number 1287
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week 22
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CELER - BEING BELOW (CD by Two Acorns) *
TONIC TRAIN - CONTINUOUS INTERRUPTIONS (CD by Antenna Non Grata) *
SCHLOSS TEGAL - MUSICK FROM MADNESS (CD by Eight Tower Records) *
THOMAS KÖNER - NUUK (CD by Mille Plateaux) *
TIME ENDS - A TRIBUTE TO J.G. BALLARD'S TETRALOGY OF TRANSFORMATION (compilation by The Epicurean/Auf Abwegen)
CHIHEI HATAKEYAMA - LATE SPRING (CD by Gearbox Records) *
JOAKIM FORSGREN & ANDREAS HIROU LARSSON - VENDING MACHINE (CD by Thanathosis Produktion) *
SORRY FOR LAUGHING - SEE IT ALONE (CD by Klanggalerie) *
DION NIJLAND – I PLAY ME (CD by Trytone) *
ALL MY SINS REMEMBERED II: THE SONIC WORLDS OF JOHN MURPHY (2CD by The Epicurean) *
MICHIKO OGAWA - SOLO MAY/2020 (CD by Ftarri) *
AKAIHIRUME & YASUMUNE MORISHIGE - RICCA (CD by Ftarri) *
JENNIFER ALLUM & JOHN BUTCHER & UTE KANNGIESSER & EDDIE PREVOST - SOUNDS OF ASSEMBLY (CD by Ftarri) *
MATTEO UGGERI & MORUNING DOVES - DOES THE MOON NOT DREAM (CD by ADN Records) *
SCOSSE ELETTRICHE (CD by ADN Records) *
FRACESCO ZIELLO - NINE HUNDRED FIFTY SEVEN (CD by ADN Records) *
FONEMI - MADRE (CD by ADN Records) *
MIR - WM (LP by A Tree In A Field Records) *
ANTICHILDLEAGUE – BRAIN WAVES (cassette by Endangered Species) *



CELER - BEING BELOW (CD by Two Acorns)

Can Celer surprise me? The answer is, surprisingly perhaps, yes. It is not so much the music itself that is the surprise here, but the briefness of these pieces. I would not say I am an expert on the music of Celer, but I heard a fair share over the years and one thing that is a common thing with Celer is that he usually takes his time to tell a musical story. On this album, we find six pieces, spanning just eighteen minutes of music. It is also available on 12", and perhaps this is the classic 'mini LP' that was a common feature in the 80s. Celer informs that the music was created with digital and analogue instruments and that it is "an exercise in loop-less writing". As said, the surprise here is not in the music itself, at least superficially, which is the sort of ambient music we know from Celer, but upon closer inspection, one could indeed say that these six pieces have a more song-like structure to them. Slow-moving structures of sustaining sounds but less loop-based, as far as I can judge. These pieces act like water paintings as far as I am concerned, depicting blue skies, blue seas, all blurring together in lots of blue shades. It is a place where light and dark meet. Again, superficially, one could say that this a very light album, but there is, blurring again, always that darker undercurrent that is also a trademark of Celer's music. It is, all in all, quite a surprising album, and this should be no spoiler: I'd love to have the full-length album approach for this. (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.thesingularwe.org/twoacorns/



TONIC TRAIN - CONTINUOUS INTERRUPTIONS (CD by Antenna Non Grata)

Founded in 2000 in London, Tonic Train is a duo of Sarah Washington (homemade circuit-bent electronics & bat detector) and Knut Aufermann (mixing desk, effects, microphones and FM radio feedback). I may have seen a concert by them several years ago, but I also may not remember much about it. In their early days, they toured a lot and played music venues, radio stations, galleries, private homes and public spaces. This CD contains a selection of edited recordings from 2005 and 2006, and I am not sure why these are released now, some fifteen years later. One reason might be that there was some need to make a documentation of these concerts; another might be that the label likes these a lot and wants to share it with us. It is a release that fits the catalogue of this label, combining their known love for improvisation and radio sounds. In each of the eight pieces, they use a recording from one concert, and I am not sure to what extent there has been editing going on here. Hearing the music doesn't reveal much, but that might very well be due to the nature of the music. Tonic Train has a strong love for noise and that is something they bring to the table in each of these eight pieces. It is, however, not noise that goes on and on, ad infinitum. Tonic Train isn't your typical harsh noise act, but they chaotically approach noise, going all over the place, sparking off into feedback, hitting low-end tones and it also has a tactile layer. Cables and plugs are manually touched, I would think, and that reminds me of Voice Crack (or rather Möslang/Guhl), but also Merzbow around 1987, as well as countless circuit bending acts over the years. In that respect, Tonic Train fits a long tradition, or perhaps they are the tradition, taking into account the time passed since these recordings were made. The whole release is about an hour-long, which is quite a heavy session altogether, following which you certainly need a walk outside. (FdW)
––– Address: https://antennanongrata.bandcamp.com/



