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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 343
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week 41
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MICHELE BOKANOWSKI - L'ETOILE ABSINTHE (miniCD by Metamkine)
MICHEL CHION - DIX-SEPT MINUTES (miniCD by Metamkine)
SCANNER - NEMESIS (CD by Bette)
SCANNER - 52 SPACES (CD by Bette)
R.R. HABARC - ORGANIZMUSOK/HAT TAJ (CDR by Avult)
R.R. HABARC - EN OP 20302 (3" CDR by Avult)
DEGIERE - DIFFUSION CHAMBER (10" by Emanate Records)
TED MINSKY - MADAME LE TED (CD by Angelika Koehlermann)
RM - 1025 (CD by Foton Records)
SPEAR - SAPPHIRE FLOWER (CD by Ignis)
JARRA - SAMA I (CDR by And/Oar)
TUJIKO NORIKO - HARD NI SASETE (CD by Mego)
FOUND SOUND (CDR compilation by Pocketsound)
MICROCASSETTES (CDR compilation by Pocketsound)
PHINNEY/MCGEE - GNARL/KNOT (CDR by Harsh Reality Music)
MENTAL ANGUISH - MESHWERK (CDR by Harsh Reality Music)
ARG (CD by Sirr)
[DES]INTEGRACAO - PERMUTE (CD by Sirr)
NERRRDDDD KIDS TO PERSONALL ROBOTZ (LP compilation by Digital Kranky)
GOVNO - HARD SHIT (CDR by Digital Kranky)
MERI VON KLEINSCHMID - CHI TAPE (CDR by American Archive Recordings)
OPAQUE - YOUR WORDING HERE (CDR by Consume)
NECK DOPPLER VS GOLDFRAPP (CDR by Consume)

 

MICHELE BOKANOWSKI - L'ETOILE ABSINTHE (miniCD by Metamkine)
MICHEL CHION - DIX-SEPT MINUTES (miniCD by Metamkine)
In the reknowned series of Metamkine, the cinema for the ears, two
new releases, and both composers have been presented in this series
before. The first is by Michele Bokanowski, who has worked at INA GRM
and studied computer music and electronic music with Eliane Radigue.
Her piece is built around a short vocal sample, possibly saying the
words 'absinth star', which is repeated throughout the piece. Hard to
recognize because the sound shoots by like a falling star. Other
sounds move around the vocal sample like heavenly bodies floating in
weightless space. Every comes and goes by in a most austere piece,
that is almost like a soundtrack for a Sci-Fi movie. Icy, chilly,
small textures floating by, astral voices speak from beyond. Nice
work.
Michel Chion now has his third mini CD in this series, and is what it
is titled: seventeen minutes. Seventeen minutes of musique concrete.
Chion works with the idea of real time, which is odd in musique
concrete, because there people work with fixed, pre-recorded sounds.
'Dix-sept Minutes' is a collage of found sounds, outdoor, indoor,
media sounds, which all merge together into a tense collage of sound,
which at times is a true pandemonium, but most of the times they work
nicely a long eachother. A strong work. (FdW)
Address: <info@metamkine.com>

SCANNER - NEMESIS (CD by Bette)
SCANNER - 52 SPACES (CD by Bette)
Scanner may be a well-known name around here, but it's been a while
since we last reviewed any of his work. It seems that his latest CD's
either don't reach Vital Weekly, or that Robin Rimbaud is simply to
busy going around fullfilling his commissions. It's good to know that
he started another label now, Bette, to release some of these works
that were conceived as a commission. The first one is for the Random
Dance Company, of incorporate dance with modern technology. Not seen
any of this, but apperentely 'Nemesis explores the relationship
between body, screen and machine - extraterrestrial dance meets
reality TV'. In the opening piece the reality drops in via Scanner's
scanned sounds, but his once trademark is now kept to a minimum.
Which is fine really, I think we've all heard enough of his taped
phone conversations to make his point clear. The other ten pieces are
a hotchpotch of dance music: sampled ethnic music, techno, drum &
bass and ambient go by here in tracks that may seem at times a bit
static and a bit long - but noting that one should also consider the
fact that these were recorded to accompany dance and maybe not
entirely be heard by themselves. But there is enough variation here
among the tracks to make this an interesting release.
The other new release was commissioned by The Henry Moore Foundation,
as part of the 'Viva Roma" project. Main subject here is the
filmmaker Antonioni and his film 'The Eclipse', one of his more
silent films. Scanner recorded to the music to be heard with the
extremely slowed down projection of the last 52 frames of the movie.
This work forms much more a homogenity among the tracks. There is an
overall atmospheric sound of processed sounds (Scanner go laptop),
with voices rising from the dark and disappearing in similar vein. A
desolate atmosphere, fog hanging in city at an early hour - filmic
might be silly terms, but it seems to me the only term that is
appropiate. From the two Scanner releases, I'd like '52 Spaces' over
'Nemesis', because it seems a more coherent, overal work, one theme
worked out consistentely. (FdW)
Address: http://posteverything.com/bette

