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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 510
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week 4
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Vital Weekly, the webcast: as an experiment for the time being, we offering a weekly webcast, freely to download. This can be regarded as the audio-supplement to Vital Weekly. Presented as a radioprogramm with excerpts of just some of the CDs (no vinyl or MP3) reviewed. It will remain on the site for a limited period (most likely 2-4 weeks). Download the file to your MP3 player and enjoy!
http://www.vitalweekly.net
you can subscribe to the weekly broadcast using the following rss feed:
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New broadcasts will be sent directly when uploaded. For more information on
podcasts go here: http://ipodder.sourceforge.net/
* noted are in this week's podcast

 

 

AARON MOORE - THE ACCIDENTAL (CD by Elsie & Jack) *
ANTHONY PATERAS & ROBIN FOX - FLUX COMPENDIUM (CD by Editions Mego)
GIUSEPPE IELASI & HOWARD STELZER - NIGHT LIFE (CD by Korm Plastics/Brombron) *
JOE COLLEY & JASON LESCALLEET - ANNIHILATE THIS WEEK (CD by Korm Plastics/Brombron) *
KOJI ASANO - VIOLIN AND VIOLA SUITES NO.1-NO.7 (CD by Solstice) *
FRANK NIEHUSMANN - DAY TRACKS 1 (CD by Nur Nicht Nur) *
PILLOW - PLAYS BRÖTZMANN (CD by Bottrop-boy) *
EXILLON - THE KEENING DITHERS (CD by Ad Noiseam) *
STEINBÜCHEL - OPAQUE (+RE) (CD by Room 40)
BELONG - OCTOBER LANGUAGE (CD by Carpark)
TROUM - AJIN (mini LP by Equation)
BUNNYBTRAINS 88 - SQUIRREL ATTACK (10" by Equation)
GUARANTEED KATCH - IN A SUMPTUOUS BROWN GRAVY (LP by Equation)
D_RRADIO - BORN/COME TO LIGHT (7" by Distraction Records) *
KIRCHENKAMPF - TRANSMISSIONS (CDR by Diophantine Discs) *
ACUSTRONIC ENSEMBLE - FREE FOR(M) RIMBAUD (CD-R by AFK Records)
KARL BÖSMANN - ZIRKUMFLEX (CDR by Verato Project) *
WÄLDCHENGARTEN - RESERVATET (CDR by Verato Project) *
JLIAT - ARE WE LIVING IN A COMPUTER SIMULATION... (2xCDR by Sysyphus)
HOOD & RODGERS - CASTLES (3"CDR by Twothousandand) *

AARON MOORE - THE ACCIDENTAL (CD by Elsie & Jack)
Following Daniel Padden of Volcano The Bear, there is now also a solo CD by drummer/vocalist Aaron Moore. His solo work is of an entirely different nature than Padden's folk music. His instruments are bowed and beaten vibraphone, cymbal, chord organ, thumb piano and keyboard. The title refers to the fact that Moore tried to collaborate with Oren Ambarchi, recorded these pieces as a start, but then the collaboration never happened. Later on he reworked these pieces himself and got help from a couple of friends (Andrew Liles, Luke Fowler and Alex Neilson) continuouson a few tracks. When the name Oren Ambarchi dropped things became much clearer. The pieces Moore plays are best described as experimental ambient. Richly textured music, in which a continous flow of sounds, but it doesn't like the kitchy synthesizer ambient that so many other produce. It's more like the sort of ambient music produced by Ambarchi. Warm textures, subtle changes, but also with a keen ear on some sine wave like sounds that never really tease the ears, and some brittle electro-acoustic sounds, such as the short-wave like sounds in 'How Outside Are We Today?'.
The results of the music was liked so much by filmmaker Francesco Paladino that he created a film alongside the whole CD. Blurry images of people and winter-landscapes, large close ups with lots of color filtering: it's perhaps not the most imaginative filming but it fits the music quite well in terms of an ambient film. You put it on, and occasionally you watch bits. Less demanding than the music itself, but it works well. (FdW)
Address: http://www.elsieandjack.com

