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
your MP3 player and enjoy!
NON TOXIQUE LOST & OCCUPIED HEAD 0 TOTMANNSCHALTER (CD by Ex-klageto) *
LIONEL FERNANDEZ & JEROME NOETINGER - OUTER BLANC (CD by Sonoris) *
STEVE RODEN - THE RADIO/AIRRIA (HANGING GARDEN)/VEIN STEM IS CALM (CD by Sonoris) *
JEFF PLATZ / MAX GOLDMAN / BRENDAN CARNIAUX – WITH ORBIT ( CD Self-released) *
MICHAEL COMPITELLO – UNSNARED DRUM (CD by New Focus Recording) *
GUY KLUCEVSEK -CITRUS, MY LOVE (CD by Starkland) *
THOMAS KÖNER - AUBRITE (CD by Mille Plateaux) *
JUAN JOSE CALARCO - POLEAS (CD by Unfathomless) *
AB BAARS & MEINRAD KNEER & BILL ELGART- THRĪE THRĒO DRĪ (CD by Jazzwerkstatt) *
CHARLES PENNEQUIN, JEAN-FRANÇOIS PAUVROS, IVAN ETIENNE - DICHTE (CD by Rossbin) *
PETER GILBERT - BURNED INTO THE ORANGE (CD on New Focus Recordings) *
THE CITY OF TOMORROW - BLOW (CD on New Focus Recordings) *
INSTAGON - PUMPKIN SMASHING DREAM (CDR by Thee Instagon Foundation) *
AUTOPSIA - IN VIVO (cassette by Korm Plastics D) *
MUSLIMGAUZE - KALISKINAZURE TAPE 5 (cassette by Staalplaat) *
TERRALIENUS - AS THE RED GIANT PASSES (cassette by Avalanche) *
CLAUS POULSEN & TOMO JACOBSON - NO ONE KNOWS (cassette by Noise Pelican Records) *
M.T.U.L. - PULSE (cassette by Non-Interrupt)
M.T.U.L. - METHYLFENIDAAT (cassette by Non-Interrupt)
POOL PERVERT - THE FLOOD (cassette by Non-Interrupt) *
NON TOXIQUE LOST & OCCUPIED HEAD 0 TOTMANNSCHALTER (CD by Ex-klageto)
In a similar cover as the recent release by The Blizzard Sow, which I didn't review, but I heard and didn't like, there is now a release by Non Toxique Lost and Occupied Head. Here too, vocals are listed among the instruments, which made me fear the worst. The good news (or spoiler; take your pick), this is something else, and for the better. Non Toxique Lost from Berlin has been around for ages since 1983, or when I first picked the name on a compilation. Over the many years, I heard some music by NTL, but I couldn't do a proper description of it, not even by a long shot! Occupied Head is Dieter Mauson, also around for many years, but not as long as NTL. He is a member of Nostalgie Eternelle and Delta-Sleep-Inducing Peptide; I always enjoyed the latter. They dedicated this CD to the volunteers who helped during this summer's floods in Germany. Sea Wanton, also known as NTL, plays electronics, vocals and guitar, and Mauson plays electronics, guitar, and bass. They recorded this album between June and November 2020, and I assume via file exchange. This music is not easily classified as one thing or another. Despite the used string instruments, this is not rock or pop music, and they use the electronics to generate rhythm, drones, all of which they keep well under control. There is no burst of dance music to be noted here (in 'Zone A Risque', the rhythm is dominant, but driving the piece forward in a krautrock manner), but the electronics instead support the moody playing of guitars and bass. There are no massive chord changes; there are not many of the guitar playing sounds. This music is all about moods and textures. Only in 'Die Todesinsel', the voice plays a dominant role, more storytelling than singing. All in all, I thought this was a most remarkable release! Beyond easy definition is always a good place to start something new. (FdW)
––– Address: email@example.com
LIONEL FERNANDEZ & JEROME NOETINGER - OUTER BLANC (CD by Sonoris)
STEVE RODEN - THE RADIO/AIRRIA (HANGING GARDEN)/VEIN STEM IS CALM (CD by Sonoris)
French musician Jerome Noetinger is quite well-known on these pages for his ongoing excursions in the field of improvised music (as well as the man previously behind Metamkine). Lionel Fernandez, on the other hand, I didn't know. I heard of his band Sister Iodine, albeit a long time ago (VItal Weekly 705 (and not reviewed by me). He played with Antilles, Conra Matal, Ibiza Death, Haine, Porsche, Discom and others, none of which I heard before. Soon he will have two solo releases under the names of Contumace and Orbes. About a decade ago, he played with Jerome Noetinger for the first, at Instant Chavires. They repeated that couple of times, but it took them until last year to complete their first release. This album is a collection of recordings from various places, both in concert and in the studio. Both musicians like their music to be loud and forceful, which is also what they do together. Fernandez on guitar and electronics and Noetinger using his Revox B77 reel to reel machine and electronics. As with several other releases I heard from Noetinger, this too is one of much energy and overall a highly vibrant nature. The