R.R. HABARC - ORGANIZMUSOK/HAT TAJ (CDR by Avult)
R.R. HABARC - EN OP 20302 (3" CDR by Avult)
R.R. Habarc has released various highly limited CDRs in the past
already. Here is a lenghty (78 minutes) new one. There are two
distinct works on this release: 'Organizmusok' in six parts and 'Hat
Taj', also in six parts. R.R. Habarc is a composer of minimal sounds.
He plays lengthy pieces of music, which are either generated from
loops of concrete sounds (his love of metal is well-known) or
synthesized sounds. In both of these pieces he shows his wide variety
of sounds. From metallic scrapings ('Organizmusok 2') to crackles and
static hiss (in 'Organizmusok 3'), near silence and minimal, Goem
like beats. I fail to see the difference between both 'Organizmusok'
and 'Hat Taj', as both pieces have these distinct parts, so maybe
Habarc just has two different releases cramned on one CDR. Maybe a
release of either one would have been enough, because it's a lenghty
work now.
The other work is an obscure looking 3" CDR with hardly any
information. Here one piece of music is composed of static crackles
in an overall soft volume level. One might think of Francisco Lopez
connections, but there is, certainly in the second part, too much
going on to compare it with Lopez. But it works well here. As said,
Habarc is a true minimalist, and it's about time his works are better
heard outside his native Hungary. (FdW)
Address: <r.r.habarc@axelero.hu>

DEGIERE - DIFFUSION CHAMBER (10" by Emanate Records)
Behind DeGiere is Chris deGiere, a software engineer and electronic
musician from San Francisco, who has had releases before on No Type
and Throat and now his debut 10" on Emanate. Four tracks in total. He
uses both digital sound synthesis aswell as vintage analog
synthesizers. Much bass also included here... The first track '5.3
BeV Proton In Hydrogen' has a remotely away rhythmsection and subtle
melodies are mixed very much upfront. A nice, almost ambient piece.
In the next piece the rhythm - a digital mess up of rhythmboxes, I
think - is more upfront, but here too little, sparse melodies play an
important role. '42 Mev X-Ray' opens with an Oval inspired rhythm,
which gradually fades over in a dubby techno beat. Also the last
track is of this nature. Four really nice tracks of living room
techno. (FdW)
Address: www.emanaterecords.com

TED MINSKY - MADAME LE TED (CD by Angelika Koehlermann)
Sometimes I just think that every act on Angelika Koehlermann is just
a person named Angelika Koehlermann. But I know Electronicat is
somebody else, so maybe all these bands on Koehlerman are maybe real
bands? "Madame Le Ted" is the debut album of the young costume
designer Ted Minsky - the presstext reads. The cover says 'music and
lyrics by Anne Grabow' - so let's assume Grabow = Minsky. Minsky
grabs her influences from trip hop, techno and Bjork. Comes packed in
guitars, rhythms and samples. Texts are in German, English and
nicely, in Spanish, such as in the haunting 'Porque Hablo'. It all
stays close to popmusic, maybe of a more dreamy, a more desolate
kind, but nevertheless popmusic. What else can one say about this
music? It's nice, not earth shocking, but very much ok. (FdW)
Address: www.mdos.at

RM - 1025 (CD by Foton Records)
RM is not just the most beloved signature in Vital Weekly it also
stands for a cooperation between Jeroen Baeklandt and Peter van
Hoesen. They have several years of experience in electronic music,
but the more precise details are not revealed. On their CD '1025'
they have fourteen small pieces of music of electronic music, that
plays around with various common notions. There are bit of Pan Sonic,
bits of Ryoji Ikeda and bits of Oval. It results in an overall
clinical music that at times has it's warmer moments suc h as in
'Place Delespas', but overall is a bit too faceless to stand out of
the pack of electronic music. (FdW)
Address: www.fotonrecords.com

