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!
PAARABOLA - PURE HOLISTIC EVIL (CD by Zoharum) *
ALESSANDRO SGOBBIO - PIANO MUSIC 2 (CD by AMP Music & Records) *
JÉRÔME NOETINGER - OUTSIDE SUPERCOLOR (CD by Room40) *
MARIO VERANDI - LUCENT SHORES (CD by Play Loud! Productions) *
EMERGE - 20 (3CD by Attenuation Circuit) *
SMALL THINGS ON SUNDAYS - GUIDE (CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
HANS CASTRUP - THE ABARIAN POINT (CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
HANNES SEIDL - BEFREIT DIE MASCHINEN (CD by Gruenrekorder) *
MELISSA PONS/NILS MOSH - OF WOLVES AND PEOPLE (LP by Gruenrekorder) *
ANGÉLICA CASTELLÓ - CATORCE REFLEXIONES SOBRE EL FIN (LP by Gruenrekorder) *
BRYAN DAY & DERECK HIGGINS - WOVEN TERRITORIES (CD by Public Eyesore) *
JOHN KRAUSBAUER & DAVID MARANHA (7" by Public Eyesore)
JOHN COLLINS MCCORMICK - HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE TO THINKING (cassette by Eh?) *
SCOCCER COMMITTEE - ♥ / LAMB (LP by Morc Records) *
LINUS HILLBORG/THEODOR KENTROS - FOUR WORKS (LP by XKatedral)
JAMES O'SULLIVAN & N.O. MOORE - REPETITION DISGUISES (CDR, private) *
EDDIE PRÉVOST & NO MOORE & JAMES O’SULLIVAN & ROSS LAMBERT - CHORD (CDR by Shrike Records) *
PIOTR MICHAŁOWSKI - EYES CLOSING (CDR, private) *
RDKPL - MARCH THEM ON (3" CDr by Inner Demons Records) *
CHEFKIRK - A NON-TECHNICAL INTRODUCTION (3" CDR by Inner Demons Records) *
TOTAKEKE - SUBJECTS OF ASSIMILATED CONSCIOUSNESS VOL. 1 (3" CDR by Inner Demons Records) *
OSCAR WYERS - ERIKOISDANCE42 (CDR by V-Pong) *
OSCAR WYERS - TERUG NAAR GENT (cassette by Kerm) *
OSCAR WYERS & FUNKYCAN - METAPACE (cassette by Tax Free Records) *
KAREN WILLEMS - KAAP MIJ (cassette by W.E.R.F. Records) *
PAARABOLA - PURE HOLISTIC EVIL (CD by Zoharum)
Sometimes I read information that, upon reading and re-reading doesn't make much sense. For instance about the new release by Paarabola; "Do you remember sludge played on electronics, bass and percussion recorded on the album "Not Much of A Talker"? You are probably wondering where this question from our side comes from? Well, "Pure Holistic Evil" is a solo album by Elektronik from YUTANI, the same one whose debut album we published a little over a year ago. While the tri's music is the result of ideas, three different personalities, PAARABOLA is the culmination of the ideas of one of them. Contrary to all assumptions, on the debut album we will find 100% electronic music, circulating within the framework of broadly understood club music, or referring to it in various ways. "Pure Holistic Evil" is a total of eight rhythmic pieces that could warm up more than one dance floor. However, their greatest asset is not so much their functional character, but the story woven from them, coming out of them in an unobtrusive, unobtrusive way." I quote it in full, so it's clear what this is about, because for me, it isn't. I have no idea what Paarabola is or what this text is. The CD has eight pieces of heavy slabs of dance music, mean and loud, and very much aimed at the dance floor, with strong 4/4 bass lines and acid inspired synthesizer lines. Even its loud and mean, I think it somewhat is also part of the world of dance, and I have very little of which sub-section this is part of. All of this might lead to the conclusion that I don't like this, but I do like a lot. I was doing some chores around the house, which called for some 'light' music and normally I'd play some traditional dub music, but I found this a most suitable soundtrack. For next time, a text less vague, please!
