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!
MR. MOTO MEETS DE FABRIEK - ROVELATOUS DANS LE FABRIQUE (CD by EE Tapes) *
GINTAS K - MOUNTAINS, RUNLETS, CAVES & CASCADES (CD by GK Records) *
KOTOKA SUZUKI - SHIMMER TREE (CD by Starkland) *
AMERICAN WILD ENSEMBLE - DUOS AND TRIOS (CD on New Focus Recordings)
MERZBOW - ANIMAL LIBERATION - UNTIL EVERY CAGE IN EMPTY (CD by Cold Spring Records) *
ORHAN DEMIR TRIO - ORIGINALS VOL. 2 (CD by Hittite Records) *
MICHAEL FOSTER - THE INDUSTRIOUS TONGUE (CD by Relative Pitch Records) *
SCANNER & MODELBAU - LOESS (2LP by Moving Furniture Records) *
JACASZEK, ROMKE KLEEFSTRA & JAN KLEEFSTRA - IT DEEL 1 (LP by Moving Furniture Records) *
MARIJE BAALMAN - COMPOSING INTERACTIONS (book by V2_)
ANDREI RIKICHI - CAGED BIRDS THINK FLYING IS A SICKNESS (CDR by Bearsuit Records) *
HAROLD SCHELLINX - HISTOIRE DE L’ART (CDR by Coherent States) *
MOCKART - VIEWS/INTERRUPTED (CDR by Mock Records) *
JEFF KAISER OCKODEKTET - 132350 (CDR by Pfmentum) *
PETRIDISCH - ETUDES VOL. 1 (cassette by Superpolar Taips) *
FIVE BUBBLE CRITERIA - VI (cassette by Superpolar Taips) *
JONATHAN DEASY - BURN ON SIGHT (cassette by Moonside Tapes) *
GAMARDAH FUNGUS - METAMORPHOSIS (cassette by Esc. Rec) *
JULIA REIDY & MORTEN JOH - TAPE SHADOW (cassette by Futura Resistenza) *
MR. MOTO MEETS DE FABRIEK - ROVELATOUS DANS LE FABRIQUE (CD by EE Tapes)
The history for this release goes back quite a few years. First, there is the collaboration between De Fabriek and Mr Moto. If you have no idea who or what De Fabriek is, then you haven't been paying attention in the last years, but Mr Moto, that is a different story. I don't think I ever reviewed work by Matthias Lang, Mr Moto himself and head-honcho of Irre Tapes before. His story goes back to the 80s when he started his label. Oddly enough, I am sure I never heard much of the music he created. In 1996, he recorded work with De Fabriek, released on cassette by Belgium's EE Tapes. They now re-release this cassette, on CD, in an edition of 100 copies. It is a bit unclear who is doing what on this cassette. I could hazard a guess, but then, I rather not. Bandcamp says they meet on neutral ground, implying shared responsibility in mixing and editing. In the wonderful tradition of De Fabriek, there is a lot of synthesizer music, building on that fine cosmic/kraut tradition which is a very core of De Fabriek, but this time with quite a few sequencers running amok. The music is more on the experimental side of the cosmic wall. None of these synthesizers bounces around in a neat arpeggio style. Maybe that is an artistic choice or something inherent to how they use their equipment (or the lack thereof!). There is some rudimentary sampling going on here, and that adds a very early 90s cassette vibe to the music. It is all a bit too long before something new kicks in or driving by just insufficient sound sources. I enjoy this kind of thing a lot. Maybe it is the older man getting sentimental, reminding me of too many things (and too private for a review). Who knows? Great! (FdW)
––– Address: https://eetapes.bandcamp.com/
GINTAS K - MOUNTAINS, RUNLETS, CAVES & CASCADES (CD by GK Records)
The only 'information' here are three quotes from stories by HP Lovecraft, the author of supernatural and horror fiction (and more, of course). Are we to hear the music by Gintas K as a sort of soundtrack to the stories? I know Gintas K (as in Kraptavicius) as a man of laptop music, and this new CD is no different. And yet, reading these quotes (and thinking that I should start on that Lovecraft book I bought years ago!), one is almost obliged to think of Lovecraft, and I am trying to figure out a connection. He says there are no field recordings used in the music here and that all music was played, recorded live, at once, without any overdub using a computer, midi-keyboard and controller. I don't know which software he uses on his laptop, but there is a lot to choose from these days. Max/MSP would be my best guess. I certainly believe in hearing a 'cave-like' sound. Gintas K reshapes his computerized sounds so that they sound like droplets in a cage. Sometimes they sound like bells, like rattling fences or anything one thinks of when thinking about the supernatural and horror. Sounds like slithering snakes, the howl of a monster or a grave opening at night; the