way he uses magnetic tape is always a pleasure to listen to. There is some brutal force in each of the ten pieces here; none of this bruitism is for the sake of noise. These two men let their instruments howl and scream, whisper and sigh, full-on in the decay of cascading and crashing feedback. When they have drones, they are fat; Noetinger waves on top of his collage-like approach to using the reels in combination with the electronics at his disposal. Crash and burn seem to be their motto. It is, in every sense of the word, a strong release. I like that these pieces are short and to the point; nothing is too long or overstaying its welcome. That is a rare thing in this particular part of the music world.
Something quite different is the new release by Steve Roden. Sonoris already released two box sets with historical recordings from this US composer; this is another one with older work. Two pieces are from 1996, and one from 2003. I am not sure if Roden is producing any new work these days. 'The Radio' was initially released in 1996 by Sonoris and reviewed in Vital Weekly 197 by someone else. That review ended with 'this is very good stuff for a quiet Sunday morning', to which I could add that most of Roden's music does. The amplification of the inside of the radio is looped (as in many of the works by Roden), he uses loops of different lengths, so there are very few repeating sounds. The music has the idea of a pendulum swinging at different speeds. In the beginning, there is also a drone of humming voices, but about two/third of this piece contains acoustic sounds, loops and a faint trace of a voice. One could see this work as a homage to the radio, now an almost obsolete object, in the age of streaming music. The choir at the beginning are the angels singing a requiem for the medium. 'Airria' (Hanging Garden) Second Version' is from 'Speak No More About The Leaves' (Vital Weekly 392), of which a video on YouTube is a minor hit with the usual ignorant comment. This piece is quite a scary one; a few piano tones, some acoustic crackles and a ghostly (Roden's?) voice singing solely above this very minimal piece of music. For the final piece, he uses a few seconds from Ralf Wehowsky's 'Nameless Victims' release, along with a violin, a shohar, Thai wind instruments and voices, along with other instruments. Here too, he uses loops of different lengths in a highly minimal way. There is a more drone-like character with these pieces, and it fits the overall moody and atmospheric tone of the music. It seems as if Sonoris is the to-go place for old music by Roden, which is a good thing. I have no idea if they plan to release everything by the man, but a lot is waiting to be re-issued if they do. Steve Roden might find a whole new audience, and quite rightly so.
Both new Sonoris releases are also available on LP. (FdW)
––– Address: https://www.sonoris.org/
MICHAEL COMPITELLO – UNSNARED DRUM (CD by New Focus Recording)
With solo albums, I often realize how special it is that musicians develop a long-lasting relationship with an instrument they love and explore. The more so in Michael Compitello's solo album, devoting his debut album to his favourite percussion instrument to the snare drum. A snare drum is a small double-headed drum with one or more snares stretched across its lower head. Compitello is a percussionist dedicated to performing new compositions that explore percussion instruments' sonic and expressive qualities. Often he works in close collaborations with composers, well-known ones like Helmut Lachenmann, David Lang, John Luther Adams, Alejandro Viñao or lesser-known composers, as is the case with this release. He is also a member of Percussion Collective, dedicated to the performance of contemporary music for percussion. ‘Unsnared Drum’ presents four works, composed in 2018-2019. Compitello invited four of his favourite composers to write pieces that explore and expand the sonic possibilities of this ‘limited’ instrument, trying to free the instrument from conventional use and playing styles. He supplied all the composers with a snare drum and a diversity of sticks to play and experiment — a courageous venture. Opening composition ‘Heart Throb’ by Nina C.Young, is an intriguing work and the most interesting one for my ears. This is because it is written for snare drum and some (electronic) applications adding an extra dimension. ‘Start’(Hannah Lash), ‘Ghost in the Machine’(Amy Beth Kirsten) and ‘Negative Magic’(Tonia Ko). Are written for drums only. All inventive and captivating works invited me for an engaging listening experience.