SPEAR - SAPPHIRE FLOWER (Cd by Ignis)
Spear is the name of a Polish artist who began his musical
explorations back in the early nineties. His debut-CD, titled "Of
silence", came out two years ago containing earliest material, that
was originally released on cassettes. "Of silence" was a remarkable
album that set the standard of Spear, and his complex explorations
into dark atmospheres and ritual intonations. Second opus, titled
"Sapphire Flower" continues the sonic voyage into deep space, this
time with an even darker atmosphere. Eight quite mesmerizing pieces
of electroacoustic-based drone-ambient moving somewhere between deep
space and ritualistic post-industrial. The atmosphere is tense and
mysterious in its expression. Not too far away from earlier Lustmord,
the sound picture is first of all built on subtle drones of low
frequencies, and wide spectres of electroacoustic sounds. Sources
are: prepared contrabass, tape-reversed bells and resonant drones
just to name a few. Processed narrative voices have been added to fit
the quite cinematic sound universe. A universe so deep that it
demands lots of continued listens to get just a little survey of the
landscape that lies within the territories of "Sapphire flower". Not
that it cannot be enjoyed right from first playback, but the music
seems so endlessly complex that new layers continually occur as you
return back to the album again and again. (NMP)
Address: www.ignisprojekt.com

JARRA - SAMA I (CDR by And/Oar)
This is Jarra's second disc of environmental works. Or rather: work.
His first one, reviewed in Vital Weekly 296, was a collection of
silences, recorded around the world. Here, on his new release, he has
one piece of unprocessed environmental recording, recorded in
Malayasia. The sunset comes in at 19:00 and while it gets darker,
it's starts to rain, gradually developping into a tropical rain. We
hear the insects and other animals of the jungle, and the rain
pouring on the hide, where Jarra is with his recording equipment.
When the rain is getting less, the animals come back and the jungle
is ready for the night. In all it's simpleness an effective
recording, which is a true beauty to hear throughout. It's a
composition by all means, a lively one for that matter, with subtle
changes, head and tail. Nature composes it's own music. All we have
to do is sit right there and register it's composition. It takes two
good ears to do so. Jarra has these ears, fortunally! One of the
better works in soundscaping I heard recentely. (FdW)
Address: <dk137@juno.com>

TUJIKO NORIKO - HARD NI SASETE (CD by Mego)
This Noriko Tujiko's third album, the second one for Mego. Recentely
Mego released a 12" with some pieces of Tujiko's first CD, but I
wasn't blown away by this peep into history. Her third CD is a
continuum of the second one, and that CD was alright. Tujiko's sound
pallet is still covered with dashes of rhythm, samples and vocals,
and in an odd way she tries to play popmusic - electronic popmusic of
course. She succeeds so so in this. Many of the lyrics seem to be
reduced to 'lalala' humming and some of the songs drag on, on end.
Most of them are simply too long and have not enough events in them
to captivate the listener until the end. For what she does, only half
the album would be ok, because she has an interesting approach in
music. One that needs, however, development and that has to be
explored further to make it an interesting hear for the entire length
of a CD. Now it's only half the fun... (FdW)
Address: www.mego.at

FOUND SOUND (CDR compilation by Pocketsound)
MICROCASSETTES (CDR compilation by Pocketsound)
From the true underground regions, we have here two compilations
which are thematic in approach. The first one deals with 'found
sound' and it includes sounds of CDRs and cassettes found on the
street but also on places where people just stuck a microphone in the
air. It's hard to describe what you hear on this CDR: spoken word,
answerphone messages, rock songs (found on cassettes), but also a
song like 'I Play Sports' by EEEE EEEEE, which is weird, but it seems
to hard that it was found somewhere. Most funny contribution here is
by Radboud Mens, who found a recording of Monica Seles and Gabrielle
Sabatini on a game of tennis, but one only hears them breathing and
shouting 'fuck me' in the end (or maybe it's wishfull thinking
here?). Most of these pieces are not credited to anyone in
particular, not even to the finders of this weird collections.
Included are also Artificial Memory Trace, Jockesses, DJ Heavy Cream,
Janna, David Cotner, Nick Sondy and Happy Scrappy Hero Pup. Comes
with a nice booklet of likewise found visual material.
The second one is a compilation of material that was submitted on
those small micro cassettes which normally are used for answering
machines or bootlegging concerts. The sound quality is usually not
that good, so I guess that's what is so appealling for the compilers
of this compilation. Here the music prevails over 'just' sound.
Although? There is weirdness here too, such as the cars hunking in
the piece by ID M Theft Able or a toy opera by Tore Boe and his
daughter, or the xylophone played by a microcassette recorder (by
III). There is also punk rock cum noise like music by Nobody and
President Nader or DJ Shuai. Much differences in the qualities of
these songs, but played with insanity and intregity. (FdW)
Address: http://home.earthlink.net/pocketsound