unleashing of a beast out of the swamp. What Gintas K does here, and he is doing a great job as such, is to make it all sound not very computer-like. Yet, if you zoom in, you may recognize these to be computer sounds. This play with analogue/digital or real/unreal works very well and fits, for me, the Lovercraftion background of the music. Be I remember that if Gintas K had chosen H.G. Wells, I would probably have heard something about science fiction in this. And, if no such references were made, I would have applauded the abstract nature of computer music. The only downside was that Gintas K could have used a bit more imanigination when titling this pieces. Five parts of the CD's title, plus 'Eastern Bells' is, perhaps, a bit thin. (FdW)
––– Address: https://gintask.bandcamp.com/
KOTOKA SUZUKI - SHIMMER TREE (CD by Starkland)
Kotoka Suzuki is a Japanese composer who creates work across genres, combining imagery and music, thus easily crossing over between music/concerts, installations, theatre, and dance. In addition, her work includes making performance instruments herself, e.g. from paper. This release consists of seven pieces, the title forming the tail end of the CD.
Misguided by the apparent harmlessness of her posture in the artist's photograph, I was pleasantly surprised by the first track, 'Epiphyllum Oxypetalum (Queen of the Night)' that uses deep growling bass sounds interacting with dark drones and rustling sounds (paper? water? paper and water?) to create a dream-like atmosphere that reminds more of industrial than classical recordings. 'In praise of shadows' continues the mood of the first track in a very similar way. If you did not pay attention, you might not notice this was a separate composition. The background drones and the foreground rustling of paper detach a little more, the background removed towards the horizon and less bass-heavy. The dream character remains, though. The five short movements of 'Minyo', played by a string quartet, slightly invoke Japanese traditional music - which seems to be part of the material used here. But this is only a vague colouring in an otherwise interestingly crafted piece that explores all tonal possibilities of the string instruments, from pizzicato and pianissimo to lyrical passages and on to aggressive unison passages and instrumental mayhem.
'Automata' brings a chaotic layering of percussive and automated sounds with a delightfully humourous undercurrent. It reminds me of George Antheil's work with automatic pianos or even an aircraft engine, but it is more finely crafted and wonderfully executed. If you read the American Wild Ensemble review in this VITAL transmission and hear the bird song at the end of the piece, somewhere in the background, you can understand what I was missing on that release. In 'Reservoir', we recognise many of the previous elements - it seamlessly continues from 'Automata', it seems, intentionally or not. This piece draws inspiration from suicide websites on drowning and adds a whispered/quietly singing voice to the repertoire of whirring, threatening, and dripping sounds. I find the voice not overly convincing in a piece that could have been well done without. 'Kagiso' is a brittle mix of sine (or glass harp) sound with sparsely overlaid percussive notes, creating a floating and slightly menacing atmosphere. Again, more industrial than classic. And finally, the title track is for piano and electronics. It retains the dreamy, floaty atmosphere encountered in the other tracks but adds a piano located between Debussy and Poulenc. Again, a filigrane, brittle piece of music with a surprising fragility.
This release is very restrained, promises little, and delivers to the full—one of my favourites of the past weeks. (RSW)
––– Address: https://starkland.org/
AMERICAN WILD ENSEMBLE - DUOS AND TRIOS (CD on New Focus Recordings)
AWE started in 2016 as an experimental group organising concerts in natural surroundings, inviting the audience to interact with the music and the concert settings. This included outside locations and historical buildings. So you would start thinking of music like Pavement or other groups, where the sounds from the environment were integrated into the music. This is more than 'field recordings, as there is still a musical score that supersedes the environmental sounds and noises.
