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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 498
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week 43
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ZOVIET*FRANCE - MUSIC FOR A SPAGHETTI WESTERN (CD by Klanggalerie)
ANTHONY BURR/CHARLES CURTIS - ALVIN LUCIER (2CD by Antiopic/Sigma Editions) *
THE SILVERMAN - NATURE OF ILLUSION (CD by Beta Lactam-ring Records)
THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS - A DREAM IS A DREAM IS A DREAM (DVD by Beta Lactam-ring Records)
MECHA/ORGA - FROM A PINER (CD by Lab For Electroacoustic Media)
ILLUMINATI - SEARCHING FOR THE NEW LAND (CD by New Sense)
SON OF CLAY - TWO ABSTRACT PAINTINGS (CD by Mitek)
FOLIE - EYEPENNIES (CD by Mitek)
AL MARGOLIS/IF, BWANA - REX XHU PING (CD by Pogus Productions)
FILFLA - FRAME (CD by Plop)
LAWRENCE ENGLISH - HAPPINESS WILL BEFALL (CD by Cronica Electronica)
DESORMAIS - DEAD LETTERS TO LOST FRIENDS (CD by Intr_Version)
AVIA GARDNER - MORE THAN TONGUE CAN TELL (CD by Intr_Version)
GREG DAVIS/SEBASTIAN ROUX - PAQUET SURPRISE (CD by Carpark)
PIANA - EPHERMERAL (CD by Happy)
DANIELE BRUSASCHETTO - MEZZA LUNA PIENA (CD by Bar La Muerte/Bosco)
HANNA HARTMAN - LONGTITUDE/CRATERE (CD by Komplott)
KHORAL - ANIMAL FRAUD (CD, self-released)
CHRISTIAN H. SÖTEMANN - SINE WORLD (CDREP by Yousns Recordings)
KAKAWAKA - ATCASHATPA (CDR by C+H Productions)

 

 

 

ZOVIET*FRANCE - MUSIC FOR A SPAGHETTI WESTERN (CD by Klanggalerie)
Often we complain here about those artists who release new works every week - no need to mention the names, but here is an opposite complaint: a new work from Zoviet*France is something that is so difficult in the last decade or so, that every one is welcomed whole heartedly. In the eighties and the early nineties Zoviet*France released quite an amount of work, but 'Music For A Spaghetti Western' is their follow up to 'The Decriminalisation Of Country Music' from late 2001. The recordings on this new CD aren't exactly new, but are from 1985/1986 in the classic Zoviet*France line up of Ben Ponton, Paolo Di Paolo and Robin Storey (who later went on with his own Rapoon project). The piece (although indexed with various starting points, I regard it as one piece) starts out with short sampled voices, but the main part is reserved for the classic, trademark Zoviet*France sounds: distant drums and flutes, all embedded in the deep bath of echo, slight reverb and much obscured sounds. Here the sound that made Zoviet*France the unique band that blended ambient and industrial music together, the sound of 'Eostre' or 'Mohnomishe' comes alive again. Less refined than the later works, such as 'Shouting At The Ground', this is a raw but great inspired work. Not much in terms of a soundtrack for a spaghetti western me thinks, or else it has to be a blurry black and white western with no actors: just the camera panning over endless prairies. It's music we missed out in the last decade. I once read that only 5% of what Zoviet*France is released, so let's hope this is the fresh start for some more releases. (FdW)
Address: http://www.klanggalerie.com

ANTHONY BURR/CHARLES CURTIS - ALVIN LUCIER (2CD by Antiopic/Sigma Editions)
It should be no mystery that I am a great admirer of the work of Alvin Lucier. The sense of experimentalism, the research of acoustic phenomena and still creating beautiful music and not wanting to create any more pieces once a certain area has been closed of, are all highly respected things by me. Some of the pieces I admirer for what they are, are 'I Am Sitting In A Room' and 'Clocker', but which I don't play very often and others, like 'Panorama' or 'Music On A Long Thin Wire' which are played more often. In Charles Curtis on cello and Anthony Burr on clarinet, Lucier found two excellent interpretators. Curtis has made a couple of his own pieces, using sine waves and cello playing and Burr recorded 'Desist' with Skulli Sverrisson, a fine work of drone music and minimalism. Curtis and Burr play some well-known pieces, like 'In Memoriam John Higgins' or 'Still And Moving Lines Of Silence In Families Of Hyperbolas' (two parts thereof) but also piece that I never heard of such as 'On The Carpet Of Leaves Illuminated By The Moon' and the new piece 'Charles Curtis'. Extremely dense and hardly moving music. In for instance 'In Memoriam Stuart Marshall' one can hardly hear the difference between the 'pure wave oscillator' and the bass clarinet. The sounds stay closely together (probably the clarinet is only heard through the sound and that every breath is cut out). You could wonder a few things: do these interpretations shed a new light upon the already known ones (I don't think so) and if two CDs in one go isn't a bit much. Maybe the pieces that weren't released before (or so I think, as I'm not the 100% expert) could have fitted one CD, which would have been great. If then I had the urge to play more, I could easily go back to the various CDs from Lovely Records. However this is minor stuff. The music from Lucier is performed here more than excellently and if you never heard of him, this is a fine place to start. (FdW)
Address: http://www.antopic.com

