number 1199
week 38


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CITY OF DJINN (CD by Somniage) *
ARMCOMM SAMPLER (CD compilation by Anterior Research Media Comminications)
FROOD OF THE LOOP (2LP by Taping Desk O-Phon Mania)
:ZOVIET*FRANCE: - GRIS (LP by Vinyl On Demand)
VEILED - EL TEMPS NO PASSA (12" by White Denim)
JAD FAIR & DOC WÖR MIRRAN - JAD & JOE (12" by Ebus Music)
BRIAN GRAINGER - THE ENDLESS SLEEP (double CDR by Organic Industries) *
JULIEN DEMOULIN - REVEALED (cassette, private) *

CITY OF DJINN (CD by Somnimage)
ARMCOMM SAMPLER (CD compilation by Anterior Research Media Communications)
Although Somnimage has been around for a great number of years, this flurry of releases seems to
be a sign they want to expand their empire. The first release is by Mkl Anderson's project Drekka
and he's no stranger in these pages. It is described by Somnimage as a "ritual ambient industrial
project', which is not exactly how I would call it, but who knows it might be. This new release
contains music that was used to go along "a soft sculpture show" by Carrie Weaver at the I Fell
Gallery in Drekka's home-city Bloomington, IN on December 2018, "culminating in a winter solstice
ritual of cleansing". Don't let the repeated use of the word 'ritual' distract you. Maybe there is a sort
of ritualistic reference to the sculptures, but presented here, out of the gallery context, the music
can be enjoyed very much as a stand-alone thing. The core of it was recorded by Anderson on
"pitch pipe, metal and voice" and Porir Georg on bass in Reykavik, in a long, real-time session, but
worked on afterwards by Anderson making 'decisions such as track lengths and tonal shifts were
decided upon using the same mathematical equations that Weaver utilizes for her fractal
observations; exploring recursive patterns and prime numbers as alchemical instruction". The
music is about sixty-five minutes long, divided into three tracks, (11:19, 19:37 and 34:01 minutes,
but I am not a math guy so I am not sure if there is a relation there) of slow, sustained sounds that
works with similar pitches being played out slowly, fading in and out, over very long periods. On
top of the drones is the low-end rattle of the bass and a very low voice, breathing/sighing (both
even?), created excellent all-immersive piece music that is one long spatial drift. That is not to say
it stays in the same place all the time; actually far from it. It moves around from intense drones to a
slightly lighter, more guitar-based drone in the third part, but of course, the work keeps on being
quite dark throughout. This, I thought, was an excellent work that I rank among the best of Drekka.
           On CDR we find music by Stephen Holliger as Swim Ignorant Fire. I had not heard of him
before and the label doesn't hand much information about his background, not about the
instruments that he uses. I think, but I could be wrong, he's into guitars and effects. On 'Pale
Horses' we find sic pieces, ranging from less than two minutes to over the ten-minute mark and
altogether it is thirty-four minutes. This too is the department of drones, but Swim Ignorant Fire
does things quite a bit differently than, say, Drekka. First of all are the pieces quite a bit shorter
than Drekka's hour-long exercise, which means quicker build-ups but also it changes per piece.
Furthermore, there is also a rhythmic undercurrent to be noted in these, be it openly with the use
of a drum machine in 'Rejoice In Ashes' or 'The Lamb' but also with sneaky little loops lurking in
the background. In his compositional approach, I would think that Swim Ignorant Fire has the idea
of a song rather than a piece of music; the difference in wording might be the semantics of course,
but within the time-frame of a 'song', he explores build-up, take-down, development and variation.
None of this being pop music, not even close, but it works as such for me. There is a heavy
approach to sound sometimes, making this also part of the world of doom or metal, or doom metal,
which is not my field of expertise. I think he pulls it off nicely with his fine variation of approaches.
Part doom, part dark ambient, part drone and a dash of rhythm here and there. Not the most
original mixture, but it works quite well, even if there is something to win in the mastering department.
           City of Djinn made me think of Muslimgauze but it is a duo of Marwan Kamel and Micah
Bezold, from Chicago. The self-titled album is their third release so far. "This multitasking duo
creates post-Tarab - a long-form sonic tapestry of dark, psychedelic, drone rock that draws from
experimental music vernacular as well maqam tradition. Their arsenal of instruments ranges from
electric buzuq, modified quarter-tone acoustic-electric guitar, violin, fretless electric guitar, foot
pedal drums/cymbals, darbuka, daf, DIY stompbox and samplers", the label says, and I must
admit, "post-Tarab" and "maqam tradition" are expressions I have not yet heard of. The latter is
"is the system of melodic modes used in traditional Arabic music, which is mainly melodic. The
word maqam in Arabic means place, location or position. The Arabic maqam is a melody type.
