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!
ARD BIT - FIELD RECORDINGS - 04 BALKANS (CD, private) *
PHOANØGRAMMA - THE VOID ON A DISTANT SUN (CD by Reverse Alignment) *
STEVE PETERS - CHAMBER MUSIC (CD by Ants) *
TUNNELS OF ĀH - THE SMEARED CLOTH (2CD by Zoharum) *
TOMORROW IS A BIG DISTANCE (CD compialtion by Sentimental Productions)
THE HAFLER TRIO & MR B.C. GILBERT - IDIOTS (2LP by Nihilist Recordings) *
K. LEIMER - LUYU (LP by Palace Of Lights) *
JUHO TOIVONEN - KASVEILLE JA ELAIMILLE (LP by Futura Resistenza) *
TWO FORM A CLICK VS HORACIO POLLARD - BACKPFEIFENPHASESHIFT (cassette by Futura Resistenza) *
UGNE&MARIA - "HEALING" (LP by Futura Resistenza) *
ROGER 3000 - RESTE ENVIE (LP by Futura Resistenza) *
GIJS GIESKES - DUF (2LP by Futura Resistenza) *
LONGFORM VISIONS FOR EARMINDED PEOPLE (7" compilation by Futura Resistenza)
VIRUS2020 - KHUSHUE (CDR by Unexplained Sounds Group) *
SLOW CLINIC & MATT ATKINS - EARTHTIDES II (CDR by Elm Records) *
LUIGI BILODO (cassette by Vacancy Records) *
DAVID PARKER / TANTO - SPLIT (cassette by Vacancy Records) *
SICK ARCHIVES - COMPLIMENTS OF THE BELMONT HOTEL (cassette by Vacancy Records) *
ARD BIT - FIELD RECORDINGS - 04 BALKANS (CD, private)
In case you wonder about the '04' mentioned in the title, Ard Bit, a composer sometimes also known as Ard Janssen from Rotterdam (see also Vital Weekly 1357 for a review of his 'Music For Delirious Episodes'), has three previous releases in his field recording series, with sounds from Sri Lanka, Nolay (which is in France) and Poland. These three are digital-only works on his Bandcamp; 'name your price'. "A series based on a continuous curiosity and explorations of (natural) sound fields", and to which Ard Bit adds "ambient layers". The fourth release is relatively short, twenty-two minutes, and contains recordings from "Sarajevo’s Olympic Bobsleigh to the Cursed Mountains in Albania and back via the small peaceful village Miholjače in Bosnia to the beautiful Kamnik-Savinja Alps in Slovenia". He says it wasn't easy to decide upon which material to use. I wonder why. Is he that critical? There is plenty of room left on the disc. None of the descriptions can easily be heard in the seven pieces on this disc, but I'm sure it is all there. It is also a bit of a mystery if various field recordings sound at the same time, superimposed as it were. I don't know. What I do know is that the music is of great beauty. The field recordings, whatever they are, picture quiet rural places in which farmers maintain their ancient equipment, people converse at the market square, and birds are out in sunny fields. The ambient backdrop Ard Bit waves as to underline the quiet and slow country life depicted in the field recordings. All of which I think is beautiful, even when I think some of this could extend beyond the few minutes this lasts. A track such as 'Vervloekte Bergen' is, at five minutes, one of the longer ones, and one sees why this works so much better than the one-a-half-minute of 'Löpe', which its rural walkabout, the start of something great that doesn't come. Combining ambient music and field recordings isn't the most original idea, yet Ard Bit does a great job at that, and he should build bigger/longer pieces of music to get the listener in the right mood and stay there for some time. (FdW)
––– Address: https://ardbit.bandcamp.com/
PHOANØGRAMMA - THE VOID ON A DISTANT SUN (CD by Reverse Alignment)
For me, 'The Void On A Distant Sun' is the introduction to the band with the hard-to-pronounce name phoanøgramma, which, I believe, is spelt all lowercase. It is a duo of Angelo Panebianco (synths and sound manipulation) and Matteo Mariano (synths and tapes). Both are called a composer and sound designers, and the first has two solo releases as Phoan, while the other works as Macrogramma, with various releases on ROHS! Records. I haven't heard any of these, as far as I recall. This is their debut album. The shortest piece on this album is 'In Absentia', which clocks in at ten minutes, while 'Apophenia' is over twenty-five minutes. The third is the thirteen-minute opening piece, 'Il Valore Dell'attesa'. The distant sun, mentioned in the title, casts shadows on the buildings depicted on the cover and strongly indicates the musical content. In case you wonder/worry, Atmospheric is the operating word here. Long-form drones played on synthesizers, slow on development, big on the mood. I understand from the information that the two use improvisational methods to play their music, which, indeed, in the most extended piece, is very audible. At various moments in this piece, the music gets a bit 'freaky', adding a human element to the always abstract nature of ambient music. One could argue things sometimes go nearly out of control, but I like that. There is, obviously, some level of control and training by these before offering their work on a CD. While the mood may be dark, there is also a glimmer of light. In 'Il Valore Dell'attesa', they play single notes, creating a fine melodic drift in this piece, giving air and light to the music. 