––– Address: https://zoharum.bandcamp.com/
ALESSANDRO SGOBBIO - PIANO MUSIC 2 (CD by AMP Music & Records)
About a year ago, in Vital Weekly 1346, I reviewed 'Piano Music' by Italian pianist Alessandro Sgobbio. 'Piano Music 2' housed in an almost identical cover, with the composer/performer on the front cover. I repeat a few words from last year, partly because I am a lazy sod, partly because it is warm outside, which is a severe drain on energy levels. Sgobbio, a trainer player and composer, who is also the leader of ensembles such as Silent Fires and Hitra, and bands such as Periscopes, Debra's Dream and Charm, is from the jazz world. I read that in the information and not deducted from the music. The music here is melodic and atmospheric but not always quiet and reflective. Maybe jazz-inspired? I don't know. Not mentioned last year, perhaps because it wasn't there yet, but this time he also uses electronics, mainly in the use of delay, but also in a slightly more ornamental area. Sgobbio finds inspiration in natural and spiritual elements and Paris and Venice, two of his most beloved places on earth. With his lyrical style, I compared him to Simeon ten Holt and Wim Mertens, but the electronics also bring something that makes the sound more of his own. iTunes opens this CD, tagged with 'jazz', and maybe this is some kind of jazz. As before, quoting again is not as minimal or extended. At other times I found Sgobbio's quite sugary and sweet, almost hinting towards a sort of new age-like playing, and I can see a vast audience being happy receptors of this kind of melodic playing. I know there is a massive audience for this kind of piano music. I don't belong to that audience, even when I occasionally enjoy this kind of music. Maybe I am wrong here, but experimentalism is not a word that applies to the music of Sgobbio. Of course, that is not a problem. It's Sunday morning, I am tired and want to be entertained, and this is the one for such a thing. If Sgobbio intends to reach a bigger audience with his melodies, I am sure he should mail copies to all the major publications and all the filmmakers; there might be an invitation waiting around the corner to compose a soundtrack. (FdW)
––– Address: http://www.ampmusicrecords.com/
JÉRÔME NOETINGER - OUTSIDE SUPERCOLOR (CD by Room40)
Just over a month ago, I caught Jérôme Noetinger live at De Perifeer in Deventer (NL). He was on a double bill with recorder player Anne Gillot, both hail from France. Both sets were amazing, Noetinger playing his set with a small synth, some FX and an old Revox reel-to-reel machine. He was able to create a live cut-up situation without actually splicing tape. Gillot created a distortion effect in my ears (!) just playing two small recorders. It was a memorable afternoon. Having heard Noetingers set and recently listening to his double LP 'Sur Quelques Mondes Étranges' on Gagarin Records, I was expecting more or less the same here. But surprisingly, his new CD is totally different. This work is based on his collaboration with visual artist Lionel Palun. Together they used sound and video to create feedback loops between the two, resulting in two tracks, both around 18 minutes long. The first track consists of a mid-range electrical hum, slowly getting in and out of phase and modulating. It grows into an almost menacing wall of hums as if we’re getting lost inside the huge condenser station of a power plant. It starts very minimalistic but gradually gets more complex. This is good minimalism. Track two has yet another surprise in stock: don’t expect more of the same. A fluttering takes the stage, slowly modulating but soon expanding into an assault of oscillating tones, suddenly cut off, leaving us with an intense, meditative bass part. Both tracks are constructed with care and beautifully built up. With under 40 minutes, this is a short release, but I feel that it’s quite enough for a wonderful journey. The sleeve design is toned down, as with many of the ROOM40 releases, but it has been very nicely embossed, which gives it a smooth extra touch.
For those who want to check out a live performance by Noetinger and Palun, go here: https://www.wordpress.lionelpalun.com/en/projets/supercolor-palunar-video-feedback-experience/
It might give you an appetite. (RM)
––– Address: https://room40.bandcamp.com/
MARIO VERANDI - LUCENT SHORES (CD by Play Loud! Productions)
Originally from Argentina, now based in Berlin. He studied music in his home country and Barcelona and Birmingham, and he writes that his musical works are "wide-ranging and include electro-acoustic and experimental music, music in modern classical and ambient style, live electronic performances, sound installations, and music for dance, radio and theatre. I had not heard of him before. He has had four releases since 2001, including this new one. There are five pieces here, twelve minutes being the shortest and almost nineteen the longest. Verandi works in the best places for this kind of music, GRM, ZKM and the Technical University in Berlin. The inside shows the man in one of the places behind a massive desk. The cover details the pieces, recording dates and premiere (as they do in this world) and sometimes a bit about sound sources. One of the pieces mentions the commission by Folkmar Hein and that the recordings were made with objects found in his apartment. There are also vocal sounds in one piece, machinery and objects in another and bells in a third. Only from one piece nothing is mentioned. Verandi is a composer of electro-acoustic music, and as such, he uses the computer a lot; to process sounds, using granular synthesis, but also for editing, mixing and what tricks such machines have to offer. As a point of reference, I think it is safe to say that his music would not be out of place on Empreintes Digitales. There is a resemblance in terms of sound treatment, the seriousness of approach, and perhaps also in how these compositions are made. Massive blocks of sound tumble around, there are huge sound clouds, and yet there is also sparkling detail in his work. I think it is music to hear on a much better installation than one has in a home situation (and, no, I am not listening using computer speakers, but rather ordinary ones), as there are probably some details missing. Excellent and solid are terms that come to mind, but maybe at times, also somewhat remote and distant. You have to be in the mood to hear this, to sit down and fully concentrate on it. (FdW)
––– Address: https://www.playloud.org/archiveandstore/en/
EMERGE - 20 (3CD by Attenuation Circuit)
SMALL THINGS ON SUNDAYS - GUIDE (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
HANS CASTRUP - THE ABARIAN POINT (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
Sascha Stadlmeier's EMERGE celebrates twenty years of existence with a massive project. He invited all his friends to celebrate with a remix of his first 7" from Drone Records (see Vital Weekly 399), of which side A opens the second CD and side B the third. The first CD is all for EMERGE with a bundle of obscure pieces, many of which were only available online. The response was overwhelming, so a further twenty-one remixes are in the digital domain.