On this release, it is not quite so, and I am not sure whether I am relieved or disappointed.
We find four pieces written by young USAmerican composed specifically for this ensemble. The first two are duos for cello and flute. Aaron Travers' 'Stillwater Marsh' conjures up sounds found at a waterfowl resting place in Bloomington, IN. It conjures as the piece is a studio recording. The musical lines try to invoke the sense of bird calls and birds fluttering and moving around. As a musical piece (without this background information), I find it quite enjoyable, with the two instruments able to create and follow long and drawn melody lines, intertwining and dialoguing. With the birds approach at the back of my head, it reminds me more of Prokofiev and Peter and the Wolf, and I find the latter more convincing, I must say. Why does music have to 'represent' something and can not just stand for itself? The second piece, by David Mittens, does not have a specific setting displayed. Flute and cello interact differently, more melodically in the first and third and more aggressively in the other two movements. A dreamy mood evolves that could be associated with a landscape.
The third track, written by David Liptak, a composer and music professor who has already been discussed here, has been specifically written to be performed just before dusk (the first movement), with the second being played in the dark. This piece adds a clarinet and, thus, a new colour element. Fittingly, it is called 'Nocturne'. Although I find this an excellent idea, a lot of the effect is lost in the concert setting. The audience is invited to reflect on their thoughts on sunsets during the concert. Weak. With around five and six minutes in length, I believe it is challenging to get the timing right. Nevertheless, performing during sunset (or sunrise, at that) is a glorious experience at festival concerts, as I can testify. Margaret Brouwer's piece 'Fear, Hiding, Play' concludes the release; part leans towards mimicking bird movement with nervous flute lines, part reference to hiding away at home during Covid, expressing the yearning to escape. This is the first time I have encountered music that directly addresses Covid. There have been plenty of attempts to exploit the lockdown situation via media-mailing or interacting via Zoom or the phone, i.e. in recording technology. I also heard the first references to lockdowns in punk song lyrics today. But here is a musical representation that expertly captures a sly atmosphere of insecurity, fear, and sideways movement trying to escape, with no direct reference to wildlife, such as in the first track. In my view the best composition on this release.
But all in all, a bit of a missed opportunity. If these pieces were composed for outdoor performances and the surroundings were to play a role in this, this aspect would have either been grossly neglected by the recording setting or been ignored by the composers. In any case, I would have expected more. (RSW)
––– Address: https://www.newfocusrecordings.com/
MERZBOW - ANIMAL LIBERATION - UNTIL EVERY CAGE IN EMPTY (CD by Cold Spring Records)
As I told you before, I was a big-time Merzbow collector, but that ended when the man released so much music that I didn't have the time to unwrap them. Then I realised it was time to stop. That doesn't mean I never listened to Merzbow or am not interested in any new CD. I still am, and every time there is something new (or old, as many are re-issues of his earlier works), I play them with a lot of interest. Gone are the references to pornography, and for many years, his albums have been about animal rights, and this new one is no exception. The front cover is "a reflection of the animal rights and anarcho-punk movements of the 80s", which, in my book, means "inspired by Crass". Masami Akita, the man behind Merzbow, writes about cruelty to animals, Covid coming from markets and how the pandemic is "an opportunity to reflect on the relationship between animals and humans". Four pieces were recorded this year, and one is from last year. I don't think it is very likely that we will see Merzbow easily change musical direction anymore. There is a typical Merzbow sound that is of relentless loud noise. In the old days, with guitar pedals, later on, a laptop, and sometimes with a Synthi-A. I have no idea what it is days; I haven't seen a concert by him in more than twenty years. I am unsure if he still plays many shows these days (no longer taking an aeroplane also does wonders for the environment, so I heard). The five pieces are exactly what Merzbow sets out to be, playing noise without much head or tail. It starts, blasts, and ends. Crashing waves of feedback and distortion in pieces range from six to fourteen minutes; the whole album is a whopping fifty minutes noise endurance test. You could wonder if the message of animal cruelty reaches a wider audience; Merzbow could consider playing hip hop and gain a wider audience. I am sure his fans already know the drill. It would be interesting to know how many of them turned to veganism. Can you say this is a most enjoyable album? I am not sure if that is an appropriate term for the context of this album, but it did for me. (FdW)