'Apophenia' has wilder moments, breaking away from the template of ambient/drone music, also because of the two doing odd bending and shaping of notes. Together, these three pieces are a delicate trip into empty spaces when daylight fades, casting long shadows. (FdW)
––– Address: https://reversealignment.bandcamp.com/
STEVE PETERS - CHAMBER MUSIC (CD by Ants)
Back in Vital Weekly 1091 I reviewed 'Airforms (Chamber Music 10)' by Steve Peters, a birthday gift for Steve Roden. I quote from the review; "In 2013, he recorded this as a birthday gift for Steve Roden, who supplied the basic material for 'Airforms'. These were two hours of "empty room tone" recordings, and one hour was used to create drones, and the other for more bell/piano like sounds and these two were put together (called superimposed) into the 60 minutes of 'Airforms (Chamber Music 10)'". Now there is 'Chamber Music', which contains ten pieces that Peters made between 2005 and 2013. Installation pieces, all starting with a "a single recording made in the empty spaces in which they are later presented. No people are present during the recording (including myself), although some sound inevitably leaks in from the outside world. That source recording is filtered to isolate and amplify certain of the room's resonant frequencies, creating a series of drones which are the only sound materials used; no musical instruments are involved". To avoid more quotes, the material is recorded onto various CDRs and played back in the space at a low volume. The pieces on the CD are excerpts from longer pieces, and Ants Records also has a box set edition of this CD, including a USB drive with the complete works of all ten, plus an 80-page book. I understand I didn't served a copy, as this CD sounded tremendous and made me want to hear more. At the same time, I realize one can't listen to it all. Peters is an all-round composer with music and sound for concerts, recordings, art venues, public places, dance & theatre, radio, and moving images, without too many releases. If you get a chance, check out his classic 'Emanations' (see Vital Weekly 118), a powerful ambient work, now available on Bandcamp.
The ten pieces on 'Chamber Music' have that beautiful empty quality. Please do not mistake this for drone music, as it is not. The irregularities that happen somewhere out of the space that Peters records create odd shapes in the music, like small waves that appear for a while and then disappear. I have no idea how Peters works to get from the recording of a space to the beautiful, sparse music on 'Chamber Music'. Be it fiddling with the amplification or some kind of software-based process, the result is excellent. Here, seventy-four minutes long is tremendous, and I can imagine that a full version of any of these pieces is also great. I doubt whether I would find the time to hear twelve hours of this, but I am satisfied with the CD version. It is a substantial work, showcasing the possibilities Peters has to come up with a most coherent and, at the same time, highly varied music. Music to be played at a low volume, and let sounds from your surroundings mingle with Peters' sparse approach to the sounds from his spaces. It will offer something new all the time. (FdW)
––– Address: https://www.antsrecords.com/
TUNNELS OF ĀH - THE SMEARED CLOTH (2CD by Zoharum)
Eager to get back into the Tunnels. Not long ago, I gave 'Deathless Mind' another spin, and I had been looking forward to some new material from Burroughs. Still.. two whole CDs, dearie me. I'm curious if I can make it through in one go. Also, it is not exactly 'new' material, but rather excerpts and unused tracks from two distinct periods: the first CD collects all discards from the Lost Corridors and Thus Avici era; the second contains material from the period between Surgical Fires and Charnel Transmissions - compiled into this 2,5-hour lasting tour de force. Me, oh my.
