Vital Weekly, the webcast: as an experiment
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This can be regarded as the audio-supplement to Vital Weekly.
Presented as a radioprogramm with excerpts of just some of the
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* noted are in this week's podcast
ZAVOLOKA & AGF - NATURE NEVER PRODUCES
THE SAME BEAT TWICE (CD by Nexsound) *
INCANDESCENT SKY - PATHS AND ANGLES (CD by It's Twilight Time)
DANIELLE PALARDY ROGER - BRUIDUCOEUR (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
I8U & TOMAS PHILLIPS - ANTHER (CD by Petite Sono) *
BRADYWORKS & MICHAEL DONOVAN - THREE CITIES IN THE LIFE OF DR. NORMAN BETHUNE (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
1/3 OCTAVE BAND - SUB LIMINA (CD by Humbug) *
RUSTLE ST. - SOBER SINCE XMAS (CDR by Humbug) *
ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE - STARLESS AND BIBLE BLACK SABBATH (CD by Alien8 Recordings) *
ALOG - ISLANDS OF MEMORY (Mini LP by Creaked)
BORIS HAUF - CLARK (CDR by Sijis)
MOLE HARNESS - A PRESENT FROM THE FUTURE (CDR by Stray Dog Army) *
MURMANSK (CDR by Deserted Village) *
TZESNE - ONE SIDE AND OTHER OF THE DOOR (CDR by Series Negras) *
EGGHATCHER - CAT'S EAR (CDR by Spanish Magic) *
K MASON - KMASON1 (CDR by Spanish Magic) *
DAVID PAYNE - FEEDBACK #16 (CDR by Middle James Co) *
SAM HAMILTON - LOW HILL (3"CDR by CLaudia)
PROCESSION (3"CDR by CLaudia)
WITCHING HOUR (CDR compilation by CLaudia)
ZAVOLOKA & AGF - NATURE NEVER PRODUCES
THE SAME BEAT TWICE (CD by Nexsound)
This collaboration was waiting to happen: the leading lady of glitch poetry Antye Greie Fuchs, aka AGF and upcoming star on that scene Kateryna Zavoloka. These women know eachother since 2003 and they have played together in concert in France and Belgium, developing the concept Techno Like Trees. Now this is worked out, or rather sketched out, in fifty short, one minute pieces, each dedicated to a certain plant. There are five subgroups: trees, bushes, meadow, flowers and spices. The names of the plants are sung in either German, Ukranian and English, but are usually to cut up to be understood. It doesn't matter really, what plant is what, unless of course you are a connoisseur of these matters (which I am not at all). This singing is set to one rhythmic pieces that is sometimes ongoing for a minute, but also at other times is totally broken up, and I must admit that doesn't help to enjoy the CD that much. The whole thing, fifty tracks in as many minutes, is already a guarantee that for a more sketch-like approach, but for the more chaotic pieces this makes matters even less easy. But some flowers are beautiful blossoming and you would want to keep that going for some more time than just that one minute. The repeat button is always a handy feature here, but the 'next' button also has it's proper function. Maybe an all female remix project would be an option. (FdW)
INCANDESCENT SKY - PATHS AND ANGLES (CD
by It's Twilight Time)
A while ago a release by Knitting By Twilight, 'Someone To Break The Silence' was the odd-ball that week, but even when it was along the lines of Factory Records and 4AD it was a most enjoyable CD, despite being far outside the musical territories covered by Vital Weekly (see Vital Weekly 499). Here we have, on the same label, another odd-ball, but this time the music is less pleasing, even when it's as retro as Knitting By Twilight. Incandescent Sky is a five piece group, with a line up of an ordinary rock group, but also listed is the Chapman stick. Incandescent Sky play progressive music, but that term has worn out since it was first used, in the seventies. If you play progressive music, than be sure it is anything but progressive by means of innovating music. Incandescent Sky are an instrumental group that listened carefully to examples such as King Crimson, or some such (hey, what do I know about this?) and no doubt they are all highly skilled musicians, but it's just not my cup of tea at all. Not then, not now. (FdW)
DANIELLE PALARDY ROGER - BRUIDUCOEUR (CD
by Ambiances Magnetiques)
Danielle Roger is known for her work with all-women groups like Wondeur Brass, Les Poules and Justine. With these and many other projects she became a leading force as a percussionist and composer in the new music scene of Montréal since early 80s. In recent years she concentrated more and more on composing music. On her new cd 'Bruiducoeur' Roger presents an extensive vocal composition, recorded live in june 2004. Its a vocal work for two narrators, two soloists, two percussionists and a thirteen-piece mixed choir. An oratorio to be more exact. Not a very regular musical form. I know Florian Fricke of Popol Vuh always wanted to write one. The oratorio is a musical composition that was at his peak in the 17th and 18th century. Most oratorio s had religious themes. This seems to be case with 'Bruiducoeur' also as it is subtitled 'Prières des infidèles'. "This secular ceremony revolves around three characters: LUI, who is dying, scared and delirious; ELLE, who acts as an ironic witness, describing his fears and his struggle; and the CHOIR and SOLOISTS, empathic, representing us, the others, as we too will die one day." For full enjoyment of this cd it helps if you understand french, but the booklet helps as it contains the full text in french and english. Voices sing, speak, scream. Sentences, words, but sometimes only syllables, or just sounds. The soloists and narrators do a great job. The whole is sparsely instrumented with percussion. Overall the music is not very melodic. At moments medieval sounding melodies appear at the surface, like in track one and three. Track six starts with mongolian throat overtone singing. In general it is a kind of 'sprechgesang' that dominates. Well you may have an impression now of this work... (DM)