ANTHONY PATERAS & ROBIN FOX - FLUX COMPENDIUM (CD by Editions Mego)
On the new (?) Editions Mego label (but which catalogue number continues the old Mego numbering) a new CD by two from down-under. Both of them are active members of the improvisation scene, but it's never quiet with these guys. Anthony Pateras played the piano on one of the best discs of improvised music of 2004, his trio with Sean Baxter and David Brown (see Vital Weekly 427). Here he gets the credit for voice, synthi A, mixing desk, electronics and objects and Fox for computer, programming and controllers. So let's assume that whatever sound Pateras generates goes into the digital world of Fox - and so far nothing new. It's stuff that a lot of people can see on a monday night downtown in the improv bar, but let me assure you that this is entirely (well, almost entirely) different. Whereas the monday nights are filled with precise, delicate swoops and sweeps, things are here, certainly in the first five short tracks, in uptempo mood, with the voice playing some role of importance here. It's where musique concrete and punk shake hands. The next three tracks are lengthier, taking the speed out of the record, or perhaps provide a moment of rest. I prefer to think the first which is a pity, since I would have loved to see a record of punk length (33 minutes, 14 tracks) of this kind of stuff. 'Perilymph' is almost drone with it's processed sine waves, but comes from a different, more serious world. It's a good piece, but a bit out of place. The other two lengthy tracks are a like that, although in a more noise related realm. Again nice tracks, but it's like a different album - like a two in one album. Overall the music is highly vibrant and a boring moment doesn't come in sight. (FdW)
Address: http://www.editionsmego.com

GIUSEPPE IELASI & HOWARD STELZER - NIGHT LIFE (CD by Korm Plastics/Brombron)
JOE COLLEY & JASON LESCALLEET - ANNIHILATE THIS WEEK (CD by Korm Plastics/Brombron)
I am not sure wether the title of this disc refers to the time of recording, but if so the last track's title says it all: Losing our taste for the night life. I know for a fact that a Brombron project can mess up your daily rhythm pretty bad and that ending it feels almost as good as starting it. This disc by Ielasi and Stelzer has obviously had exactly the right amount of night time anyway. I have known and admired Howard Stelzer's work as tape jockey for quite some time now (aside of his activity as boss of the wonderful Intransitive Recordings), but Giuseppe Ielasi was a new name for me. He is a contemporary guitarist, using this instrument in all possible ways, but with a strong bias towards electronic manipulations. The result of this collaboration is absolutely fascinating: on one hand there are the harsh and explosive eruptions of Stelzer's tapes and on the other hand there are the more gentle and melodic guitar manipulations of Ielasi. This combination is truly excellent and invigorating. It has certainly been a while since I heard something this refreshing and exciting. I am not sure why this is; the use of sounds, the compositions, the tension, somehow everything just fits together so well that I am lost for words really. Simply beautiful and an absolute must!!!
Do you think I was very positive about the former Brombron release? Well, hold your horses because here's another one that deserves our full attention. Colley and Lescalleet have produced an excellent work as well! Starting with a very realistic entering of the studio we are swept away into a wonderfully dense world of drones and more drones. The way these guys deal with space in sound and sound in space is something to admire and aspire to. Normally this kind of music would not be my first fancy, but what these two are doing is one huge step beyond everything ambient or drony I have heard until now. And that only describes the first track of four! The second track uses field recordings messed up in a very stunning way, basically some cuts and filtering and sampling, but done in such an excellent way, that it's is not really possible to describe it well. The same goes for the other two tracks: words fail... this also is an absolute must!!! (MR)
Address: http://www.kormplastics.nl

 

KOJI ASANO - VIOLIN AND VIOLA SUITES NO.1-NO.7 (CD by Solstice)
It should be a well-known fact that Koji Asano can write 'real' music - music as noted on musical paper, with f-keys, five lines and full of notes, even when his forty-one CDs so far doesn't display that fact very well. So far, when it came to that direction, the piano was the main instrument, but here it is the violin and the viola which play seven suites. The first one was composed in Austria when Asano met the Austrian Ensemble 'Die Reihe' for which he composed the first suite, but he liked composing such much that much that he composed six more which were played, in it's completed form by Kumi Nakajima and Masashi Sasaki. It's hard to believe that these seven pieces are by the same composers who brought us all this other material, that is so minimal and at times pretty harsh. These pieces are beautiful, romantic, warm, introspective and joyful (the latter two not at the same time). It's hard for a person like myself to write anything about this, since it clearly falls outside my capacity to write about classical music - even when I occasionally enjoy hearing it. Wether it would fall inside a specific scene or movement of composers it's hard for me to tell, but my guess is that they are traditional sounding along side late nineteenth century romantic classical music (the only expert close at hand died a few years ago). It's certainly beautiful music, even when it's so very far away from whatever - and this time, it's really whatever - Vital Weekly reviews. But for a late night listen, reading a good book, it's a most welcome release, and it once again proofs the multi-talent Asano is. (FdW)
Address: http://www.kojiasano.com

