\ / | ----- /\ | \ / |== |== | / | \ / Week 45
\ / | | / \ | \ /\ / | | |/ | \ / Number 298
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M. BEHRENS - ELAPSED TIME (CD by Intransitive Recordings)
GAL - RELISTEN (CD by Intransitive Recordings)
ERIC MERTENS - WHITE WORKER (CD by Carbon 7)
AKA MOON - IN REAL TIME (CD by Carbon 7)
THE SHOUT ON ARRIVAL (CD by Carbon 7)
IF.THEN.ELSE - PAUSE (CD by Emanate Records)
MARTIN MEILLEUR - Tango (CD by OHM Èditions)
ELTRACTOR - Domusticks Ideotrons (CDROM by OHM Èditions)
ELTRACTOR - Elradio (CD by OHM Èditions)
KONK PACK - WARP OUT (CD by Grob)
DEATH SQUAD - LAST STAND/FRATRICIDE (CD by Nihilist)
COLUMN ONE - ELECTRIC PLEASURE (CD by 90% Wasser)
TOY BIZARRE - KDI DCTB 116 (CDR by Absurd)
[KOMFORT.LABOR] PRESENTS NATIVE LAB (CD by WMF Records)
DJ HIGHFISH - NIGHTEFFECT (CD by WMF Records)
ANDREAS BERTHLING - TINY LITTLE WHITE ONES (LIKE HANDFULS OF SALT) (CD by
Mitek)
ADRIAN MOORE - TRACES (CD by empreintes DIGITALes IMED 0053, CD 61:42)
JONTY HARRISON - ^ VIDENCE MAT»RIELLE (CD by empreintes DIGITALes)

 

M. BEHRENS - ELAPSED TIME (CD by Intransitive Recordings)
The title of this CD can be taken quite literally, because it is a
project based on reworking old material, taking into account Behrens'
development in the years inbetween. All material was recorded in
1989-1995 and was reworked for this release with the same tools that
Behrens used when he recorded them (mainly tape machines, no
computers). The inspiration for this project was derived from a book
about the technological aspects of the second world war. The seven
tracks therefore range from 1939-1945. The results are quite
different from each other. With some tracks on a very quiet level and
some harsher, there is quite a lot of variety, also within tracks.
The overall sound is quite bleak and gloomy, which also seems to stem
from the book, because a lot of these war technologies were used in
airplanes and submarines, certainly not the cosiest places to be in a
war. This makes for an atmosphere that is lonely and distant. These
are soundscapes from the past, and not the merriest one. (MR)
Adress: www.intransitiverecordings.com

GAL - RELISTEN (CD by Intransitive Recordings)
This is my first introduction to the work of Gal, and it is a
pleasure. The first track of the disc is a voice only piece, in which
a female voice is cut up, so that mainly the inbetween remarks like
'yeah', 'well', 'what' and so on are left. At some point there is a
'hmmm' and then other 'hmmms' are added into an almost drony piece. A
pretty humorous piece as well. Track two is a long drony piece of
sounds in a large space with a lot of overtones. The sounds
themselves could originate from a huge swarm of killer wasps or
something. The track evolves slowly but tension is strong throughout.
The third piece seems to be a study in musique concrete, using
different train sounds and putting them in a more or less rigid
structure, like the beat of the train itself. Some treatments are
added. Track four is the most 'musical' yet: high melodic synth (?)
tones form the basis for apiece that also features some field
recordings. But it could also be the case that the high tones are
originating from those field recordings through very heavy filtering.
Well, who will tell? I must add that this track failed to keep my
attention for the whole 13 minutes, although the end is very well
done. Next up are field recordings from what sounds like big city in
Asia. Or is this a mix maybe? Listening to the tracks before this
wouldn't surprise me. I think this is the strength of this album: it
undermines the obvious and brings to light more or less hidden
structures and music in everyday life. Well done. Track six is pretty
difficult to describe, but let me put it this way: someone seems to
run around with metal stuff, while a couple of organ keys got stuck.
Added later are other field recordings. A very good track with an
energetic character, but again a little long for my taste. As a whole
this is a very varied CD with a lot of angles, but all of them taken
well care of. Recommended. (MR)
Adress: www.intransitiverecordings.com

