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!
RICHARD YOUNGS - NEW EMPTINESS (CD by Fourth Dimension) *
BUDHADITYA CHATTOPADHYAY - WITHERING FIELD (CD by Cronica Electronica) *
HAARVÖL - THE UNCANNY ORGANISATION OF TIMELESS TIME (CD by Cronica Electronica) *
YANA - FOU (CD by Aussaat) *
PAUL HESSION & MICHAEL BARDON & CHRISTOPHE DE BEZENAC – JAKTAR (CD by Discus Music) *
TRAVIS LAPLANTE – WILD TAPESTRY (CD by Out Of Your Head Records)
KL4NG - LIVE A VENISE (CD on Lab'ut) *
ALEX ZETHSON - RESIDY (CD by Thanathosis Produktion) *
MAGNUS GRANBERG - NIGHT WILL FADE AND FALL APART (2CD by Thanathosis Produktion) *
TACTICAL MAYBE (CD by Barefoot Records) *
LUNAR ABYSS DEUS ORGANUM - AGDY (CD by Zhelezobeton) *
BU.D.D.A. - DIESE ANMUT VON TROPHÄEN (CD by Zhelezobeton) *
PETROGRAD DRONE GATHERING/MOSCOW NOISE MANUFACTORY POLUDRЁMA 26.11.2021 (cassette by Zhelezobeton) *
FRANK GRATKOWSKI & REINHOLD FRIEDL - MOON (CD by Bocian Records) *
ANDRZEIJ KARALOW & JERZY PRZEZDZIECKI - IDEAL LIMIT (cassette by Bocian Records)
DOC WÖR MIRRAN - LA PASTORELLA (CDR by Marginal Talent) *
ACIDETHER & DOC WÖR MIRRAN - DADA DEPRESSION (CDR by Marginal Talent) *
JAVIER HERNANDO & ANGEL LALINDE - VACUOLA (CDR by Wet Dreams Records) *
NILS QUAK - ICHI-GO ICHI-E (cassette by Eliane Tapes) *
CALINECZKA - ADWOS (cassette by Eliane Tapes) *
BRUNO DUPLANT - ÉTATS INTERMÉDIAIRES (cassette by Eliane Tapes) *
CRISTIAN USAI - I CAN SEE MY PAIN (cassette by Matching Head)
THOM ELLIOTT - HUMAN HEART WORM (cassette by Tribe Tapes) *
RICHARD YOUNGS - NEW EMPTINESS (CD by Fourth Dimension)
When a new release by Richard Youngs is in the mail, you can be sure that that's the one I will first play. The man hardly disappoints, even when I am not a fan of all his work. The music he creates is very diverse, from very experimental music (yummy) to singer-songwriter with vocals and a guitar (not too much for me) or even techno-ish music (quite interesting if you don't dance). He chooses his more experimental side for the works he releases on Fourth Dimension. In the five pieces on 'New Emptiness', Youngs plays 'modulated carrier frequencies', snare drum, gong, bamboo flute and voice. I guess the emptiness mentioned in the title has to be to the minimal composition approach and the sparse use of instruments per piece of music. In 'Ramasites', the opening piece, I think Youngs plays around with frequencies and a snare drum. This drum sound is a bit different from what you are used to, not as resonating as one may be used to. Youngs plays the drum irregular, with slow and fast bangs, while the frequency shifts around, like a melodic thing. I have no idea what he uses in 'Chiral Earth II', as a guitar is not on the menu list. The frequency generator is used significantly in 'Annulus I', brooding away in the background, while sparse notes are played on the gong. Also, in 'Chiral Earth III', the frequency generator plays a big role in a very silent yet intense piece of music, perhaps even the solo instrument. In 'Annulus II', we finally greet voice and bamboo flute, along with the background drone of a frequency or two, this is an extraordinary piece compared to the other four, but in the world of Youngs, this is just another great piece. Again, sparseness is the operative word here. I am biased, so don't be surprised if I end this with 'this is another damn fine work by someone who hardly ever disappoints'. (FdW)
––– Address: https://fourthdimensionrecords.bigcartel.com/
BUDHADITYA CHATTOPADHYAY - WITHERING FIELD (CD by Cronica Electronica)
HAARVÖL - THE UNCANNY ORGANISATION OF TIMELESS TIME (CD by Cronica Electronica)
It's been a while since I last heard a full-length release by Budhaditya Chattopadhyay from India; Vital Weekly 873, if I am not mistaken. He works with field recordings, and his new work deals with "extensive fieldwork and recordings made at specific sites now considered Special Economic Zones (SEZ), situated in South Asia. It aims to delineate transitions of indigenous habitats dislocated from their natural settings, forced to gearing fast towards a contemporary urbanisation". The underlying idea is the destruction of ecology by mankind. "The project not only intends to foster the capacity to reconnect with the tribal community but also makes the displacement of natural landscapes and societies audible for wider public awareness". None of this is on the cover of the CD, so if you don't look up this information on Bandcamp, you have no way of knowing. And so, what remains? With the current climate crisis, you could wonder about the ecological footprint to get these field recordings. Still, when I posted this as a comment on social media (not something to do with this artist), I got "let everybody worry about their own footprint" as a response to "how dare you to ask this?" But I am the sort of person who likes to stay at home anyway, so easy talking here, I know. In this work, I believe that to hear sounds from tribal communities, percussive music being processed, slowly moving into a conveyor belt of sounds. Then something that resembles a train and other sounds from the industrial society. At times a bit too familiar, but towards the end, the last twelve minutes, the piece goes into a very subdued mode. Sounds disappear into the mist of time, and atmospherics remain. The residue contains some beautiful shimmering tones. This might be the lover of all things abstract talking, but this final one-third of the piece is a true beauty, and the first part is quite alright.
