\ / | ----- /\ | \ / |== |== | / | \ / Week 8
\ / | | / \ | \ /\ / | | |/ | \ / Number 163
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ROD MODELL/MICHAEL MANTRA - SONIC CONTINUUM (CD by Hypnos)
ROBERT RUTMAN - 1939 (CD by Pogus)
MATTHEW OSTROWSKI - VERTEBRA (CD by Pogus)
MARCONI POINT (CD by Iris Light)
PARAPHILIA WORSHIP (CD-R Compilation by Mainteinance)
MICROSCOPIC SOUND (CD by Caipirinha Music)
JAQUES TREMBLAY - ALIBI (CD by Empreintes Digitales)
PIERRE BOUCHET - GHOST TRAIN (CD by Editions Suicide Commercial)
END ID (Double Compilation CD on Digital Narcis)
HENRIK JOHANSSON - ELLIPTICITETER (CD on Meme)

 

ROD MODELL/MICHAEL MANTRA - SONIC CONTINUUM (CD by Hypnos)
Both Mantra and Modell were formely recording for Silent Records, Mantra
under his own name and Modell s Waveform Transmission. Their work for
Silent was of the more daring ambient kind. It only seems natural to see
them together on a CD and it may be no surprise that Hypnos is the label
(the continue were Silent stopped). Rather then playing a few pieces, this
CD is splitted in half and each track is some 35 minutes epic, waving
backdrop of synthesizers that float. They mix in a quite bizarre wash of
sounds, footsteps, people walking in the mall, and processed water sounds.
Quite dark at times, but not unpleasant to listen to. As suggested by the
artists, I imagine this would work best when played on a soft volume, lying
down and with your eyes closed (none of which I did however, as I was
cleaning the house, making coffee and played it a volume were I could hear
it everywhere in the house, but alas). If you do fall asleep, there is no
need to feel uncomfortable. Or as I, when it stopped, being surprised that
there was no music for such a long time... (FdW)
Address: <mgriffin@hypnos.com>

ROBERT RUTMAN - 1939 (CD by Pogus)
MATTHEW OSTROWSKI - VERTEBRA (CD by Pogus)
The first four pieces on this CD were released a decade ago on an ancient
sound carrier called vinyl, now with a bonus track on CD. Rutman's work was
discussed before on the digital waves of Vital, so I'll stick to the basics
now. Besides the opening track, all of these pieces (including the fifth
piece, which is undated) use metal bows and chimes and create an austere,
based on overtones, work. Chilling with the cold metal sound, but at the
same time a fascinating world of sound. The opening piece uses tabla, and
has therefore a much more eastern feel to it. Indeed long overdue, this CD
release.
Ostrowski lives in Holland, but comes from New York and has been actve as
DJ and member of Krackhouse. Here in our low country he recorded and
developped computerprogrammes at Steim Studio. His music is, then at least
for me, very much what I would expect from the Steim area. Sounds rolling
over, sampled and stretched and trimmed at the same time (try the Steim
programm LiSa - live sampling - and you know what I am talking about).
Maybe there is too much going on on all levels for me. It's a kind of
improvised computer that makes me a bit nervous. So not being entirely my
cup of thing, I'm sure there are people out there who dig this. And live
it's probably very good. (FdW)
Address: <pogal@frontiernet.net>

MARCONI POINT (CD by Iris Light)
Is there good experimental music from the Uk, free of hype and style,
living undergound? Now there is an interesting question, I'd say. Seeing
from my perspective, what could be experimental in the UK, is either fully
ignored in their own country or hyped and killed in the time span of three
months. That's why this compilation is a much welcomed thing, for several
reasons. First it contains just UK bands, either known (and then mainly
outside albion) or unknown and hurray it's on a UK label too. Now hopefully
this might attract a few eye brows in the native country. The CD is nicely
put together with some consideration. It opens with a few dark ambient,
bleepy yet not danceable's and then slowly fades into music with more
uptempo, hey let's call it drum & bass, breakbeat tracks. Penumbra (is Mark
of zoviet*france solo) duetting with horn and theramin, followed by
zoviet*france themselves (as usual with a live piece) and short outing by
Asfehlt. After Rapoon (ex-zoviet*france), the beat goes up and on with
unknowns like Zuvuga and Lucha. The first one sound a bit like the old
Horizon 222 and Lucha probably lifted a beat or 2 from Muslimgauze, who are
next on the CD (with a beautiful ambient dubby piece). Marineville has
members of Zion Train and are like the Filter Kweens into d&b. Very nice
compilation, exciting cross-over between all sorts of things. In the final
stages of this compilation a note was added about this CD being dedicated
to Bryn Jones, the voice of experimental music which will be missed. (FdW)
Address: <iLIGHT@irislight.demon.co.uk>