ERIC MERTENS - WHITE WORKER (CD by Carbon 7)
White Worker is Eric Mertens latest release and a follow up to his
first CD Spleen. White Worker is a wonderful collection of 11
contemporary chamber music compositions wherein Eric is joined by a
large cast of supporting musicians on a variety of strings, brass,
and woodwinds. Beautiful melodies interweave in a tapestry of
serious and sometimes comical threads. I am reminded of bands as
diverse as Sensations Fixe, Weather Report, Henry Cow, and Alan
Parsons Project. Finely crafted, this is an excellent CD to relax to
after a stressful day. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. (HS)
www.netbeat.com/carbon7

AKA MOON - IN REAL TIME (CD by Carbon 7)
In Real Time, Aka Moon's 11th CD, contains the original music
composed for Anne-Teresa De Keersmaeker's dance theater production of
the same name. This theatrical production combines the talents of De
Keersmaeker's dance company Rosas, the Tg Stan Theater Company, and
Aka Moon. All three groups worked closely, influencing each other,
with Aka MoonÌs music playing a critical role in how the dance
developed. On stage, Aka Moon performs the music live amid the
actors and dancers, a truly integrated production bringing a new
dimension to performance art.
Unlike their previous releases where Aka Moon augmented their sound
with additional musicians (piano, sax, brass and woodwinds), the trio
(sax, bass, and drums) has gone back to the basics with addition of
only a keyboardist, who does not figure prominently. The
musicianship is impeccable but the music is, unfortunately, not my
cup of tea. Jazz in general does not appeal to me, and I find this
kind of music particularly boring. It probably would have a greater
impact if I attended a production of In Real Time. That being said,
this CD should appeal to the Jazz enthusiast. (HS)
Address: www.netbeat.com/carbon7

THE SHOUT ON ARRIVAL (CD by Carbon 7)
The Shout is a London-based a capella choir featuring the talents of
an amazing range of singers from gospel, jazz, blues, Indian
classical, contemporary classical, opera, church music, and early
music backgrounds. On Arrival is a collection of 5 vocal pieces that
are mostly wordless vocalizing evoking a variety of effects and
emotions that reminds me of avant garde singing from the sixties.
This new Carbon 7 release is an extremely difficult listen. The
performance is truly amazing but is just too out there for my tastes.
If off-the-wall experimental a capella singing appeals to you, by all
means get this CD. (HS)
Address: www.netbeat.com/carbon7

IF.THEN.ELSE - PAUSE (CD by Emanate Records)
If your next release is called 'Pause', then I immediately think of
ambient music, music while you wait, take a break or during the pause
or intermission between two events. 'Pause' marks a phase of Emanate
Records in which the label activities were on hold, since the label
boss was in jail for having marijuana... Maybe he took his laptop in
jail and recorded with very minimal means this album. Relatively
simple clicks and boxes form the rhythms of the tracks with an
underlying bed of synths and softly processed feedback sounds. Music
that calmly walks forward that puts you in a relaxing mood,
straightforward most of the time, sometimes with a slight feel of
dub. I was reminded of Aphex Twin's 'Selected Ambientworks 2' in some
places, but If.Then.Else adds his own flavour to the music. Great
stuff for late night enjoyment. (FdW)
Address: www.emanaterecords.com

MARTIN MEILLEUR - Tango (CD by OHM Èditions)
ELTRACTOR - Domusticks Ideotrons (CDROM by OHM Èditions)
ELTRACTOR - Elradio (CD by OHM Èditions)
Eltractor is video artist Boris Firquet and audio and data-processing
artist David Michaud. A duo that works in audio and video
improvisations since 1997.
'Elradio' contains 19 pieces that originated during video-audio
improvisation sessions. In the AVATAR Studio they were remixed.
Jocelyn Robert, Martin Meilleur, Marc Tremblay and Fabrice Montal are
involved as guests.
The cd documents only half of their work, only the audio part. It may
be because of this that the cd failed to impress me. The music
remains a little flat to me. What do we hear? Electronic sounds,
voices, all kinds of natural sounds and music. The pieces differ in
what is on the forefront: voice, electronics or natural sounds and
found music that are processed. The music is a great deal about
repetition, recycling and other manipulation techniques of already
existing music, sounds, etc.
Eltracor also released a cdrom that contains four videos used in the
'Domusticks Ideotrons' concert. Alas I didn't have the opportunity to
look at it. Eltractor presented their 'Domusticks Ideotrons' show at
an international festival for new cinema and media at MontrÈal in
2000, and at the famous Victoriaville Festival in 2001.
With 'Tango' a cd by Martin Meilleur we enter the world of short
waves. The cd contains one piece thast last for more then 60 minutes.
Short wave sounds have their very own charm, always giving me a
feeling of the exotic. Listening to short wave radio, is like
travelling through all kind of different places, cultures, etc. It is
not because of these romantic connotations that Meilleur chose short
wave sounds, but because of their beauty and texturally richness.
Most of the raw material Meilleur used for this one, he collected
from short waves. "Analogical transmissions, unlike digital, are
sensitive to natural phenomena - signals superimpose on the same
frequencies, some reliefs cause echoes. If there's a storm over the
Atlantic, you hear it. If there are solar eruptions, receptions is
bad. By accumulating sounds and creating loops, Meilleur, in a way,
amplifies these interferences." All this results in a piece that is a
pleasure to listen to and that may have an emotional impact on the
listener (DM).
Address: <http://www.meduse.org/avatar>

