VITAL WEEKLY 20
WEEK 46

 

LOSD/AUBE SPLIT MINI CD (by Staalplaat)

The first track on this CD is by LOSD and it establishes itself as a
huge expanding space which varies in intensity and which seems to cast
a long shadow throughout the room. Strange scratching sounds creep in
over the drone as if some odd isolated entity were taking a crowbar to
the skin of a universe, trying to prise a way in. Occasionally it
seems as if the fabric weakens slightly, threatening to give way and
allow a mystery to gain access. Towards the end a strip of water (?)
runs through the space only just relieving the tension.

Aube fills the last 10'00 of this miniCD with a soft cycled roar which
provides a backdrop for what sounds like a calcified cappuccino
machine enduring further abuse during it's final spurts through some
sound processors. This track does not cover the same distance as the
track by LOSD and it appears to be an attempt to fuse the jagged with
the smooth. It failed to captivate me in a way so I put Track 1 on
repeat and attempted to figure out just what it was trying to get in.
(MP) // Address: <staal@euronet.nl>

DENNIS SMALLEY -NEVE (CD)

This was composed (and released) in 1993, so consider this a
retrospective review. I heard Dennis Smalley's CD Impact Interieures
released on Empreintes Digitalis in 1992 and was suitably impressed
especially by the piece titled Valley Flow. Neve is a continuation of
Valley Flow and also conveys geological formations through sound. It
consists of three parts - the first track is comprised of very low
shifting sounds which manage to express the enormous pressure and slow
shifts of deep glacial activity. This glacial movement continues in
the second track 'Corrie' (a round hollow formed in rock by glacial
erosion) which being shaped somewhat like a mortar in which spices are
ground, provided by Smally with the inspiration to record the
frictional sounds produced by a Mortar and pestle. These were
amplified and compressed to the point of bursting and again the
sensation of great pressure is conveyed. The third and final piece
'Sandar' represents the flow of water from melting snow and ice
amongst the sand and gravel found at the mouth of a glacier and is a
pointillistic study in micro sound impressions. This is an absorbing
and thought provoking work and comes highly recommended. (MP)

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS & MERZBOW -HORN OF THE GOAT (CD by Freek Records)

UK just discovered jap-noise, oh well sometimes the British can be
late. This is an odd collaboration. Can't remember hearing any recent
Consumer Electronics work lately, yet they do collaborate. ..Merzbow
is as usual Masami Akita, while CE consist of core member Philip Best
teaming up with Matthew Bower, Gary Mundy and Stuart Dennison (now
there is 15 years of UK power electronics represented) .Unlike other
collaboration works I know with Merzbow, this very much sounds like a
collaboration. Normally the 'others' work is incorporated by Merzbow's
set of electronic sound, here it is sometimes apparent a
collaborative. Only in the fifth (and longest track) we can hear a
classical collaboration piece: ongoing shortwave sounds, feedback and
droning sounds. In 'Korean Comfort', on the other hand, we hear all
the elements apart, resulting in a disjointed, and thus disappointing
track. The other 3 tracks sort of fall in between these two
categories. I really can't say what I expected from this collaboration
when I first heard about it. It is not a bad CD, but, in parts a
somewhat disappointing collaboration. (FdW) // Address: Freek Records
- P.O. Box 3585 - London NW3 3RH - UK

JACOB'S OPTICAL STAIRWAY (CD by R&S)

Occasionally a CD comes along which encourages me to think about the
issue of genres and classification of music (and everything else, I
suppose) and how wonderful it would be to remove all the labels.
Unfortunately this would probably result in massive confusion (chaos,
more chaos) and result in kilometres of queues at the required
multitudes of listening posts in the stores. Jacob's Optical Stairway
is one such CD and the extent and the scope of programming on it is
another badly needed nail in the coffins of that dying breed who
maintain that if it isn't made on something with strings, then it's
not music. It draws from all styles but undeniably has roots in the
bass/drum exploits of the better junglists. The glittering rhythms and
solid basslines are so awesome and so captivating that the equally
buoyant drones, tones, chords and melodies which seem to dart around
avoiding them are initially missed. However, a few more sessions with
speakers up loud reveals the depth of this glorious union. There are a
few contributions from guests (Juan Atkins gets a go, though I don't
know if he was necessary) and Samatha Powell sings one of the most
amazing (& difficult) vocals together with sax and trumpet on the
fifth track. Bury this CD with me (or vice versa) when one of us stops
playing. Please Katrien, may I have some more. .. (MP) // Address:

SWARM OF DRONES (double CD by Asphodel)

This is a 2CD compilation on the Sombient series and perhaps because
it's a double and it scope of contributors has broadened
appreciatively, it manages to hold the attention far better than it's
predecessor 'Throne Of Drones' released earlier this year. Touted as
'Sombient Noir' it explores , ...darkened subterranean sound worlds in
transparent isolation. ..' Apart from sounding pretentious, this
definition also clearly demarcates the territory and holds true for
some but not all of the tracks. There are unfortunate contributions
from Robert Rich, Steve Roach, Vidna Obmana or Jeff Greinke, who also
appeared on Vol. 1 and whose work does little to explore or transgress
the boundaries of what this collection purports to be. There are
however, a bunch of pieces which are more aggressive and succeed in
provoking the listener. A lot of these tracks are provided by the
'curators' of this compilation who collectively call themselves Sound
Traffic Control. Michel Redolfi mixes himself on the first disc and
there are also contributions from Cheb I Sabbah and Robert Fripp. Disc
2 is by far the better of the two and most of the material does more
than satisfy the definition on the sleeve. Ned Bouhalassa (of STC) ,
Lull, Null & Plotkin and the remaining members of STC fill this disc
with excellent material. It ends with a piece by Maryanne Amacher who
also provided on the good very good tracks on Vol.1. Idiotically this
2nd CD starts with index #11, rendering it decipherable to some
(older?) machines. Ah well, all well that ends conceptually. ..perhaps
it's art and art to play it. (MP) // ddress: <asphodel@interport.net>