I8U & TOMAS PHILLIPS - ANTHER (CD by
Tomas Phillips is not a new name for me, but since his previous release with Tobias C. van Veen (see Vital Weekly 499) I learned that he has had various releases as Sea Optic, Lisbon and Eto Ami (in collaboration with Dean King) and that there is a solo release under his real name on Trente Oiseaux (which we probably missed out on). These days he works with Tobias C. van Veen, Dean King and i8u. Behind i8u is France Jobin, who had a release on Multimedia Pandora (see Vital Weekly 216), Piehead Records (Vital Weekly 325) and Bake Records (oddly not reviewed). Besides making music, she also works with installations and web art, not as separate things, but it can be seen as one big work. She has played around the world (Mutek, Transmediale), but things have been quiet for some time. Maybe the quiet time was used by her to record this album with Tomas Phillips? On the cover (housed in a larger carton box) it says 'headphone listening suggested' and normally that is not well-spend on me, because I like to walk around when I want when listening, or hop from chair to computer and back, but in this case it would indeed be a good suggestion to sit back, put that headphone on and have a careful listen. I8U and Tomas Phillips play a nice game of silence. Even when you crank up the volume considerably, things hoover still at the edge of silence. Sometimes a peep comes up, white static emerge from the swamp and something nothing happens at all. 'Merge', the final piece, seems to the one with most activity with what seems also the track with the most clear synth lines and what could be a slowed down rhythm. In terms of music, regular music, this track is the most 'ambient', whereas the other two are more abstract and microsound. This trio of tracks is a pretty strong collection that deserve to be listened too with headphones indeed and a good glass of wine within reach and two candles in an otherwise dark room. (FdW)
BRADYWORKS & MICHAEL DONOVAN - THREE
CITIES IN THE LIFE OF DR. NORMAN BETHUNE (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
This cd introduces the newest work of canadian composer Tim Brady, played by his ensemble Bradyworks and baritone Michael Donovan. It is a one-act chamber opera written for voice, electric guitar, piano, percussion, saxophones, string quartet and tape. The work is inspired on the life and work of Norman Bethune (1890-1939) who was a talented surgeon and medical inventor who left his comfortable life in Montréal to fight with the Republican International Brigade in Spain in 1936, and finally to join the Chinese Army in early 1938.
For this composition Brady used writings of Bethune that are sung by baritone Donovan. The opera has three parts, each one representing a phase of the life of Bethune: Montréal, Madrid and Chin Ch'a Chi. Evidently the texts play a central role in this work and because of that the voice of Donovan also. The composition and the instrumentation fulfill a serving role in evoking Bethune's life through the texts. Brady makes good use of the different instruments
from the ensemble. It's a very colorful work and very well arranged and performed. And the composition is a successful dramatization of the story. Track eight for instance is almost rock-music reminding of the work of Louis Andriessen. Through tape Brady introduces sound-material that evokes the different geographical locations. For my ears this is most apparent in the part that tells of Bethune's chinese adventures. I needed repeated listening before this opera began to talk to me. But in the end this thoroughly composed opera revealed its beauty for my ears. (DM)
1/3 OCTAVE BAND - SUB LIMINA (CD by Humbug)
RUSTLE ST. - SOBER SINCE XMAS (CDR by Humbug)
The 1/3 Octave Band are from New Zealand and perhaps never reviewed in Vital Weekly before, but not unnoticed by yours truly, who has a weakness for lo-fi drone music from that specific country. When their CD started I thought I was dealing with a mispressing, and was given some new age like CD, but it's cheating intro as the first piece blasts quite soon into what we should expect from guys like this: a mean drone affair played on a bunch of guitars set to long sustaining sounds, feeding it through some echo and distortion. This free-floating membership band drags in some percussive elements, which add to the free floating atmosphere of the music. Towards the end of the final track the new age element returns, but it's with a blink of the eye. It's been a good hour underway, taking the listener on a headtrip of psychedelic music and it ends with a good nice soft spirit. It's been awhile since I delved deeper in the New Zealand, but it's good to be back.
