number 1213
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week 52
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MAX EASTLEY & FERGUS KELLY & MARK WASTELL - THE MAP IS NOT THE TERRITORY (CD
 by Confront Recordings) *
MIKE COOPER & MARK WASTELL - SOUND MIRRORS (CD by Confront Recordings) *
BASS COMMUNION / FREIBAND - VL TONES (3CD by Tonefloat) *
CHRISTINE ABDELNOUR & JOACHIM NORDWALL - A HIGHER STATE OF BODY AND MIND
 (CD by Firework Edition Records) *
ASUNA & JAN JELINEK - SIGNALS BULLETIN (LP by Faitiche) *
CASIOTONE COMPILATION 8 (3"CD by Ao To Ao)
LABELSPOT: KURZWELLEN *
L'ECLIPSE NUE – HARTFORD (CDR by Love Earth Music) *
GERONIMO ARAFAT // BREN'T LEWIIS ENSEMBLE - INTRO TO OWL TRANQUILIZERS (CDR by
 Coma †‡† Kultur) *
SEXTONMINGS PORRIDGE VAN/CROMLECH SHADOW (CDR by Coma †‡† Kultur)
PEDRO CHAMBEL - THE UNCERTAIN PATH TOWARDS INDIFFERENCE (CDR by Glistening
 Examples) *
BANI HAYKAL - THIS IS YOU GLITHCING MY DEATH (cassette by Hasana Editions) *
MIKI YUI - WIGA WIGA/WIGA WIGA WIGA (cassette by Hasana Editions) *
KATE CARR - HEATWAVE (cassette by Hasana Editions) *
ANGELO VICENTE JR - MISE EN TROPE (cassette by Important Drone Records) *
AUSLAND - EMPIRE (cassette by Important Drone Records) *
FRITZ PAPE - DICHOTOMY (cassette by Important Drone Records) *
EARTH TRUMPET & MIDWICH - THE INTEGRITY OF THE VEHICLE (cassette by Steep Gloss) *
MICHAEL IDEHALL - MARAX (Digital, self-released) *



MAX EASTLEY & FERGUS KELLY & MARK WASTELL - THE MAP IS NOT THE TERRITORY (CD
 by Confront Recordings)
MIKE COOPER & MARK WASTELL - SOUND MIRRORS (CD by Confront Recordings)

The common thing here between both releases is not just the presence of Mark Wastell, but also
the fact that both are improvisations recorded in a studio. The first is a trio Wastell did with Fergus
Kelly on "invented instruments, found metals and electronics" and Max Eastley on "Arc (electro-
acoustic monochord)", while the host plays tam tam, metal percussion and piano frame. I have no
idea what they recorded that day. Was it one long session? Multiple takes? I do know it was cut
down into eight pieces of music, somewhere between two and almost thirteen minutes. Max
Eastley might be the most well-known name here, due to his work with David Toop in the Obscure
Records series (a long time ago), I must admit I am not that familiar with what he does these days.
Fergus Kelly, on the other hand, is quite often in these pages as is Mark Wastell. This is the sort
of work that I would expect the latter two to deliver. It is quiet and introspective, with a strong
emphasis on overtones, slowly decaying beyond the point of audibility; music of small gestures
played on unusual instruments, repeated so they sound like a loop, but it isn't, along with similar
small electronic sounds, sometimes sparkling on top of that. It is quiet music, but it is not ambient
music per se. Turn up the volume a bit more and you will be able to explore a whole world of
sound that might get lost when played at a lower volume. 'Seizure Of Light' is a fine example of
such a piece; feedback moves, bell sounds, the small crackling of objects and it reminded me of
early 90s Organum, but gentler, yet ending on a denser note. This is a great album.
           How different, then, is the album Wastell recorded with Mike Cooper. This time Wastell plays
a 'Paiste 32" tam tam, percussion and Shruti box" and Cooper is credited for playing "lap steel
guitar, electronics". Also recorded in a single day and again, I have no idea if one long session
was cut down to various tracks or if there were various sessions. The difference is in the
improvisations. While the trio disc seems to me to be all atmosphere and mood, even in its
sometimes more unsettling moments, here they improvise more classically. Scratching,
strumming, hitting, adding a bit of pedal work (delay, reverb), this goes on to be a wilder thing
of sometimes uncontrollable sound input, moving with great haste back and forth and throughout
louder than we are accustomed to from Wastell. It took me some time to get into this. Not that I
didn't like it at first, but my mindset was in a different place, I guess. They sometimes know how
to rock, which is a bit of a shock, I guess. Once settled in the right frame of mind, I quite enjoyed
this release, every time I played it a bit more. Perhaps for me a bit too much free improvisation
 at times, but when they close up and go for a more concentrated condensed interaction it works
well. This is a show to put on the road. (FdW)
––– Address: https://www.confrontrecordings.com/