––– Address: https://coldspring.co.uk
ORHAN DEMIR TRIO - ORIGINALS VOL. 2 (CD by Hittite Records)
Orhan Demir, born in Istanbul in 1954, emigrated to Canada in 1977. In the mid-eighties, a string of records containing original songs by Demir came out in a classic trio setting: guitar, bass and drums. This release compiles a few of these songs from the first three records. This is volume 2. Volume 1 came out in 1997. Four unreleased tracks come as a bonus: Elmes Treat, the second track with an extensive solo from the drummer Barry Elmes and three solo guitar tracks at the end. Elmes Treat is also the most experimental or frenetic track. Lightning-fast picking by Orhan in a Middle-Eastern mode, bowing by double bassist Neil Swainson and an inventive drum part by Barry Elmes. Other tracks are more relaxed, which doesn’t mean boring. Since Elmes got his song, Swainson couldn’t be left out. Swansong is named after him, an easy-going bluesy ballad. The remaining two trio tracks (Liberty Square and Orient Express) have another rhythm section: Rick Lazaroff on electric bass and Jack Vorbis on drums. Jazz-rock is the theme here. The solo tracks are exquisite etude-like showcases of Demirs talent and composing skills and utilizing Eastern-flavoured scales, coupled with a formidable technique that isn’t meant to be shown off but always in service of the composition. This release comes highly recommended: to me, he is a wizard on the electric guitar who knows how to write a nice tune.
––– Address: https://orhandemir.org/
MICHAEL FOSTER - THE INDUSTRIOUS TONGUE (CD by Relative Pitch Records)
The aptly named solo album by Michael Foster is a two-part release. Part 1 is called 'Libidinal Fragments' and consists of seven shorter pieces and thirthy minutes of free impro. Part II Celluloid Nightmares has two parts, a short one and a longer one (almost 14 minutes). Foster takes us inside the sax (tenor and soprano) and lets us hear what impossible sounds are possible with the saxophone. Heavy on extended techniques, his tongue is working overtime to make all the fluttering, stacattissimo or legato, or a lot of watery sounds. In just a few tracks, there are melodies to be heard. Mostly, it’s about texture, be it combined with samples or oscillators or his voices pressed through the instrument. Especially the last track (the longer part of Celluloid Nightmares) sounds like a harsh, noise-infused visceral nightmare with a lot of leaky fluids. Hisayasu Sato, Takashi Ishii, Naomi Tani and Jacques Rivette are the persons to which this release is dedicated. Takashi Ishii remade a Japanese pink film (a movie containing nudity: be it a drama, comedy or a yakuza movie) originally starring Naomi Tani, a well-known pink film actress in the fifties, sixties and seventies, with S&M as her subgenre. Anyway, I might be looking into all these dedicatees for research purposes. Michael Foster has made it his quest to get all sorts of unsexy sounds out of the soprano and tenor sax. And he succeeds splendidly on this release. Be warned: this is not for the faint of heart. For the rest of us: check this one out and his many collaborations with other like-minded musicians.
––– Address: https://relativepitchrecords.bandcamp.com/
SCANNER & MODELBAU - LOESS (2LP by Moving Furniture Records)
JACASZEK, ROMKE KLEEFSTRA & JAN KLEEFSTRA - IT DEEL 1 (LP by Moving Furniture Records)
The Amsterdam label run by Sietse van Erve / Orphax somehow keeps on making me happy. Not too long ago (Vital 1335), I reviewed a 2CD - their 100th release - which held 25 collaborations between artists in "the genre". Great sounding and unexpected combinations, and all profits went to a good cause, making MFR100 quite monolithic. And now, just a few months later, two vinyl productions are released, both of which are collaborative efforts.
Catalogue number 101 is for Scanner & Modelbau, who created two pieces of vinyl worth of music entitled "Loess". We won't be saying anything about Robin or Frans here because they're both frequently mentioned in Vital. It is interesting that maybe because they've both been active for so long, they've used many creative methods over the years. Yet somehow, they both felt the urge to keep their Fostex 280 four-track tape machines, which formed the basics of how this album was recorded. Old school, analogue, and all kinds of sonic artefacts are included when working on tape (compression, hiss, etc.). They both started recording stuff and exchanged tapes through snail-mail, after which the works were finalised by the other. Almost unimaginable when you consider the possibilities of filesharing and working in the digital domain, but... It had to be like this.
