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!
Listen to the podcast on Mixcloud!
DAVID LEE MYERS - STRANGE ATTRACTORS (CD by Cronica Electronica) *
ROEL MEELKOP - VIVA IN PACE (CD by Cronica Electronica) *
WIL BOLTON - LIKE FLOATING LEAVES (CD by Laaps) *
Z’EV & JULIEN OTTAVI – CRASH & CROSS (CD by 4IB Records) *
SAMO KUTIN & PASCAL BATTUS - LIVING BRIDGES (CD by Edition Friforma) *
JAKA BERGER - TREATISE (CD by Edition Friforma) *
CUT TRIO - PELLETRON/DYNAMITRON (CD by Edition Friforma) *
C/W/N - THIRTYNINE FIFTYFIVE (CD by Handaxe)
GONÇALO ALMEIDA - COMPOSITIONS FOR DOUBLE BASS (CD by Cylinder Recordings) *
PANICSVILLE - TAKE ROOT (LP by Nihilist Recordings) *
STEVE BATES - THE ACCURSED SOUND (LP by The Dim Coast) *
WIRECUTTER - LITTLE FAITH (LP by Boomslang)
VERTONEN - PARRY & ELIZA (CDR by Ballast) *
DEAD EDITS - KARAOKE POWER ELECTRONICS (CDR+ art by Ballast) *
BERTRAND DENZLER - LOW STRINGS (CDR by Confront Core Series) *
IDA K - PTERODACTYL GRAVEYARD (CDR by Chocolate Monk) *
PERVERT (CDR by Noninterrupt) *
CONTINUOUS DUTY ZONE - IJMOND (CDR by Noninterrupt) *
ABSTRACT HOUSEHOLD WARFARE - LE CUL DE LA VIEILLE (cassette by Unsigned)
L*MBIK - MAGICKX GOULASH (CDR by Unsigned) *
SPELONK - THEREMINING (cassette by Het Geluidschap) *
GRAPHÈME VOLUME 2 (magazine by Smallest Functional Unit)
DAVID LEE MYERS - STRANGE ATTRACTORS (CD by Cronica Electronica)
ROEL MEELKOP - VIVA IN PACE (CD by Cronica Electronica)
Since I know pretty much all the work that Myers and Meelkop released and enjoy much of their work, it is not easy to decide where to start. Of the two, I don't think I ever met David Lee Myers, formerly known as Arcane Device and active since the mid-80s. His work centres around using feedback systems, most of his own making. Over time, this system was expanded, and Myers also used other sounds next to the feedback. By using delay systems, LFO and all sorts of controllers, Myers manually controls the output and calls this "Time Displacement Music'. This new CD has four lengthy pieces, from thirteen to nineteen minutes. Don't be distracted by the word 'feedback', as Myers' music was never about harsh noise, not even in his earliest days. His music works in many directions, from a pop-like point of view to lengthy ambient excursions. 'Strange Attractors' is in the latter category. In each of these pieces, there is a subtle tension of sounds in seemingly some kind of stasis and slight variations within that non-movement. Hard to explain, but it works well. The human element and the manipulation of sounds; all sound very lively; this is not your typical drone record, far from it. It all creeps and crawls, like watching with a microscope at several insects. Sounds are magnified, and we seem to be reaching their core, but for all we know, there are many more layers. The music is dark, so we may not see these layers. Myers says something about working late at night on this music, and that's a reasonable time of the day to play this release, preferably at a moderate volume. Not to be played quietly, certainly not loud, but in a comfortable setting, and you sit back and do nothing. Just enjoy the mere presence of sound. Great release, but I expected nothing less.
