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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 556
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week 50
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Vital Weekly, the webcast: 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!
complete tracklist here: http://www.vitalweekly.net/podcast.html
you can subscribe to the weekly broadcast using the following rss feed:
http://www.harmlog.nl/vitalfeed.asp
New broadcasts will be sent directly when uploaded.

* noted are in this week's podcast

DEAD LETTERS SPELL OUT DEAD WORDS - OLD GHOSTS, NEW GHOSTS, ALL GHOSTS CD (CD by Ideal Recordings)
CHRISTIAN WEBER & HANS KOCH & MICHAEL MOSER & MARTIN SIEWERT & CHRISTIAN WOLFAHRT - 3 SUITS & A VIOLIN (CD by hatOLOGY)
CHRISTIAN WEBER - OSAKA SOLO (privateCD)
KYLIE MINOISE - SPANK MAGIC LODGE (CD by Kovorox Sound) *
MATTIN - PROLETARIAN OF NOISE (CD by Hibari Music) *
ULTRA MILKMAIDS - POCKET STATION (CD by Ant-Zen)
GENEVIEVE PASQUIER - VIRGIN PULSES (CD by Ant-Zen)
STRANGE ATTRACTOR VS DISINFORMATION - CIRCUIT BENDING (CD by Adaadat) *
MOVE D & BENJAMIN BRUNN - LET'S CALL IT A DAY (CD by Bine Music) *
BRENT FARISS & BILL THOMPSON - AUGUST/SEPTEMBER (CD by Spectral House)
BEN FROST - THEORY OF MACHINES (CD by Bedroom Community) *
HERIBERT FRIEDL - BACK_FORWARD (CD by Non Visual Objects)
HERIBERT FRIEDL & BERNARD GUNTER - TRANS~ (CD by Non Visual Objects) *
RICHARD GARET - INTRINSIC MOTION (CD by Non Visual Objects)
MORMO - WASTING 500 SOUNDS (CD by Low Impedance) *
16STAGES - KRUPNIK (LP by Low Impedance)
MOONMAN - NECESSARY ALIBIS (CD by Greed Recordings)
CORNFLAKES HEROES - OFF WITH YOUR HEADS (CD by Greed Recordings)
CENTURY OF AEROPLANES - TWO CHILDREN MOVING IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS (CDR by Greed Recordings) *
BLACK FORREST/BLACK SEA - S/T (CD/LP by Music Fellowship)
LANDING - GRAVITATIONAL IV (LP by Equation Records)
FEAR FALLS BURNING - I'M ONE OF THOSE MONSTERS NUMB WITH GRACE (LP by Equation Records)
PAUL DEVENS - TESTING GROUND (DVD-R by Moab Records)
PAUL DEVENS & 10:21 AM - LATITUDE (DVD-R by Moab Records)
NOKALYPSE - OCEAN OF INEXISTENCE (CDR by Triple Bath) *
SELECTONE - UNEARTHED (CDR by Ressonus Records)
TABORSHELL/SEKTOR - THE TANDEM SERIES SIX (CDR by Boltfish)
ZAINETICA - REDIRECTION (CDR by Boltfish) *
PHROQ - 77 SOUND OBJECTS (CDR by Cipher Productions) *
MLEHST - INEDIBLE HARVEST/INDELIBLE HARVEST (8" by Cipher Productions)
CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THE LIGHT - BARREN FIELDS FLOWERING (3"CDR by Cipher Productions)
HATI - MANTRA 1: PREHISTORY OF HATI: VOL. 1 (CDR by Eter)
HATI - RECYCLED MAGICK SOUNDSYSTEM: LIVE (CDR by Eter)
HATI - RECYCLED MAGICK EMISSIONS (3"CDR by Malachit) *
MACHINEFABRIEK - FLOTTER (3"CDR by Machinefabriek) *
KARL BÖSMANN - VORSICHT MUSIK (3"CDR, as part of Bad Alchemy 52) *
SHIFTS - BRANCHES (3"CDR by Taalem)

 