"Loess" has under 80 minutes on four sides of vinyl, so there is enough 'body' to make everything sound good. Two or three tracks per side, ten in total. The style of the music is a bit more 'structured' than what you would expect from Modelbau, and it's a bit more 'droney' than you would expect from Scanner these days. Nice lush layers of sound, never intensely loud, always in balance, constantly surprising and always in development... Really intense.
The second vinyl release on MFR received an independent catalogue number: MFRID001. Entitled "It Deel I", the ID001 may indicate that there are more released to be expected. The album is again a collaboration, this time between Michał Jacaszek and Romke & Jan Kleefstra. While looking for more information, the website of the Kleefstra Brothers and a little use of Google confirmed that "It Deel II" is already recorded and is yet another collaboration. Each year it seems a collaboration between Romke and Jan and an additional artist (or artists) will happen, be performed live and recorded (at the Thomas church in Katlijk) and finally be released by Moving Furniture Records.
The Kleefstras I knew from earlier works, and their influence on this album is what we know them for. Spoken word in Frisian (a language spoken in the northern part of the Netherlands) accompanied by soundscapes built up from ambience, drone and field recordings. Not formally introduced to the works and methods of Michał Jacaszek, I think he's a name to remember or look out for. Some releases on Touch and Ghostly International shouldn't be too hard to find and give a little indication of what to expect. The soundscapes on "It Deel I" sound more orchestral than what I remember from other projects by the brothers Kleefstra - which might very well be the additional input of Michał, the result of the collaboration or perhaps I'm completely wrong, and the releases I'm referring to in my mind didn't have the orchestral approach that much.
Two releases that are really beautiful and worth your time, though I must admit that of the two, my personal favourite is the Scanner / Modelbau collaboration. I definitely wouldn't mind hearing more of that. (BW)
––– Address: http://www.movingfurniturerecords.com
MARIJE BAALMAN - COMPOSING INTERACTIONS (book by V2_)
Now, this is a solid book about an intriguing subject. Over 600 pages of information - technological, philosophical, practical and theoretical - subtitled "An artist's guide to building expressive interactive systems". Marije has been active as an artist in this field for over 20 years, so it's safe to state she's an authority in this field. Moreover, these last five years she spent writing this book. So when I was asked if this would be interesting for me to read and review, I dove in head first, knowing I had a holiday coming up where there was hardly any internet to spend my spare time. Win-win.
If the book were to be contained in one sentence, it would be like "Guidelines on how to handle the field between input and output of a system in the mostly digital domain". Or more readable: The realisation of how gestures or changes can be perceived and the translation and manipulation of information streams into an artistic outing. She goes through the whole process with a little distance, making it interesting for artists in all fields. And with well-thought examples in performance art, modern dance, and music, she connects the theory to praxis, making it tangible and comprehensible.
The book only gets deeper into theory when needed, and therefore she can let the reader gain consciousness of the 'how' part. And it's precisely what I like about the book: The 'how' is the most important thing because everything else will have changed in a few years. Having received my diploma in Adapted IT in 1990 makes me understand the transition technology made from the early 90s (let's call it the STEIM Era) to everything possible now with Arduino's, Raspberry Pi's and experimental breakout sets for the many available digital platforms. I'll not dive into that any more profound, but as said earlier, Marije's choice to only handle the theory that is really needed is well made. And even if it sometimes leaves you with an unstilled appetite for knowledge, that is where you start Googling. The subtitle, after all, is "An artist's GUIDE ...".
So, in all honesty, this book is a must-have and a perfect guide if you are planning on making your first steps into creating interactive digital art or adding extra digital-driven layers to your existing art. Or if you are a tech / digital noob and want to know more about the subject before making those first steps. I also might see this subject (perhaps by adding the book to the curriculum) have a future as part of educational directions (art academy/high school free choice). In the future, Marije will organise workshops, and this book will form the basics, so if you've become interested, visit https://justaquestionofmapping.info/ and see what to expect & contact Marije.
