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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 444
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week 42
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RLW - TONLOSE LIEDER (CD by Parallax Records)
JÓHAN JÓHANSSON - VIROULEGU FORSETAR (CD/DVD by Touch)
Z'EV - HEADPHONE MUSICS 1 TO 6 (CD by Touch)
THE HAFLER TRIO - SCISSORS CUT ARROW (2CD/DVD by Phonometrography)
THE HAFLER TRIO - WHERE ARE YOU? (CD by Phonometrography)
JUSTIN BENNETT - BEIRUT STORY (10" by Spore Records)
MONOTONOS - B-LINE -> 8 (CDR by 4:13 sndrcrdngs)
YANN KELLER & VIBJØRG - RIDDLES (CDR by Holispolis)
TEMPERATURE WITHIN - END OF FALL (CDR on Stridulum Recordings)
ELLENDE - NO TALENT FOR LIVING (CDR on Stridulum Recordings)
THE URGE WITHIN - RAGE (CDR on Stridulum Recordings)
CHEFKIRK - EFFECTIVE SENTENCES (CDR by Deserted Factory)

 

 

 

RLW - TONLOSE LIEDER (CD by Parallax Records)
After the recent re-issues of the old PD work, it's now time to fast
forward in music history and take a closer look at the missing link
of disbanding P16.D4 and the first solo works of RLW. Fast forward to
1990. This is the time when the old techniques of tape-splicing,
cheap four track records and such like was replaced by cheap samplers
and computer interfaces (midi to control sequences), being an option
for everyone. Before this all settled down into RLW's first CD 'Acht'
(1992), he experimented with a lot of ideas, using the newly acquired
techniques. The abrassive side of P16.D4 became more subtle, more
dynamic and at the same time it was also reduced in sound and
approach. No less than twenty-two pieces from the sketchbook are to
be found on this CD, and each of them is described in the booklet.
Scratching records is for instance a main feature, like was done on
the SLP project, but it involves also organ like sounds, sterile
factory settings found inside the sampler and much more. In some
cases we get the raw version of a piece that ended up on 'Acht', but
the majority is unheard. Whereas on the later solo records by RLW
it's hard to recognize the original input, we can hear on this CD
him freely improvising around with instruments, sampling them etc. Of
course not every fragment is great, but it would not be right to say
that this album is only for those with a keen ear on history. It
bears the collage-like style of P16.D4 with the latter RLW style, but
in all its fragmented style it sounds, still after all these years,
like a fresh album. Only to be compared, I think, with P16.D4's
'Tionchor' album. A collection of nice short pieces, that make more
sense when heard they are groupep together. (FdW)
Address: http://www.parallaxrecords.jp

JÓHAN JÓHANSSON - VIROULEGU FORSETAR (CD/DVD by Touch)
Last year I reviewed a nice electro-pop CD by the Icelandic Apparat
Organ Quartet, four guys on four organs. One of these guys is Jóhann
Jóhannson and today I am playing his second release for Touch
'Viroulegu Forsetar' - and it's hard to imagine that this guy is
doing both things. The Apparat Organ Quartet is a fun band, playing
quirky melodies, whereas the new CD is a superserious modern
classical thing. A work for eleven brass players, percussion,
electronics, organs and piano. There is a simple melodic line that is
repeated throughout the four parts that this work has, but it's
repeated on different instruments with different voicings. It slows
down during the piece until it's very slow and then starts to speed
up again, until it has the original speed. A work of long duration,
in which the 'waiting' for the melody line to rise up again, is
filled with the darkest notes on the church organ and electronics. On
the Touch site we can read all that went through Jóhannson's head
while composing this, but he also urges us to make up our own story
about the hows and whys to this. Even though when I like such a
scheme very much, I am bound think with such an orchestral piece of a
big story, a requiem of some sorts, an instrumental cantata. Now it
remains empty. Beautiful music but empty music. I guess there are
worse things in life.
The DVD doesn't hold the filmic registration of the music, but a
surround sound version and one stereo version in a much higher bit
rate - for the die-hard audiophiles I guess. (FdW)
Address: http://www.touchmusic.org.uk

Z'EV - HEADPHONE MUSICS 1 TO 6 (CD by Touch)
Z'ev has of course been active since maybe 80% of the Vital Weekly
readership was either unborn or in diapers or playing around with
'Let It Be' - a mighty long time. Now mostly known for his percussion
work since the early eighties, Z'ev (aka S. Weisser) attended in 1967
a tape class with Joseph Byrd (founder of the first electronic rock
band The United States Of America) and the production of
electro-acoustic music has been a main feature in Z'evs work
throughout since then. On 'Headphone Musics 1 To 6', Z'ev offers six
pieces which should be listened of course on headphones (and the
booklet says 'not the ones you wear on the street'). All of these
pieces have been treated in the old-fashioned way, such as "editing,
phase relationships, time dilation, and inherent and 3rd harmonic
distortion". Although I must admit that listening to music using
headphones is something I very rarely do, but I did it with this CD
(because "reviewers who don't want to use headphones, should not
bother to review this) and I must say that headphones indeed greatly
advance the music. Much of the material appear in total stereo, but
it's spliced together in short time frames, meaning the sound bounces
from left to right in a very close range. This gives the music an
almost psychedelic feel. It's hard to recognize any of the original
soundmaterial, but my best guess it is a lot of processed field
recordings. As a bonus 'As Is As' from 1976 is added. This sound poem
was originally performed under the name of S. Weisser at a Sound
Poetry festival in San Francisco and uses two reel to reel tape
decks, three cassette players and two microphones. The density of the
looped voices, also with a great stereo use, fits the headphone use
quite well. The rhythmic element that is so present in all of Z'evs
work works well, also on this level of tape music. Great release.
(FdW)
Address: http://www.touchmusic.org.uk