DEAD LETTERS SPELL OUT DEAD WORDS - OLD GHOSTS, NEW GHOSTS, ALL GHOSTS CD (CD by Ideal Recordings)
Listening to Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words has always been a hallucinatory endeavor with its ability to conjure imagery of wandering through the bowels of some ill-defined decaying urban atrocity. With "Old Ghosts, New Ghosts, All Ghosts" the landscape has changed, moving to the innards of a decaying heart. The inhabitants here are ghosts-ghosts of lost, attempted, and rejected love manifested in sound. The tracks are numbered yet not all are titled, as if one cannot name them or is too afraid to articulate their names. Such are the sounds that emanate: strange articulations of scratching, clicks, objects being dragged in the mud in one continuous flow. Sometimes a form takes shape and arises from the muck, repeating drones that raise our spirits then succumbs to its inherent flaws.
Unlike a lot of what falls under the loose genre of microsound or digital musics this one is best played at maximum volume. (JS)
Address: http://www.idealrecordings.com

CHRISTIAN WEBER & HANS KOCH & MICHAEL MOSER & MARTIN SIEWERT & CHRISTIAN WOLFAHRT - 3 SUITS & A VIOLIN (CD by hatOLOGY)
CHRISTIAN WEBER - OSAKA SOLO (privateCD)
Two CDs by the young austrian (or swiss?) musician Christian Weber. Christian Weber, who did his musical studies in Graz and Linz, is active in several projects of improvised or composed music. Current projects include WAL (with Bruno Amstad & Joke Lanz), WWL (with Urs Leimgruber & Christian Wolfarth), Korber-Weber-Wolfarth, Wiesendanger-Weber-Ulrich and Space Madness (with Richard Koch and painter Zasd). Regular performances with ensembles for contemporary composed music (a.o. Collegium Novum, RSO Vienna...).
With '3 Suits & a Violin' he presents his own ensemble and music. Accompanied by four musicians from Austria and Switzerland, they are exploring dynamics, sound and textures in Amm-like improvisations. From the last sentence you may conclude that we deal here with a typical european kind of improvisation or avant garde music with Amm as an important point of reference. A kind of music that fortunately still attracts younger musicians nowadays and audiences (I hope). The line up is: Koch (bass clarinet, saxophones, electronics), Moser (cello), Siewert (guitar, lap steel, electronics), Wolfahrt (drums) and Weber on doublebass. Moser and Siewert you may know from Polwechsel. The music for this CD arises from a open concept that Weber composed and that is worked out and giving shape by all five improvisors. All of them are equally involved in coloring these soundscapes. While listening to the music it is my experience that it has strong sense of direction and structure. Whether this is the result of the structuring quality of the underlying concept, or of the improvisational qualities of the players I am unable to judge. But the raw and subtile noises, are well-tempered and -balanced interwoven into a whole that succeeds to keep the attention of the listener. The recordings already date from 2002 and are now at last released by HatOLOGY. So I am not sure whether we are talking here of history, meaning that the ensemble does no longer exist. I don't hope so, because their improvisations are satisfying and imaginative. If not you may derive some comfort from the solo-recording by Weber. The privately released 'Osaka solo' captures 18 minutes of Weber in a solo concert on march 12, 2006 in Japan. A very concentrated and energetic piece, that proves Weber is also perfectly capable on his own feet in making exciting noise-oriented improvisation. It starts with deep growling noises in the lower regions. Then soft and silently, Weber makes a new start in the higher regions, playing gradually louder and with deeper drones and a rhythmic pattern. Nicely recorded by Jason Kahn (DM)
Address: http://www.hathut.com/
Address: http://www.christianweber.org/

KYLIE MINOISE - SPANK MAGIC LODGE (CD by Kovorox Sound)
The name bashing thing to make fun of the overground pop stars is of course happening for quite some time. Locally we had an older Belgium couple waiting for Donna Summer, the disco queen and were shocked to see Jason Forrest (this is very much a true story). I don't think that will happen to Kylie Minoise, attracting teenagers waiting for the little star from down under. Whoever Kylie Minoise is, I don't know, and neither why they depicted Myra Hindley on the cover, but perhaps this is another form of bashing: the icon of industrial music? One thing Kylie Minoise does however is that he/she/they make noise. Not the straightforward 'let's put on a shortwave signals, lots of distortion and feedback', but they opt for short pieces that are sometimes in the realms of true noise, but also can be something different, like the loop based drone piece 'Deep In Flower-power Knelt The Young Mother By The Dark Fence'. Kylie Minoise uses cut-up and collage methods as a form of tactic and as such they do a pretty fine job. It makes 'Spank Magic Lodge' into a pretty varied CD that surely will appeal to the true noise heads, but for someone as me who has pretty much heard much everything of the noise scene, this is indeed quite nice, because of it's variety on approaches. (FdW)
Address: http://www.kovoroxsound.com

