number 1337
---------------------
week 21
---------------------


Vital Weekly, the webcast: we offer a weekly webcast, freely to download. This can be regarded as the audio-supplement to Vital Weekly. Presented as a radioprogramm with excerpts of just some of the releases reviewed. It will remain on the site for a limited period (most likely 2-4 weeks). Download the file to your MP3 player and enjoy!
complete tracklist here: http://www.vitalweekly.net/podcast.html

Listen to the podcast on Mixcloud!




SMEGMA - DIVES HEADFIRST INTO PUNK ROCK 1978/79 (CD by Krim Kram Records) *
BREN'T LEWIIS ENSEMBLE - HAND SIGNALS (CD by Krim Kram Records) *
DRESSING  (CD by Krim Kram Records) *
FRANCISCO MEIRINO & ENSEMBLE CONTRECHAMPS - THE IMITATION OF AN ACTION (CD by Firework Edition Records) *
MASAYO KOKETSU - FUKIYA (CD by Relative Pitch Records) *
CHILD OF ILLUSION - KHIMAIRA (CD by Relative Pitch Records) *
JULIE TIPPETTS & MARTIN ARCHER – ILLUSION (2CD by Discus Music) *
AKUSTIKKOPPLER - ALLES MUSS RAUS (LP by Block 4)
NEKROPHILE RECORDS (10LP/2 7" by Vinyl On Demand)
ISOLATED COMMUNITY - FARMHOUSE BROTHEL (CDR by Northumberland Audio Capture) *
ED & PETALS - TESSERAE (CDR by Minimal Resource Manipulations) *
PHIL MAGUIRE - RAINSWEET STILLNESS (CDR by Minimal Resource Manipulations) *
ZEBRA MU - LIVE AT THE OPEN MIC NIGHT #2 (3" CDR, Self-Released) *
HEIMITO KÜNST - POST EXOTICISM (cassette by Shrimper) *
ICE YACHT - NOISY NYLON (cassette by Snatch Tapes) *
MATT ATKINS - IMPERFECTIONS (cassette by Wabi Sabi Tapes) *
JOHN DUNCAN/MICHAEL ESPOSITO - DEATH OF A DREAMER (USB by Spectral Electric)



SMEGMA - DIVES HEADFIRST INTO PUNK ROCK 1978/79 (CD by Krim Kram Records)
BREN'T LEWIIS ENSEMBLE - HAND SIGNALS (CD by Krim Kram Records)
DRESSING  (CD by Krim Kram Records)