Though branded as 'dark ambient' on Discogs, we've come to know Tunnels of Āh for industrial ambient landscapes and complex saturated loops and textures that range timbrally from (seemingly) acoustic in origin to overtly synthetic. Also, the 'loops' here should mostly be taken less literally; there are elements that seem to repeat, but for the most part, the chopped-up complexity of the textures ensures we won't have the typical 'looper' kind of experience in which repetition is often an easy way of tricking our brain into believing it is listening to something musical.
On CD 1, many sounds seem to have acoustic sources, which is much more noticeable than on the more recent albums. We also seem to get a lot more vocal delivery than usual, making tracks like 'Brute World' and 'To the Pschal Victim' almost have an early Current 93 or 'ambient Test Dept kind' of ring to them. It is also completely dissimilar in many ways, e.g., production-wise, but for fans of those bands, these tracks may be the right point of entry into the Tunnels. The vocals are often mixed in quite deeply, so you won't be listening to poetry with a noisy background.
With the choppy granulated ambient of 'Lost Corridors', a track that did not feature on the eponymous 2013 album, there seems to be somewhat of a 'natural' ending to the first part of the first CD. The subsequent ambient track 'Fountain Of Life' ramps the intensity again with its swirling vortex of delayed grit. Both 'Great Darkness' and 'The Cloth is Smeared' really stand out as two of the more memorable pieces.
Disc 2 starts with the interesting combination of 'To the Paschal Victim' and 'Circumcision', which seem to be variations on the same bass riff/loop - though the latter track slides off into a murky bass swamp about halfway through. 'Red Distribution' and 'White Distribution' wrap this disc up in a manner that reminded me of Charnel Transmissions. There is a certain kind of dense lo-fi elegance to them, which also made me fall for that album when it first came out.
I've said this before, and I'll repeat it: What I love about Tunnels Of Āh is that though it is clearly tarnished with the brush of industrial and perhaps even reminiscent of some noise - due to its complex textures, it never becomes too harsh or punishing, which given the length of most tracks may be a very deliberate choice either during mastering or in the composition process. Moreover, a wise one, since especially with a leviathan of this length, balance is a thing to aim for.
Does it work as an album, though, or is this merely a release for us to be complete? Tough question. The first CD is consistent, albeit on the long side. With 77 minutes, it is about half an hour longer than any Tunnels release on average, and I definitely had to listen to the whole release in phases. That said, when it comes to textures and intensity, there seems to have been some thought put into the dynamic distribution of the tracks and though longer than usual, I would say both these discs work as stand-alone albums. Another keeper in a long line of excellent works from the Tunnels. (LdW)
––– Address: https://zoharum.bandcamp.com/
TOMORROW IS A BIG DISTANCE (CD competition by Sentimental Productions)
The music on this album is mesmerizing and hypnotic. Deep ambient structures, minimal drones, and soundscapes wonderfully produced sounds. Of the ten artists - as it is a compilation album - several have previous releases on this label. And somehow, this is one of those compilations with a very strong connection between the tracks, even if there is no connection. I mean, Modelbau, Joachim Nordwall, Altar of Flies, Edward Sol, Howard Stelzer ... Yes, they probably know each other or are acquainted somehow, but having such a strong connection within such a variation is a rare thing. Even the fluxlike field recordings of Stelzer are a welcome moment of peace in the comp.
Secondly, and I must state that I played it on a higher level than I normally do, the quality of this album is exquisite. Composition-wise - see above - but the whole balance of the placement of tracks, the chosen order, the production / mastering up till the choice of artwork (my vision: 'the beauty of a world in decay as seen through a hiding place' or maybe 'how the world around us is decaying and all I can't stop it'). All the pieces creating this album are just so perfectly falling together.