BASS COMMUNION / FREIBAND - VL TONES (3CD by Tonefloat)

The Casio VL-1 synthesizer is probably best known for being featured prominently in Trio's hit
song "Da Da Da", showcasing one of its preset rhythms accompanied by the 'piano' voice. Even
with a lot of imagination the VL-1 is not a particularly 'cool' instrument – although it just may have
been, but more as a novelty back in the day (in the way that perhaps the Teenage Engineering
instruments are nowadays). Nevertheless, it has been used, often tongue-in-cheek, on tons of
productions ever since its release in 1979. Love it or hate it, its sound is quite distinct and highly
recognisable.
    In late 2018 Frans de Waard was asked to record a series of one-minute pieces for Asuna's
Ao To Ao label, with the additional restriction that each of these pieces should be a joint effort with
 a past collaborator of his. With a couple of cooperative releases in their back catalogue, an
alliance with Steven Wilson - Bass Communion - was easily established and soon the latter
provided De Waard with several tracks of which eventually only one was used for the compilation.
    Still, instead of shelving the rest of these tracks, De Waard proposed to use them as source
material for another collaborative release and after some time of sending material back and forth
the two had generated a couple of hours of material.
    Kicking off with the first disc, a thing that struck me is that only on the original one-minute
pieces the distinctive VL tones are clearly audible. On most of the other tracks the sound is
processed to such an extent that it is highly unlikely that even a connoisseur would attribute it to
the VL-1 (or possibly even to a synth). The opus is quite a diverse listen. There is a lot of eerie,
occasionally abrasive ambient from Freiband; atmospheric pieces that seem to depict the
stylised decay of electronic organisms, the by-products hidden in the nooks and crannies of
electronic half-life. It almost feels like a eulogy to the unstable elements of vintage electronics.
    Meanwhile, on the first CD, some of the Bass Communion tracks seem to incorporate and
emphasise the rhythmic VL-1 elements a bit more. Especially a track like “BC-hybrid-2” is
vaguely reminiscent of the early work of Oval in its soothing repetitiveness - though much more
than Oval it shows clear development in its compositional structure. Wilson's tracks are overall
a lot more bass-heavy, which then brings about a well-balanced contrast between for instance
the meditative tectonic movement of "BC Hybrid Mix 2v3" that comes after the dense tension of
the Freiband piece "Hybrid 18". This is subsequently an example of how, despite its diversity,
the selection and sequencing of the pieces seems to be aimed at finding a balance between
these two alternative approaches to the base material and shows a clear marksmanship - which
I guess is only to be expected from the two veterans. The second disc sees a continuation of
these practices with some of the pieces being cut off quite abruptly, which is something I felt
added power to the track sequence.
    All in all, this made me think back to discovering the work of Pan Sonic. Not necessarily in
terms of sound, but the way in which Väisänen and Vainio managed to unite such sonic and
musical extremes into iconic works of adept unity. Other records with stylistically similar tracks
could have left me unmoved, but by the time I had finished listening to the first and second VL
Tones disc it dawned on me that next to the fact that the pieces offer a wide variety of captivating
ambiences, it is very much the cohesion of this work that makes it stand out, brilliantly. (PJN)
––– Address: https://tonefloat.com/2019/11/07/bass-communion-freiband-vl-tones/



CHRISTINE ABDELNOUR & JOACHIM NORDWALL - A HIGHER STATE OF BODY AND MIND
 (CD by Firework Edition Records)

Here we have a work of improvisation in which two radical minds meet up. There is Christine
Abdelnour, player of the alto saxophone and a much-seen guest on stages for improvised music
and Joachim Nordwall, player of all things electronics; I am not sure what it is these days, but I
would not be surprised if these days it is all modular synthesizer for him. Abdelnour uses unusual
techniques to play her instrument and as such, she is quite a good match for Nordwall. While one
would normally think that Nordwall's music is to be found in the world of loud drones, here he
adjusts his knobs and gear to suit the more chopped-up playing on the alto saxophone. Many
times that instrument doesn't sound like an alto saxophone, but takes on the shape of something
else. Just what it is I don't know. Maybe the output of the alto saxophone is fed through the
machines controlled by Nordwall; or maybe he just follows the course she sets out with his
playing; short when needed, long(r) when necessary. It starts in a very subtle way with the first
ten minutes hardly hovering about audible levels but after that, it is a full-on presence and they
go for some heavily controlled yet dirty sound. It peeps and bursts, but the pressure is on; there
is no explosion of distortion and noise; it is something that the music seems to suggest it could
do, but it doesn't and that's the beauty of it. Less adventurous improvisers, or perhaps those
without good skills would perhaps let it all and take off in a distorted ending (plenty of that I
heard over the years), but there is no such thing here. There is a drone element in the final
section, pushing gently but firmly against the eardrums, making a final gesture; this is forty-
minutes of pleasant uneasy music. (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.fireworkeditionrecords.com/