It is "a technique of improvisation" that defines the pitches, patterns, and development of a piece
of music and which is "unique to Arabian art music" and about Tarab I read "In Arab culture, the
merger between music and emotional transformation is epitomized by the concept of tarab, which
may not have an exact equivalent in Western languages". While this music is something I have
little knowledge about, and I doubt anyone at Vital Weekly would, I must also that I quite enjoyed.
There is a fine combination of rocking rhythms, psychedelic guitars and multi-layered vocals,
which I assume to be a sort of Arabic inspired. It is quite rock like altogether, which is certainly
not our territory, but it works well. The only thing I could compare it with is, perhaps oddly, Eric
Random and his records from the time he recorded for Doublevision in the mid-'80s. I would think
there are many other influences but I don't think I know these. What can I say? I have no clue what
it is, but I sure like it!
           Somnimage also handles releases for Anterior research Media Communications, which one
could quickly describe as the label to handle all matters Clock DVA and related. Clock DVA has
been around for many years and in many incarnations and these days are original member Adi
Newton and TeZ Martinnucci with some fine electronic song material, including vocals. There is
one song by Clock DVA on this sampler, the opening piece, while all the other projects have two
pieces. These are all collaborations. There is Soon (with Jack Dangers of Meat Beat Manifesto),
TAG (with Mykel Boyd, the label boss here as well as others; it's an open membership thing), Matar
(with EVP specialist Michael Esposito), Pscyhophysicist (no longer with Andrew McKenzie, but
someone named Paul Prudence) and Newton, a solo project. Electronics play the most important
role in all of these pieces, be it ambient (Psychophysicist), cosmic (Soon) or experimental (Matar,
TAG) and of course, something that moves in a more techno-ish direction (the DVA mothership).
Throughout I would say that experiment prevails here and that is a great thing. It's moody,
experimental, electronic and works out quite well in all the small differences this kind of music
has to offer. Even when it is a compilation it doesn't hear like one and I realize that might also be
a negative thing. But with Adi Newton being the nucleus of it all, it is probably less of a compilation
anyway? Just semantics and wordplay perhaps? Whatever it is, it is a most enjoyable release!
––– Address:

Originally Hansen is a studio and session musician and later on, he started to solo work as Il
Tempo Gigante and released two albums as such. Apparently, this was in the alternative folk
scene. Now he releases under his name and uses just guitar and nothing else, although I would
think there is perhaps also some reverb or delay in play here. Karaoke Kalk says he "eschews
traditional composition techniques and follows an experimental approach". That made me think
about all the different kinds of guitar music I have heard over the years, and a different approach to
the instrument and I would think that Hansen isn't the most experimental one. In his thirteen pieces,
the guitar can always be recognized as such and there might be some kind of non-traditionalist
approach to his pieces, it is perhaps not in his playing. He picks and strums the guitar and his
pieces have a vague jazz approach, mild pop and some more outré style of playing. It is, by all
means, some very pleasant stuff that is going on here. Nothing noise based, nothing weird, nothing
distorted but a bunch of miniature compositions for the guitar. Some complex (but I don't think they
are layered, so it's more inside the playing. Looping might, however, be part of it) and some are
minimal and moody pieces and that makes it quite a varied album. I am reminded at times of The
Durutti Column, since forty years a point of reference when it comes melodic and atmospheric
guitar playing. Nice one, even when this sort of music is a bit off my radar these days. (FdW)
––– Address:

From Australia's Todd Anderson-Kunert I already reviewed a few things, including a USB thingy
that came with a fake flower. Certainly one of the better-looking releases in a long time (see Vital
Weekly 1070). His music is both interesting to hear as well that it comes with an interesting
conceptual edge, such as a release with "controlled various vibrators, used by ten different
people (a mix of genders and a variety of sexual identities) while masturbating." Here, on his
latest album, he has two pieces of music that he recorded using the Moog System 55, which is a
beast of a machine (look online for imagines, I'd say). There is one at the Melbourne Electronic
Sound Studio and Anderson-Kunert had a residency there. He calls it not so much "some survey
of modern electronics, but rather an interrogation of one machine". I would think that he taped a
whole bunch of sound and then composed with them and that this is not something he has more
