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
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* noted are in this week's podcast
FRANCISCO LOPEZ - UNTITLED #164 (CD by Unsounds)
GUILTY CONNECTOR - BEATS, NOISE & LIFE (CD by Planet Mu)
M. BENTLEY - THIS WORLD (CD by The Foundry) *
SGNL_FLTR - VEBRA (CD by Databloem) *
ALAN COURTIS - ANTIGIUOS DOLMENES DEL PALEILITICO (CD by Sedimental) *
GABRIEL PAIUK - RES EXTENSA (CD by Sedimental) *
CONTAGIOUS ORGASM/GOVERNMENT ALPHA - HEARTSTRINGS (CD by SSSM) *
KK NULL & Z'EV ARTIFICIAL LIFE (CD by C.I.P.) *
RADU MALFATTI & MATTIN - GOING FRAGILE (CD by Formed Records) *
PROJECT: BICYCLE (CD compilation by Ache Records)
AD NOISEAM 2001-2006 ( 2CD+DVD by Ad Noiseam)
D_RRADIO - DEAR JOHN/PICK ME UP (7" by Distraction Records) *
HIMOG - CARPE NOCTURNUM (CDR by Hidden) *
INKLINGS - BIOMECHANIC WAVEFORMS 1 (CDR by Hidden) *
KOJI ASANO - LIVE IN GLASGOW 2006 (MP3 by Seven Things) *I
FRANCISCO LOPEZ - UNTITLED #164 (CD by Unsounds)
Things have been quiet for Francisco Lopez. It seems, at least from my end of the telescope. Just a few live recordings were released, but not so many new studio recordings. But at long last here is 'Untitled #164', composed in commission of the Brussels Sonic Matter festival, organized by Argos in 2004. Lopez recorded sounds in the city, together with TRMX, Johan Vandermaelen, Martiens Go Home and Building Transmissions, but it's Lopez who in the end mutates, collates and processes these recordings. Lopez moves away from a few things: this piece is lengthy, seventy-three minutes, right from the start it stays in an audible fashion and towards the end there is also a bit of rhythm. That's three major differences. The unearthly rumble at the opening return every once in a while, and it seems that the microphone is buried deep in the ground. Other sounds rumble and hiss along in this utterly spooky work. There is nothing that refers to the city of Brussels (which I didn't visit in some time, but I know what it could sound like). 'Untitled #164' is a different work than many of his other 'Untitled' works, and fits more along with 'La Selva' or 'Buildings [New York]', which are both recognized as master works, but this is surely another powerful work. Moving away from the territory we know and loved, and entering a new territory, which we will no doubt love as Senor Lopez explores. (FdW)
GUILTY CONNECTOR - BEATS, NOISE & LIFE
(CD by Planet Mu)
Behind Guilty Connector is someone calls himself Dr. Kouhei, aka The Filth, aka GxCx and before he released a CD with Tabata (see Vital Weekly 384). Maybe that already hints in which way to look for his music: in the corners of Japanese noise music. Guilty Connector builds his own sound effects and uses them in combination with iron plates. It's odd to see this released on Planet Mu, but it's well-known that they have a wide taste. It will no doubt shock the die-hard followers of the label and they would wonder where the 'beats', as promised in the title, come in, as they pretty don't, unless the bpm is right over 500 and it becomes this utter blurr of sound. In terms of noise shock, Guilty Connector does a fine job at shocking the technoids at Planet Mu, but for those who heard at least a hundred Merzbows, and I'm happy to include myself, this is a bit of standard noise thing. Not bad at all, but walking the alley of Masami and the likes a bit too much to innovate the genre. The title piece with his dynamics is the best road to take, me thinks, blending silence and noise together. (FdW)
M. BENTLEY - THIS WORLD (CD by The Foundry)