On a different medium, the CDR, we find Rustle St, which is a duo of Greg on guitar, keyboards, softsynths, percussion, environmental recordings and saxophone and one Jill on piano. The eight pieces on 'Sober Since XMas' were recorded in the weeks after Christmas 2004 and they all breath a very loose atmospheric sound. Each piece tinkles away with seemingly unrelated sounds and instruments and sounds are played with a great amount of delay machines in a rather improvised way. Perhaps no-one remembers but this reminded me a bit of the A Tent record that was once released by Cherry Red. That was a little bit more jazzy than Rustle St. but throughout it captures a similar atmosphere of emptiness. I say emptiness, but it's a captivating atmosphere altogether, an organic flow of sounds, bird whistles and electronic sounds. Very nice winter music. (FdW)
ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE - STARLESS AND BIBLE
BLACK SABBATH (CD by Alien8 Recordings)
It seems there is not a month without an new AMT release. On this one Kawabata Makoto and his merry stoner-men pay homage to the arch fathers of heavy rock Black Sabbath. The smart digipack cover mirrors the famous cover of Black Sabbath's debut LP using the same font and coloring and as such is a nice pastiche to the famous heavy rockers. The album itself features two very long tracks of which the first, Starless And Bible (actually a King Crimson reference) Black Sabbath, starts off with a slow simple heavy guitar riff that goes on and on and on and on, over which Makoto adds furious high speed guitar soloing that goes on and on and on and on (you get the idea). The track slowly builds up to more guitar and drum frenzy (with two drummers, but they're playing the same beat) and the occasional synthesizer swoop. Perhaps this would be interesting if it lasted for 5 minutes, but it goes on for 35 minutes! The second track, Woman
From A Hell, is in fact much like the first one,
only considerably faster. Of course Vital readers (and listeners) are accustomed to long, slow evolving tracks, but this does not automatically make not good music. Nor is it an excuse for this sort of self-indulgence, reminiscent of 70s long-haired druggy super-bands with ego-building guitar-solo's. In that sense the tribute to Black Sabbath works. On the other hand, musically the Sabbath debut LP beats this one hands down, and your money is probably better spend on a copy of that one. For the ultimate hardrock tribute, maybe the next AMT album should feature drumsolo's only. Fanatic AMT will probably embrace this album as yet more proof of the band's brilliance, but let's face it, AMT's brilliance has been killed years ago by exactly this sort of aural masturbation.
