number 1259
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week 46
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Vital Weekly, the webcast: we offer a weekly webcast, freely to download. This can be regarded as the audio-supplement to Vital Weekly. Presented as a radioprogramm with excerpts of just some of the releases reviewed. It will remain on the site for a limited period (most likely 2-4 weeks). Download the file to your MP3 player and enjoy!
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STORM BUGS - A SAFE SUBSTITUTE (CD by Klanggalerie) *
KEITH BERRY - VIABLE SYSTEMS 3 (CD by VSM Theory) *
KNURL - INITIAL SHOCK (CD & DVD by Absurd Exposition) *
RICHARD CHARTIER - CONTINUE (CD by Moving Furniture) *
ALESSANDRO RAGAZZO - CINQUE STUDI SUL PAESAGGIO (CD by Dissipatio) *
JONI VOID & N NAO - NATURE MORTE (CD by Laaps) *
HESSEL VELDMAN & MARTIJN COMES - EPOX (2CD by Bedouin Records) *
MEIER HANES AMBERG – STAGGERED TWISTED ANGLE (CD by Wide Ear Records) *
DIRAR KALASH – OF QUIETUDE (CD by Discus Music) *
JEAN-JACQUES BIRGÉ – PIQUE-NIQUE AU LABO (2CD by GRRR)
KYLE BRUCKMANN - TRIPTYCH (TAUTOLOGICAL) (CDR by Carrier Records) *
BRUCKMANN/DJILL/HEULE/NSHI-SMITH - BRITTLE FEEBLING (CD by Humbler) *
SCHRÖDINGERS KATZE - SUPERPOSITION (LP by Everest Records)
VALENTINA MAGALETTI & MARLENE ROBEIRO - DUE MATTE (LP by Horn Of Plenty) *
DC - TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME (CDR by Setola Di Maiale) *
SENSOR - KILLING OF (CDR, private) *
SPRUIT - OPEN (CDR, private) *
ELINCH - DIARIES (cassette by Expert Sleepers) *
TROUBLE TRACER - AUTOFAHRT (cassette by Crow Versus Crow) *
CAHN INGOLD PRELOG - ACCELERATE (cassette by Crow Versus Crow) *




STORM BUGS - A SAFE SUBSTITUTE (CD by Klanggalerie)

The 'anniversary' market never stops. When CDs first started to appear in shops, 1983 or so, I doubt that Philip Sanderson and Steven Ball, the two who made up Storm Bugs, said to each other 'blimey, that would be a great format for a re-issue of our 1980 cassette 'A Safe Substitute'; probably 'a substitute that never happens'. When CDs first appeared I loudly declared never to get rid of my turntable and cassette player, as lots of what I had would never make it to a CD. That is still true, sadly, as I love CDs and can quickly draw up a list of stuff still not re-issued in that format. But fair is fair, some stuff gets re-issued and this CD version of 'A Safe Substitute' is, in fact, a second re-issue, following an LP version by Harbinger Sound in 2011. As early as 1981 I came across the name of Storm Bugs for the first time, via a short review of their work, mentioning tape-loops and scratchy records, which I found quite fascinating. I am not sure when I first heard Storm Bugs, but it might very well have been the 'Metamorphose' 7" released by L’invitation Au Suicide, which I found remarkable 'poppy' back then. Somewhat later I picked up the 7" they released before that, 'Table Matters', of which the more experimental content appealed to me more. It wasn't until all of this 'old' music landed on the Internet 2.0, with all those blogs sharing forgotten beauties that I heard more by them and that's where labels picked up ideas for re-issues (a claim I can't substantiate). I learned that Storm Bugs were a duo not shy of experimenting with electronics, guitars, loops or short wave radio, which worked out into quite different musical results. One route is very much in the direction of industrial music, with repeating sounds and brittle electronics, but it is not all about just 'loops 'n noise'. Somewhere in 'Mesh Of Wire/Objective/Car Situations/Mesh Of Wire (Reprise)', the opening track (and no doubt representing the A-side of the original side; not sure why it isn't spliced up) there is a trombone being played, along with half-sung/half-sung lyrics and it is one of those more intimate, non-noise moments. It is, perhaps, at the far end of post-punk meeting experimental music; something that I found in those days quite intriguing and usually on a label such as Cherry Red or Dome Records. Storm Bugs share a similar joyful sense of experimentalism, here in their roughest, earliest form of course. I wouldn't go as far as saying this is the most essential record ever that needed a re-issue, but in case that whole early industrial cassette movement has your interest, and it certainly has mine, then this is a pretty essential thing to hear. (FdW)
––– Address: https://www.klanggalerie.com/



KEITH BERRY - VIABLE SYSTEMS 3 (CD by VSM Theory)