In a world that, at least from my perspective, is more and more filled with labels for 'new music', 'free improv' and 'modern classical' music, it's good to see someone opening a new label, physical releases (!), for noise and related music. We welcome Krim Kram Records. I started with the band I had known for forty years and yet did not know. When I purchased the Non/Smegma 7" on Mute, it was for the NON-side, but later I started to appreciate the other side. I heard more of their music throughout the years, and they once opened up for my little music project when we came through Portland. I was very proud to have such a support act, but I learned they played there every week, so there you go. So, while I heard a tiny bit of their output and know just a bit, I know they have a punk-rock attitude to music. And by that I don't mean, hey ho let's go, but pick up any instrument, give it a bang and call it music. Plus, of course, the band name and their willingness to play every week (well, at one stage in their career, not sure if they do that these days). As the CD says, they dive headfirst into punk rock, and it is a collection of material recorded in 1978 and 1979, four pieces from 7"s from that time, six from a 2015 cassette release, and one unreleased piece of music. What I like about Smegma is their free-form rock approach, which is a far cry from punk rock but also, I'd say, from more traditional improvised music. They have that rock-like mentality, drumming, trashing guitars, a free wailing saxophone, and yes, that work into a punk song, such as the opening, 'Going Rancid'. But the 'Worpo #3' is slow-burning trash out of free play. It never becomes too musical, too ordinary, if you will, and that's the great beauty for me. Perhaps not enough to be a total fan, willing to hear it all, but I like it enough to consider digging more profound every time I listen to it. I know what to do next.
    Despite having reviewed many earlier releases by Bren't Lewiis Ensemble, I have a minimal idea about the group, the how and why. I know Seymour Glass (formerly known from Bananafish magazine), Lucian Tielens, Tom Chimpson, The City Councilman, and many other people with some heavily exotic names; ten musicians in total. I am mystified by listening to the music as to what these ten people do. That is, I should think, a good thing. There is an overall feeling of improvisation, and perhaps there are a few instruments or objects involved, but there is also much room for voices, either from the members or from records, tapes, and TV. They are hand spun, slowed down, sped up, and all the crackles from old records amplified to the top. All of this in an endless swirl of activity. However, nothing goes all too fast. Just steady as it is, the music goes on. There is no unfolding, just this endless stream of collages. Think very lo-fi musique concrète, on LSD and in a fine surrealist mode. The tape-treatments that Smegma at times are known for but lack on the release I just heard are in vast abundance. A slow-paced Nurse With Wound/Sylvie & Babs or Le Scrambled Debutante. Maybe all of this is to be seen as part of the surrealist movement? Looking at the cover, I could think so. I found this album irritating, hilarious, mysterious, tedious and exciting; often some of this simultaneously. Great art is not comfortable, I guess.
    And lastly, Dressing. This is the musical project of Kevin Kirwan from Dublin. In the past decade, he was active in visual arts and recently started to record "noise using field recordings, found objects, feedback and tape manipulation". The four pieces were released before, on two cassettes in an edition of fifteen copies each. Forthcoming is a CD for Oxen Records. Dressing uses found objects, field recordings, feedback, and tape manipulation according to the information. The field recordings part is something I may not have heard in this music unless the music is performed outside, and something out there may have found a way onto the music. The rest I can vouch for. The rumble is relatively obscure, like a slowed down, battered old reel-to-reel machine onto which a few percussive blasts in half-speed are played. The feedback occurs from getting too close to the speakers and moving a microphone around. The whole thing has a rather lo-fi approach and an 80s sound of a badly dubbed cassette. You might think that all of this means I'm not too fond of the music, but you're mistaken. I enjoyed it all! Maybe because I feel this as my musical hinterland? Or perhaps I am just a sentimental old fool? Don't know, don't care. Whether all of this is deliberately lo-fi or if there is a way to make it sound old is hardly relevant. Banging on bits of metal, producing vocal sounds into a microphone too close to the speaker, slowing down tapes so that music is twice as long; when does that time machine travel back and can I come along? (FdW)
––– Address: https://krimkram.bandcamp.com/



FRANCISCO MEIRINO & ENSEMBLE CONTRECHAMPS - THE IMITATION OF AN ACTION (CD by Firework Edition Records)

Here we have another example of an electronic composer working with an ensemble for modern music. Something familiar ever since electronic music started, but in recent years also something that is an option for electronic music from what I call irreverent 'our lot'. Zeitkratzer worked with loads of these (John Duncan, Terre Thaemlitz, Carsten Nicolai, Zbigniew Karkowski) and in France various composers (Jerome Noetinger and Kasper Topelitz spring to mind). We have Swiss composer Francisco Meirino, who started as Phroq, travelling with a laptop and working with Ensemble Contrechamps. This ensemble has a violin (two), cello, clarinet, percussions (two), and piano (two). Meirino plays the electronics; I am not sure if he is a fixed group member. About the two pieces, he says that "these pieces are based on the idea of acoustic instruments imitating electronic sounds created by a live performer. The core, structure, and length of the pieces are defined by a graphic score that leaves room to the musicians for the imitation of those sounds." We often don't see the scores, but he has them online, which I find fascinating, to be honest. Not to check if they are keeping at the score, but to read the instructions and see how they are translated into the music I hear. Instruments and electronics intertwine intensely, so I sometimes have no idea what is what. There are two pieces, 'The Imitation Of An Action' and 'The Act Of Imitating', and while they have similar ideas, the execution is slightly different. There is quite a chaotic approach in the first, while there is more structure and building up and taking things down in the second. Oddly enough, the second is from 2019, the first from last year. That made me think something happened that everybody thought the more chaotic approach worked better? I don't know. Whereas there is some incredible intensity to admire there, I prefer the second one. That probably says something about me liking a more structured music, but I believe the intensity is channelled here and has a more significant impact. There is intensity all around here, which works very well. (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.fireworkedition.com/



