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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 468
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week 13
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JONATHAN COLECLOUGH/LETHE - LONG HEAT (2CD by ICR Distribution)
KEITH BERRY - THE EAR THAT WAS SOLD TO A FISH (CD by Crouton Music)
ACTIVITY CENTER AND PHIL MINTON (CD by Absinth)
OKAPI - WHERE'S THE BEEF? (CD by Inflatabl Labl)
KYLE GANN - LONG NIGHT (CDEP by Cold Blue Music)
RICK COX - FADE (CDEP by Cold Blue Music)
JIM FOX - DESCANSOS, PAST (CDEP by Cold Blue Music)
KRYPTOGEN RUNDFUNK - 22.SZ (CD by Mechanoise Labs)
HOLLOWING/CHAOS AS SHELTER - HEAVENLY LETTER (CDR by Mechanoise Labs)
WE'RE FOR THE UNKNOWN, UNBOUGHT AND UNBOSSED (CD compilation by Glasvocht)
TORE HONORE BOE/EMMANUEL MIEVILLE (split 3"CD by Tib Prod)
OG X (2LP by Old Gold)
MASKINANLEGG - KUNSTMUZIK AUS NORWEGEN (CDR by Semll The Stench)
EEYOW KAROOM - MESSAGE FROM THE ZODIAC (CDR by Verato Project)
AIDAN BAKER - CANDESCENCE (CDR by Verato Project)
FABELBUCH (MP3 by Nexsound)
ANDREY KIRITCHENKO - SCATTER STARS (MP3 by N Netlabel)
NEXSOUND (CDR compilation by Nexsound)

 

JONATHAN COLECLOUGH/LETHE - LONG HEAT (2CD by ICR Distribution)
It's a pity that there is not much information on the cover of this CD, since it would be interesting to know what is going on here. Lethe is the Japanese Kuwayama Kiyoharu, who has released a CD on Trente Oiseaux of his cello/drone music aswell as a couple of releases on his on own label (and a collaboration with Kapotte Muziek is forthcoming on Intransitive). The reader who has been paying attention knows the name Jonathan Coleclough as being on this reviewer's favourite drone artists. Now, why would it be nice to know just a little bit more? Is it Lethe sending sound material to Coleclough? Perhaps. It seems to me the most logical thing upon hearing this CD - well, two actually. If you want you can order a copy and order an extra bonus CD with 'Long Heat - Second Part'. It has the majestic sounds that is the trademark of Coleclough. These long drone sounds that slowly change shape, change colour. But that's only one part of the game. Coleclough adds another layer of heavily reverbed sounds of falling objects. An additional third layer is used for utter dry sounds - scratchingthe surface. Three distinct layers of sounds that over the course of each disc start to intermingle with eachother, they slowly merge together, but it's not that a blurr arises, not at all. From these slowly merging masses a new distinct and powerful drone arises above the field which slowly moves on and follows it's own course. Once this course is gone, the material falls apart like small particles, suddenly, without warning.
But like said: is this what is done, or is it the work of Lethe producing this work with the use of Coleclough soundmaterial? Something says here, this is not the case. Hard to tell why, so it remains mere guessing. But is it important, all this guessing? Perhaps not, I am sure it is not important at all. Isn't this were the result counts? I am sure it does. And sure it does count. This is a beautiful work of drone music. Majestic stuff, moving slowly forward. Great stuff, but maybe I'm a little biased here. (FdW)
Address: http://www.icrdistribution.com

KEITH BERRY - THE EAR THAT WAS SOLD TO A FISH (CD by Crouton Music)
This is the third work I encounter from Keith Berry, following his CD on Trente Oiseaux (Vital Weekly 416) and Authorized Version (Vital Weekly 450). Berry studied a lot of philosophy - from Lao tzu to Nietzsche and from the I Ching to Wabi Sabi - after which he decided to set these ideas to music. Using just a computer and software, he creates some beautiful drone related music. I believe that the sources he uses are the usual field recordings, but on some of the pieces on this new work, I am led to think they might also be real instruments, at least in a couple of tracks. Usually Berry takes a minimum of sound information and expands just on that little bit of sound information. Stretching it, altering it, making multiple layers and what other tricks the computer has to offer. Maybe what Berry does is quite simple but it's hardly of importance (see also the review of Jonathan Coleclough and Lethe's new CD). A lot of things are simple and easy to make, but to make it stand out from the rest is where the real power of the music lies. And in these eight pieces on this CD, Berry shows that he can definetly join the ranks of Mirror, Ora, Monos and Coleclough. I guess it's something in the UK air that these people breath that makes them produce such wonderful, beautiful music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.croutonmusic.com