SCHLOSS TEGAL - MUSICK FROM MADNESS (CD by Eight Tower Records)

For me, Schloss Tegal is a name from the distant past, but much to my surprise, the last time they appeared in these pages was in Vital Weekly 874, so perhaps not that long ago. When I had employment within the record industry, in the '90s that is, we carried releases from this American duo of RL Schneider (synth, samples, electronics) and MW Burch (tapes, samples, electroacoustics). "Their name came from a hospital in a castle near Berlin, that served as a psychiatric clinic treating soldiers with art and music therapy", it says on Discogs, and also that some critics called them founders of Dark Ambient. I am not one of these critics. Dark ambient is a word that we started using for various bands at the turn of the '80s, for all those whose ambient music was too dark to be ambient and too quiet to be industrial. The booklet says 'pioneers' of the genre, and that is surely true. 'Musick From Madness' was their debut release in 1991, in the form of a cassette by State Of Flux. I had not heard that one, back in the day. Their release 'The Grand Guignol' made it to the fanzine called Vital, but apparently, I wasn't impressed. Oddly, perhaps, I quite enjoyed this re-issue. Maybe more than I thought I would. I am thinking that their industrialized form of ambient music never went away and that everybody who works these days with those small Korg synths, Walkmans and lo-fi sampling, owes partly to the paths started by bands like Schloss Tegal. Naturally, there are also differences. The lengthy use of the spoken word in 'The Father Is Omnipotent' is something that has its roots in the mid-'80s power electronics scene of which Schloss Tegal also borrows a few tricks. Those lengthy spoken words, the ritualistic leanings, the overall harsher darker tones, the devilish incantations. Those make this very much a product of its time, and the current lo-fi wave would less easy repeat that (I think), but it makes this a fine historical document all the same. I found it a most pleasant time travel experience. (FdW)
––– Address: https://eighthtowerrecords.bandcamp.com/



THOMAS KÖNER - NUUK (CD by Mille Plateaux)

Out of nowhere, Thomas Köner arrived in the world of experimental music with his debut 'Nunatak Gonagmur'. What was the big surprise is that he didn't release a bunch of cassettes or actively participated in the network, but released a CD, which, at that time, was quite an investment. We were jealous. The music was made of studio treatments of his going playing and set out what we later called 'Isolationism'. Well, for a brief moment in time anyway, in the mid-'90s, when it seemed that this was music was going to hit it big. Virgin released a compilation with that musical tag as its title and a four-CD box, with albums by Nijymu, Pauline Oliveros & Randi Raine-Reusch, Paul Schutze and Köner. Soon after that, the interest waned from the big shots and the music once again was isolated. The career of Köner went from strength to strength, also because of his techno sidetrack Porter Ricks. A lot of works never made it to these pages, so I didn't hear them all. 'Nuuk' was his album as part of that Virgin boxset, 'Driftworks', also independently released by Mille Plateaux in 2004, and now, seventeen years later another re-issue. I sold my box set ages ago, so I hadn't heard 'Nuuk' in almost twenty years and immediately the music sound like classic Köner again. This is the unique ambient music of its time; it wasn't the lighter version as played by Brian Eno, nor the ambient industrial sound (see elsewhere in this issue Schloss Tegal) but something very dark and heavy without all the industrial overtones. Whatever tricks Köner applied in the studio (which, in his case, was not a home studio; also something unheard of) with his gongs (and I am not sure if he was using these at the time of recording of 'Nuuk'), by way of extreme filtering, but it sure delivers an excellent work of sombre dark tones, slow glacial drifts (ice, arctic and snow are all words that Köner attached to his music, and which later were common phrases to describe drone music) that seems to put time on hold, but dig deeper, and you will notice all these little movements within the music. Not a crawlspace, not a can of worms, but slow ripples in the permafrost. This is music best enjoyed in the cold wintertime or a grey day, so best put aside for now, and in six months give the whole early catalogue of Köner a spin. (FdW)
––– Address: https://forceincmilleplateaux.bandcamp.com/