or less performed live, but of course, I might be wrong. The two sides are little over fifteen minutes
each and both sides have a similar approach but they also have two different titles, so I would think
they are two different pieces. What is carved into these grooves is of great beauty. Anderson-Kunert
reduces the tones to small, pure tones, dark and sombre, yet short. This is not a droney or bleepy
record. I assume by endlessly working the various knobs on the machine, he arrives at pure tones,
which sound like wind instruments, a tuba or oboe. These tones arrive with a slow speed, drifting in
and out, and at times sound like a piece of modern classical music; at other times you hear the
buzz, crack, oscillate, sine wave and you realize this is still the album of electronic music, played
on a synthesizer. Both compositions are slow in development. 'I See What You Mean' on the first
side is the one that has most changes, whereas 'It Feels Right' is more 'drone' like with lengthier,
sustaining tones that slowly move around. It is also the latter piece that has the most modern
classical references I though; it also reminded me of Phil Niblock but then less ongoing drone-
wise. This is a great record I thought; pure blissful music. Now, if more modular music was like
this... wow. (FdW)
––– Address:

It surely has been a while since I last heard music by Norway's Pal Asle Pettersen.; perhaps not
since 'Sull' (Vital Weekly 714)? But I saw recently a concert by him and he gave me this, not so
new, record. The concert saw him at a laptop and controller, perhaps no longer a common sight
these days, and in a very fine modus of glitchy, rhythmic electronics. I am told that for this record
Pettersen also uses recordings from instruments, as played by his friends (some of the Stavanger
scene are mentioned on the cover, yet no specified instruments), and it takes the music out of the
realm of all things glitchy and electronic, and also out of the harsher field that was a firm presence
in his concert. From his earlier works, I remember he is very fond of sampling and treating his
instruments to create a sound world that is somewhere along the lines of all things musique
concrete, electro-acoustic, but also glitch and modern classical music. Pettersen's music is best
described as hybrid music, taking cues from all over the place and combined to an endless stream
of sounds. The label's Bandcamp tells me there are seven pieces here, but played from vinyl and
not looking at the platter that much it sounds like an endless stream of well-chosen sound
configurations. Same or similar sounds seem to pop up in various pieces, which gave the record
quite a coherent feel, and hence me thinking it is two sidelong pieces, even when there is the
occasional gap in the music. Pettersen made a great record, again, after long hiatus, and one
that sees him easily combining lots of interests. (FdW)
––– Address:

FROOD OF THE LOOP (2LP by Taping Desk O-Phon Mania)
That is a funny name; put it on a shirt! It is a four-piece band from Stuttgart, Germany and I had not
heard of any of the members before; Joachim Henn (guitar, Moog, moving chair), Alex Mink (flute,
theremin, vibraphone), Jochen Neuffer (guitar, bass, vibraphone) and Ale Oertwig (vibrant
diascope; I have no idea what that is). The group doesn't play many concerts but when they do, it is
in unusual places, such as a bookstore housed in former church, the foyer of a theatre with a very
high ceiling and on the 6th floor roof terrace; the latter doesn't make them The Beatles (nor does the
four-piece line-up of course). The music on the four sides was recorded for two "specific" days in
2017 and there were no overdubs and "played exclusively using analogue sound generators and
natural instruments - enriched with the finest electronic gadgetry". I understand some of these
pieces are improvised, while others are more or less planned in some way. It may be improvised
and yet that is not something that shows in the music. Overall this quartet has rather slow evolving
pieces, creating a variety of continuous sounds and only a few instruments in a slightly freer role,
such as the flute and the guitar. Sometimes the development is just a bit too slow, such as in
'Lake Everest', which drags on a bit too much with reaching for something more atmospheric, as
happens in 'Sur La Pelouse', with a nice role for the vibraphones. In some way, this is quite the
minimal music record, but also melodic in a weird sort of pop ambient way, such as in 'Drausen
Blëu', or drone rock-like in 'Chicken Tikka Massaker'. That's the band at their most 'vicious', at the
end of it. Throughout the four sides of the record, they moved along various musical interests and
it worked overall quite well. I was reminded of Mimir at times; a bit psychedelic, a bit ambient and
a bit of improvisation. You could do worse. (FdW)
––– Address:

:ZOVIET*FRANCE: - GRIS (LP by Vinyl On Demand)
This summer my social media bubble was flooded by excitement about a box by :zoviet*france:.