ASUNA & JAN JELINEK - SIGNALS BULLETIN (LP by Faitiche)
CASIOTONE COMPILATION 8 (3"CD by Ao To Ao)

So far I have seen three concerts by Asuna from Japan. The first involved him playing 100 small
keyboards, the second a lot of toys spread over a surface which he played with golf balls (so it
seems) like a pinball machine and last week he dabbled with toys, candy and randomness. All
three of concerts showed him worked with acoustic sounds, partly amplified, versatile, minimal
and small but with a great impact on the listener. Well, this listener, anyway. Here he has a
record, which he recorded between 2014 and 2017 with Jan Jelinek. I must admit I lost track
of what Jelinek does some time ago. I guess it all comes down with not receiving the promo's, I
guess. I know that a long time ago, maybe ten to fifteen years ago, his laptop music moved
towards a more jazzy style, but how it evolved from thereon, I have no idea. From the cover notes,
I understand that these days Jelinek works with modular synthesizers in combination with live
sampling and that's where things work on this record. Asuna providing a continuous sound, a
drone if you will, and Jelinek the rhythmic backdrop. Asuna's love for small keyboards, especially
if these are made by Casio (I'll get back to that), but also motor-driven wind organs (of the
Bontempi brand I would assume), is a strong presence on this record. It opens with a powerful
moody drone piece, 'Relief Pt 1', which is a looped organ drone with a fine bass on regular
intervals. It is all very atmospheric. On the same side there is also 'Pulsatin Primary Structure',
a piece of nervous looping of bell-like sounds (Asuna's toy collection, I would think), and
bouncing pulsing dry beats; this reminded me of Oval. 'Fountain', opening on the second side,
is the shortest piece and a fine mood piece for unusual electronics sweeping and oscillating.
With 'How A Spiral Works', the hectic returns, again sounding like Oval (a long time ago at least),
but there is a pleasant melodic element in there. The final piece is 'Blinking Of Countless Lines',
starting in a very deep bass hum and slowly all sorts of drones evolve from there. As more layers
arrive, the whole tone changes from dark to light, and indeed there seem to be many countless
lines. This is an excellent record! Highly varied in approaches and moods, this is a true winner.
           Asuna's love for the Casio brand of keyboards and apparatus borders on preaching the
gospel. Brand new is the 8th compilation of twenty-one tracks on a mini-CD (a format you sadly
don't see a lot anymore). Here Asuna asks his comrades to create music that deals with a Casio
machine but not exclusively that; one is allowed to add other instruments or sounds. Best known
is perhaps the VL 1 (from Trio's 'Da Da Da' hit in the early 80's, maybe), but over the years Casio
made a whole range of machines, synthesizers, samplers (clocks, calculators etc.) and the tracks
here are named after the machine(s) used, which made me Google a few types that I never heard
of listed here (and found this site: https://soundprogramming.net/keyboards/casio/, which made
think that Asuna could do a compilation using all of these keyboards). When Asuna handed me
this copy we went over all the names, told me who they were, but it was late at night, so I forgot
some of the backgrounds. The presence of improviser Steve Beresford is a pleasant surprise;
Celer, JaDa (Jan van den Dobbelsteen and Danielle Lemaire, firm Asuna promoters in The
Netherlands), Zea and Alexander Rishaug were names I still recognize. Also included are Lucky
Old Man, De Batteries, Tumulus, Nuslux, Crazypokyu, Rima Kato & Ten Tote, KM:, Lavender
Pillow and many more. The variation is a big here, from all-out weird pop music of Lucky Old
Man or Tumulus (where it was hard to recognize any Casio at all), drones by Celer, Niko
Karlsson, the feedback by Beresford and some of the well-known rhythm of the VL-1 by Jeremy
Boyle and JaDa or Bertek Tycinski and Piotr Zabrodzki; sometimes you regret they are so brief
and sometimes it isn't that bad at all. Onto the next volume! Casio will be forty years next year, so
maybe time for a special one? (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.faitiche.de
––– Address: https://sites.google.com/site/aotoao3inch/