KONK PACK - WARP OUT (CD by Grob)
Most of the improvisation CD's Vital Weekly talks about are one-off
occassions, but Konk Pack might be something different. Konk Pack
features Thomas Lehn on analogue synthesizer, Roger Turner on drums
and junk and Tim Hodgkinson on flat guitar and klarinet and 'Warp
Out' is their second CD for Grob and is their first studio CD. Unlike
'Big Deep' which was a collection of live material, this was recorded
in a studio and that probably counts for the great depth to be found
here. Ranging from sheer silence to sheer noise, it's music that
should be listened to in a more concentrated mood. Konk Pack take
their time to build up from silence to noise and it almost seems like
an organic process, but unlike biology there is no hierarchy, no
instrument is more important then the other. Sometimes one takes the
lead or the intro, but it's not set who that it is. Most of the time,
it seems that all three are equally important and that they all
follow the dynamics - when one goes softer the rest follows. The
result is a very intense work that is not easily to follow, but one
that unveils true beauty. (FdW)
Address: www.churchofgrob.com

DEATH SQUAD - LAST STAND/FRATRICIDE (CD by Nihilist)
Death Squad are one of those industrial noise bands that have been
around for some time. Their latest CD contains one twenty-two minute
live piece and a video of four minutes. Death Squad produces fields
of feedback, noisy rhythm loops and voices. The live piece builts up
slowly from drones, crackles and hiss and at one point militairy
radio communication and a scene from a SM drop in. Towards the end
the obvious lyrics kick in. Good imitation of Con-Dom actually.
Nothing really new under the sun. But the four minute video
'Fraticide' (murder amongst the brothers) on the other hand is very
nice. It's a militairy thing again about some bombing of vehicles,
which turn out to be their own and not the enemy. The slightest sound
processing to the bleeps make this is a very frightening piece but I
wonder wether it's the music or the video footage... (FdW)
Address: <panixville@aol.com>

COLUMN ONE - ELECTRIC PLEASURE (CD by 90% Wasser)
How did the past look upon the future? That seems to be the theme of
this new Column One CD. Column One has been around since a decade and
worked with such fine people as Genesis P-Orridge, Silk Saw, Tochnit
Aleph and Paul Kendall on a great number of releases (I imagine they
have a huge discography by now). Here science fiction is the theme,
but not from our days but from the 50s and 60s, the 'Forbidden
Planet' things. They work on wide array of analogue synthesizers and
all the voices are fed through the vocoder so they all sounds like
rrrrobots. Of course the mechanical pulses of rhythm boxes are
present (I always wonder why they are in space, but alas), and the
whole sounds like a raw but fine version of Kraftwerk and early 80s
synth electro pop. Nothing new under the sun, but nevertheless quite
an entertaining CD. Maybe the soundtrack to 'Metropolis'? (FdW)
Address: <90-prozent-wasser@gmx.de>

TOY BIZARRE - KDI DCTB 116 (CDR by Absurd)
Toy Bizarre has by now a small number of releases out which have
gained attention by those in the same areas as Bernard Gunther, Roel
Meelkop or Francisco Lopez. This CDR is the soundtrack to a video
projection of still shots of a garden in France. Of course all the
sounds were generated in this garden, the wire fence with wind
blowing and the some vegetables, insects and earth. There is just one
piece here of 31 minutes and it moves like an ambient sculpture.
Sounds slowly develop as they are a little bit processed of course
through the magic of computer editing and the wind produces the
backbone of the piece. Small crackles of any kind produce the icing
on the cake. It's music that produces an environment by itself, even
without sitting in a garden. Like I said, this is most welcome for
the lovers of Gunther, Meelkop, MNortham and Lopez. Of course in the
usual circle cover like that is standard with Absurd these days. (FdW)
Address: <absurd@otenet.gr>