Quite rightly so, as it is a great, 17-LP strong with all (I think) of their 80's output on LP and
cassette. A wooden box, t-shirt and an object; it certainly fits earlier design classics by the band,
which included records in tin foil, hardboard, roofing tile and a CD in a wooden box. Even if I had
the money, I would not buy it though. A few things crossed my mind when I saw all those
messages. Why don't you (old) people already own these great records? They weren't hard to
find until a couple of years ago and they were all re-issued on CD (some which turned out to be
more expensive than the original vinyl)? What kept you? I sold all my vinyl, because of the CD
versions and there are still rainy Sundays filled with just :zoviet*france: music. Also, I was thinking
about a remark by the former boss of a record company that released some of their music made
 and that was to extend that only 5% of what :zoviet*france: recorded had been released. A
different 17-LP set should be possible there. Something for the future! Anyway, I noted that there
was one record that had unreleased music (as far as I can judge), and that was 'Gris', formerly
released as a 10" (with an asphalt roofing tile), which comes here as an LP and Vinyl On Demand
made all records available separately, I guess for die-hard fans like me; completists is perhaps the
better word here. 'Gris' brings us music from 1983 and 1984. This is the early :zoviet*france: that I
love so much; it is raw and smooth at the same time. A little later than this everybody started to use
the term ambient industrial, but it's :zoviet*france: who can easily lay claim to the fact that they
invented that sound. Using crude loops of slowed down percussive sounds, a long line of delay
machines and synthesizers or guitars (I am not sure about either of these), a bit of mumbled
voices (accidentally slipped onto tape I always thought) they play the music that rings and sings
straight to your brain. Things can forcefully loud on 'Sprey' or the quiet opening on 'Ding Y Hwop'
and everything in between. This is a classic record, but they all were. There is, for me 'uber'
favourites from this period 'Gris', 'Mohnomishe', 'Eostre'. and 'Popular Soviet Songs' (to stick with
the period in question; later on 'Shouting At The Ground' and 'What Is Not True' are standouts),
but you can start anywhere and not go wrong. The box is sold out, but try to get any of this
individual in case :zoviet*france: is not yet a household name for you. (FdW)
––– Address:

VEILED - EL TEMPS NO PASSA (12" by White Denim)
By way of introducing themselves, Philadelphia based label White Denim, send me their latest
release, the new LP by Graham Dunning as well as some older releases "not for reviewing so
much as your own enjoyment, hopefully", but why to spend so much money on postage and not
do a review, I reckon?
           Graham Dunning's work has been reviewed before but it took some time before I knew what
he was doing and that is entirely my mistake. There is a great video on YouTube in which Dunning
presents his "mechanical techno machine". A turntable of many layers, tonearms and prepared
records. A bit like Thomas Brinkmann once did his remixes by using a sharp knife to cut, but
Dunning's creation allows for a much more complex result. On this new album, he has two
sidelong pieces of music in which are "live dubs mixed to stereo. No overdubs, no edits".
Dunning's music owes to the world of minimal techno but has a distinctly different sound also.
This is not necessarily something that aims at the dance floor, I would think, even when there is
a 4/4 rhythm used in a slightly slower tempo. But whatever other sounds Dunning also uses,
scratches mainly, bumps of vinyl and a bit of feedback/electronics, he adds a more experimental
flavour to the music and therefore (?) perhaps not the most suitable record for the dancefloor.
There is something quite hypnotic about the music; the strict tempo of course, which is part and
parcel of this kind of approach. See also last week's review of a record that dealt with turntablism;
Dunning's work is more complex and perhaps 'easier' going but it is something I enjoyed very
much. As before (see Vital Weekly 1128), I believe that Dunning's music is right in the tradition of
Pan Sonic; it shares the techno influence coupled with the experimental approach; dance but also
not dance if you get my drift. I wonder what would happen if Dunning would leave the 'live to tape'
approach and started to compose with all the variations his music has to offer? That would perhaps
be an interesting next step; but maybe, knowing Dunning is also active in improvised music, this is
not where his interest is at all, of course.