MASAYO KOKETSU - FUKIYA (CD by Relative Pitch Records)

I haven't heard the name Masayo Koketsu until now. Having recorded with Isao Suzuki, who died of COVID-19 earlier this year, she recorded one long track of just over three-quarters of an hour of intense solo saxophone playing. That's what this release is. Plain and simple from the outside. Inside it's a different story. Silence when needed, whispers, longheld wails, overblowing to get the highest overtones out of this copper tube called a saxophone. Apparently, a fukiya is a blowpipegun used by ninjas to fire darts to eliminate the enemy. More peacefully, there's a sport in Japan using the fukiya to hit a dartboard 10 meters away. As you need to be able to use your breath efficiently to get the dart on that board, the same goes for any wind instrument (yes, even the recorder, especially the recorder). What you can hear on this release might be, in some parts, a sonic imagination of how to use the fukiya and what happens with the air inside it. This is just a way to describe the music. Masayo has mastered the instrument and can make any sound needed to express what she wants to say. Some things might get lost in translation, but that doesn't matter. Even in the silences, there is sound. You could also say that this is one long meditation using sound. The last part is the most conventional one, as there is an implied chord progression and a melody ending on a long note, leaving the chord progression hanging in limbo, unresolved as if the music plays on even without sound. Best heard on headphones or in a quiet environment. Outstanding release and well recorded. Seek this one out if you like an adventure into sound and its creation on an alto saxophone. (MDS)
––– Address: https://relativepitchrecords.bandcamp.com/



CHILD OF ILLUSION - KHIMAIRA (CD by Relative Pitch Records)

Here we have the sophomore album by Child of Illusion - Clean Feed Records released the first one in 2018-contains one track, lasting 36 minutes of off-beat jazz combined with modern classical chamber music and, at times, a thumping bass. Three people in a studio called Khimaira, named after the mythical chimaera: the monster part lion, goat's head and a tail with at the end a snake's head. And I shouldn't forget the firebreathing part. This trio (alto sax, trumpet and double bass) created a monster of a track — intense music with a lot going on. The three listen to each other, respond, discuss, get into an argument, and in the last part, all this is driven forward by that thumping bass. Then there's the makeup sex afterwards, or at least the excuses made by each one, and the atmosphere becomes quite tender. All three musicians are highly accomplished players with a lot of experience. Susana Santos Silva on trumpet is a mainstay in the world of improvised music. My claim to (no) fame is that I shared the same stage with her in 2011. I aattended a jazz workshop led by Phil Ruttger. After the break, the Lama trio played. Chris Pitsiokos uses the alto saxophone to create timbres and sounds way beyond the cocktail jazz spectrum. And last but not least Torbjörn Zetterberg on double bass. His discography is quite impressive, including two duo recordings with Silva. Since there is only one track, there's no way to skip one. Attentive listening is required because a lot happens with these three excellent musicians in the blink of an eye, making this an essential release for anyone interested in what a classic quartet line-up can do when there are no drums invited. (MDS)
––– Address: https://relativepitchrecords.bandcamp.com/



JULIE TIPPETTS & MARTIN ARCHER – ILLUSION (2CD by Discus Music)
 