And then, thirdly, the reason why this album had to be made. Not why it was created, but why it HAD to. There is a war in the Ukraine, and yes, Sentimental Productions is from the Ukraine. And a part of the money this album raises will be donated to Humanitarian Aid, which is sadly needed, Not only now, but for quite some time in the foreseeable future.
So "Tomorrow Is A Big Distance" is precisely that. Primarily when you're located in a country in war, and you don't know what will be happening in the night. Will the Ukraine still be there tomorrow? Will I be able to sleep a full night, or will I have to hide again? Will my country, my beautiful Ukraine, still be beautiful tomorrow? Because tomorrow is 24 hours from now, and that's a considerable distance...
The mesmerizing hypnotic state this album will lead you into might not shorten the day in reality, but it will change your perspective on time. That big distance might look a bit smaller. So please support the people in Ukraine that did not choose this war. One of the things you can do is buy this album and maybe add a little extra at checkout. You'll get an amazing album as a thank-you in return. (BW)
––– Address: https://sentimentalproductions.bandcamp.com/
THE HAFLER TRIO & MR B.C. GILBERT - IDIOTS (2LP by Nihilist)
Sometimes, it's challenging to start with a review simply because of the complexity of the release. This release has precisely that complexity, so if the words leave my pen a bit incomprehensible, I hope you will forgive me.
A double vinyl by The Hafler Trio with the Partial Assistance of B.C. Gilbert. Raise your hands, who is NOT intrigued. See? You all are; you wouldn't still be reading. The Hafler Trio is easily one of my go-to projects when I need to be inspired or want to think differently. I've had the pleasure of attending a quadrophonic performance once in Antwerp, and it was gorgeous in all its bouncing frequencies all over the place. So I dove into the back catalogue, read up on Dadaism and art, studied the technical of production stories and became, well, a fan?
This double vinyl has been in the making for a long time. Not months, but years. Initially a subscription thing, and now availably through Bandcamp. And please realize that when the subscription opened, there was not even a sign of life of Bandcamp. And because it took so long, things changed in what initially was planned and what it has become. This probably is a good thing because - analysis mode on - the music on this album has had the time to fully chrystalise. It sounds mature and complete. Maybe the wine I'm drinking is also talking a bit, but it's a 10-year Rioja with loads of finesses. And the same maturity and complexity I hear in "Idiots".
It started as a collaboration between H3O and Bruce Gilbert (a.o. Wire and Dome), and in the beginning, Mr. Gilbert gave sounds and input to H3O to work with/from. But time... Stuff happened, and Mr. Gilbert stepped back from the project, but as the fundaments were already created, the collaboration became The Hafler Trio with the Partial Assistance of B.C. Gilbert.
Each side of the vinyl has a few tracks, totalling 23. There are a few moments where the change between the tracks is pronounced, but from a distance on low volume, there are moments where the unity is strong, and it feels like the tracks are flowing into each other. But: 23 tracks divided over four tracks of approximately 23 minutes each. For those of you who don't know, that is, of course, not a coincidence. Because there is no such thing as coincidences. Maybe some happy accidents or events have a different output than expected. Or should we approach things differently? Space is time because it takes time to travel a distance.