Expressive works delivered in an excellent performance. Presenting fascinating works for snare drum and a dedicated performer and four promising and inventive composers. (DM)
––– Address: https://www.newfocusrecordings.com/
GUY KLUCEVSEK - CITRUS, MY LOVE (CD by Starkland)
Klucevsek, who still is an active musician, was a critical exponent of the downtown scene of New York in the 80s and 90s, injecting this scene with polka and Balkan idiom. He has premiered over 50 solo accordion pieces and released over 20 recordings as a soloist/leader over the years. My first Klucevsek-record was ‘Flying Vegetables Of The Apocalypse’ (1991), with Tom Cora, David Hofstra, Bobby Previte, John King, Eric Friedlander, among others, performing compositions in very different line ups. From this same period comes ‘Citrus, my Love’, originally released the Swiss RecRec-label and recently rereleased by Starkland. It is one of Kluvecvsek’s favourite and most personal albums. The album contains three compositions: the three-movement ‘Passage North’(1990) for accordion, violin, cello and double bass; the eight-movement ‘Citrus, My Love’(1990) for accordion, violin and cello and ‘Patience and Thyme’ (1991) written for a string trio. He wrote the first two compositions for dance productions. The first one is for Angela Caponigro’s dance company and the second one for choreographer Stuart Pimsler. The music still sounds fresh and lively. Not outdated and not easy to locate in time in contrast with lots of music of the experimental downtown scene of those days. This might be because compositions by Klucevsek are influenced by a diversity of ethnic music and sensibilities. His accessible chamber music carries influences of Chinese music, Balkan, etc. They are performed by The Bantam Orchestra: Mary Rowell (violin, viola), Erik Friedlander (cello), Jonathan Storck (double bass) and Guy Klucevsek (accordion, piano). Together they gave a vivid and warm performance of the works. Uplifting, positive music. Only ‘Patience and Thyme’ was a bit over the top and too sentimental for my taste. The album also comes in a bonus edition giving access to videos with Klucevsek discussing all the compositions and more. (DM)
––– Address: https://www.starkland.com/
THOMAS KÖNER - AUBRITE (CD by Mille Plateaux)
The press information says this is a 2LP release without mentioning a CD. "Special remarks: First ever vinyl release. Inc. two bonus tracks". I do have a CD here. The same text says that Roland Speckle helped with the production; the man's name is Spekle, and he ran the Barooni label back in the 80s and 90s and was responsible for launching Köners career. 'Aubrite' was the fourth album of Köner for Barroni, and there was a gap between the first three and this one. By that time, Köner gained quite a bit of fame as one of the leading forces in what was called 'Isolationist' music, with many musicians following a similar track. "Aubrite is the name of a group of meteorites named for Aubres, a small achondrite meteorite that fell near Nyons in 1836", we now learn. The music is Köner at his darkest.