In terms of abstraction, I am probably better off with Portuguese trio Haarvöl, of whom I reviewed some previous albums. Here they have a new work in which band member Xoán-Xil López (who seems to be a full-time member now) plays an Iberian Pipe Organ, and Fernando José Pereira and Joao Garia play electronics and field recordings. At the core of this, "there is no progress in art". It's all about the relationship between sounds and making that sound great. Haarvöl does a great job here. The old organ (from 1801) versus modern technology delivers four pieces of great drone music. While I know the group's previous works to be inspired by the world of musique concrète techniques, to some extent, at least, there is very little of that here. Maybe the odd ending here and there, but throughout, it is simplicity that rules around this work. And for so much the better, to be honest! I realise this might be a conventional work of drone music, created with an ancient organ and digital processing, culminating in four beautiful pieces of music. Still, I also think this is the group's best work. It's warm and digital; its drone and natural and field recordings play a minor role in these four pieces. They are well-hidden but once removed, one notes the absence of these field recordings (children playing, rain drops), so they fully add to the wonderful music. What a great release! Maybe the favourite of this week, even when it's still early. (FdW)
––– Address: https://cronica.bandcamp.com/
YANA - FOU (CD by Aussaat)
The Aussaat label from Moers, Germany, released this CD by Finnish noiseheads Yana. Unfortunately, there is nothing to be found on this noise duo anywhere, and yes, I have looked for it thoroughly. However, they have a few other releases, of which Freak Animal Records released a few, so at least a little indication of what to expect: Noise with a capital N. The Aussaat guys have had several releases also with nice names like Entre Vifs, Le Syndicat and Stephen O'Malley. Still, they've also released stuff from Scum, Linekraft and even Club Moral (wow!).
'Fou' is an eight-track CD in digipack and I'll just dive in: It's fun, but it leaves a lot to wish for. Is it bad noise? No! Hell no! It's the noise that makes you want more, solid heavy noise with a lot of modulation, feedback and distorted sounds. The stuff that makes you feel small when played on high volume, which happens to be the stuff that makes you feel tall when you might be in a smallish mood. 'Open for interpretation', so to say, it's all about the sounds and the current state of mind. The tracks don't have lyrics as such, even though vocal (samples?) can be heard in some of the tracks (a.o 'Mantra Delire', 'Metrazol' and 'Aphasia'), but they're so mangled that they don't bring a message over.
So what is it that makes me wish for more, you ask? Well, with eight tracks and a total playing time of just over 32 minutes, this is way too short to be considered a full-time CD IMHO. It's like with all the track the guys are starting, and they don't know how to tell their story. The tracks have almost no beginning and no end. Abrupt endings and abrupt beginnings make it hard to follow a "flow" if there was one to begin with. And I'm always looking for that flow as it makes a CD comparable to a story you're reading or a film you're watching. It makes it easier to digest extremes as well as follow a possible message the makers would have. So soundwise, it's very enjoyable although on the short side. But conceptual, I'm still trying to find out how what aphasia has to do with Metrazol... (BW)
––– Address: https://www.facebook.com/Aussaatundernte/
PAUL HESSION & MICHAEL BARDON & CHRISTOPHE DE BEZENAC – JAKTAR (CD by Discus Music)
With Jaktar, we are speaking of a new trio that combines the talents of Paul Hession (drums, cymbals, gongs), Michael Bardon (double bass) and Christophe de Bézenac (tenor sax). Bardon, you may remember from his excellent solo album ‘The Gift of Silence’, released in 2021 by Discus Music. Earlier, he worked with pianist Nat Birchall and participated in the Martin Archer Trio and Craig Schott’s Lobotomy, a.o. Paul Hession is a drummer from Leeds who worked a lot with double bass player Simon H.Fell, who passed away in 2020. He played with Marshall Allen (Sun Ra), Derek Bailey, Joe McPhee, etc. Hession and Bardon earlier did a trio recording with saxophonist Hans-Peter Hiby, released in 2017. This time Christophe de Bézenac is the third man. De Bézenac is a French saxophonist based in the UK working in the fields of improvisation and electroacoustic music and founder of the Leeds Improvised Music Association; a member of Trio VD and also of Mole, another project of Paul Hession. Together these three experienced and creative musicians make up a very powerful unit, as is evident from the start. The opening track transports you instantly to the centre of one of their high-energy outbursts. They practise an abstract form of improvisation, often focused on creating textures and sound explorations that are always also full of drama and life. Communication and interaction between the three are excellent and a joy to listen to. Great work! (DM)