[KOMFORT.LABOR] PRESENTS NATIVE LAB (CD by WMF Records)
DJ HIGHFISH - NIGHTEFFECT (CD by WMF Records)
Native Instruments are audio software developers from Berlin, who
helped developping Reaktor 3. It's possible to built your own
synthesizer from that, because of it's various modules. I bet it's
not easy... Here Native Instruments present a CD of 13 audio tracks
and one interactive piece of software of people that use this and
other kinds of software. The music ranges from straightforward techno
by Rob Acid to breakbeat style like by Kid 606, Kent and Richard
Devine but also more daring experimental stuff by F.X. Randomiz.
Problem is of course that you don't know what is just the software
and what else they might have added to the mix. Of course the
software is fun to play, even when I had a hard time figuring out
what I did and what was part of the sounds and processes in the
programm. At least it has sense of interactivity and that's
satisfying for some.
The Native Instruments CD is released by WMF Records, who also run a
club in Berlin. One of their resident DJs is DJ Highfish, who
presents here his mix CD of the more rougher techno house, electro
pop style. The involved artists include Martini Bros, Falko
Broscksieper, Beroshima, Welt Zwei, Rework and many more. Mostly
names that don't mean much to me. Overall it's a pleasent mix of
pleasent music. (FdW)
Address: www.wmfrec.com

ANDREAS BERTHLING - TINY LITTLE WHITE ONES (LIKE HANDFULS OF SALT) (CD by
Mitek)
This new release by Berthling presents eleven rather short tracks in
a similar vein as his previous releases, but with another sound
quality. Of course, we're still talking glitch here, but something
has changed. The sound is a litle warmer and seems more concentrated.
A lot of attention had been to paid to the full frequency spectrum
and things seem to be more controlled than before. Atmosphere and
tension is built up really well, without getting too wound up and I
would almost go as far as to say that this might the first real
glitch pop. Short tracks with essential themes and compositions, a
pleasant and satisfying listening experience, without falling into
obvious traps. Very well done. (MR)
Adress: www.mitek-web.net

ADRIAN MOORE - TRACES (CD by empreintes DIGITALes IMED 0053, CD 61:42)
The music on this CD falls into three categories: the abstract
(Junky, Dreamarena), hearing natural sounds in a different context
(Study in Ink, Foil-Counterfoil), and electronic manipulation of
natural sounds (Sieve). Traces is difficult music. The abstract
pieces present glimpses of other music and sound sources through a
fog of electronic pops and gurgles. The pieces using sounds in new
and different contexts can be quite frightening. The sonic textures
are organic and evoke images of crunching bones and tearing flesh.
Sieve is a total distortion of the source material leaving the
listener lost in space without a point of reference. Traces is music
for only the most adventuresome of listeners. (HS)
Address: http://www.electrocd.com

JONTY HARRISON - ^ VIDENCE MAT»RIELLE (CD by empreintes DIGITALes)
Jonty Harrison is another British electroacoustic composer and his CD
may be the most accessible of three recent DiM releases
(Sources/scÀnes, Traces, and ^ vidence mat»rielle). This CD contains
five compositions spanning the past ten years. The first piece,
Klang, uses the sounds of two earthenware casseroles to which Jonty
adds the ingredients of cow-bells, metal rods, and aluminum bars to
prepare an eerie meal of reverberating tones. Sorties is about
fleeing an interior space for an exterior one, only to find that you
are mysteriously trapped in a much larger interior space, like being
inside one of those Russian dolls. The sonic sources are
recognizable (cars, trucks, trains, walking shoes, children at play)
and only add to the dark and brooding atmosphere of the composition.
Surface Tension is constructed literally from the dry brittle sounds
of packing material (Styrofoam and cardboard) that, after processing,
have a somewhat organic texture as the material is put under greater
and greater stress. Shifting now to wood and its varied sounds as it
is twisted, tapped, burned, and otherwise strained is the subject
matter for Splintering. Clocking in at almost 20 minutes, it might
be overlong. The final piece is Streams with the obvious water
reference. Water can be so melodic and Jonty wrings out all of its
nuances in Streams. If you are interested in cutting edge
electroacoustic music, check out the DiM label and, especially, Jonty
Harrison. (HS)
Address: http://www.electrocd.com