When he started to produce music in the second half of the 80s, he used gongs as sound sources and the studio as an instrument, but I am not sure if that was still the case in 1995. I am sure I have not heard all of Köner's music, although a fair bit, I am sure, and it is safe to say that on 'Aubrite', the music is at its darkest. The black is mentioned quite a lot in the press text, and quite rightly so. Each of the seven pieces is a lesson in how to paint a black sound, and each painting is a different one. As I said, I no longer have an idea of what Köner put into this, and I am not even going to try and guess. He filters everything in the most radical way, all the high end is gone, and the low end of the sound boosts. There is a minimal movement within each of these pieces, and they come across as an exercise at a standstill. There is a motion to be detected, but this is very minimal. The music seems to be low in volume, but you will be aware of some fierce bass-heavy sound if you give it a boost. Handle with care if your speakers have a problem with that. The pieces here sound like transmissions from very deep space, and during their travel, have eroded quite a bit. What it says, we may no longer know, but it sounds beautiful. If it is music for an LP, it is something for debate, I think. My preferred format would be the CD, so I'm happy in that respect. (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.edition-mille-plateaux.com/releases.html
JUAN JOSE CALARCO - POLEAS (CD by Unfathomless)
All of Belgium's Unfathomless label releases deal with field recordings and many of these with elements from nature. This one is different. Argentina's Juan José Calarco recorded "corridors, nooks, bridges, tunnels, walls and surroundings of three adjacent stations of the Urquiza railway network, Buenos Aires, Argentina". It is an area which Calarco has travelled to daily for the last few years, and it contains subway terminals, elevators, motors, ducts and much more. As a man fascinated by a sound, he started taping sounds from these places and use these in the three pieces on 'Poleas'. Two are around nineteen minutes, and in the middle, there is an eight-minute bridge. Maybe these three tracks reflect the three stations. Whatever he did, Calarco managed to avoid recording human beings. I have no idea how Calarco uses treatments to these recordings are treated; my best guess is 'quite a bit'. Calarco goes deep into changing frequency ranges, looping fragments of sound and layering various sound events. This music is not a collage of field recordings that depict the place but three compositions that use sounds from a specified location. That is quite a difference. Calarco's painting of the site is a greyish one, a cold and distant place. Electricity is busy, repetition of from vending machines, stairs, and so. Without the action of humans, a lonely world. Don't get me wrong; I love this dystopian soundtrack quite a lot. A bleak world, almost out of a science fiction film, with minimal activity; not a movie about aliens, but life disappearing, yet everything else works. Wasn't that what the neutron bomb scare was in the 80s? If so, then this is one possible soundtrack and an excellent one at that. And, disclaimer! I might be all wrong with my interpretation of the music. (FdW)
––– Address: https://unfathomless.bandcamp.com/
AB BAARS & MEINRAD KNEER & BILL ELGART- THRĪE THRĒO DRĪ (CD by Jazzwerkstatt)
Since 2010 Ab Baars, Meinrad Kneer and Bill Elgart have been performing free-improvised pieces. On their third album, ‘thrīe thrēo drī’ Baars, Meinrad and Elgart aren’t just pushing the listeners, but themselves. It is remarkable how they can reinvent themselves and still hold to their original ethos. Maybe they can be musically fluid whilst delivering solid album after another because of this.
As usual, Baars plays tenor saxophone, clarinet, and shakuhachi, with Kneer on double bass and Elgart on drums, keeping the adage of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” alive. And how active does ‘thrīe thrēo drī’ sound? ‘All Other Form of Matter and Energy’ is incredibly loose. Around a third in, it sounds like the trio is looking at each other and trying to work out where to go next. This benefits the album as it keeps us on our toes. If they have no idea what’s coming, how can we? It sometimes feels like they are playing live in another room while I pop to make tea.
There is something wonderfully liberating about listening to ‘thrīe thrēo drī’. The playing is delightful yet unhinged. ‘The Duck Stays Between the Teeth’ is possibly one of the most wonderfully abstract pieces of music I’ve heard all year. There are sections that Baars, and I think it’s Baars, sounds like a very lairy duck. As I listen to it, I remember all the times I’ve fed the ducks as a child and parent, and it is all gone a bit wrong. The ducks get too aggressive. Food gets dropped. Feet are heard running away, and triumphant fowl are giving it a giant “QUACK!”. It’s all here. Distressed bass strings. Scattershot drumming and sharp clarinet blasts. Yet, despite all this confusion, there is structure. Elgart keeps things from falling over, even when it sounds like he is about to fall over and allows Baars and Kneer to go for it. To call it excellent would be an understatement. (NR)
––– Address: http://jazzwerkstatt.eu
CHARLES PENNEQUIN, JEAN-FRANÇOIS PAUVROS, IVAN ETIENNE - DICHTE (CD by Rossbin)
The first thing you notice listening to ‘Dichte’ is how clever it is. This isn’t true. The first thing you notice is aggressive it sounds. Charles Pennequin sounds like he has something to get off his chest. The tone of his performances ranges from imploring dire tribes, pleading monologues, inebriated rants, and guttural shouts. At times it is terrifying. It reminds me of going out in my hometown and getting stuck in conversations with people who were braying at the world, and if you disagreed with them, you’ve had it. Now, this is the clever bit. Jean-François Pauvros and Ivan Etienne manage to take these recordings and turn them into something moving and, dare I say, touching.
