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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 495
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week 40
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DEPARTMENT - SHAPE DECAY (CD by Laboratory Records)
JOHN TILBURY - BARCELONA SOLO PIANO (CD by Rossbin)
TILMAN EHRHORN - HEADING FOR THE OPEN SPACES (CD by Resopal)
FLATLINE SKYLINE - HORIZON GRID (CD by Mechanoise Labs)
STELLADRINE - YOU'LL NEVER SEE YOUR WORLD AGAIN (CD by Mechanoise Labs) *
MAJESSIC DREAMS - MAJESSIC DREAMS (CD by Oscillatone Recordings)
THEMBI SODDELL - INSTANCE (CD by Cajid Media)
CAMILLA HANNAN - MORE SONGS ABOUT FACTORIES (CD by Cajid Media)
MICHEAL GENDREAU/ALEXEI BORISOV/VIOLET - BOGATIRI (CD by Zeromoon)
BOOKS ON TAPE - DINOSAUR DINOSAUR (CD by Alien8 Recordings)
NADJA - TRUTH BECOMES DEATH (CD by Alien8 Recordings)
PAUL DOLDEN - DELIRES DE PLAISIRS (CD by Empreintes Digitalis)
GILLES GOBEIL - TRILOGIE D'ONDES (DVD by Empreintes Digitalis)
KARL BÖSMAN - UNTON (CD by Bad Beatz Records)
VENETIAN SNARES - MEATHOLE (CD by Planet Mu)
EARZUMBA - SIMULANDO UN REFUGIO (CD by Old Gold)
IF THOUSANDS - I HAVE NOTHING (CD by Silber Records)
KOUHEI MATSUNAGA - FOR GEMINI AND BACK TO HEIAN (3"CD by Feld Records)
THE HAFLER TRIO - IF TAKE, THEN TAKE: TRICKS, HALF TRICKS AND REAL PHENOMENA (LP by C.I.P.)
SURVIVAL UNIT - HONEST, RELIABLE, TRUSTWORTHY (7" by Styggelse)
SURVIVAL UNIT - ASSHOLE (CD, private)
BJERGA/IVERSEN - BURNING THE LIGHT AT BOTH ENDS (CDR by Carbon Records)
CHAOS THROUGH PROGRAMMING - GRAVE RAVE (CDR by Push The Button Records)
RP COLLIER - MAP OF THE SKY (CDR, self-released)
QUARLES VAN UFFORD - AURAKRAMP (CDR/MP3 by Narrominded)
ANDRE BORGEN - THE MOST ADVANCED FIELDS OF MODERN SCIENCE (3"CDR by Nervous Nurse)
FLUTWACHT - FIELD RECORDINGS (3"CDR by Nervous Nurse)
CHEFKIRK - CONDITIONS TO AVOID (CDR by Nervous Nurse)
MACHINEFABRIEK/FEVER SPOOR - DEVIATIES (CDR by Anima Mal Nata)
GEOGRAPHY OF NOWHERE VERSES MATHS, BALANCE, VOLUMES - MOTHER TO SILENCE (CDR by Humbug)
PAR ASLE PETTERSEN - FRAGMENTER 1996-2002 (CDR by Humbug)
JEBUS - THE ANTS ARE EATING MY HEAD (CDR by Elvis Coffee Records)
PSYCHIC SPACE INVASION - AND THE COWS GO MU (CDR by Elvis Coffee Records)
PSYCHIC SPACE INVASION - THE MAGPIE RHYME (CDR by Elvis Coffee Records)
THE BREATH OF FORGOTTEN PLACES (CDR compilation by Elvis Coffee Records)

 

 

 

DEPARTMENT - SHAPE DECAY (CD by Laboratory Records)
At last new work by Department, the Australian duo of Delov and Gatz. Their previous work was a double CD spanning recordings from 1997-2003 (reviewed in Vital Weekly 453) and before that they had two previous CDs (see Vital Weekly 306). A band working in isolation, or so it seems. There is an extensive use of synthesizers and rhythm-machines, but also guitars, bass, samplers and perhaps some sort of field recordings. It's safe to say that Department plays mood music: in each track they create a cinec mood, usually of a somewhat darker nature and explore this throughout the length of the piece. Rhythm seems to be playing a more important role than before, which makes it less easy, I guess, to put in your own home cinema soundtrack. Again, the production is done with great care, with eye for detail. What else is there to say? Not much really. It's experimental music for those who love a strong portion of ambient, without wanting to miss any rhythm section, but without being called techno. That thing. It's a pity they hoover in obscurity (at least from this perspective). (FdW)
Address: http://www.dept.com.au

