number 1219
week 6


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DAVE PHILLIPS - POST HOMO SAPIENS (CD by Attentuation Circuit) *
ROGER TELLIER-CRAIG - ETUDES (CD by Second Editions) *
EFRAIN ROZAS - I ENJOY THE WORLD (LP by Futura Resistenza)
OCCUPIED HEAD - STEADY (CDR by Wet Dreams Records) *
  Edgetone Records) *
DASPO - SAMENREIS (CDR by Setola Do Maiale) *
+DOG+ - DIE ROBOT (CDR by Love Earth Music) *
NOBUKA - DISSOLVE E.P. (cassette by Barreuh Records) *
V3STA - YORGAS HELMET - GENE (cassette by Q.P Records) *
LEITMOTIV LIMBO - MINIMAL SPHERE (cassette by Servataguse Muusika)
FEAR DROP 18 (magazine and CD)


The press text lists an old quote from me about Vitor Joaquim, "an electro-acoustic version of
dub music", which I do not remember writing and also not the music. After twenty-five years there
is no longer a very good memory. It is not something I would say about this new album. Joaquim,
I know best from his work with @C and his love for all things laptop. That, I think, is still the case
here, even when the cover lists 'piano, voice, keyboards, electronics, singer table, guitar, hiss,
humming, crackling' as sound sources, as well as samples from a bunch of other sources,
including a short wave radio, stylophone and music from Bizet. All of this goes into the computer
and there is a variety of methods at his disposal to alter these sounds. Not always beyond
recognition; there are quite some levels in that approach, which is quite nice. Sometimes the
classical music shines through here, but then as it was recorded on a wax roll. It is hissy, loopy,
glitchy but not rhythmically and very laptoppy. It is, essentially, a throwback to the good old' years
of laptop music and, I predict this for some time now, I see a comeback of that sort of thing. I might
be wrong, of course, and these are just a few people still doing this sort of thing. The great beauty
of this new release by Vitor Joaquim lies in the ambient character of the music. It's not nervous,
glitchy laptop music, but quite gentle with a great sense of tension buried beneath it all. This like
a soundtrack-like album for a road movie through an empty desert. Desolated but not without its
pleasures. (FdW)
––– Address:

DAVE PHILLIPS - POST HOMO SAPIENS (CD by Attentuation Circuit)

Hot on the heels of his LP 'Sixth Mass Extinction' Dave Phillips now releases 'Post Homo Sapiens';
more music (sixty-six minutes) and less text; it is about insects and how they are among the
earliest species on earth and how they evolve and how we, humans, could learn from that. The
music comes with two instructions, "play loud" and "as one listening session". That last one is
easily done and something I always do, but the first one comes at the wrong moment. The
downstairs neighbour in this ancient, no-isolation house, asked if the volume could be down a bit.
Headphones are not my thing, not always, but it helped here. There are six pieces on this release
and four of them are well over eleven minutes. Of interesting note here is that Phillips made a
small yet significant change in his compositional approach. His music is loud, that it still is, but
sometimes works with abrupt changes and cuts. A door slamming, a burst, cracking. Here, in
these six pieces, this is hardly the case. In each of them there is an ongoing sound to be noted
that gradually changes throughout the piece, but not via an abrupt cut. In his pieces, Pillips uses
a lot of heavily amplified field recordings, heavily processed voices (his voice, but also from Agata
Krawczyk and Luzia Rasu) adding a creepy element to the music. It sounds like an element of
horror, but not in a Hollywood entertainment sort of thing, but the urgency of our environment.
There is also room for piercing electronics, feedback and deep bass rumble. 'Stridulated Requiem
For Homo Sapiens' starts with a deep and slow bass drum, before piercing electronics set in; it is
the loudest piece on the CD. My favourite is 'Hydrotropism / Heliotropism', which is quieter,
spookier and with cracking and crackling field recordings sounding like Etant Donnes, circa 'Bleu',
but then slightly more musical; strange as that might sound. All in all, I thought this was quite a
surprise and another excellent CD. (FdW)
––– Address:


In Vital Weekly 1217, I discussed the release by John Chantler, the synthesizer player based in
Sweden but originally from Australia with Steve Noble and Seymour Wright. Now it is time for
work with Johannes Lund, who plays the bass saxophone. This is their second release as a duo;
I have not heard the first one. The music was developed as part of a residency in rural Sweden
and each piece was recorded in a different space. The titles tell you where; 'Back Of The House',
'Open Field & Forest' and 'Under Barn Floor'. How that worked with electricity is something to
wonder about another time. The cover also tells us that Chantler played the pump organ. The
first piece is a strong opening piece of nervous tones from the saxophone, all of which are close
together, set against this big, wailing drone wash from the pump organ and electronic textures
erected by Chantler. This is a massive piece of music. Outside they arrive at something entirely
different. With five minutes this is the shortest pieces and it seems like an airy drone picked up
from afar; when that stops we hear the saxophone and birds in what also seems a remote space.
The longest piece is at the end (it is the second side of the LP version that is also available) and
for me, it's the highlight of the release; it is a curve going up, to be honest. There is an excellent
mysterious quality of this piece. It crackles and hisses as if there is somebody crushing leaves
between their fingers and there is the drone produced by the long-held tones of Lund and the far
away, vaguely cosmic synthesizer approach of Chantler. It all ends when the music slowly dies
out and we get a snapshot of the environment with a recording of a car passing. This I thought
was an excellent release, a fine meeting of some great improvising minds. (FdW)
––– Address:


What to expect from the founding member of Fly Pan Am, Et Sans, Set Fire Flames and Le
Revelateur? And what to expect from a record called 'Etudes'? I was thinking something that
involved the piano and perhaps a bit of guitar, next to some electronics. Roger Tellier-Craig likes
to have an entirely different approach and that is one big surprise. [wiki] "An étude meaning 'study'
is an instrumental musical composition, usually short, of considerable difficulty, and designed to
provide practice material for perfecting a particular musical skill. The tradition of writing études
emerged in the early 19th century with the rapidly growing popularity of the piano." Maybe there
is a piano used in these four pieces, but if it is, we can longer recognize it. Tellier-Craig takes it to
the computer and starts playing around with it over there and he does that to such as extent that
we no longer recognize the 88 black and white keys; of course, it is such an instrument that he
uses here. In the four pieces (total length: fifty-one minutes) he plays around with these sounds
as much as he likes to surprise us with total and near silence, within a single piece. The silence
that easily takes up more than a few seconds, and then something else happens. To prove Vital
Weekly is not written in chronological order, this is the third time this week that I think about the
world of laptop music from twenty years ago. This new album by Tellier-Craig is not quite that; it
doesn't follow classic lines of hiss, glitches, cracks and cuts but is more in the realm of modern
musique concrete, but then without the all too obvious glissandi of granular synthesizes moving
about. The silences may indicate moments of rest; for the composer, for the listener, who knows?
Maybe the act as breaks within pieces and each of the four etudes is a combination of various
smaller etudes? This is a beautiful record as well as it a most surprising one. All the expectations
were shattered, even when coming up with something quite experimental wasn't the biggest
surprise. If you like or remember the old Roel Meelkop or Marc Behrens albums; this is right up
there in terms of sound treatment and compositional approach. (FdW)
––– Address:


Frederic Galiay, who is new to me, presents a new album by his ensemble Chamćleo Vulgaris:
Antoine Viard (electrified baritone saxophone), Jean-Sébastien Mariage (electric guitar), Julien
Boudart (analogue synthesizer), Sébastien Brun & Franck Vaillant (drums, acoustic and
electronic percussion sets) and Galiay himself on electric bass. Except for Franck Vaillant – a
very active force in the French scene of experimental music - the names didn’t ring a bell. Galiay
started Chamćleo Vulgaris in 1989. At the base, it is a duo with Jean-Sebastien Mariage, with
different associated musicians over the years. Since 1997 they released three albums. Third
album ‘Reset’ (2011) had to wait a long time for its successor. But it was worthwhile waiting, as
‘Time Elleipsis’ is an intriguing album. It is one lengthy composition, a suite in seven parts of 58
minutes length and composed by Galiay while travelling Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar during
autumn 2016, taking inspiration from ceremonies of Theravada Buddhism and diverse animistic
practices. It is a work of orchestral proportions. It is a kind of doom drone jazz if this category
exists. They are heading somewhere in the same universe as the long-defunct group Shub
Niggurath. They create long extended noisy sound textures; slowly moving patterns, sometimes
driven by a slow beat; very dark and sinister music of deep sonorities. They succeed very well in
keeping the music captivating. Slowly but with a burning intensity, they built their massive
constructions of multi-layered sounds and noise. Sometimes the music is almost ‘ritualistic’ –
without the irritating pathos - what may be due to the Asiatic sensibilities Galiay integrated into
his composition and it is truly fascinating and impressive work. Released by the Swedish-French
Ayler label focused on improvised music as well as other experimental music. (DM)
––– Address:


Since last week Vital Weekly has a new section in which we put music that we receive but frankly,
we shouldn't. Since I don't want it to be lost, I mention their existence by quoting part of the online
information. Bolt Records from Poland do a lot to promote modern classical music, but also the
history of electronic music in their country. The latter releases are right up our alley, the first
maybe not. I moved one of the new ones below, and these other three I must admit I also have
quite a hard time. The first two deal with the piano player Jakub Sokolowski. On one disc he
performs compositions by Szabolcs Esztenyi and on the other also by Andrzej Biezan. The other
disc is by Sokolowski and Pawel Stasiewicz. Let me explain.
           On 'Creative Music', we find three of Esztenyi's compositions, performed twice; He performs
three and Sokolowski the other three. "Creative Music is a cycle of open and semi-improvised
pieces characterised by unique technique and sensitivity", and he composed these pieces to be
performed by himself. Four of the six pieces sound like modern classical music, department of
solo piano music. Surely some parts of it, maybe all, leave room for interpretation or improvisation,
as they differ quite a bit. It is good music, but not my cup of tea. However, both versions of 'Creative
Music No 4' are something that I enjoyed very much. Maybe it is because these pieces were for
'piano and tape', but here there is an interesting, additional electro-acoustic aspect in the music.
Maybe there are also some extended techniques in play, in which the piano strings and wood
are also used. It is also a piece that has the same length in both executions. I enjoyed Szabolcs
Esztenyi's version a little bit more, but I am not sure why. Maybe it sounded a bit more intense?
           The other CD contains three pieces composed by Andrezej Biezan and one composition,
'Creative Music', in his memory, performed by Szabolcs Esztenyi and Jakub Sokolowski. "The
music of Andrzej Bieżan is usually associated with improvisation, with his versatile work in
intuitive music and his compositions for magnetic tape created at the Experimental Studio of
Polish Radio. However, in the Bieżan archive, carefully maintained by his sister, Ewa Bieżan,
one can find many sketches as well as finished instrumental and vocal compositions which
utilize both traditional and graphic notation." The three pieces are again more traditional modern
classical music and it is way beyond Vital Weekly to say anything about it. However, again,
'Creative Music (in memoriam Andrzej Biezan)', is another fine piece of piano and a few
electronics played here by Sokolowski. It is sparse, yet an intense piece of microtonal changes.
           And finally, a release that is very much in our cosy little world; a duet between Jakub
Sokolowski (piano, inner piano) and visual artist Paweł Stasiewicz (inner piano, objects). They
focus "on the presentation of the unlimited sound possibilities of total piano and the dramaturgical
consequences of the use of graphic notation". This modern classical music meeting electro-
acoustic music; even when it's probably more acoustic than electro. In the opening piece, 'Er',
there is a fine, rattling sounds in which the totality of the piano is used by both players in a very
rhythmical way. Almost like a piece of percussion. That approach is also something that is going
on in the other pieces here. The piano is played with a variety of objects and, so at least I assume,
with bows, and that results in some great music; it reminds me of the solo work Reinhold Friedl,
from Zeitkratzer. It has that similar approach of the piano as an object. I found it hard to figure out
if this was something that was played live or perhaps the result of some extended process of
layering and mixing. Listening to this, I must admit, I had no idea. This I thought was a captivating
release and exactly the sort of thing we love. You can keep the more traditional modern classical
releases, dear people of Bolt Records, and make sure to send more like this. (FdW)
––– Address:

EFRAIN ROZAS - I ENJOY THE WORLD (LP by Futura Resistenza)