TIME ENDS - A TRIBUTE TO J.G. BALLARD'S TETRALOGY OF TRANSFORMATION (compilation by The Epicurean/Auf Abwegen)

In recent years I visited the World Con a few times, the convention thing for all things fantasy and science fiction. I attended a talk about early science fiction fanzines and realized that the SF is very much like underground music, where many fans start their fanzines, or music and step up and become a star. In fantasy and SF this is no different. The person next to you at a talk might be an author, if not now, then at the next convention. I am not sure but maybe somewhere over there I got interested in the work of JG Ballard, whose name I knew ever since I got interested in electronic music, as is mentioned as an author of influence. I forgot why, back then, I picked up a book or two by Burroughs but not Ballard. So I dug into his work in recent years and wish I had done so earlier (and not Burroughs to be honest) as the books I read so far I enjoyed. This compilation is dedicated to his first four novels, 'The Winds From Nowhere', 'The Drowned World', 'The Draught' and 'The Crystal World', all of which are about disasters happening. Four musical projects pay tribute to each of the four novels, Desiderii Marginis, Troum, Anemone Tube and Martin Bladh & Karolina Urbaniak. This release comes with a lengthy essay, which makes an excellent piece of background information, which should not withhold you from reading the novels. Of the four projects involved in this musical homage, only the Bladh/Urbaniak piece uses text and sound, Bladh responsible for the text and voice and Urbaniak for the compositions. Each has about twenty minutes of music for this and Bladh/Urbaniak's we hear the dripping of water (they have 'The Drought') and wind-like sounds in 'The Wind From Nowhere' for Desiderii Marginis (the musical project of J. Levin. Troum mention on the cover the use of sounds of animals, air and insects for 'The Drowned World' (but I think they also use voices, but not easy to decipher what they say) and Anemone Tube only uses field recordings "made on the way to and in Aokigahara Jukai, Mount Fuji, Japan and synthesizer" ('The Crystal World'). They have three parts, Troum two and the other two had one. I am not sure if I think that the more narrative character of Bladh/Urbaniak works 'better' than the other three, or I like the more just musical version. If you know me, you would think that the latter has my utmost interest, but with this sort of literary works it is not easy to relate them to the music; if one didn't know the background to the story, would you know by just playing the music? I am not sure. Troum's piece, for instance, is very much a Troum piece with its layered guitar-like sound. I enjoyed the dark character of the music a lot, the dystopian novels are granted a dystopian soundtrack, and each project does a great job here. The narrative piece marks an interesting difference on this lengthy compilation and that is a good thing. An oppressive mood is the strongest in that piece but maybe goes for all these pieces. This is a compilation that I enjoy very much. Great theme, great execution in music and text. This is how these things should be done. (FdW)
––– Address: https://epicureanescapism.bandcamp.com/



CHIHEI HATAKEYAMA - LATE SPRING (CD by Gearbox Records)

Is the last day of May already late spring? I have no idea. Where I am sitting it is one of the first nice and warm early summer days. Just like Celer elsewhere, this is the most surprising release for the same reason: Hatakeyama plays mainly shorter pieces. Usually, his pieces are much longer, but now restrains himself to a short piece, and in each, he plays one instrument. To that end, he has an electric guitar, modular synth, a Juno, prophet-5 rev2 and MS20-mini. He also "uses a new amplifier and microphone set-up to playback and record his guitar and synthesizers".  The overall idea was to give the songs a "warm impression such as an old film". I must say he succeeded pretty well with that. Whatever he plays (guitar or synths), it seems as if adds a film layer on top of the music, creating different colours as part of the music. These pieces sound relatively as easy music. A few events on a single instrument strung together, but there is more happening in a three-minute piece here than in some of his fifteen-minute plus pieces from before and as such this is quite a different album. It has a more melodic approach, playing chords and changes and such, topped with the usual Hatakeyama approach to reverb and delay and in a way, I think, this is a more personal album than some of his others. I would be interested to know how die-hard Hatakeyama fans will perceive this record; I readily admit that I no expert on the man's vast output (some 70+ albums), but I enjoyed this slightly different approach, diversification to the regular output. Music for all seasons. (FdW)
––– Address: http://gearboxrecords.com