Those who know me a little bit know it is inevitable that the name Florian Fricke pops up from time to time in my writings. These days I was doing some reading on the concert reviews he wrote in the years before he started Popol Vuh. To my surprise, he reviewed a concert by Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger Trinity at the beginning of 1969 in Munich. A positive review, especially making mentioning the vocals by Driscoll. He describes her voice as hard/loud and direct and as ‘black’ as possible for a white woman, except for Iannis Joplin. I  looked around at Youtube and landed on a live recording (by German television) of ‘Season of the Witch’ by the Trinity. Images from the early days of her career started in the mid-60s with the blues band The Steampacket. In the 70s, she turned to jazz and experimental music, collaborating with her partner Keith Tippett in his projects like Centipede, Ovary Lodge, Mujician and many more. Her bluesy and soul-like way of singing changed and developed into her typical approach of jazz-inspired singing, practised up to the present. With Marin Archer, she started to work around 2002, resulting in several recordings since 2009. Their last release, ‘Vestigium', dates from 2015, at the time they did their next project that took about seven years of preparation. It may be their most ambitious project if only for the involvement of a big pool of musicians. The first CD is called ‘Illusion Suite’, the second one ‘Circle of Whispers’. Both works are related but have their own shape. As the title indicates, ‘Illusion Suite’ is a suite of seven songs that make up one continuous 75-minute piece of music. A giant work in a format that she used earlier on her album ‘Shadow Puppeteer’(1999), which is likewise a collection of songs arranged as a suite and with Tippetts playing all instruments in this case. Not this time, Archer and Tippett work with an extended group of musicians divided up into three sections: a string trio, five musicians concentrating on electronics, and six who make up the band, so to speak. The music is richly instrumented, textured with electronic soundscapes, with Tippetts signing her avant jazz songs, sometimes multitracked. It must have taken many hours of studio work to make a coherent and fluent whole from all this material. Impressive! The second one, ‘Circle of Whispers’, is a collection of 13 songs, performed in different lineups varying from duo to septet. This gives each song it's own colouring. Participators are again musicians from the Sheffield scene. The two songs with Laura Cole on the grand piano are remarkable, illustrating that her expressive voice doesn’t need much instrumental company to bring the message. Interesting is also to hear more of Archer as a keyboard player like in ‘Trapeze’. This is an impressive double-bill of Avant jazz songs that grows with each listening. Much to discover and enjoy here! (DM)
––– Address: https://discusmusic.bandcamp.com/



AKUSTIKKOPPLER - ALLES MUSS RAUS (LP by Block 4)

The name Akustikkoppler sounds Danish or Norwegian and could mean 'acoustic coupler', which might be an odd name for an electronic duo; I was expecting something along the lines of electro-acoustic improvisation. They are Malte Steiner and Matthias Schuster, both from Hamburg. In these pages, Steiner, we may have come across his electronic bands, Das Kombinat and Notstandkomitee, which he has been operating since the early 80s. Maybe too old for me to find in my Vital archives. Matthias Schuster's musical background goes back even further, with his involvement in the Neue Deutsche Welle, with his band Giesterfahrer and his studio work recording bands from the late 70s. The two have worked together since 2004, and 'Alles Muss Raus' ('everything has to go') is their fourth album. The music they recorded between 2008 and 2012, but for whatever reason, it is now released; the delay is not explained. It is my first encounter with their music. I must admit I don't remember Steiner's music all too well and remember it as more industrial. There is also an intense love of electronic music in his work with Schuster, but not as harsh. Yet, at the same time, this is also far removed from the world of ambient. Or techno, for that matter. It is, perhaps, something of everything. Rhythm and sequences play an essential role in these pieces, along with hints towards melodies and at the same time also staying on a slightly more abstract side. Maybe there is that 'locked in a bunker' sound? I am reminded of the music of Conrad Schnitzler here as well. It is hooky rhythms and non-keyboard electronics, but also the accessibility of the music, which is very high, works well here. There is a spooky quality in the music here, that undercurrent of danger, perhaps, which makes the music quite suitable for a film. Most of these pieces are mid-to uptempo, so there is a fine sense of urgency here. Great one! I should find the first three records as well. (FdW)
––– Address: http://block4label.bandcamp.com



NEKROPHILE RECORDS (10LP/2 7" by Vinyl On Demand)

