number 1299
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week 35
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DAVE PHILLIPS - TO DEATH (CD by Misanthropic Agenda) *
RICHARD YOUNGS - IKER (CD by Fourth Dimension) *
MOCKART - MEN WHO LOST THEIR HEADS (CD by Mock Records) *
MARTIN SCHERZINGER – ETUDES (CD by New Focus Recordings) *
I/O - STUDIES ON COLOUR FIELD MODULATION (CD by Creative Sources Recordings) *
ERNOSTO RODRIGUES & JOANNA SA & LUISA GONCALVES & CARLOS SANTOS - MELT (CD by Creative Sources Recordings) *
ERNESTO RODRIGUES & ALBERT CIRERA & RODRIGO PINHEIRO & CARLOS SANTOS - 3 PHASES 1 WHITE (CD by Creative Sources Recordings) *
EDOARDO CAMMISA - IO_U, E (CD by Sublime Retreat) *
TANTO -  /ˈği​.​o/ (cassette by Sublime Retreat) *
TUMI ARNASON – HLİNUN (2LP, private)
TREPANERINGSRITUALEN - VEIL THE WORLD (LP by Cold Spring Records) *
ELLENDE - UNINTENTIONAL CONSEQUENCES (10" by Smeerlap) *
TAUMEL - IN PIECES VOL. ONE (10" by Substantia Innominata/Drone Records)
ZOUL - DAWK DAYZ (CDR by Econore) *
DEREK PIOTR & TERRITORIAL GOBBING - PURPLE SCHMEAR (CDR by Econore) *
DAIGORA - LIVE EDITION #7 (CDR by Econore) *
SUB ARAW & T. JACOBSON - VHW7 (CDR by Gotta Let It Out) *
WOOD ORGANIZATION - DRIMPRO (cassette by Gotta Let It Out) *
DIRECTIVES - PROTENOMALY (cassette by Aubjects) *
WILDER GONZALES AGREDA  - ROJO (digital) *



DAVE PHILLIPS - TO DEATH (CD by Misanthropic Agenda)

This new album by Dave Phillips is "dedicated to death". He writes: "I don't mean death the spectre that installs horror and fear in many (in the western world), nor death the enemy of the (western) for-profit medical system, but death as part of a cycle, like birth. death is the only certainty in life. dying, like living, as something that can be done well - or not. death also something that can be a release, a relief, a liberation, the end of suffering, freedom." Dedicated to his father, who died in June 2021, as this album went to press. The son took care of the father for the last fifteen months, and from October 2020 to March 2021, Phillips worked on this eighty-minute album. By now, Phillips has carved out a specific sound that one recognises as Dave Phillips. Well, at least I do now. The voice plays an important role; whispering, screaming, humming like a choir, or even reciting a text (in 'Unsayable). Along with this are close-miked acoustic objects (shaking cups in 'Unsayable'), a sampled cello, heavy percussion, a few piano tones and a hard cut to make a radical change in a piece. This time there seems an absence of field recordings, but maybe taking care of his father prevented Phillips from doing new ones? All of this one could call noise, but oddly enough, most of it is acoustic. Phillips creates a massive carpet of sound by layering many sounds, lots of voices here; a demented choir, a swirling mass of sound, abruptly cut short (like life sometimes) with a sudden percussive bang. Phillips is the man for precision editing, coming most of the time when you expect them least. Of course, this is not a pleasant album, even if you believe death is part of a cycle, followed by birth (I am not among those who think that). The result is dark music that makes you contemplate one's existence on this mortal coil, and perhaps everybody you loved and who is no longer with you. Maybe that is not an unpleasant thought; thinking about loved ones makes them still with you and not entirely gone. I even believe there is meaning in the duration of this album, other than value for money; eighty minutes being the metaphor for an average life span? This is an excellent album, on par with Phillips output so far, of which I know not many I didn't like. (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.misanthropicagenda.com/news.html



RICHARD YOUNGS - IKER (CD by Fourth Dimension)