This album was thought of. Therefore, it had to be made. And it's a journey through parts of your mind you didn't have access to before. Have a glass of wine, or pour yourself a nice absynthe and enjoy the journey. Through space or time. (BW)
––– Address: https://nihilistrecordings.bandcamp.com/
K. LEIMER - LUYU (LP by Palace Of Lights)
K. Leimer released a few LPs and cassettes in his earliest days and later turned towards CD. I admit I find that format best suited for his music, which is usually most delicate. But listening to 'LUYU', I acknowledge that maybe the vinyl format suits the music here better. The title is an acronym for "Listen Until You Understand", for whatever that may mean. I was in for a few surprises. First, the pieces are short and to the point, somewhere between three and five minutes, with one being longer. In his recent work, Leimer works with many heavily processed sounds of objects, instruments and field recordings, here on 'LUYU', it seems as if he exclusively works with instruments and, surprisingly, instruments one easily recognizes. Violins, piano, drums, maybe some wind instruments, and, also a surprise, the result isn't the usual abstract soundscape compositions you may know him, but tight orchestral, jazzy pieces. Smooth and slick without being too smooth and too slick, luckily. I have no idea if Leimer invited a bunch of friends to play these instruments or if he used some refined sample pack and thus came up with all these parts himself. Whatever the case, the music is certainly something other than what we know from him. For me, not being the most significant lover of jazz music, there is something to get used to here, but I'm thinking of the Australian jazz releases from a decade ago that I liked, and this is along similar lines. Next to these jazzy tunes, there is also material that is less jazz but still orchestral and a bit more abstract. Here Leimer seems to connect to that soundscape material that is his usual staple—combining the abstract and the melodic works well. Leimer found an outstanding balance there, making this album a most pleasant and musical trip, more traditionally music than many of his other releases. Is this the start of a new direction? (FdW)
––– Address: https://www.palaceoflights.com/
JUHO TOIVONEN - KASVEILLE JA ELAIMILLE (LP by Futura Resistenza)
TWO FORM A CLICK VS HORACIO POLLARD - BACKPFEIFENPHASESHIFT (cassette by Futura Resistenza)
UGNE&MARIA - "HEALING" (LP by Futura Resistenza)
ROGER 3000 - RESTE ENVIE (LP by Futura Resistenza)
GIJS GIESKES - DUF (2LP by Futura Resistenza)
LONGFORM VISIONS FOR EARMINDED PEOPLE (7" compilation by Futura Resistenza)
The Rotterdam/Brussels-based label Futura Resistenza has many releases available, and it's about time we had a closer look. Let me start with a notion. In the past, I reviewed a few of their releases from such diverse artists as Anthony Pateras, Efrain Rozas, Julia Reidy and Morten Joh, De Fabriek, Bryce Hackford, a Tear Apart Tapes compilation and Marc Matter. It's hard to say what if this label has a 'style', 'genre' or specific musical 'interest'. Their motto is "Speramus meliora; resurget minibus", which means "We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes," as if that is any indication. I don't know if there is a connection between Juho Toivonen and Jarkko Toivonen, who works at Temple Of Tiermes (reviewed two weeks ago); maybe it is a widespread surname in Finland. Judging by his releases, he's a young composer, having his release a cassette on Ikuisuus in 2021. He says that we have to take the music as experiencing a sauna, which is not an experience I can share (just yet, on the to-do list, still, after all these years). Or, to be precise, the savasana, a smoke sauna that is hot and the smell of smoke all over (which usually makes me start smoking again). In the opening piece, 'Kasveille', we hear the piano, and I thought Futura Resistenza picked up another modern composer, but already the second piece, 'Siskoille', proves me wrong, as this is foggy to stay in the big smoke, piece of ambient music. Alternating between piano and synthesiser pieces, I think Toivonen aims to create clouded pieces of music, blurry and hazy. You recognize the instruments, and yet they are colliding most gently. No offence to music, strange or weird, but rather a call to do nothing, like you would in the sauna (I expect), and maybe think about nothing in particular and simply enjoy the music. There is nothing new under the ambient sun here. Still, Toivonen does an excellent job creating five variations for piano and electronics.
On cassette is the music of a duo called Two Form A Click, DJ Snaffy and Wretchen Redspiders, teaming up with Berlin-based Horicia Pollard. The duo is new to me, but I heard of Pollard before. (see Vital Weekly 943, 1033, or 924, for instance). I have him on my noise radar, department of rock music. It's been a while, so possibly I am wrong. The music on this cassette was recorded in 2019 and mixed in 2022. Three people are locked up in a room with many rhythm machines, noise machines and some microphones to capture the mild mayhem they unleash. It never goes over the top, but it is also substantially weird enough to be classified as noise. It's a bit chaotic, even when drum machines try to create some sense of order here. The label talks about "psychedelic synthesis, heavy with dub’s production values and freed from the grid of analogue electronics", but I fail to see, especially the dub production values, unless it's the album's extensive use of pedals. I think it's more of good ol'80s industrial noise, maybe Psyclones or Master/Slave Relationship. There are seven pieces, some forty minutes and a fine reminder of music from a long time ago - maybe my frame of reference is a bit different than the label has.