I wrote of the first release: "Also, a new name is Emerge, from Augsburg, Germany. He has released two tapes and CDRs and now reaches a wider audience. It's kinda hard to describe what is going on here. Highly reverbed, slowed-down voices are my best guess. Rumblings of an unknown kind take place, but seemingly there is no start or end point - like cutouts from a larger part. Of these four, the least interesting one, at least for me. If lo-fi rumbling is your thing, you might think differently, of course." My opinion hasn't changed; these are very obscure rumbles. I couldn't have predicted a long career and a massive catalogue of releases. The first CD has some interesting pieces of what became trademark EMERGE music; slow development, working with a few samples, used to significant effect. Some of the earlier pieces worked towards a crash in the end, an early trademark, but as time went on, EMERGE had more control there, and the music benefitted from that a lot. Very dark, highly atmospheric and at seventy-four minutes, a lot of it.
The two CDs with remixes, and forty pieces of music, each about three minutes (with some exceptions), can be best enjoyed as one steady stream of sound. I played them without looking at the cover, ignoring the whole 'who did what', and promised I would only take a look if a piece were out of the ordinary. The experience with this kind of remix project is that the new versions aren't that much different from the original. In this case, with the significant exception that the originals are big, deep bass affairs, many remixers pitched these up and used the sources more audibly. The list of participants reads like a who's who in the world of Attenuation Circuit (with still a few missing), the world of electronic musicians touring small places (the 'no audience scene'), some of whom have been around for a long time. I didn't once get up to look at which track I was hearing; no techno EMERGE remix, drum 'n bass, or harsh noise wall (although I wouldn't probably haven't got up for that). Solid stuff, that's sure, without all too big surprises.
The full cast of players; Gerald Fiebig, Herr Penschuck, Das unpreetzise Klang-Labor, Hans Castrup, NLC, elektrojudas, Jacob Audrey Taves, Philippe Petit, Grodock, A-Discharge, Drekka, RLW, Toni Dimitrov, Claus Poulsen, Glauser, Kryptogen Rundfunk, Circuitnoise, Satori, KOMPRIPIOTR, Wilfried Hanrath, PBK, Stefan Schmidt, Petrolio, LDX#40, Capsular, Chaotalion, Anja Kreysing, Mattia Bonafini, Tönungsfluid, Doc Wör Mirran, Re-Drum, antimatter, PAAK, Zustand D., Noisesculptor, b°tong, Brandstifter, Opening Performance Orchestra, Philip Nußbaum & Gehirn. Implosion, and Carsten Vollmer.
Ah, great, I thought, a new release by Small Things On Sundays, the duo of Claus Poulsen and Henrik Bagner from Denmark. It has been a while since they last had something new out (I believe in 2017 (see Vital Weekly 1068) for reasons I don't know (and I gave up thinking about what those reasons might be), so great, bring it on. 'Guide' we have to take literally; this release is a guide through their catalogue, starting with their first release from 2008, cherry-picking releases from the past. For one track, there is no reference to an earlier release, so we may consider this a new one; or previously unreleased. Damn, that's a bummer. Of course, I haven't heard all their releases; I may have reviewed seven of their releases (see also 717, 772, 777, 913, and 1059; the latter contains two releases), whereas Discogs lists nineteen, including this one. Small Things On Sundays, use turntables, guitars and laptops. Their music is dark, atmospheric and almost always takes the form of a drone. Elegantly processed field recordings, guitars humming on endless sustain, and the turntable doing an occasional bump. I heard it all, I loved almost all of their releases, even more so after seeing them play live, so for me, 'Guide' is a fine reminder of great music, but I am not the intended audience, but the question is: what is the audience?
I reviewed a CD by Hans Castrup before (Vital Weekly 901) and a track on a compilation (Vital Weekly 1322). Besides what I wrote earlier, I don't know anything about him. He plays analogue, electric and digital pianos, Korg MS20, digital synths, digital effects, tapes, radio, wineglass and field recordings on his latest release. The title is a physics reference, "the 'Iberian' (or 'fabric') point designates the point between two masses at which their respective gravities cancel each other out (for example, between planets)". Maybe that is also in Castrup's music, which was very unclear. You hear him fiddle on the piano, a bit jazz-like, sometimes melodic, sometimes chaotic, and around, he throws in his other sounds, but nothing makes sense. It's a bit of musique concrčte mixed with jazz sounds, some random principles at work, improvisation, poetry and nonsense words. I found it very hard to find an entry point here, hang onto sounds, music I liked, and enjoy the idea but maybe not the result. I liked some of the sounds he used, sure enough, but then to find them juxtaposed to ones I didn't like (which was most of the piano playing here), maybe this was not an easy release for me. (FdW)
––– Address: https://emerge.bandcamp.com/
HANNES SEIDL - BEFREIT DIE MASCHINEN (CD by Gruenrekorder)
MELISSA PONS/NILS MOSH - OF WOLVES AND PEOPLE (LP by Gruenrekorder)
ANGÉLICA CASTELLÓ - CATORCE REFLEXIONES SOBRE EL FIN (LP by Gruenrekorder)
One of the things I remember from reading scientific magazines for kids in the seventies was the thing about machines that would make life easier, freeing us from stupid jobs. The future has arrived, and yet we seem to be slaves of devices, looking at our phones or using AI to answer a question for us (or worse, to be honest - I have not yet gotten a review from AI that I liked). Hannes Seidl uses excerpts from German that translates as "Overcoming the Labour Society. A Political Philosophy of Labour" by Michael Hirsch, from 2016. Seidl has various bits of software, none specified, to generate sounds, and they go along with the computer-processed sound from the lecture. Seidl selects which becomes part of the piece, so it's not entirely machines taking over; perhaps, as predicted: machines do not easily take total control (I admit I only follow such developments when handed in my newspaper; I don't dig deeper). The piece is forty-two minutes and was commissioned for radio. The lecture part is completely lost on me, even when my German is quite alright, but that might not be a problem. I would think it is all rather about the music as a whole, and as such, the piece is quite nice. In some odd way, something that reminded me of computer music from the earlier part of the century; this release would have fitted the later catalogue of Ritornell quite nicely; computer music and a philosophy theme. It's not about playing carefully constructed compositions but making quick choices about what happens next in the piece and letting it continue before doing a new intervention. Not at all delicate, which is another excellent feature; some of this reminded me of a machine world, all lively and working over time. That's how we like machines best.