Sometimes I wish I could engage in a round table discussion with die-hard fans of the work of Richard Youngs, as I would like to pick their brains on how they perceive the massive differences in his musical approaches. Is there a preference for them, and how do they appreciate his music that is, perhaps, not something of their usual liking? The artist has a broad taste, and the fans also, but how do they weigh things? His previous album for Fourth Dimension Records, 'Metal River' (Vital Weekly 1279), is still fresh in our memory, which was quite an experimental affair, with electronics working overtime. This new album is an entirely different beast. Stage central is the Spanish guitar, the acoustic guitar with nylon strings instead of metal ones. When Fourth Dimension heard a bit of that from Youngs, they commissioned to do a whole album of the stuff, in which Youngs would do that sort of guitar work "alongside real-time street sounds, birdsong, tape loops, synth, FM radio and runout grooves". Funnily enough (well), the first time I played this CD, I didn't notice anything remotely in that area, but fair enough, maybe I wasn't paying enough attention the first time, or the second for that matter. Maybe I started noticing these things after I read about them? Sure, I did see then because I started paying much attention to the details of the music. The music has an exciting depth here. Youngs plucks the acoustic guitar is very laidback, easy even, but also with an undercurrent of unrest. Quite rightly, Fourth Dimension connects with John Fahey and Sir Richard Bishop, but Youngs has a distinct sound of his own. Perhaps that is for some part, thanks to the additional sounds, which seem to grow in intensity as this release progresses, with most of them in the final piece, 'Street Feeling', almost (but not entirely) on a similar level as the acoustic guitar. That last piece is the most experimental of the five pieces, but still, the music is quite delicate, but here on the verge of bursting. It was thirty-some minutes ago that we started this trip in a way more delicate field, with 'Water Feeling', in which we hear the guitar and some faint vinyl surface noise, a lovely slow start of a curious yet fascinating trip. This new release is entirely different from the previous one and no doubt from the one that comes next, and it fits the musical world of Youngs perfectly. (FdW)
––– Address: https://fourthdimensionrecords.bigcartel.com/



MOCKART - MEN WHO LOST THEIR HEADS (CD by Mock Records)

Sometimes I wish I could 'unread' something. The press text to the CD by Mockart (or mockART), for instance, is a lengthy text about Covid and Conspiracy theories, which I gave up at one point when I realised that the point was there they wanted to be oh so mysterious. Some facts, then. Mockart is a duo of Christopher Dorner on flutes and one rabirus (no capitals needed) playing, I assume electronics, plus a cast of guest players, such as Thanataloop, Leda Szemeredim and Mark Daelmans-Sikkel, primarily words and voices. If one expects a lyric-heavy release, with samples of funny boy Alex Jones and such like lightweights, then I must disappoint you. Hence me wanting to unread the press text and being able to return to the music. Of course, yes, I know, this is me and my absolute music. Music is music and comes without any meaning. Whatever we latch onto the music, titles, words, images (covers) add meaning to the music, political, sociological or religious. But, as Mockart proofs, when such texts or lyrics are not present, we only have music with these titles that refer to the matter at hand. Quite a long CD we have here, almost eighty minutes, and not consistently as strong as it could have been when pieces would have been condensed or altogether left out. Just because a CD can hold such music, it is (not always) necessary to fill it up for that amount of time). Much of this is an amalgam of improvised flute playing, along with a wild mixture of electronic sounds, exotic percussion (rightly referencing Nurse With Wound) and musique concrete techniques mixed with the industrial music end of the spectrum. 'An Abduction' is one of those too-long pieces that could be skipped. Some of it is most enjoyable, and I have mixed feelings about this release and subsequently about this review. It feels like an overload of music, not easy to grasp, and that is a pity. I think I can't do much justice to the music, but if anything helps: check this out! There is much to enjoy. (FdW)
––– Address: https://mockart.eu/



MARTIN SCHERZINGER – ETUDES (CD by New Focus Recordings)
 