"VSM Theory specializes in releasing ambient music that mainly uses generative process's for the evolution of music. At present, it will only be releasing the music of Keith Berry." That is the short mission statement of the label. About a year ago, I reviewed his 'Viable Systems 2' (Vital Weekly 1197) and this new one can be seen as an extension to that. Pieces are now from two to ten minutes but essentially are on the same ground as before. I have no idea what kind of tools Berry uses these days but I bet it is something digital and smooth. This is far removed from the drone work he started with. This is quite mellow music, and some mildly slowed down bell sounds remind me of new age music, to which this all comes quite close. As before, the name of Brian Eno should be mentioned, as he is very much in similar territory with generative music. Music, once set in motion, needs very little work, it lives and breathes and transforms all by itself. It is music that the listener should create and, again as before, I would think the music is very suited to arrive in the form of a tablet/phone application, with possibilities by the user to change moods, instruments, textures and such. Now, it is Berry who does this for us. You could argue if this is a good thing or not, it is what it is. Oh, and sorry for harping on that 'as said before', reading is a very suitable activity while playing this music. You have seventy-two minutes of undisturbed listening time, and daring listeners switch to 'random' and 'repeat' and let it run until you had enough. In my case that took some time, but on a quiet Saturday afternoon, I am just a very lazy sod. (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.vsmtheory.com/



KNURL - INITIAL SHOCK (CD & DVD by Absurd Exposition)

It makes perfect sense for a remastered CD reissue of Knurl’s first cassette, one that’s accompanied by three different breathless testimonials to the artist’s impact 25 years on, to include a DVD. In fact, I prefer to think of this as a DVD with accompanying CD rather than the reverse. Knurl’s albums have always had a sculptural aspect to them, often implied by the physicality of his sound if not stated outright or depicted in the artwork. Alan Bloor, a former welder, aimed to reproduce the harsh metal-on-metal grinding noise of factories with his music. Like GX Jupitter-Larsen, he came from a background of early 80s punk/hardcore and performance art but wanted to take the noisy aspect of that music farther than song forms would allow. From the beginning, the Knurl sound came from metal junk and sculptures that he amplified, bowed, sawed, pummeled, struck and ran through electronic effects. Who wouldn’t want to watch how he does that? I’ve been curious for years, but haven’t had the opportunity until now since I don’t live near anywhere he’s performed.
    The DVD is as generous as can be: more than 3 hours of live performance footage shot from 1994 to 1999, plus a 1996 television interview (in French and English). Hearing the sound on CD is one thing, but it’s the DVD that, for me, really puts the artist’s work in perfective. What I gather after viewing it is pretty much what I’d always suspected from hearing the recordings: Bloor’s noise really is as physical and performative as I imagined. We get to see him shaking metal junk, rapidly cycling between attacks on pipes, springs, metal plates… a blur of anxious energy, controlled and purposeful within the ceaseless shriek. His body is frequently seen affecting the sound when he alters his distance from the metal instruments, standing up taller to wring out more feedback, shifting his weight and taking loud tones with him… the interaction is evidence of Bloor’s live-wire act of careful control that might (but doesn’t) derail with one wrong move. A discernible marriage of process and sound isn’t always necessary to appreciate an artist’s work, but viewing Knurl in his natural environment adds to my enjoyment of the music. I see someone who’s thought as much about the visual/spatial component of a performance as to the audible result, of how his presence is integral (both in regards the sound and to the gestalt impact) to what he does.
    “Initial Shock” first appeared as a cassette in 1994. Of course, it’s not Knurl’s best album. How could it be? He wouldn’t be much of an artist if he peaked at his very first tape and then spent 25 years trying to live up to his debut. Bloor got better as he went on, refined his sound, improved his production quality and grew more confident in his performance. If you want to hear the best Knurl albums, try “Thioarbamide”, “A Hail of Blades” or “Risk of Entrapment”. But taken on it’s own terms, “Initial Shock” is a fun ride. The sounds seem to be more electronic than metallic, lots of feedback waves and clouds of dirt interrupted by microphone overload, line hum and other nasty crude artifacts. All ten tracks are in perpetual motion. Even the relatively drone-like “Itradem” is a cascade of crude shattering and circuit fizz that crashes into itself over and over again. “Ridzt” is just a punctuation, half a minute of static interference, but I liked it. “Abjective Singe” retains the raw impatience of a young guy furiously bashing on boxes in his bedroom, a patina of amp hum coating the explosion in ugly filth. The album closes with “Sehnt”, in which the smack of metal on metal is clearly legible through a mess of fidgety gear-shifting and electronic squeal. After viewing the DVD, I can’t hear “Initial Shock” without imagining how it might have been created. I can picture Bloor in his workshop, yanking scree from the guts of springs and sharp scraps, vigorously crunching down on cords and leaning in to continually adjust and shift direction. That’s the best part of this set: it doesn’t simply reissue an out-of-print cassette, but uses the cassette in order to provide a bigger picture of who Knurl is and what he does. After hearing this and viewing the DVD, you’ll want to go back and check out more of his catalog or dip into it for the first time. (HS)
––– Address: https://absurdexposition.bandcamp.com/



RICHARD CHARTIER - CONTINUE (CD by Moving Furniture)