ALOG - ISLANDS OF MEMORY (Mini LP by Creaked)
Alog is a Norwegian duo of Dag-Are Augen and Espen Sommer Eide, they had a nice album the previous year on the label Melektronikk, and also three more albums on Norway-based label Rune Grammofon, which I haven't heard. There are 6 tracks on the 'Islands of memory' EP, being somewhere between blurry rhythmic music and atmospheric humming ambience. Sometimes it's a bit abstract, but mostly it's well balanced sound, with it's childish naivety or sincerity reminding of Mum, but in a more experimental-ambient context, somehow still being poppy. Nice release in the very amusing catalogue of Creaked Records. (BR)
BORIS HAUF - CLARK (CDR by Sijis)
The activities of UK born worldtraveller Boris Hauf are numerous: playing with Efzeg, with TV Pow, with Lozenga and even a Berlin based classic rock cover band The Understated Brown, he also finds time to produce his own solo things. Armed with his laptop he sets out to produce a fine bunch of microsounding glitch ambient or whatever you call it, but here on 'Clark' he comes up with something that sidesteps that: his own version of techno music. Stripped bare of all unnecessary elements, adding his own sometimes creepy sounds, such as the high pitched frequencies in 'Hit Me With Your Pet Shark' (all titles seem to me related to popsongs, like 'Annie, Are You Puking On Elvis' or 'Ken Doll In The Wind'), which gives this dance music a weird twist and certainly makes this less useful for your next rave. It's more like after party music, when you have left the real party behind, and on a late night train going home, still being in the mood for some more techno related music. The train goes past sparsely lit cities with great speed and you can also sit down and listen, while your feet tap away with the rhythm. Certainly weird enough for techno music, but pleasant enough to be throughout entertaining and breaking away from well-covered territories of microsound. Very nice indeed. (FdW)
MOLE HARNESS - A PRESENT FROM THE FUTURE
(CDR by Stray Dog Army)
Stray Dog Army is a label run by James Brewster, who is also the man behind Mole Harness. I didn't hear his first album 'All Your Memories Return At Once', which was released in early 2004 on Float/Silent Age. It was made with a 'basic sampler', but for his second record he uses the computer. Not that I initially thought so. I started playing this and thought this was all made with guitars, electric and acoustic, and some delay machines. But not so, it seems, and that is quite an achievement. Mole Harness uses the original played sources on indeed a guitar and bass, but he layers the processed parts into some wonderful nice ambient music. The whole digital/computer notion appears in such a way that it is hardly noticed. The eight pieces float gently by in a harmonic and atmospheric way. The weather is cold outside, but sunny and Mole Harness delivers a perfect soundtrack for such conditions and it's a beautiful sunday morning wake up record, recovering with a hangover. (FdW)
MURMANSK (CDR by Deserted Village)
Just the bandname and label's website: that's all what is mentioned on the cover of the latest release by Murmansk, released on their own Deserted Village label. The story is perhaps known by now: the members of this Irish band met for the first time during a workshop by AMM's Eddie Prevost and since then they play their own brand of improvisation music. The two pieces captured here are of course live recordings, perhaps in front of an audience, perhaps not, but goes back to their first release 'End Of Navigation' release for Humbug (see Vital Weekly 415) in that respect that their music is much more present, upfront and at times considerable noisy. The AMM inspired silence that was a little present on the previous release (see Vital Weekly 464) is reduced here in favor of the more noise related approach, especially in the second piece. I assume they play guitars, bass and perhaps some few wind instruments. Murmansk has grown more into something of their own, which is always a good thing. This release shows them balancing on the edge of some silence and many louder moments. Quite captivating. (FdW)
TZESNE - ONE SIDE AND OTHER OF THE DOOR
(CDR by Series Negras)
The music of Spain's Tzesne has been reviewed before (Vital Weekly 461, 470 and 492), and 'One Side And Other Of The Door' has been released a while ago, but only now landed here. This new(er) release lies in the extension of the first two, with the 7" reviewed in Vital Weekly 492 being the oddball so far. It's hard to tell what Tzesne does sound-wise, as all of his sound-sources are highly obscured by an extensive use of synths, samples and sound effects. In this one piece that lasts sixty minutes everything melts together in a highly organic way. Tzesne takes the listener on a journey through a vast empty post nuclear landscape. A desolated world in which the maggots are the only ones that survived. You can hear them creeping on the floor of empty factory. Machine hum still occurs waiting for it's final breath. This is not ambient for the weak of hearth, but a dark soundscape for the more adventurous science fiction lovers, those who love drive by machine parks late at night when the lights shine and the roads are empty. Certainly with a highly cinematographic character. When we do look from the objective outside to the music of Tzesne we can't say that he's walking terrible new paths of the musical evolution, as this music has been developing since the mid eighties, but Tzesne does a fine job. (FdW)
EGGHATCHER - CAT'S EAR (CDR by Spanish Magic)
K MASON - KMASON1 (CDR by Spanish Magic)
Just what exactly Spanish Magic means in Australian, I don't know, but it's the name of CDR label from downunder, which focusses on releasing experimental music from not just downunder. For instance Egghatcher, aka Robert Horton, who played in one of San Francisco's first punk band The Aplliances (in 1979) and who now plays in bands as Kyrgyz, Beautiful Friend, Infinite Article and Broken Mask and who made a duo CD with Tom Carter of Charalambides. On his solo work as Egghatcher, Horton plays computer, vibrators, el toothbrush, vibrator q tip, guitar, whistling kelp horn, can o air and bowed appalachian dulcimer among many others. Despite this extended list of instruments used, the pieces sound relatively sparse and towards the end quite drone related. The first four reminded me of the more experimental work Richard Youngs (around his 'House Music' release). Whereas the first four pieces are concentrated and to the point, the last four are more expanded and drone related. All eight pieces are made through methods of improvisation it seems to me, but in the end-process everything has been edited on a computer, to gain some level of control over the pieces. Quite an enjoyable release.