MATTIN - PROLETARIAN OF NOISE (CD by Hibari Music)
With intervals of two or three weeks, Mattin produces a new work, and more and more released on 'real' CDs. I am a bit unclear what his new work has to do with 'King Of Noise' by Hijokaidan, but besides using the title, he also uses the cover of that release. in 'Computer Music/Post-Fordism' he uses the sound of typing on a computer keyboard, which I thought was a great example of computer music. In the next three pieces, Mattin plays his more usual barrage of noise music. Lots of feedback, but in 'Attitude Fetishist' there is also a rhythm machine banging. That is a new feature, but also the fact that Mattin uses lyrics these days. He spits the words out like in a good ol' Steve Ignorant style type of singing. More than half the CD is taken up by 'Thesis On Noise', which is mainly silence, interrupted by a female voice reading the thesis (also printed on the cover). By itself a strong statement (and with a difference to text which I won't spoil here), but perhaps also not the newest thing to happen around noise and silence as a musical theme. And of course as a music piece a bit hard to listen to. But through Mattin makes a strong point in all five pieces. (FdW)
Address: http://www.hibarimusic.com

ULTRA MILKMAIDS - POCKET STATION (CD by Ant-Zen)
Many musical territories have been crossed during the thirteen years of existence by French band Ultra Milkmaids. Starting back in 1993 as a hardcore punk band the project moved across experimental free jazz into a techno-based sound sphere until they decided to find themselves somewhere in the borderline between electronic and acoustic sound expression. On this latest release Ultra Milkmaids stylishly makes my thoughts go back to glory days of German krautrock. With the blend of experimental rock added some punk attitude and lots of free flying psychedelia, the expression turns my minds back into early 70's krautrock albums such as Neu's "Neu 2" and Faust's "Faust IV". This is cheerful music with a nice dose of pensiveness. There's not much electronic interruption here, just pure guitar-driven rock at its best. From the emotional track of true melancholy, "Why?", to the simple yet very effective tune "My star" with great vocals reminiscent of something in-between the guttersnipe-vocals of Mick Jagger and the distant and unpolished voice of Ian Curtis (Joy Division). "Pocket station" is a great album. Another great achievement by the band with the funny name! (NMP)
Address: http://www.ant-zen.com

GENEVIEVE PASQUIER - VIRGIN PULSES (CD by Ant-Zen)
This is a really cool release! It makes me think of early industrial-pioneers of the 80's transformed into the modern sound technology of 21 st century. French composer Genevieve Pasquier impressed me with her previous album titled "Soap bubble factory" but this new album titled "Virgin pulses" is even better! The strength of Genevieve Pasquier is her excellent voice that, sometimes being sung other times spoken, adds a perfect charm into the icy and tough expression of the album - like electronic music's answer to rock music's femme fatale, P.J. Harvey. That the greatest force of Genevieve Pasquier is her voice says quite a lot, since the album compositionally spoken is an awesome beast as well! Musically "Virgin pulses" presents anything from harsh power electronics sound spheres to ethereal ambient sometimes being integrated in cynic spheres of early industrial drones reminiscent of Alan Vega's pioneering project: Suicide. The great variation in sonic expression from soft soundscapes to noisy chaos combined with the remarkable voice of Genevieve Pasquier makes this album a truly unique and very fascinating work. Excellent! (NMP)
Address: http://www.ant-zen.com