The M in the name stands for Micheal and Micheal Bentley founded The Foundry in the mid 80s as an outlet for his chapbooks. A decade later or so later he started first to release cassettes, but quickly moved over to CDs. Alone or with various people he worked under such guises as eM, Mollusk/Malcolm Bly, The Apiary and Rhomb, but more recently also under his own name. His music, as-well as those he releases on his own label, are all strongly influenced by ambient music, but Bentley never leaves the experimental music out of sight. 'This World' consists of two lengthy pieces, divided into smaller ones, of which 'Chronos And Kairos' is the longest and important one. 'Import', being fifteen tracks of one minute, was previously released by Fällt as part of their Invalid Object series (see Vital Weekly 291), which was described back then as 'one long track, starting with field recordings, modifying them and later adding other sounds of a more digital nature. This is a blend of ambient acoustics and electronics with a strong atmosphere'. Still a nice piece. 'Chronos And Kairos' means 'Time eternal (chronos) and the propitious moment, the time of opportunity or cleverness (kairos)', in ancient Greek. World of men vs world of nature. The music is part of a video, which was lost until recently, but I saw some of the raw material, and it looks promising. Of course lots of clocks, spinning forward and backward, sine waves and abstract imaginary, slowly moving over into the world as we know it, with shots of nature and humans. The music is now released and stands by itself quite well. There is a strong introspective sound played on synthesizers, but the sound of thunder, various clocks ticking or glitchy electronics, make this into a dark ambient work, with lots of external additions, that is far beyond the world of new age or standard ambient music. Even without the images it's already a strong work, but with it (The Foundry is planning a DVD release), I'm sure it will be even stronger. A very fine work. (FdW)
SGNL_FLTR - VEBRA (CD by Databloem)
First of all, I'd like to stress the fact that we don't want to make it in a habit of reviewing 'old' albums. Vital Weekly wants to concern themselves with just very very recent material, and the Sgnl_fltr album 'Vebra' is from 2004, which in our book is ancient history. Sgnl_fltr is one of the names used by Danny Kreutzfeldt from Denmark, who usually works under his own name (and records for Databloem as-well) and he is, together with Mads Weitling, records as Rumforskning. He describes the music of Sgnl_fltr as 'cold abstract ambient techno'. That is very much true, except maybe it's not techno. Is it techno to use some rhythm machine that ticks time away in a very slow fashion? Or do you want some nice 120 bpm (or higher) rhythm in a sweaty club? I personally like techno to be that, even when I play it home, so for me Sgnl_fltr is indeed cold and ambient and indeed abstract, but with a rhythm machine underlying some of the cold structures inhabited by the machines of Sgnl_fltr. Don't get me wrong, it's nice music indeed, except that the kids wouldn't run wild on it in sweaty techno basements. The coldness comes in when Kreutzfeldt uses a bit too much reverb for my taste. The machine tick away like cold water drops, but when things are moving, such in 'Nocte' or 'Nkuh', you might your self find tapping feet along. Those are the prize winners here, but on a cold spring night, it's throughout an enjoyable album. (FdW)
ALAN COURTIS - ANTIGIUOS DOLMENES DEL PALEILITICO
(CD by Sedimental)
GABRIEL PAIUK - RES EXTENSA (CD by Sedimental)
Two new releases on US Sedimental label, and both deal with music from Argentina. One is by the already well-known Alan Courtis of Reynols fame and one is by Gabriel Piauk. Underlined on the cover of the Courtis CD is the fact that no microphones, instruments or inputs of any kind were employed in this project, but it lists a bunch of equipment, such as a mixing desk and several sound effect processors. Courtis plays the no input mixer here and that is hardly a new trick, but then, many people play the same guitar and there is no complaint either. It's way you do with it, I guess. The title means 'ancient palaeolithic dolmens' and was the inspiration for this four part composition. Courtis doesn't exactly play the soft card here, it's quite loud and piercing music, just as you would expect from feedback like music. In the 'Part I' the deep bass end and in 'Part II' and in 'Part IIII' the higher end of the spectrum in a very minimal fashion. In the third part the machines start humming like birds, and that is the most interesting piece of the entire CD. The high feedback sounds in the fourth part are just a bit too much for my taste. Courtis executes a very consistent work, but it's perhaps a bit too single minded, idea-wise.