LABELSPOT: KURZWELLEN

Last year, in the final issue of the year, I spend words on various box set releases and this year I
want to spend a few words on records from one specific label, which I recently obtained, though
none are necessarily very new. I do this just because I can, to be honest. In the past months I have
been preparing (little advertisement coming on now) a 500+ page book, which will be a complete
reprint of Vital, the fanzine I published from 1986-1995, all 44 issues (and yes, I know, the most
repeated answer of next year will be; 'yes, indeed there are over 1200 issues of Vital Weekly but
that's an online publication, these are 44 issues of a fanzine that was Xeroxed in the late ’80s,
early 90’s, so an entirely different thing'). In those fanzines, I used to have a label spot, in which I
detailed some information on a label and highlighted some releases.
           Recently I was, out of a pure and private interest mind you, looking into the various releases
I collected over the years of Steven Wilson's Bass Communion project. The guitar rock hero with a
wide musical taste and his special corner for music he creates labelled as 'dark ambient'. My
'collection' lacked a few things and one was an LP released by Kurzwellen, a slightly mysterious
label from... well... The Netherlands, perhaps? They are being distributed through Tonefloat from
Rotterdam. I remembered that Wilson once pointed me towards this label (Vital Weekly 815) as
he told me back then he's a big fan of the label and their eighth release has some of Bass
Communion. I decided to spend my Christmas bonus on all the records I hadn't heard. So,
Kurzwellen, what's that about? I assume named after the Stockhausen composition of the same
name, this is a label for old school industrial music. All releases are packed in a large fold-out
poster, with collages from newspapers and it looks a bit like Crass Records without the
sloganeering. There is, beyond band names and track titles, no further information. It may look
old, it may sound old, but I bet it isn’t. This an enterprise by some people, of whom Steven Wilson
says 'they are some well-know musicians working anonymously' but what do I know, it could also
be someone with a multiple artist disorder working under a plethora of names, who took the
wide template of 'industrial music' and created their tunes, using a bit better equipment than a
cheap microphone and two cassette players as did many of the 80’s players in this field. Names
are invented here that you never see anywhere else (the best indicator for an undercover
project) and these too are from the industrial template; Precision Surgery, The Savage Morality,
Necrosis I, that sort of thing. There is even a compilation with further names as Bijoux Urbain,
Anarkhos, Bildung Control, Heinrich Roder, Deadstate, Chihuahua and Michael France. As for
musical examples, they cast their net wide and found inspiration in Throbbing Gristle, Ramleh,
Whitehouse, Maurizio Bianchi and Esplendor Geometrico; the early Esplendor that is.
           The early releases see Precision Surgery doing their bit, which goes all over the place;
few harsh power electronics, some very distorted guitars, the minimalist rhythms and the voices
are hidden well below in the mix, while Necrosis I is inspired by Maurizio Bianchi in it's a
bleakest and minimalist phase. On 'Kurzwellen 2' we find both of these projects working together,
but leaning towards Precision Surgery brought to the table on 'Kurzwellen 1'. What is of interest
here is that there is a keen eye for detail in the music; something that was not present in the early,
murky world of cassettes back then. The Savage Morality ('Kurzwellen 3') there is another avenue
of old school industrial music to be explored and that is that of heavy rhythm, say the early
Esplendor Geometrico. The rhythm is fed through some ring modulators, along with more
distorted voices (radio? someone singing), while power electronics is more the thing for the
second side here. For Precision Surgery on 'Kurzwellen 4', there is a bit of early Throbbing Gristle
inspired bending of the violin and/or other stringed instruments, while on the second side the
beats lean towards a Casio inspired techno beat, again Esplendor Geometrico should be an
obvious point of reference. The 'Lebensborn' compilation ('Kurzwellen 5') shows all of these
interests in shorter pieces. Of note here are the two pieces that sound distinctly different and
that's Heinrich Roder's very ambient piece and Michael France's quasi musique concrete voice
manipulation. That too was something we found on those early cassettes; all those people who
started a study to two Pierre's (Schaeffer and Henry).
           There is no 'Kurzwellen 6' as far as I know (maybe that too is part of the process of
obscuring?) and number seven and eight are connected. Here Precision Surgery does their bit
of noise again but when it comes to beats there has been a serious upgrade towards a more '90s
inspired sound; minimal, bass drum-heavy and highly atmospheric; no doubt inspired by Pan
Sonic. In the Bass Communion remixes on 'Kurzwellen 8' that becomes even more apparent. I
told you Wilson is a big fan of the label and no doubt his presence will bring some more attention
(oh that worked just fine here with me, of course) to the label and his remixes are not unlike his
'Cenotaph' release (Vital Weekly 803). It tops off a fine day of good ol' power electronics. It all
sounded to me like a genuine tribute to a fine music genre, leaving out some of the crap that
came with back in the day (the unnecessary porno, Aleister Crowley and Charles Manson) and
all of these are still available (all released in the last 6 years or so); a bit late this review for
boxing day, but next year? One day it will leak out who did these releases, the prices will rocket
and you'll be too late. (FdW)
––– Address: https://tonefloat.com/releases/