Y’know, I can understand Richard’s point: how do you know whether a piece of music is “finished”? Personally, I fuss over a few minutes of my own music for a year or longer… change it and change it and edit and trim off bits and fuss some more… until some outside force tells me: hey, you’re done, give me that master so that I can put the thing out. And then I perseverate about whether it was done enough. Argh! Richard is more prolific than I am, but he seems to have a similar issue. In the press materials for “Continue”, he admits his own consternation when he isn’t sure whether a piece is done or why he can’t quite articulate what makes him go back into the music to continue working on it. He then offers the metaphor that humans are like artworks: always unfinished, perpetually shifting… and sure, I’ll buy that. Though we do have an ending, eventually. Accepting our inevitable incompletion makes the completion of an artwork less important… or rather, it makes communication via art more urgent than refining it. Why worry whether it’s done? It’s not done! Maybe “done” is an impossible ideal. But we can enjoy possibly-unfinished art in that context, knowing that every sound might be subject to revision later.
    And so, here we are at “Continue”, RC’s first physical solo album under his own name since 2017. It’s not a huge departure from his previous recent-ish music; softly undulating drone built from a seemingly-limited set of sonic elements. “Continue” is an album in four parts, each one describing an atmosphere of under-stated unease. Chartier’s sound palette here seems to be drawn from shades of powerfully gelatinous sub-bass and inner-ear-worrying soft flutter with scratches of bodiless anxiety tugging at the periphery. The first piece jumps right in with a duet for tinnitus and tectonic movement… softly ripping high tones at the upper edges accompanied by commanding bass that slides below. It’s not static, though it might appear to be at first… headphones and full attention are better for revealing the elements that glide in and out with liquid ease. At points, I thought I could hear irregular rhythm… maybe?  At about halfway in, I was reminded of classic “Heresy”-era Lustmord, with tons that (for me, anyway) brought to mind an distant (but oncoming) storm and bracing gusts of frozen wind. The second piece further develops that dark-ambient mood, but goes even darker… ten minutes of subterranean rumble with heavy weather on the surface. The third piece is lighter than what came before, at least for a few minutes… a passage of nimble stereo action with a hint of melody, restrained and tense… before Chartier brings in what sounds like a choir! I’m sure it’s not actually a choir, but the passage hits with voice-like intoning, some serious gravity for a dramatic climax… followed by a hushed coda to drop the listener back on Earth. The fourth and final track is a sustained sub-bass wallop, five minutes of making your speaker-cones beg for mercy and then a gentle drift into open-air and oceanic sine-tone ebb. Could “Continue” go through additional revisions? Maybe! Anything could be revised and revised ad infinitum. But heck, it sure sounds finished to me. (HS)
––– Address: http://movingfurniture.bandcamp.com



ALESSANDRO RAGAZZO - CINQUE STUDI SUL PAESAGGIO (CD by Dissipatio)

This might be the first release for Alessandro Ragazzo, which comes with very sparse information. It has a quote on the cover, from "Abu-l-Hasan al-Nuri primitive Sufi saint: "they possess nothing and are possessed by nothing"" and that's about it. No website, no track titles. Bandcamp provides some more information and says that these are "five landscape studies, as an idea of emptying the soundscape in its concept and also in its practice, a laboratory of environmental recordings and sampling", inspired by authors such as Céline, Novalis, Georg Buchner and Arthur Schopenhauer "offering insights above all in his writings on music and in the "world as will and representation" text of 1819", plus more about this being non-narrative music and some more philosophical considerations. The message is clear: these are processed field recordings, and we are not to know much about their provenance; water and bird you can tape anywhere I should think. The way Ragazzo works also clearly provides not much insight into that. Not that I could tell what it is that he does. This might very well be the work of someone who uses computer technology, something such as max/MSP or AudioMulch, but for all, I know this might also be modular electronics doing overtime. Whatever it is that he's doing, he does things with quite some vigour. It is all quite noise based, but the more I listen to this, I am less convinced this is intentional and has more to do with the mastering of the music. Everything is compressed in a very 'hot', thus emphasizing a lot of nasty frequencies in all the various spectrums of the music. I am not sure if that is what the composer wanted, but if so there is a brutish element to the music, maybe one could say 'industrial', which makes this 'ambient industrial', I guess, in the classical sense of the word, but entirely constructed from field recordings and their processed variations. Sometimes a bit too long for what it is, and I strongly believe that the mastering is part of the distortion, so I am curious as to what the future will bring. (FdW)
––– Address: https://dissipatio.bandcamp.com/



JONI VOID & N NAO - NATURE MORTE (CD by Laaps)

From Montréal, Quebec hails the duo Joni Void and N Nao, also known as Jean Néant and Naomie de Lorimier. They have been working together since 2016 when Naomie did a poetry reading/performance in Jean’s home. Previously they had a piece on a solo album of Joni Void out on Constellation Records, but this is the first record together. The voice (I assume of N Nao) plays an important role in the music, which otherwise consist of "tape samples & field-recordings". All of this was put together using computer technology, which allowed them to overlay sounds, voices and create a collage that runs to the twelve pieces now available on CD. It hears, like one long track, cut down to twelve bits, each with some variation. The voice is humming, whispering, perhaps singing without words, carefully and intimate, within a setting of bird sounds, a few electronics, some voice manipulation, some musical toys, some rhythm (in 'Trompe L'oeil'), but at the same time, I couldn't help thinking it all sounded quite the same, even when the individual pieces all have names. It seemed the same approach throughout, be it the voice, be it the electronics, and the variations being marginally in the addition of sounds; some water here, birds there, slowed down voice, a piano. Maybe it's the singing that didn't do it for me. The sweet, child-like voice, the endless humming and whispering were all a bit too much. I can imagine those are qualities of the music that appeal to many people. It's somewhat experimental, quite a bit ambient and yet it never disrupts or distorts. (FdW)
––– Address: https://laaps-records.com/