So is there nothing bad to say? Well, I'm Dutch. Dutchies always have something to nag about. A few times, I was unable to read the graphics or diagrams because of the choice of too small fonts, the combination of font size & colour or just colour schemes. But as I've mentioned earlier, I'm old school and have reading glasses. So... If that's all... (BW)
––– Address: https://composinginteractions.art/ & https://marijebaalman.eu
ANDREI RIKICHI - CAGED BIRDS THINK FLYING IS A SICKNESS (CDR by Bearsuit Records)
Bearsuit always seems to find the strangest musicians. For instance, Andrei Rikichi. His background story, and I quote in full, "Rikichi - the son of a Tokyo-born father and Bucharest-born mother - was brought up in Switzerland and Belgium (a consequence of his father's diplomatic work) – and is now based in London having just completed a BA (Hons) degree in Exploding Furniture and Biscuit Folding. He is a multi-instrumentalist (though specialising on the floating-3-string-zither-pipe) and has previously played in numerous musical groups, including the Belgian collective, The Unaccountable Red Mist Orchestra. He enjoys knitting seahorses and eating pickles. This is his first outing as a solo artist..." Biscuit folding sounds like a fun holiday job! Of course, Andrei Rikichi is another one of those made-up projects from the good people behind this label. Many of the releases by Bearsuit Records are to be found at the edges of weird pop music, and usually, it is sample-heavy. This new release is more of that but in a slight variation. Rikichi is on an even more abstract pop mission, but this only becomes clear if you play the whole thing. Thirteen short pieces (just under thirty minutes), which are at times merely some loops running rampant, and in which there is with some difficulty an instrument to be recognised. These pieces stay more on the side of soundscaping and do not necessarily constitute a 'song' - if such a notion plays a role, I don't know. But in other pieces, melodies, or at least traces of these, play a role, becoming a small and spike piece of music. Only two of the thirteen are over three minutes, and there is some excellent speed in these pieces, mixing soundscapes and songs elegantly. It could have been a more extended album, but at the same time, I thought this was perhaps the right size for a blast. (FdW)
––– Address: https://bearsuitrecords.bandcamp.com/
HAROLD SCHELLINX - HISTOIRE DE L’ART (CDR by Coherent States)
The title translates as 'the history of art', and a friend of Harold Schellinx followed a French language course and recorded what was said, so she could later work on the translation. But she also caught a lot of other sounds, students typing, writing, an occasional cough, etc. And that became the sound material Schellinx worked with. Not the teacher delivering their lines but all the other sounds. Schellinx carefully removed the words and re-arranged the students typing into eight pieces of music. Schellinx, once a member of The Young Lions, organised the famous Ultra evenings in 1981 and wrote about music for the legendary Dutch magazine Vinyl and these days for Gonzo (Circus). A man who loves cassettes, so its a bit strange to see this on CDR, but maybe there is that analogue to digital conversion that is at the core of this release (a student using her iPhone to record sounds of an analogue voice) that made him decide to release this on a CDR. If you have no idea of the origin of these sounds, then I am pretty sure you would have a hard time guessing this. It has, at times, the concept of field recordings, water, for instance, or insects, and it all sounds very lively. Like an amplified nest of ants. There is some variety in the music, but conceptually it all stays close together—a very fascinating listening experience. Schellinx does a beautiful job at editing and cutting these sounds; it must have been very time-consuming, taking the voice out of this material and remaining with such a wealth of sound to work with and create such a great release! (FdW)
––– Address: https://coherentstates.bandcamp.com/