PARAPHILIA WORSHIP (CD-R Compilation by Mainteinance)
Of an entirely different kind of compilation, both music and packaging
wise. Nothing less however. It's a kinda of magazine thing, were you can
see and read something about the people who produce this kind of noise and
hear what it sounds like. The whole style of the magazine (black/white
xerox, but made with consideration) reminded me of the old days of
compilation cassettes. But that was years ago, and now the new generation
has gone digital, andrelease their music on CD-R. Hurray, we say. We find
here the more noisy (MSBR, Lasse Marhaug), the more noisy goths (No
Festival Of Light, Deep, Ontario Blue) and the noisy mind inducers (Troum
close the thing, but is also highlight for me). If you go about in this
circles some of these names may sound familiar and a good reason to get it,
is to explore the new ones. Just like those darn old tape-movements. (FdW)
Address: <maintein@tin.it>

MICROSCOPIC SOUND (CD by Caipirinha Music)
If Microwave is your thing you think, but besides Ryoji Ikeda you haven't
gotten into it really this (probably widely distributed) CD might be your
guide. It sums nicely all those good edges in what is called Microwave. The
minimal techno of Mike Ink (here as "Digital"), Sound Track or Thomas
Brinkmann are the more techno variations, but the others go deeper and
further. Ikeda is of course present (with a track from his excellent 'O
degrees' CD), and the various outings from Rastermusic people: Noto (with
it's oscillating loop), Produkt and Komet. People that have been on
Rastermusic (though not exclusively signed to the label) and to be found
here are Kim Cascone and Goem. They are more abstract and explore the deep
end of bass sound fully (you need good speakers and I'm glad I got new
ones). The closing track, by S-Nemek, is the strangest: samples of
marimba's and broken telephone lines and certainly carries the spirit of
Steve Reich into the next millenium. Well done this!
The counter compilation, also compiled by Taylor Deupree, will be released
soon on 12K (Taylor's own label)
address: <caipirinha@caipirinha.com>

JAQUES TREMBLAY - ALIBI (CD by Empreintes Digitales)

The most recent catalogue issued by Empreintes Digitales (yours for the
asking, by the way) contains a quotation by one George Nicholson, "...we
might say that certain sonic landscapes, thought colours, certain states
and manifestations of the soul would remain forever muted, if
electroacoustics had not sprung forth from nowhere - unexpected and
inevitable." This is a sentiment I cannot help but agree with
wholeheartedly. Over the past few weeks I've had the opportunity to listen
to some of the newest music in this genre and have finally had the chance
to listen to 'Alibi', which exemplifies the above quotation most admirably.
Compared to most electroacoustic music I've heard, the compositions on this
CD struck me as being quite sinister and it includes some of the strangest
sounds I've encountered.
Mr. Tremblay studied with all the right people and feels himself to be
firmly rooted in the spirit of baroque, which he, together with write Alejo
Carpentier, feels to be not so much a historic style, but rather a constant
of the spirit.
The first (and my favourite) track on 'Alibi' is titled 'Heresie Ou Les
Bas-Reliefs Du Dogme' and concerns itself with the manner in which the
heart of man has become 'a cave of bandits', shaped by the reigning
collective moral ideal, and which ensures his survival amongst great
infamies. It is filled with quotes which illustrate the crimes and
cruelties committed by man in the name of God. So it is that we hear
money-hungry cable preachers, forked tongued papal posturing, Saddam
Hussein as a Madman Insane all of which demonstrate the 'shift from
idealism to materialism, from heart to reason'. Gregorian chants and
Tibetan mantras similarly evolve from the pure to the impure as they slide
down a slope from the path of fearlessness into the valley of the shadow of
distortion. Demanding voices lunge out brandishing guilt - where there is
no guilt, then guilt will be provided. The tweet and twitter of bat-like
demons of the dark fly around in the threatening space, where disease and
dis-ease are free to roam and prey on the weak and frail. Definitely not a
piece to be listened to in the dark.
The following track flows out of this with well-lubricated ease, and I
suppose there is a link to be found. It's called 'Oaristys' and it's theme
is eroticism. Still, it remains quite a foreboding terrain and even the
laughter included in it later on does little to alleviate the looming
shapes at the edge. Great voice treatments !
More darkness in 'L'Intrus Au Chapeau De Spleen' - the elusive unconscious
which seeks entry through the crumbling fortress constructed around memory,
sometimes persuasive as a gentle lover, sometimes as wild as a bull - 'the
keeper of our monsters...'
'Jeu D'Ondes' is the shortest composition on this CD and it is constructed
from recordings of the different sounds found on a sailboat - rustling
sail, creaking cables, clattering winches - combined with quotes from radio
broadcasts.
Of the four Empreintes Digitales CD's I've written about in the last four
editions of Vital, I found this the most confrontational, the hardest to
assimilate and perhaps, in the end, the CD which contains the 'deepest'
compositions. I didn't like all of the material included on it, but there
again, it's not very often that the entire contents of an electroacoustic
CD can hold me captive. This might have something to do with a selection
process performed by my ears which naturally tire of the inevitably similar
textures that result from such processed sound. Whatever - I still enjoy
this genre of music for it's amazing content and it's undeniably powerful
propulsion mechanisms. (MP)