As far as I know, as of writing, the review of 'Of Wolves and People', an LP by Melissa Pons and Nils Mosh, is not yet officially available, and therefore no information online (and none along with the record). I couldn't say if this LP is a collaborative or split one. I strongly suspect the latter, as the cover lists on one side Nils Mosh and 'GW954f' as a title, and the other, 'Lament Of The Wolf' and Melissa Pons. That does mean Pons is about wolves, and Mosh is about people. On the first side, there is something about wolves, mainly through spoken word, in German. In a documentary style, people talk about wolves, along with sounds from nature, at one point, reminding me of cicadas. It all eludes me to some extent. As I write above, my knowledge of the German language is to the extent that I understand what it is about. Still, as with so many of these things, I don't care much for spoken words/documentary/interview style, not even when the other sounds are pretty interesting. Give me the information on an insert, and let the sounds speak for themselves. In that respect, I much enjoyed the other side: no spoken word but sounds from wildlife and music. The musical side comes via samples of instruments and is a fine bunch of atmospheric melodies. If the other side is the documentary, then this is the uncut soundtrack, not peppered with spoken word. Combined with field recordings and animal sounds, this makes a pretty interesting piece of music. Maybe the whole concept behind the piece kind of eludes me, but in terms of music, I think this is an excellent piece of music.
Information is available about Angélica Castelló's new record 'Catorce Reflexiones Sobre El Fin', meaning 'fourteen reflections on the end'. She composed this music for an installation at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2019. She uses many field recordings, but according to the label, also she refers to her previous work, including voice work, recorded in very high and very low quality. I assume some recordings include her instrument of choice, the Paetzold recorder. There are fourteen pieces on this album (as they were on display in the installation, hanging from the ceiling), and I admit it also sounds like two long pieces, with the occasional silence occurring. The shuffling of a spade in the first piece, 'Rómpeme', reminded me of digging a grave. There are more of these death references, such as the church bells of 'Bells' or the shattering of glass, also an end. There are lots of animal sounds, and there is an eerie atmosphere throughout these pieces. In 'Un Homme', there is the sound of an old record; there is a marching rhythm, jackhammer or funeral march? Hard to say. Castelló carefully uses reverb to add to the creepy atmosphere. It is uneasy music, but at the same time, it is beautiful uneasiness. The 'death'/'end' theme is not throughout all these pieces; perhaps, they aren't always that noticeable. Sometimes, she's more observing the scenery from some distance, which makes it spooky, as if the impending doom is coming your way any time (and you know it will come to all of us). Castelló uses musique concrčte techniques in mixing various sounds and telling a story, and she does that very well. No extensive processing techniques are used, but they are more collage-like, with seemingly unrelated sound events becoming one narrative. Of the three new releases by Gruenrekorder, this is the best, in terms of music, at least. There is an underlying concept, yet the music can be enjoyed without knowing too much about it. (FdW)
––– Address: https://www.gruenrekorder.de/
BRYAN DAY & DERECK HIGGINS - WOVEN TERRITORIES (CD by Public Eyesore)
JOHN KRAUSBAUER & DAVID MARANHA (7" by Public Eyesore)
JOHN COLLINS MCCORMICK - HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE TO THINKING (cassette by Eh?)