Wait, some ritualistik musick in Vital Weekly, reviewed by FdW? That'll be some fine trashing! If you thought that, then I have to disappoint you. I am a fan here, which is a very personal thing. When in the early 80s I discovered Throbbing Gristle, I somehow got hold of a cassette by Genesis P. Orridge and Stan Bingo, 'What's History'. I assume I purchased it at Staalplaat. My musical partner bought 'The Secret Of L.A.Y.LA.H.' by Zero Kama, and together we headed out to the nearby town of Arnhem to see that band perform on what turned out to be one of the very few occasions they ever played live. We thought it was a disappointment. We were promised a concert with skulls and bones, but save for some flutes, all the drumming was on drums, plus some easy blood spatter on a naked girl. My friend asked one of the members what Zero Kama meant and got the dry reply 'zero karma'. Still, we both found the cassette a fascinating thing. Skipping a few years, I found myself behind the counter of Staalplaat. While I had very little interest in the world of death, industrial, and gothic, I found these CD reissues that Staalplaat had made of the Nekrophile Records quite interesting. As part of my research into 'what am I supposed to sell here', I took copies home of the available titles. Coil/Zos Kia had not been released yet, and we came close to doing it ourselves (or not? That story is somewhere else), Ain Soph was no longer available, but the rest was still there. For a few reasons, I liked this. It was a world of its own, a label that only released a handful of cassettes mysteriously disappeared and yet almost all of it was on CD. I still have the CDs, and I still take m out on occasion to play them in one row.
    When Vinyl On Demand announced a 10 LP/2 7" set, it was a no-brainer to spend my Christmas allowance on a box, mainly because there was also a book. Now books about record labels have my utmost interest, even if I don't like the music. This, obviously, is not the case here, as I enjoy the music. Vinyl On Demand delivers heavy books using heavy paper and is almost like an art catalogue. They aren't easy to read but look great. In this book, we find the story of Nekrophile Records well documented, first and foremost by Zoe deWitt, who ran the label in the early 80s (as Michael deWitt). We read of her interest in Psychic TV, magic and occultism as part of industrial music, rather than death and destruction. The music also changed, quieter, using bells, and flutes, next to synthesizers and electronics. deWitte first operated as Korpses Katatonik, later as Zero Kama, when the music became even more rhythmic. Skulls and bones were sourced at an old graveyard, and a legendary cassette came to fruition. As they do those days, deWitt was in contact with other musicians, and, also as they did, this leads to compilation cassettes, which included the first ever track by Coil, and music by Hunting Lodge, Stigma Diaboli, Toy Muziek, Sleep Chamber, Ain Soph, LashTal, and the aforementioned P.Orridge/Bingo tape. The book in this box details the various problems with these releases, such as musicians promising too much or forgetting what was promised. The book has some fine examples of letters from them, such as John Balance's fine writing (as recently also detailed in another book, 'The Abrahadabra Letters'), Steve Stapleton's blunt 'no' to an invitation, catalogues and pamphlets. All with excellent photo material, which made me sad that such things are no longer made (letters, booklets et al., I mean) in these days of digital communication.
    Of course, the music is not an insignificant portion of the material. There is an exciting variety here. There is the more experimental synthesizer/electronics side of the ritual industrial music on the one hand. Here we find Korpses Katatonik, LashTal and Ain Soph (the latter, to my surprise, as that one is missing from my old collection, and I was never too fond of their later work). In contrast, the ritual, rhythmic aspect is represented by Zero Kama, whose LP gathered quite a cult following over the past thirty-something years and Metgumnerbone. Their LP was initially not released by Nekrophile, but contacts were established back in the day. The group gained notoriety because of their gravedigging for skulls and bones and subsequent arrest.  Another album planned at that time that only sees the light of day now is Coming To Now, a duo of Luther Howard and Andy H. Their music has a fine blend of ritualistic slow drums, flutes and voices and is also similar to the more ritualistic rhythm side, and charming naive quality. The compilations have material from both ends of the musical spectrum, and the Psychic TV influence on Coil, Zoskia, Orrdige/Bingo is a clear one, a little diversification. It is topped with two 7"s with more music by Coming To Now and more Metgumnerbone, to top this off. A small label, whose overviews fit in one wooden box (coffin is the apparent reference), offers a beautiful insight into the ancient and arcane world. I love it! (FdW)
––– Address: https://www.vod-records.com/



ISOLATED COMMUNITY - FARMHOUSE BROTHEL (CDR by Northumberland Audio Capture)