           I had not heard of Will Over Matter from Finland, despite releases on Bestial Burst, Freak
Animal Records, Obscurex and this one on White Denim, from 2013. According to Discogs, the
person behind Will Over Matter has various aliases such as Harald Mentor, Hell Kettunen, Hell
Nihilist, I Kill Your Face, Judas Schindler, S. Cyberbastard Horrified and Sami Kettunen. The first
one is mentioned on the cover here. Synthesizers seem to be the instrument of choice by Will
Over Matter, but I would think these synthesizers are very primitive; I would not be surprised if this
synthesizer is one Korg Monotron, which is layered on a multi-track recording device and then
mixed. The sound being coloured when recording it, and of course, it comes with a bit of delay
and reverb to give it a bit more weight, even when there are possibilities on the machine that is
already dark and weighty enough. It is quite rough, this music and could have been a great
cassette in the mid-'80s. At times I was reminded of old music by Maurizio Bianchi, even when
Will Over Matter uses less delay and reverb. It has that cold, crude synthesizer approach that
depicts the post-apocalyptic world so well. Like the 1980s, our current world is a similar cold place
and that deserves a similar soundtrack. Even when that soundtrack was recorded in 2013. Nice!
           Veiled is a duo Robert Francisco (M Ax Noi Mach, Dexter Industries) and Arnau Sala
(Exoteric Continent, Vactor) and also new to me. One of them is in Philadelphia and one in
Barcelona, which I guess makes band rehearsals not easy. Their LP-sized release is called a
12", but I have no idea if it's on 33 or 45 rpm. I played it on 33rpm and found the four songs of a
 fine quality that reflected an underground party like quality, the alternative disco movement.
There are beats but owe more to an early Esplendor Geometrico, I guess than a 21st-century
techno movement, with primitive drum machines and rusty drones, courtesy of synthesizers or
distortion boxes/guitars or other fuzzy techniques. I don't see people doing a very wild dance to
this, but more a slow drug-inspired movement of some kind; or, just sit down and space out to this
lo-fi festival of rhythm and noise, even when it's all not that noise based. Maybe the notion of
psychedelic is what covers it here? Let's keep it at that. It all worked fine and I found the four
lengthy excursions most enjoyable. On 45 rpm these pieces are on speed and it works better
for the two on the first side than those on the B-side. Just so you know there are options!
           The oldest record is the 7" by Aufgehoben and I'd better not say it's from 2007, as otherwise,
we get a whole bunch of old records. Also, the name Aufgehoven is a new one and a duo of David
Panos and Gary Smith, a UK based duo of electric guitar and drums. They have releases on Junior
Meat Recordings, Fourier Transform and Holy Mountain. They are a very free jazz/free-noise and
free improvisation unit and the two pieces on this 7" are two blasts on the eardrums and most likely
may damage your speakers in some way. The microphone is just too close to the drum kit to pick
up their finer nuances in playing, but surely that is the way Aufgehoben likes these things, I would
think. I am not sure if I prefer this on a 7" or maybe a bit longer. What is the point of a 7", even when
it is a lovely picture disc like this? Don't I want to take this in a bit longer than, say, twice five
minutes? Surely I would. This is a fine blast; a short, precise bombing of deconstructing jazz,
noise and rock, all at the same time! (FdW)
––– Address:

JAD FAIR & DOC WÖR MIRRAN - JAD & JOE (12" by Ebus Music)
Just like De Fabriek (see last week) is a little constant source of confusion, so is Germany's Doc
Wör Mirran, bouncing all over the musical spectrum. Here Doc Wör Mirran is just core member
Joseph B. Raimond on guitar, bass and keyboards and he teams up with Half Japanese founder
Jad Fair. I guess by now, Fair is more known for his solo career anyway. He does the vocal part of
the album, wrote the lyrics and the art (like Raimond actually, as well as .rizla23. who gets credit
for the cover concept and limited edition box set). This is a 12", 45rpm, with Jad Fair's delivering
his trademark vocals (one of those voices you recognize easily), which are bending and shaping
around whatever sounds are created (I saw him once perform with amplified pair of scissors). It is
a vocal exercise that may be derived from the world of pop music, but Fair is way more flexible
than that. It is the sort of voice that goes easily with the kind of music that is produced by Doc Wör
Mirran here. Various sources are sampled together and played in a way that is everything but pop
music. A bit of drone, a rhythm that doesn't work, some sort of free rock doodle, and Jad Fair doing
his part in the musical madness that is the result. Like with many of Jad Fair's work, this is perhaps
more poetry than a song per se, and the eight pieces are short and to the point (not, however, in a
sort of punk way, even when 'Go Ahead!' or 'Hooray Hooray Hooray' have that biting quality of a
punk song). A release like this fits the tradition that Doc Wör Mirran also has with alternative pop,
new wave and punk music and this too is of an excellent outsider quality. With Doc Wör Mirran
you never know what to expect, but they seldom disappoint. (FdW)
––– Address:

BRIAN GRAINGER - THE ENDLESS SLEEP (double CDR by Organic Industries)
The few times the name Organic Industries popped up in these pages was mainly to reference
that a musician had releases on that label, and only two times something from the label was
reviewed, music by Wouter Veldhuis (also the only two times I heard music from him; see Vital
Weekly 805 and 899). Here the label makes contact and it's a hobby from home (in Hamburg)
and a passion for special music. I don't think I heard of either musician here before, but in the
case of Brian Grainger, I did hear two of his releases as Milieu, albeit a long time ago (Vital
Weekly 533 and 569). The music on 'The Endless Sleep' was already recorded in 2008 as part
of a soundtrack for a movie, 'Die Schflafende Erde' (the sleeping earth), by some unnamed
director. His shed caught fire and everything was destroyed and the film never happened. What
exists is the music, the proposal of it, I would think, and the screenplay draft by Belle Kanteaux,
which comes along in the tin can box (not round like a film canister, but that's the idea of a tin can
cover, I guess) as small booklet. It's a dream world, in which one is not sure what is real. I have no
idea if it would be a very narrative or abstract film. The release pops up as 'new age' in iTunes,
and surely one could see some kind of connection in some of the pieces, especially when the
synthesizers are on a long drift, but that's not the whole story. Grainger also filtered field recordings.