Somehow, somewhere this looked familiar and indeed I wrote about this in Vital Weekly 1122. A
while ago I tried to think of how many reviews I wrote over the past twenty-five years, and I don't
know. I hope I can be excused that upon reading the old review first, it all made sort of sense but
when playing the record, it surely did. It's good to see it now released as an LP on a new label
from Rotterdam, although I am not entirely sure what the label found so attractive. I mean, it is a
good cassette, absolutely, but it seems also something obscure; I might be wrong. I am wrong.
Maybe because it is so obscure is what it makes it so attractive. So, what did I write?
           "Both the musician and the label (originally this was a cassette by Buh Records - FdW) are
from Peru, but the musician is now based in New York. He holds a PhD in Composition and
Ethnomusicology and is a teacher at the University. He sometimes plays with his “experimental
salsa band La Mecánica Popular”. About his new release, he writes that “I Enjoy the World” is
the result of an experiment I did during 6 months, to modify my relationship with mysticism, to
approach it not from the language of official religions, ancestralisms or new age, but everyday
life experiences, available to anyone”. There is more besides on the Bandcamp so I won’t repeat
all of it. This is the second instalment of the “Myth And Prosthesis” series, of which we must have
missed the first one. There is a single forty-minute music piece, program repeated on the second
side, but listening to this one notes separate pieces. Making it one piece means that Rozas wants
us to hear it non-stop for its entire length. The only other work I heard from Rozas was an
improvised work with Megan Moncrief (see Vital Weekly 854), but this solo work seems to be
something different. This is quite smooth music; it is mostly instrumental throughout, except for a
spoken word cut-up in the best Brion Gysin tradition about the title of the release but otherwise,
there are quite a bit of electronic sounds, but also flutes, guitars, delay machines and each
segment is not very long (even when not easy to guess how long exactly). All of this comes with
a bit additional exotic percussion, and mystical approaches. In a way, I was reminded of Jorge
Reyes from time to time, especially in the way Rozas electronically treated his percussion. It was
far removed from the world of noise and/or experiment, as Rozas plays some lovely gentle,
minimal, quasi-exotic tunes, mild-mannered, which I thought sounded lovely. The sun is shining
out, yet it is very cold, but this is a sunny delight, which puts a smile on my face. A bit more
information on the cover wouldn’t have hurt, I think."
           Oddly enough, it is winter time again and while today a bit of cold sunshine is to be seen,
this record acts again as a ray of sunlight. It is still delicate, fragile, vaguely obscure, a bit new
age (quite popular these days), and with all the colours of the rainbow. Space out! Good to see
this on vinyl. (FdW)
––– Address:

OCCUPIED HEAD - STEADY (CDR by Wet Dreams Records)

Behind Occupied Head, we find Dieter Mauson, born in Leer, Northwest Germany, now residing
in Hamburg. Before, and we are talking mid to late 80's here, he was a member of Nostalgie
Eternelle, a band I never followed but came across on compilations and Delta-Sleep-Inducing
Peptide, which was more ambient and even cosmic if I recall well. A band of which he was a
member but I never heard was Opfer Der Hingabe. In 1992 he started Majestic Twelve, and in
1995 stopped doing music, because he became a father. After 2009 all of his bands re-started,
although I may have written only about Nostalgie Eternelle (see Vital Weekly 832). However, a
new project by him, 7697 Miles, a duo with Chilean musician Cristóbal Rawlins, was reviewed in
Vital Weekly 1137. Occupied Head is his most recent solo project in which he still (?) works with
ambient music. 'Steady' is his first physical release; he is actively involved in playing concerts
(Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Chile, Peru, Lithuania, France and Spain).
Mauson plays synths, guitar, bass, harp and sampling. This is a long release, clocking in at
seventy-two minutes and I was pleasantly surprised by it all. There is still (again?) a deep interest
in taking the cosmic music to the next level, with lengthy, sustaining synthesizer patterns, with
mild arpeggios (not running all too wild, luckily) and eerie patterns, such as in 'Future Entrance'.
There is some variety among these pieces, which I am not entirely sure works all that well. A
short, more stomping piece such as 'L'Etat d'Urgence' seems to be breaking the carefully
constructed mood that he had until that piece. It makes this album, however, the showcase for
his musical interests and that is, of course, a fine thing. There is a fine naive quality in this music;
not so much in the way it was recorded but in the way the compositions are played out. As said, I
found this all a pleasant surprise, but perhaps that is because of I quite a sucker for this sort of
cosmic trip, especially when not performed on endless banks of synthesizers. (FdW)
––– Address:

  Edgetone Records)

Koskinen is an improviser, composer and educator based in San Francisco. In the 70s’ he moved
from Finland to study jazz at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Since the 80s, he played in
many Bay Area-based bands and ensembles. More recently he started working with Edgetone
boss Rent Romus and made a turn to free improvisation. The Otherworld Ensemble is one of their
collaborations, for which they invited in 2017 other Finnish improvisers with Teppo Hauto-aho
being one of them. Hauta-aho made an impressive career as a much-asked jazz bassist as well
as a member of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. So we are dealing here with two very
experienced musicians from the Finnish music scene. In 2019 both received the Finnish Music
Archive’s “Jazz Legends” awards. I guess to celebrate this event Edgetone decided to release
this live recording of the duo that took place in august 2008 in Helsinki. Koskinen plays tenor
recorder and Hauta-aho double bass. Both play also some additional instruments that are not
specified. Their improvisations, evolving between one and six minutes, are very harmonious and
mature in the atmosphere. The performers spin engaging and communicative dialogues that are
‘peaceful’ and balanced. I especially enjoyed playing by Hauta-Aho on a tenor recorder. An
instrument that is not often heard in improvised music. From a look at Discogs, I learned that this
must be their first duo release. Well, if this information is complete here. This makes this release
by two giants of the Finnish jazz scene even more worthwhile. (DM)
––– Address:

DASPO - SAMENREIS (CDR by Setola Do Maiale)

During their stay in The Netherlands, Davide Palmentiero and Giuseppe Pisano (I don't think I
heard of either of them) did a couple of train trips together, hence the Dutch title; samen = together
and reis = travel. The five pieces give us, via the titles, the idea of travel; say from Utrecht, via
Hilversum to Schiphol (to some also known as Amsterdam Airport). There is some additional help
here on violin, baroque violin and modular synthesizer, but it is not said what Daspo plays.
Usually releases on this label end with our resident improvisation expert, but this is something
different. Well, maybe it is improvised but then it is not something we can distinguish as such.
There are five pieces here, and the total length is twenty-one minutes and to be honest, that is too
short. The music was recorded in the anechoic chamber of the Hoge School Voor Kunsten in
Utrecht and "is imbued of perfectly artificial qualities". We take their word for it. Like I write
elsewhere about the revival of laptop music, this is very much the sort of thing that fits that scene.
Even when the information says it was made through improvisation, I can imagine this being a
duet for two laptops and Midi interfaces. There is an excellent ambient quality to the music; at the
same time, I am also reminded of musique concrete and electro-acoustic sound treatments. In a
way, I was reminded of Main, but now with shorter pieces. There was a similar approach to a
more collage-like approach in these compositions, which worked very well. This is a great
release but way too short. I would not have minded another twenty or so minutes. (FdW)
––– Address:


This is my introduction to the work of Nate Trier. He is from Connecticut where he works as a
composer, improviser and recording artist and who had a work distributed by The Summer
Course for New Music in Darmstadt (Germany), which somehow sounds very fancy; it has that
modern classical music ring to it, I guess. His Bandcamp has a few more releases, which I
quickly checked; partly as a reference to the one, I am reviewing and partly because I enjoyed
this one. It turned that his work so far is quite a mixed bag, including a sort of techno music, jazz
and even a bit of noise. None of that here. There are two pieces here; 'Palehound', clocking at
less than eight minutes and 'In A Sea Of Color', which I understand to be a sixty-one remix of
'Palehound'. He uses three notes, played on accordion and piano in the original, and then "time-
shifting and pitch-shifting" this around in the remix. The music is inspired by such composers as
Sarah Davachi, Terry Riley and Eliane Radigue. That's not how I see it, but we may hear these
things differently. I admit not knowing Davachi's work that well, but the computerized ambient
music of Trier is not so much like that of Riley or Radigue but owes more to the world ambient
(and lots of that) mixed with a bit improvisation and modern classical music. At least, again,
that's how I perceive it. I can imagine him playing with the sounds at his disposal, moving and
shifting various transformations around; more intuitive than strictly composed. And is to be said
of both pieces. It is all quite sophisticated and Trier has control over whatever it is he's doing.
The drone-like character of the music is interrupted by small changes in the fabric, a bump if you,
a loop possible and that makes it not your usual 'leaning on a few keys and now we have a drone
record'. It all moves slowly, but it always keeps moving. A most lovely album that made me fall
asleep the first, well sort of; when fully awake, the music still stood up as something elegant and
powerful and throughout a very fine work of ambient music. (FdW)
––– Address:

+DOG+ - DIE ROBOT (CDR by Love Earth Music)

Fourteen tracks, generally of harsh noise and static pulses typically 9 minutes until a fade, some
variation from HNW through to more stuttered noise, often seemingly distorted vocals lost in the
noise. Three tracks do not in any way fall under this generalization, tracks 3 and 4 are of a song,
melodic acoustic guitar and singing, “Die Robot Die...” around 3 minutes, badly recorded, and
kind of don't give a F**K presentation. Track 11 sounds like a field recording of Moroccan
drumming, though given this CD was recorded in various U.S. locations and Istanbul, the latter
probably locates this, which segues into a static pulse, maybe by 'BIT' manipulation of the
source? “+DOG+ has been a central project of Steve Davis' Love Earth Music label, the noise
project formed 1990 in Osaka, later in Boston and in Southern California since 1997 “ So has a
'heritage' dating back to the beginning of the “Noise” genre both in temporal and geographical
origin. Though since its origins (Noise) has been traced back to the Futurist's, and since the 90s
became something of a 'thing', not only as a sub-genre of PE and Industrial, in the early 2000s
amongst academics, and the more mainstream avant-garde, it has since dwindled, “There was
a time when I listened to a lot of ‘noise’, but no longer” - Ray Brassier, (note the Blogs and
Forums now abandoned) and has been re-populated by those from the related genres, typically
in the USA obsessed with occultism, and S&M. From the LEM site, the 'About' tag gives you a
blurred photograph and nothing else. However or despite a massive discography... such is a
'good'? description. And now the contentious challenge to this present state (generally) of
“whatever”, which is three 'I's. Three 'identities'. We are in the age of 'identities', as in “I identify
as.....” …. fill in the gap. These 3 in the genre of 'this kind of musical/sonic activity' are, firstly
Academia, which has since the early 2000s closed down into internal activity, numerous papers,
PHD dissertations and conferences on contemporary music, composition, computation, and a
faux misunderstood philosophical usage, typically of Badiou and Deleuze... numerous activities
but outside of academia unnoticed, and ineffective, though why should it be? Secondly are the
'Arts organisations', located in most cities, of “creatives” and “activists”, state and authority funded,
groups occupying old factories and schools as centres of 'radical' art, performance, social action..
and critique of... authority... Finally those groups maybe such as +DOG+ “Steve, Eddie, Chuck,
Lob, Ron, Jack, Bobby, Aseel MK... thanks to our families and friends...” who perform 'gigs' at
various venues and 'festivals', neo-outsider 'art'? My criticism of the lack of academic rigour and
theory in academia goes for the other two identities. Which is that unless there is, we are left with
(mere) description. Only the third Identity typically rejects the theory, so avoids and/or rejects the
criticism, in favour of 'self-expression'. The others serve it up “Lite”, typically of the left, followers
of Zizek with various “givens”, (Lacan). Well, the plaintive and haunting singing of “Die Robot
Die” somehow envelopes this landscape, and this review, which reminds me of someone who
is outrageously 'anti' … though has criticised my supposed 'bleakness'. (jliat)
––– Address:


As the cover says nothing more than 'text-sound/snowflakes' and Sham Repro 001, no artist
names, I found online this in the Tedium House catalogue: "One side of the sound poetry /
musique concrete album Text Sound Compositions (Fylkingen 1978) by the Swedish
experimental poet and composer at the same time as one side of the Japanese synth player's
electronic-arrangements-of-Debussy album Snowflakes Are Dancing (RCA Red Seal 1974).
Straight through with no manipulation." There was no additional text or information to the
package. I have no idea if this a bootleg, a joke, a conceptual take on the genre of mash-up,
or plunderphonics for that matter. Yes, it worked putting this together. Weird stuff. I have no idea
why you want to release such a mix; I can understand you want to create it. Odd. (FdW)
––– Address: none given

NOBUKA - DISSOLVE E.P. (cassette by Barreuh Records)

As you no doubt by now know, Vital Weekly hails from the lovely smaller Dutch city of Nijmegen;
a city that belongs to the most left-wing cities in The Netherlands and for some reason has a lot
of musicians, and being a small city there is easily a feeling that everybody knows everybody.
Well, wrong of course, as I had not heard of Nobuka before. He now lives in Utrecht and one of
the more active forces when it comes to experimental music and cassette releases in The
Netherlands, Barreuh Records from Eindhoven, now releases a rather, sadly, short cassette with
five of his songs. This serves also as an introduction for me. Because on his Bandcamp profile
Nobuka describes his music as "Lo-fi electronica. Ambient avant-garde. Half bohemian, all
abstract", I expected something all out spacious, lengthy, weighty tones, but that is not the case
here. Well, not entirely. The music is quite atmospheric and moody, consisting of field recordings
of rain (in 'Dissolve II" for instance; it could come from outside on this rainy Sunday afternoon),
some looped synth sounds, darker and lighter mingling nicely here, but there is also room for
rhythm; not stomping away in a 4/4 signature to fill up dance floors. He keeps them in a smaller,
supportive role, stuttering in 'Dissolve' or going wibbly-wobbly like a badly recorded exotic rhythm
in 'Revolve'. It becomes most of nice, short tunes. These five are around three to four minutes
(and some more) in one case). When it is absent in, in 'Resolve', there is room for crumbled
(digital) piano sound or just space in 'Absolve'; perhaps that's the piece that I think would it all
be, but it isn't; maybe the voice in there (I assume from a film) is also a bit of an odd-ball.
Nobuka offers quite varied musical pieces and it is all a bit short, so I wouldn't have minded a
bit more of this. (FdW)
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V3STA - YORGAS HELMET - GENE (cassette by Q.P Records)

It is not easy to decipher anything on the cover here and that's a pity, as the music is quite nice.
Luckily for me, there was a letter enclosed, with some fiction, but also with this more helpful info;
'recorded in Athens/Berlin in 2019 using a chimaera of digital and analogue synthesizers."
V3STA being Alexandra Koumantaki‎ and behind Yorgas Helmet we find Georgios
Karamanolakis. From the latter, I also reviewed a few earlier releases, such as cassette by
Coherent States (Vital Weekly 1143) and a split LP with Jean-Marc Foussat (Vital Weekly 1113).
While the cover may be presented with some mythical lettering, and the first few minutes sees a
bit of ritual chant slowed down, the music from there is very good; there is some highly delicious
space music explored here; cosmic music, a term that is perhaps over-used a lot, but surely fitting
here, albeit the space travelled by these two musicians is a much darker place; this is not some
easy peasy arpeggio krautrock synthesizer festival, but ominous big black clouds of drones. It
comes with the right amount of reverb to suggest even more space. The cover lists various pieces
per side and on the first one there is indeed a clear distinction between the pieces, but the
second side sees like one long trip. For the podcast I downloaded the music, and noticed that
the mastering is a bit loud, which is a pity; this is the kind of music that needs a good mastering,
bringing some of the more delicate frequencies that I believe are now buried beneath
somewhere. Maybe it is an idea for a re-issue one day, on a CD(R)? (FdW)
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LEITMOTIV LIMBO - MINIMAL SPHERE (cassette by Servataguse Muusika)