THE SILVERMAN - NATURE OF ILLUSION (CD by Beta Lactam-ring Records)
THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS - A DREAM IS A DREAM IS A DREAM (DVD by Beta Lactam-ring Records)
Happy to see The Silverman's (aka Philip Knight) new CD finally getting a release. NOI features two long ambient tracks created by using various analogue and digital synthesizers. Not to worry though; The Silverman knows his trade - the two untitled tracks sound like anything but sterile machinery. The opening track features mantra-like vocals (a first) whereas the second track has gorgeous washes of sound, perfect for meditation. The first run of this CD (as well as the vinyl pressing) come with a bonus CD entitled Woodland Calling, featuring a one hour long mesmerizing track, which is worth the purchase of this set by itself. Sounding a bit like Nurse With Wound's "Soliloquy For Lilith", but with more variety, space and depth, it is one of the Silverman's best. Listening to this, it's easy to imagine the open fields and wide horizons, which inspired these recordings. Even though the Silverman would probably advise you to listen to the birds and the wind, this CD is the perfect soundtrack for a long walk in nature.
UK pop-psych darlings The Legendary Pink Dots are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. For 25 long years the Dots (in varying line-ups, but with vocalist Edward Ka-Spel and keyboard player Phil Knight ever present) have been releasing albums and touring the world. Fans will treasure this DVD, which features a 1987 live concert (the earliest known footage) when the Dots were a six-piece featuring violinist Patrick Paganini. The band was at a creative peak at the time and many consider this to be the best line-up of the band. Considering the age and method of the recording (one camera with sound taken directly from the mixing board) this is a great watch. After a bit of a false start the Dots gradually get into the mood and deliver an intense and emotional show featuring material from the Island Of Jewels LP as well as some older favorites such as Neon Gladiators and Love Puppets. The handsome heavy-duty digipack features pictures taken at the show and a picture of the original poster. It is rare for any band to reach the age of 25 years, but it is unique for this band that went through so much and came out triumphantly at the end, still capable of creating new and exiting music. That is an achievement the Dots can be proud of. (FK)
Address: http://www.blrrecords.com

MECHA/ORGA - FROM A PINER (CD by Lab For Electroacoustic Media)
Yiorgis Sakellariou is the man behind Mecha/Orga and so far he has produced two nice, self released CDRs on his own Echo Music label. His first real CD is released by the for me unknown Lab For Electroacoustic Media, also from Athens. His first release, 'Float', showed an interest in the absolute ambient music of Francisco Lopez and the second 'A Man Behind The Door' was a more or less conceptual work into the world of computer processed piano sounds. On 'From A Piner' he returns to the work started with 'Float'. Three lengthy, untitled pieces of computer processed ambiences. Big, dense clouds of sound pass by, right before our very own ears, that enrolls the influences of Lopez, Kozo Inada and The Hafler Trio. Sound moves on every level, from the rumbles at the far bass end of this to the highest frequencies at the total opposite level. The sudden movement in the second track, reminded me of Kozo Inada, whereas the overall design was a very audible Lopez. A very fine work of ambient industrial microsound (ermm, hello?) from someone who can play this stuff live too, in a great manner. (FdW)
Address: http://www.labforelectroacousticmedia.gr