L'ECLIPSE NUE – HARTFORD (CDR by Love Earth Music)

This CD from Love Earth Music is by L'Eclipse Nue, Daniel Sine (aka OPR Opco) an industrial/
Noise unit 'concerned primarily with the human experience and all that it contains' only here, in
particular, living in the dystopian crime ravaged the city of Hartford USA. 'The dysfunctional nature
of the city is mirrored in the personal decay of the man himself', I suppose Daniel Sine? So in
terms of human experience, not good ones. The albums cover 'inspired' by a particularly
harrowing experience. 15 tracks, some obvious field recordings from the city, sirens, people
and children's voices... others more industrial eerie sounding electronica. Sometimes as in the
third track a conversation, speech, processed, from actuality or radio, TV, which segues into
harsh noise squeals etc. Or track 12, which is looped and processed conversations. Whilst track
4 has some musical notes set along with background noises and distorted drones... again I guess
the theme is eeriness. At times electronics mixed with unintelligible recorded speech. The CDR is
a sandwich of industrial tracks of between 4 – 7 minutes and shorter field recordings. The danger
here is the element of sci-fi dystopia of industrial soundscapes is nothing like the 'ordinariness' of
life. Especially of lives in which there is little hope or joy other than that arising from narcotics and
crime. An ordinariness of living in deprivation that lacks the romanticism of such industrial
dystopian wastelands. Being critical then, I think it fails, but fails in trying to do something very
difficult, which is to render such nihilism into some form of art. Perhaps a concentration on
specifics, and the use of symbolism which is not so obviously available to the sound artist, unlike
the painter, Guernica comes to mind, symbolic images rendered in the monotones of newspaper
photographs. So for me, the use of atmospheric industrial sounds interspersed with street
recordings didn't work, though how one presents such real cities in decay with sound is difficult.
It is often the individual narratives of those living within such cities that the reality can be
experienced. For instance, the iconic photographs of such deprivation and war become real
when we see the individual face caught up in these events and places. (jliat)
––– Address: http://loveearthmusic.com



GERONIMO ARAFAT // BREN'T LEWIIS ENSEMBLE - INTRO TO OWL TRANQUILIZERS (CDR by
 Coma †‡† Kultur)
SEXTONMINGS PORRIDGE VAN/CROMLECH SHADOW (CDR by Coma †‡† Kultur)

Arnhem is a city not too far away from Nijmegen, where Vital Weekly is based, but sometimes it
seems a world away. Apart from Belchsingersonggrinder there is never much coming our way
(although, good news, Vance Orchestra seems to be together again). Quite to my surprise, I
received these two CDRs with a note, in English, and it seems from a different planet as well. I
understand that Coma Kulture (with three crosses between word Coma and Kultur) is a netlabel
and now also a CDR label. None of the artists here means much to me. The first one is a
collaboration between Geronimo Arafat and Bren't Lewiis Ensemble. The first is a name chosen
by Sinda Koslika who plays Moog synthesizer, computer processing and vocals, while for the
ensemble there are no instruments mentioned, just members; Lucian Tielens, The City
Councilman, Tom Chimpson and Gnarlos. Also mentioned are two locations of recording and
not was responsible for the final mix. Four lengthy pieces, in total sixty minutes, of quite powerful,
noise-based music. Much of it is based on a multitude of synthesizer sounds; all placed on time-
line on the computer in what I would think is a more or less random way and then mixed.
Perhaps the mixing process wasn't in a similar random way and they allow for some repetition
in there, somewhere, somehow yet it is also not shy of some blindfold mixing. It has elements
that return now and then. In the opening piece, 'Washing Dishes To The Glory Of God', also
contains spoken words, looped animal sounds, while other tracks are more along the lines of
industrial music, via loops (a lot of those in 'Perma-Drizzle Freakshow'), feedback and slowed
down tapes (in 'Never-Ending Glovebox Of Hilarity') and a all-out synth festival in 'Are You
Looking For Telescoping Flagpoles?' This means there is quite a bit variation going on here and
not just suited for pure noise heads.
           The other one is a split release between Cromlech Shadow and Sexton Ming's Porridge
Van. The latter are Sexton Ming and Jason Williams. I had not either of them (well of either, to be
honest). They have six tracks of what can be best described as sound collage. Lots of found
sound here, from old vinyl and impromptu talking, maybe between both members here (although
I am not sure) and this could perhaps be seen as a field recording from a mental institution, a
purge or a radio drama. It is not something that blew me away, to be honest. Cromlech Shadow
is a duo of Andy Jarvis and label boss Chandor Glöomy. They also have six pieces and operate in
a less radio dramatic/purge sort of way and go out for a more noise-based treatment of synthesizer
sounds, tape-loops of acoustic sounds and voice material, and theirs is a rather bleak world of
noise, in the fine sense of old school power electronics. That doesn't mean it is all-unnecessary
loud and vicious, as this is hardly harsh noise wall territory, but good, solid rock-on noise stuff.
Just the way we like 'm! (FdW)
––– Address: https://comakultur.bandcamp.com/