STRANGE ATTRACTOR VS DISINFORMATION - CIRCUIT BENDING (CD by Adaadat)
It has been a long, long time since I last heard something by Disinformation, also known as Joe Banks, who uses electrical phenomena of all kind to produce some highly charged electric and electronic music. I have no idea what he is up to these days, but here we find him working with Mark Pilkington, also known as Strange Attractor, of whom I know next to nothing, other than he also runs the Strange Attractor journal. On 'Circuit Bending' they use 'vintage, high-voltage electromedical apparatus to achieve an effect described by the artist and sound engineer Richard Brown, who reported accidentally using Tesla waves to trigger spontaneous music in a toy electronic keyboard'. To bend circuits you have to open an electric device and touch the electrical wires and knobs inside, or you can modify them yourself. It can open up a whole world of sound, if you know what you are doing. The twenty-seven minute work, spanning nine tracks here, are culled from six hour of performance recordings, and is surely a crazy work. Notes are seemingly randomly played, there is distortion and crackle and throughout there is a strange sense of hectic and nervousness about this music. Because of a power failure today, I was forced to listen this on headphones and a CD walkman, which made the overdose of hectic going straight into my brain, making me partly nervous and wanting to throw away the headphones. But there is something truly captivating about this release. All of the random patterns start making sense, a line is to be discovered, perhaps even a structure, how illogical at times it may sound. And some tracks are just plain sweet, such as the fourth one. The 'old' Disinformation sound is still in there, but it has opened to new fields of sound. (FdW)
Address: http://www.adaadat.com

MOVE D & BENJAMIN BRUNN - LET'S CALL IT A DAY (CD by Bine Music)
One of the core artists of Bine Music is Benjamin Brunn, of whom they released two 12"s before, and now a full length, collaborative CD with Move D, also known as David Moufang. He plays his 'flying carpet' and Brunn his Nord Modular synth. I am not sure how literal we should take the title, but it was produced over a period of three days, before they called it a day. Lengthy, minimal and spacious. Those are the words to describe this. A rhythm is set forward, feeding through synths and minimally changes in both texture and rhythm is set forward. Tracks can be up to seventeen minutes and with seven in total, I must admit some boredom leaped in. The material is only on a superficial level different, but the ground idea remains the same for each track, and the spacious keyboard lines start to irritate and one starts wondering who this music is made for. It's not for people who dance, but at the same time, it's to rhythmic to just sit back and relax. Given that the musical innovation is far away, this is an ambient dance record that would have fitted well on Fax Records ten years ago, but now since a bit overdue. (FdW)
Address: http://www.binemusic.de

BRENT FARISS & BILL THOMPSON - AUGUST/SEPTEMBER (CD by Spectral House)
This is my first encounter with both Spectral House as well as Brent Fariss and Bill Thompson. The first plays 'prepared contrabass, electronics, field recordings' and Thompson plays 'electronics, amplified percussion and field recordings'. Both studied composition at Texas State University in the mid 90s, and they cross lines of modern composition, electronics, noise and free improvisation. As far as i understand both pieces on this release were commissioned by an arts organization to be played live but the result were thus nice that they decided to go into the studied to do a full, good studio recording of it. Rightly so, because this is music that deserves to be heard. In 'August' things start at the long drone end, with a wall of electronics, but gradually over the course of this piece, things move towards letting the instruments be heard as such and even ends with a desolate bowed string. The second piece, 'September' works along less well defined lines, and is more an open ended collage form piece of music, moving through various textures, both electronically and acoustically. Both pieces are great works from the world where composing and improvising meet up. No doubt we'll be hearing more from them. (FdW)
Address: http://www.spectralhouse.com

BEN FROST - THEORY OF MACHINES (CD by Bedroom Community)
Like the previous release on Bedroom Community this one comes with extensive liner notes on the artist and the recording, almost in a modern classical way. Daniel Johnson tells us about Frost's fascination for the Swans, about films and about the pieces. I didn't want to spoil my fresh opinion about Frost, as this is the first time I hear his music (other than a remix on a Room40 compilation). Frost lives in Iceland, has had work released on Room40 and a release as School Of Emotional Engineering. His main instrument is the guitar and sound effects and to a lesser extent he uses drums. His main goal is to create a wall of sound. No exactly in a traditional noise manner, but perhaps in Swans like manner. Layers upon layers of (wether or not processed) guitars, with minor changed pitches form the massive body of this work. That can be loud but also soft such as the piece 'We Love You Michael Gira'. Drums don't play necessarily a good hook, but rather bang out a good groove, on end, without much variation. If they arrive at all. In each piece it seems to be taking a while to get there and they sound like they have been filtered through some computer plug in section. Pieces are long but never too long, as the changes aren't that minimal that they arrive unnoted. In every piece something changes rather quickly. Five tracks, just, no more, but with great, exhausting, power. One to leave you behind rather tired. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bedroomcommunity.net