Ugnė Vyliaudaitė and Marija Rasa Kudabaitė are the duo behind ugne&maria. They are from Brussels. The cover says 'Healing', but on Bandcamp, it's '"Healing"', as if they are unsure. Vyliaudaitė plays the violin, and Kudabaitė plays analogue synthesizers, "digital and human voice", and field recordings. The result is a pretty mixed bag of styles and interests. Opening with 'Better' (maybe suggesting the healing worked) is a bit of an improvised electronic music affair, with some soft female voice reciting a text. In the title track, the improvisation comes courtesy of the violin, which is held together with rhythm. From here on, rhythm plays a significant role, and the improvisation element is lesser, yet it never fully disappears. Bits of text keep popping up, recited by the artists, and in one instance by Paul B. Preciado, in 'le lieu qui t’accueille', which is without much rhythm and reminded me of Cortex, the old group of the Insane Music label. The rhythms don't take the music into techno music areas but have a finer, exotic touch, but at the same time, I can imagine this kind of music would go down well in a more alternative dance surrounding. I have no idea if ugne&maria also play concerts, but I hope they do. I can imagine they would create a fine, intimate, and, at the same time, wild show.
Perhaps it is needless to say, but I have never heard of many of the artists on this label, and Roger 3000 is no exception. He runs a label, Tundra Records, and has releases on JJ Funhouse and various collaborations with people such as Lawrence le Doux, Carole Louis as Ondine & Turbotin and Bitsy Knox, resulting in an LP for Tanuki Records. The tags on Bandcamp for this read "electronic, experimental, leftfield, pop, rock", which I can easily find in these ten pieces. Imagine Roger 3000 in his apartment with a guitar, microphone, objects and electronics. He strums and plucks the strings, sings a few words in French, and sounds from outside find a way onto the music. I am all ears when Roger 3000 finds an abstract form with a few objects, sampling and electronics. I assume his more song-like approach will be something that more people like, but this kind of modern, intimate music isn't very well-spend on me. To stay with some old music world connections, I can see a resemblance to The Durutti Column, with Vinni singing in that thin voice, which never appealed to me either. Maybe Roger 3000 wants to be a new Nick Drake? Not with that name, I thought. I do enjoy his instrumental pieces a lot.
On the other side of the musical spectrum, we find the music of Dutchman Gijs Gieskes. I know he's a member of the Staalplaat Sound System and a creator of wild machinery involving circuits and extensive changes to the Walkman. Visit his site at https://gieskes.nl/ for a glimpse. It may also give you an indication of what his music sounds like. The website is chaotic at best, which can also be said of his music. I don't know how old Gieskes is or when I first heard his name, but the music on 'DUF' was recorded between 1997 and 1999 and released on CDR. Maybe he wasn't just yet the inventor of machines, as he lists "TR-808, Juno-60, ReBirth, Wave Studio, voice recorders and Acid Machine" as devices. That may sound like the line-up for a techno record, and sometimes there is some kind of rhythm ('Tideluiiii', for instance), but none of this aims at the dance floor. Inspired by Aphex Twin, People Like Us, Lucky Kitchen and The Residents, his music undoubtedly has some of that madness. Gieskes presents no less than thirty-one pieces of music in over an hour. There are many circuit bending and primitive sampling devices with bits of popular music being mangled, all with a mild tendency for noise and chaos. This double LP is a rocky road with tracks being short, between one and three minutes mostly. Maybe even a bit of tiring listening because the material jumps all over the place, and before you are acquainted enough with the material, Gieskes is already in another place. I assume this speedy approach is part of his deal. When pieces are longer than three minutes, it becomes difficult to keep the attention going and runs a bit thin on ideas; some composing is absent. The sonic overload is excellent and works because it's an overload, but it is also a bit much.