HESSEL VELDMAN & MARTIJN COMES - EPOX (2CD by Bedouin Records)

It has been a while in the making, this double pack by the old meeting the young. The old, and I mean this with the utmost respect, is Hessel Veldman, whom I know for about over thirty-five years now as the man behind Exart Tapes, Gorgonzola Legs, Y Create and a plethora of other projects. He's from IJmuiden and in the proximity of Martijn Comes, representing the younger generation here. He's an electronic musician, very much focussed on the digital end of things, but also someone who can write a composition for an instrument. Veldman is someone who combines guitars with electronics, or perhaps, vice versa. I must admit I know both musicians personally, and I am in occasional contact with either of them, yet I haven't asked them how they made the music, by being together in one space playing together or exchanging sounds via the internet. Both CDs have one long piece of music, so in total there are almost one hundred minutes of music. I believe I can hear what each of them brings to the table; the rattling of plugins (Comes), spacious guitar drifting (Veldman), the odd love for a melodic touch (both, I should think), and the ringing of drones; that last one is a bit harder to tell; I would think that is something typically Martijn Comes but it might be the guitar of Veldman ringing in metallic spheres. None of the Veldman rhythm machines, sometimes fund on his solo pieces, is present in this work. Sometimes it all sounds very 'digital', but it is a warm form of digital music. They don't keep it 'small and careful', but rather 'massive' and all over the place, moving with a steady pace, never too short, never too long, but majestically and omnipresent. A trip it is, and, perhaps, at times a dark trip, but with the shortening of days, exactly the right soundtrack. (FdW)
––– Address: https://bedouinrecords.bandcamp.com/



MEIER HANES AMBERG – STAGGERED TWISTED ANGLE (CD by Wide Ear Records)

During their stay in New York in November 2018, Swiss musicians David Meier (Schnellertollermeier, Zimmerlin-Stoffner-Meier, LEON) and Elio Amberg (EA quartet, Sc'ööf, iety) joined forces with Simon Hanes (Tredici Bacci, Trigger, John Zorn’s Bagatelles project). On the initiative of Meier, they recorded an improvised session in the studio that was recorded by Nathaniel Morgan in Brooklyn. NYC. 28th November 2018. This first musical meeting is now made available by Wide Ear Records. Playing the drums, electric bass and tenor sax Meier, Hanes and Amberg take part in some extravagant excursions. Their out-of-the-box interactions go beyond jazz, rock and whatever they are influenced by. Beyond categories, they operate between completely wild and more subdued phases and keep things controlled and disciplined. Their fine interplay shows they have a shared feeling of where to go. They follow an inner logic that makes their improvised structures solid and transparent. ‘Splattered’ the longest improvisation takes time to build up. Searching and hesitating they start, before patterns and interactions become more dynamic and interlocked with heavily distorted bass. ‘Weirded’ is the most introspective and quiet piece. ‘Shaped’ starts from intense and nervously moving small gestures that are full of subtleties. ‘Wiped’ is a great up-tempo work with continuous heavy riffs by Hanes and with interruptions of exploding drums and sax. Especially Amberg impresses. Overall Hanes is for sure the central force in this meeting, but all three excel in these adventurous and radical explorations that arose from an intense togetherness. A very worthwhile and successful meeting. (DM)
––– Address: https://www.wideearrecords.ch/



DIRAR KALASH – OF QUIETUDE (CD by Discus Music)

Dirar Kalash originates from Ramallah in the state of Palestine. From early on he grew up with Arabic music. Western music – above all jazz- came later in the picture. He learned to play oud, piano and saxophone. He moved to the Netherlands for continuing his studies at the Institute of Sonology in The Hague. Here he also recorded an experimental album with Josue Amador and Arvid Ganga (‘Fading Ground’). He developed into a musician and sound artist who works within “a variety of instrumental, compositional and improvisational contexts”, as he explains on his website. Most of his work so far appeared on Al-Bayān, a Berlin-based label that released duo works of Kalash with Jasper Stadhouders, David Birchall, Andrew Lafkas, John Tilbury, a.o. In 2018 he invited Cactus Truck in Palestine for a combined tour. His activity covers a wide range of musical projects. This new solo album is another example of this. From the extraverted and loud cacophony by Cactus Truck we now turn to reflective piano music. Early 2020 he visited the UK and recorded a piano session in St. Paul’s Hall at the University of Huddersfield. Two extended improvisations ended up here on CD: ‘Thresholds at Fingertips’(35:11) and ‘A Rift in Time’(26:29). As the title of this release suggests both lengthy excursions deal with quietude and silence. In his stretched-out minimalistic playing Kalash creates tranquil and reflective atmospheres. Not following new spirituality conventions. For that, there are too many frictions and tensions in his music. Morton Feldman seems a more valuable point of reference. Both improvisations are built from short movements and gestures, using contrast, timbres and silence. His style doesn’t refer to jazz nor to Arabic music as far as I can judge about this. With his reduced and modest approach, he succeeds in keeping you attentive and concentrated, wanting to know what happens next. He doesn’t build up towards climaxes or dramatic turning points. The drama is in the small patterns. Besides Kalash, the piano is the other star of this album. The excellent recording makes all the deep sonorities of the instrument almost tangible. (DM)
––– Address: https://discus-music.co.uk/