MOCKART - VIEWS/INTERRUPTED (CDR by Mock Records)
The previous release by mockART (Vital Weekly 1299) came with some vague notions about Covid and conspiracy theories, from which they dispense this time, luckily. Christoph Dorner (flutes) and rabirius (electronics) have no guests on their album this time. It is also a shorter album, making it a stronger one. The six pieces are a curious mixture of improvised flute music, field recordings (streets, birds) and, at times, quite the melodic synth passages. At times it is quite an odd pairing, but after playing this album a few times, I think it is precisely that odd pairing of sounds that makes this a most enjoyable album. At times, everything is slowly meandering about, such as n White Window". Splashes of water sounds, along with chirping crickets and the flute doing a rather free flow of sounds. Towards the end, some heavier type of synth sound pops up. Sometimes the electronics take the lead, and the flute is in the background. It never becomes chaotic or too improvised. There seems to be some kind of organisation but not all too tied or too specific. If the goal was to make it sound incoherent, uneasy and not really fitting, they surely succeeded very well in that goal. It has the right amount of freedom and restriction and, for me, something that worked quite well. (FdW)
––– Address: https://mockart.eu/
JEFF KAISER OCKODEKTET - 132350 (CDR by Pfmentum)
The Jeff Kaiser Ockodektet is an experimental extended big band led by Jeff Kaiser, “a trumpet player, composer, conductor, media technologist, and scholar.” This mutation features a theremin, a singing saw and an electric contrabass guitar. The title track is sandwiched between a poem by Allen Ginsberg (Father Dead Blues) and Brenda Lee’s The End of the World. It’s a graphic score, available at jeffkaiser.com to see. This is exciting music ranging from almost silence to tutti passages, from intricate suspenseful passages formed by repeated sixteenth notes to forming a tapestry on which the soprano sax can solo. It’s a colossal work which merits repeated listening sessions. It’s a live recording from 2011 and adequately mixed in 2021. The digital version has a bonus: a 30 minutes long revisitation of another piece: thirteen Themes for a Triskaidekaphobic. This is highly recommended for anyone interested in music with an experimental basis but without losing its tie with melody and rhythm. The second half of section seven is an excellent example. (MDS)
––– Address: https://jeffkaiser.com/pfmentum/
PETRIDISCH - ETUDES VOL. 1 (cassette by Superpolar Taips)
FIVE BUBBLE CRITERIA - VI (cassette by Superpolar Taips)
Following a long stream of cassette singles, one would forget that Superpolar Taips also releases full-length tapes. Or rather, longer than five minutes; the one by Petridish is sixteen minutes and by five Bubble criteria (fBc, as the spelling goes) is about thirty minutes. The Petridish one started life as two pieces for a cassette single, but then realised that the composed 'Etudes' weren't etudes as such; that would be a study for a single instrument, and these weren't. Both these etudes now appear on this cassette and are for (number one) uses a piano, bass, synth and small orchestra, and for the other for horn, piano, birds and small orchestra. Then these pieces are scored for solo instruments. AaronLarget -Caplan scored it for guitar and Matt DeMello for piano. They also perform their pieces. In the download, you will find the scores of these pieces. If these solo pieces stem from the ensemble pieces, then wow, a world of difference. The two ensemble pieces, no doubt for sampled instruments rather than real instruments, are massive pieces of orchestral force and, in number two, more reflective than on the first, but massive. The four pieces for solo instruments sound, by comparison, relatively small and thoughtful. You can hear the 'original' here, but then for one instrument, which follows the origin of the pieces. Quite an interesting process and with quite a serious modern classical undercurrent. I wondered why not score some more versions, as this was all very pleasant.