It seemed that the more experimental route was taken on the second CD, with a bit more crackling,
hissy and even noisier material than on the first disc. But the spacious synthesizer approach is a
current that runs through both discs. At two-and-a-half hours of music, this is a trip of indeed
cosmic proportions, but a most welcome journey for a slow afternoon.
           Also, 'new age' is the music by Teruyuki Kurihara. It comes with a lot less information, other
than that the title means 'the universe' and that as "a child, and as an adult, I play with the magical
seesaw. It is a parallel world". That left me in a somewhat confused state of mind, but all the songs
"on this album are dedicated to the universe". He certainly has the new-age language there, I
would say, even when, looking at the titles of his pieces, it is a literal universe, 'Apollo 1979', 'Moon
Landing', 'Drawing - Apollo', next to 'Soundscape' or 'Daydream, Pt. 2'. There are no instruments
listed here, but I would think it is the good old guitar and those loop stations here that are in an
endless state of sustain here, ebbing and flowing like slow cascades. I am reminded of fellow
countryman and likewise, ambient guitar player Chihei Hatakeyama here, even when Teruyuki
Kurihara seems to be smoother, maybe more new age-minded indeed. Yet I would also think it
doesn't touch completely upon that, as he allows for a wee small bit of experimental sounds in
his mix, and he tends to keep things considerable dark. Darker, so I think, than an average new
age record; even when I have not much idea about that musical area anyway. Kurihara's pieces
are not always long, as some are only three to four minutes, which keep the album in a
surprisingly quick flow. So, all in all, this is quite a nice album. (FdW)
––– Address:

Almost like clockwork, there are new releases by Fergus Kelly, from Dublin. One of his primary
interests is the use of found metal and plastics, drums, cymbals and gongs. He adds to that
"treated electromagnetic recordings of ATMs, computer drives, ticket dispensers and overhead
tramlines". The result is always an interesting combination of field recordings and electro-acoustic
improvisation and listening to the results it is not easy to say where one begins and the other stops.
It is always the most interesting combination of the two. Some of this has been captured on a
mobile phone and captures people talking in shops or the tram, but that, for me, only adds to
the music. Maybe, you could think, that will sound like Z'EV, and only very occasionally it does,
for instance in the opening piece 'Numb Burn', but overall Kelly's approach is a much more
'ambient' one; for the lack of a better word. Mood and atmospheres, so I think, play a big role in
his work. The percussion rings and sings, just like the various field recordings buzz, hiss and
crackle in a similar atmospheric way. What doesn't make it ambient is the electric undercurrent in
the music, I would think, which also accounts for some of his more mechanical playing of sounds.