JOHN TILBURY - BARCELONA SOLO PIANO (CD by Rossbin)
AMM are unfortunately not covered very often in the pages (or should that be bytes?) of Vital Weekly, but their free-form improvisation is among the best I know. Until recently a trio for quite some time, but Keith Rowe has left, so it's down to Eddie Prevost and John Tilbury. Prevost makes it every now and then, mainly for his work with Sakada or other improvisational activities, but solo recordings by John Tilbury are pretty rare. I think I heard his interpretations of Cage works once. The recording at hand here was made in Barcelona in 2003 and contains Tilbury improvising solo at the piano. Of course his playing is not limited to just the keys of the instrument. Tilbury plucks the strings, plays them with a bow (perhaps, I'm not sure there) or with his fingers. Music-wise this comes close to the music of AMM, naturally, I'd say, but this time we just hear the piano. Silence plays a role, as usual, in this highly contemplative recording. This is music to play in a sparsely lit room, and sink deep down into it. Put it on repeat for some time. (FdW)
Address: http://www.rossbin.com

TILMAN EHRHORN - HEADING FOR THE OPEN SPACES (CD by Resopal)
By night and day, Tilman Ehrhorn is a saxophone player, composer and teacher. He has played with Wayne Shorter but also big bands, symphony orchestras and such like. Yet, you couldn't tell if you were just playing this CD. I could have started this review by saying he also played with Frank Bretschneider and that he recorded for Mille Plateaux, and then 'Heading For The Open Spaces' would be less of surprise, since the influence of Bretschneider is quite clear. Ehrhorn plays around with fragmented loops, clicks and cuts. It's hard to say wether these clicks and cuts have anything to do with his background in jazz music, i.e. that he uses recordings of that, or that it's a totally separate interest. I assume the latter, since I don't recognize any saxophones or such. The only relationship to see is the use of a groovy sound, a bit like laid-back jazz rhythms that can be spotted in this. A groovy affair. Jazz glitch? If it doesn't exist, one should invent it. If Bretschneider's music is too cool and clean, then Ehrhorn might be right up your more dirty groove alley. (FdW)
Address: http://www.resopal-schallware.com

FLATLINE SKYLINE - HORIZON GRID (CD by Mechanoise Labs)
STELLADRINE - YOU'LL NEVER SEE YOUR WORLD AGAIN (CD by Mechanoise Labs)
Don't think I ever heard of Flatline Skyline before, but it's a band of R. Andrew Scott and Jacen Kemp. They play electronics and sing-a-long to those and 'Horizon Grid' is their debut. Crossing the boundaries of gothic like IDM, and IDM-like gothic, they are at times quite poppy, but somehow they won't make it to the charts with this. Overall, the atmosphere is a bit too dark and the songs are a bit grey. Occasional noise elements is another thing that will put the hit-makers of. However, me think this is quite a nice work. Kemp's singing reminded me at times of Marc Almond, but it's less soulful. That's perhaps my main objection against this CD: it all sounds to similar, there is no standout track, no real up-tempo one (or real down-tempo), a heavy guitar solo, god knows what else. For maybe eight or so tracks it's very good, but then the desire of change becomes urgent. Still, I think quite positive about it, would rate this with seven out of ten (if I would do such things).
Of an entirely different nature is the CD by the likewise unknown (for me, at least) Stelladrine. Maybe you think seventies when hearing the word 'concept album', but 'You'll Never See Your World Again' is a concept album, about space invading, rockets and time travel. But with the cartoon like cover this is all highly tongue in cheek: it's more a fifties view than say the recent 'War Of The Worlds'. Stelladrine uses synthesizers, drum computers, even guitars and voice snippets from old films ('they are electronic computers, not human beings') in order to make a take on 'Forbidden Planet' with healthy dose of humor. Quirky, up tempo music most of the time, with a spaghetti western sound on the guitar and theremin in 'The Future Isn't What It Used To Be'. It's all very retro futurist stuff and it's a most pleasant album for lovers of electro, sci-fi and such like. (FdW)
Address: http://www.mechanoise-labs.com