PEDRO CHAMBEL - THE UNCERTAIN PATH TOWARDS INDIFFERENCE (CDR by Glistening
 Examples)

The various releases that I reviewed by Pedro Chambel over the years were all collaborations
with other people; mainly Bruno Duplant, who supplied the cover photography here for the
second work by Chambel who "dedicates specifically to the factor of the unforeseen and the
uncertainty (the factors most commonly considered as aleatory) in the construction of sound
material, and in particular in the correlation between the act of composing and the practice of
free improvisation." I am not sure what Chambel does, instrument-wise, but my best guess would
be that there is some sort of set-up at work that involves a laptop, a microphone and some sounds
to get the system moving. The computer is there to alter the parameters of the process and via
some software, it is running random sequences of numbers to alter the sound output. I might be
wrong with these assumptions of course. The music is quite extreme with these piercing high
frequencies making this not an easy listening session; all three pieces, the whole forty-two
minutes. There is yet something quite captivating about the pieces that I enjoyed very much. It is
not that aleatoric aspect of the music, I think, which I thought was not that prominent of a feature,
but the sheer minimalist approach to sound that made it all the more interesting. Whatever
parameters there were for moving this along, the differences seem to be minimal. It sounded like
a field recording being heavily amplified, or some such. It is like being in a very noise rain forest,
or at least that's how I perceive them. This is all quite solid, experimental music. (FdW)
––– Address: https://glisteningexamples.bandcamp.com/



BANI HAYKAL - THIS IS YOU GLITHCING MY DEATH (cassette by Hasana Editions)
MIKI YUI - WIGA WIGA/WIGA WIGA WIGA (cassette by Hasana Editions)
KATE CARR - HEATWAVE (cassette by Hasana Editions)

Looking at this trio of new releases by Indonesian label Hasana Editions, I recognized the name
of Miki Yui, and vaguely reviewing a work by Kate Carr, so I started with the for me unknown
musician Bani Haykal. He is from Singapore and works with installation, poetry, and performance,
that "revolve around modes of interfacing and interaction in feedback/feedforward mechanisms"
and he is "fascinated with the intersection of data politics, music and speculative fiction"; I was
also curious about the title of his release, assuming, perhaps wrongly, it had something to do with
glitch music. Maybe it does but the main ingredient is his voice, singing in various layers around
synthesizers and drum machines. This is in some universe pop music; or at least, I would think it
is. The music and singing are throughout dramatic, verging on the gothic, but also quite electronic.
I enjoy it, to some extent that is, but I realize this is not something for these pages, for I would think
it, despite some of the odder song structures such as in 'Masa Depan', this is all too much (dark)
pop music for these pages.
           Miki Yui is originally from Japan, but since 1994 based in Düsseldorf. Her work is with
sound, visual art (drawing, installation and concerts. I must admit I don't know all her work, but
from what I heard, I believe she has a strong love for 'small sounds'. The two pieces on this
cassette is a fine example of her approach towards these 'small sounds'. It is not easy to say
what these sounds are, and how she generated these sounds. I could think of many possibilities.
Easily the word field recordings come to mind; acoustic objects and sampling seem also a most
adequate approach, along with sound effects, either from analogue machines or digital platforms.
Most likely seems to be a combination of both of those. The result is something quiet, but not un-
demanding. It is also not silent; not throughout that is. Even when both sides of this cassette
sound like one piece, gentle crossfading into the next section, I would think that they are very
much standalone pieces. The variation between the sections seems to be too big to have been
recorded in one take. It is these variations that make this a great release. Going from a few
sounds, quietly lingering about, towards drones with an overall more present feeling, in which
small synth, field recordings and sampled household objects play an equal role, and just as
gentle falls back to a more sparse, percussive pattern.
           More music by Kate Carr, who didn't wait as long as the time before that (there was a
serious gap between Vital Weekly 627 and 1163). Her previous release contained field
recordings made below sea level and this new release sees her recording the city. The city of
London (in the United Kingdom), to be precise and it was during the hot summer of 2019 when
heat records were broken all over Europe. During a hot weekend, she recorded sounds at a
"very busy intersection in London". Recordings of people trying to keep it cool and "the
uneasiness which accompanies these everyday activities in this moment of environmental
crisis", although I am not sure how that is translated in the music. It is good to know all of this
through the information that we find on the website, as perhaps it would not have been clear
from the music itself. Maybe one expects the sounds of refrigerators buzzing, ventilators humming
or the ice cream van sounding, but none of that seems to be the case here. Carr is someone who
takes her field recordings to the computer and transforms them, mostly beyond recognition. I found
it difficult to say what I was hearing on this cassette. Throughout she uses a careful approach
when it comes to the treatments, quietly buzzing and humming away. Surely, I recognized some
street sounds in here, some far away talk of the town, but it is was clouded by treatments. There is
a strong emphasis on the bass sound, making this a somewhat dark release. Maybe Carr is no
fan of a hot summer in a big city? I know I am not. Delicacy is her approach and she does a great
job. It is not about some standard set of plug-ins to alter sounds, not the granular acousmatic
approach, but a rather gentle, minimal laptop sound. Not necessarily something very new, but
this is a mostly lovely release for the cold winter. (FdW)
––– Address: http://hasanaeditions.org/