FRANK NIEHUSMANN - DAY TRACKS 1 (CD by Nur Nicht Nur)
When we first wrote about Frank Niehusmann (Vital Weekly 378), he released a CD of him using 'open reel analogue tape machines', which he used almost like a DJ. Things has been quiet in the meantime, but Niehusmann went entirely digital: he wrote a software program that enables to control live all sorts of sounds from his computer. Maybe he could have saved time, and buy something like Ableton Live or Audio Mulch, me thinks? His description of his self-built software sounds very much like something similar. Niehusmann's sound input is a wide variety of sounds, indoor as-well as outdoor, synthetic and drum computers, and also machine sounds. They are thrown into the blender that is the core of Niehusmann's music and cooked up into twenty small portions, and each of these portions are made in one go: no overdubs or multi-tracking. In each of the tracks things move up and down the granular scale, changing pitches, machines running amok, synthesizers moving about etc. It's a bit too much for me. In the end it's hard to see the difference between the various pieces and the trick is known after say ten tracks. It's worthwhile to select your own ten favorites and put them on your player, as it's hard to imagine anyone sitting through this in one go altogether. But there are certainly quite nice pieces to be detected around here. Look and you'll find. (FdW)
Address: http://www.niehusmann.org or http://www.nurnichtnur.com

PILLOW - PLAYS BRÖTZMANN (CD by Bottrop-boy)
This is the second time that Pillow makes it in these pages, but if I'm informed well, there are more releases. Pillow is an all acoustic group from Chicago with Micheal Colligan on dry ice and tubes, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello, Liz Payne on bass, viola, percussion and Ben Vida on electric guitar and trumpet etc. Here they play one composition by free-jazz legend Peter Brötzmann, 'Images'. It's a piece I don't know, but it's certainly one that can be played eleven different ways, ranging from one minute to somewhere over eight minutes. And it's certainly eleven totally different ways. Sometimes it's harsh (even considered the all acoustic line up) and loud, with scratches over the surface of the cello, dry-ice and high-end tones on the tubes, but it can also be nicely soft, introspective, or to go into a different area of freely improvised, loosely connected sounds of all four players. Whatever the intention is per piece, Pillow plays everything in an improvised way, but per version they choose upon the atmosphere of the piece. They then execute whatever they wish to do in that specific atmosphere, and do that in a great, majestical way. Even without any knowledge of the original Brötzmann piece, this is most enjoyable CD of improvised music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bottrop-boy.com

EXILLON - THE KEENING DITHERS (CD by Ad Noiseam)
Another exciting release from Berlin-based label "Ad Noiseam". This latest album from the label comes from San Francisco-based sound-artist Jay Fields a.k.a. Exillon. Being his second opus this new album titled "The keening dithers" contains the most emotional expression from the IDM-based artist. Opening smoothly with two tracks of tranquillizing chill-out electronica based on processed piano reminiscent of early avantgarde classical, the expression turns more dramatic and threatening from third track forward. "Termit" (track three) is the track that introduces the IDM-based breakbeat-texture that is the characterizing element of Exillon. Musically Exillon combines the technoid and atmospheric Industrial-sound similar to Welsh duo Somatic Responses with complex rhythm-textures and melodic moments based on processed sounds of acoustic instruments such as the aforementioned piano and gentle guitar-strums. The multi-facetted electronic work is decorated with a bunch of voice-samples giving a nice variation to the full-throttle energetic instrumental tracks. A very pleasant album with plenty of quality for repetitive listening. (NMP)
Address: http://www.adnoiseam.net