Paiuk is a new name for me. He is a composer, improviser and pianist from Buenos Aires and his pieces are usually played by ensembles. As an improviser he played with people like Jason Kahn, Axel Dörner, Manuel Mota and loads more. 'Rex Extensa' is a tape piece, consisting of various layers of sound materials 'related to our everyday sound environment and coming from different origins: marginal sounds from electric devices, analogue sources, field recordings and many more of unwanted sound that are present in our daily surrounding. "The fragments used in 'Res Extensa' [...] are not a representation of the world but rather extracts of our vibrational experience, of our shared surface of perception, feeling and thought". In this piece of all of these sounds are layered and stapled together and in the mix unfold their beauty. Paiuk creates a dense, yet minimal microsound affair of buzzing cable, helicopter noise and refridgiator hum. Sometimes they work unisono, all together, working their way into a mighty crescendo, but the main difference is that Paiuk uses the abrupt cutting in sounds to move to a next section. Sometimes things are really sparse, with just one sound moving almost silently. It's an absolute nice piece of music, working in the realms of microsound and musique concrete and as such it's perhaps not much new under the sun, but Paiuk surely created a well-crafted piece of music. (FdW)
CONTAGIOUS ORGASM/GOVERNMENT ALPHA - HEARTSTRINGS
(CD by SSSM)
Following the previous release by Contagious Orgasm, the collaborative work with Zyrtrax (see Vital Weekly 486), here is another collaboration, with Government Alpha. Both are from Japan, and both have a background in noise music, but there are differences: Government Alpha is in general the more over-the-top noise and Contagious Orgasm is the more rhythmic oriented one. It's a combination that works well, as proven by history and by this disc. The rhythms are loud and fast, sometimes techno inspired, but always quite heavy in approach and never exactly dance music. On top there is a whole bunch of noise related sound, sometimes working in sync with the rhythm parts, sometimes not at all. Besides there is a whole bunch turntable manipulations going on that adds even more mayhem to this already filled sound pallet. Top heavy music, with lots of things going on, on all levels of the sound spectrum. Played loud you will no doubt feel exhausted at the end, as this surely sucks up all the energy in your body. Cleansing music, after which you feel refreshed. Not necessarily something new, as the combinations of rhythm and noise have been tried before, but this in another well made effort in similar fashion. (FdW)
KK NULL & Z'EV ARTIFICIAL LIFE (CD by
A review on a CD like this could start like this: do these two heavy weights of experimental music need any introduction, probably not. But then who remembers that KK Null was originally a guitar player, although in the recent years we see him mostly playing electronics. Something similar can be said of Z'ev, although in recent years he shifted back from electronics to percussion, which is the thing that gave him his household name since the early 80s. Recently both were on tour in the UK, and on that occasion this CD was produced and in a way can be seen as a continuation of a recent work they did with Chris Watson (see Vital Weekly 503). Both are works of playing together, but in the case of the release with Watson, it was Z'ev putting the stuff together afterwards based on the sound material offered by KK Null and Chris Watson, whereas in this case Null and Z'ev where together and played the music in an improvised way. That means there are differences to be noted. The Touch CD was much more densely shaped with a wide variety of sounds being blurred together into fine woven pattern, whereas here electronics play a main part but separately from the percussive elements thrown in by Null (who gets credit for electro-percussion) and Z'ev. Less dense, but with a lot of variety. From the tribalism third piece (all are untitled) to the abstract and quieter second and fourth piece, these two gentlemen play a fine piece of music. Throughout they know what they are doing and it may seem that Z'ev is the man who plays the 'solo's' here, meaning he gets a more distinct sound, but it's a wonderfully varied and intelligent disc. No wonder they are heavy weights. (FdW)
RADU MALFATTI & MATTIN - GOING FRAGILE
(CD by Formed Records)
This is the second collaborative work between the young and the old, each with their own approach. Malfatti playing his trombone and Mattin on 'gnu/linux computer feedback'. The first one was 'Whitenoise' (see Vital Weekly 412). The new one contains two pieces, a lengthy studio recording and a shorter live recording. For whatever reasons I played this on my discman, sitting in a sunny garden. It made me realize that listening circumstances are always important. Besides the music, I hear sounds from the environment (children playing, cars passing, a small airplane) while the headphone volume is cranked all the way up. Malfatti's trombone treatment (blowing usually) follows curves with long gaps of silence, along with like wise curves of a computer hissing, sometimes playing a louder bump, but most of the time it's really tranquil playing. Despite the environment in which I hear this, I notice that it's very demanding music. One has to concentrate really hard to capture all the moves in this music, whether or not it's the studio or live recording, although the latter is somewhat more direct in approach. Playing time is over an hour, and that is a lot to capture. You could easily do with just the forty some minute studio recording and still feel exhausted and elevated after hearing that. But the rawer live cut makes sense too, as it shows how these things sound in a live context. Highly demanding yet highly rewarding music. (FdW)
PROJECT: BICYCLE (CD compilation by Ache
Listeners of BBC 4 Radio voted the bicycle the most significant invention since 1800, beating computers, internet and combustion engine, and as a true lover of that travel device (and watcher of bicycle racing), I can only applaud that. Each of the artists on this CD received just one sample of the bicycle and reworked that sound into what became this highly divers project. The participants sample the hell out the sounds, pitch it and down the scale and in general no bicycle is to be recognized. There are jumpy pieces, almost in breakcore fashion by people like Aelters and Secret Mommy, but also more contemplative pieces by Romanhead and Tu M'. Two pieces stand out: the one by Greg Davis who plays the source material while riding his own bicycle and Jason Forrest, who adds, even when not allowed, sound material from others, such as the almost inevitable 'Bicycle Race'. Throughout a fairly decent compilation, and for the daring (or perhaps unsatisfied) listeners who are musicians (aren't we all?), the original source material appears at the end of the compilation.