JEAN-JACQUES BIRGÉ – PIQUE-NIQUE AU LABO (2CD by GRRR)

Multimedia artist Jean-Jacques Birgé needs no introduction here. One of the founding members of Un Drame Musical Instantané, he is still a very active and productive artist. Some of his works are released on cd, far more is available only through his website. Surely worth a look. Recently we reviewed ‘Perspectives For The 22nd Century’ produced in commission for Musée d'Ethnographie de Genève. Now we focus on a new work released on his own GRRR label. It is a double bill containing 22 duos and trios. Each improvisation is recorded on one single day somewhere between 2010 – 2019. Short and concentrated musical meetings that took place on invitation by Birgé. “It is about playing to meet and not the opposite as it is usual.” 28 Musicians participate in duo and trio settings: Samuel Ber (drums, percussion), Sophie Bernado (vocals, bassoon), Amandine Casadamont (vinyles), Nicholas Christenson (double bass), Médéric Collignon (vocals), Pascal Contet (accordion), Élise Dabrowski (double bass, vocals), Julien Desprez (electric guitar), Linda Edsjö (marimba, vibraphone, percussion), Jean-Brice Godet (cassettes, clarinet), Alexandra Grimal (tenor sax), Wassim Halal (percussion), Antonin-Tri Hoang (alto sax, bass clarinet, piano), Karsten Hochapfel (cello), Fanny Lasfargues (electroacoustic bass), Mathias Lévy (violin), Sylvain (percussion), Birgitte Lyregaard (vocals), Jocelyn Mienniel (flutes, MS20), Edward Perraud (drums, electronics), Jonathan Pontier (keyboards), Hasse Poulsen (guitar), Sylvain Rifflet (tenor sax), Eve Risser (vocals, melodica), Vincent Segal (cello), Christelle Séry (electric guitar), Ravi Shardja (electric mandolin) and Jean-François Vrod (violin). Birgé we hear playing keyboards, electronics, plunderphonics, ambiences, harmonica, flute and Jew’s harps. Not sure whether this project was intended from the very start or that it gradually came about during the years. All meetings have in common that they were more or less instantly composed maybe starting from an idea they discussed on the day of recording. Everything is recorded and mixed by Birgé. Each track has different instrumentation, different strategies and structures what makes this one a very diverse palette. ‘Sur trois pattes’ circles around repeating riffs played on electric mandoline by Ravi Shardja, transported into other dimensions by the interventions by Birgé. ‘Tapis volant’ is a very intimate duet of Alexandre Grimal on tenor sax with Birgé playing keyboards. ‘Je pense à ton cul’ is a straight forward machinal beat-driven entity with Jocelyn Mienniel on flute and Eve Risser doing vocals. ‘Soyez Extravagant’ is a very over the top vocal-dominated improvisation with vocal acrobatics by Médéric Collignon heavily manipulated by Birgé who extends the vocals to unheard proportions with a minor role for Julien Desprez on electric guitar. ‘La patience de la dame’ by Birgé and Amaine Cassadamont ("vinyles") is one of those far-out collage-like sound sculptures that are so typical for Birgé, with spoken word and music from diverse sources. In ‘Toussaint Louverture’ there is a rare appearance of a plain melody played by guitarist Hasse Poulsen making you feel somewhere in the Caribbean. ‘Remember those quiet evenings’ has electric guitar and piano and field recordings/sounds taken from nature at the start before. ‘Masked Man’ has acoustic instruments with a very diffuse and noisy background. From far-out sound sculptures to improvisations that are very rhythm-based or song-oriented. So a collection of very contrasting improvisations, with the participation of many musicians and recorded over a long period. Nevertheless, they make one big family. (DM)
––– Address: http://www.drame.org/



KYLE BRUCKMANN - TRIPTYCH (TAUTOLOGICAL) (CDR by Carrier Records)
BRUCKMANN/DJILL/HEULE/NSHI-SMITH - BRITTLE FEEBLING (CD by Humbler)