STEINBÜCHEL - OPAQUE (+RE) (CD by Room 40)
Noted before: the relative obscureness of Steinbrüchel and what a pity that is. Maybe things will change soon. Maybe 'Opaque (+Re)' will help change that. 'Opaque' is a piece composed by Steinbrüchel for a 5.1 sound system, set up in a large room as the 'Taktlos' festival in Bern. Here reduced to a small room, and stereo, but capturing the same warmth as much of Steinbrüchel's work has. Delicate warm deep bass-like sounds, with soft glitchy sounds on top. Ambient glitch of the first and highest order. From this piece, Steinbrüchel selects samples to send to friends, who have a specific way of working, rather than sending it to the usual posse of laptop-heads. So ends up, packed inside the piano work of Chris Abrahams, guitar feedback of Ben Frost, the only laptophead around of Taylor Deupree, the guitar of Oren Ambarchi and inside a field recording of Toshiya Tsunoda. None of these people actually heard the original 'Opaque' piece before the actual release of the CD, and they all had different samples. They are lovely pieces of likewise delicate music, except maybe for Chris Abrahams plink-plonk piano piece with some clicks, which didn't do much for me. It's the second piece on the CD and as such a bridge between the original and the remixes, and works well at that. But the others all fit well the original work, each adding it's own flavor to the piece, but keeping in good pace with the original as-well. (FdW)
Address: http://www.room40.org

BELONG - OCTOBER LANGUAGE (CD by Carpark)
New Orleans is not the place to be, right now. Belong are from New Orleans and their CD was recorded already in 2004, but it's released now by Capark and it's captured sadness fits the desolation of the city well. Belong are duo from New Orleans playing total fuzzy music, along the lines of post-rockers such as Flying Saucer Attack, Spaceman 3 or Windy & Carl, but do they use guitars? Belong cite as inspirations people like William Basinski and Fennesz and that raises the question: do these use laptops? I think so. They use highly fuzzy and grainy samples of perhaps 2K bit rate, feed them through analogue sound processors to get that shoe-gazing melancholy of their guitar counterparts. More Basinski than Fennesz me thinks (although 'Field Recordings' would come close), but unlike Basinski, Belong plays much shorter tracks, eight in total (whereas Basinski would play one in the same length of the entire CD) which gradually, as the CD progresses seem to be falling apart. A piece like 'Who Told You This Room Exists?' sounds like recorded by a very dirty cassette player with very dirty heads. Quite an unusual affair of something digital sounding so 'dirty', making it into a highly original marriage of the clean laptop music and the fuzzy, grainy sound of the shoe-gazing brigade. Very nice, very winter-like. (FdW)
Address: http://www.carparkrecords.com

TROUM - AJIN (mini LP by Equation)
BUNNYBTRAINS 88 - SQUIRREL ATTACK (10" by Equation)
GUARANTEED KATCH - IN A SUMPTUOUS BROWN GRAVY (LP by Equation)
US label Equation loves vinyl and preferably when they are multi-colored and packed in a nice silk-screened cover. Certainly not releases for mass consumption. The three releases here at hand show this great love for style, when all they operate in totally different areas, music-wise. Troum are in certain circles heroes of ambient and drone. And rightly so, they have mastered their own style, which is light-years away from their UK counterparts (Mirror, Ora, Monos), as Troum opts for a way more heavy sound, loaded with louder sound effects, and aren't afraid to throw in a pseudo-ethno rhythm loop, as on the first track on side A. Not a change of style here, since the other pieces have the more classic Troum sound, since the second track on this side (lengthwise it can best be described as a mini LP) has a more regular rhythm piece by Troum. The two pieces on the b-side (on the picture disc the eyes are shut here and on the other they are open), the pieces are much more mellow, although that might not be the right word for Troum. 'Certa Novo' seems like a thunderstorm recorded with a microphone buried under the surface of the earth, but 'Yemnja' is the biggest surprise, I guess. It's almost like a kitschy ambient synth piece, but knowing Troum don't have synths, it's wonder how they did it. In their slowly expanding list of releases this is a fine release, with at least two surprising tracks - the opener and the closing piece.
Of an entirely different nature is the 10" by Bunnybtrains 88. Which is apparently a different band that some other band named (the) Bunnybrains. But apparently this is the original line up from 1988. 'Squirrel Attack' on side A, comes in a vocal and an instrumental version. A wall of distorted guitars, heavy bass and quite energetic drums - a good solid post-punk tune. The b-side has two live pieces of which one is a cover of Hawkind. The quality is a bit lo-fi, but the Bunnybtrains 88 capture the same energy of the a-side and even add a bit of obscured banging on the scene, making everything a bit more experimental than the a-side. Nice record, and thumbs up for the Bruce Lichter/Independent Projects Press cover, haven't seen any of those in a long time.
And than in a totally different musical corner we find Guaranteed Katch, a band that came from the ashes of such bands as Post Mortem, Siege and Colon On The Cob. The hail from Boston and as best described as a rock band, but with influences coming from such directions as jazz, punk and maybe a bit of more freely improvised music. Sometimes a bit loud and heavy, like a good heavy rock band should sound, but especially in the vocals lies the weirdness of Guaranteed Katch: bending in all directions, even a bit crazy lunatic-like, Frank Zappa is never far away there, but perhaps I may scatter another holy man, I was never a fan of Zappa, so Guaranteed Katch, with whatever they are doing, they do a good job, a more than excellent one, but somehow it's not well-spend on me. (FdW)
Address: http://www.chronoglide.com/equation.html