From the home of Public Eyesore and Eh? Records, same building, three new releases for us to enjoy. The first one contains music from the man in charge, Bryan Day, who is someone creating his own instruments. He will use old electronics, metal bits, wooden parts, and whatever he finds scattered around in search of amplification. I don't think I heard of Dereck Higgins before, who takes credit here for electronics and field recordings. The information lists that he worked and worked with David Nance Mowed Sound, Digital Sex, Son Ambulance, RAF, 3gypt, Skuddur, Hotlines, InDreama, Chemicals, Norman & The Rockwells, Icky Blossoms, and Hotlines, none of which I heard before. He is also a visual artist. Earlier this year, the two met up again in Omaha, Nebraska and recorded the four pieces of music. While this music is part of whatever improvised music might be, especially in Day's handling of the amplified objects, I think things move to another level thanks to Higgins' use of field recordings. Maybe it all is more electro-acoustic, and it's a combination that works very well. There is a contrast between the broken-up, shorter sounds and the longer, continuous sounds, which meet in the middle. Sometimes Day produces the longer ones; sometimes, whatever Higgings brings on is short. The result is music with significant interaction, half urban with its societal debris being amplified, half outside, in the field, with animal sounds. There is always action, one steady stream of changing sounds; nothing leaps out, and little silence is allowed. Not very traditional in terms of improvised music or pure field recording, and an excellent release all around.
The 7"; I always love them. Partly, of course, it is the format of my earliest days of buying music. These days, I don't play them as often as I would love to. In the past, I expressed my feelings about this particular format and some experimental music it sometimes contains. I am not the only lover of the format, so it seems. However, many 7"s in Vital Weekly's world are excerpts of longer works, so it starts with a quick fade, ending with a quick fade out; everything to accommodate the format, I sometimes think. I'd rather hear a well-developed piece of music for this format and save your fade-outs for a CD. How does it work on the 7" by John Krausbauer (amplified violin) and David Maranha (amplified organ)? The latter is best known for his work with Osso Exotico and many of his minimalist buddies (Phill, Niblock, Akio Suzuki, Werne Durand or Stephan Mathieu). From the first, I only heard one solo CD (Vital Weekly 1140), also from the minimalist music world. They both play the music that benefits from a longer duration and sadly, that is the case here too. They offer two excellent minimalist music here, paying tribute to Tony Conrad and Henry Flynt, John Cale and La Monte Young. Two furiously played pieces, loud and clear; loud, clear and too short. Both these pieces could be four times as long and on an LP and still be enjoyable. The whole fade-in/fade-out thing is sadly present here too. That is the only downside, but I realize an important one to the music here. Should longer recordings exist? Let this 7" be a teaser for the full-length release.
Upon a quick glance of the information provided I only seemed to have registred the fact that John Colins McCormick is a drummer. I had not heard of him before. I listening to the music, thinking, that's one hell of a drum technique. The two sides have a single piece each and there is a rapid rattling sound going on. What a speed! I went back to the information, learned that McCormick played the drums in Dead Letter Auction from 1999-2002, and later on got a bachelors degree in sculpture, using sound as a material. He used the name Sky Thing but since 2013 he uses his full name. He doesn't play the drums on 'Healthy Alternative To Thinking', but "a multi-channel, portable sound system that employs up to 8 subwoofers in drum stands, amplifying low frequencies, rattling odds and ends I collected over the years.” Ah that explains! Most fascinating stuff that is best compared with a washing machine in full force. Ours is in the kitchen which makes all the stuff above that dance like mad when it is in full force. McCormick has an interetsing collection of objects which he places on the subwoofers. Metallic mostly, I think, but at the same time, it could be also many other things. The resulting pieces are most of the time very direct and in your face, but sometimes goes down a bit, giving the pieces a bit more dynamic. I was reminded of Paul Panhuysen's jumping mexican beans (which I don't think was reviewed in Vital Weekly) and McCormick performs his pieces with great and consistency. It is also a slightly tiring set of sounds, so twenty-six minutes was also enough for me. The message came across loud and clear. (FdW)
––– Address: https://publiceyesore.bandcamp.com/
SCOCCER COMMITTEE - LAMB (LP by Morc Records)
Regarding quiet music, minimalism, sparseness, and yet not silence, Mariska Baars' soccer Commitee (as is the preferred spelling) is next level. Her output doesn't amount to many releases, about eight since 2005, not counting some of her collaborations, such as with Rutger Zuydervelt and the Kleefstra brothers in Piipstilling and work with Wouter van Veldhoven. He's also present with a tape loop construction on one song. Sparse is her output, but also her releases aren't very long 'lamb' (there is the symbol of a hearth in there too) is a 45rpm record, totalling almost twenty-three minutes (perhaps more a 12"). Baars plays the guitar, sings, and leaves much room between the notes. The cover lists also effects, but whatever these are, they too are used with significant consideration. It's difficult to see what these songs are about if anything at all; maybe they are all about creating an atmosphere. It's ambient, folk-like, and yet it is more than that, not just the sum of the two. By layering voice and guitar at times, she plays against/with herself, and that results in the beautiful 'Imagining You In The Room', which is almost voice-only (although a guitar might (!) be in there somewhere), humming, cut short and intertwining, creating a heavenly choir of sound; almost like reel-to-reel tape treatment, but without any such technology. Just before that, there is 'Aride Afar', with the help of Van Veldhoven, and, in terms of the soccer Committee work, a 'heavy' piece - quiet by the standards of the rest of the world, but true enough, there is a bit of distortion at work. An absolutely fantastic record, the one I played most in the last two weeks, and the only thing I didn't like was the length. Twenty-some minutes is way too short. A small and fragile discography, but what a strength. (FdW)
––– Address: https://morctapes.bandcamp.com/
LINUS HILLBORG/THEODOR KENTROS - FOUR WORKS (LP by XKatedral)
The latest release by X Kathedral is a split album with four pieces by two Swedish composers, Linus Hilbborg and Theodor Kentros. One piece by each is church organ and electronics, performed by Frederik Lundqvist. Hillborg also has one piece for violin, played by Karin Hellqvist, and Elena Perales plays the bass clarinet on the second Kentros piece. It seems uncommon to do split LPs in modern (composed) music, but, hey, what do I know; Hillborg and Kentros have an electro-acoustic duo, Sänkt, so maybe that's the more mundane explanation. I understand from the information that both composers usually operate in the field of electro-acoustic music, so these pieces are somewhat of a break from that. Occasionally music of this kind arrives at Vital Weekly, but that doesn't mean we are experts in this field; I know I am not. The Hillborg violin piece sounds tremendous but perhaps also quite traditional for these untrained ears. And I mean traditional in the modern, classical music sense of the word. Kentros's bass clarinet piece seems to connect with the organ piece as much as both are very minimal in development. The clarinet plays slow curves, and at one point, there is a noteworthy doubling of sounds, which works very well.