ACTIVITY CENTER AND PHIL MINTON (CD by Absinth)
>From the world of improvised music comes this new release on the German label Absinth, so far occupied only with improvised music, of a better kind. Activity Center are 2 people: Michael Renkel on acoustic guitar, zither and percussion; and Burkhard Beins on percussion, zither and selected objects. Plus Phil Minton on voice, which he uses in a way similar to Jaap Blonk, Maja Ratkje and others, but not so much extensively, the voice is not much present in the music here. In this music the acoustic aspects are totally pointed out. It's a kind of more relaxed improvisation, without much intensity, maybe for the more peaceful characters and moods. More intensity appears at the end of the 5th 16min track, and mostly in the last 3-4 minutes, and also in the last 6th track. There the squeaky voice sounds like a completely different instrument. Before it's like setting the atmosphere, which is without a doubt improvised, and as all of the better kind of that music should be and usually is to me: inspiring and captivating. Only some more intensity in it wouldn't hurt much. Now it's improv going to ambient without being atmospheric at all, and no electronics, only acoustics. Nice to hear. (BR)
Address: http://www.absinthrecords.com

OKAPI - WHERE'S THE BEEF? (CD by Inflatabl Labl)
It's the new Inflatabl Labl release! And here's the story: as I got this cd, the first time I listened to it was on a disc-man and with headphones, while walking outside in the city from one place to other. Being curious to hear it, I stopped and sat on a bench near a children's playground, amused by the music. Suddenly a foot-ball rolled over in front of me and then is when I noticed the little boy who was playing by himself, shooting the ball in different directions on the grass field in front of the bench I was sitting on. Then I realised he was actually looking for a companion to play with. Pity I didn't have much time and wasn't that much in a mood for that, so I just stood up, still with headphones and Okapi's cd playing, and just shoot the ball back to him. That's the moment when Okapi's music was most suitable with the general atmosphere, the idea of playfulness. Okapi is the Italian turntablist and sample cutup artist Filippo Paolini. I've heard him before as a part of Metaxu and Dogon, where the styles are contemporary electro-acoustic and jazzcore of a quite captivating kind. This, however, is his first solo album, totally different compared to Metaxu. There are 23 tracks on the album, all excursions into the playfulness of sounds, getting nearest maybe to jazz and more abstract hip-hop, with all the samples and beats skillfully combined and connected. Having in mind that Inflatabl Labl is (or tends to be) mostly a dance oriented label, may give a better and more complete picture of the music. From one of my more favourite dance labels, comes this certainly the most directly playful music they've released so far. Eccelente! (BR)
Address: http://www.inflatabl.com

KYLE GANN - LONG NIGHT (CDEP by Cold Blue Music)
RICK COX - FADE (CDEP by Cold Blue Music)
JIM FOX - DESCANSOS, PAST (CDEP by Cold Blue Music)
Three new CDEPs by the Californian Cold Blue label, each filled with the softer touches of modern classical and minimal music. Kyle Gann is a new name for me from this area. 'Long Night' is a solo piano piece, which he wrote under the influence of Martin Heidegger, "as a series of moods, connected neither linearly nor abruptly". I think he succeeded well. I have been playing this piece maybe five times in a row, last evening. Every time when it was over, I turned it back on, in the meantime doing the usual things such as reading, drinking coffee etc. Not that I detected various moods occuring within myself, but the gentle sounds just filled with the early evening beautifully. The sun was disappearing and the night was slowly coming, with a nice spring air filling and mixing the room with this music. And I reminded to play to some old Harold Budd music again.
Rick Cox has had a couple of releases before on Cold Blue Music and works mainly with the prepared electric guitar. On 'Fade' is aided by Thomas Newman on piano and Peter Freeman on bass and signal processors. Like 'Long Night', 'Fade' is a beauty too. The music is somewhere between electric and acoustic, a shadowland in between. The guitar plays sustained sounds via electronic means, the bass fills some of the gaps and the piano is in a free role, occassionally strumming and with the sustain pedal down, here the name of Harold Budd is always present. Slowly passing by, gliding between moods (again), this is again very gentle music. Maybe a bit kitschy or new agey, but it luckily stays on the right track.
Whereas the previous two releases are about twenty-five minutes long, the one by Jim Fox is just under sixteen minutes. His 'Descansos, Past' is for a small ensemble consisting of double bass and four cellos, which are overdubbed until there is a patterns of nine. The music is written in memory of John Kuhlman, who died a few years ago. The double bass is the solo instrument here. Although this is sorrowfull piece, it turned out to be least favourite of this three. The cellos play mourningfull tunes (a bit like Gorecki's third symphony), but the double bass dabblings were not well spend on me. I think I would have preferred it without, but it's a nice intimate piece afterall. (FdW)
Address: http://www.coldbuemusic.com