D_RRADIO - BORN/COME TO LIGHT (7" by Distraction Records)
The curiously named D_rradio stands for Death Row Radio, whom released 'U_nderscore' on Static Caravan, a widely acclaimed record (and sadly missed at Vital Weekly). Following that they have played and recorded more material, of which this 7" is the first thing to emerge. 'Born' has stutter break-beats, a free floating piano theme and a melancholic tune for strings, and a child's voice drops in. Perfect autumn like music. 'Come To Light' is an instrumental piece. The rhythm section here is much more ongoing and straight forward, but the piece has loads of sounds in there, from swirling synths, cut-up guitars, clicks and has a very uplifting feel to it. If the a-side is a bit for the autumn season, the flip is rather the sunny side of things. Definitely two great songs, which are really songs and not merely a good set of sounds that fit together well. Very nice stuff along the lines of Static Caravan, Expanding Records and Highpoint Lowlife. (FdW)
Address: http://www.distractionrecords.com

KIRCHENKAMPF - TRANSMISSIONS (CDR by Diophantine Discs)
John D. Gore's Kirchenkampf project has been running for many years now, but he's still somewhere in the corner of obscurity, which is altogether a great pity. Running his own Cohort Records, he also releases stuff on other labels, such as the for me unknown Diophantine Discs. It would be too easy to put down Kirchenkampf as a dark ambient project, as Gore puts in some conceptual edges to his work. All the work on 'Transmissions' seems to be derived from highly processed radio frequencies (as such we do remember his The Oratory Of Divine Love release for EE Tapes, see Vital Weekly 439). But whereas The Oratory Of Divine Love contained the rather unprocessed sounds of radio, things here are taking into the realms of Kirchenkampfs dark ambient world. Taking the sounds apart, feeding them through endless filters (of sound effects and synths alike) to create an unworldly sound of deep atmospheric music, of what seems to be frequencies picked up below the surface of the earth. What is picked up from the air, goes down into a cave, where the waves collide, like atoms in an accelerator, except that the sounds don't speed up but keep on bumping into each-other in a rather majestical way. A most powerful dark music release, with a slight touch of industrial noise by a project that definitely needs a bigger audience. (FdW)
Address: http://discs.diophantine.net

ACUSTRONIC ENSEMBLE - FREE FOR(M) RIMBAUD (CD-R by AFK Records)
The Acustronic Ensemble is a spontaneous collaboration of a group of (electronic) musicians who met at the "blog on rimbaud" festival in Rivara, Italy. The disc presents an out-take of the live recording of their performance there. The single 30 minute track is a tour into a world that is defined by it's own rules: musical elements are as easily used as abstract noises, creating a link between worlds normally far apart. And it's exactly this quality that defines the recording and gives it it's power. Okay, I admit, sometimes there are just a little too much effects being used, but more often than not, these five (!) guys know how to get everything rolling the right way. And let's face it, for a spontaneous improvisation that is a very, very good result. I will recommend this disc very strongly to all readers again! (MR)
Address: <http://www.afkrecords.com>www.afkrecords.com