Some years ago the name of Kyle Bruckmann appeared several times in these pages as part of EGK (a duo with Ernst Karel), Group (with Karel and Giuseppe Ielasi) or improvising with others. I am not sure if I heard a solo CD from him before. Here, he has a solo with four pieces, and yes, that is despite the title. One-piece, 'A Spurious Autobiography for John Barth', appears in a version for live electronics and a version for oboe and English horn. As said, I have very little knowledge s to how his music developed over the years, but in these four lengthy (between ten and twenty-one minutes) pieces I would think he walks a fine line between the harsh end of electronics and the quiet end of a solo instrument. In the two versions of the 'A Spurious Autobiography for John Barth', we hear a battle between the electronics and the instruments. In the all-electronic version, I would think the instrument is an aggregator of the electronics, while in the oboe/English horn version we hear both them, and it is possible to trace the electronics along the curves of the instruments. The other two pieces are the longest here and show us a different side of Bruckmann; a minimal side, if you will, and perhaps also introspective. In 'A Fuzzy Monolith For James Turrell' (an American artist working with light and space), Bruckmann offers the most intimate playing of the oboe (I think) against a backdrop of longer wind instruments, which, so I presume, are on tape. These come and go and on top of that, there is the solo instrument playing these desolate motifs. In 'An Extruded Introversion For Blixa Bargeld' (A German pop musician) in which he combines the oboe with electronics and that delivers for me the best piece of the CD. Perhaps because it is one that is the furthest away from modern classical music and has a fine microsound feeling of crackling electronics, deep bass, whispered tones and radical yet controlled bursts. There are a lot of things happening in this piece, with some fine shifts within the material. It tops a great CD, one that is highly varied and an excellent showcase for the work of Bruckmann solo.
    At the same time, there is a new release that includes the oboe/English horn of Bruckmann, but now in an improvised setting, along with Tom Djil (trumpet), Jacob Felix Heule (floor tom) and Kanoko Nishi-Smith (koto). The five pieces on this disc were recorded on May 12 and June 24, 2018, in Berkeley. This is some interesting improvised music. Instruments can be recognized, well, most of the time anyway. Especially the two wind instruments are 'as such', and the other two instruments are more difficult. Nishi-Smith uses her koto sometimes as an object to extract sounds from, while very occasionally the strings are strummed. The same goes for Heule and his floor tom. In 'Fraive' I would think he plays the sides of the instruments, and in 'Sustroon' he drags a chain across the instrument. There is some very restrained playing going here, very closed but at the same time I would think, there is also a controlled sort of hectic going on. It is almost as if any point it all can explode and blast off. Spoiler alert, that doesn't happen, but it adds to the intensity of the five pieces here. There is hectic and chaos one may expect from a work of improvised music, but in this 'mayhem' there is also control and conversation between the players. It is acoustic noise and at the same, it is not. All of that makes this quite a captivating disc! (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.carrierrecords.com
––– Address: http://www.heule.us



SCHRÖDINGERS KATZE - SUPERPOSITION (LP by Everest Records)

After I heard this record a couple of times, not knowing whether I liked it or not, or whether it was something for Vital Weekly or not, I realized the key to it is in the title; [wiki] "Schrödinger's cat is a thought experiment, sometimes described as a paradox, devised by Austrian-Irish physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935, during the course of discussions with Albert Einstein. It illustrates what he saw as the problem of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. The scenario presents a hypothetical cat that may be simultaneously both alive and dead, a state known as a quantum superposition, as a result of being linked to a random subatomic event that may or may not occur." That is how I think about this record. It contains the music of Simon Althaus on Rhodes and Effects and Moog and Manuel Pasquinelli on drums. I love the sound of the Fender Rhodes and it seems whenever I hear it is part of some jazz record; I am no expert. This record reminded me, at times, of some jazz music I heard a couple of years ago from Australia, but oddly enough some of this also sounded prog-rock like, and could have been forty years old. Then there is the curious voice that pops up every now and who speaks something in German; I have no idea how to put that in perspective, but it works well. It has an added value to the record. And then, some of these pieces are more abstract ambient meanderings that these men also do. So, all in all, this record bounces quite over the musical spectrum, which is something I enjoy very much, and I do enjoy almost all of these pieces (some prog-rock licks were a bit much; I rather dig out ELP again), and yet, I also think that this might be a bit too far from the Vital ground. I am not sure, am I? Or am I sure, but I don't know yet? A paradox that is what it is. That is food for thought while listening to some nice music indeed. (FdW)
––– Address: https://everestrecords.ch/wp/



VALENTINA MAGALETTI & MARLENE ROBEIRO - DUE MATTE (LP by Horn Of Plenty)

Sonoscope from Porto, Portugal is not just a label of which we review CDs now and then, it is also a place where musicians meet and in 2019, at the Hysteria project, they had two women working together. Valentina Magaletti (also known, to some, for her work with Tomaga, Vanishing Twin etc.) and Marlene Ribeiro (Gnod, Negra Blanca), taping their music onto Magaletti's phone. That became the basic material from which they further explored the theme of hysteria. The title of their record translates as 'two crazy women'. I have no idea how craziness works, to be honest, and with art/music or such, I think it's mostly how the listener perceives it. They certainly came up with some interesting music, using a variety of instruments, of which percussion is certainly an important one, along with voice material. The rhythms they play are not conventional but belong to the world of post-punk and experiment with sound effects. Not some fine time signature, but banging and hitting objects where ever and whenever. They add vocals, lyrics or poems (I have no idea), dreamy, singing, whispering and humming. Quite rightfully the label refers there to Vox Populi, the old French band. It has that ritual aspect to it that I associate, for no good reasons, with Italian and French industrialists. But this sits next to some abstract experimentation, such as the wordless humming and acoustic object rattling of 'Brasilians On The Internet', which reminded me of Nurse With Wound or Metamorphasis. However, here to that ritual aspect is not completely gone and lingers below somewhere, especially when the shakers and rattles come in. Somehow, somewhere, with this whole record, I found it all quite retro, harking back to the '80s post-punk on cassette sort-of-thing, but these crazy women surely had something to offer that carried their own stamp all over it. A record that is full of energy! (FdW)
––– Address: https://www.horn-of-plenty.org/?v=796834e7a283