––– Address: https://discusmusic.bandcamp.com/
TRAVIS LAPLANTE – WILD TAPESTRY (CD by Out Of Your Head Records)
Travis Laplante is a young Brooklyn-based composer and saxophonist. He leads Battle Trance, his saxophone quartet and Subtle Degrees, a collaboration with drummer Gerald Cleaver. Besides, he participates in the Avant-jazz group Little Women, recorded solo albums, for example, ‘Human’ (2019) and many more. In 2020 the new music ensemble Yarn/Wire recorded his composition ‘Inner Garden’. He recently worked with musicians Trevor Dunn, Peter Evans, Ingrid Laubrock, a.o. A busy bee for sure, who now presents a new album different from what he did so far. Laplante received a commission from the Yellow Barn Music Festival for an ensemble of nine musicians. The idea came from a discussion with festival director Seth Knopp for this new work. They spoke of the mutual inspiration between Miles Davis and Karlheinz Stockhausen. In particular, they reflected on the album ‘On the Corner’ (1972), for which Davis mentioned Stockhausen as a prominent influence. Miles Davis is a significant and long-time musical influence on Laplante. He repeatedly played ‘On the Corner’ while composing ‘Wild Tapestry’ in response to this listening experience! Can this influence be detected? Is it traceable? How does inspiration work anyway? This led LaPlante to the decision to take the ‘On the Corner’-album as a source of inspiration for his project. I have to admit that I expected groovy and electric music. But that is absolutely not the case. It is hard to put the finger on elements of this composition that are clearly related to Davis’ music. But maybe this presumption makes no sense. Of course, one can be honestly and deeply inspired by particular music without copying or lending any traceable elements of this music. In the end, the question arises: where does music come from anyway..? ‘Wild Tapestry’ is performed by an ad hoc ensemble of Antonina Styczen (flute), Ansel Norris (trumpet), Oliver Barrett (trombone), Steve Mackey (electric guitar), Charles Overton (harp), Marcus Elliot Gaved (acoustic bass), Eduardo Leandro (percussion), Matthew Overbay (percussion). Laplante himself participates on saxophone. With some of these musicians, LaPlante worked for the first time. It was performed at The Yellow Barn Music Festival on July 17th, 2021, in Putney, VT. And it is this concert that is released on this cd. It starts with an eastern-flavoured rhythm with a flute solo, soon accompanied by bass and blowers. A strong intervention by a sax introduces the next episode with harp and percussion in the leading role. And so unfolds a narrative and gentle half-hour work where one section succeeds another in a wave-like manner. Call it chamber music of a lyrical nature, combining jazz and new music. It is accessible work, but alas, not appealing for my taste. I didn’t hear anything remarkable. Maybe I miss the point. Nevertheless, the sequence of sections has intense and uplifting moments, and Laplante raises some interesting questions! (DM)
––– Address: https://outofyourheadrecords.bandcamp.com/
KL4NG - LIVE A VENISE (CD on Lab'ut)
I am not sure whether Kl4ng is something that is here to stay or 'just' a project name. Essentially it is a joint effort of Accroche Note, a duo of singer Francoise Kubler and clarinettist/saxophonist Armand Angster, and turntablist Pablo Valentino with sound artist Yerri-Gaspar Hummel, on the other hand. Hummel has previously worked with both Accroche Note and Valentino, so is probably the link between the two. The recording presented here is a live recording from the Biennale in Venice (it does not say which year, but I would presume 2021), and the release is provided as a 'promo' - which is natural, as that is what we normally receive here. The odd thing, though, is that the label Lab'ut apparently mainly releases 'promos' - which makes me think this is less about physical releases of music than promoting acts for live concerts. 'Lab'ut' is short for 'Laboratoire de l'utopie' - a project (I believe) driven by Hummel, which is a kind of platform for music crossing the boundaries of styles, also integrating Hummel's primary work as a sound artist, creating installations, scores, and performances.
Accroche Note and its two members walk the line between classical music and jazz, although they have few releases to their ensemble name, the first being from 1984, the latest (according to Discogs, at least) from 2013. It is Angster who has played on many 'classic' classical recordings, whereas Kubler is more into contemporary and jazz music, it seems. Kl4ng was formed in 2015 and has since existed as a live project more than a recording one. As such it seems to be constantly evolving and shifting, which also aligns with Hummel's approach to establishing 'environments' where sound and culture meet and interact.