Roel Meelkop I know very well, and I am not surprised that his new release deals with war and peace. In 2022 he contributed to a compilation, 'Stop All Wars'. He was thinking of Ad Reinhardt, the American painter, and his postcard to the "war Chief", with negations "such as “no napalm”, “no bombing”, “no injustice”, and “no art in war”, “no art as war”, “no art about war” and, of course, the card is now a piece of art. Should you stop creating art because there is a war? On the cover, Meelkop writes his considerations, but there is a CD, so it's safe to say Meelkop doesn't give up. Meelkop's piece to the compilation is quite a furious one for his doing (check), and I believe he reworked it into the first piece on 'Viva In Pace', but the extension of the piece is the opposite of noise. Meelkop belonged to the first wave of laptop musicians but recently "went modular", like many of those musicians. I am unsure if that is also the case with his current releases, but judging by the music, I'd say this is the case here. There is also room for 'other sounds, such as the cymbal at the end of 'II'. Some of the music is still quite furious at times, and throughout, much of this is very dark, but given the war-thematic approach, that is hardly a surprise. But it wouldn't be a Meelkop release if there is also some room for quiet sounds. You can read all sorts of war-related metaphors in this music, just as much if you don't know the background story here, you can think of this all pretty abstract music. In that sense, this new Meelkop release, just like his previous, 'Rest In Space' (see Vital Weekly 1374), is a departure from much of his older work, as both of these come with lengthy liner notes and background information, which I am sure many people find more insightful than a full-on abstract album. (FdW)
––– Address: https://cronica.bandcamp.com/
WIL BOLTON - LIKE FLOATING LEAVES (CD by Laaps)
I reviewed music by Wil Bolton over the years, even when the last time was some time ago (Vital Weekly 1202). I am sure I missed a few of his releases over the years. On his new release, he uses "modular synthesizers, Mellotron, Yamaha PSR-6, Waldorf Micro Q, Modal Argon8, OP-1, iPhone, glockenspiel, chimes, effects and field recordings from Venice, Stockholm, New York and Tokyo". Over the years, there has been little change in his music. The delicate touch is omnipresent in his work, especially in the use of chimes and glockenspiel, but also with sound effects, such as a bit of delay here and there. The music shifts freely, like chimes in the wind and field recordings dropping in and out. Mellow music for mellow people, I should think. I had this release on repeat for quite some time, doing some other stuff, and my attention floated in and out of the music here. I am not saying that is a good thing, but just one of those things that happen. When I looked up some older reviews of Bolton's work, it seemed I had done this before. So much like there is not a lot of change for Bolton and how he approaches his music, it seems to have that repeated listening effect on me. In Bolton's defence and things being the same, the last work of his I heard I found at times suspiciously close to the world of new age, but luckily this time, that is not the case. Bolton's music is bumpier than before, making it all the more interesting. (FdW)
––– Address: https://laaps-records.com/
Z’EV & JULIEN OTTAVI – CRASH & CROSS (CD by 4IB Records)
There is no information on this CD's cover about the recording's how and why. That is a sad thing, but it is online, so why put it on a CD cover? In 2009, Kasper T. Toeplitz introduced Z'EV to Julien Ottavi in London. In 2011, they toured together, and in 2014, Z'EV moved to Nantes, where Ottavi is located and from then worked extensively on playing live and in the studio. While we know Z'EV mainly for his percussion work and Ottavi for his computer work. But Z'EV was also a computer musician, which I knew, and Ottavi was also a percussion player; news to me. The works on this release, seven in total, were recorded following 2015, and I am not sure if the process was ongoing at the time of Z'EV's passing in 2017. It is an exciting release as it has, overall, little to do with percussion music. I am told this music deals with the "different aspects of our collaboration, together, live, recorded, in the same place, sometimes in different places", and while the opening is quite brutal, the other pieces are subtly variations of ambient and noise, and all sound very electronic. Whatever percussion, it has been sufficiently altered within the computer. These pieces are quite drone-based, and when they are noisy, such as in 'Untitled III', they are reminiscent of guitar music, distorted and grainy. My favourites are when the material is subdued and obscured, such as in 'Untitled IV'. Very spooky and intense, as if something evil is lurking around the corner. Track lengths vary from 4:33 (not a cover!) to 13:30, and within each of these, the two men deliver exactly what is needed to keep attention to detail, and nowhere does the material overstays its welcome. The shorter pieces are a tad intenser than the lengthier pieces, and it keeps an outstanding balance. Towards the end, we find the only works with percussion is 'Untitled VI' and ''Untitled VII'; in the first with a faster ongoing bass drum and distorted vocals (well, maybe) and in the latter, a reversed electronic percussion sound; in his final years Z'EV used electronic percussion a lot when recording with electronic musicians, as he felt that worked better for him. It is surprising to find these pieces at the end of the release, perhaps when one doesn't expect any more rhythm. All in all, an excellent release and another example of a great Z'EV collaboration (and a reminder of how much he's missed). (FdW)
––– Address: https://4ibrecords.com/
SAMO KUTIN & PASCAL BATTUS - LIVING BRIDGES (CD by Edition Friforma)
JAKA BERGER - TREATISE (CD by Edition Friforma)
CUT TRIO - PELLETRON/DYNAMITRON (CD by Edition Friforma)
It has been quiet with releases by Slovenia's Inexhaustible Editions. Perhaps we get less of the main label as all three new releases are on the sub-division Friforma Editions. Three sides to improvised music start with a most exciting release by Samo Kutin (hurdy-gurdies, objects, acoustic resonators) and Pascal Battus (rotating surface, objects, cymbals). They recorded five pieces in an old stable and two in a cave, and I assume these places are what they are, and no double as venues. I admit that I couldn't hear these places to be unique, as in having different resonant frequencies, just some water dripping in the two cave pieces and a bit more reverb. It's not easy to imagine how these two men play these instruments, but the emphasis lies powerfully creating overtones that act, at times, as pieces of feedback. There is something quite physical about this music, especially in resonances and vibrations. It seems on the brink of exploding into dissonant noise, but it never does. Sometimes the music reminds me of saxophone and feedback, which I certainly had on my mind before closely inspecting what I was hearing. While the music was improvised, I immensely enjoyed the dense approach towards the sound material. At times more like acoustic drones, sustaining sounds but not always on the endless sustain. The human element is not something they forget in their playing. Next to density, there is also a slight noise approach, which adds another interesting dimension to the music. It makes this a top-heavy release, but I love it very much.