I enjoyed the two church organ pieces a lot, but perhaps that is also within the nature of the instrument; maybe I am a closet religious person? Kentros's Fractura is a very low-end sounding, slow evolving piece, gradually opening up more sounds, but not in a similar are Hillborg's 'Auguries'. Here, various registers are opened while staying with the same notes, and it eventually grows into a majestic drone, starkly minimal and very powerful. I am sure this was an outstanding performance and that the vinyl may not be able to capture the same intensity (even when my neighbours would allow for a full-volume playback of this album). I feel I am a bit out of my league here, but mostly this is some excellent modern classical music - well, me thinks! (FdW)
––– Address: https://xkatedral.bandcamp.com/
JAMES O'SULLIVAN & N.O. MOORE - REPETITION DISGUISES (CDR, private)
EDDIE PRÉVOST & NO MOORE & JAMES O’SULLIVAN & ROSS LAMBERT - CHORD (CDR by Shrike Records)
More music by James O'Sullivan (see Vital Weekly 1359 for a solo release and Vital Weekly 1272 for his work with Dan Powell as Muster). He has a couple of duos besides Muster, one with Paul May and one with N.O. Moore. Besides that, he is part of the trio Found Drowned and works a lot with Thanos Chrysakis. I don't think I heard of guitarist N.O. Moore (the N stands for Nathan) before, but he worked with Eddie Prevost, John Butcher, Steve Noble, Steve Beresford, and many others. He recently started a label called DXDY Recordings for improvised and electronic music. On 'Repetition Disguises', we find eight pieces of improvised music, and they are presented in order of recording them. I believe two electric guitars and both using pedals, which brings the music to another level, away from pure improvisation. There are moments when the two scratch and scrape their strings, but even in those moments, drone, noise, and feedback are welcomed. It works best when the guitar gets an additional bending, and it all becomes even more drone-like, such as in 'Unknown Artist', 'Phrase Phase', or in 'Whoop Structure'. In some of these pieces, they stretch it all a bit too far for my liking, and some editing would have been welcome. Throughout, however, this is a most enjoyable release, combining, at times, a more traditional approach to improvisation with a more rockist agenda. The only thing missing is 'to be played at a loud volume'; I think that gives the music another push and shines even more.
Two days after I finished the review of the duo disc, a new one with Moore and O'Sullivan arrived, this time with another guitarist, Ross Lambert and a drummer, Eddie Prévost, of AMM fame. This quartet met up at the OneCat Studio in June 2022 and, I assume, recorded a whole day, and the seven pieces that we find on 'Chord' are the best selections of their collaborative improvisations. Editing is always good (as I just pointed out), although there is no way of telling how much was left in/out. With this quartet, we move to a more traditional improvised music area, where all play, including Prévost, freely play with his instrument. The drummer is not the glue holding it together. Occasionally Prévost plays sustaining tones on cymbals, but mostly he is, just like the three guitar players, occupied with small and chaotic sounds. Unlike the duo disc, there seems to be less room for the drone, feedback and occasional and accidental noise, and leaning more on improvised music traditions. I admit I don't know all these guitarists, and their work well to tell if trademarks are present in these recordings. Judging from my side, I'd say there is an overlap in approaches and techniques, and they are in good company. Some of this is quite intense, but they also step back and 'take it easy', with a few sounds meandering about (not in an ambient sense of the word, but you get my drift). My improv music fill of this week is a most pleasing one. (FdW)
––– Address: https://jamesosullivan.bandcamp.com/
––– Address: https://shrikerecords.bandcamp.com/
PIOTR MICHAŁOWSKI - EYES CLOSING (CDR, private)
Despite various releases, I had not yet encountered music by the Polish composer Piotr Michałowski. He's not a man to use many words, not in the information along with the CD (just the basics such as a Bandcamp page) and not on Bandcamp. That means there is something to guess here, which is very hard. I strongly believe in hearing guitars in some of these pieces, but I also think that modular synthesizers play a role. My best guess would be it is a combination of both, along with sound effects. No field recordings, as far as I see. In some pieces, there is a post-rock ambient sound which is best exemplified in 'In Control', which starts with a jarring organ tone and the guitar rising through distorted walls. Something similar but less heavy happens in 'Stillness'. In general, however, Michałowski keeps a mellow tone in his music. Slow moving yet always moving, peaceful and dark, as dark as the black cover of the digipack. The six pieces aren't variations of the same theme, as in each piece, Michałowski has an element not occurring in the other pieces, such as the heavy stutter noise in 'Over The Top'. That adds variation to the album and, perhaps, something less of a place to space out, even when the mood is dark and atmospheric throughout these pieces. Piotr Michałowski's excellent music is produced with a keen eye for detail. I'm not sure why he releases this privately, as I can imagine there are labels that would be interested and could bring his music to a broader audience. Hopefully, a review helps; I certainly hope so. (FdW)
––– Address: https://michalowski.bandcamp.com
RDKPL - MARCH THEM ON (3" CDr by Inner Demons Records)
"March Them On" is after the self-titled "RDKPL" and "droloctronix", the third release by Radek Kopel on Inner Demons. Each release focuses on and uses a certain setup, this time it being the SOMA Pulsar-23 without any additional effects. So sound-wise, it's all as pure as it gets: One instrument, one take, no post-production.