DC - TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME (CDR by Setola Di Maiale)

All right, hands up who had the same association as I had when they saw the title of this release by Andrea Dico (drumkit for kids, bow, toy-trumpet, cow, walkie-talkie, toys, blades, objects, samples) and Francesco Carbone (lap steel guitar, electric guitar, tin can, transistor, toy owl, tuner, carillon, pedals, loop station)? I immediately started singing the Supertramp song of the same name. This is their second release, following their untitled debut, reviewed in Vital Weekly 1200). I quite enjoyed that one and this new one seems to be continuing along similar lines. The guitar as an object to produce long-form drones is stage central, and these drones are generated by the loop station and much reverb; all of this to suggest a lot of atmospheres. The whole release, all eight pieces (forty-nine minutes) was recorded late 2019 and is to seem like one piece (the long walk home, they write), divided into eight sections. And indeed it is a walk, but a trip is, perhaps, a better word for it. A new piece starts at a logical spot when something is significantly changing in the music, so if you would skip through it, it would seem that are different pieces on the disc (certainly if one looks at the eight titles on the cover), and not one long one. This means that there is quite some variation in this piece, with, besides the wall of drone guitars, lots of small sounds, with Dico scraping and scratching his tools and toys, and not very often taking up the role of a drummer, but in 'Prospering' and 'The Wanderer' he isn't too shy to exactly that. That last one is the most conventional piece on this disc, or, perhaps I should say, the one that is in close connection with the world of rock music, whereas 'Prospering' is more from the world of improvisation, with some wild rattling. The other pieces are throughout all a bit more abstract, but even then leaning towards their rock-end or the free-improv end of things. Lovely stuff, once again! (FdW)
––– Address: https://www.setoladimaiale.net/



SENSOR - KILLING OF (CDR, private)

So far this year Sensor has released four albums since May. Not bad going considering earlier in the year they didn’t exist. First was ‘The Enjoyment of Catastrophe’, then came ‘Where Do Ghosts GO When They Die?’ this was followed by ‘And There is No Longer Any Land’ before ‘Killing of’ completed quartet. Musically they are all cut from the same cloth. Themes of isolation, hope, death, cruelty, love, fear and redemption flow through their disjointed guitar, saxophone, vocal samples, drums, and electronics. On ‘Killing of’ Sensor ramp things up and are firing on all cylinders.
    While ‘Killing of’ only consist of three tracks the shortest is over 15-minutes long. And this is how the album opens with ‘When Nothing Nowhere Never Happens’ gently droning. As the drone gets stronger scratchy sounds are slowly introduced. Some feel like radio signals getting stronger and weaker, others are stuttering percussion. While this is going on the drone gets stronger and stronger, creating a feeling of unease that really gets under your skin, and in your head. The following tracks ‘This Room, This Battlefield’ and ‘Honey, you’re a Low-Life’ follow on this vibe but their percussions, horns and guitars are more pronounced. There is a haunting quality to them. Instead of passing over you, it lingers in the room.
    The real power to ‘Killing of’ is how it creates, and sustains, a feeling of nausea. You can feel it growing in the pit of your stomach and spreading until it is in your arms and legs. Once there you have to succumb to Sensor. They have you. You are theirs. As long as you listen to the album the feeling stays with you. As does the music when it finishes. At times ‘Killing of’ is just a cacophonous mess. There are moments of sheer confusion when nothing about it makes sense, but you know its enjoyable. There are other times when it all comes together. The beginning of ‘This Room, This Battlefield’ is on. The horns are deliberate, the percussion does enough to keep time yet sound sparse, and the chugging guitar work is sublime. ‘Killing of’ works best when you just let it contort around your feet and try not to force your will on to it. One thing is very clear though. Sensors are a serious outfit that we need to keep tabs on because if they are capable of releasing music like this after a few months activity then imagine where they can go. (NR)
––– Address: https://sensor3.bandcamp.com/



SPRUIT - OPEN (CDR, private)