MAJESSIC DREAMS - MAJESSIC DREAMS (CD by Oscillatone Recordings)
A while ago, Vital Weekly reviewed 'Listen To The Moon', by Swedish Majessic Dreams, aka Mats and Jessica Majessic. That was a mini CD, and here is the full length. You can't refer to a- and b-side on a CD, but if it could, one could say that the first eleven tracks are on side a and the twelfth track is on side b, as it splits the album right in half there. Maybe at sixty-eight minutes it's all a bit lengthy but let's say. Majessic Dreams play folk music with an experimental edge to it. The experimentalism lies mainly in the use of computer treatments of sounds somewhere in the back. Upfront are the vocals of both Mats and Jessica (who only sing together on a few occasions, mainly it's them separate) and their guitar playing. In 'As Your Hands Fold In Mine' they sing together and they sound almost like Simon and Garfunkel (which I happen to like). So far so good, but to have twelve tracks is a bit much, even when the thirty-four minutes of 'Majessic Dream' is a dam fine, psychedelic piece of swirling drones, organs sounds, vocals and guitars, it's maybe a bit too much after the eleven pearls we already digested. I can imagine this music is too sweet for some people, me included, but Simon and Garfunkel don't spin my player every day either. A well succeeded full length debut. (FdW)
Address: http://www.oscillatone.com

THEMBI SODDELL - INSTANCE (CD by Cajid Media)
CAMILLA HANNAN - MORE SONGS ABOUT FACTORIES (CD by Cajid Media)
More music from downunder: this is Thembi Soddell's second release, following 'Intimacy' (see Vital Weekly 417). Soddell is one of the few female microsound artists I know, but her work can easily meet up with the best brothers in the field. Soddell uses an extremely dynamic sound: for minutes things can be utterly soft, seemingly with nothing happening and then things come to an explosion and they are very noise related. Again she works with field recordings but apparently also with instrument textures, but it beats which instruments that should be (the cover states cello and guitar). This gives this a slightly more musical edge than say the work of Francisco Lopez, to which especially the softer parts are related, and Kozo Inada, of whom she uses some of the very abrupt breaks in the music. Soddell comes up with a fine follow up to the debut, although no longer a surprise, still quite a nice one.
On the same label is the debut by Camilla Hannan, another female artist. 'More Songs About Factories' uses location recordings of industrial sites in Melbourne, Australia. A factory can be a great source of rhythmic music, Vivenza proved this already in the early 80s. At times Hannan sounds a bit like Vivenza, with the plain, repetitive sound of a machine. But that's only the beginning of the journey: as the CD progresses, things evolve in a more ambient sort of way, but always with the rhythmic component on it's back. And whereas Vivenza mainly used some equalization and a bit of sound effects, Hannan uses the entire set of possibilities of the computer to explore every micro-second of the music. Sometimes these processing may sound a little bit too simple and straightforward in terms of time-stretching, but throughout this is a most enjoyable CD and a well-made debut. (FdW)
Address: http://cajid.com

MICHEAL GENDREAU/ALEXEI BORISOV/VIOLET - BOGATIRI (CD by Zeromoon)
In December 2003 Violet, Micheal Gendreau and Alexei Borisov went on tour in Russia, playing concerts in Moscow, Saint-Petersburg and Yaroslav. Three man with a big time history in experimental music. Violet is Jeff Surak, formerly of 1348, New Carollton and Watergate Tapes, these days of Zeromoon, V. and Violet. Gendreau is since about twenty years the man behind Crawling With Tarts, as-well as a solo artist and Alexei Borisov played in the Soviet Union's first new wave band (Center), played techno as F.R.U.I.T.S. and these days as a solo musician on every major festival in Europe and North America. Each artist delivers the best fragment of their solo concert.
Micheal Gendreau opens here with a very controlled piece of feedback, deep end drones, static hiss and crackles, yet he manages to avoid the traps of microsound. Gendreau's solo music bears not much resemblance with Crawling With Tarts (although in all honesty I can't remember when I last heard that), because it's much more present, upfront and heavy, but he keeps things nicely under control.
The piece by Alexei Borisov is one that is a little bit less focussed and swiftly goes out of control. He feeds his sounds through a bunch sound effects, playing around with the notions of noise music but it seems a bit unfocussed to me.
Violet's piece is 'Demonstration Of Decay' consisting of an one-minute short-wave piece played on a variety of CDRs, cheap samplers and micro-cassette recorder, but which surprisingly works in ambient way for the bigger part of the piece. Just towards the end things go out of control and the decay becomes apparent. As a document of a tour quite alright. (FdW)
Address: http://www.zeromoon.com