Cornelius Cardew's visual composition 'Treatise' keeps inspiring musicians. Over the years, I reviewed various releases that were an interpretation. Cardew wrote this piece between 1963 and 1967, consisting mainly of geometric and abstract shapes, 67 of which are not instructions on how to play these. Jaka Berger, a percussion player from Slovenia, has been performing 'Treatise' since 2009, and it's interesting in that respect that it is usually played as an ensemble piece and not solo. Berger plays drums, objects and percussion. There are eleven pieces on this CD, some containing a few pages, of which one is '168, 169, 171, 173', so why not '170'? Some pieces are one page only. If you never saw this composition, then Google it, as it's easy to find and have the pages next to the music. You'll quickly notice very little sense between score and execution. The score is a catalyst to play music; each interpretation is valid. I'm sure it makes a difference for some people to call this 'Treatise' and not a selection of improvisations by Jaka Berger. Berger applies several approaches in his music. One approach is sustaining, playing bows upon cymbals and objects upon skins, while another method is more rhythmical, in which he taps more or less steady rhythmic motifs. I enjoyed both ends and think it's funny to hear these rhythm pieces, as that would seem das verboten in improvised music (maybe I m wrong). Coupled with the fact that none of these pieces is overtly long and with the variation on offer, this is also a most enjoyable release.
Lastly, there is the Cut Trio, consisting of Tanja Feichtmair (alto saxophone), Cene Resnik (tenor saxophone) and Urban Kušar (drums and percussion). They play free jazz/improvisation music. Music can be found more and more on these pages, especially recently. But the temporary absence of one of two leading reviewers for this kind and the fact that Vital Weekly only has a side interest in free jazz and improvised music is something that we hope to review much less. Off and on, I review some of these releases, always with a mild interest and a massive lack of knowledge. As such, I can say very little that makes any sense about Cut Trio. For what they do, I think they do an excellent job. They race through their notes, wild and chaotic, with a ton of energy. I assume the only reason these pieces are 21:52 and 17:55 in duration is exhaustion; otherwise, I can easily see them play a full 80-minute session. Music is an endless stream of uncontrolled sounds, duelling saxophones and the drums acting as the glue but, in the meantime, not obeying any rules. Of the two pieces, I preferred 'Dynamitron' best because of its more controlled building and creating tension in the opening minutes. (FdW)
––– Address: https://inexhaustibleeditions.bandcamp.com/
C/W/N - THIRTYNINE FIFTYFIVE (CD by Handaxe)
C/W/N are three musicians: Dušica Cajlan-Wissel (extended or prepared alto saxophone) & Georg Wissel (extended or prepared alto saxophone) & Etienne Nillesen (extended snare drum). Each first letter of their last name forms the group's name. They are based out of Cologne, Germany. 'Thirtynine fiftyfive' is their second release. I listened to this release numerous times, and I have to say: to me, this is fascinating music. Hyperkinetic in execution, small gestures, a lot of breathing through the saxophone, slap tonguing, Flatterzunge, plucking the piano snares; the snare drum gets the brush treatment and other treatments I can't describe right now. The three of them listen intently to each other, or instead to the sounds they hear, and together they create coherent lively music, which to some listeners might sound nervous. I find this quite relaxing music. Mostly, the music is not too loud, except for the occasional sound outbursts, but all in a highly controlled group fashion. As I said, the response between the three musicians is very high. Two tracks: one almost half an hour long and a second one of ten minutes. The first one is despite the dense music over before you know it. And the second one starts a little less frenetic. But equally bursting with life. Now for the title: could it have to do with the Human Design Chart? It's a wild guess. Anyway: great release! (MDS)
––– Address: https://handaxe.org/
GONÇALO ALMEIDA - COMPOSITIONS FOR DOUBLE BASS (CD by Cylinder Recordings)