By now I lost count of the releases I reviewed from the duo Richard Dunn and Rachael Talbot Dunn. So far, I have been enjoying their releases quite a bit, and, spoiler alert, this new one is another winner. 'Farmhouse Brothel' "represents further excursions onto rural dystopia and can be seen as a companion release to our first release, 'Everyone In The Village Hates You'. As a small city boy, I have no idea what rural dystopia is, but I have seen enough movies and series to have an idea. I am not sure if I ever thought of the music of Isolated Community in terms of villages, dystopia or horror, but now the connection is mentioned, I listened to it differently. The siren-like voice of the opener, 'Barn Dance' and the heavy drumming on the bodhran might be the sound of an ancient ritual. This might be the album's heaviest moment, as Isolated Community's music is usually more reflective. A meandering of sounds, instruments, effects, conjuring mysterious moods, hazy textures. Some of these pieces are lovely and mild, such as 'Acceptance', just neat synthesizers, voice samples, and delay machines. The use of delay reminds me at times of zoviet*france, but the intimacy and experiments are more along the lines of Idea Fire Company - think of Isolated Community as the missing link between the two, if you can. What happened to the folk town dystopia, you may ask? I can imagine that some of this music would serve well as a soundtrack to films and series, with that slightly uneasy pleasant feeling, but, on the other hand, I feel there is also a level of abstraction here that stands on its own feet. All those references may sound great, but are they necessary? I feel it doesn't. The seven pieces are strong, varied, sad, mysterious and pleasant. From the industrial rhythms of 'Echo Of Platitudes' to the dreaminess of 'Village Picnic' (alright, I admit these titles are somewhat guiding). This would be another LP and sold out on release in another world. Such a world sadly doesn't exist. (FdW)
––– Address: https://isolatedcommunity.bandcamp.com/



ED & PETALS - TESSERAE (CDR by Minimal Resource Manipulations)
PHIL MAGUIRE - RAINSWEET STILLNESS (CDR by Minimal Resource Manipulations)

Two new releases on Matt Atkins' Minimal Resource Manipulations imprint are worlds apart. I wanted to start with Maguire's latest release, as Atkins calls it, ultra-minimal lowercase and silence. Quite extreme. Almost like an inverse noise record', but someone two houses down started to play the piano, and I settled for Ed & Petals, which is quite different. Ed, in this case, is Ed Shipsey on drums, melodica, percussion, voice, bells, small objects, and piano (plus electronics on one piece). Petals is one Petero Kalulé on piano, kalimba, flutes, cello, tambourine, tenor saxophone, harmonica, violin, bells, voice, clarinet, and spirit. Instead of plain and precise information, Bandcamp shows us a poem-like text (by Katy Lewis Hood), which may or may not connect to the idea behind the release, and that is poetry. But, again, words play an essential role, something recited with great seriousness and shouted like a drunk. Is this where the poet meets the outsider, I wondered. I have no idea, but it could very well be both. The music this duo plays is something that goes along with that swing between seriousness and 'fun' (if that is at all the word I can use). Locked together in a room full of instruments, the two freely improvise their way. In that sense, they have a punk spirit very much. Here's a piano, let's use it; now I move on to the drums. In their improvisation style banging and strumming in the most accessible way possible. They occasionally hit upon a melody, a phrase that they repeat or a slightly consistent rhythm. There is an overall sense of mayhem here, which made me think it's a bit more outsider than poetry. I readily admit I know very little of both. At fifty-five minutes, it is a bit too long and loses its power towards the end, but I enjoyed this a lot for the central part.
    The piano playing next door stopped, and I took my headphones out (as recommended on Bandcamp), so it's time for an inverse noise record. Silence played a significant role in the past, starting with Cage's famous piece, but since the mid-90s found its way into music. Famously, I'd say, with Lopez' 'Warsawa Restaurant', and then with the whole lowercase movement that followed that. Lopez's idea was if I recall that the listener has the option with a silent record to fiddle with his controls and make the audible in a way that suited the listener best. Others were interested in how silence played a role in the experience of hearing; there is undoubtedly a good book about this somewhere. Maguire's work is about modular synths and is already on the quiet side, but with 'Rainsweet Stillness' (The title of this new work is from a poem by E.E.Cummings), he takes a big step. The music is not only tranquil, but he also uses complete silence as an instrument. These silences make this not easy work to hear. It is something that, I think, you play while doing something else. The music requires your full, undivided attention. I cracked the volume up all the way and listened. One becomes aware of whatever else happens, so the headphones are handy. At one point, the music becomes annoying in the high-frequency range. The first time I heard it, I didn't even realize it was the music from Maguire but something outside. I scaled the volume down a bit and restarted the piece, now complete on the headphones and eyes closed so that I didn't see the waveform. The music is an intense experience. Is it good or bad, you wonder. I have no idea. I found it fascinating that I am sure off. Good and bad become irrelevant here. (FdW)
––– Address: https://mrmrecordings.bandcamp.com/