BOOKS ON TAPE - DINOSAUR DINOSAUR (CD by Alien8 Recordings)
NADJA - TRUTH BECOMES DEATH (CD by Alien8 Recordings)
I am not sure if the Dinosaur in the title is meant to be the dinosaur band who just released a new studio CD, their first in eight years, but let's hope that in thirty years time, Books On Tape, will sounds as energetic on his new album. Books On Tape is the beat-punk project of Todd Drootin, from Los Angeles. His previous releases were made available as MP3 as-well as on CD and 10" by No Type/Greyday. On his new release he offers fourteen catchy tunes of punk inspired techno/hip hop music. They are cut with the speed and energy of punk but all created with electronica. Books On Tape likes to play around with the sounds from organ (or perhaps a plug in thereof), creating a fat tune, throwing in a few guitar samples and the occasional vocal snippet. Not every track is up-tempo, but they are all played with a certain rawness that is not seen often in the world of smooth electronics. It may seem that I think this is all just thrown together, but it's not: the tracks are made with great care, close eye for detail. It progresses from 'Sing The Blues' (see Vital Weekly 385), adding more variety to the dish, but maintaining it's raw power.
On the same label, but something entirely different is Nadja. With the previous release 'I Have Tasted The Fire Inside Your Mouth' (Vital Weekly 425), Nadja was still a solo project of the omnipresent Aidan Baker, but now it's Baker on guitars, vocals, drum programming and Leah B. on bass and vocals. 'Truth Becomes Death' is the first release on a 'real' CD. When Baker has his solo hat on, playing his ambient guitar pieces, I am usually (not always) quite pleased, but with the first Nadja that wasn't the case, and also 'Truth Becomes Death' is not much of my coffee. Let me state I like drone rock, I like Earth, Sunn 0))), Troum and all the heavy weight ambient music makers, and to a certain extent I enjoy Nadja too. The slow, spiraling sound of a drum-machine set against the wall of guitars, bass and vocal howls is quite nice, at times. But the sound is too full, too dense, with not much air (and probably intended to be like that, no doubt), but it's a bit too blurry for me. The details are gone, admits in this vast mass of sound. Not bad, but perhaps not my thing to the extent that I would play this very often. (FdW)
Address: http://www.alien8recordings.com

PAUL DOLDEN - DELIRES DE PLAISIRS (CD by Empreintes Digitalis)
GILLES GOBEIL - TRILOGIE D'ONDES (DVD by Empreintes Digitalis)
There is so much music crying for attention. Or music being the attention seekers for other things. Paul Dolden's 'Entropic Twilights', the opening piece of his CD 'Delires De Plaisirs' deals with this notion by blending tons and tons of music together, like the world's history of music, sampled together, stretched out, compressed: guitars play prog rock tunes, along ethno percussion, along a classical choir etc. Plunderphonica anyone? Yes, perhaps it's plunderphonica indeed, but not really of my liking. Any reference to the original is gone, and the whole thing sounds digital and clean, and almost like a progressive rock piece at times. Not my cup of anything really. The other two pieces are from his so-called Resonance Cycle. They are 'The Gravity Of Silence. Resonance #5' (for flute and tape) and 'The Heart Tears Itself Apart With The Power Of Its Own Muscle. Resonance #3 (for violin, viola, cello, double bass and tape)'. Here two no introspection, no point of rest, but big blown sounds coming from every corner of the speakers, almost violent in approach, macho music. Muscle music for heavy weight, with similar progressive rock influences (including a ditto cover). Definitely not my thing.
Of much, much more interest is the CD by Gilles Gobeil, with three pieces for the Ondes Martenot, one of the first electronic music instruments, already built in the early thirties, if I'm not mistaken. The Ondes Martenot is played by Suzanne Binet-Audet, and Gobeil processes these sounds via all sort of manipulation, mostly computer me thinks. In 'To Suzanne Binet-Audet' the instrument is linked to samplers, synthesizers and a sound processing unit, and the two melt together. This is serious music, with the capital 'S'. In terms of academic approach, this seems to me a continuation of whatever Empreintes Digitalis has been doing for the last decade. The up and down gliding of tones and sounds: it's something that has been explored before too, but Gobeil's electronic work, linking 'ancient' technology and to new technology is a very work, which sounds on this DVD great. No images, just music is here... (FdW)
Address: http://www.electrocd.com

