Arokin. He started to
release solo music in 2016 and has a couple of releases so far. There is not much by way of
information here when it comes to sounds and instruments used. I would think it includes field
recordings and electronics. The CDR is called 'Bugs' and contains a single, twenty-five-minute
piece of music. The title seems to be more than appropriate, especially the first six or seven
minutes being something that sounds like bugs crawling around. Upon closer inspection, one
could easily also detect a more electronic origin in these sounds, like a modular synthesizer
emulating the sound of bugs. As the piece evolves, these electronics become more apparent and
slowly it expands to sine waves and sounds from locations, rusty fences and other debris found
on the street, captured on a Walkman or Dictaphone, also used for playback. The piece is never
on a standstill and is in motion all the time, which is great. The crawling/insect feeling is something
that is retained throughout this piece and it is quite a lovely one. I would not have minded
something longer or perhaps another piece, as this was all rather short and very promising.
           His piece on the split cassette with one Arokin is about fourteen minutes long and divided
into four different sections. Electronics seem to play the biggest role here, more so than the field
recordings, even when these are not completely absent either. What is different now, is that
Bignamini seems to be working with loops; rather fast repeating in the second part but slower in
the third and slowest in the fourth. The latter piece being also rather lo-fi in approach, with a
sound that sounds like it is in a state of decay. Very nice. As said, I never heard of Arokin, who
had two previous digital releases. I would think he's from Italy as well. I would think he also uses
some kind of modular electronics set-up, but in a rather more primitive way works his way around
with the sounds. It is mostly working with a crude palette of sounds, brash reverb to give it some
weight and that the collage form going from quiet to mildly distorted. It is not bad at all, but could
surely use some rework and refinement. (FdW)
––– Address: https://www.hologramlabel.bandcamp.com/
––– Address: https://nauseadevivre.bandcamp.com/


 
CARSTEN VOLLMER - ARBEIT NUMMER 22 (CD by Bad Alchemy & Cat Killer)
 
Die Lehmann Akten die löschung der digitalen Archiv (The Lehmann files erase the digital
archives). I'm very confused by this so the artists, titles and just what this release is I can't really
say so I'll just improvise. Working from downloads it seems to be a 3 inch CD or Cdr, with a cover
containing some text in German. “cat killer c. vollmer ”. www.carsten-vollmer.de. Obviously Cat
Killer is English (Katzenmörder) so visiting the given URL all we find are three links and an email
address, the links to an outdated my space site, last.fm which was last updated in 2017 and a
youtube reference. This gives firstly https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfqGW1BuTKc -
Supertalent 2013 Karsten Vollmer mit "Behind Blue Eyesvon" The Who – a German talent show.
Going down the list we get https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Davy_OB_ZaM Carsten Vollmer vs.
Lilith - Mittwoch (live), I think this is the guy, next is Carsten Vollmer https://www.youtube.com/user/casinator1111
 which links to a video VW Bus T3 342 PS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRZ1ajX8Iwo,
someone driving a VW camper van on a race track, next https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=io5qXZKu8VA
is I think again this Carsten Vollmer (GLASPALAST/Wuppertal) which out
of all these more closely resembles the audio CD(r). So anyone interested in the actual sound
should try this, saving its only three minutes. Why the hell this URL couldn't be on the Vollmer web
site is as confusing as this review is. We have from the last-fm site- “Carsten Vollmer wird immer
gerne als der deutsche MERZBOW bezeichnet, aber er selber sagt darauf nur angewiedert:
"Japanese Only Play Popmusic!" Wiki anzeigen” (Carsten Vollmer is always referred to as the
German MERZBOW, but he himself only says "Japanese Only Play Popmusic!". Show wiki)
Really? Google 'German Merzbow', you get stuff on Merzbow in German, Google 'German
Merzbow Carsten Vollmer 'gives some info on Carsten Vollmer without any Merzbow references,
and this “"Arbeit nummer 12" by Carsten Vollmer is a dense and fast track of "cut-up noise" (this
kind of Merzbow-esque noise” , from a review of 2010, other references are from the last-fm page.
So is it all part of the art, in a word, NO. Is it noise? it could be argued so. But should a review about
noise be noise, a kind of Derridian performative text like Glas, and should the web site and links be
so, maybe, but then nothing is communicated. For me communication about noise is not the same
as noise qua noise. Moreover noise as non-communication has a simple dialectic, which has
“communication” as its "aufheben", well not really. Discogs really spoils the chaos, “Carsten
Vollmer Profile: Sound engineer, artist, based in Essen, NRW Sites:carsten-vollmer.de, MySpace
Aliases: D.M.A.D.T. In Groups:Bär & Co, Killerlady Ensemble …” with cat killer as a label. Bad
Alchemy which is also associated with this release is a Magazine run by Rigo Dittmann, Discogs
helps again as the URL lists copious detail of back issues all in German, Discogs: “German
magazine dedicated to all forms of experimental, improvisational and unusual music. "BA exists
as an audio-magazin since 1984. It took most of its inspiration from Chris Cutler's 'File under
Popular' and independent ideals. The good (or not so good) days of socalled Recommended
networking are long gone. BA tried to make open-mindedness its only agenda. After 10 years with
compilation cassettes, and 10 years with 7” EPs, BA now includes (for subscribers only) CD-Rs or
artwork by artists of the true bad alchemystic kind." (Quotation from the Bad Alchemy site). A few
releases where published as Label releases besides the Magazine audio complement.” Like the
short video this piece, not so short, 37:38.051, is a jumble of chaotic sounds, many layers of short
samples? Which gives the performance a feeling of speed, the stereo separation being very
obvious. High pitch squeals and screeches, more whitish noise... from the offset, but no HNW
roar, so a fairly open texture allowing each sound sample clarity. The fragmentary sounds almost
seeming repetitive, but not, though there may be some loops... @ 10:00 a pulse begins and the
sound texture thins to accommodate. The pulse traverses the stereo field at about 5 second
intervals, after around three minutes the general jumble resumes. At 17 minutes there is a glitch in
the left field, sounds become extended and this creates the impression of 'slowing down'. I think
there might be loops, else similar samples, apart from the very split stereo field and the fairly high
pitches this could be a free jazz work, such is the apparent chaos at play. A strange finish, both
channels stop, then a short bust of noise on the left, I think this might be indicative of some quite
severe processing independently of each channel. A processed performance. Back to the idea of
this (ambiguous) being a performance, and some closing notes, noise always ceases to exist, not
the avant-rock musics, punks and Metal's various colours, shades and emotions, which will be
always around, so long as music shops are selling Fenders at exorbitant prices. But noise will
not, never was, there never was noise, for its feature is 'obviously' self effacing. Noise is not
communication but shows that communication is possible only as a fiction. Noise shows the
mistake to assume “Music” (or any 'thing') is a thing, as for instance, (Nietzsche's example) is
saying lighting is a thing, a thing which causes the event, the flash, but this idea of “lightening”
being a thing, is an illusion, all there is, is not an “is” but the performance of the flash.(WTP 531)
“There exists neither “spirit,” nor reason, nor thinking, nor consciousness, nor soul, nor will, nor
truth: all are fictions that [now] are of no use” (WTP 480). The error is the assumption that “a “thing”
is the sum of its effects”. If you listen to the sounds you will not hear the thing 'music', music is a
concept. And concepts are mental 'images' – made up fictions. And the obscurity with which this
review began was a move towards un-musicing not only sound but every 'thing'. (jliat)
––– Address: http://www.carsten-vollmer.de http://www.badalchemy.de