ANGELO VICENTE JR - MISE EN TROPE (cassette by Important Drone Records)
AUSLAND - EMPIRE (cassette by Important Drone Records)
FRITZ PAPE - DICHOTOMY (cassette by Important Drone Records)

Exactly one year ago Calineczka, the Polish musician living in Spain, started his Important Drone
Records by releasing three cassettes and six months later another three and now again three. It
seems that the turning of seasons is a major influence in that release schedule. In the first batch,
there was a release by Angelo Vicente Jr, who had previous releases online. Now he is back
with two pieces, thirty-six or minutes each. Vicente uses "filtered oscillators of his Serge" and
unlike some of the previous releases I heard from this label the development in this release is
rather quick; although I must admit that 'quick' does not equal a rapid, split-second change of
sound here. Surely he stays within a similar mindset for some minutes before moving on, but
when he is on the move it happens in quite a big way. That gives the music a rather improvised
music feeling, which I thought was most enjoyable. The piece on the first side is called 'Ningen
Shikaku' and is a darker beast with some slightly piercing overtones in the low to mid-range
frequencies. On the other side, there is 'La Chute Dans Le Temps' an almost light piece of more
organ-like drone, moving from dark to light and back again. Most enjoyable this side and
certainly something he should explore more.
           Behind Ausland we find someone, no name, who is also active as Schranke, Libet and
Lux; none of which you ever found in these pages, because all of the releases are to be found
online (at archive.org and Bandcamp). He (?) also has a netlabel, 1834, which is quite prolific
and can also be obtained for free from the same sources. 'Empire' is a fifty-two-minute piece, and
on the second side the piece is repeated (why not stick some other music on there? I don't know
the answer to that). I have no idea how this piece was made and also judging by hearing turned
out to be problematic. I can easily think this some computer-generated sound, slowed down ad
infinitum (well, fifty-two minutes), or a reel-to-reel tape also slowed down. It could altogether also
be some kind of analogue synthesizer process of some field recordings of hiss, rain, street
sounds (you fill in the rest). It is very slow music and very dark. Unlike some of the releases on
this label, this drone isn't a pure sine wave oscillating thing slowly exploring but a rather dark
ambient humming affair. The occasional 'click' means the loop starts again, I think and perhaps
in every phase, there is some form minor, microscopic change. This was quite the perfect backdrop
on a quiet dark day before Christmas.
           Also from Fritz Pape, I never heard. He's from America and also known as Zijnzijn Zijnzijn!
"The first one entitled "()" played on analogue, the second one ")(" on digital oscillators" is the
information at hand here. On the first side, the quality of the sound reminded me of a guitar being
fed through a long line of pedals and it had that fine drone-rock quality, without going anywhere
specifically if you get my drift. It stayed within that fine stasis of being and not moving for forty
minutes. The other side at first seems also stay within the same frame for some time, but as these
forty minutes evolve there is a clear shift in the sound. Here I had very little idea what it sounded
like; for all, I know this could have been the digitally processed sound of a dishwasher. That may
sound demeaning, but rest assured, it is not. I very much enjoy this sort of sound, be it quiet as
with Ausland or somewhat louder as Pape does. The fact that there is very little change is just
right up my alley; not all the time of course, but I like these afternoons where you can play three
of these cassettes, all small variations in the vast sea of different drones and meanwhile keep
on reading. I am sure other people can think of other activities while hearing this kind of music
and whatever way the music serves, it does it pretty well. (FdW)
––– Address: http://importantdronerecords.bandcamp.com/