KRYPTOGEN RUNDFUNK - 22.SZ (CD by Mechanoise Labs)
HOLLOWING/CHAOS AS SHELTER - HEAVENLY LETTER (CDR by Mechanoise Labs)
Kryptogen Rundfunk is a new name for me, from Russia. So far there have been two releases on Mechanoise Labs aswell as a track on Susan Lawley's 'Extreme Music From Russia', all of which I never heard. '22.SZ' was already recorded in 2002 and supposed to be released by Zhelezobeton, but it ended up on Mechanoise Labs. Kryptogen Rundfuk uses analogue synthesizers, radio sounds and drummachines to create a sound that is best described as old school industrial meeting ambient-drone music. Harsh, metallic sounding shortwave radio sounds intercept with the analogue drones and occassionally a rhythmic patterns move in. Not a very innovative sound that is going on here, but it's nevertheless recorded and produced nicely. The eight pieces are varied enough, including the old Soviet anthem in 'Goworit Moskwa!' and each has strength of it's own. Maybe not the sort of thing I'd be playing a lot, but nice enough; it stands out among the rest of this kind of music.
Also on Mechanoise Labs is a collaborative work of Hollowing, for me unknown and Chaos As Shelter, from Russia. The latter is known here for his nicely subdued dark ambient music.Their collaborative work deals with flagellants, a mediaval group of people punishing themselves in the hope that God wouldn't do it. 'The Heavenly Letter' is a text that was said to come from God directly. Later on the movement would be announced to be heretics.The musical result of all this historical notion is something that is kinda unusual for Chaos As Shelter: their drone related works are present in a more aggressive, but altogether not really noisy, setting.The music is quite 'there', with processed organ sounds, analogue synthesizers, mumbling voices and metallic percussive sounds. This somewhat louder form of ambient industrial music works quite nicely and they capture the dark theme they chosen well.Grim ambient music about a grim subject.(FdW)
Address: http://www.mechanoise-labs.com

WE'RE FOR THE UNKNOWN, UNBOUGHT AND UNBOSSED (CD compilation by Glasvocht)
The small Belgium label Glasvocht brought us Teledroom before, a surprising nice CD with a mixture of electronics and guitar oriented singer-songwriter stuff, and with the release of 'We're For The Unknown, Unbought & Unbossed', they have found a whole bunch of likeminded artists. Sometimes things move towards the singer-songwriter stuff, although it must be noted that there is hardly any singing going on. Tinkling guitars, scratchy laptop sounds, melancholic atmospheres, such as in the pieces by Ljudbilden & Piloten, Do and Mapstation - all of which are convientely placed at the beginning of the CD. At the other side of the spectrum we find the hard banging, almost industrialized beats of The Idealist or the likewise hard breakcore of Fractional. In between the slightly more experimental music of Osso Bucco, Douglas Ferguson, Dijf Sanders, the ambient doodlings of Mnemosyne (with Aidan Baker on guitar) and Det Svenska Folket. Slightly normal guitar music by The Cheese and The Ordinary Seaman (with Glasvocht's headhoncho Philip Gheysen on vocals, guitars and electronics). A surprising varied compilation of all sorts of alternative music, mostly by acts which I never heard of, but with an overall high quality. Alternative popmusic for the better kind. (FdW)
Address: http://www.glasvochtrecords.com

TORE HONORE BOE/EMMANUEL MIEVILLE (split 3"CD by Tib Prod)
Moving from MP3 to CDRs to now their first real 3"CD - things move nicely for Tib Prod. And it might be no surprise, at least to me it isn't, that the real king of Norwegian music and art, Tore Honore Boe, is granted to be on this with three short pieces. He is now 'dissolving as a solo musician' (I believe I saw his last solo concert), meaning he builts small sound collages out of his previous live work. Sine waves, piano and electro-acoustic sound are the means to this end. This works best on '[Pregnancy]', a strong electro-acoustic collage of sound, crackles, bottles and objects in a constant battle.
Emmanuel Mieville is a new name for me, who studied with Philippe Mion and Jacques Lejeune, whom I sure everyone remembers from their 3"CDs for Metamkine. His piece, exactely one half of the release, is quite a serious example of quite serious acousmatic music. Sounds move up and down the scale, sources are blurred and it could easily be taken of an Empreintes Digitalis CD. Don't get this as a negative judgement, as the ten minutes are quite nice, although it's hard to form a picture of what Mieville does. Here I should hear more before a real judgement. The introduction is quite alright. (FdW)
Address: http://www.tibprod.com