AD NOISEAM 2001-2006 ( 2CD+DVD by Ad Noiseam)
Teknoir, the five-year anniversary compilation by German technoid label "Hymen Records" released back in 1995, stand as a milestone in the history of harsh experimental electronics, if you ask me! There hardly is a dull moment on Teknoir. Now more than a decade later the time has come to celebrate the fifth anniversary of another German label from the harsh electronic sound world - Ad Noiseam Records. And as it was the case with Hymen Record's "Teknoir"-compilation, Ad Noiseam's anniversary set titled "Ad Noiseam 2001-2006" demonstrates the supreme quality of this label's back catalogue. Containing two cd's and a dvd, the listener will have to find almost 4 hours of spare time to complete this massive voyage into the sonic brain of Ad Noiseam. Beginning in the cd-section, the first disc opens with a few tracks of tranquilizing atmosphere peaking with the beautiful contribution from Andrey Kiritchenko titled "Timetravel of a snail" based on gentle acoustic guitar strums and silent drones waving in the background. Following track, "Sleepy" by Air Inspector, also represents the section of trippy ambience with its Eno-like eerie soundscapes assisted by clicking pulses and glitches giving a more updated sound. "Sleepy" functions as a bridge towards the more upfront breakbeat-contributions in the cd-section starting out with Exillon's atmospheric techstep-track "Julipt" and continuing with the dark threatening and noisier track by Keef Baker's "Nr42" built on drones of distorted sounds. Thus things slowly get harsher. Magwheels' excellent but quite disturbing track "Aghanistan" based on collaged concrete noises is the climax on that musical development towards abrasive expressions. After that Morc makes a radical expressional change and closes first chapter of the Cd-section with the beautiful guitar-based ambient-track Venus. Second disc opens with two slow-tempo tracks, the ethnic-inspired and ritually rhythm-structured "Yesterdays" by Cdatakill and the bizarre funky "Z crazy day eyes" by Lapsed & Non Non based on heavy Dub. The funky fresh expression continues on the "Area vs area" by Mothboy. After that Panacea takes over with the furious Darkside-based breakcore-track "Mortal sin". And this is where the freaking breakcore-party seriously begins, as Needle Sharing continues the mix of energetic breakcore and voice samples soon after followed by Submerged' harsh Darkside-floorfiller "Chore boy". Tarmvred makes a turn away from the extrovert expression of violent breakcore with some more ambient-based melancholic breakbeat reminiscent of Gridlock. Closing track of the second Cd comes from Wilt. His eight minute-track "Days of crows part 2" is a beautiful moment of tranquilizing ambience far away from the full-throttle breakbeat-inferno dominating the second chapter of the Cd-section. Moving to the visual section of the anniversary set, the enclosed DVD contains 14 music videos, with only four of the videos based on tracks from the cd-section of the set. The main part of the DVD is other tracks by some of the profiles represented on the two Cd's. Where the first five videos are great fun and very entertaining the true mastery appears as Crno Klank posses the screen with his prize-winning work "Atalodz" visually created by Gisèle Pape. That certain video demonstrates how sounds and visions of art can be melted into higher arts in its most beautiful form, though the video is a quite dramatic and a dark piece of working art. From this video forward the style changes from the visually more extrovert expression to an abstract and more eerie dreamy approach. The video to Andrey Kiritchenko's "Timetravel of a snail" is also an artistic beauty, not surprisingly based on the visual field of a snail. The video to Larvae's "Solo shoots first" brings the audience away from the visual never never land and back to the grim reality with a violent video of mass fight apparently inspired by Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill-movies, thus putting an end to the dvd-section of the set. With its 230 minutes of intense sonic and visual artistry, "Ad Noiseam 2001-2006" is a massive package of high quality sound arts. The birth of milestone? I think so! (NMP)