PIERRE BOUCHET - GHOST TRAIN (CD by Editions Suicide Commercial)
This is the second CD I've encountered by 'Pierre Bouchet'
(The first was 'Sale Timbale', reviewed in an earlier edition of Vital,
which similarly came artfully packaged - the wrapper around 'Ghost Train'
is far superior to the awfully grotesque puzzle-board folded around the
former.)
Pierre Bouchet is a fictional name used by a several people who may produce
work under this name and also act as its representative and spokesperson.
'Ghost Train' (cool title !) was constructed from an Internet game in which
visitors could download a 10 second soundfile and replace it with one of
their own, or perhaps a re-working of the original (?). Nice idea, and
somehow a portent for a whole bunch of copycat releases. As far as I know,
Pierre was first, OK ? ( Right me if I'm wrong, please.)
128 participants (count them - the list of names weaves it's way through
the beautiful images on the smart cover ) from 25 countries contributed
material compiled into a short composition which by the very nature of it's
conception, is extremely fragmented and jitterbug-jumps from one atmosphere
to another, Sadly no details are included as to how the arrangement of the
sounds was arrived at, and I suspect that the idea was also to eliminate
the idea of a linear narrative or central theme. This makes it's extremely
unpredictable and a musical mystery. Not something I'd listen to very much,
but still appreciate. (MP)
address: <acteon@compuserve.com>

END ID (Double Compilation CD on Digital Narcis)
I've heard people talk about this one for quite a while now and here it is
at last. A double compilation CD with a lot of well known names like
Rehberg & Bauer, Jérôme Noettinger, M.Beherens, Ryoji Ikeda, Aube and more.
So, where do i start? Well OK, there is definitely something thematical
about the whole thing, because there are a lot of radio sounds on it
((tele)communication is probably one of the key words here). I will not
review every single piece for two reasons: 1. because i would be sitting at
my computer for the rest of the night; 2. because the works on these CD's
have pretty much the same quality, which is reasonably high. And that is
part of the problem i have with it: the pieces are too much on the same
level of dynamics and quality, so that after a while one tends to forget
that you're listening to 20 different people. This is a pity, because it
does the work of the individual composers no justice. So in a sense this
double CD is packed too full for my taste. On the other hand one does have
a large collection of good works all at once. So there's something to be
said for it as well. None of the pieces are brilliant, none of them are
bad. So if you like most of the names on the cover, don't worry about
purchasing it: it's definitely worth the money.
Adress: <dnarcis@jxa.jumbo.or.jp>

HENRIK JOHANSSON - ELLIPTICITETER (CD on Meme)
This is not a familiar name to me. The press release reveals that Johansson
has released some breakbeat stuff somewhere, but not under his own name. So
that's probably why.... What we have here is digital electro-acoustic music
(i would like to rename the genre to: digicoustic music or digicoustics,
because the acoustic origins of the material and its digital processing are
quite obvious). So, a lot of quirks, crackles, bleeps and..... a lot of
silence(s). Associations with RLW, Günter and sometimes Chain Reaction
force themselves upon me. But none of them really fit. There is something
very relaxed and exiting at the same time about this record. It is very
difficult to describe this music; it is very open and there is a lot of
time and space for the listener. And there is a lot of very good and
strange sound material used. Definitely some good ears at work here! At
some moments I think that the pieces lack structure/composition a bit,
which makes concentrated listening a little diffiult now and then. But for
a first release this is very good stuff indeed and worth to listen to!
Adress: <meme-@msh.biglobe.ne.jp>