JOAKIM FORSGREN & ANDREAS HIROU LARSSON - VENDING MACHINE (CD by Thanathosis Produktion)

Here we have a duo from Stockholm and I think I had not heard of either musician before. "Hirou Larsson has a background in acoustic jazz and non-idiomatic improvisation, while Forsgen has played electric bass in punk and rock groups since his early teenage years". They talked about doing music together for years and one day Larsson was in Forsgren's studio, who said: now use this stuff we have. From there on, they started working together, using conventional and less conventional instruments, so have Forsgren playing "aluminium foil, Baoding balls, drum machine, electric bass, field recordings, kitchenware, rhythm boxes, tape delay, and synthesizers", while Larson has the "balalaika, bamboo flute, drum machine, field recordings, folding rule, kitchenware, maracas, metal, nails in a box, Rhodes, sound card case, synthesizers, and tennis racket". I read all of that and realized that I no idea how this would sound. The answer is easy: strange. The six pieces (about twenty-six minutes in total) are not easily classified. While there are elements from the world of musique concrčte, there is also noise, lengthy bits with a rhythm machine ticking time away, coherent, structured bits sitting next to chaotic bits, reminiscent of a box of objects falling on the kitchen floor. Sometimes the rhythms and the synthesizers are the glue holding a piece together, but just as well everything is in a free fall, without any glue at all. A most curious record, with a lot of variation in approach and throughout something I enjoyed a lot. The variation is mainly in the musical approach this has versus the more abstract use of everyday objects. All of this is created by two people who enjoy what they are doing and with a wicked sense of creating havoc. Strange, chaotic, funny and way too short. (FdW)
––– Address: https://thanatosis.bandcamp.com/



SORRY FOR LAUGHING - SEE IT ALONE (CD by Klanggalerie)

Let's hope I am not the only one who started singing Josef K's song with the same title, but this group has nothing to do with the Scottish post-punk band of the early '80s. This is the music project of Gordon H. Withlow. He was a member of Biota, the group that came out of Mnemonists/Mnemonist Orchestra. For some time Biota and Mnemonists had an overlap but with Mnemonists who became only involved with visual arts, Biota became the music end. The group released records on their DYS imprint, usually packed with beautiful print work. Whitlow released a cassette as Sorry For Laughing in 1986, which was re-issued on CD in 2018 by Klanggalarie, and that meant a re-launch of it, but as a group, adding Edward Ka-spel (of the Legendary Pink Dots) on vocals, atmospheres and lyrics and Martyn Bates (of Eyeless In Gaza) on vocals and lyrics. Whitlow himself plays organ, accordion, strings and production. Furthermore, there are contributions from Kiyoharu Kuwayama, Patrick Q Wright, Janet Feder and Nigel Withlow. In recent years there have been several Ka-spel collaboration projects, and more often he adds electronics and a lot less voice, but this one is all about his voice, which is very characteristic, just as Bates' voice is. It is an album of intimate music. Maybe it is because of the instruments used by Whitlow, keeping the music small and intimate. It owes, perhaps, more to some Eyeless In Gaza output or Bates' solo work, with those melodic piano touches, dreamy accordion and such, than of Ka-spel solo or the Legendary Pink Dots with some expectation such as 'The Necessity Of Good Timing'. It is an album heavy on lyrical content, which, as you are no doubt aware of, isn't my strength. But I enjoy it all the same. There is, I believe, only one song in which both singers appear, but otherwise, they take turns in vocal duties. In an insane world, this is a flickering light of civilization. The ambient music from a slightly more modern classical perspective; dramatic, not abstract, but subdued and warm. A great record, that no fan of either singer should miss. It has little to do with the original Biota sound but is a world of its own. (FdW)
––– Address: https://klanggalerie.bandcamp.com/



DION NIJLAND – I PLAY ME (CD by Trytone)