‘Etudes’ is the second album by South-African composer and musicologist Martin Scherzinger for New Focus Recordings. As a researcher, he is specialised in “sound studies, music, media and politics of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a particular interest in the music of European modernism and after, as well as African music and transnational musical fusions.” This focus is also present on this new album of Scherzinger, which is devoted to piano etudes. Scherzinger uses material composed by Brahms, Schumann. Couperin, Paganini, among others trying to find new possibilities from this material. In his reworking of this material, Scherzinger seeks to integrate it with elements of traditional African music. He grew up with both very different traditions, and here he starts research aiming to integrate both worlds. Not easy to detect the African influences for my taste. More evident is that the old compositions are not combined with deconstructive or other modern procedures. As he put it, he stays within the original paradigms, leading the old music through ‘a hall of mirrors’. The music is very tonal and accessible. Very harmonic and with rhythm. Maybe it is here that the African influences are at work and sometimes even bring dance very nearby. Very enjoying and uplifting compositions and performance. Fresh and spirited. There is some sense of innocence in the music that makes it irresistible. A very charming and sparkling piece in an outstanding performance by Bobby Mitchell. (DM)
––– Address: https://newfocusrecordings.bandcamp.com/



I/O - STUDIES ON COLOUR FIELD MODULATION (CD by Creative Sources Recordings)
ERNESTO RODRIGUES & JOANNA SA & LUISA GONCALVES & CARLOS SANTOS - MELT (CD by Creative Sources Recordings)
ERNESTO RODRIGUES & ALBERT CIRERA & RODRIGO PINHEIRO & CARLOS SANTOS - 3 PHASES 1 WHITE (CD by Creative Sources Recordings)

These three releases are from the same label, and they all involve Carlos Santos. I have reviewed some of his work before, but it was a considerable time ago (Vital Weekly 530, for instance). I believe that one of these releases is a bit older, judging by the catalogue number. As I/O, Santos has a dup with Ulrich Mitzlaff, who plays cello and objects, whereas Santos takes credit for electronics and objects. I am not sure what they understand by 'colour field modulation', but there are two pieces here, 'Blau' and 'Orange'. Both are exercises in improvising in small concentrated areas, which they explore at length. Small sounds are repeated, using objects on strings and, perhaps, these are also picked up by the electronics of Carlos and fed back into the mix. I couldn't figure out if these electronics operated on a standalone level or not, but my best guess is that it is a combination of both. Some of the longer sustaining sounds that form a myriad of strings in the background could be from those standalone electronics. At the same time, in the foreground, the cello plays a hectic web of small sounds, seemingly uncontrolled but very much to the point. The overall result is quite energetic and dynamic, with lots of stuff fighting to get your attention, while there are also longer lines present, acting as beacons to sail this ship. Lovely stuff.
    The other two are quartet releases in which Carlos plays electronics. The most recent one is with Ernesto Rodrigues (viola), Luisa Goncalves (piano) and Joana Sa (soprano saxophone). The music was recorded on June 1 2021, in Lisbon, so hot of the press, I should think. I am not sure here, maybe because I have no idea how these things work, but I think this piece is at the crossroads of improvisation and composition. That is how it sounds to me. The musicians repeated specific phrases and ideas repeated throughout the fifty-five minutes of this and each time in a slightly different configuration. Sometimes a bit faster, slower, with one of the players having a little more dominant role in that segment, but in following general guidelines, I might be wrong, of course here, and this is the work of total free improvisation. Each player chooses to execute their part in this piece while maintaining the overall idea is elegance. There is not a lot in here that is very chaotic or abrasive, weird or strange. On the contrary, I detected a specific gentle approach in this piece, and with each of the instruments sounding as intended. Except for Santos, I found it hard to figure out what he was doing, but I am sure he's in there.
    The other one is an older recording (and perhaps released at the time?), from April 18, 2018, with Santos on 'field recordings and sine waves', Ernesto Rodrigues reprising on viola again, Albert Cirera (tenor saxophone) and Rodrigo Pinheiro (piano). Here we start with field recordings, so Santos has a clear mark to start. The music is along similar and yet different lines. The modern classical approach in the piece, primarily as heard with the use of the piano, has a similar effect on the music, but at the same time, it is also a bit more chaotic than the other one; perhaps I should say freer? Here we seem (!) to have no plan, no repeating ideas executed differently, but instead the aleatoric approach to all sorts of sounds. All of this gives that this piece (forty-one minutes) leaps in all kinds of directions. From quiet and reflective to outgoing and chaotic. Of the three releases, this one is the most traditional one in terms of improvised music. As such, it was also the one that didn't do that much for me. Santos contributions consisting of various bird recordings and sine waves, is, at times, hard to detect, but when he plays glissandi, his presence is hard to avoid. (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.creativesourcesrec.com