'Live a Venise' is one of these releases where you often wonder what this looked like on stage. The two 'electronic' members of the ensemble add keyboard, sampler and records (DJ) sounds as well as processing the live musicians, including scratching records, or of what could also be a snippet of live sound. Angster adds free jazz elements, especially in the earlier pieces (one of them an Accroche note piece from 1984, Le Fou Saxophonisant), Kubler a voice between vocalising, singing, and reciting texts. The electronics somehow remain in the background, giving the live musicians more space and doubles and triples their impact by repeating and layering their contributions. The musical elements come from various angles, mostly free jazz, you would say. But at several points, you sense an element of Latin that reminds of Return to Forever, Wayne Shorter, Weather Report, and Joe Zawinul. These are only pointillistic dots in the mix, but set expectations via the samples that briefly turn up here and there, a saxophone melody line, or singing that could potentially be Portuguese (but is probably just abstract). This meandering is probably fine for a live set, but on record it leaves the listener (me) with a sense of serendipity, of arbitrariness and lack of direction. Music that is best served at a live event. (RSW)
––– Address: https://kl4ng.bandcamp.com/album/live-venise
ALEX ZETHSON - RESIDY (CD by Thanathosis Produktion)
MAGNUS GRANBERG - NIGHT WILL FADE AND FALL APART (2CD by Thanathosis Produktion)
It's probably a sin, but I am not too keen on the music by Johan Sebastian Bach, so his 'Goldberg Variations' is not something I heard or registered. The two parts on 'Residy' by Alex Zethson on the 21st variation, and I can safely say that it sounds not like the original. Zethson is a man with a background in jazz and improvisation, but this work is all about drones. He uses an ebow, piano and synthesizer. The cover text provides a lengthy explanation about selected notes, which I won't repeat here. When he says so, I believe him and can enjoy this all the same. The first part is twenty-one minutes and the second close to fifteen, but for all I care, they could have been twice this length. A stroke on the piano signals the start and finish of the piece, and also in between a few times, to change "shape, dynamic and timbre". These are beautiful pieces of drone music. Best played at a moderate volume so that tones linger modestly through time and space. This might not be your typical meditative drone music with occasional strokes on the piano, breaking the gentleness, but I enjoyed that even better. It made for an exciting change in the traditional drone field, which is always most welcome. Slow and majestic music in which the original inspiration is no longer heard. A great adaptation!
On the same label, we have two discs by Magnus Granberg. On the first disc, we find the ensemble version of 'Night Will Fade And Fall Apart', while on the second disc, there are versions of the piece for solo instruments, percussion, violin, cello, guitar and one for piano and vibraphone. Tya Ensemble is the performer in the full and solo versions. The composition consists of "seven sets and guidelines on how to treat and navigate (individually as well as collectively) the different materials". Some songs were the starting point, but I believe we don't hear these as such. While the music is not quite perse, the way Tya Ensemble performs it is very laidback. As David Sylvian remarks in his liner notes, this is music for the twilight, the final rays. You can also perceive the music as snowflakes. Not a heavy snowfall, but a steady one. You try to recognize a pattern, but there is none. This piece seems as if everybody plays notes slowly and randomly. This, however, doesn't result in something chaotic. The ensemble version is relaxing, especially if you decide to keep the volume at a moderate level. We hear something similar in the four solo versions, but now even more reduced. In the duo version, there is some excellent regular play with silence and music, which is likewise quiet. Still, with this regularity, it is also something else, and at more than thirty minutes, almost like a different work. (FdW)
––– Address: https://thanatosis.org/
TACTICAL MAYBE (CD by Barefoot Records)
Scandinavian Improviser Collective Barefoot here releases recordings of a project of four musicians spanning the globe - but recording in Denmark. Louise Dam Eckardt Jensen is a USAmerican saxophone (and reed) player with a decade of free jazz background. Tom Blancarte is a USAmerican jazz bassist having played in an extensive number of groups and projects over the past 15 years. Then there is the couple (?) Aabo-Kim, with Nana Pi Aabo-Kim on saxophone and Halym Aabo-Kim on drums, who are a fixture in the Aarhus jazz scene. These duos combine here and claim roots in the USA, Mexico, Germany, S.Korea, and Denmark. As a project, they have celebrated the release of this CD with several gigs across the Danish free jazz festival circuit this Summer (2022).
The double duo re-shapes in the recordings into the traditional saxophone foreground and the rhythm section bass and drums. The bass is very restrained, whilst the drum set supplies the continuous rhythm track, using all sound possibilities available - though there is an interesting trend towards making little use of cymbals - which somehow serves the tracks very well. Over this, the two saxophones interplay, one (Nana Pi) more experimental, creating all kinds of sounds and accentuations, whilst the other (Jensen) plays a more conventional free jazz style.