This is, but I'm not sure there, certainly not the work of someone playing this 'live in a room', but
rather the result of meticulous editing and shaping of recordings from many sources and dense
layering. Does he do this sort of thing in concert anyway, I wondered? If he does, I'd be very
curious to see him in action. The music on this album is great, which, knowing his previous
releases, is hardly a surprise. For those who still need to explore what Kelly is about, this is
certainly a good place to start. (FdW)
––– Address:

Dylan Nyoukis gets pretty damn close to articulating the dream state as music, both with his own
singularly beautiful tape collage albums and via the artists whose work he presents under the
Chocolate Monk banner. A lot of what he publishes could accurately be called psychedelic music,
capturing elusive liminality in an uncannily accurate way. This latest batch of CDRs is no
exception, starting with Nyoukis’ own “The Failing Chase”, which is very much a continuation
of the sort of solo work he’s been producing lately, an organic-seeming montage of context-
unmoored mono/dialogue and field recording murmurs. His sounds are arranged to suggest an
oblique narrative that unquestionably recalls the random synapse firing of the consciousness
borderlands. And yet, the sequence of an actual story is just out of view. I could right now attempt
to catalogue for you how one evocative section of “The Failing Chase” morphs into the next, but
such a futile exercise would be beside the point. Ever wake up from a dream that seemed, to you,
to be so amazing… like, it had a plot with multiple locations and exciting set pieces and suspense
and… danger! But as you attempt to put the puzzle pieces back together and retell your dream to
whoever sleeps nearest to you (who might be simultaneously rising from a similar slumber), the
whole damn structure disintegrates. You can’t grasp your fingers around any of it anymore, what
was just moments ago… those charred bits of memory (were they a few minutes of actual time
passing? or hours/days?) float away until the dream’s evanescent illogic is all that remains. Well,
Nyoukis’ “The Failing Chase” is that dream. I dunno how he does it. This dream was about UFO
abductions. Wait, was it? I think it might have taken place in a field at night, during the summer…
it was really hot out. There were mosquitos; lots of crickets, too. A woman spoke to me (was she
speaking to me, or just speaking?) in a robotic cadence about some conflict between… uh, I
forget whom exactly… no wait, it was a field but it was also… a nightclub, somehow? Is that
right? Yeah. And my friends were there, but they weren’t my friends… they were German, I think.
But in the dream, they were my friends, even though now I can’t recall their faces. Then we
walked around the city to hunt for… uh, it’s all fading now. Damn…
           A similar ephemeral quality pervades the seemingly (but probably not actually) random
elements that comprise “Empty Shell” by Teignmouth Electron (aka Maureen Hollomas of Polly
Shang Kuan Band and Jettatura), an album that purports to demonstrate the existence of remote
viewing. If you’re unfamiliar with remote viewing, read up on that… it’s a fascinating pseudo
science in which people claim to be able to leave their bodies and observe things that are outside
of their field of vision. The US military studied it for a while with the idea that remote viewers would
make pretty good spies. And they would! Unfortunately, the remote viewers’ reports were no more
statistically significant than random guesses because… well, because obviously, remote viewing
doesn’t exist, so the research project was sensibly abandoned. Even so, Hollomas’ disorienting
parade of voices might be what the experience of remote viewing would be like if it were a real
thing. But maybe not “viewing”, more like remote listening. She presents a sequence of in media
res monologues, kitchen table or bar conversations, bits of songs, record skips, discussions about
playback equipment (which, coincidentally, might have been captured in a town not far from where
I live…), loops of words that repeat with incremental expanding and contracting. Most of the voices
are legible and heard one at a time so that a listener can feel as if they are incorporeally floating
between locations and eavesdropping… though sometimes the voices are layered or seem to
blend with other locations leeching in. Here’s my purple PR pull quote: “You don’t have to be a
mind-reader to know that I like this album. Don’t listen remotely… buy your copy today!” Yeah,
that sounds pretty good. I’m great at this.
           The Occupant (wait, wasn’t that Eric Boucher’s pre-Jello pseudonym?) is Shane McDonell,
a Chocolate Monk veteran whose first album under this name is a wild explosion of rubbery
cassette tape crunch, warm drone hugs and (non-) musical elements that miraculously/perversely
coalesce into a meditative atmosphere and just as quickly shatter into a billion shards. Both
halves of “Twilight Immunity” begin with a swirl of frantic action, sonic elements bubbling to the
surface and doubling back over themselves in furious motion… but after a few minutes of
percussive stereo slam with expert cartoon timing, it takes a sharp left turn. The hum and shimmer
of amplified strings, peels of feedback overtones and full flute-like breaths coat everything in a
sickly caramel haze that seems to calm the roil, though that relative tranquillity is an illusion. An
ever-present cassette hysteresis is a constant undertow, subtly destabilizing the mood, as soon it
gets too comfortable. After each section of hyperactive/precise tape-manipulation, the ground falls
away entirely, leaving only a duet for bowed metal and echo-drenched tape-rewind buttons with
yawning chasms between each element. But McDonell doesn’t let a listener get too comfortable;
each stereo boxing match eventually boils itself down to a few tape-saturated springs and
mocking Mel-Blanc-esque vocal gulps. Sections of the rich drone are punctuated with sharp
blasts of what sounds like blowing into a cup of soda through a straw and run through Radio
Shack reverb. There’s an awful lot happening on this album. It took me several deep listens to
uncover just some of the layers tugging at each other, and I’m sure I haven’t apprehended all
that’s here. “Twilight Immunity” is the sort of album you can’t just play once or twice and think
you’ve heard it. This one is a grower that I know I’ll keep returning to.