PHINNEY/MCGEE - GNARL/KNOT (CDR by Harsh Reality Music)
MENTAL ANGUISH - MESHWERK (CDR by Harsh Reality Music)
Chris Phinney teams up with another landmark of cassette culture: Hal
McGee, who used to run Cause & Effect and HalTapes and was in bands
like Dog As Master (all ancient history). Together they produced a
CDR with five lenghty, lenghty pieces. The cover lists all the gear
they have been using (instrumental gear that is) - which looks like a
likewise ancient shopping list of analogue treasures. Hey, this
recording is from 1996 (when it was released as two seperate audio
cassettes), so maybe that's ancient by some standards too? Their
joint interest is in producing droney pieces around their machines,
in which sounds slowly develop, knobs are twisted but with a slow
pace. Maybe it's fair to say that this is industrial music, the way
it developped from the mid 80s to the late 90s, incorporating
elements from drone rock, less the rock elements. Nice music, but
maybe a bit dated - maybe even by 1996 standards.
Then, at last, solo work by Chris Phinney under the same name he has
been using since God knows how long. It seems to me, but it's been a
while since I heard Mental Anguish, and what I heard must be only 5%
or less of what the man has made, that his music didn't change much.
Uptempo electronic music, this time lending rhythms of techno, drum &
bass and big beat, certainly towards the second half of the CD. All
of these features I didn't discover in the last recent work by him -
see Vital Weekly 255), so maybe that's where the main new thing comes
from. Loaded with samples, orchestral mainly, Mental Anguish' music
is maybe ready to become a big hit in the world of dance music, but
there is of course something underneath that makes it different (and
difficult, I'm sure, to some) and no doubt Mental Anguish is too old
to fall in the pitfalls of overground music. Let him stay underground
and breathe freely. (FdW)
Address: <aliensix@bellsouth.net>

ARG (CD by Sirr)
[DES]INTEGRACAO - PERMUTE (CD by Sirr)
Behind Arg we find one Graziano Lella, who studied sax and is
self-though bassplayer. He played in punk bands and art rock bands
alike, but converted to improvisation and electronics. On this solo
CD he has four pieces of his solo work. The first piece is for
concrete sounds, baritone saxophone and computer elaboration. It
sounds like an improvised piece by all means, and turns out to be my
least favourite piece. The second piece (no titles) the voice is the
main source of various computer manipulations, and the source itself
is not to be recognized in here. The third piece is for prepared bass
only, but it starts out with some high end feedback tones and
gradually moves over to a low end rumble, crackles and loose sounds.
A great piece of music, with much space for silence all over. Things
hoover around in a bath of silence. And more so about the final piece
of the CD, which is announced as 'concrete music' - here silence
seems to have taken over, certainly at the beginning and the only
thing one miss is the 'dedicated to Francisco Lopez' tag. But after a
while environmental sounds arise from the silence and the piece
starts to breath. Apart from the first piece which didn't do much for
me, this turned out to be a surprising nice CD of somebody at least I
never heard of.
The release by [Des]intergracao is a live recording of a whole group:
Carlos Santos, Joao Castro Pinto, Miguel Carvalhais, Nuno Moita,
Paulo Raposo and Pedro Lourenco. If one studies the artwork, one can
see various persons behind laptops, so, who knows, maybe it's safe to
assume that this is a big laptop band (or is that bigband laptop?).
It doesn't sound like a bigband laptop, really. [Des]intergracao
operate in a carefull, improvised style. It's hard to imagine that
there are six people working on this music, because everything seems
to fit together very well. There is space for everyone in this work,
which never goes out of control (maybe even stays a bit at the
controlled part for an improvisation) but displaying great pace
amongst these six people. Great work. (FdW)
Address: www.sirr-ecords.com