Gonçalo Almeida, Portuguese-born, Rotterdam based, and a household name in the Rotterdam impro scene, is active in many bands ranging from electro-acoustic Hydra Ensemble to full-blown jazz hardcore outfit Albatre and everything in between. But he also has a record label, cylinder recordings. The latest release (CR21) is a collection of four compositions for double bass. Two pieces were specially written for Almeida (Mangled Counteract and Ritual More or Less Defined), and the outer pieces on the disc, incl. electronics. MPK, composed by Thanos Polymeneas - Liontiris, is the opening piece of the disc. It's almost cinematic in approach, starting with crunchy sounds and tremolos on various notes that change all the more and suddenly, there's the plucked low note, ping-ponging in the stereo image. The electronics make the double bass sound like a section of double basses. All the while bouncing from left to right. It reminded me a bit of the opening sequence of Aliens, the use of reverb. The piece contrasts these choruses of jagged string playing with deeper sustained notes with melancholy plucked melody lines, immediately followed up with a suspenseful frenzy, not unlike the chopping up of a body in Aliens. The electronics add a nice layer to the mix, sometimes an extra layer, but mostly a layer with input from the double bass. Up next is Walk by Michał Osowski: precisely that, not a walking bass but the sound equivalent of a long walk, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, and sometimes standing still. Beautiful legato lines, jumping over octaves and added harmonics, not artificially, mind you, but by way of Almeida's mastery of the instrument. The shortest piece is Mangled Counteract by Pedro Melo Alves, featuring some pyrotechnics on the double bass. Ritual More or Less Defined by Friso van Wijck ends this release. It's the piece with the most electronics involved, or so it seems to me. Brooding and suspenseful with many different extended techniques, it's one hell of a ride; maybe it's just a slow ride through hell, any alien environment, or the Magic Theatre of Hesse's Steppenwolf. As with all the other pieces, it merits detailed listening. The mixing and mastering of this release are exquisite. An excellent release by gifted composers and performed by a gifted musician. All pieces are a welcome addition to the library of compositions for solo double bass. And while you're at it: check out the other releases on cylinder recordings: you might find something you like. (MDS)
––– Address: https://goncaloalmeida.bandcamp.com/
PANICSVILLE - TAKE ROOT (LP by Nihilist Recordings)
With a total length of nineteen minutes, this is hardly an LP, but rather a 12". 'Take root' you could take literally, as the package contains grass seeds to grow, including instructions (sadly, no garden to put them in). Panicsville calls this "foraging further into psycho-ecological electronics" and the music was originally composed for an event called "Plantasia", in 2019, and had a digital release. However, the music here is radically reworked, and the LP is limited to 105 copies. Panicsville is the musical project of Andy Ortmann, who also works under that name. I easily admit that I don't know the finer differences between both projects, but there is certainly a plunderphonic element in the music of Panicsville. In the olden days, I believe this plundering happened using vinyl, but these days some of the manipulations may be with tape machines; although I admit (again) I have no evidence for that. For all I know, Panicsville might still use bits of vinyl and modular electronics. In his work (both names), Ortmann uses the vocabulary of musique concrète. There is a strong love for the cut-up technique, taking sounds apart, doing a full re-configuration, and in the meantime, slipping in some weird melodic bits and a broken rhythm, so it also owes to the world of industrial music (I am using that terms very broad here). In 'Swingin' Syphilis II', the longest of the three pieces, there is also a voice cut-up from some instruction record about animals and plants, but the precise character of the instructions is a bit lost. I thought I was well into the music, and it was all over. Boohoo! This is growth cut short to stay within the idea of the record. It should have blossomed in a few more pieces. Excellent stuff, that's sure. (FdW)
––– Address: https://nihilistrecordings.bandcamp.com/
STEVE BATES - THE ACCURSED SOUND (LP by The Dim Coast)