KARL BÖSMAN - UNTON (CD by Bad Beatz Records)
A while ago I reviewed 'Das Kind In Der Küche' by Karl Bösman, a CDR release by Tosom, with atmospheric sounds-capes, sound effects and electronics. Now he has released his first real CD on what seems his own label, perhaps not. For reasons unclear the recordings on this CD were made in 1999, but see the light of day now, six years later. Like before, Bösman works his way through a set of atmospheric sounds, which in the first few tracks get the addition of layered guitar, but towards the end, say the last three tracks, all seem to be more electronic. Here the rhythm elements also returns. It's nowhere similar to anything dance related, just a recurring bunch of repetitive sounds. The music is not vaguely at all, it's very much the opposite: there is lots of dynamics explored here, giving the material an almost modern classical approach, such as in 'Esplentorture', but it keeps leaning on the darker edges of music. Quite forceful with ties in both ambient, modern classical music, musique concrete all sauced with a touch of darker atmospherics. (FdW)
Address: http://www.badbeatz.com

VENETIAN SNARES - MEATHOLE (CD by Planet Mu)
Can't say I followed the career of Aaron Funk, aka Venetian Snares, but what I heard sounded good. It's up-tempo, aggressive breakcore style may not appeal to me on a daily basis, but every now and then, this is surely ok. This makes it hard for me to compare this with his previous works, of which I heard 'Doll Doll Doll' to some extent, but the crashing beats sound harsh as it should be, cutting and splicing them together with darker than life vocal samples, mean industrialized sounds and orchestral bits. What else can I say? Great, dark breakcore. Nothing more, nothing less. (FdW)
Address: http://www.planet-mu.com

EARZUMBA - SIMULANDO UN REFUGIO (CD by Old Gold)
Apparently this is already Earzumba's tenth release, so I am sure I missed some here and there, which is a pity, as so far, 'Simulando Un Refugio' included, I liked what I heard. Earzumba is Christian Dergarabedian, once a founding member of Reynols, a member of CD Lens Cleaner Trio and since time a solo artist. The eleven tracks on this new album can be seen as one long track. Earzumba plays synthesizers, percussion, guitars and piano, but he knows how to process these with the use of a computer beyond the point of recognition. In one long mix, the eleven parts drift by, moving from hectic and furious sound collages to more ambient like passages, such as 'Con Sus Heroes Famosas'. As ever an eye for detail in the production, there isn't a single moment of weakness here. I never realized before, but there is a strong resemblance between the work of Earzumba and the old Brume work: the strong collage approach, with hectic and nervous changes, the percussive element and 'the never a moment of silence' approach. You can get lesser things to be compared with. Another great CD. The only trap Earzumba shouldn't fall into, is producing too many similar works (like Brume did for a while). (FdW)
Address: http://www.oldgold.org

IF THOUSANDS - I HAVE NOTHING (CD by Silber Records)
Despite their five years of existence, four albums and three EPs, I never heard of If Thousands, the duo of Christian McShane and Aaron Molina. They return, so I am told, here to the more experimental days when they first started out. They receive help from Paul Metzger of TVBC on banjo and GST&2i on horns. Together they recorded this album during a two day studio improvisation, which were mixed by Ben Durrant later on. If Thousands play drone music that takes their drones from guitars (unlike others who use synthesizers or field recordings - to make the difference a bit sharper) and the music they come up with here bears resemblance from the likes of Stars Of The Lid or Windy and Carl - the beatless form of post rock. Heavy mood music with a darker touch. Slow waving tones, with guitar pedals stuck firmly in endless modes form the backbone of many of the tracks and on top they play a sparse melody or sometimes merely a set of tones. Gentle music with a darker edge to it. Maybe not entirely uplifting, but certainly one that could settle the mood on an autumn evening. (FdW)
Address: http://www.silbermedia.com

KOUHEI MATSUNAGA - FOR GEMINI AND BACK TO HEIAN (3"CD by Feld Records)
A lot of people are thanked on the cover of Kouhei Matsunaga's mini CD 'For Gemini And Back To Heian'. While listening to the music, I have been looking at this list: Achim Wollscheid, Mika, Ilpo... and I couldn't help noticing some similarities between Matsunaga's music and that of Wollscheid and Pan Sonic. Not that Matsunaga rips plainly the music of these people, but it seems that he uses sounds from them. The clicking sounds from various Wollscheid installations, some of the rhythm patterns of Pan Sonic, but luckily enough Matsunaga transforms these in his computer. Maybe you know Matsunaga as a producer of noise music, but on this mini CD things are kept quiet - well, to some extent. It's more a long collage of rhythmic sound, of non-sequenced loops, feeding through some sound effects. Sometimes it works very well, but sometimes, it seems that he is searching too much for the right sound. In that sense it sounds like a live-in-studio affair, than a thoroughly composed work. It's o.k. though, but not great. (FdW)
Address: http://www.feld-records.com