HERIBERT FRIEDL - BACK_FORWARD (CD by Non Visual Objects)
HERIBERT FRIEDL & BERNARD GUNTER - TRANS~ (CD by Non Visual Objects)
RICHARD GARET - INTRINSIC MOTION (CD by Non Visual Objects)
Two of the three new releases on Non Visual Objects deal with music of the labelowner Heribert Friedl. 'Back_Forward' is a solo release where Friedl plays an instrument called the hackbrett, also known as cymbalon. Friedl plays this, and afterward he transforms the sound inside the computer. However he opts not for a total transformation but a combination in which we can hear some of the original sounds, as well as the processed versions thereof. That is a nice thing. At times Friedl uses a bit too much reverb for my taste (when it comes to presenting the instrument sounds as they are) or some echo effects. Other than that he creates a powerful interplay between the acoustic and digital sounds, sometimes as opposing elements, sometimes as separate elements, divided in time and sometimes working together. No doubt the music was composed thoroughly, but it maintained a vivid improvisational feel to it. Quite nice.
I lost track of Bernard Günter's output a long time ago. I was, I must admit, never a big fan of his computer based Feldman inspired music, nor of his later improvised recordings. On 'Trans~' he works with Friedl, who plays the hackbrett again. Günter himself plays his electric cellotar, a self-made bamboo flute and three harmonicas. To this he adds a field recording of a group of 'three small power transformers [...] changing microphone positions to cull different sounds and overtone spectra from the transformers' intense hum'. Maybe it was the intense hum bit that sacred me off, but maybe it was a Günter exaggeration of making things clear. There is indeed humming in the background, but it plays a modest role; the instruments on top play a much more important role. The two work their way through changing textures and moods in a quiet and subtle way. They produce some elegant music, giving each of the used instruments their own place over the course of the work. Time slips by easily as one is emerged in this work. Quite nice altogether.
The name Richard Garet we encountered before on the 'Territorium' compilation on the same label, but which sadly didn't leave a big impression here. For this solo work he uses field recordings (we hear birds singing), 'found sound appropiantions', contact microphone play, feedback and all of this undergoing studio processing. Much of what was my problem with the 'Territorium' compilation applies here. It's all in the field of careful editing and processing, static crackle, fading in and out peeps and that sort of ingredients that hoover in the world of microsound. Garet does a fine job, let there be no doubt about that, but it's all a bit too regular, non exciting and too much like others already in this quite crowded area of music makers. If you never heard anything like that you will no doubt be carried away by it's beauty, but if say Richard Chartier belong to your daily digest, than this must be approached with some care. (FdW)
Address: http://www.nonvisualobjects.com

MORMO - WASTING 500 SOUNDS (CD by Low Impedance)
16STAGES - KRUPNIK (LP by Low Impedance)
Behind Mormo is one Tomasz Kaye, who debuted with an EP called 'A Mouth Full Of Small Barks' on Papergoose and now offers fifteen new tracks under the banner of 'Wasting 500 Sounds'. To start with the bad news: it has at least six pieces too many. Mormo plays music with splintered beats, broken rhythms and those melancholic synthesizer lines, which we heard a bit too much by now from the likes of almost everybody on Highpoint Lowlife or Expanding Records. Mormo's beats are a bit more broken up, the mixing a little bit more experimental and at times even borrowing ideas from dub music, in itself these differences aren't enough to think something remarkable new is going on. A couple of them are quite alright, but for the entire duration of the CD it is simply a bit too much.
Joseph Kaye is the man behind 16stages and as such he presents his debut work with 'Krupnik'. Much of what is said about Mormo can be said here, but here we are dealing with six pieces only, and it is throughout musically more engaging. Kaye is classically trained musician, which is shown in the way he uses the piano to play jazz like solo's. Even when musically it falls in similar territory I liked this one better. It's shorter, more to the point and more trotting new paths. (FdW)
Address: http://www.lowimpedance.net