EDOARDO CAMMISA - IO_U, E (CD by Sublime Retreat)
TANTO -  /ˈği​.​o/ (cassette by Sublime Retreat)

Although I am not entirely sure about this, the Polish label Sublime Retreat has the perfect name for the music they release. It is music for a retreat, for the listener to engage in some fine relaxing modus to do what they want to do. I had not heard of either musician here before, although we reviewed work that involved Edoardo Cammissa earlier, but under the banner of Banished Pills (Vital Weekly 1197). He has his label, Sounds Against Humanity. Unfortunately, his new CD is damn short, which is a great pity. He has two long tracks and one very short opening salvo. Cammisa uses "analogue synthesisers, spring reverb, microphones, field recordings, no-input mixing, organ, sampler".
    The short piece is a study in decay, thirty-eight seconds long, but the other two aren't. These are highly mysterious affairs of field recordings and electronics on a subdued volume, with minimal development. Still, they hoover close to the ground over the passage of the fourteen minutes (more or less). I find this both mysterious and intriguing, and I see the music from Cammisa as part of the big family of musicians that work with lo-fi sound, offering all sorts of moods and textures. In this case, the music is subdued and quiet, all on the ambient side. Play this on a medium to low volume, and your space pleasantly fills with sound; play it is a bit louder, and there is a pleasant sort of unrest noticeable in the music, which made me enjoy the music even more. Undercurrents in the music now surface and make it all even more mysterious, I think. An excellent release this is, and its only shortcoming lie in the fact that it is so damn short. Another one or two of these excursions would have made perfect sense.
    Tanto's '/ˈği​.​o/' is a debut album, and we don't know who Tanto is. The cover uses paint created with the ashes of burned dead plants, and the cover says that "no real instruments were used in the making of this record, " but we don't know what is used. It is also not something I could quickly think of, judging by the music. All I could think of are the usual suspects for this kind of music, such as field recordings captured on old and worn-out cassettes. What is remarkable here is that the debut is ninety minutes long, a case of confidence, I suppose, but it works very well. There is a single piece of each side of the cassette, and in both instances, these are slow-burning exercises in enveloping soundscapes. Whatever the source of the field recordings were, the three times fold up resulted in that anything is morphed into something else. As I am playing this, I think this may be all computer-based manipulation but twisted in some way to make it all a bit more analogue. It has that granular processing quality, and the shifting of pitches has that occasional organ-like drone quality. This music is also from the same musical spectrum as the music from Cammisa, and here we have a slightly louder variation of that and, perhaps, a bit more minimal. These two parts of the same piece show a slow, ongoing process played out, going from one place to the next, which you only notice once you have arrived at that place, but then the train is already moving to the next destination. I thought of playing the release on auto-reverse for an extended period. This is an excellent debut! Watch that name. (FdW)
––– Address: https://sublimeretreat.bandcamp.com/



TUMI ARNASON – HLİNUN (2LP, private)