The most recent release is a compilation 7" with five musicians, all recorded during a festival Longform Visions for Earminded People at Roodkapje Rotterdam on 30 June – 1 July 2022; Floris Vanhoof, Red Brut, Peter Fengler, Cathy van Eck, and Nan Wang & Matthias Hurtl. I had not heard of the latter two, but the first I know, more or less. Fengler is a performance artist and member of Coolhaven, Red Brut is one of the musicians working exclusively with cassettes (and a member of Goldblum and Sweat Tongue), and Vanhoof is a musician working with sensors. The label informs us that all artists work with "alternative uses of everyday objects, subversive anti-aesthetics, sensual-absent poetry, moving optical discs, and echoes of activities occurring in the Earth’s orbit." Of course, there is a brief character given the format of a 7", from the stutter tones of Vanhoof, Red Brut's cassette's accidental poetry, and a voice, Cathy van Eck's obscured sine wave sounds and shifting of objects. Wang & Hurtl have the shortest piece on this 7", with a wildly electronic piece and Fengler's use of the voice, reciting a text of some kind in an operatic voice, along with some electronic processing. He's the one that is distinctly different and also the most confusing. A fine document of what was, no doubt, a great evening. (FdW)
––– Address: https://futuraresistenza.bandcamp.com/
VIRUS2020 - KHUSHUE (CDR by Unexplained Sounds Group)
It is not unusual for this label to print some information about the group and the release on the cover of the CD. I learned that 'Khushue' is the third album by Virus2020, which is the project of Rami Harrabi. He is from Tunisia, and I believe that's a first for Vital Weekly. Seeing his debut album is from 2021, he might have started his musical project in 2020, a year when a virus was doing its rounds. He uses traditional instruments, such as the mezwed, mezwej, matbeg, and yarghoul, none of which I have heard of before, and therefore I have no idea what they sound like. Mentioned is that they have double reeds, so they must be wind instruments. Playing this release gave me the impression that I was dealing with something more electronic. In the ten pieces, there is a tendency towards the ambient industrial soundscapes, sometimes leaning towards a more ambient side, such as in 'Incense', but when he cuts his loops a bit shorter, there is a more industrial feeling in the music. When that happens, the music veers towards noise, but Virus2020 controls things significantly. There is that duality in this album, which one could see as not being able to choose a direction or a varied approach. I think the last is the case here. The wind instruments sound like nothing like that here, as the treatments applied are extensive. Powerful, dark and thoughtful music, loud when needed, and quiet when wanted. A name to watch out for in the future. (FdW)
––– Address: https://unexplainedsoundsgroup.bandcamp.com/
SLOW CLINIC & MATT ATKINS - EARTHTIDES II (CDR by Elm Records)
Hardly a week goes by without a new release by Matt Atkins, so it seems, at least. I assume the man needs no introduction. A drummer and user of found sound sources. Behind Slow Clinic is James Edward Armstrong, who is also in A Home For Ghosts (see Vital Weekly 1160) and runs the Rusted Tone Recordings labels. His solo music reached Champion Version, Whitelabrecs and Assembly Fields. I am unsure if I reviewed any solo of his. As the title suggests, this is not the first time they have worked together. 'Earthtides I' was released in 2022 by Whitelabrecs, and in Vital Weekly 1392, I reviewed their 'Playground' release on Atkins's label Minimal Resource Manipulation. Armstrong plays electric guitars (yes, plural) and Atkins household objects, electronics, and small percussion, mostly looped in their usual set-up. That, too, is the case on this album, but on 'Earthtides I', so I am told, Armstrong added music to the loops provided by Atkins and on this new album, those roles are reversed. First, there was Armstrong's guitar soundscapes, and then Atkins added his sparse sounds. Comparing all three albums so far, some interesting differences are to be noticed. On the 'Earthtides I', the music is sparse, just like it is here on this new album, but on the first, it was all opener, with more detail for individual sounds. More Atkins than Armstrong, so it seemed to me, and now that is reversed too; the music is more rooted in very atmospheric guitar sounds, and Atkins operates as little stars, shining in varying colours. None of these sounds are easily given a name, except for some small bell-like sounds, shimmering like wind chimes. The guitar is desolate, with a range of loosely played notes set against loops of more drone-like guitar. This gives the music a more outstanding ambient quality than their previous two works by them. It brings the music into a more ambient post-rock territory unlike Windy & Carl. Seven pieces here, forty-one minutes of pure sonic ambient bliss, an excellent release.(FdW)