           A very different sort of brain space can be found on “Geronticus Eremita”, a short album
by Creep of Paris that’s incongruously named after an endangered bird. This isn’t a hypnagogic
reverie, a psychic vacation or a psychedelic dunk tank; rather than aiming to recreate a dream or
a hallucination, the intent of “Geronticus…” seems to be to make you wish you never woke up.
Across two short-ish tracks, Creep of Paris serves a noxious stew of big band/church choir/easy
listening schmaltz slathered with nasty tape loops and distortion. Slowed-down voices grumble at
frequencies aimed directly at a listener’s guts, awash in static and malevolent silences. Melodic
radio excisions, looping grunts, and wrong-speed pop songs (notably the classic “I Think We’re
Alone Now”) are submerged into tanks of rotten goo and flung provocatively at the speakers. The
“events” here are the dying gulps of decaying music, gasping for air in a filthy pail as some wretch
with a weird rictus watches its struggle. If that sounds like your idea of fun, then you’ll surely enjoy
slathering your skin in this pungent muck. (HS)
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JULIEN DEMOULIN - REVEALED (cassette, private)
So far I had encountered the music of Brussels based electronic musician Julien Demoulin on a
bunch of releases of CD and cassette. Sometimes as Silencio (Vital Weekly 821 and 904), on
which, I believe, he plays the guitar and some releases as Julien Demoulin, for instance with a
mini CDR for Taalem. All of his output verged towards the more ambient side of the musical
spectrum and may or may not use guitars. That seems no longer the case on 'Revealed', as
somewhere along the lines, Demoulin switched from guitar to modular electronics and on this
tape, we find fourteen relative short pieces created with his set-up. Only towards the end of the
second side, there are two long pieces. I am not entirely convinced by this new direction. I
understand why people move towards the use of modular electronics, away from say the use of
the laptop, but, and I noted this before, whenever I see somebody (not all of them, no!) share a
short clip on Facebook it is an impressive array of knobs and they all you hear is 'peep peep'.
Composing, either by laying down a lot of tracks with doodles or 'in action', is not something that
people seem to be doing a lot unless you would call it real-time composing. Demoulin is no
different. Especially in his shorter pieces he seems to be exploring possibilities that sounds have
but doesn’t seem to be interested that much in composing with the material. They are more or
less random sounds, put together because one can. The longer pieces seem to slow down a bit
and are not the hasty pasty affairs, but here he reaches out for a more drone end of sound (not
necessarily quiet drones) and that works much better, I thought. Perhaps it forecasts something
he should explore more in the future, I think. (FdW)
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We know Torsten Papenheim mainly for his work on the guitar as part of Rant (see Vital Weekly
783 and 549 for instance), but for me, this tape is the first time I get to hear solo work from him.
Each side has one piece and these were created in 2010 and have been performed all over
Europe. Papenheim says, "The sets are compositions, re-improvisations, concerts, performances,
sound installations - all at once". Now was the time to a proper recording of them. Both works are
about "time and repetition, subtle changes and harsh contrasts". 'Tracking' is a piece for tapes and
minidiscs and 'Racking' is for guitar and objects. It is not difficult to see time, repetition, subtle
changes and harsh contrasts in both pieces. The opening of ‘Tracking’ is a loud noise of what
seems to be distorted guitars (but are they guitars? Maybe captured on minidisc, I'd say) and
halfway through the piece the sound dies out and now we find on the minidiscs and tapes the
sound of a piano and towards the end there are a few field recordings.. Captured on a bunch of
those and using the loop function on the minidisc they move irregular and not in strict precision.
The sound is all-quiet as in very strong contrast with the opening half. In 'Racking' Papenheim
strums the guitar slowly and repeatedly, the same closed chord/strings, but doing subtle variations
in tempo and, later on, also slightly different chords. There is no other sounds and this goes, but
slowly he opens his hand and allows for a bit of sustain and the sound also goes down in volume
a bit. Here the contrast is less sharp, and way more gradually taking place. Quite a beast, this
one. (FdW)
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