‘I play Me’ is the first solo effort by Dutch double bass player Dion Nijland. He studied at the conservatory of Arnhem and Amsterdam. As a member of diverse projects and groups, he became a well-known player in the fields of improvised and modern music, jazz and theatre productions. He participated in Buisonic, Vanbinsbergen Playstation, Talking Cows, Cycle, etc. I’m not completely sure, but I have the impression he mainly operates in the Dutch scene and not so much on an international level. So as a performer he is used to practising his craft always in an exchange with fellow musicians. Nevertheless, over the years ideas popped up that would do best in a solo effort. Now is the time for Nijland to give room to these ideas and intuitions in a solo project. He worked them out in 19 mainly improvised works. It is not an exhibition of technical skills. Far from it. Above all NIjland offers a variety of expressive improvisations that really tell a story. Poetic and personal explorations that unfold in a quiet and reflective mode, of course without the dynamics and responsive gestures that are the case in interplay with others. But this aspect is absolutely not missed here. It is music with depth and soul, and with an emotional impact that is evident right from the start. ‘I play me’ isn’t it?!  All of the improvisations stay under 3 minutes except one.  This makes the works very condensed and pointed. Even the very short improvisations that stay under one minute don’t sound fragmented but are ‘complete’. By consequences, the album is relatively short, filled however with many concentrated and well-shaped exercises. Nijland is ironing and plucking the strings, even with adding some vocals in two tracks like in ‘Janna’s Jive’ that ends in a percussive way. ‘Minimalistic’ is a beautiful little melodic gem reminding me of Arthur Russell.  A very relevant and totally lovely work! (DM)
––– Address: https://www.trytone.org/



ALL MY SINS REMEMBERED II: THE SONIC WORLDS OF JOHN MURPHY (2CD by The Epicurean)

The presence of liner notes here is a most welcome addition. I did know something of John Murphy and his many projects, mainly Last Dominion Lost and Krang (or whatever variation he chooses; there are several). This is the second release with music from his archives; the previous was a three-CD set of bands he was involved in, such as Whitehouse, SPK, but also many more obscure names. I'd say that this new work delves into the archive of the musician who passed away in 2015, and looks at some of his solo projects, as well as The Grimsel Path, his duo with Jon Evans. Murphy's connections with the early industrial luminaries in the UK also meant that he had a strong interest in all things occult, cults of serpent worship and Gnosticism. That is clear from his music, I think. Down in the basement, hidden from plain view, there is a barrage of junk, metal, wood, bones, skulls and in the dark somebody stumbles around, breaking objects, banging and scratching. These trigger sometimes electronics, and some of this is looped and an occasional howl is uttered, a summoning of spirits and serpents. That works best in the hour-long piece by Crank, called 'Untitled', shifting back forward from this rumble and industrial noise, feedback and mayhem, but never it explodes into an endless onslaught of noise, which I think is a good thing. It is that balance between the industrial madness of today's society and the arcane knowledge, the 'earthy' sound, that mysticist character of the music. This is a returning feature in his other projects and perhaps it is not easy to mark out the differences between all of these projects Murphy had. In the half-hour Krank piece from 2012, this is a slightly more electronic sound than Crank in 1983. The devil is in the detail with this hybrid of Murphy solo projects (some with occasional help from others) and a great double album that can either serve as an introduction in the man's personal musical development or a further exploration if you were already converted. (LW)
––– Address: https://epicureanescapism.bandcamp.com/



MICHIKO OGAWA - SOLO MAY/2020 (CD by Ftarri)
AKAIHIRUME & YASUMUNE MORISHIGE - RICCA (CD by Ftarri
JENNIFER ALLUM & JOHN BUTCHER & UTE KANNGIESSER & EDDIE PREVOST - SOUNDS OF ASSEMBLY (CD by Ftarri)