ILLUMINATI - SEARCHING FOR THE NEW LAND (CD by New Sense)
This the third release by Illuminati, aka Dave Clarkson from Manchester, who's 'Ocean Almanac' was reviewed in Vital Weekly 428, which was a pleasant distraction from the usual ambient flock. On 'Searching For The New Land' he continues his ambient explorations through the use of digital synths (perhaps software synths), sparse rhythms and occasional field recordings. The initial fun of a somewhat rawer version of ambient is gone here, but the eight lengthy tracks are still quite ok. Great music to chill out too, even when it's lesser sophisticated than the "real" ambient music. Cloud of cosmic music pass by, and synthesizer sound swirl in and out of the mix. A touch of darkness and surrealism add to the fun of it all. Nice soundtrack music for your home halloween movies. Chilly chill out. Influenced by Conrad Schnitzler with an interest in some techno related ambient music. Nighttime music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.newsense-recordings.co.uk

SON OF CLAY - TWO ABSTRACT PAINTINGS (CD by Mitek)
FOLIE - EYEPENNIES (CD by Mitek)
The gap between this release and the previous 'The Bird You Never Were' (Vital Weekly 451) is not as big as between that and the debut CD (Vital Weekly 355), but it's by no means a hasty job here. In fact: not at all, since we are dealing here with two lenghty tracks. In the first track crackles and real instruments play the main role, and is almost modern classical in approach. The miniature character of the previous works is not present here, as everything is stretched out over the course of two times twenty-some minutes. As said instruments play an important role in the first piece. Perhaps Andreas Bertilsson has recorded a whole bunch of instruments and composed them together on the computer. The second piece is much more based on electronics and field recordings, and even more sparsely orchestrated. Third time around and still a great CD.
Of an entirely different nature is on the same label Folie, aka Stefan Thor. 'Eyepennies' is the follow-up to 'Misspass' from 2002 (see Vital Weekly 313). Here the twelve tracks continue the work started on 'Misspass', but were we could detect some influences of Morr Music, here Folie is in strict dance areas. Funky beats for sure, and light hearted melodies played on the keyboards, all serving up a good flow of slightly melancholic music, but with a groovy (and sometimes even laid-back dub) sound. Nice stuff going on here for a rainy afternoon doing work around the house. (FdW)
Address: www.mitek-web.net

 

AL MARGOLIS/IF, BWANA - REX XHU PING (CD by Pogus Productions)
It seems as if Al Margolis, otherwise known as If,Bwana, is catching up with stuff. This year more releases were made than in several years before. For reasons not revealed, 'Rex Xhu Ping' (pronounced as 'rex shoe ping') is now released as Al Margolis/If Bwana, so me thinks that that the name If, Bwana will be dropped altogether very soon, in favor of the more serious sounding own name. This release sees the continuation of the music we know and care about with If, Bwana. Still working his way around with a minimal set of sounds, but also, and that seems new to me, the Orchestra D'Fou (including Margolis on tapes and loops, but also accordion, tuning forks, cello, synthesizers and a 'bikelophone', whatever that might be), but even when working with such a multitude of sound, this still leads, almost inevitably to the If, Bwana sound: closely mixed together dense fields of sounds, that vary only slightly from each-other, but which work very nicely in the realms of darker ambient music, or a very raw version of modern classical music (Feldman, Scelsi). Within the work he has crafted already this is not an outstanding work, but again, one that surely lives up to it's expectations. (FdW)
Address: http://www.pogus.com

FILFLA - FRAME (CD by Plop)
Keiichi Sugimoto is the guy behind Filfla, and you might recognize his name as a member of Fourcolor, who has had various releases on 12K and Apestaartje. Sugimoto is also a member of Fonica, Minamo and Installing And Good Music. If you ever heard any of these bands/projects, then you might you what kind of music he plays. On 'Frame' he extends this music by adding a much stronger rhythmical element than on any of the other projects he is involved. It's nowhere near techno or anything, but Filfla uses some jumping, uplifting rhythms, crafted out of his own playing (on guitars, I assume), which add a whole new dimension to the already known music of Sugimoto and his various guises, and perhaps it sheds a new light upon the notion of microsound, glitch music and whatever tag your digital record store thought of this time. Filfla comes closer to popmusic than before, but the length of some of the tracks of course makes this less popmusic oriented than Sugimoto would probably want himself. (FdW)
Address: http://www.inpartmaint.com/plop