Here we have more music from Leitmotiv Limbo, a project from Australia. In a handwritten note,
Elijah says that all the music is from analogue electronics from kits. It also says "recorded to
tape, possibly some (unreadable) black metal aesthetics of (unreadable) obscure spectrum
creeping in. But I don't like metal :)" One of those days you wish what things were, I guess.
Maybe it's not that important? Leitmotiv Limbo likes obscurity, so it seems and, sure, why not?
Judging by the music here and earlier, there is still a deep interest in the world of freak-out
music, but it all has become a bit tighter, a bit more composed if you will. Some of these pieces
reminded me of Throbbing Gristle, especially in what I think is 'Second Storey View' or the title
piece (it's not easy making out which track is what here and as far as I can see, there is no
Bandcamp page for this label); it sounded like an outtake of 'Heathen Earth' here or some of
Chris Carter's early synth pieces. There are eight pieces in total of this kind of freewheeling
synth stuff and all of that with that early industrial music feeling. It is all a bit vague, obscure,
covered with a bit of dust and hisses and that's the sort of lo-fi quality that I enjoy very much.
This is exactly the sort of thing for which the cassette is the perfect medium. I think the label is
re-using old tapes, which they spray paint. That is another clue that shows Leitmotiv Limbo's love
for the 80's cassette network. (FdW)
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FEAR DROP 18 (magazine and CD)

Five years have passed since the last issue of Fear Drop was unleashed upon mankind, the
French-speaking part that is and I have no idea why we had to wait so long. Maybe it is
explained, but while my knowledge of French is not entirely zero, it is sadly insufficient to pick up
the finer nuances. I do know quite a bit of French words, so I do know that this is an issue is
about 'le chant des Eaux, de la fôret, de la Nuit', meaning the 'song of water, forest and night'.
Fear Drop has two approaches for that. There is on the one hand articles in which they write
about artists who did music with water, or with particular forest or night capacities, mentioning
interesting releases and artists, while they also reserve more single-minded articles and
interviews with artists, such as O Yuki Conjugate, Michael Begg, Maninkari and Coil. Oddly
enough and perhaps the thing I was most curious about is the article about The Cure's second
album, 'Seventeen Seconds', the one I love most from their catalogue and their 'hit' 'A Forest' is
on the compilation CD that accompanies the magazine. It is a surprising cover by Porcupine
Tree's Steven Wilson (or Bass Communion's Steven Wilson, depends on how you approach
such things). That compilation is a fine guide to the content of the magazine, with ambient music
by O Yuki Conjugate, :zoviet*france:, Michael Begg, Maninkari but also more experimental tunes
by Kodak Strophes and Coil (live recording from 2001, in case you are wondering). Music
entirely built from field recordings comes courtesy of Lawrence English (whose frog recordings
reminded me of Felix Hess), Jana Winderen & Thierry Weyd, Toy Bizarre, Francisco Lopez and
Marc Namblard. It is indeed the song of water, forest and night with these people. Wilson's 'A
Forest' is just an oddball in the same way as the article about The Cure. I would not mind
something to throw into Google translate and get a small grasp what this is about; more than
what I grasp now with my limited high school flunked French lessons. (FdW)
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'Less than Vital – music [not] reviewed outside our box'


"Lucia Długoszewski was a daughter of Polish immigrants and a would-be student of medicine
who gave up everything to develop her artistic passions. A student of Edgar Varčse seems to be
one of the most interesting and the most forgotten of the New York school composers.
           The most noticeable aspect of Długoszewski’s works is their sound quality. Her sensitivity
to sound was already visible in her early compositions such as Moving Space Theater Piece for
Everyday Sounds which, in accordance with its title, utilized the sounds of everyday objects. In
her scores Długoszewski would polished even the tiniest sound details. She could alter the type
of articulation or dynamics every other meter, especially in parts for percussions. The composer
layered instrumental plans of various dynamics, creating unique mixtures of sounds. This sort of
changeability coupled with strong contrasts could lead to a fragmentation of the composition, but
the abovementioned pulsating character of the music ensured the experience of a continuum.
           Another characteristic feature of sounds used by Długoszewski is their instability. The
composer particularly loved glissandi, trills, ricochets, short appoggiaturas, vibratos and
multiphonics on wind instruments—and everything that blurs sounds makes them more
ambiguous, simultaneously making them difficult to reproduce precisely. Musicians who worked
with Długoszewski mention that she often improvised during rehearsals and introduced changes
into scores. She also delivered notations at the very last moment. Perhaps this unpredictability
was as much a part of the composer’s creative process as it was a desired aesthetic feature of
her music?"
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