From this trio of new Ftarri releases, I was intrigued by Michiko Ogawa's choice of instrument, the Hammond organ. It was an old one and in need of repair, but Ogawa used the May 2020 lockdown in Berlin, where she lives, to record on this instrument, playing monotonous music to reflect the monotonous days; however, it is a monotony that I quite enjoyed. The organ is in one piece recorded from the built-in speaker (adding room acoustics) and two from the line connection. The three pieces last in total seventy minutes. As I was, once again, working my way through endless rows of numbers in my accounting, and checking data to corroborate the facts (urgh) I played this in the background. Or, well, background, such as it is. Sometimes music has that non-commitment feeling. It is there and, at the same time, it is not, if you get my drift and these Hammond organ pieces convey that feeling for me. It is there, you can hear it, appreciate it and at the same time, you can ignore it and not think too much about it and, maybe, all the same, appreciate it. I fund this to be working best when played in a very modest volume, as to further add to the non-committing character of the music. It is not really ambient, nor drone or improvised music. It is, I guess, a bit of all of that. I love it.
    The second new Ftarri release is a duo of Akaihirume (voice and keyboard) and Yasumune Morishige (cell) and was recorded on February 24, 2020, at Ftarri. Obviously, there is no such thing as 'the' Ftarri sound, but maybe this duet has some markings that would define such a sound. First, there is the careful approach to me, vulnerable, quiet, though not always and not throughout. Also, there is that hard-to-define element of improvisation and composition. In this case, I have no idea. My instinct says this is all improvised music, but who knows, maybe there have been underlying principles at work. Listening to the music, I have no idea what kind of keyboard Akaihirume plays here. I would think it is not a piano. Both players have a lot of control over their instruments and the interaction between them is great. It took me about twelve or minutes into this to realize that I hadn't heard the cello; maybe it is there and maybe not. But then it arrives and it sounds like a cello, playing sparse notes, following the voice of Akaihirume. This is not music you stick on while doing the dishes or some other activity. This is rather something that requires your full attention all the time; partly, because at times the volume drops a bit and not paying attention means losing the train of thought behind the music. In the end, the last five minutes, I had the idea they were performing a folk song or something otherwise traditional, which worked well as closing thought; maybe this was the encore?
    The biggest ensemble we find on the last release, a quartet of players. We have here Jennifer Allum (violin), John Butcher (saxophones), Ute Kanngiesser (cello) and Eddie Prévost (percussion), who met for the second time on 29 Aril 2013 as part of a film 'Eddie Prévost's Blood'. They all met each other on different occasions before but played once before. I haven't seen the film, which, I assume, is a documentary about Prévost, and I can imagine this quartet is an example of his practice in improvised music. In five pieces, some forty-nine minutes, these four players show the best of improvisation can have. There is throughout a more or less traditional approach to the instruments they play, but each player reaches also out to techniques that make it different, using objects upon their instruments and as such, they have a wide range of possibilities at their disposal to create some very rich music. I can only assume this is all totally free improvisation music, with room for everyone to partake, interaction or simple don't do anything; whatever one feels what would add to the overall thing works best and that is sometimes maybe not doing anything. They cover a wide territory of interests, from concentrated bursts of chaos to detailed maximalism and everything between. All executed to great perfection, but I didn't expect anything less. (FdW)

––– Address: https://ftarri.com/



MATTEO UGGERI & MORUNING DOVES - DOES THE MOON NOT DREAM (CD by ADN Records)
SCOSSE ELETTRICHE (CD by ADN Records)
FRACESCO ZIELLO - NINE HUNDRED FIFTY SEVEN (CD by ADN Records)
FONEMI - MADRE (CD by ADN Records)