With Tumi Arnason, we are in the company of a young Icelandic saxophonist, improviser and composer. With ‘Hlınun’ he debuted with his quartet of Magnús Jóhann Ragnarsson (piano, Rhodes, Farfisa), Skúli Sverrisson  (electric bass) and Magnús Trygvason Eliassen (drums) and Arnason himself on tenor sax. The name of Sverrison did ring a bell. I have a vague memory of a solo album for Extreme Records, probably somewhere in the 90s. He is the most experienced musician of all four and a bit older than the other musicians. He worked with Arve Henriksen, Theo Bleckman and Bill Frisell, to name a few. The others work only in the Icelandic scene so far. Arnason and Ragnarsson released a duo work in 2019.  Ragnarsson debuted last year with ‘Without Listening with Arnason and Eliassen a.o. Eliassen released last year a duo work with saxophonist Sölvi Kolbeinsson. All are vinyl releases, just as this new double-album by Arnason. ‘Hlınun’ is a composition in five parts by the hands of Arnason. The title means ‘warning’ and refers to the threats of the global climate crisis. Opening track ‘Lungu’ keeps the middle between jazz and dark sound textures, introducing the two main ingredients of the music that diverge and converge in different ways during this trip. ‘Ooaa’ starts as jazz improvisation, free jazz-inspired, with a strange piano and keyboard in the second phase. ‘Svart haf’ opens with an intriguing solo on bass. A free jazz section follows with a ripping saxophone with a dark soundscape in the background. Later this background becomes prominent, and we are lost in a dark ambient environment. ‘Songur ‘opens with a playful percussion solo. It is followed by a jazzy section without electronic sound textures in the background, making the music more intimate. The closing piece opens lyrically with a remarkable change from a Farfisa organ to an acoustic piano, followed by a jump into an imaginative dark soundscape of a different character.  Combining these bass- and keyboard-dominated soundscapes with sections of free jazz-inspired improvisation makes this an exciting and surprising recording. (DM)
––– Address: https://tumiarnason.bandcamp.com/



TREPANERINGSRITUALEN - VEIL THE WORLD (LP by Cold Spring Records)

Somewhere I missed the transition of Thomas Ekelund, going from Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words to Trepaneringsritualen. I did know he has a ton more musical projects. 'Veil The World' is now available for the third time, in another format. First, it was a limited cassette on the Kosci Tapes label in 2011, and in 2015, Cold Spring released it on CD. That CD version was reviewed on these pages (Vital Weekly 989) but not by me. Now it was released on vinyl, "bone white", in an edition of 500 copies. I can't say I am an expert on the music of Trepaneringsritualen, as I only recently heard a bit of it. This particular release is from the early days when the group was just the Ekelund one-person show (now a duo with Peter Johan Nÿland), so I am not entirely sure how the music developed over the years. I think this early work is a fine example of the brutal, primitive force that uses distortion, a bang on a piece of metal, low voiced musings and shrieking feedback. Industrial music? Yes, that it is certainly is, but mixed with a more ritualistic aspect. The information says that the music explores "religion, magick and the hidden realms of consciousness", but that is not something I gathered from the music. I assume that is all just me and my ignorance when it comes to lyrics. In recent years I have been returning to old school industrial music, and I have enjoyed it a lot, well, again, to be honest. While I may not follow them into a cave or a forest for some blood-spattered ritual (and I quickly assume they don't engage in such activities), I just sit at home and engage in no rituals other than the excitement of playing this sort of thing. (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.coldspring.co.uk



ELLENDE - UNINTENTIONAL CONSEQUENCES (10" by Smeerlap)

Although Ellende is from South Africa, this new release was sent to me from Japan (just like the previous one) by one of the band members (if not the core of the group). Recording for this new record took place in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Tokyo, and London. Maybe that shows the diversity of the floating membership of this group, but, more mundane, it also has to do with the Covid thing. I doubt that under normal circumstances, these people would team up. Ellende means misery, which is in this age is the most appt name, of course, for the state of the world. As with the previous release, this comes in a beautiful package, 10" gatefold sleeve, booklet with a text in South-African (which is related to the Dutch language, but not always to understand for me), and English. If the previous release (Vital Weekly 1206) was already a step towards ambient music, then this indeed is another step further down that road. Sound material supplied by Carina Bruwer (flute), John John (Wurlitzer, guitar, Juno 6, tape) and core member Martinus Antonius (ARP Solus, Casio VL-Tone, Eurorack, recordings, looping and processing; he's the man in Tokyo). The story in the booklet is about the family history of Antonius and his cousin Wim, who committed suicide in 1995. It is an interesting read when playing the music. Still, I returned to the music again, without taking too much notice of the text and enjoyed the dark, pastoral ambient tones, from long, sustaining synthesisers washing ashore, along with field recordings from around the house. Just a few notes that all there seems to be to it. It fits in a way the current wave of lo-fi drone music, with those cassettes that ran out of Ferro, so the music isn't captured very well, sparse synths and shady field recordings. In the variation of Ellende this is all very ambient, peaceful and subdued. In this variation, the use of voices from French films from the 70s (which relates to the text enclosed) adds further to the music's dreamlike quality. All of this is more spacious than their earlier work. You could say this is a step forward, but instead, I'd like to say it further expands musical interests. (FdW)
––– Address: https://ellende1.bandcamp.com/