NERRRDDDD KIDS TO PERSONALL ROBOTZ (LP compilation by Digital Kranky)
GOVNO - HARD SHIT (CDR by Digital Kranky)
A compilation LP by Digital Kranky, with lots of people I never heard
of, but I assume they are all from Berlin's more underground techno
and beyond producers. They played electronic music - each from their
own angle. The Peaks have an eighties elektro feel with 'Be Yr Dog',
which is followed by an ultra modern piece by Phneute. There is dub
inspired works by Koenigjohannes and Autechre like work by Cos 'n
Bob. The most experimental work is by Eric Freeman, whose computer
voiced piece 'Alice' recites and repeates lines from Alice In
Wonderland. But even this serious piece doesn't seem out of place in
this collection. Others included are Horde, Blue Dressed Man (with
nice take on Oval-esque music), Peter Elflein, Forestopper and
Brigade Mondaine. An overall nice selection which reminds me of the
heydays of cassette releases, where compilations introduced you to
new and interesting musics.
Limited to 100 copies is the release by Govno, who offers no less
then fifteen short pieces, in almost twenty seven minutes. I am not
sure if I think he lives up to his title 'Hard Shit'... It's overall
short, rhythm pieces in which not much seem to happen, but given the
time frame that's ok. Crude, experimental techno pieces, which made
me think that the hard shit part is probably more the lo-fi
technology by which this was created then the actual musical content.
Maybe these pieces are more intended to be played in repeat mode
during y'r DJ set, then to be consumed in y'r living room. (FdW)
Address: www.digitalkranky.de

MERI VON KLEINSCHMID - CHI TAPE (CDR by American Archive Recordings)
Not being a very religious person myself (or maybe it should be: not
a very traditionally religious person), I have some problems with
this release by Meri von Kleinschmid. She has been working for some
15 years in electronic music composing tape-based and computer
manipulated works of sound art, describing it as "free-style deviant
sonic behavior". Currentely she works in Seattle as part of the
SoniCabal, a collective of composers. Her work 'Chi Tape' was
conceived in the early 1990s and is entirely composed of religious
speech, jingles, sermons and songs. It was produced back then on a
cheap cassette and is most likely not a tribute to the religious
spirits around Chicago, where Meri lived back then. For this release
it was revised and digitalized by Christopher DeLaurenti. It's a
strange work of... of music? It sounds more like a documentation of
crazy religious outings, then as a piece of music. It's for the full
length of an hour quite a site through here. No less then 62 short
tracks go by... I started to think after a while, well, that's
enough, I know it all by now. But maybe the lengthyness adds to the
crazyness here. Maybe it is a frighting document... (FdW)
Address: <chitape@voila.fr>

OPAQUE - YOUR WORDING HERE (CDR by Consume)
NECK DOPPLER VS GOLDFRAPP (CDR by Consume)
I saw Opaque playing live over a year ago, and I remember them as a
duo, but apperentely they are now a trio. They play guitars and
drums. That's it. They play this in a heavy noise mood, influenced by
the likes of Sonic Youth (with no singing), Dead C or Merzbow
(although less electronica) and everything in between those three
bands that play dirty, feedback based rock songs, with lots of fuzz
on guitars, distortion pedals working over time, in a rather free
form composition wise. They improvise their way on these seven songs,
which comes as a rather lo-fi thing to us. Recordings made in the
rehearsal room add to the tag that reads 'real underground'. If only
I knew how play drums or guitar - I wish I could go wild and do this
myself. Instead, and for that not a bad alternative - I listen to
Opaque.
Of course I miss a point, but when someone saw the CDR Goldfrapp vs
Neck Doppler, she said: THE Goldfrapp? They worked with Nick Cave.
Since I am not up to date with Nick Cave - after signing off after
the first 12" on Mute - I am a blind man. Me thinks Neck Doppler
takes the piss out of something famous - huh that is famous for those
who know - with this strange reinterpretation of Goldfrapp songs
(commissioned by Goldfrapp!). Neck Doppler - the poppy brother of
V/VM wickedness - just uses the titles and plays his own songs. The
Neck Doppler releases so far were rather pastiches of popmusic,
played with a touch of Residents. Here I have the impression they
progress towards their own style - and incorporate the real pop
structure, even when it still has that same old funny voice. Songs
are more coherent and maybe there is even a CD contract lurking
around the corner... shame their best so far is only limited to 27
copies. (FdW)
Address: www.consume.freeserve.co.uk