We know Matteo Uggeri from the previous occasions I reviewed his work. Here he teams up with Mourning Dove, behind which we find Elena Botts. I believe she is from Washington, and she delivers lyrics and vocals on this release, while Uggeri is responsible for sounds, composing and mixing. The cover further lists a bunch of players, whose names don't mean much to me, and they add guitars, cello, trombone, trumpet, mandocello, piano, violin, and bass. Botts' vocals are somewhere halfway between recitation and singing; singing, humming, with and without words, whereas the narration is dreamy; just like the music, made to fit those dreamy thoughts by Botts. Uggeri adds quite a bit of field recordings and delves from his archives whatever instruments are needed for a section, so there are pieces with a dominant trumpet bit (with a lot of reverb to suggest more atmosphere; as if we weren't aware) or bass or well, you get my drift. The voice is quite upfront in the mix, which is not something I am a big fan of when it comes to narration. With singing, I can agree, but with a story, I am not so convinced. How often would you play a release with such narration? I, for one, am a person who is not the biggest fan when it comes to such story-telling releases; I am sure I wrote this before. I quite enjoyed the darker soundscapes, the nocturnal glow if you will, that this music has, works quite well on a final day of springtime.
    ADN Records used to be a cassette label from the 1980s with an excellent program, that included Asmus Tietchens, Bourbonese Qualk, next to a bunch of Italian bands and musicians, and I remember to be fond of Riccardo Sinigaglia's cassettes back then, so I was happy to see his name attached to Scosse Elettriche, a duo with drummer Davide Zolli. Sinigaglia plays piano, keyboards, synths, and flutes. I had little expectation, also because it has been quite a while since I last heard anything from Sinigaglia, but I sure wasn't expecting this record. ADN Records is part of the Recommended Records family and maybe that explains some of the backgrounds here. The cover text is in Italian, but it might be about jazz music and in some way, this is a jazz record. But it is a strange one. Zolli's drumming is particularly jazzy, and some of Sinigaglia's playing, but the latter also adds stranger elements from space rock and experimental music to the mix, creating at times a more rock-like character. In some way, this reminded me of Sogar & Swing, the Swedish duo of drums and organ (as well as various others, all of which hark back to the Silver Apples, I guess). Three long and spacious tracks here, and at times they go way off course, but then sneak back on the right track, and the psychedelic jazz train continues. Perhaps, so I mused, this is an oddball for me, but I enjoyed it all the same, and a lot come to think of that.
    The other two releases I received are by musicians I don't think I heard of before. First, there is Francesco Ziello, who "composed and recorded at Avidi Lumi's workspace in 2019". From his website, I understand he is a multi-instrumentalist and electro-acoustic composer, and he studied piano, composition and electronic music. "My projects summarizes the path made until now and brings together issues, research methods and moods related to the contemporary and experimental music, keeping at the same time a strong connection with tonal language." I can as such see that this album is a showcase of what he does, as he moves, musically, all over the place. Much of this is in the quieter realm of music, with piano and guitar being played, moodily and atmospheric, but upon closer inspection, there quite a few nasty sounds, drones, or even noisy interludes. "The hidden plot that runs through the album is based on the story of Jeffrey Dahmer and is an attempt to look into social isolation and development of one's unreal inner world", which I must admit I could not detect from the music, which means it is either hidden quite a lot or music itself has very little meaning (a topic for another day). Throughout the thirteen tracks on this album remain brief and to the point, from rather ordinary dramatic sound pieces to intenser and moodier sound pieces. I enjoyed them all, as Ziello has quite a lot of variation to offer in his music and the balance between finely tuned musical pieces and more abstract soundscapes made this a pleasant trip; and, perhaps, that is a poor choice of words with such a big hidden plot.
    One Vito Santoro is Fonemi and on 'Madre' he has seven tracks. I couldn't find any other information about him. The cover also has very little information besides a Dylan Thomas quote. No instruments or recording dates are mentioned on the cover. I would say this is a man armed with a sampler, playing around with simulations of real instruments, electronics, rhythms and sounds from more obscured sources. Fonemi creates dark ambient patterns with these elements, adding a bit of rhythm here and there, and it is okay. All right. But at times Fonemi spins out his pieces a bit too much, such as in 'Attesa', which could have been much shorter and thus become more powerful. While the music is not bad it is also nothing out of the ordinary. All of this, I have heard done by other people with better results (and, surely, also a lot worse; Fonemi's music has a great, detailed production value), more imaginative and something more personal. If you like dark ambient spiced up with some mechanical loops and rhythms, and you are looking for a new name, then try out Fonemi (I believe ADN Records has no Bandcamp page where you can check their releases) and maybe you find me all wrong. (FdW)

––– Address: http://adnrecords.com/



MIR - WM (LP by A Tree In A Field Records)

This is the final record for the group Mir. Daniel Buess, Papiro and Michael Zaugg started in 2005, and they have five releases, including this one. Daniel Buess passed away in 2016. Buess and Papiro play on this record along with Yanik Soland, and they use drums, percussions, bass, guitar, violin, shehnai, organ, synthesizers, stylophone, and objects. For me, this last one is the first encounter with their music, so I must admit it is not easy to judge the music based on their development over their ten years of existence (this last work was recorded in 2015). Although this is music that I would not easily choose to play on a day off, I found it most enjoyable. Mir has a sound that spans various genres and influences. I understand from Discogs they have "particular attention for West-African grooves". I have no idea if that is what I am hearing, as I am not an expert on that. But the music is heavy on the use of rhythm, that much is sure. Around fast rhythms, all the other instruments swirl around in a highly psychedelic fashion. Instruments are strummed, scraped, scratched and all together form a highly vibrant mass of sound. There is certainly an element of noise in their music, as well as, I should think, a background in rock music. Buess was a member of 16/17, which may say something about the forceful character of the music here. I think it is especially interesting on the whole axis of this superfast drumming and what the bands brew around that, and it works best when you play this with some considerable volume. It is then that one starts to hear all the small details that may otherwise be lost in the storm that is this music. And a most pleasant storm it is. (FdW)
––– Address: https://mirmirmir.bandcamp.com/