ZEBRA MU - LIVE AT THE OPEN MIC NIGHT #2 (3" CDR, Self-Released)

"Live At The Electronic Music Open Mic Night #2" is the extended title of this almost 14-minute recording, burned to a 3" CDR packed in a sleeve with a picture of the artist on the front. And I can feel you all wondering, is there also a "Live at Electronic Music Open Mic Night #1"? The answer is yes. The first in the series was the first performance by Zebra Mu - the alter ego of Michael Ridge - in six years, and it was recorded at Gringos Mexican Tequila Bar, Norwich, UK, on 24/02/2022. Number two, however, didn't take that long though. Exactly four weeks after the first, Michael was drinking tequila again, and Terri Ridge pressed record on the trusty Zoom H4n.
    The performance is roughly divided into two parts. The first 7 minutes consist of ambient sounds layered on top of each other, creating an atmosphere with a lot of tension. The kind of tension where you are wondering what's going to happen, it could go anywhere ...  Very well used and placed feedback sounds create high pitched anomalies in the atmosphere ... So when after six minutes, the sounds become a bit more concrete with loads of delays, you think you've entered the second stage of the soundscape, but nope.  It's only the bridge to a massive piece of harsh pedal/junk noise, which continues for the second 7 minutes of this release.
    The recordings seem to have been made through the microphones of the Zoom as the audience can be heard applauding justly afterwards, but I would have liked it better if the recordings had been made from the mixer. Maybe with a few extra tracks for "room ambience". The combination of the room's acoustics takes away a bit from the extremities of - mainly - the noise part of the performance. This kind of stuff needs to be hard, loud, sharp and in yer face. It's all there, but it even could be better. Then again, for a £3 CDR release, you can't complain too much. Saves you some money for another tequila. (BW)
––– Address: https://mridge.bandcamp.com/



HEIMITO KÜNST - POST EXOTICISM (cassette by Shrimper)

The second release for Heimito Künst, who might be from Italy, is about minimal music and is inspired by two of his favourite composers, Youngs, Richard and La Monte. With apologies to "Angus, Loretta, Malcolm & Neil", some of whom aren't that minimal. I enjoyed his (?) first release (Vital Weekly 1279) very much in a pleasantly confusing way. That was a bit rhythmic and gothic. That is not the case here, as indeed, it is about minimalism. As much as I love to say it is a bit of both Youngs', it is not. Künst approach to minimalism is more along the lines of Richard than La Monte. There are no lengthy patterns of drone sounds with minimal changes nor steady piano tones, but rather something rougher and more direct. To that end, Künst uses a few instruments ("synthesizers, magnetic tapes, organ, percussion, trumpet, voice, bass guitar, contact microphones, field recordings, objects, electronics") and a tuba in one piece (which sort of breaks the drone up; interestingly). His works are around five/six minutes long, with some very abrupt endings. I was into a piece, and then it suddenly stopped. That, too, made it more Richard than La Monte. Another difference is the use of dynamics by Künst. Most of the material is already quite present, to avoid the word 'loud'; that is saved for the last song, aptly called 'I Wait For The End' when things come to a crashing finale. There is an overall directness to the way the music is recorded, another sign of Richard's influence on the music. I enjoyed this a lot, as it ticked all the right boxes for me. Drones, tension, out of the ordinary, loudness and, at the same time, humourful. (FdW)
––– Address: https://heimitoknst.bandcamp.com/



ICE YACHT - NOISY NYLON (cassette by Snatch Tapes)