THE HAFLER TRIO - SCISSORS CUT ARROW (2CD/DVD by Phonometrography)
THE HAFLER TRIO - WHERE ARE YOU? (CD by Phonometrography)
Another two full plates served by The Hafler Trio. "Scissors Cut
Arrow" is a documentation of an event held in 2002 at Clifford's
Tower in York, England. Documents through audio and visual, since
there is a DVD enclosed, to be played at random (not to forget a
small bundle of real photographs). The filmed material is much more a
documentation than a seperate thing, say the films used at the
concert, whereas the music seems to me as used on the event itself -
at least by judging the sound that comes with the DVD. We see drapes
or curtain in the wind, with nice lights shining on them, we see
people standing and watching and we see Mr McKenzie conducting his
'Chanson Dada' and the audience singing along. I hope I saw it all,
since with the Hafler Trio you never know if there are hidden angles.
The two CD's inside this package continue with the drone related
music that Phonometrography started with in their 'How To Slice A
Loaf Of Bread'. Each lasts about fifty minutes and but certainly the
dynamics prevent you from lulling into sleep. Swift changes can
create small shock waves. This work stands in the nice drone related
Hafler Trio works of recent.
The second platter has sound input by David Tibet of Current 93. I
never got beyond really the third or fourth Current 93 album in the
old, the whole folk phase and beyond is just not my cup of tea. But
'Nature Unveiled' and 'Dogs Blood Rising' are still masterpieces to
these pair of ears. For those who expect a couple of Tibet's folk
tunes set to the trio'd mood music, I have a disappointing message.
The recordings of Tibet's voice and 'blown apparatus' stem from 1982
and can be placed just a little bit earlier than the two
aforementioned LP's by Current 93. Recorded by Andrew McKenzie and
David Tibet when they were very young, reading strange books and
listened to music by Nurse With Wound. McKenzie supplied backing
tapes for concerts by Current 93, such as the notorious Amsterdam
recordings. Tibet is playing ethnic ritual instruments and using is
voice, but one doesn't have to be afraid that this a heavy, almost
dark gothic affair, as the material is processed with very much the
usual Hafler Trio techniques - whatever they are of course. Be it
computer treatment, analogue or otherwise, the result, with it's
stretched out sounds, is of the trio. But do not expect one long
stretched out work, this work easily shifts into various moods and
textures, which show a development of it's own for a couple of
minutes and then move on to the next. More like his earlier 'Kill The
King' release than his more recent work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.phonometrography.net

JUSTIN BENNETT - BEIRUT STORY (10" by Spore Records)
He who travels a lot, will come home with a lot of interesting
stories and sounds. Justin Bennett is such a guy. He travels around
the world, presenting his sound installations. He was in Beirut to
record the sound for 'An apartment in Beirut', a film by Renate
Zentschnig. Haven't seen the film, but here is my best guess: Bennett
stuck a microphone out of the window of the apartment and records the
environment. Even when I don't say 'Beirut' when thinking of a quiet
city, Bennett has carefully edited the recordings and brings out the
peace of the city. Sounds are pushed to the back, and the silence is
amplified. Then the amplified silence is processed by use of computer
means. The whole notion of Beirut disappears, and this could very
well any other city with traffic, people on the streets or a tramway.
It sounds, when written like this, maybe all so simple but there is a
lot of interesting sounds to be found on this record. Imagine The
Hafler Trio meeting Francisco Lopez in a tropical city and working
together on the result. Justin Bennett does it all by himself. (FdW)
Address: http://www.spore.soundscaper.com

MONOTONOS - B-LINE -> 8 (CDR by 4:13 sndrcrdngs)
There was a time when I saw Mr. Monotonos on a quite regular basis
and had the pleasure to be involved in some way or the other to be
dealing with his first two CDR releases on Bake Records. The
interests of Monotonos are with 'dark drone' music. But I decided to
move out of the big dirty city and he stayed and we lost a bit of
contact. Recentely I found his name on a compilation again and
checked his website, send an e-mail and got this CDR, on his own 4:13
sndrcrdngs label - four is favourite number, just in case you wonder
why there are only 44 copies around. On this release, which consists
of a twenty minute live recording this one guy plays the MS20,
guitar, a SK-5, a juno 60 and sound effects (and yet I never noticed
the fact that he has 5 hands). Starting out with tinkle of piano,
Monotonos over the course of this piece, depicts a world priarie's or
tundra, with permafrost on top and a chilly wind touching that one
tree that's left. Clearly inspired by lots of ambient post-rock
guitar bands (hello Stars Of The Lid, I'd say), but with a strong
enough voice of his own - still. After all those years. And packed
with a really nice cover. (FdW)
Address: http://www.monotonos.com