THE HAFLER TRIO - IF TAKE, THEN TAKE: TRICKS, HALF TRICKS AND REAL PHENOMENA (LP by C.I.P.)
With a lot of our reviews we don't mention the cover of the product. Usually because we think it's the music that we should care about, but here is an exception: this new LP by The Hafler Trio is by far the best dressed item of the week. A mirrored image in full color with extra black over black printing and a trapezoidal booklet, with more images and text. Text in the usual Hafler Trio fashion, texts that elude me most of the time, to be honest. You read a few lines, put the booklet aside and think about what you read. In the meantime you can play the music. What is noteworthy here is that each side apparently has more musical pieces, but that's just (another) illusion - like so many things with The Hafler Trio. Each side runs like one track, even when the eye notes more pieces per side. Nothing is what is seems to be. The Hafler Trio raises questions and never gives answers, and even if it would do, you still wouldn't understand it. The music is a continuation of the drone music that The Hafler Trio have been exploring ever since their return to the music, late 2002. The b-side is a bit similar to the work executed with Autechre on their second collaboration: soft drones that end abruptly a few times in the beginning, and then there is a click sound. After that things start again. Overall it seems to be fading out at a very slow speed. As before and as to come, The Hafler Trio raises questions as-well as eyebrows, but they do this with the great sense of esthetic. As a true devotee no objections here. My favorite of this week. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cipsite.net

SURVIVAL UNIT - HONEST, RELIABLE, TRUSTWORTHY (7" by Styggelse)
SURVIVAL UNIT - ASSHOLE (CD, private)
Here is one of those reviewers nightmares: I think the band is called Survival Unit, that the 7" is called 'Honest, Reliable, Trustworthy', the CD is called 'Asshole' and the label for the 7" is Styggelse. Couldn't find a label name for the CD. A search on the net did lead me to some website about the band, but there too it wasn't easy to find any real information, but looking at the provided images, it seems to me that Survival Unit are one of the old school industrialists. The 7" sees them working along a synthesizer line and some bass guitar being fed through an echo unit. Nothing special, and rather low-key.
The CD has five long tracks of piercing electronics, no bass guitar, nor any sign of the rhythm machine. In the first track things are still a bit down to earth, but by the time we reached the fifth track, things are pretty noise based. However it's the kind of noise that didn't appeal to me very much. Most of the time it was unfocussed, non-directional, and too random. Things that would have been released in the eighties on cassette in an edition of ten copies, but apparently that sound is popular enough these days to celebrate a CD release. (FdW)
Address: http://somrec.com/survivalunit/

BJERGA/IVERSEN - BURNING THE LIGHT AT BOTH ENDS (CDR by Carbon Records)
It has been noted before but the ongoing collaboration between Bjerga and Iversen, two of Norway's unsung underground heroes is a particular fruitful one. In the beginning I wasn't too pleased with it, but the past few releases have made me quite happy. 'Burning The Light At Both Ends' is a thirty some minute work (their current favorite length, I believe) of what sounds to me like a bit more electronic before than before. An ongoing backdrop of what could be a distortion pedal, with the high frequency range, an ongoing, shortwave like sound. Furthermore the whole thing is at a considerable low volume, which is also extraordinary for two guys who share a common fascination for more noise related music. The dark and brooding atmosphere covered in these sounds is again a step forward, taking the proceedings away from the earlier improvised work towards more pre-planned works (or so it seems). Still raw and untamed, but quite nice. The most refined moments to date. (FdW)
Address: http://www.carbonrecords.com

CHAOS THROUGH PROGRAMMING - GRAVE RAVE (CDR by Push The Button Records)
Things have been silent for Chaos Through Programming, from Malmö, Sweden. Their previous release, 'Rock N Roll Genocide' dates from more than a year ago (Vital Weekly 427), but still the sampler plays an important role in the music of Chaos Through Programming. Breakbeats, samples of orchestras, drums, guitars - the whole musical lot of twenty centuries of music seems to be crammed into these thirty-one minutes. Chopin's funeral march appears in 'Happy New Deer Hunting Season', crashing nicely with the beats. Sometimes a sample passes by and it sticks in your head as one of those things you know, but can't place. Highly energetic, along the lines of Venetian Snares (although with a less deep production) or Books On Tape - to mention two others from this week's weekly - with the speed and energy of punk music. Maybe not as fresh as it was before, you can be pleasantly surprised once I guess, but nevertheless a great release, again. (FdW)
Address: http://www.pushthebutton.tk