'The Accursed Sound' is my second encounter with the music of Steve Bates, following his CD, 'All The Things That Happen' (see Vital Weekly 1355). Liner notes are by Douglas Moffat. but the philosophical content kind of eluded me. I understand this album is something of a concept in which Bates imagines the sounds of hell as transmitted through copper. He uses cymbals, a copper snare drum, acoustic guitar with copper wound strings only, tapes, speakers, drivers, effects, a geophone, contact microphones, an electromagnetic sensor and a computer. I assume the latter he uses to create the sound collages we find on his album. Although the cover (and download) list various tracks for the separate parts of the track, it all plays out as one long track per side. I couldn't say where one part starts and stops. Maybe it's unimportant, and we will enjoy the record as one lengthy composition. The information states that this is music like Surface Of The Earth, Labraodford, Yellow Swans, Flying Saucer Attack, Philip Jeck, Henning Christiansen, Lasse Marhaug and Greg Kowalsky. I can hear some of those musicians as influences in the music of Bates. What he shares mostly is that densely layered sound. Bates' music is not about the finer details of the music, but this is a thick-as-mud sound, of, to stay in the album's theme, as hard as a rock in a copper mine. None of his sound sources is easily recognized in the music, nor is it essential. Everything is looped and treated, maybe using sound effects, but I can also think of a treatment which is just an endless layering of closely related sounds. Sometimes quite noisy, but it can also be very modest and quiet. The second side is, in that respect, opener than the first and has more air in it. This is more a long collage of sound, whereas the first side is more a few densely orchestrated blocks of sound. I liked both sides, but I slightly preferred the second, precisely because it has an opener in musical approach and moves through a lot more atmospheres. But the differences aren't that big, so it's safe to say that this is an excellent record. (FdW)
––– Address: http://dimcoast.net
WIRECUTTER - LITTLE FAITH (LP by Boomslang)
Here's what I understood about Wirecutter. It is a duo of Sid Wermer (diddley bow) and Micha Hoppe (drums), plus, vaguely mentioned on the cover, "synths by wirecutter". The process is that following a recording of these instruments, they cut and edit the music and then record synthesizers on top of that. Their music creates walls; of sound, primarily. The diddley bow is some of Werner's creations, and Hoppe is a trained pianist who switched to the drums. The music is all improvised, but we don't know much to which extent there is editing. The synthesizers aren't always easily detected in the music. Their wall-of-sound approach is quite apparent. In all its acoustic approach, the music is loud and holds no hostages. Significantly the drums rattle about, primarily relying on the toms, but not exclusively. The diddley bow lays down the low-end rumble of the music, but for all I know, this might also be courtesy of the synthesizer. In the final piece, 'Lobster Everywhere', the synthesizer seems apparent, and the drums are almost absent. I am not sure what to make of this. I indeed like the loud approach here; the wall-of-sound works quite well. Yet, it sometimes seems lost in the improvisational aspect that is also part of the music. I wished, for instance, that the drums would hammer in a more minimalist fashion and not divert from that. Perhaps make it all a bit more like a rock record? I don't know. Most certainly not a bad record, but I can't name it in exact terms for whatever reasons. Sadly reviewing music is not an exact science. Surely something for an adventurous listener to find out more about. (FdW)
––– Address: https://boomslangrecords.bandcamp.com/
VERTONEN - PARRY & ELIZA (CDR by Ballast)
DEAD EDITS - KARAOKE POWER ELECTRONICS (CDR+ art by Ballast)
Chicago-based Ballast, or better said Chicago-based Blake Edwards or maybe better said Chicago-based project Vertonen... Whatever, it's just words. Blake Edwards is Vertonen and has a label called Ballast. And he releases some weird stuff on there, limited as hell, little handmade pieces of art and what's most important - so consider acting very fast if you ever read something about a release you want in your collection - there are NO digital versions available. Well, *that* Blake sent us the latest releases from his label, and I have the pleasure of writing a bit about them.
The first release is a CDR entitled "Parry & Eliza" by his solo project Vertonen. It seems the "Parry and Eliza"-theme is a recurrent thing for him, but as it is impossible to know everything about everyone or hear all sounds ever produced: I missed out on all those. And I'm bummed about it because I DID hear this one ... On the CD are six sessions by Blake and his devices, and they're all between 2 and a half to 17 minutes in length, all recorded between October last year until earlier this month.