YANN KELLER & VIBJØRG - RIDDLES (CDR by Holispolis)
A duo from the squatting scene in Amsterdam, consisting of Yann
Keller on her selfmade electronics and metal bass and Vilbjørg on
voice. They have been playing together as a duo for five years and
occassionally work together with other people, such as the notorius
Dead Fish Fuck. The four pieces on this release were generated
through means of improvisation, but these two incorporate many
different musical styles into their work. Occassionally inspired by
techno and noise likewise, which mostly accounts for the music played
on the electronics, the used vocal techniques by Vilbjørg seem to
have one origin: improvisation. Not ment as a negative qualification,
as I think her range is quite wide. From more 'regular' singing she
goes out to a strong voice abuse, kinda Diamanda Galas meeting Jaap
Blonk, merging together into one person. Despite these references to
more popular tunes, this is by no means an easy disc. It's demanding
throughout it's length, and will leave the listener breathless after
it stops after it's 46 minutes. Difficult stuff but rewarding. (FdW)
Address: http://www.antidelusionmechanism.org

TEMPERATURE WITHIN - END OF FALL (CDR on Stridulum Recordings)
ELLENDE - NO TALENT FOR LIVING (CDR on Stridulum Recordings)
THE URGE WITHIN - RAGE (CDR on Stridulum Recordings)
Maybe it's because there is a dark metal goth outfit in the
Netherlands called Within Temptation, that made me classify
Temperature Within as something similar. That was before I listened
to the actual release of course. I don't know the music of my dutch
countryman very well, but Temperature Within hoover also in the
darker corners of the musical world. Ryan Conley is the man
responsible for the music. Besides having various releases on
MP3.com, this is his first real release. And it sounds to me that
this guy knows what he is doing. Defintely as dark as say Yen Pox,
Caul or a more melodic version of Troum, even with a touch of the old
Paul Schutze sound. Guitars make long shapes, the big drone in the
background and in the foreground there is a simply piano tinkle, a
guitar being strumm or an occassional rhythm. Apperentely the
release deals with the 'struggle of being human in a marred world,
having to witness the loss and decay of nature and man while
recognizing its fatalistic beauty'. Top heavy theme of course at work
here, but I can imagine that the listener that looks for pure beuaty
could find his thing here too. Nice one indeed.
The collective led by a Dutch man in Japan, under the banner
'Ellende' have exchanged enough material to offer a new release, on
again a topheavy thematic approach. Going for no less than some
insights on 'life, death and fear'. For those who love a good popsong
this is not the place to be. Ellende finds themselves in pretty much
the same corner as Temperature Within, but are less sophistacted.
Four lenghty pieces of dark drones, with in the background a slow
rhythmic sample or some stretched out sounds. Way more minimal than
the other one, but nevertheless with a moody impact.
Of an entirely different nature is The Urge Within. This is (or
perhaps, was?) a side project of Jonathan Canady of Deathpile fame.
Here he shows his love for the old Maurizio Bianchi sound. Recorded
using an analogue synth only, with no overdubs, in one take only.
Originally released in 1998 as cassette by the Circle Of Shit and
Labyrinth labels, now remastered and re-issued due to big demand.
Using a vintage Moog Prodigy and effects, The Urge Within indeed
comes close to the old Maurizio Bianchi sound: a heavy, somewhat
distorted sound that always works nice in terms of hypnotic sound -
strangely enough I'd say. Though these days I am not that big on
loving the old school industrial music, I'd like to make an exception
for such as sounds as the Urge Within, but then I am also a great
admirer of MB. A wall of sound that is both a striking force aswell
as dense and intense, this is indeed the way I like industrial music
best. (FdW)
Address: http://www.stridulum.net

CHEFKIRK - EFFECTIVE SENTENCES (CDR by Deserted Factory)
One of those more busy bees in the world of CDRs is Chefkirk, aka
Roger Smith. Although I must admit I had trouble with his first few
releases, the more recent ones are getting better and better. On this
new, with eleven tracks clocking in at just under forty minutes,
Chefkirk keeps his stuff together. The rhythmic and noisy elements
generated by computer means are still the main power of his music,
but he managed to add a certain depth and more dynamics into his
music. Also there is some more variation throughout this music, that
ranges from the noisy 'Verb, Mood And Voice' to more introspective
moments in the title piece and 'Choppy Sentences' or technoid rhythms
in "Ineffective Subordination'. Variation throughout I'd say and this
makes this into quite an enjoyable effort. (FdW)
Address: http://www.desertedfactory.com