The music is sparse, but living up to its title, dense. Pauvros and Etienne have crafted soundscapes consisting of electronic static, field recordings, low-key guitar work and general surface noise. It defuses the tone of Pennequin, turning something that could end up very nasty sounding inviting.
I’m not going to lie, 90% of the lyrical content is lost on me, but it is captivating. There is something about Pennequin’s passionate delivery, and the glorious soundscapes below that keep me coming back to ‘Dichte’ again and again. With each listen, my GCSE French kicks in, and I pick out something new. Although the album is densely packed with sound, it isn’t claustrophobic. Instead, it also has air to breathe. Which is very clever indeed? (NR)
––– Address: https://rossbin.bandcamp.com/
PETER GILBERT - BURNED INTO THE ORANGE (CD on New Focus Recordings)
THE CITY OF TOMORROW - BLOW (CD on New Focus Recordings)
If ever you have come across the ZEITKRATZER 'Noise' CD, you will have experienced how a contemporary, more-or-less classical outset can cover Merzbow in an entirely appropriate way. So when (at sufficient audio level) the opening chords of Peter Gilbert's 'The voice opens wide to forget that which you are singing' drive you back through the wall, you were warned ... What 'Burned into the Orange' offers, though, is not Merzbow-remakes, but a varied offering of dissonant and melodic compositions delivered by several different ensembles and performers, Gilbert sometimes adding his own electronics (although I am not sure what 'electronics' is supposed to mean, as it sounds more like a synclavier?). Again, harmonics (not necessarily melodies) in dissonance are an element of Merzbow-esque compositions. But here, I will stop referring to Merzbow. Gilbert is a prolific composer offering the more 'orchestral' and 'symphonic' approach to contemporary classical music than the many 'sound drippers' (as I have remarked earlier). The sound is continuous and moves between more frontal and more relaxed parts. It explores the space between resonating dissonance and overlying harmonics. After having scraped yourself off the wall, you are offered a more conventional piece, 'Awakening', that describes this process very efficiently in a piano-like fashion, using edited chord structures that blend into reverb, building towards a dreamy end. Gilbert offers another electronic piece that uses the sound of wind instruments to create an 'ambient' feel with a note of cold to it (aptly named 'Orange into silver'). The other pieces on the CD vary between wind ensemble music ('Orange') and several pieces that explore solo instruments and electronic treatments. Gilbert creates ambient-like planes of sound and dropping notes, efficiently using electronics to balance or modify the sounds. One of the most effective tracks, though, is the last, 'Soon as the sun forsook the eastern main' (o.k., I do not know what those manes, either), a piano piece that gradually dissolves the acoustic sound into a treated electronic version, fading into silence at the end of the CD. For anyone exploring the triangle between ambient, contemporary classical and industrial music, this is undoubtedly one of the best recordings I have come across.