The thing is, because I didn't know what to expect, I was completely struck. In the meantime, you probably know I'm a droner, I like tension, deep basses, throbbing analogue pulses, my favourite wave is a sine and I also kinda like anything from noise to power electronics .. None of which is on this CDR. Because on this release, Blake manipulated words, just words. And they're all cut up, taken apart, moulded together, cut-pasted into layers and produced with all kinds of effects. And what the compositions did to me was putting me in a philosophical state - almost hypnotized.
If drones are made of layers with tones instead of notes, how would compositions sound if words were chosen instead of tones? And would letters be to words? What tones would be to notes? Less defined and not formed by rules, free from having to have a meaning. And are letters to words like grains/granules to sounds regarding granular synthesis? How would granular synthesis be defined if we used macro samples instead of micro grains? Do incoherent words together still form lyrics? Or maybe better: Do combined words always produce a text?
Combine all of that with artwork perfectly in sync with the coherence of incoherence, and we have a winner. In a limited edition of 29, no downloads. Yes: This one asks for a proper pressed CD release because everybody should hear this.
The second Ballast release is by Dead Edits, a project by Erik Lunde and Blake Edwards - their tenth release. Almost an hour of tracks which could form the basics of power electronics if not for the absence of lyrics. "Karaoke Power Electronics" is a conceptual release, which is precisely what the title implies. The website gives a few examples, the first of which is, "if you’re driving and some fellow driver makes a particularly thoughtless gesture, instead of road rage, pop in this recording and create your own power electronics track with vocals dedicated to that person". Now that sounds actually like fun.
The second example is " hosting a noise-themed karaoke party at your house". In all honesty, it's not that this particular release would trigger that. I've been to many noise parties at people's places before this record was in Eric's or Blake's mind. But the third example raises a question: "... or use the tracks in a live performance ..." Blake, is this an invitation? Can we send you tracks from performances based on these recordings, and will you do something with them? I mean... This is a limited edition of 25 copies. If they're all sold, and half of the people will do this, it very probably *would* make an excellent new release ;-)
So as said, it's an hour of sounds: Heavy electronic sounds with sometimes lots of modulation, occasionally 'just' brutal. Although I must say, I don't know if I would call them Power Electronics as the genre because I believe that the genre follows a certain set of rules, and these sounds - as gorgeous and well thought of as they might be - don't fit the description I have in my head. But it's, without doubt, some really powerful electronics.
To sum things up: You're not only getting a CDR with an hour of sounds, you're also getting a 12" with it !!! It might be made of cardboard, but it's round. It doesn't have any grooves but well... I suspect then if (when?) you play it... The record might produce some great noise. (BW)
––– Address: http://ballastnvp.blogspot.com/
BERTRAND DENZLER - LOW STRINGS (CDR by Confront Core Series)
The low strings mentioned in the title are the strings of a double bass. This release has four double basses, plays by Sébastien Beliah, Jon Heilbron, Mike Majkowski and Derek Shirley. The composer is Bertrand Denzler. He has a few pieces for low strings; on this release, it is '4' and '3'. The first is shy of one second of being twenty minutes, the other two. The almost same length is not the only thing that ties these pieces together. As I was doing something else and not noting the CD, there seemed to be little distinction between both pieces. I am unsure if that is like the instrument (times four) or, perhaps, something that Denzler does on purpose. The four basses are strummed with four bows (I assume), and this causes a piece of low music (as in frequency, not necessarily in volume), down as in bass heavy, not in volume, even when it is not very loud either. The instructions call for long-form sounds in 'Low Strings 4' and slightly shorter curves in 'Low Strings 3'. The pieces are performed live in Berlin's 'Ausland', and I imagine the music to be quite immersive. It's already the case on the recording, so I can only assume what it feels like when performed in front of you. At the same time, I think playing these pieces at a somewhat moderate volume worked better for me. I tried it on a louder course, but I found it all a bit too much, whereas, in a quieter setting, the music had a more Alvin Lucier-like approach; tones filling up space in a subtle way, which is something I enjoy quite a bit. However, I can also see myself enjoying these pieces in a concert setting at a considerable volume. That makes this release a most enjoyable one and one that gave me some food for thought about live concerts, releases on CD and such, all from two pieces of music with four low-humming double basses. (FdW)
––– Address: https://www.confrontrecordings.com/
IDA K - PTERODACTYL GRAVEYARD (CDR by Chocolate Monk)