What is better than an artist returning after a long hiatus? An artist returning after a long hiatus with their best work to date. That’s what. This is exactly what is happening with Marc Spruit. After releasing ‘Juxtapose’ and ‘Small Bit of Indigenous Space Between the Grains’ in 2013 and 2014 respectively Spruit’s musical solo output when quiet. In 2019 he returned with ‘Pure Fragmentations’. This was followed by the ‘Collapse EP’ earlier this year. He has now released his second album ‘Open’. This is an album that feels twitchy and paranoid but also very, well, open and tender. It is the strongest collection of songs Spruit has released to date. On top of this, it is also a very playable album too.
    After a barrage of glitches ‘Open-01’ settles down and creates a static soundscape unlike much else I’ve heard this year. ‘Open’ was conceived around the idea that we are living in a period of time where we are being bombarded with information. Be that 24-hour rolling news cycles, cultural ephemera and as individuals, we seem to be constantly braying into the void on social media. Spruit also believes that we are also suffering from short attention spans too. Because of these two factors, we’re neglecting a lot of stuff while being oversaturated by others. It’s an interesting concept and one that he tries to understand on this album.
    Spruit has created one of those rare albums that it doesn’t matter where you begin. There is no real start, or end, point. After playing the album on loop for a while I decided to try it on shuffle, like the classic Gescom release, to see if the tracks work as well out of sequence. And they do. Each track is its own contained vignette. But when they are played back-to-back, then you start to notice motifs recurring throughout and it becomes something greater. Whilst listening to ‘Open’ is starting to feel like a musical version of when you’ve been awake too long and have too much to do. There is a hallucinatory vibe to it. After repeat listens you start to imagine things going on that aren’t actually there and what is there make your question your ability to discern reality. And this is its biggest virtue. The album works best on headphones as you can really hear all the subtle changes Spruit is making to these cut-and-paste compositions. This is an album made by someone who hit that sweet spot of knowing what they want to do and being able to do it. Spruit’s musical career is very open indeed. (NR)
––– Address: https://spruit.bandcamp.com/



ELINCH - DIARIES (cassette by Expert Sleepers)

As far as I know, Elinch is from Germany and 'Diaries' might very well be his (?) second cassette, following 'In Between Patches' by Seil Records (not heard by me). As with the other two releases by this label, Eilinch is also someone who is heavily connected (pun intended) with the world of modular electronics, even when the outcome is quite a bit different. Of course, there is no signature sound attached to the world of modular electronics. I hear people doing full blasts of acid music with them, but in the Vital world, it is usually more a bleep bleep and musique concrète leanings. Elinch takes a third route and that is of ambient music. The piano plays an important role, or maybe that should be rephrased as 'piano sounds'. I would think a piano is not necessarily a modular instrument. He adds to the piano quite a bit of orchestral sounds, violins, cellos, along with a little of water like bubbles, a bit of rhythm (in 'Diaries 05') and, perhaps, a few field recordings here and there. Sometimes the music of Elinch bends towards the world of new age, with some celestial voice hum ('Diaries 06'), but there is room for playful tunes as well. With lengths as short as three minutes and as long as twelve minutes, there is space for the quick tune and the lengthy spacious soundscape. The big question is of course, just how much does this sound as modular electronics? I.e., would I have guessed when not told? I can easily say I am not the world's biggest expert on that world, far from it, but I doubt I would have thought of that. I guess that I would have said something about samplers and digital sounds. Regardless of how it was made (which makes up interesting text in a review, but is it really important?), the music is quite good, most of the time, save for perhaps some moments that I thought were a bit a tacky. (FdW)
––– Address: https://expertsleepersltd.bandcamp.com/



TROUBLE TRACER - AUTOFAHRT (cassette by Crow Versus Crow)
CAHN INGOLD PRELOG - ACCELERATE (cassette by Crow Versus Crow)

Behind Trouble Tracer is a duo of percussion player Fritz Welch, whom I didn't know from Asparagus Piss Raindrop, Peeesseye, Lambs Gable, Ego Depletion, Dome Riders and others and Mark Vernon, who I do know for his work with Hassle Hound, albeit a long time ago, but mostly from his radiophonic works under his name. They recorded twenty-one, mostly short pieces, all of which seem uses their voices and percussion/objects abuse. It's thirty minutes of madness that doesn't fit in an easy category, but you might look under 'outsider sound poetry'. They don't produce any words that have any meaning, just sounds with their mouths and along they rattle plastic bags, slab on backs, teaspoons upon a table and this for twenty-one pieces and some thirty minutes, which is long enough. I quite enjoyed this, let there be no mistake about it, but it was also enough. By then I sort of knew what the idea was, and I also had the impression that everything was explored. It could be the perfect one-off project, the one that has a single release out and that's the statement of it all.
    Last week I first heard the name Simon Proffitt when I reviewed a short cassette under the name of The Master Musicians Of Dyffryn Moor and I mentioned some of his other projects, under which was Chan Ingold Prelog. Now I have a tape from that moniker. It is, indeed, something so different that it justifies another name. This is the music recorded when in lockdown, being at home with a 'piezoelectric accelerometer', which is what the 'industry' uses to search for small vibrations, electrical currents and such like. With this, Proffitt went through his house, looking sounds; a search for domestic field recordings, without there being any 'fields'. I am told these pieces are a combination of unprocessed pieces ('Fridge' is one such example) and some pieces that consist of various layers of sounds; I would think that 'Unsuccessful Search For A Council Tax Bill' is such a piece and 'Desperately Seeking Dishwasher Tablets' is another. It is good to have some variation in approaches here, as the pure static rumble of a fridge or freezer is only as nice as it comes. In the multi-layered pieces, there is a lot of activity, rumbling and rummaging through machines and motors. Generally, these complex pieces are longer than the more static ones, but there are more of those. I quite enjoyed this domestic trip through this house and the rough-edged musique concrete this delivered. It makes the difference that one needs now and then. (FdW)
––– Address: https://crowversuscrow.bandcamp.com/







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