EARTH TRUMPET & MIDWICH - THE INTEGRITY OF THE VEHICLE (cassette by Steep Gloss)

In Vital Weekly 1203, I reviewed a release by Stuart Chalmers and See Monsd, and write that the
latter is a project by Rob Hayler, who we once knew as Midwich and that I had not heard that
name in a long time. Of Earth Trumpet, which is a trio of Rachel Lowden, Clarence Manuelo and
Irmgard Mann here, I heard once, when I reviewed a CD in Vital Weekly 337, but then it seemed
a project by one L. Coleman. Currently, Discogs lists both Coleman and Manuelo as members,
even when the releases where in the early years of the century. According to the information
here, the music was recorded a decade ago and now "rescued from under the floorboards where
it was wrapped in an advert for garage equipment. Now polished to a sheen, this preposterous
epic is the perfect gift for all lovers of bewildering asymmetry", as it says on Bandcamp. There
are no instruments mentioned on the cover and the three pieces are quite diverse, so it's not easy
to say what it is they do. My best guess would be that the four players have a variety of acoustic
objects, electric instruments (guitars are surely part of the game plan) and assorted electronics
at their disposal. As said it works out differently. In the side-long 'lucrative maintenance
opportunities!' there is a loose approach to composition to be noted in which everybody has
their place and there is some random approach to mixing highly different and opposing sound
elements. The two pieces on the other side take a more drone route. 'Owner's Actual Driving
Pattern!' is of the two a more guitar drone piece and Midwich' synth/drone providing a lighter
counterpart, whereas 'We Eliminate The Burden Of Hunting Through Paper!' is a more delicate
Shruti box-like drone piece with a percussive/acoustic loop and repeating distortion. If I had to
compare this to anything I would say this no doubt in some way inspired by Nurse With Wound;
it has to do with that combination electronics, acoustics, a bit of drone, a bit of guitar and some
collage cutting and pasting of recordings to sufficiently pleasure and being chaotic at the same
time. (FdW)
––– Address: https://steepgloss.bandcamp.com/



MICHAEL IDEHALL - MARAX (Digital, self-released)

After last year saw the release of the excellent box set "Four Prophecies" on the rising dark
mammoth that is the Cloister Recordings, this time it is a Patreon-exclusive release by ever-
evolving multi-disciplinary artist Michael Idehall that landed on my doorstep. With about 24
minutes on the clock I suppose we should consider this work to be mini-album or EP, but
honestly, who has clear definitions for this, moreover, does it even matter for digital releases
nowadays? All in all, I’ve always felt that this is a proper length for works in certain genres,
notably the harsher ones. Nice and concise. And nice it is indeed.
    Opener "The Devil's Pilgrimage" drags us relentlessly through the undulating moat
surrounding a distorted, dim obelisk. Idehall's trademark incantations fill the space that is left
and before there's time to recognise what is going on, we've jumped into "Star of Moloch".
Coercive distorted patterns slap us around the room in an almost death industrial kind of
fashion, until the track dissolves into a strident ambient vista, not unlike the best Archon Satani
had to offer.
    ABRA HAD ABRA - the longest track of the set - cranks up the distortion again and guides us
through passageways of sputtering machinery, while a repetitive voice compels us to move
forward. Shortly after, the scene is transmuted into an almost anthemic stomper that is as
hypnotic as it is punishing.
    The second part of "The Devil's Pilgrimage" takes us back to the rapid rippling of distorted
waves; breakers that consist of shreds of abstruse whispers this time around. And again there's
Idehall's commanding voice that guides us through the process until we suddenly hit the fifth
and penultimate track "Into a World of Overtures". Erratic scraps of percussion and modulated
wisps of synth flow together into a visceral torrent of pulsating surges and high-end haphazardry.
Finally, "The Bull King" clearly crowns this release with its cyclopean, or even monumental mass.
The track also undoubtably shows Idehall in his element and, to my ears, at his best.
    One could, due to its Patreon paywall status, expect this to be a 'fan release' only - meaning
that it will likely only appeal to the initiated. However, it is easily as potent as his acclaimed
Ant-Zen and Beläten output, which then makes one seriously wonder why this is not available
out there on a lovely piece of vinyl somewhere. I would recommend this to anyone whose
interests lie in darker electronics, not just Idehall fans, but then the irony is that the key to
unlocking this arcane opus is to become the latter. (PJN)


 


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