TAUMEL - IN PIECES VOL. ONE (10" by Substantia Innominata/Drone Records)

For various reasons, this is an oddball release for the Drone Records' subdivision of Substantia Innominata. Firstly, because one of the musicians is a relatively well-known actor, who played a role in the excellent German TV series 'Dark', a must-see if you like that sort of thing with time travel. He's also a composer for various films. With Sven Pollkötter, he is the duo of Taumel. I am sure Diehl's participation will raise a few unusual eyebrows in the direction of this record. More importantly, the music is not what we know from this series, a subdivision of Drone Records, which, by and large, deal with the more droney end of the musical spectrum, music for the subconsciousness. Taumel teams up with Ensemble Adapter, a four-piece group of percussion, clarinets, flute and harp, along with a ton of effects, tapes, and voices. The six of them recorded a couple of improvisations, which served as the basis of further mixing, remixing and processing by Taumel (who play keyboards, voices, guitars, typewriter, tapes, percussion, sampler, and such like). On this record, there are eight pieces, which in itself is also a thing you don't see a lot with releases on this imprint. The result is still much rooted in improvised music than you would think or even jazz, but with that streak of darkness, that is more common here. A most remarkable record, I'd say, and one that took some time here before it sank in. The resulting pieces of music are just that, pieces of music, rather than soundscaping or long-form pieces. There is excellent clarity here regarding the instruments, which are all pretty well defined within the result.  However, the four pieces per side can be seen as one long story, moving from place to place, albeit a more abstract one, of course, but maybe I am distracted by the fact that there is an actor at work here. Also, it has an excellent film character. I can easily imagine visuals to go along with this, and it comes close to the world of soundtracks. Perfect record, but not one that quickly reveals its secrets. (FdW)
––– Address: https://www.dronerecords.de/



SOUL - DAWK DAYZ (CDR by Econore)
DEREK PIOTR & TERRITORIAL GOBBING - PURPLE SCHMEAR (CDR by Econore)
DAIGORA - LIVE EDITION #7 (CDR by Econore)