 
THE TUESDAY NIGHT MACHINES - WAEVER (cassette, private)
 
The word 'Waever', which is the title here, has the AE together like in Scandinavian languages,
but finding such key on my computer is troublesome (another word for 'I'm too lazy to do that right
now') and surely comes from the machine used on the recording, which is an AE Modular
synthesizer. According to Felix, the man in charge here, says this is "currently the cheapest
modular synthesizer format on the market". Good to know for aspiring modulists. The twenty-
minute tape is two pice of ten minutes each and created from mixing over 50 separate recordings.
That is something I couldn't tell from listening to the music; I am sure I see that as a positive thing.
In the download, both sides are connected, which makes things even better for me. The music is a
fine yet dense mass of sound, with sounds that are seemingly going on for some time and sounds
that drop by and leave at their convenience. The whole drift of this is rather spacious, but not in
some overtly regular ambient/drone way. The Tuesday Night Machines presents a fine example of
dark, cosmic music, reminding me of the non-keyboard electronics of Conrad Schnitzler and that is
surely quite a good thing. Due to whatever else I was doing at the same time, this was playing over
and over again and I was thinking I would not have minded this to be longer than twenty minutes.
(FdW)
––– Address: http://nightmachines.bandcamp.com



TAKAHIRO MUKAI - FOUNTAIN (cassette by Barreuh Records)
 
So far I heard, including this one, three releases by Takahiro Mukai, but he has many more. Maybe
he is a reader of Vital Weekly and searching out which are the finer cassette labels to release his
music, as cassettes are his preferred sound carriers. He now has a release on Eindhoven (The
Netherlands) own Barreuh Records, with no information but a lovely cover by Astrid Florentinus. I
have (still) no idea what he does, but I will stick to my previous observations and that is that I think
he's man who has, stage central, a drum machine (of whatever brand I have no idea; I am not an
expert in this field) and around there are a bunch of effect devices to do the sound treatments;
these can be delay devices, reverb or Kaos pads. The rhythms Mukai uses in his music are hardly
in a straightforward manner. There are no pumping beats, fat bass lines or such, but very minimal
beats and likewise minimally processed sounds. One could think about early Pan Sonic (but less
techno) or Goem (but less stomping) or even early 80's drum machines as used by Cabaret
Voltaire. In each of the six pieces, the development is slow, but not absent. In a piece such as
'#443', the electronics move around gradually changing, the hi-hat seems to be moving in and
out of the mix, and that goes on until all are explored. Five of the six pieces are rather reduced
but the last one, '#440' is the most beat-oriented track, with a heavier thump and louder processed
variations. This is another most solid release in what seems to be a very consistent catalogue of
works. (FdW)
––– Address: https://barreuhrecords.bandcamp.com/





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