I am not 100% sure where other people would distinguish between free improvisation and free jazz. My take is that free jazz has a hectic feeling around it, and the instruments are all over the place. Here, we find a more structured approach, with a slightly reduced tempo, but with the two lead instruments obviously playing in consistent 'duo' mode, i.e. responding to each other's ideas and generally maintaining a mood of interplay. This does not prevent them from creating considerable rackets (such as in track 7 'Double Attack' - which is just that). But across the whole release, speed is not the target, rather retaining the space to develop the communication between the four musicians. The jazz feel of one saxophone is offset by the other's more 'experimental' approach, using any type of sound that can be produced from the instrument to set accents, rather than playing 'traditional' jazz lines. So this would rather be called free improvisation than free jazz, though I do not consider the music as very 'experimental'. Track 10, 'Cantabrian circle', though, brings the release to an impressive end with a piece that would be called a 'ballad' in the usual context. Very relaxed saxophones play over sparse bass and percussion until towards the end all (?) musicians start using their voices in place of instruments, singing, shouting, making noises, slowly fading the track into silence. This surely is a genius strike of how the instruments available can be put to use in a totally new context, certainly defying the expectations of the audience that has built across the previous nine tracks.
As a whole, not my favourite free music release, but the last track certainly makes it into my hall of fame of how to perform novel ideas in music. (RSW)
––– Address: https://barefootrecords.bandcamp.com/
LUNAR ABYSS DEUS ORGANUM - AGDY (CD by Zhelezobeton)
BU.D.D.A. - DIESE ANMUT VON TROPHÄEN (CD by Zhelezobeton)
PETROGRAD DRONE GATHERING/MOSCOW NOISE MANUFACTORY POLUDRЁMA 26.11.2021 (cassette by Zhelezobeton)
Evgeniy Savenko is the leading man behind Lunar Abyss Deus Organum. Over the years, I reviewed quite a few of his releases. There is a sub-text in his music that I choose to ignore. Call it gothic, call it ritualistik, but it is just not my thing. However, I always quite enjoy the music that comes along. The combination of electronics with acoustic instruments and processed voices works wonderfully well. On this new release, we find a collection of tracks from 2003-2013, and this is the second compilation of rare, old tracks, following 'Uzor' that he released in 2011. As always, this is an extended release, making full use of the eighty minutes on the compact disc. Ten lengthy tracks, ranging from five to over ten minutes, are all textbook Lunas Abyss Deus Organum pieces. Mumbling voices with mucho reverb, vast drones generated with Tibetan bells and obscured electronics. Reverb is used on almost everything suggesting deep atmospheric textures. A cliche, if you will, but it works very well. Some of these pieces he recorded with friends, such as Helena, Kadegu and Nojda, changed the scenery a bit. With Kadegu, he created the most conventional piece of this release, with steady percussion and bass lines. With Nojda, he recorded perhaps the most gothic piece. Different sides of the same coin, to be honest, but within such a lengthy release, it also brings the necessary variation. It is music for long winter evenings and not hot summer days.
Bund Des Dritten Auges is what the acronym Bu.d.d.A. stands for. It is the duo of Sascha Stadlmeier (also known as Emerge) and Chris Sigdell (B*Tong). I only heard their debut release (Vital Weekly 1203), but there have been some releases since then. So, it's not a one-off collaboration, but an ongoing concern, and the two are regular on the road. Instead of their solo work, which relies heavily on electronics, they play instruments here. Stadlmeier plays the violin, electronics, field recordings and voice, and Sigdell, electric guitar, bowed guitar, synthesizer, vocals and samples. This duo has a selling point: "Think of Earth meets Troum with Brian Eno on LSD..." That is something I can relate to. Of course, the music is not exactly like those musicians, but it is possible to see where it all comes from. The guitar as a starting point, but soon covered with sound effects and samples so that a psychedelic sound appears. That is a vastness that we also know from Troum. I think that Bu.d.d.A. shares most with Troum, especially in the two long pieces that bookend this release. The addition of guest players, Bees from Common Eider King Eider, Drekka and Bebawinigi on various tracks deliver some exciting extras. Especially the voice of Bebawinigi on 'Entenei' is quite haunting. This piece is a jam festival of voices, violin and chaos; you won't see this on the next Brian Eno record. Massive music here, all dark and heavy, but it never collapses under this weight.