LAWRENCE ENGLISH - HAPPINESS WILL BEFALL (CD by Cronica Electronica)
The name Lawrence English is a new one for me, despite his concerts with David Toop, Ami Yoshida, Oren Ambarchi, Marina Rosenfeld, and many more. English also produced albums for Tujiko Noriko and The Rational Academy. On 'Happiness Will Befall', English plays guitar, computer and some additional instrumentation (electronics, cassettes and turntables). There are some elements of field recordings in here (like a metro passing), but the prime instruments are guitar and computer. Lawrence English plays ambient music written with the big A - slowly shifting patterns played on the guitar, occasional notes being strummed an sustained until they die out beyond the threshold of hearing. At times I was reminded of Oren Ambarchi's work in this area, but the work of English is just a little bit more electronic (even when one doesn't have the idea of hearing computer processes), it's still a highly organic flow of ambient music. Pastoral music with modern means and ancient, wooden stringed boxes. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cronicaelectronica.org

DESORMAIS - DEAD LETTERS TO LOST FRIENDS (CD by Intr_Version)
AVIA GARDNER - MORE THAN TONGUE CAN TELL (CD by Intr_Version)
If my count is right, this is the third album by Desormais, the ongoing collaboration of Mitchell Akiyama and Tony Boggs (aka Joshua Treble) and again they receive help from Eric Craven on drums (from Hanged Up fame), Jenna Robertson (vocals), Spencer Yeh (of Burning Star Core on violin) and others. To say Desormais is a laptop duo is probably the right thing to say, despite their extensive use of recordings from other people playing instruments. Rhythms played on real drums seem to be an even more important feature than before, creating an even more rocky sound, but it's embedded in all sorts of laptop doodlings, which are not unlike their own solo work, or the likes of Fennesz. Yet, as noted there is an even more rock music feel to this music. Or perhaps I should say post-rock, as this seems to be case. All of the music is instrumental, sometimes uplifting and rocking hard, but in 'I Wore Water Wings But The Chlorine Still Stings', things are contemplative and microsounding as never before. Third time around, and still a great album.
On the very same label and with the very same Mitchell Akiyama comes a CD by Avia Gardner, Mitchell's new collaboration with Jenna Robertson (vocals) and various guestplayers (Tony Boggs, Vitaminsforyou, Matthew Akiyama and Ellie Niemeroski). It's a mini CD (still thirty-four minutes) debut making it's way here, and it moves along the lines of Desormais, but it's even further inside popmusic, with Robertson's voice being a cross-over between Portishead and Tujiko Noriko. Lazy, trip-hop like music in 'If You Lose The Key, Throw Away The House', or post-rock like in the title track and always filled with the delicate glitches that Akiyama masters so well in his various collaborations. Heavenly voices inside the realms of glitchy music - very mellow music and very nice indeed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.intr-version.com

GREG DAVIS/SEBASTIAN ROUX - PAQUET SURPRISE (CD by Carpark)
Greg Davis is by now no longer an unknown boy. He has toured the world extensively, has had many excellent releases and worked together with various artists. That he should work with Sebastian Roux (perhaps lesser known, but not lesser in quality and skills) is no surprise. Both musicians share an interest in computer processed sounds and they both play an extensive set of instruments (farfisa organ, bowed glockenspiel, double mijwiz, autoharp, violin, piano, vibraphone, kalimba, toy instruments - to mention but a few). All of this is thrown into the computer and served as a highly varied dish of nine courses. Or a parcel full of surprises, to stay within the album's title. Ambient glitches, singing but also up tempo rhythmic pieces and even some noise parts here and there. But overall the mood is held back, relaxed, slowly moving and downright a dam fine album. (FdW)
Address: http://www.carparkrecords.com

PIANA - EPHERMERAL (CD by Happy)
More Jap-pop on Happy, the smallest 12K subdivision. Piana is Naoko Sasaki, who debuted with 'Snow Bird' before. Sasaki extends beyond the usual glitch with vocals, by having guestplayers play guitar, cello and violins, thus adding an even more melancholical sound to what she already does. Sasaki's voice is not unlike that of Noriko Tujiko, and that is a bit too sweet for my taste. The sweetness of the voice and the instruments is like a candy that you start swallowing and thinking: wow nice, but it's too big and after a while the sweetness becomes a little bit irritating. However, when Piana (could be a name of sweetie anyway) is served in a small dose it is quite nice. (FdW)
Address: http://www.12k.com/happy