In perfect contrast to Gilbert, The City of Tomorrow is an ensemble of five, playing three compositions by Franco Donatoni, Hannah Lash, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. All of the contemporary composers, but for Donatoni, who passed away in 2000, 73 years old. His Piece, which gave the CD its title, starts with a drip of sounds but then reverts to an interplay between a procession of solo instruments playing against and with the ensemble. Melodic unison snippets alternate with polyrhythmic lines, presenting a very varied and more 'modern' than 'contemporary feel, i.e. more Bartok than Cage. The second piece, 'Leander and Hero', has nine movements and was commissioned by the Quintet for this recording. It follows the ancient story of the Aphrodite priestess Hero and the young Greek Leander who had an affair. Leander had to cross a sea strait to get to Hero, and at night she would light a lamp at the tip of her tower (i.e. the invention of the Lighthouse concept). Unfortunately, one night the wind blew out the lamp, and Leander lost his way, eventually drowning, upon which Hero committed suicide. The music follows this story more melodically than even the first piece, not so much exploring the sound than telling a story. The music is located between Henze, Schoenberg, and Sallinen, melodic, using dissonance as an element and following a rather conventional 'storyline'. I must say, this is not my cup of tea, to be honest, and I do not see the merits of turning ancient myths into music. It's a bit 19th century to me. The final, shorter piece is by Salonen. Using ideas from earlier compositions and hints at other composers, such as Berio, he creates a melodic bow from musings to point - counterpoint like settings of instruments against and with each other - finding his way back to a contemplative harmonic ending. Summary: mixed feelings. (RSW)
––– Address: https://www.newfocusrecordings.com/
JEFF PLATZ / MAX GOLDMAN / BRENDAN CARNIAUX – WITH ORBIT (CDR, private)
‘With Orbit’ introduces three new musicians for me: Jeff Platz (guitar, electronics), Max Goldman (drums, percussion) and Brendan Carniaux (saxophone, clarinet). Jeff Platz is a guitarist and composer working mainly in the New York-Boston area, but he also did projects in Germany (with Meinrad Kneer and Bill Elgart) and Italy in the past. He recorded with Daniel Carter, Damon Smith, Meinrad Kneer, a.o. and releases appeared on Setalo di Maiale, Evil Rabbit, Umland and Glitch. Brendan Carniaux is a saxophonist and educator from Rhode Island. Max Goldman is a New York-based drummer, working mainly as a teacher. He has his band - Max Goldman Unity Band - with Carniaux as one of the members. Both Goldman and Caniaux recorded another trio recording with trumpeter Ryan Carniaux. The trio offers eight very different compositions and improvisations that depart from diverse starting points. The opening track is a burning and cacophonic treat of rock-inspired improvisation. The next track, ‘Schirm’, emerges slowly out of silence and is an opposite exercise of fragile and reduced interplay. For the rest of this recording, they often stay in these spacious territories, making the impression that they can move in any thinkable direction at any moment. Especially Platz surprised me at many moments with his techniques and styles. Like in ‘Throughout Always’ that start with abstract short lines by Platz with some funk hidden in it. The piece develops surprisingly, full of inventive turns and twists. ‘The Vulgar Crowd’ is built from a noisy electric and repetitive guitar-dominated texture, with Carniaux playing a solo on top of it. Both ‘Memory Plank’ and ‘Irreversible’ culminate in complete power funk and rock induced battles. The moments I enjoyed most in this journey were full of contrasts.
––– Address: https://platzmusic.bandcamp.com/album/with-orbit
INSTAGON - PUMPKIN SMASHING DREAM (CDR by Thee Instagon Foundation)
My previous review of an Instagon release ended thus: " If the full-length is of similar quality, then I can't want to hear it." That release was 'The Hat Trick From That Lynch Movie" (Vital Weekly 1285), a three-track release that was "the single from the forthcoming album", so read the announcement. That album is 'Pumpkin Smashing Dream', eleven songs strong. It is precisely how I imagined this to be. Well, sort of. I wrote back then, "Just like Doc Wör Mirran, they appear all over the musical spectrum, from free jazz to experimental music, and maybe that is due to the wide variety of band members." This time, the cast of players get their names on the cover, main man Lob plus thirteen others, and the musical styles are vastly different. From a hardcore noise piece ('Garage Noise Wall') to carefully strummed guitars of the former single, jazzy drumming ('Just Like That') and oddly thrown sounds from drills ('Looped Up Nice & Good''). There is room for silly glitchy electronics (in 'Hey hey Glitch Glitch My My'; the one track they should leave out), field recordings and free improvisation. Guitars play a significant role in the music of Instagon, as well as electronics and a bit of vocal. Unlike Doc Wör Mirran, who stick with one genre per release, Instagon bounces all over the place. I marvel at such things, but at the same time, I wonder how many people would like every track. I just said I didn't like that glitch song. I can imagine that the noise wall isn't for everybody (certainly at that length it has now). This is a wonderfully bizarre collection of music. Imagine turning on the radio with a program that plays weird music all day, but not in blocks; they threw out whatever they feel like throwing out. Whatever you will find in our podcast by Instagon this week, rest assured it is not representative of the rest. I like the sound of that! (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.tif.org