And finally, on cassette, we have two live recordings of what is a gathering of musicians doing a lengthy drone piece. They are named after the city from which the musicians originate. On 26 November last year, a gathering at the PoluDrëma Festival in Moscow was very crowded on stage. Hold on for a lot of names! Petrograd Drone Gathering: Alexey Korablin (Reconstruction of Moss), Dmitry Maslyakov (Mira Drevo), Evgenii Savenko (Lunar Abyss), M.M. (Kryptogen Rundfunk), Pavel Dombrovskiy (uhushuhu), Lilia Akivenson (tremorkikimor), Alexandra Isaeva (Jum-Jum). Moscow Noise Manufactory: Georgiy Orlov-Davydovskiy (Yudol), Dmitriy Bubinskiy (Old Moss), Alexandra Isaeva (Jum-Jum), Vladimir Cherepanov (t_error 404), Philipp Datura (Datura metel), Fedor Kovalev (Waldgrenze), Anton Kochubeev (Acanto), Alexey Vasilev (Droning Room), Boris Drone ([bɔː]), Alexandr Rust (Cotton Rust), Koloyar Drive (Hladna), Ilya Suzdaltsev. That includes quite a few names I never heard of. I understand they played all night, which resulted in some eight hours of music, condensed to ninety minutes on this cassette. Polu-Drëma means semi-slumber, which, I guess, reflects the state of some musicians. I don't know if there were any guidelines for the players or to what extent there was editing later on, but these two pieces sound very coherent. Long, spacious drones, in which the uber-drone goes for the very long run, and small drones evolve and revolve around that, while smaller sounds, mainly acoustic, I would say, drift in and out of the music. Oddly enough, so it seems, there is not much difference in approaches here; at times, Petrograd seemed a bit more industrial and Moscow a bit more orchestral. But minor differences altogether. Both pieces are slowly drifting, massive soundscapes that you can play any time of day or night and, I am sure, will put you in the right state of slumber. It did that trick perfectly; I fell asleep at one point and woke up sometime later, and I had no idea how much time had passed or which city was responsible for the music. That's the drone for me. (FdW)
––– Address: https://zhbd.bandcamp.com/
FRANK GRATKOWSKI & REINHOLD FRIEDL - MOON (CD by Bocian Records)
ANDRZEIJ KARALOW & JERZY PRZEZDZIECKI - IDEAL LIMIT (cassette by Bocian Records)
The CD by Friedl on the piano and Gratkowski on alto saxophone and bass clarinet has five tracks. 'Rise', the opening salvo, is at twenty-four minutes the longest, and there is a strong distinction between that one and the four shorter pieces that follow. The cover says "recorded at Echoraum Vienna", but I had no idea if that is a studio or venue. Given the name, I'd go for the latter, as confirmed online. All five pieces result from improvisation, and all three instruments are easily recognized as such. Friedl is the one who goes furthest in exploring his instrument. Using prepared piano techniques, he uses objects, bows, hammers and strings, and the body of the piano to extract sounds. That gives the music, at times, a fascinating electro-acoustic edge. In the four pieces, they lean mostly towards radical free improvisation, especially in the wild ride that is 'Rye' or the slightly less extreme 'Drop'. The difference with 'Rise' is that they go for a great amount of control in that long piece, which results in improvised (yes, also) but far from being wild. More control, and more minimalism, so it seems to me here. Friedl bows a string and hits a note, and the wind instruments are in a range close to what is extracted from the piano. While the duo's wilder improvisations are good, I enjoy their more reflective side, 'Rise' and the short 'Raw' (far from raw, in fact) much more. Here we get some excellent and intense interaction, which could last longer for all I know.
I don't think I heard of Andrzej Karalow and Jerzy Przezdiziecki before. The first plays guitar, guitar and effects and the second the Buchla Music Easel and a Eurorack system. Their relatively short cassette (twenty-three minutes) contains recordings from the "Festiwal Sztuki Eksperymentalnej I Awangardowej Viral ART Festival 2020, which took place at the ACKiM UMCS Chatka Żaka in Lublin on 21 November 2020". The odd combination of having one player who plays both guitar and piano makes these pieces on this release quite different. 'Statue Mess' opens here and is a very moody piece of drone-like sounds and what seems to be processed feedback. 'Parallel Collision' is much more a bit of improvisation, combining piano and electronics. Karalow's piano playing is very lyrical, certainly in the world of improvisation, almost traditional jazz-like. In 'bending The Density', there is a slow drum pulse in the background. All pieces veer between this somewhat traditional piano playing and the more abstract electronics, which is a combination that works very well. Albeit a relatively too short release. (FdW)
––– Address: https://bocian.bandcamp.com/
DOC WÖR MIRRAN - LA PASTORELLA (CDR by Marginal Talent)
ACIDETHER & DOC WÖR MIRRAN - DADA DEPRESSION (CDR by Marginal Talent)
Almost every month there seems to be a few new Doc Wör Mirran releases. Here are the two latest (I wouldn't be surprised if there are more recent ones!). The idea behind 'La Pastorella' is intriguing. This is an album by Vico Torriani, and the whole album is recorded on the first track in the studio. Then each member shows up and plays along with the album without hearing or rehearsing. One by one, without hearing what the others did, and in the end, the main man Joseph B. Raimond mixes the separate parts into what is now 'La Pastorella', by Doc Wör Mirran. The original, of course, is not part of the new mix. I don't know the original, and while it is tempting to look it up, I decided not to, mainly because I have a lot to do, but why spoil this original concept? The core group is here (Stefan Schweiger, Adrian Gormley, Micheal Wurzer and Raimon), and they deliver some wacky 'Bastard Plop', the term they use to describe the music. While chaos is to be expected, I think the whole thing (twelve tracks) is somewhat organized. In his mix, Raimond chooses a particular instrument to dominate a certain track; Gormley's saxophone, Wurzer's electronics, or emphasizes the bass and drums. It is similar to the group's other work in the field of krautrock, and progressive punk and not as experimental as some of their other work. I am not always the biggest fan of this side of the group, but in this case: yes, absolutely. Great concept, but also excellent execution.