Radek Kopel is from the Czech Republic and has been around for quite some time. The number of projects he has been or has been in is a long list, too long to mention as it would be all words available for the review. If I write Eine Stunde Merzbauten and Napalmed, it should be enough for you to understand who we're handling.
The three tracks on "March Them On" are eclectic pieces where the manipulation of gates defines the rhythmic patterns, and the sounds that pass the gates are noisy, harsh analogue. Yes, it's rhythmic in nature, but the constant factor is absent, so don't expect any dance music. It all is a glitchy approach to what could have been dance music but on a way more experimental level. Where the first two tracks - titles are simply a date with an index number - leave a lot of open space and silence, the third track has a continuous rattling drone making it the noisiest of the three.
I can't help thinking in the direction of analogue noise gods Orphx in their early days (even pre-Hands) or the glitchy structures that so far I've only heard from the other Canadian God Grkzgl (I finally found an opportunity to mention his name again!). RDKPL is someone to keep an eye/ear on. (BW)
––– Address: https://innerdemonsrecords.bandcamp.com/
CHEFKIRK - A NON-TECHNICAL INTRODUCTION (3" CDR by Inner Demons Records)
After reviewing a collab between CHEFKIRK and Crank Sturgeon earlier this year, I now get a chance to get acquainted with CHEFKIRK's solo material. So this time: I AM PREPARED! :-) The research on him is already done, and I must say that I am very pleasantly surprised by this "Non-technical Introduction". One 22-minute track is pushing the boundaries of the 3" medium, but as the chef is also pushing the boundaries of musical styles, I wouldn't have expected anything else.
Loopers/cycles of sound create layers which, with the correct amount of mind-altering substances, could be called rhythm. Let's say it differently: When you're drunk enough, this stuff is nearly danceable, although I doubt it was meant to be like that. Compared with the RDKPL release, the use of the looped background in this IDR batch makes it more coherent in the repetitive sounds (ED: no, I can't think of anything else to confuse you anymore; I am as confused as you are now). Though after approximately 2/3'rd of the track, the rhythm's continuity gets lost, something much more erratic, noisy, and complex. Mangled vocal and harsh feedback structures are added, and as suddenly as the till-then smooth track becomes noisy, it turns back into something almost ambient dronish with the occasional burst ...
The release being entitled "A Non-technical Introduction" with one track named "Accidental Birds" makes me wonder if any birds were hurt with the composition of the track, accidentally, that is. Here in the Netherlands, a magpie was sitting on a branch looking at me through the window while listening. It flew away unharmed. Scared shitless by the sounds, yet unharmed. (BW)
––– Address: https://innerdemonsrecords.bandcamp.com/
TOTAKEKE - SUBJECTS OF ASSIMILATED CONSCIOUSNESS VOL. 1 (3" CDR by Inner Demons Records)
First of all: "Subjects of Assimilated Consciousness Vol. 1" means there will be a #2 too! I mean, let's hope there will be. So, that's out of my system. Let's dive into this because this is probably a release in a style you don't get to read all too often about in VW. Totakeke is from NY and is active in music under four different names: His own name Frank Mokros, Ativ (a couple of releases amongst which an earlier 3" on Inner Demons), Synth-Etik (rhythmic noise recording on Hands Productions since 2001) and as you could have guessed Totakeke. Discogs' description for this is 'Totakeke focuses on the deeper elements of electronic sound structure'. There.
"Subjects of Assimilated Consciousness Vol. 1" is a one-track release built from three different ones, these differences are audible and definable, yet the single flow in which it's presented is nice. "Reshapeable" is a slow-moving piece with broken beat patterns ending in chaotic voices and noises. These voices and noises are a perfect beginning to "In My Image, But Not Me", which has a steady 4/4 to make it fit any dancefloor. "Staying Completely Within" is built from two parts, the first being ambient driven and atmospheric with subtle layers of feedback, after which broken patterns 'join in the chant'.