As this release comes with a booklet that dispenses with interpunction this review has likewise no interunction so maybe it is not easy to read but it gives an idea about the booklet and perhaps also of the music on this disc which is one long track fifty four minutes with some seconds and much like the booklet is a stream of words this music too is a cascade of sounds I looked at the label's website and behind Ida K we could perhaps find Dai Coelacanth Ida Coelacanth Ida Koelacanth Ida K and this is the final installment of the Pterodactyl trilogy I am not sure if I heard the other two I think if the sounded like this one I would have remembered the music being a cut-up that is a bit tiring to hear I am reminded of Mixed Band Philantropist's only album with the heavy use of cuts-ups that went on and on Ida K or whatever the name is employs a similar method here but relies more on the use of voice, so it is more sound poetry ranting speaking or personal purge you can't read the booklet at the same time as hearing the music or well it caused a serious lack in concentration here good or bad seem irrelevant questions I'd say it certainly has its charm you could use it to scare unwanted visitors away playing this reading the booklet out loud at the same it is however not something I would return to easily (FdW)
––– Address: http://chocolatemonk.co.uk/available.html
PERVERT (CDR by Noninterrupt)
CONTINUOUS DUTY ZONE - IJMOND (CDR by Noninterrupt)
While this is not mentioned, I think it is safe to say that the loveliest chaotic I know, Egbert van der Vliet, is behind the music of both of these releases. Formerly known as Pool Pervert, which is a name he hung unusually long too, and also a plethora of other pseudonyms, he now works as Pervert, which he describes as "a noise project with a focus on morbidity and the horror of botoxians", and which musical direction is certainly distinctly different from the former Pool Pervert project. He worked with heavily processed field recordings with excellent results in that project. Very dark and ambient, making connections to the world of lo-fi music. Pervert is indeed a noise project with no sound source information. For all I know, he still uses field recordings found on websites that share these for free, but maybe he invested time and money in finding some websites that allow you to play around with synthesized sounds. The eight pieces here are fine examples of power electronics, just like we did in 1985 (which for Van der Vliet is a few years too soon; he arrived at the end of the 80s on the scene with his short-lived Interrupt label), but now all a bit cleaner and louder than those hissy cassette releases back then. At forty-some minutes it fulfils my portion of noise for this week.
Under the banner of Continuous Duty Zone, Van der Vliet works with music that "is assembled from reworked industrial field recordings", with "Hail to the industry!" being the slogan. I am sure there is some irony involved here. The fact that these field recordings have an industrial background doesn't show in the music. I could have imagined something like early Vivenza, but that's untrue. Continuous Duty Zone stays closer to the original sound of Pool Pervert, i.e. heavily treated field recordings, and, indeed, these might have been near an industrial site. The title, 'IJmond', might be an indication. It's an industrial area not far from where Van der Vliet lives, but I am unsure if he's the man to run around with a microphone. He captures the monotonous, machine-like environment very well in his music. Subtly, he combines the processed with the non-processed sounds, and it sounds like a hallucinatory walk down a canal with an industrial park on the other shore. There is a slightly distant approach here; we're not in the middle of the action but witness it from the outside. A most enjoyable and yet also dystopian trip. The pleasure of leaking radioactivity. Hail to the industry? I don't know about that. The industry offers some incredible field recordings, that much I know. (FdW)
––– Address: https://noninterrupt.bandcamp.com/
ABSTRACT HOUSEHOLD WARFARE - LE CUL DE LA VIEILLE (cassette by Unsigned)
L*MBIK - MAGICKX GOULASH (CDR by Unsigned)
We find Abstract Household Warfare on cassette, another (new?) name by Rovar 17. I believe Rovar 17 is also the main operator behind the Unsigned label. Here's what I understand about this cassette. It says that "The following works were selected and hosted in digital form at online festivals" and then lists a whole bunch of online events, so I gather this is one of those "what did I do during lockdown releases". That should be gone soon, right? With much of the music that originates from this source, there is a crudeness to be found in the cracks of electronics. Electronics that I suspect are lo-fi-ish and perhaps creations made by the composer. And yet, the music isn't that noisy or all too brutal. Sure, at times, the music is loud, but loudness is not the ultimate goal of the music, so I believe. Rhythm plays a role too, and at times the music has that underground, totally off-beat techno idea, even when there is no dance in sight. Overall the music is excellent, but it could use a bit of trimming and editing. Some pieces are just a bit too long for what they are. Perhaps this is all a documentation of activities during the lockdown and only presented for completeness, but it all could have been more concise. At times more like Merzbow and, at times, Pan Sonic; sometimes, these two meet in a rhythm 'n noise battle.