OG X (2LP by Old Gold)
>From the label Old Gold a couple of releases were reviewed in the past, although I am pretty sure it was not everything that they released. But the releases that we encountered held a good balance between improvised music, free jazz, lo-fi singer songwriters and experiments - everything outside the mainstream, even if the mainstream is underground. The label now exists ten years (actually the celebration was already in 2004) and under the funny named 'OG X', they released a limited double LP spanning their artists and their unreleased works. So not a best of ten years, but a best of the rest. Many of the artists I never heard of, such as Die Spatzen, Tom Heasley & Ken Rosser, Buford Highway, Bon Vivants, Drue Langlois, How To Kick Yourself. The more familiar names include Jad Fair & R. Stevie Moore, Charlie Parker (which is a band, not the man), Yximalloo and Eugene Chadbourne. Although the outcome of this found box of lost classics is a diverse one, it's also one that bears the tag 'outsider' all over it. When it comes to the free-jazz punk of Charlie Parker or Zandosis or the lo-fi qualities of say Cheryl Leonard or the the really found sound of Craig, everything is beyond anything regular. And that makes this already into a classic of outsider music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.oldgold.org

MASKINANLEGG - KUNSTMUZIK AUS NORWEGEN (CDR by Semll The Stench)
After Maskinanlegg's tribute to Phil Spector (see Vital Weekly 453), he now returns with a sort of tribute to the masters of Norwegian Noise, under the banner of 'Kunstmuzik Aus Norwegen'. Some pieces are titled in German, and some are just strange, like 'Arne Nordheim Wunderbaum', 'Lasse Marhaug Wonderbra' or 'Trommeln Maschine Sage Heil'. The stronger conceptual meaning behind all of this eludes me. Maskinanlegg, aka Norway's Bjørn Hatterud, has produced thirteen, relatively short tracks of noise, loud and rhythmic. Not necessarily great stuff going on here, but in all it's shortness quite alright. More Cock ESP than Merzbow I'd say. Turntable, shortwave and low rate sampling are the main ingredients. With twenty six minutes just about the right length. Nice one for the noise kids. (FdW)
Address: http://home.earthlink.net/~thedweller/id3.html

EEYOW KAROOM - MESSAGE FROM THE ZODIAC (CDR by Verato Project)
AIDAN BAKER - CANDESCENCE (CDR by Verato Project)
With 'Message From The Zodiac', Eeyow Karoom, aka Mister Cosmo from Cosmonauts Hail Satan and Iron Avenga offers his second release for Verato Project and again he is dealing with noise. Nine tracks this time and whereas I was quite pleased with his first release, I can't say that I am very happy with this one. The nine tracks are monotonous blocks of feedback noise, guitars being fed through endless boxes of distortion, and even some of the singing is being fed through a similar line of distortion boxes. It's rather an outdated industrial noise sound that could have been released twenty years ago on a cassette by Broken Flag.
Now if you paid attention before, you could think: "ha, a new Aidan Baker release, and he does a lot of similar things too, so why not slag him off". I could indeed object that a lot of the stuff Baker does sounds very similar to his previous releases, but the six ambient pieces on this new release sound just nice again. As I was helping somebody with something this afternoon, we kept playing this release for a couple of times, and it provided just the perfect backdrop for doing some silly computer work. Ambient music that is necessarily present or 'there', but that fills your environment in a nice way. This new Aidan Baker release might easily be interchanged with any other (give or take) Aidan Baker release, the stocking around it looked nice! (FdW)
Address: http://www.verato-project.de

FABELBUCH (MP3 by Nexsound)
ANDREY KIRITCHENKO - SCATTER STARS (MP3 by N Netlabel)
NEXSOUND (CDR compilation by Nexsound)
In Vital Weekly 373 Andrey Kiritchenko's album 'Kniga Skazok' was reviewed, which was his first real CD, and as noted a pleasent hybryd of technoid rhythms and clicks and beeps. Originally the remixes that now become available as MP3s on Kiritchenko's Nexsound label were planned for a 12" on Ad Noiseam, but for one reason or the other it didn't happen. Which is damm pity, because the material is taken a lot further into the realms of techno music, via a hot steamy mix by Mikeal Stavostrand and Frank Bretschneider. More along Kiritchenko lines are the fuzzy mix by Mokira, the clicky Goem|FDW and Dalezy and Kotra. Kiritchenko opens up with a nice warm glitchy click and ambient fight.
Still on the subject of MP3s, Andrey Kiritchenko offers four pieces on 'Scatter Stars', on the N Netlabel. In these pieces, Kiritchenko moves forward into more rhythmic doodlings of the clicks 'n cuts area. These pieces, which go as one flow, have more groove than his previous works, with detailled beats, made out of the usual clicks and deeper bass thumbs. This stuff could easily be on a normal CD with a bigger distribution.
And for those who would like to spend a little money, they can order a CDR with highlights from Nexsound's recent catalogue, including pieces by The Moglass, Tom Carter & Vanessa Arn, Steinbruchel, Zavoloka, Muslimgauze, Kotra, I/Dex, Kim Cascone, Alla Zagaykevych and of course the headhoncho himself. Loads of microsounding stuff, but also uptempo technoid stuff and postrock. (FdW)
Address: http://nexsound.org
Address: http://minusm.com