I had not heard of Acidether before, I think, the music project of Ilya Tsaryov, from St. Petersburg. who teams up with the same four members of Doc Wör Mirran. The music was recorded in three locations, Fürth, Germany (the group's home base), Berlin (where Gormley lives) and St. Petersburg. All of this was at the start of the war in Ukraine, but there were no obvious anti-war statements here. I assume that Raimond is responsible for the final mix. Here we definitely have the experimental side of Doc Wör Mirran in full force. Two long tracks (thirty-two and fourteen minutes), in which everybody shows their love for the mechanical side of krautrock rhythms. They become an almost industrial force, along with shrieking tones, space jams and lots of sounds flying in and out of the mix. Especially the title piece, the longer of the two, is a great psychedelic work, which never gets out of breath in its long run. In 'Wieso Hörst Du Nicht?' ('why are you not listening?') the psychedelic bit is played by densely clustered drones and windchime-like percussion that goes along, keeping a light touch to an otherwise dark piece. This is an entirely different side to the work of Doc Wör Mirran, and yet it also fits whatever this group is doing. Anything and everything goes with this posse! (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.dwmirran.de
JAVIER HERNANDO & ANGEL LALINDE - VACUOLA (CDR by Wet Dreams Records)
The history of these two Spanish composers goes back to 1981 when they met up as lovers of electronic music, pop, free radical jazz, and German eccentricities, and they started to record music together. They made contacts with Rafael Flores, also known as Comando Bruno, but it took until now to release their joint work. It is not that they worked on the music for forty years but off and on, reflecting on the results. Some pieces are solo by either, and four are collaborations. They like to keep their pieces short and to the point, unlike many others from the old days, who like their music to be long (and boring? That's up to you). The twelve pieces make quite a coherent listening in terms of electronics, processing, and lo-fi equipment. Coherent, yet also with some interesting variations. They easily go out for something that we call reasonable quiet or something fierce and noisy. But because nothing stays in the same place long, the noise doesn't become too tedious, and the ambient doesn't lull the listener into sleep. Throughout the music is mostly on the abstract side of things, working with electronics, prepared tapes, and crumbled field recordings (I am guessing here). Just very few times do they use a piano, but most of the time, it is tough to recognize the source material. The level of processing is very high here, but, as said, the duo has many tricks up their sleeves, so there is never any boredom. A crazy, wild and most rewarding ride, this release. (FdW)
––– Address: https://wetdreamsrec.bandcamp.com/
NILS QUAK - ICHI-GO ICHI-E (cassette by Eliane Tapes)
CALINECZKA - ADWOS (cassette by Eliane Tapes)
BRUNO DUPLANT - ÉTATS INTERMÉDIAIRES (cassette by Eliane Tapes)
Drone music! One of those musical genres that divide the world of experimental music lovers. Like 'laptop and field recordings and 'harsh noise', a genre that has absolute haters and absolute lovers. The first can't see the many shapes and forms the latter can see. I am, perhaps, come to think of it, an absolute lover of the drone genre, even when there are alleys I don't favour (combine drone and metal, and I am out of here). Eliane Tapes, named after pioneering drone composer Eliane Radigue, is a sub-division of Moving Furniture Records, and with this trio of new releases, they double the label's catalogue. I had no idea where to start, as I wanted to hear them all at once. I started with Nils Quak, of whom I heard the least amount of music of the three here. He plays a modular synthesiser set-up, and one sunny August morning, he recorded two improvisations. Windows open, he writes, but none too much can be found in the music. Two fine, solid pieces of synthesiser improvisations in long form. Maybe there was some planning before going all out, maybe not. I enjoyed this, but at the same time, I must admit that I don't know if such improvisations should be released on cassette, assuming Quak could do such fine things every day. So what decides what goes out and what remains in the vaults? Something to think about when playing these two lovely pieces, which show quite a bit of change throughout.
In that respect, we don't hear that many changes in the work of Calineczka, the Polish mathematician residing in Spain and head honcho of Important Drone Records (which currently seems dormant). He calls his pieces one-take miniatures, but at forty-four minutes, these are hardly 'miniatures'. With such titles as 'Adows' and 'Abwos', it is hard not to think of radigue, who composed a piece called 'Adios'. Both pieces use "a Doepfer modular synthesiser, exploring signal of four pairwise-modulating oscillators with various filters, of which the first uses "four oscillators and five filters" and the second "four oscillators, four filters and a noise generator". This is some classical drone music, just as the doctor prescribes. Long, slow tones go on for a considerable time, but over time, they slowly change, and the end is never like the beginning. By opening more filters or just opening them, Calineczka opens up a whole world of contemplative sounds, going deeper and wider, but it all remains pretty austere. Music to be played at a low volume; at least that works best for me. I am a biased fan, though.