K Mason makes his debut with 'KMason1', and we know nothing about him, other than he's from Tasmania. Here too the name Richard Youngs springs to mind, but on a slightly different level. Mason plays guitar, along with a bunch sound effects and some singing of some kind. To this he adds rudimentary percussion and plays his own brand of lo-fi folk rock. Sometimes things are bit too experimental to be 'just' lo-fi rock, such as in 'Non Song 1', but it's exactly this sense of experimentalism that makes this into a pretty worthwhile release. Not singular lo-fi folk, not too experimental or free floating improvised. Again, quite enjoyable. (FdW)
DAVID PAYNE - FEEDBACK #16 (CDR by Middle
In Vital Weekly 484 I wrote about the music of one David Payne, who presented his version of feedback music (and who is also a member of Offensive Orange). I assume that once again for this highly limited and highly handmade package, Payne uses no overdubs but records everything straight to tape (the hiss indicates a tape rather than computer means). And once again, I must say I think there are strong similarities to some parts of the work of Arcane Device, especially routing the music around, creating rhythmic pieces, still similar to 'Diabolis Ex Machina'. What sets Payne apart from the world of other no-input mixer musicians, is the fact that he knows how to create a raw, industrial sound, that however is quite captivating, because of the rhythms he creates and the noise he puts up is under control - a sometimes rare feature in the world of noise. Maybe some better means to record his work and some better presentation and things could actually work out quite well for him. (FdW)
SAM HAMILTON - LOW HILL (3"CDR by CLaudia)
PROCESSION (3"CDR by CLaudia)
WITCHING HOUR (CDR compilation by CLaudia)
Three new releases on the New Zealand CLaudia label, two of them are compilations, and one is by Sam Hamilton. For reasons unclear to me, his 3" CDR contains just one nine minute piece, for which he lists guitar, voice, computer and drums, and all of these instruments are to be recognized in this strange curious piece of computerized noise, guitar strumming and playing the cymbals. There is some sort of cut-up collage like elements to be discovered here, which reminded me of the first solo CDs of Dean Roberts. A nice mixture of glitch music, improvisation but also in a strongly composed manner. Quite nice, but unfortunately with only one track only as an introduction. Would be interesting to see what else he can do.
The next release is a 3" CDR compilation, called 'Procession', and although this isn't stated anywhere, I assume it deals with processing sounds on a computer. For each of the five pieces it lists instruments, such as guitars, rubber hands, polystyrene cup, glockenspiel or santur (ok, whatever that may be), but also the computer is listed on four out of five (the piece by Helga Fassonaki uses the aforementioned santur, ebow and bow). As one can imagine this is a glitchy affair of carefully processed sounds, in which occasionally one hears the 'real' instrument sipping through the static hiss, crackles and whatever plug ins are running amok this time. This is quite a nice affair, what these five people come up with (Nigel Wright, Adam Willetts, Tim Coster, Helga Fassonaki and Mark Sadgrove), although when heard superficially it might not be easy to recognize the difference between the various pieces and the various composers.
The other compilation deals with 'field recordings of night-time', and by hearing them (and reading the extensive liner notes to them), they seem to be rather unedited. The night-time is the time of the day to sleep, have sex, stroll around (for you insomniacs). Some of these pieces are quite nice, certainly when it involves real field recordings (as in the field, outside), such as the chirping of insects, rain, or the contact microphone wedged into a door frame collecting sounds from the fresh water steam that runs down the valley next to the house, which I'd like to hear more than the snoring of Phil Dadson (for fifteen minutes). I don't exactly understand where the 'witching' comes in, or when this is best heard, but I heard it pretty much during the day, so perhaps some of the deeper meaning went by me. But throughout quite a silent affair this CD, which makes it pleasant backdrop for whatever you doing, day or night. Also enclosed are P. Westbourne, Un Ciego, Lau Nau, Tim Coster, Richard Francis, Felicity Ford and Paintings Of Windows. (FdW)
correction: the release by Joel Stern and Jim Denley reviewed here last week is released by Split Records, not Abjectleader Records.
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