DANIELE BRUSASCHETTO - MEZZA LUNA PIENA (CD by Bar La Muerte/Bosco)
If I understand correctly, the music on this album is played only by Daniele Brusaschetto, even though it sounds like it's played by a band (there are band photos on the site). It says on the cover: 'music and lyrics composed and performed by d.b.'. Knowing it's released by Bar la Muerte, one of my favorite italian (also worldwide) "hardcore" labels, I expected to like it, and it turned out to be correct. The music is rather well settled in the song-writing veins, a bit experimental and hardcore-flavored, also crossing over with improvisation sometimes, as in 'Ego mangiato crudo 1', or even ambient in the first track on the cd, which sounds like a part of a Taylor Deupree or Troum album. The last and the longest great piece 'Stella stellina' of almost 9 minutes has the atmospheric/post-rock touch in it, as Mogwai or Sigur Ros. Nice and interesting music for listening and enjoying, perhaps with some pasta for lunch. (BR)
Address: http://www.barlamuerte.com and http://www.danielebrusaschetto.com

HANNA HARTMAN - LONGTITUDE/CRATERE (CD by Komplott)
So I never heard of Hanna Hartman, but her CD for Komplott is quite a blow really. Hartman is a composer and has received various prizes for her work. That's about what is revealed about her. On this CD two long pieces. 'Longitude 013 degrees 26'E' is recorded on sailing boats, and the longitude runs through Berlin, Kap Arkona and the Baltic Sea. 'Cratere' uses sounds from the Italian volcano Etna. Both pieces were commissioned by radio stations and both are breathtaking examples of field recordings melting with musique concrete. In 'Longitude' the sounds of the boat are used, as-well as, if understood correctly, the music of Annette Krebs (on prepared piano) and Robert G. Patterson (on horn). They play along side the cracks of the ropes and other sounds a boat can have (which seeing my fear of sailing will always remain a mystery to me) - a very vibrant piece. On 'Cratere' no extra musicians, just the sounds of the volcano, in what is a longer but at the same time also emptier piece of music. Austerely orchestrated rumbles from below the earth surface, which are carefully treated into a massive pieces of miniature humming, solid as a rock, I'd say. Very impressive stuff here. (FdW)
Address: http://www.komplott.com

KHORAL - ANIMAL FRAUD (CD, self-released)
This is surely the odd-ball in this week's weekly: Khoral is a 28 year old French musician, whose influences range from Peter Gabriel to Tim Buckley to Nico to Autechre to Trent Reznor. He plays mostly electronic music and sings along. His voice sounds like Neil Young, which is not my sort of thing really, but the music is quite nice. As said mostly electronic, played on a couple of keyboards and some guitars. Despite this electronic sound, it's still quite a poppy CD, as the vocals play the main role in his music. Music-wise this is quite far away from what usually plays around the Vital headquarters, and sometimes that is most welcome, but in Khoral's case I am not sure if I can really dig his music. It's nice for a couple of tracks, but the production could have been more imaginative, maybe with less emphasis on the voice and bringing out the instruments more than is done now. But perhaps I am just not the right expert to judge this. Judge for yourself if popmusic is your thing. (FdW)
Address: http://www.khoral.net

CHRISTIAN H. SÖTEMANN - SINE WORLD (CDREP by Yousns Recordings)
This is certainly a strange release: ten short tracks, in total spanning ten minutes only, where created with the program Sound Edit, which has a sine wave tone generation function. Some of these tracks were generated in a traditional way whereas others were more or less improvised. With sine waves you know what to do get: ear piercing tones, but Sötemann plays his sketches rather well, with sometimes an even more distorted feel ('III' for instance), but unfortunately overall it's all too short to leave any solid impression. The longer piece here, 'II' is the best, since it shows some development within in the self-chosen limitations. Some more explorations could have surely helped out here, me thinks. (FdW)
Address: http://www.yousns.com

KAKAWAKA - ATCASHATPA (CDR by C+H Productions)
The previous work by Kakawaka was 'Computerpunk', reviewed in Vital Weekly 474. The tracks on the new release 'Atcashatpa' are a little bit longer than on 'Computerpunk', being ten in twenty-seven minutes, but seem to using again mouth harp, voice, keyboards and computer. Some of the tracks seem to be worked out more than before, although noise is always lurking around the corner. It has the aggression of punk music, but just like 'Computerpunk' I wasn't too impressed by its doodlings. It sort of alright, but none of the aggression seemed to be working in any way. It's just another quite average noise thing, with not much of it's own face. (FdW)
Address: http://www.chproductions.de

correction: the website of Creative Sources Recordings should be:
http://www.creativesourcesrec.com/

 

 

 

 

 

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