AUTOPSIA - IN VIVO (cassette by Korm Plastics D)
MUSLIMGAUZE - KALISKINAZURE TAPE 5 (cassette by Staalplaat)
Following the re-issue of Korm Plastics' first cassette release, 'Katacombe Volume 3' (Vital Weekly 1283), there is now Autopsia's 'In Vivo', which was the debut release of this band from former Yugoslavia (though they resided in Prague for many years). I assumed the band to be similar to Laibach, which I reckon was only due to them also being from former Yugoslavia. Although I only heard a small portion of their extensive discography, I now know their work is teeming with massive orchestral samples, so I guess they are not all that much alike. Sampling is indeed a big part of Autopsia's modus operandi. No doubt, in the old days, they used tape loops and not necessarily digital sampling. There is lots of classical orchestral music used. I can't say I am a connoisseur, but I think there is some Prokovief (solely based on the fact that Le Syndicat also used some of his music), Wagner or Bruckner. I also believe I recognised 'Carmina Burana' by Carl Orff in 'Kissing Jesus In The Dark'. These loops are short and have that crashing character of pathos combined with the jackhammer of industrial music. Save for one, all pieces are quite short and to the point, which is a good thing, as loops have a limited period before going stale. The one exception is 'Lebensherrgabe', which spans seventeen minutes and seventeen seconds - read into that what you will. The loops seem to be run through many sound effects and are backed by an additional rhythm machine somewhere halfway through, but for me, that didn't save it. As said, short equals good here, and Autopsia threw in a few odd-ball songs, such as the '11th Enochian Key' and the oddly shaped pop music (?) of 'Proleteren'. These songs make this a varied release, and that's what ties the album together for me.
Like the other artists with the letter 'M' - of the word "massive" and Merzbow - I decided many years ago that I enjoyed the music enough to investigate when the opportunity presents itself, but not actively seek out everything there is to hear. Muslimgauze is the other (If I delved a bit deeper, I could probably come up with a few more names). When I discovered Muslimgauze in the mid-nineties, I started all the way back with the old vinyl releases and also some posthumous ones, which I enjoyed quite a lot. When I receive a cassette like this one, I tend to look online first to see where we are now. It turns out this is release number 316. I realise then that I heard less than a third of what has come out over the years, and I wonder how deep the vault is over there, chez Staalplaat. They did a great looking cover, albeit that people might want to read the (sparse) information. According to Bandcamp, there are seven songs here, and they are all pretty short. In proper Muslimgauze tradition, there are loops of tribal rhythms mixed with electronics. The tracks do not sport a lot of variation, but I guess that is one of Muslimgauze's trademarks. Just like Autopsia has its loops, Muslimgauze has his, but it seems to expose their technological origin much more (I do realise they come from different times - and places). Muslimgauze's music appears to be aimed at the dance floor now and then, in '4Kaliskinazure' for instance, but also gets to sound moody and textured in the biting '5Kaliskinazure'. Somehow I couldn't help thinking the music here is walks the tricky path between sounding like a demo and an actual 'finished' album - if the former, obviously a work in progress that will never be finished. But, we know the man worked hard and wanted it all out there, so there you go. As said, I enjoyed whatever I picked up from the Gauze, but there is no need for being complete on my end. (LdW)
––– Address: https://kormplasticsd.bandcamp.com/
––– Address: https://muslimgauze.bandcamp.com/
TERRALIENUS - AS THE RED GIANT PASSES (cassette by Avalanche)