RP COLLIER - MAP OF THE SKY (CDR, self-released)
There is so much more to discover, like RP Collier. His albums are available at CD Baby and are self-produced CDRs. Collier plays guitars, thumb pianos and toy synthesizers. It's not easy to say what this music is about. Collier uses to quite some extent ebows to play his guitar, there is rhythm, it's a bit moody. It's not that we are dealing here with something that is very unique or anything, but the retro guitar sound (a bit Frippisch, I'd say) sounds a bit outdated. It seems as if Collier wanted to record some music that he likes himself, without asking too many questions, such as 'is this something anyone else would like to hear'. None of the nine pieces wants to stick in the mind, it washes away, right after it's finished. Too smooth and not enough sparkling ideas of it's own, I think. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cdbaby.com/rpcollier2

QUARLES VAN UFFORD - AURAKRAMP (CDR/MP3 by Narrominded)
Only recently, Vital Weekly 469, I reviewed the first release by Morbide Eenheid, a Dutch free rock combo, playing along the lines of people on Amanita and King Crimson. The band no longer exists, but as a fenix out of its ashes, here is Quarles Van Ufford (which in Dutch is the name of gentry), whose aim it is to make one 'good' rock record. Reduced to the core of guitar, bass and drums, Quarles Van Ufford is helped by a violinist and a saxophone player. The eight pieces sound powerful, with groovy drums, heavy rock riffs, all being played tightly enough. This is of course all highly arranged music - there isn't something happening that shouldn't happen. That gives the music, despite it's power and intention, also a somewhat clean character, a bit of distant and alien sound. But for those who love their music to be forceful, mathematically calculated, or those who think King Crimson is still king and Zorn didn't produce enough, know where to get it. It's available on a limited CD and free to download on the website of Narrominded. (FdW)
Address: http://www.narrominded.com

ANDRE BORGEN - THE MOST ADVANCED FIELDS OF MODERN SCIENCE (3"CDR by Nervous Nurse)
FLUTWACHT - FIELD RECORDINGS (3"CDR by Nervous Nurse)
CHEFKIRK - CONDITIONS TO AVOID (CDR by Nervous Nurse)
A bunch of new releases on the German Nervous Nurse label, which is guaranteed time for noise. Andre Borgen is a new name for me, and on his seven track, three inch CDR he offers a blend of distorted sounds. How these were generated we aren't told, but it could be, me thinks, a bunch of computer generated noises. Although in the first track 'Ijjuggyug Jkgvyyyyy' things are rough edged, and could set the tone for the entire release, this is only partly the case. Over the course of twenty minutes things get more and more interesting, with small events happening, more detailed sound, refinement of tones and attitudes. Of course Borgen doesn't play a single melody, but has a keen ear of shaping what can't be shaped.
Flutwacht has had a couple of releases before, and on this 3"CDR they manipulate a field recording made in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium. It doesn't say wether this is a concert recording or something else (putting up a microphone in the air?). Let's say this is a concert recording. Before I knew Flutwacht (which I named Fluchtwacht by accident, but no-one complained) as a typical harsh noise project, but here the stuff is more mellow, if that can be possible at all. Slowed down voices, vague rumble of percussion and what seems to be the absence of electronics. It's ok for say ten minutes, but the double length vs the single mindness of this is a bit too long. Although the new direction is always good!
And Chefkirk? Well, he was away for a weekly or two, but here he returns on his mission to release a CDR on every CDR label in the world, with a nine track noise beast. It seems that he has left his rhythm and noise period behind in favor of a more noise oriented direction, a return to his prime source. However, it also seems that the experience of releasing an endless stream of CDRs over the past two years has paid of, since the noise he is putting on here is quite noise, with enough variation throughout, small, subtle (however strange that word might seem) changes and odd shapes to form his material. Personally the rhythm and noise was more attractive to me, but this is quite nice too. (FdW)
Address: http://www.nervousnurse.net.tc

MACHINEFABRIEK/FEVER SPOOR - DEVIATIES (CDR by Anima Mal Nata)
If I'm not mistaken this is the first release of Machinefabriek on a different label than his own, and perhaps also the first release on a 5"CDR, in stead of a 3"CDR. He shares this disc with Fever Spoor, and it's released by Anima Mal Nata, Fever Spoor's own label. The two cuts by Machinefabriek were recorded live in Arnhem and shows his recent interest in playing a more noise related set of music when playing live. Feedback, distortion and sound streaming of a bunch of mini-discs are all knitted together in a Merzbowian blast.
The three pieces by Fever Spoor are most likely studio recordings. Sound-wise this is along the lines of the live sound of Machinefabriek. Lengthy and dense fields of distorted electronics, but sometimes the sound of a thumb piano or fragments from a film leak through. Nice stuff, but not something that hasn't been done before. Nice, not great. (FdW)
Address: <mherms@home.nl>