D_RRADIO - DEAR JOHN/PICK ME UP (7"
by Distraction Records)
The John, named in the first track, is of course John Peel, to whom this piece is dedicated, after he called the band D_rradio, 'Lugubrious', which kind of makes sense if you know that it stands for Death Row Radio. Their previous 7" was well received here (see Vital Weekly 510). D_rradio continues here with two instrumental pieces, where in the flip 'Pick Me Up' is a particular nice piece for the upcoming summer. 'Dear John' starts out a bit dark, it's a memorial track I reckon, with a lot of glitchy beats under the carpet of thick synths, but towards the end it's a rocky and funky piece. As said 'Pick Me Up' is also a lively early summer track, eyes half closed, lying in the sun, with a nice psychedelic guitar feature. Very nice stuff along the lines of Static Caravan, Expanding Records and Highpoint Lowlife, but unmistakably much more fresh and less dramatic. (FdW)
HIMOG - CARPE NOCTURNUM (CDR by Hidden)
INKLINGS - BIOMECHANIC WAVEFORMS 1 (CDR by Hidden)
One could think we at Vital Weekly know more or less all the Dutch projects, but I must say that I never heard of Dogon, 'a band known for electro sounding stuff', and therefor also the offshoot Himog is a new name for me. It's apparently something different and the opening sequence of tis hour long track isn't a promising start: it's a bit of kitschy ambient rhythm piece that sounds a bit too much made on 'magic music maker' software, or some such easy creator software. But then it fades over in true ambient patterns and that is much more of my liking. Synthesizers, no doubt coming from various software plug ins start running and play a thoughtful lengthy sounds-cape, taking up the next thirty or so minutes. It concludes with a piece that is likewise ambient in approach, but is a bit more heavy loaded and a tad more industrial in approach, with mumbling space voices. A bit like the releases on Fax Records from a decade back, but Himog plays quite a nice personal touch of the given sound palette.
Inklings present their second release and according to the label we shouldn't regard this as part 2 of 'Acid James' but it's hard to see things differently, me thinks. Five lengthy spun tracks in which a sort of acid rhythm still plays an important, at least in three out of five. It's always good fun to make this kind of music, and see people dance to the music, but in the case of Inklings I don't see this happen all too easily. The tracks are a bit too sparse, non-foot
moving, well and perhaps not 'fat' enough to move the crowds. But it may be
good music to do your home-work too, or play in the car when their is
traffic jam. Maybe some-such. It's not bad, but not great either. (FdW)
KOJI ASANO - LIVE IN GLASGOW 2006 (MP3 by
Usually MP3s are free, at least certainly those MP3s in the areas of Vital Weekly, but the Scottish label Seven Things release exclusive works that you can purchase, or even subscribe too. This release by Koji Asano is the first one, and then in the following months, there will be Charlemagne Palestine, Nmperign, Zoe Irvine, Yannis Kyriakides and Peter Dowling. Asano's work is a live concert that was recorded earlier this year at the event that launched Seven Things. Of course Asano is a man of many skills, but in a live solo situation he relies on his laptop. It seems to me that Asano feeds his laptop here is own piano music and starts treating them around. Over the course of thirty some minutes the piano sounds are effectively eaten away by the zeroes and ones of the computer, which take over control and start playing their own melodies. Towards the end this takes the form of a computerized bagpipe concert. Just in the middle things get a bit noisy, but throughout there is quite a gentle flow of sounds. One of the better Asano releases. (FdW)
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