From his Bandcamp page, I understand that this is the first release for Terralienus in ten years. This fact is not on the information sheet; the previous Bandcamp release mentioned is from 2011 (honestly, I never know what to make of these Bandcamp dates). That fact sheet tells us that this is the first physical release for this one-person musical project from Lithuania. It is also the inaugural release for Avalanche. Terralienus offers one long piece, close to thirty-nine minutes and repeats that on the second side of this cassette. "This music is an outstanding background for those hot sticky summer nights when insomnia and heavy thoughts find a way into your head" is what the musician calls it here, and that is not the association I had with it. Not the hot sticky summer nights nor insomnia, but dark thoughts; yes, I can see those. This music is of dark drone variety, and you can file it under 'dark ambient' or 'isolationist' music. I imagine (no doubt incorrectly) this music is all guitar-based and that there are many sound effects to alter the guitar drones into a rainbow coloured psychedelic trip. It could very well be that he uses other instruments, or, perhaps, field recordings, but none shine on anymore. There is an industrial undercurrent to this cosmic trip, like a fleet of starships are, upon closer inspection, on the verge of a meltdown — the sound of disappearing into a black hole. The cosmic music references are something that Terralienus mentions in the information. It is not something I would easily attach to this music. I think it is all closer to the ground; earthbound music, the sound of mud, clay, dirt, rivers out of control. Those are the sort of images that sprung to my mind. It is whatever the listener wants to take out of it, I guess. I am reminded of Maeror Tri and Troum when I hear this music, and Terralienus is on par with their best work. A re-issue on a CD or CDR would be most welcome. (FdW)
––– Address: https://terralienus.bandcamp.com/
CLAUS POULSEN & TOMO JACOBSON - NO ONE KNOWS (cassette by Noise Pelican Records)
It should be no surprise that these men know each other and work together, not just because they are both from Denmark. They operate in improvised music, and they both work with a ton of other musicians on projects. The name Claus Poulsen is probably mentioned more in these pages than the name of Tomo Jacobson. The latter plays the double bass; his musical partner bowed cymbal and pedals. Perhaps more so for Poulsen than Jacobson, the music here is very much the result of some very free jazzy improvisation. The music, no doubt a live recording, is a meeting of bows and bowed instruments. In the four pieces, three on one side and one long on the other side, there are busy patterns to be noted on the first side. Hectic and nervous, with the cymbal sounding not unlike a saxophone. In the lengthy piece, 'On The Loose', they space their sounds a bit more and seem to have some distance to the microphone, which gives the music quite a bit of a different character. There is some delicate interaction in these pieces between these players. I have no idea what the pedals do that Poulsen uses; I found it difficult to hear them do anything, to be honest. Maybe they play a role; perhaps they don't. You can't say this is easy music. Its appeal is mainly for those who are keenly interested in improvised music of the freest variety. Essential listening for those interested in the genre, and if you are don't know this kind of music, this is a great one to start. (FdW)
––– Address: https://noisepelicanrecords.bandcamp.com/
M.T.U.L. - PULSE (cassette by Non-Interrupt)
M.T.U.L. - METHYLFENIDAAT (cassette by Non-Interrupt)
POOL PERVERT - THE FLOOD (cassette by Non-Interrupt)
Saturday mornings I spent reading the newspaper, like every morning, but this one takes more time. I like to play music that isn't necessarily Vital Weekly related, but this morning I spent it with Muziek Terwijl U Luncht; music, while you have lunch, is the translation, and while I had no lunch (no breakfast either), three hours with this music was time well spent. There is not really much difference between Muziek Terwijl U Luncht and Pool Pervert. Both are musical projects from Egbert van der Vliet, who, after a hiatus, returns full speed ahead. Field recordings play an essential role in all of this new work (and there was more of this in the past few weeks). Van der Vliet is not the sort of person you see outside, in the field, holding a recorder to tape sounds. There is also no personal story here, which connects the composer to the sound. Van der Vliet sources his material from websites offering free sounds for anyone to use. He treats these sounds using free software, and that's it. You can't recognize any of the sounds' originals, as Van der Vliet takes matters quite far. He isn't using any electronics; there are no small synthesizers, no stompboxes and such. However, he knows how to make it sound that he is using these. In all of this recent work, it is easy to see a connection between his music and all those people working in more or less a similar field. Take, for instance, much of the catalogue from such homes as Invisible City Records, Hemisphare Nokuky or Steepgloss. Van der Vliet creates some excellent music here that kept me listening and, listening, lost in the artificial space of actual field recordings. Titles are, as far as I can see, no indication of what's going on. 'Pulse' has no beats but multiple tracks, 'Methylfenidaat' and 'The Flood' have two long pieces per side, but just as well could have been cut into shorter parts. Luckily I had two newspapers to read this Saturday morning, and the slightly dystopian soundtracks found on these cassettes formed a great soundtrack to the news. (FdW)
––– Address: https://noninterrupt.bandcamp.com/