GEOGRAPHY OF NOWHERE VERSES MATHS, BALANCE, VOLUMES - MOTHER TO SILENCE (CDR by Humbug)
PAR ASLE PETTERSEN - FRAGMENTER 1996-2002 (CDR by Humbug)
More riddles, this time from Humbug. The band is called Geography Of Nowhere Verses Maths, Balance, Volumes (certainly leading in the competition for the most weird band names) and the title is 'Mother To Silence'. But that's about all we are told here (and the Humbug site is down for the moment). Music-wise, Geography Of Nowhere Verses Maths, Balance, Volumes play free form psychedelic music. Jamming around on guitars and percussion, feeding it through their echo machines, it sounds recorded in their rehearsal room. No big time money on production here. The music is only so so, most of the times the improvisations drag on, seemingly without end. Vague rumbles on the percussion (a bit like the old Zoviet*France, but without coming near to their power), guitar jarring and whispering vocal sounds. Not my thing.
Previous work by Par Asle Pettersen was reviewed in Vital Weekly 331, and things have been silent since then, until now, when he comes up with a release of work he recorded between 1996 and 2002. It's subtitled 'A Collection Of Sketches, Unfinished Pieces and Concert Material made between 1996 and 2002'. And just like his previous release this is another fine and delicate work of computer processing (well... looking at the years, maybe not) of sine waves, synthesizer sounds or found sounds/field recordings (one track includes the sound of wine glasses). Still along the lines of Behrens, Meelkop and Roden, but with the big difference that Pettersen indeed creates sketches here as the twelve tracks don't take much more than just thirty minutes, which adds to being something of its own. It's pity that his name is not much more of a household one, his work is pretty good! (FdW)
Address: http://www.tibprod.com/humbug.htm

JEBUS - THE ANTS ARE EATING MY HEAD (CDR by Elvis Coffee Records)
PSYCHIC SPACE INVASION - AND THE COWS GO MU (CDR by Elvis Coffee Records)
PSYCHIC SPACE INVASION - THE MAGPIE RHYME (CDR by Elvis Coffee Records)
THE BREATH OF FORGOTTEN PLACES (CDR compilation by Elvis Coffee Records)
The Elvis Coffee Records label from Wales releases small editions of works by people from the South Wales area, but not exclusive to that area. Most of these artists are new to me, people like Jebus. It features members of Psychic Space Invasion, Green End Listening Station and Directive 4 (all never heard of, but surely so when I finished this review). Jebus plays around with a battery of guitars, pedals, samplers, theremin and electronics and all of the tracks on 'The Ants Are Eating My Head' are from the first session as Jebus. Sometimes drone related, sometimes glitchy and scratchy, the sound of guitars seem far away here, most of the time. But it's spacious character makes this into quite a nice, atmospherical release. Underground psych music.
Psychic Space Invasion is an one-man band, consisting of Ian Holloway and 'And The Cows Go Mu' is his fourth release. According to the information, this a more meditative release than the previous three. This is the first release in the Liminal Animal drone series, 'the liminal phase is the point during a ritual where the participants is journeying between one state of being and another'. Four lengthy cuts of drone music, made up with a variety of cheap machinery, or it seems to me. Textured sounds swirl in and out of the mix, with the addition of percussive elements. I am not sure if I went to another state, but it was quite a pleasant release.
'The Magpie Rhyme' is the latest release by Psychic Space Invasion, and, again according to the information, sees a return to 'the more abstracted ambient territories that characterized previous releases'. Holloway uses here guitar, harmonica and melody horn, along with a box of broken glass. Here the music is also lurking in ambient corners, but is throughout more musical and less based on drone music. Strange percussive sounds and guitar feedback set against a wall of ambient sounds, making this is a more massive release, filled with sound from every corner.
If this is all too much to handle, then the compilation 'The Breath Of Forgotten Places' might be the place to start. It has the aforementioned Jebus and Psychic Space Invasion, but also Directive 4, Green End Listening Station, Swn, Ulysses Girelle and The Buff Monkey Ensemble. Various angles of experimental music, including a Glenn Branca wall of guitars by Green End Listening Station, ambient music by Swn, garbled computer noise by Ulysses Girelle and drone-rock from The Buff Monkey Ensemble. A fine selection of underground music with no particular stand out tracks, but also no bad ones. One to investigate. (FdW)
Address: http://ecr.homestead.com

 

 

 

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