ANTICHILDLEAGUE – BRAIN WAVES (cassette by Endangered Species)
 
8 tracks,  'You So There', screaming repetitive pulse and spoken fairly indescribable vocals, 'Brain Waves', heavy vocals again against shards of white noise, 'Commifasci', begins with some found vocals against a distant drone, segues to a rhythmic didgeridoo pulse and again vocals... higher-pitched pulse and distorted vocals, 'Breath', distorted chanting vocals again against a slower rhythmic noise track, the most songful so far, and a coda of human breathing... 'Nothing To Express',  (see below), a wallish noise with maybe some vocalization, in contrast to much of the previous tracks, harsh noise, a fast pulse at around halfway... 'Body Talk', vocals again, biblical OT readings, against high-pitched noises and vocal screams, 'God Never Loved You' a more or less wall of noise static with higher pitches, no vocals, the most abstract so far. 'There Is Nothing', begins with very gentle chimes and repetitive electronic motifs, then a beat begins at 1' 36” with vocals. These tracks range from 'songs' which could be PE or even some kind of metal through to more or less Harsh Noise Wall. I reviewed in Vital 1264 where I not only attempted to describe the Noise of Gaya Donadio, but also some motivations behind the work. And who am I to doubt any of this, however, I have repeatedly droned on about noise and meaninglessness. These tracks are more of a puzzle as clearly in some there are themes, albeit obscure but dark, in others nothing of the kind. Now being anti-rational is often thought to be cool in the Arts, but rationality itself has problems. And here I will address noise as an attack on the rationality of music. By which I mean the rules found in music wherein judgements can be made, true or false, good or bad... in any form of communication in a 'language'. And here is the nice point, though noise as non-language, nonsense, non-music, it might be thought, as I did, that it couldn't make any such propositions. Ergo noise could be Anti Whaling, Pro Fascism, Pro Marxism, and any of the many intentions including those of Gaya Donadio. Pretty then meaningless and pointless, save logic! What is a 'problem' in logic is a joy to behold. Contra my review in 1264, logically Noise CAN make true statements DESPITE IT BEING INCOHERENT. Here goes, eyes down... “The paradoxes of material implication are a group of formulae that are intuitively false but treated as true in systems of logic that interpret the conditional connective "->" (a right arrow) as a material conditional. (If X then Y) On the material implication interpretation, a conditional formula P -> Q  is true unless P is true and Q is false. If natural language were understood in the same way, that would mean that the sentence "If the Nazis won World War Two, everybody would be happy" is true. Given that such problematic consequences follow from a seemingly correct assumption about logic, they are called paradoxes. They demonstrate a mismatch between classical logic and robust intuitions about meaning and reasoning.” - Wiki - So "If Music is not Noise (P) then Noise is Music (Q)."  If P is false Q is true. If P is true and Q is false then P -> Q is false. ??? Check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_explosion If you want 'clarification' on this. I.e. ""All lemons are yellow" and "Not all lemons are yellow"—and suppose that both are true. If that is the case, anything can be proven, e.g., the assertion that "unicorns exist,"We know that "Not all lemons are yellow," as it has been assumed to be true. We know that "All lemons are yellow," as it has been assumed to be true. Therefore, the two-part statement "All lemons are yellow OR unicorns exist” must also be true, since the first part is true. However, since we know that "Not all lemons are yellow" (as this has been assumed), the first part is false, and hence the second part must be true, i.e., unicorns exist." :-) And if you think this is crazy it's what makes  ACL, Merzbow ... and Bertrand Russell so dangerous, and Brain Waves is Music and not, Q.E.D? (Jliat.)
––– Address: http://endangeredspecies.biz










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