Behind five Bubble criteria, we find bleed Air, the man behind Superpolar Taips. He works on "experimental guitar, bass, sparse analogue effects and spoken word" as five Bubble criteria. The latter, though, is not a feature on all six tracks. In the first track, a few radio sounds are provided by Modelbau. In two pieces, texts are read by Chip Perkins and Robin Barnick. I think Experimental is the operative word here, and the six pieces are rather loosely organised. The guitar is partly detuned and fed through some reverb, while the bass is handled as a melodic instrument. Sometimes the music is too loose for my taste, such as in 'Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper', which is also, at nine minutes, the longest track on this cassette. The presence of the voice saves it a bit. The other spoken word piece is more of a short story narrated, and here the music works very well; there is a great tension within the music, and the voice gets lost. 'Bolding' is a pretty straightforward sort of post-rock song, with a rhythm machine and lots of ambiences; something can be said from 'Vays-Rays'. While I didn't think each of these pieces is a winner, I think it is all quite promising and if five Bubble criteria would stay away from a more free playing and organised tunes. (FdW)
––– Address: https://superpolar.bandcamp.com/
JONATHAN DEASY - BURN ON SIGHT (cassette by Moonside Tapes)
For me, Jonathan Deasy is a recent discovery. I reviewed his solo CD (Vital Weekly 1272) and an album with Matt Atkins (Vital Weekly 1283). Privately I heard some of his other releases, which are a pretty interesting mixed bag of drones, ambient and a bit of noise. The latter is not his speciality, I'd say. I have no idea what Deasy does in terms of instruments, but I try to guess. There are two pieces of music on 'Burn On Sight'. On 'Nightflight', I imagine he uses a reel-to-reel loop, some delay pedal and sound-on-sound, dubbing the sound back onto the original, so it all becomes even denser. There is slight, mild distortion at work, underlining the erosion process. On the other side, we find 'Rotten Funk', which has a similar idea of erosion. Whereas I have no idea about the sound source on 'Nightfflight', I'd say the loop here is of a musical nature. Maybe sourced from vinyl? The growing intensity of the music is due to working with the frequencies and not snake-like, a loop getting a load on more sound. By altering the frequencies, Deasy opens the music further. The somewhat mechanical loop gives the music an industrial touch, like a broken music box, with a rusty interior. Deasy clearly belongs to that musical part of the world in which magnetic loops don't have a lot of Ferro, where hiss is no issue, and lo-fi is a badge of honour. These pieces should not have been longer, but I wouldn't have minded more of this process/erosion work. (FdW)
––– Address: https://moonsidetapes.bandcamp.com/
GAMARDAH FUNGUS - METAMORPHOSIS (cassette by Esc. Rec)
Here we have a duo from Ukraine, with an album recorded just before the war broke out and initially intended for a release in March. That became a little bit later. The duo consists of Igor Yalivec (Modular and granular synthesizers) and Sergio Berry (Electric and acoustic guitars). This new album is inspired by Dao and Zen, but also Heidegger, Camus, Sartre and Kafka. I kept thinking about the band Metamorphosis, who released one great album in the mid-80s. Oddly, maybe, there is a connection between that band and this album. One of freedom of playing and interaction. Whereas the UK band of long ago was more akin to experimental post-punk, but with a strong love for the experimental side of music, with Gamardah Fungus, there is an experimental approach to ambient from the perspective of improvisation. There is a bit of drone, jazz, electro-acoustic, and free guitar strumming, and the music is quite dark throughout. It is easy to see this in light of the events in their country, but perhaps too easy. Their musical interests are neatly divided so that one piece is a bit jazzier ('Second Stage'), a bit more open and post-rock-like ('Third Stage') or spooky drone music ('Fourth Stage'). Some of this music easily fits the soundtrack of a spooky movie, some of this is all about music for meditative home-listening ('Final Stage'), which is the place where I like them best. Here, the music reaches an excellent combination of ambient, tension, darkness and freely improvised sounds, blending perfectly. I have not heard any of their other music, but this release made me curious to investigate some more of them. (FdW)
––– Address: https://escrec.bandcamp.com/
JULIA REIDY & MORTEN JOH - TAPE SHADOW (cassette by Futura Resistenza)
Once again, the Dutch/Belgium Futura Resistenza label surprises us with new names. In this case, Julia Reidy and Morten Joh. The first releases music on labels such as Black Truffle and Editions Mego and creates music for acoustic and processed instruments. Joh is Morten Johan Olsen, who we know from MoHa!, N.M.O., Naaljos Ljom and Splitter Orchestra. Together, they use an "adjustable fret guitar, electric retuned vibraphone, gran casa, Korg Polysix and double cassette tape", plus a delay system. They created four pieces of music with highly minimal development. In 'Rows', the guitar strums repeatedly chors, while the vibraphone and bass drum are similarly slow and repeating in the background. In 'Sync', the Polysix plays an acid-like synth line while keeping within the music's minimalism. "Endless ≠ Limitless" is more drone-like and seems primarily based on sustaining (synthesizer?) sounds. The last piece, 'Static', is a more pleasant meandering walk through the woods, with vibes and guitar in a peaceful dialogue. Thirty-something minute is a bit short, and I would love to hear a bit more of these interactions. (FdW)
––– Address: https://futuraresistenza.bandcamp.com/merch