From these three new releases by Germany's Econore label, I started with what looked like their most obscure one. Before learning that Zoul is the band name and the release is called 'Dawk Dayz', I had to look at Bandcamp and compare covers. Label boss Jul is on tape manipulation, magnetic mic and synth and Ramco on an electronic device. On June 1, they recorded four pieces at the Bunker in Mönchengladbach. Not mentioned here if this was a concert or a studio recording of some kind. Judging by the music, it could be either way. In the already crowded field of musicians who work from the lo-fi end of things, Zoul inhabits a bit-oriented place towards the noise end of the spectrum. Still, a certain roughness of the ambient side is also to be noted here, certainly into the slightly distorted organ tones of 'Iron Light', taking the scenic route towards its end. I would think that those lovely small synthesisers from Korg make their appearance on '.Torrent', feeding through delay pedals along with a bundle of short waves. Mild distortion in competition with ambient tones works alongside 'Yellow Snake' and spraying similar over 'Dog Days' sounds. Zoul isn't the noisiest beast alive, nor the most mellow space cadet, but tap into both worlds and do a fine job at realising their private dystopian soundtracks. This release comes in a DVD box and is in an edition of 13 copies.
    Both Derek Piotr and Territorial Gobbing may be no strangers to these pages. To quite some extent, both work with voices, but not exclusively. I have no idea how this particular collaboration came to life, but I would think of the music through file exchange via the Internet with one musician based in the UK and the other in the USA. Of course, there is also a possibility that the two met up and did a concert; there is no further information here. Interestingly enough, voices seem to play a minor role here, compared to what is happening here. A lot of this sees the two of them working with Dictaphone sounds, courtesy of Territorial Gobbing, I assume, and found sound, recorded on that particular device, and playback into what could be digital processing devices, and that I attribute to Piotr. This meeting of the high-end and low end of working with sound works pretty well, I think. Most of the time, it is not easy to distinguish between both ends and that I enjoyed it a lot. Also, in the two parts of 'No Motivation', a level of organisation makes this almost a pop song; I believe Piotr is responsible for such a mix of rhythmic elements and many loose sounds bouncing around. 'Fake Hallways' is primarily a piece of field recordings in a somewhat ambient fashion, and 'Reimbursed For Faulty Tree' is a slightly more chaotic affair, and here I would think Territorial Gobbing has more input in the overall result. The results go, either way, improvisation and organisation, and it gives us a strangely coherent release.
    And finally, the shortest release, time-wise, with the most personal and the oldest in the recording. Twenty-two minutes the live recording of Dagora lasted and was recorded at the ever-lovely (H)Ear Festiva in 2012. Rogier Smal (drums, branches), Stephen Doyle (percussion and other sounds), and PQ ("electronics, some might say broken toys, flutes, whistles and bells) make up the regular line-up of Dagora. For this concert, there was also Helena Sanders (voice), Arvind Ganga (guitar) and Xexek (gong and singing bowls). Not a very long release, just under twenty-two minutes, and we hear elements of folk music (especially in the voice of Sanders), mixed with improvisation and free-folk music, once this piece is full-on steam. The mixture of acoustic objects with slow percussion on usual and unusual instruments works quite well. Sanders uses her voice to sing and recite the text, which affects the overall result. At times, I had the idea of listening to a story set to quite some chaotic music, veering towards a song, before getting into an actual song modus. There are bits of hippy/tribal elements in this music, which aren't among my favourite things. Still, all the same, I immensely enjoyed this release, especially the opening minutes and the long drawn out introspective bit towards the end, making up about one-third of the concert. (FdW)
––– Address: https://econore.bandcamp.com/



SUB ARAW & T. JACOBSON - VHW7 (CDR by Gotta Let It Out)
WOOD ORGANISATION - DRIMPRO (cassette by Gotta Let It Out)

Here we have two releases with music from the world of improvisation, and it works out differently. First, there is the duo of T. Jacobson on double bass and C. Stallones on guitar and synthesisers, the latter also known as Sun Araw. 'VHW7' stands for 'Velocity Holomatrix Warp 7', which is "also featured in its totality in the virtual reality immersive digital visual-sonic experience designed by Theo Triantafyllidis & Sun Araw. You can download the 'game' here: slimetech.org/VHW7/". Still, I didn't fork out the money to get it, so I am sure I miss out on something. Whatever the 'game' is, it is difficult to see the improvised music working alongside here. It also works quite well as a standalone piece of music recorded at the Vinterjazz Festival on February 18, 2017. The improvisations by the two are pleasant enough to hear because they do not always follow strict rules of improvisations. They leap out to the world of noise at times with some more abrasive sound material. In work, it is also possible to take back a gear and explore the material a bit more, drift away, without playing the ambient card. This material is almost an hour, quite lengthy, and maybe visual stimulants would have helped? I am not sure. When there was applause, I believed we had come to the end of the release, but there was an encore. There was a need to show and tell it all. I enjoyed most of it, especially when not playing the entire piece all the way through.
    Tomo Jacobson is also part of Wood Organization, a duo with Szymon Pimpon Gasiorek (drums, percussion, OP-Z, vox), while Tomo plays the double bass midi-ribbon, noise generator, vox. In 2017, the group released their first cassette, but with a different line-up. I have not heard that album. Here we have no 'game', just a bunch of songs. 'Drimpro' stands from 'dream' and 'impro', if you can imagine such a thing. Listening to the music, it makes sense, I guess. There are repeating grooves put forward by Gasiorek. On top of that, there is the improvised music by the two of them. It has a bit of a kraut-rock feeling, yet also just rock or dance grooves, along with these far-flung sounds from electronics and bass lines. With their voices heavily transformed by vocoders, this music has a slightly alienated feeling, or perhaps some seventies funk element. The result is some bizarre stuff. The aspect of improvisation is indeed heavily part of this, but don't let that distract you too much. Should improv be something you skip out of a habit, but like weirdo groove music, this is something that I can imagine would be something one could dig. It has enough elements that are not strict improvisation music to attract a wider audience. Is it music for these pages? Well, you could debate about that too. In some ways, not at all, and in some ways, it is (FdW)
––– Address: http://gottaletitout.com/