I am not sure, but I am inclined to think that Bruno Duplant (the ever so present...) thought about the notion of 'what is drone music and how can I make it sound a bit different, before sitting down to compose 'États Intermédiaires'. He's inspired by Radigue's 'Geelriandre' and 'Arthesis', two pieces he enjoys best, and this is "his interpretation of the Bardo Thodol". In the two parts of this piece, together some sixty minutes, he works with attack, sustain and decay. I have no idea what kind of instruments he uses, but for all I know, this might be some sort of processed percussion device, which he stretches a bit, and then, following the attack has some sustain, and it dies out. No long-form sounds for Duplant here. Throughout his piece, he has various segments of these attack/decay/sustain sounds, some of which appear closer together at times, more drone-like, if you will. This, too, I think, is very much a piece of music inspired by Eliane Radigue, but not as much her pure long-form drone pieces. Duplant plays some very reflective music that makes you want to be quiet and do nothing. It also seems as if this music slows down time, especially on the even more spacious second side. Slow, majestic tones and likewise slow majestic silences. Of the three new Eliane releases, I thought this was the best, certainly the most surprising one. All three contain slow music for slow days. (FdW)
––– Address: https://elianetapes.bandcamp.com/
CRISTIAN USAI - I CAN SEE MY PAIN (cassette by Matching Head)
A short note that came along with this cassette said that I might be interested because Cristian Usia also had a release on Dark Passage Records. Unfortunately, I didn't hear that one. Based on this one, I'd say that is a pity. This one-sided cassette (that is a pity!) contains some interesting music. No surprise that I have no idea about what the man does, but I'd say there is some kind of lo-fi electronics at work here. Matching Head is a label with a long history and no Bandcamp, there is no digital version to be heard. You could think that is a pity, but it also means that the only way to hear is on cassette, which comes with sonic limitations. And we should regard those sonic limitations as part of the music. Usai plays minimal music using electronics, maybe in the form of a synthesizer or via some loop system. The first one is quite dark and drone-like and, on this hot day, hardly hoovers over my ventilator (but it creates a nice mix!). Maybe there are also some field recordings here? Usai layers his closely related sounds and finds a great dialogue. Also, in 'Pain Exposure', there seem to be metallic sounds from field recordings set against a wall of hazy, mildly distorted drones. Music from the lo-fi end of the musical spectrum, but in 'Final Cut', Usai has a clarity that we don't often see in this world of lof-i electronics. I think this is some wonderful music, and it is a great pity that it is only one side. I would have loved another side of this rusty tones. Matching Head is from the north part of England, which seems to be a fertile ground for labels that release this kind of music, such as Dark Passage and Invisible City. What's the water like up there?(FdW)
––– Address: email@example.com
THOM ELLIOTT - HUMAN HEART WORM (cassette by Tribe Tapes)
Our friends from Tribe tapes have been at it again. Last week we wrote about "Alkaline Hydrolysis" by Bestattungsinstitut, and there is another to write about this week. Thom Elliott is the brains behind Pleasure Dome Tapez from Michigan and is active in shitloads of different projects. Not going to mention them here because, well, we have Discogs for that, and I'd just be copying from what's on there. But, in all honesty, I had never heard of him before. So I aim to find out if his works make me long for more.
Going through his projects and the releases of his Pleasure Dome label, I notice a gap from the early 10's (2013) until recently ('21 / '22). No releases of any kind during the years in between make me wonder why. But it also defines the accumulation of urges Thom must have felt to express himself again. Because a lot happens in a person's life, you can only swallow up so much. The heart worms eggs had a nice and warm place to hide, but... now they hatched and triggered this four-track, one-hour expression of emotion.
On the - simple yet tasteful - artwork by Max Eastman, there is a mention of the used equipment, which already gives away a little information on the creative process and what to expect. It's no HNW or, in another way, distorted pedalscapes like we often hear from US underground - although there are moments on the release where it touches that specific sound. Musically/soundwise, it touches the common ground between noise and psychedelica. So no: The sounds on the tape are not considered 'noise', but the composition is definitely. There is random and chaotic behaviour constantly, nicely layered and brought together by the mastering process (done by Grant Richardson of Gnawed fame). The analogue madness of the MS-20 sneers through it and, at moments - fully justified - hurts.
This release is an example of an artist's direct and honest emotional expression with something to say. And even though the message isn't clearly audible, his emotions are. Well done, and welcome back, Thom! (BW)
––– Address: https://tribetapes.bandcamp.com/