L*imbik is a duo of Imre Tar (programming, synths, guitar, effects, samples) and xpldnglkE (synths, effects, samples). I can see this as part of the overall approach of the Unsigned label, like the cassette I just heard or older releases from the past, combining rhythms and noises, all within marginal differences; and sometimes less marginal, for instance, in the case of L*imbik. They are gravitating towards rhythm, and less towards the noise, though that's not absent either. Crude rhythms, in this case, do not necessarily engage dance. In that sense, music owes to the world of noise music. Whereas the rhythms of L*imbik are more complex than that of Pan Sonic, the whole industrialized backdrop is undoubtedly a presence here. There is the use of voices lifted from TV, I assume, like Abstract Household Warfare, there is an underground bunker element to the music. Loud, bleak, but neatly banging away; if Abstract Household Warfare plays music to warm up the audience, L*imbik is the main attraction. Crude beats and ditto samples, at full volume, certainly have an impact. '40 Years' is a bit too long, clocking at nine minutes, but otherwise, they keep the length of the pieces within reasonable limits. Sadly limited to 26 copies only! (FdW)
––– Address: https://havizaj.bandcamp.com/
SPELONK - THEREMINING (cassette by Het Geluidschap)
The name Spelonk popped up a few times in Vital Weekly, always in combination with the anarcho-free jazz-punk group Lärmschutz, or members thereof. A spelonk is a cave, cavern or grotto, and it is the name used by Violet Meerdink. She plays the violin in various bands, such as Graeae (Vital Weekly 1111), Zapperdeck and This Leo Sunrise. This might (!) be her first solo cassette, and it is not a solo violin cassette. As the title might imply, Spleonk puts the Theremin stage central, but she also plays the guitar, bass, cello and violin, and all of this goes into a bundle of electronics, "Digitech Whammy, Electro-Harmonix SuperEgo, Digitech Polara, TC Electronic Hall Of Fame, Nux Timeforce, Roger Mayer Voodoo Bass, Radial Tonebone DI". I assume gear freaks know what that means. 'Theremining' is, in fact, a great title if you consider that she uses the Theremin as a sound source. She extracts long-form sounds out of the machine. By feeding it through guitar effects, the music has a pleasant, mild distorted post-rock ambient feel, especially in 'IV', where the violin plays a beautiful melody and the guitar tinkles away. Here it all becomes very post-rock and a different approach than the other pieces. There isn't a lot by way of improvisation, as Spelonk prefers her music here to be ambient and sustaining. It is all about gentle, pleasant, yet never easygoing soundscaping. A sort of upfront, louder set of drone pieces and deeper bass rumbles, and it's exactly the kind of music I enjoy a lot. On the cassette's second side, there is a long track that is not part of the download, and here Spelonk takes her material further into the cave. It all sounds as if she slowed it down a few (analogue) pitches, and it forms an excellent finale to a great release. (FdW)
––– Address: https://spelonk.bandcamp.com/
GRAPHÈME VOLUME 2 (magazine by Smallest Functional Unit)
On numerous occasions, I wrote about music that deals with graphic scores and grumpily noted that these scores are nowhere to be seen. Not to check if the interpretation is valid or reasonable, but rather to know how these things look, perhaps to trigger my imagination. Here the reverse takes place. 'Graphème' is a magazine with the subtitle 'a publication for experimental music scores' and includes graphic scores by Christine Abdelnour, Burkhard Beins, Rhodri Davies, Clara de Asis, Emilio Gordoa, Thomás Gubbins, Hanna Hartman, Bonnie Jones, Raymond Macdonald & Jo Ganter, Montenegrofisher, Anna Pangalou and Gino Robair. That list includes a few new names for me. Each of the scores contains a small text by the composers, explaining a bit in general or launching straight into the piece's instructions. Or just is an explanation. All of this is very graphic and looks great, from schematics and architectural numbering to more abstract images and obscured texts. Even if you are not a musician, this book is a beauty to browse; almost an art catalogue. For me, it is practically an invitation to drop everything I am doing right now, pick one of these scores, and see if I can make a solo interpretation. Still, it will have to wait until later tonight, my dedicated time to think about music. (FdW)
––– Address: https://smallestfunctionalunit.com/