KARL BÖSMANN - ZIRKUMFLEX (CDR by Verato Project)
WÄLDCHENGARTEN - RESERVATET (CDR by Verato Project)
The Verato Project, a side-line of Suggestion Records comes up with two new releases, and both show Verato's love of an extraordinary package. Karl Bösmann's release comes in a black cloth envelop with a heavy painted stones and separate cards. We came across the music of Karl Bösmann before, when we reviewed his 'Das Kind In Der Küche' on Tosom (see Vital Weekly 461). His new release moves away from the slightly percussive release of before into a more darkly and densely layered form of music. Again three long pieces, of which 'For 200 Violins' is the one with sounds to be recognized. Layers and layers of violin sounds (probably 200?) make up a nice, dense violin piece. 'Cockroach Breakfast Dance', the piece after that is a much more noisier piece of music, but didn't do much for me. 'Spiel Nicht Mit Dem Zirkumflex' is the final piece and a has a Steve Reich 'Come Out' like opening, but evolves slowly into a stuttering pieces of varying organ like sounds and voices dropping in and out in a likewise stuttering way. Highly minimal, and reminded me to the mid-80s pieces of Nicolas Collins. The second piece could have been easily dropped but the other two are quite alright.
On the same label are Wäldchengarten from Denmark. For years now they have been going strong. 'Reservatet' is an older project, from 2003, when they were asked to put some music to a book of the same name by Christian Haun. Some excerpts are reprinted on the cover, but it's hard to tell what the book is about. The music is one piece of thirty minutes of what seems to me a duo of guitar playing. Strumming and bowing the strings, the two brothers that form Wäldchengarten play a heavy version of post-rock. Long sustained sounds form a the backbone of the piece, but the distortion pedals are never far away here, making this into quite a massive drone party. Maybe a bit too heavy for the real drone purists out there, but perhaps it fits the book well? It's less refined than their previous release 'Electrical Bonding' (see Vital Weekly 465), but as said this is a work from before that. Maybe something for the real diehards. (FdW)
Address: http://www.verato-project.de

JLIAT - ARE WE LIVING IN A COMPUTER SIMULATION... (2xCDR by Sysyphus)
What is a film when we don't see it? Is it then automatically a radioplay? Do we enjoy it so similar length? Do we understand what it is about? The story? And what do we make of the background noises and the music? The who done it in the detective story? These might (!) be the questions raised by Jliat. Housed in a laminated menu of an Indian take-way we find a double CDR, which turns out to be some film. Just the words, just the background noises and just the music: everything but the pictures. But I have a problem with it: I know the movie. It's 'Last Bus To Woodstock', the seventh film about Inspector Morse solving a murder. Which, as a true fan, I must have seen at least five or six times. So it's hard for me to think: who done it? As I already know the answer. But it's very enjoyable to stick on and listen to, simply because I love John Thaw as Inspector Morse. If you have no clue who he is, then the experiment and the questions raised by Jliat work much better. The only thing that keeps puzzling me: why a menu of an Indian take-away? Morse never eats much throughout the series and it's Jack Frost who loves the takeaways..., but that's an entirely line of stories. (FdW)
Address: http://www.sysyphus.org

HOOD & RODGERS - CASTLES (3"CDR by Twothousandand)
The odd marriage of turntables and acoustic guitar. In improvised music areas, nothing is odd. Paul Hood (turntables) and Micheal Rodgers (acoustic guitars) hail from London and on May 21st last year they recorded the eight short tracks that are on this 3"CDR release. The crackle of vinyl, the repeating of a locked groove form the backbone of the pieces and on top Micheal strums, hits and plucks his guitar. It's probably the nature of these instruments that the division is like this: one is the main instrument and one is the backbone. The eight tracks show a wide variety of sounds and ideas, and length wise this is a perfect release, but in the end the improvisations themselves were perhaps not original enough to stand out from the usual lot in this area. Good, solid as they were, also not the most innovative ones. (FdW)
Address: http://www.twothousandand.com/

 


 

 

 

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