The downside of hearing a lot of music (and getting older) is that I don't remember past music all too well. Here's an example. I would think that the first time I heard Ice Yacht (Vital Weekly 981), it was all quite ambient, even when Philip Sanderson, former Storm Bugs and man behind Ice Yacht, used a bit of rhythm. Fast forward to the current release, 'Noisy Nylon', and I am trying to figure out the differences. This cassette contains much more rhythmical music than I remember from the previous releases. Sanderson says that someone marked this as 'industrial' music, and I can see why someone would say that. It is industrial, and yet, perhaps, industrial music of a different kind. The music is also melodic, with arpeggios running wild. At the same time, one could also see cosmic music going wild. The industrial music aspect lies in the straightforward approach. Sanderson isn't interested in smoothing things up here, especially in the opening blast of 'Nitty Nora (Head Explore)', with its very edgy rhythms. There might be vocals herein, but they are pushed to the background a lot of heavily processed. Unlike Sanderson's 'other' work, vocals play a much more significant role. Only in 'Break Their Legs So They Can't Lay Eggs', Ice Yacht pulls back and has a rather mellow tone, oddly also enough the most vocal piece. I am least enamoured with 'Running From Ghosts', which, at thirteen minutes, is the most extended piece here. Here Sanderson does all psyched out jam on electronics, held together by what could be an unsteady drum loop, changing the mood off and on. It is too freaky, certainly in contrast with the other six. These are concise and to the point excursions of cosmic music being crushed by the wheels of hard-hitting pop industrialism. A great blast! (FdW)
––– Address: https://snatchtapes.bandcamp.com/



MATT ATKINS - IMPERFECTIONS (cassette by Wabi Sabi Tapes)

From the busy bee that is Matt Atkins, another fresh release on cassette, I think of this as ongoing documentation of his work. As much as I would love to do reviews in which I compare the most recent with previous examples of his work, it is impossible to do so time-wise, especially with people like Atkins, whose output is so vast by now. That is a pity. I go by previous reviews and memory. Atkins, we know as a percussion player and someone who likes small acoustic objects as his source material. Usually, his work is denser than it is here, the nine pieces of 'Imperfections'. Somehow, the music is more spacious this time, which brings out the rhythmic element a bit more. I have no idea, but his work is not the result of playing live but rather the layering of various sessions into one song. Maybe this is done on an excellent old four-track machine with a bit of pitch control. By combining these sounds, we hear a fine composer at work. Composer, not improviser, I see that as an essential difference. These recordings may be the result of improvisation, it is in the layering and editing where the magic happens, as far as I am concerned. Shaking cups, chains, and what not, looping and filtering these, adding the odd drone (organ, harmonium?) here and there (in 'Fifth'), coupled with a directness of the recordings (occasionally sounding as if one is present in the same space as Atkins), it all attributes to another fine release from this man. One part of this sounds mysterious, but it never is dark or spooky; instead, it is all open. Another part sounds like research or field recordings, a research into surfaces of objects. Quite fascinating; keep them coming, I'd say. (FdW)
––– Address: https://wabi-sabi-tapes.bandcamp.com/



JOHN DUNCAN/MICHAEL ESPOSITO - DEATH OF A DREAMER (USB by Spectral Electric)

Here, the dreamer in question is Martin Luther King Jr, who James Earl Ray shot on April 4th, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN. Ths USB device was released on April 4 of this year, 54 years after the incident. Knowing the work of Michael Esposito, I would think he went to the exact location and taped recordings on the site, capturing Electronic Voice Phenomena; bluntly said: voices from beyond, as originally researched by Konstatin Raudive and Friedrich Jürgenson. If Esposito actually recorded any voices from beyond is something I leave up to the listener. The material Esposito shares with his people like Carl Michael von Hauwswolff, Scanner, Bass Communion and this time, John Duncan. They give the material some serious treatments, but there is always something of the original there; I know, I heard some of these original EVP recordings. There are two versions of 'Talkback MLK' by John Duncan, one from 2018 and one from 2022. I understand these might be the same. He uses the original EVPs to significant effect here, stretching them out, and setting these against ultra-short sounds. Voices are pushed away in the background, adding to the piece's intensity. For Esposito's 'Death Shadows', the power lies in keeping things small. There's a looped synth (reel-to-reel? A bonus track that seems to indicate that), voices from what appears to be a police scanner, and the sound of a bicycle pump (or so it seems), creating an overall a poignant effect. Esposito's includes his raw sound material, so any DIY remixers out there who want to take a shot at the material: go ahead (at least that's my impression here). The two main pieces are just under then minutes, so it is sadly a short piece, but quite a powerful one. (FdW)
––– Address: https://spectralelectric.bandcamp.com/









<