DIRECTIVES - PROTENOMALY (cassette by Subjects)

On one of my favourite labels from the USA, there is a new release by the man who runs the show, D. Petri, who works as Directives; he's also a member of Amalgamated. Like on his previous release, 'Usphutorontus Deius Nissesubla' (see Vital Weekly 1119), he receives help from Hillary Ulman on percussion instruments. These are, honestly, not easy to recognise in the music, which I would think is computer-based primarily and at times very loud and at other times tones down quite a bit. I assume that, as before, he uses many of the same instruments (guitar, piano, field recordings) and gives these the make-over they need. In some of these pieces, these instruments are still easily be recognised. In a piece such as 'Beyond Registration', there is a curious rock approach to be noted; rock and not rock at the same time. This approach reminded me of the 'studio-as-instrument' approach of groups such as Biota and Mnemonists, primarily when they worked together; there is undoubtedly an amount of free improvisation going on here, but through editing techniques, there is an organisation to the madness to be noted. Otherwise, than those older bands, I would think that Directives is a bit rougher. Through a somewhat noisier approach, there is no similar refinement here, which I thought was a good thing. It marks a difference, another exploration if you will and will, perhaps, be of more interest to those with their heads buried in the world of noise. However, don't expect much in the form of traditional rock music, as D. Petri's offers a far more mutated version of that. Drums bang around, and distorted guitars, slowed down, reversed and granulated; all the musique concrète techniques now applied to a few rock instruments, mixed in with some field recordings and 'sounds'. More references? Think P16.D4 or P. Children. Quite a different release than before, but I like it a lot. (FdW)
––– Address: https://aubjects.org/



WILDER GONZALES AGREDA  - ROJO (digital)

Yeah, I know. I did it again. This digital-only release is against our chief's regulations, who mailed the link with the note that it was digital-only. I ignored that as I was impressed that this comes from Peru, which is not a country on my map for weird music, but I must say I investigated it a bit, and I was wrong, and there are various exciting musicians and labels. Agreda's music was reviewed before on these pages and usually received positive writing, and words that kept returning are psychedelic, electronic and cosmic. Also, some of the pieces are a bit long. I can vouch for all that still to be part of the world of Wilder Gonzales Agreda, but I quite enjoy what he does. His music borrows from different electronic genres, be it techno, ambient, and experimentalism. However, at any time, this doesn't sound like techno, ambient or sturdy experimentalism. It is a bit of everything and stuck in a blender, heated up and served in a six-course dinner. From the spoken word and mysterious ambient synth bubbles of 'Butes' to the rhythmic minimalism of 'Ritornelo' and the spacious oscillations of 'Gracias Spacetime Continuum' (maybe the titles are something of a giveaway, I thought), this quickly bounces around. What I enjoyed is that he calls himself a non-musician and that it shows in the music here. Just a tad too long at times, or without too many structures. The music is reeling within a myriad of sound effects. But all of this comes with a charming naivety that shows that the man has great pleasure in doing what he is doing here. (LW)
––– Address: https://superspacerecords.bandcamp.com/album/rojo





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