––– Address: https://elmrecords.bandcamp.com/
LUIGI BILODO (cassette by Vacancy Records)
DAVID PARKER / TANTO - SPLIT (cassette by Vacancy Records)
SICK ARCHIVES - COMPLIMENTS OF THE BELMONT HOTEL (cassette by Vacancy Records)
Three new releases from Canada's finest in the area of recycling cassettes. My trip started with someone I never heard of, Luigi Bilodo. He is from the label's home town of Niagara, "Territory of the Haudenosaunee, Attiwonderonk & Anishinaabeg", should that be of interest. His two pieces are very simple and very straightforward field recordings. On side A, called 'Pizza Box Of Rain', we get what it says on the box: a recording of a Bella Pizza Box in the rain and a digital recorder in a plastic bag. There is steady rainfall on the box and very few other sounds, save for someone whistling very occasionally. On the other side, 'la pelouse (new country)', the rain has stopped, and it's time to move the lawn. Bilodo uses two of them, the Toro LX468 lawn tractor and the Certified 174cc lawn mower, plastic bag and digital recorder, duct tape, and there is the curious note of George Jones's inspiration. I don't know who that is, but maybe someone who ordered grass cutting. That is not an activity I particularly enjoyed, hay fever and all that, and playing this tape, I can almost smell the grass. This piece is also very minimal, but I think it has the most variation. It is very mechanical and motorized, and probably due to the irregularities of the grass, the music is less minimal. On a scale of minimalism, it is still very minimal, though. Lovely conceptual stuff.
The next is a split cassette by Tanto and David Parker from Kingston, Ontario, offering five parts of 'Music v Capitalism'. From what I heard previously of Parker, he's quite the musical omnivorous. The five pieces here see him working with a drum machine and synthesizers. At least, that's what the label tells us. I could have sworn there's a guitar on 'venues that are barely holding on', the second part here. The label says he's experimenting here, but it all sounds pretty coherent; I think Parker's been using these machines before. I don't know the agenda behind the title, but I guess it's not positive - not five cheerful melodies praising capitalism. There is a slight touch of improvisation here, and the material stays away from being overtly drone-like and atmospheric, even when the music is not too light, either. Spacious and psychedelic, sure, with a tendency to be wild and exciting, especially in 'exploitation'. On the other side, we find Swiss musician Tanto (see also Vital Weekly 1299 and 1364), whose previous work I liked, especially his lo-fi approach to processing field recordings. The curiously called '-'tri.a-' is an excellent piece of heavily compressed field recordings, source unknown, and processing technique unknown. It is atmospheric and dark but also has a slightly meaner and noisier edge, which is a bit of a difference in this world of lo-fi ambient music. It is very consistent for twenty-five minutes, along the lines of the Bilodo cassette, but with a proper fade in and out and more variation.
The final cassette sees label boss SIC DAYS teaming up with The Archives Assistant. SICK DAYS play "a Juliette solid-state AM / FM - AFC radio cassette recorder with a scuzzy beat tape", and the other controls the output of that with a delay pedal. The whole thing was recorded using an amplifier in a garage, straight to tape. Thirty-four minutes spread over five tracks, released on "a limited run of recycled early-90s karaoke tapes from the Belmont Hotel in Port Colborne, Ontario". For The Archives Assistant, this music is a kind of break away from what I heard so far, and for SICK DAYS, the noise element is never far away, but not in the same way as it is here. This time, the music has a collage-like aspect and, at times, a bit rhythmic, which, certainly cut short, is a new element in his work; of course, as far I heard it. Of the three new releases, this is the one that didn't do much for me. It is okay in terms of rhythm and noise, but the five pieces show insufficient development to keep things interesting for me. At the same time, the minimalism isn't of similar intent as the other two releases, which is a pity. (FdW)
––– Address: https://vacancyniagara.bandcamp.com/