This is some properly done rhythmic-based stuff interesting to people who consider a straightforward four-to-the-floor boring. Because, well, this isn't that stuff. (BW)
––– Address: https://innerdemonsrecords.bandcamp.com/
OSCAR WYERS - ERIKOISDANCE42 (CDR by V-Pong)
OSCAR WYERS - TERUG NAAR GENT (cassette by Kerm)
OSCAR WYERS & FUNKYCAN - METAPACE (cassette by Tax Free Records)
Formerly living in Nijmegen, but these days spending his time in Gent (Belgium) or Berlin (Germany), is Oscar Wyers. I reviewed a part of his output, much of which borders on the very obscure, a deliberate choice for him. These three new releases are all his, but working under various guises and something with highly mysterious artwork. Here is a trio that proves this. The how and why is unclear; in the case of the last one, I was glad Wyers stuck a note along with it, as I couldn't read the cover. Ever since I first encountered Wyers and his work, I knew he loved to work with electronic sounds, analogue, and lo-fi but with an eye on rhythm. Dance music? Yes and no, if I'm honest. It's been a while since I last visited the underground dance halls that laud the music of people like Wyers, so I don't know of any developments. There is a strong love for analogue treatments of rhythm machines, not necessarily fancy machines, with their beats streaming through stomp boxes and maybe a small synthesizer (perhaps even two!). On the two solo albums, he keeps his tracks within the three to five-minute range, which is excellent, as it is too easy to let it all space out and get that freaky thing going for too long. Maybe that sort of thing works in concert but not on a release. Sometimes the music is wild and slightly out of control, but also spacious and dubb, such as in 'Ingelfingen' on the CDR. It seems as if Wyers can't make up his mind in one particular style of dance music, as he tests various waters in his music, but at the same time, this variety makes these releases jolly fun for some home foot tapping and head nodding.
Slightly different is his work with Funkycan, also known as Ömür Can Kilic, who has a couple of releases on the Tax-Free Records label and of who I had not heard before. Their cassette (the one with the hard-to-decipher cover) has one piece per side, about nineteen minutes each. These pieces are described as "Adventurous hardware sessions for interplanetary music gatherings or parallel dimension dancefloors by two sport casino gold members", so maybe the analogue thing only exists in my head. The music takes a slightly more experimental mood here. The rhythmic element is present here, but a more extensive section of the music is devoted to freaky and chaotic electronic sounds. Precisely, that kind of thing that I just mentioned isn't part of Wyers solo material, which makes the music interesting. These two lengthy freakouts might work in a dark basement or out in a field at an illegal rave's chill-out meadow, but today, at home, one person sipping the tea is not necessarily a winner. (FdW)
––– Address: https://v-pong.bandcamp.com/
––– Address: https://kerm.bandcamp.com/
––– Address: https://taxfreerecords.bandcamp.com/
KAREN WILLEMS - KAAP MIJ (cassette by W.E.R.F. Records)
Through the cracks, just underneath the paving of the swamp: Karen Willems - percussionist extraordinaire - returns with a quixotic, enigmatic new release on W.E.R.F. Records. A tape full of mysteries and imaginations, a venture and adventure into regions only the most fearless tread. This is her world of minimal maximisation, tough fragility as a baseline, ambience between voice, drums, resonant objects and collaged found sounds sculpted into an aural vista projected beyond the realms of (improvised) music towards pure sound art.
Recently Willems grabbed our attention with a stellar duo performance alongside Machinefabriek at the lockdown edition of Rewire Festival (come on, release that gem!), her massive 2LP Grichte and her inspired participation in the It Deel series by the Kleefstra brothers. Always: tactility, forward drive, stripped-down approach, and uncertain uncanny moods pervade her work between drum(s), percussion and use of voice.
One might think of Claire Rousay, Rodolphe Loubatiere or Pierce F Warnecke and - of course - Robyn Schulkowsky, but never one of these alone. Willems works in the strangest of upperworlds where threads of inspiration and vision from these (and many more) artists merge in one focal point where progressiveness and experimentation turn in to cryptic yet crystal clear post-dada akin to an acoustic version of the sonic tapestries woven by Nurse with Wound, only more human, deeply emotive, haunting in sparse beauty, not out of time, but per se, intensely of our shared now.
––– Address: https://karenwillems.bandcamp.com/
Vital - The Complete Collection 1987-1995
Before Vital Weekly there was Vital, a Xeroxed fanzine covering experimental, electronic andelectro-acoustic music; interviews, reviews, in-depth discussion articles, background. All 44 issues in one hardcover book; 580 pages.
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A Work By Leif Elggren A Day
With 300 entries, this catalog and almanac in four volumes presents an analysis and projection of possible ways of hearing, seeing, experiencing and living with Leif Elggren's (sonic) art on the basis of a work a day, excluding Sundays and holidays, for a whole year. Written bij Vital Weekly contributor Sven Schlijper-Karssenberg https://non-mfr.bandcamp.com/merch/a-work-by-leif-elggren-a-day
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