MOONMAN - NECESSARY ALIBIS (CD by Greed Recordings)
CORNFLAKES HEROES - OFF WITH YOUR HEADS (CD by Greed Recordings)
CENTURY OF AEROPLANES - TWO CHILDREN MOVING IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS (CDR by Greed Recordings)
Greed Recordings are a new label for me, even when they have been around for a longer time, and of their three releases two are all part of the world of popmusic, which is perhaps not necessarily the world of Vital Weekly. Moonman plays 'indie-pop' on guitars, drums, some cello, poetry telling. Sometimes catchy up tempo, sometimes introspective, but always 'honest popmusic' (the kind of music so-called alternative music lovers like, and is used to say something negative about others with computers).
Also Cornflakes Heroes are a band, a classic four piece. Their indie pop is a slightly more distorted, more indie rock (I know it's all semantics). I read in the press blurb that there are influences of Pavement, The Shins and Sebadoh, but I have been cut off of 'alternative' rock music for more than twenty years, so who am I to tell? It's actually quite good, some really catchy tunes, such as 'Silly Boys Are Untrue'.
The last release is by Century Of Aeroplanes and is the most interesting one, for the more adventurous experimental music lover. They are a big band, including people on trombone, percussion, voice, violin, viola and guitars. They have had releases on WM Recordings and Unlabel, and here are presented on CDR. They play a kind of modern classical mood music, where I was reminded of the Boxhead Ensemble, even when these pieces are not directly linked to film. There is a certain cinematopgraphic quality to these pieces. Influences seem to be coming directly from the world of minimal music, with Steve Reich being the most obvious one. It is a pity that some of these pieces are so short, only spanning two or three minutes and that is too short to get into the piece. They are located at the beginning of this release, as towards the end things are longer and they go more indepth into the composition. Quite a nice release this one.
As for the other two it's alright to hear once, but as an old bloke I rather stick on to my old new wave collection. (FdW)
Address: http://www.greed-recordings.com

BLACK FORREST/BLACK SEA - S/T (CD/LP by Music Fellowship)
Black Forest/Black Sea is the duo of Jeffrey Alexander and Miriam Goldberg from Providence, RI with releases on labels such as Last Visible Dog, Time Lag and their own Secret Eye imprint. Their latest work, which comprises two pieces of about 20 minutes each and includes contributions from Stefano Pilia and Miriam's sisters Margot and Gillian, starts out with free, harmonic cello playing, that is soon joined by a soft electronic drone. At this point you could think you are dealing with the soundtrack of a nature documentary, full of overexposed and multilayered images. However, as the music progresses these images blur and the associations multiply with the music shifting back and forth between rumbling drone passages and dreamy guitar and cello playing, embedded in semi-naïve Casio melodies, decaying electronics and obscure concrete sounds. The roots of this music are in the sensibilities of traditional loner folk, which are inscribed into the aesthetics of fuzzy improvised drone, with results that are as dense, floating and highly organic as they are expressive.
The second track is in parts reminiscent of the austere intensity of Christina Carter's solo works (with whom BF/BS released a split CD in 2004), but also incorporates a short noisy improv part and pulsating delay patterns. A set of half improvised guitar notes, a few tones on the Casio and Gillian Goldberg's vocals meander ghostly for some minutes, gradually build up to a dense wall of sound and then break down into a dissonant, fragmented guitar and cello improvisation. Then there is an abrupt, yet not disrupting change, and the piece ends in a free, almost lyrical way, with guitar, cello and effects again.
So, to sum it up, it is a thoroughly pleasant manifestation of the current (as it seems decidedly not post-modern motivated) interest in hybridizing folk music, with those passages being the most intense that merge traditional notions of personal expression with the affective impact of free-form playing or of thick blankets of organic sound and noise. (MSS)
Address: http://www.secreteye.org

LANDING - GRAVITATIONAL IV (LP by Equation Records)
FEAR FALLS BURNING - I'M ONE OF THOSE MONSTERS NUMB WITH GRACE (LP by Equation Records)
On the insert of the LP by Landing we find miniature reprints of the entire catalogue of Landing, and I studied it close enough to conclude I never heard any of them, but still the band has a somewhat vague ring in my hear. Maybe I am just getting old. This five piece band is from Connecticut and the easiest way to classify them is to state they are a post-rock band, even when Adrienne Snow also contributes vocals. A standard rock line up, and perhaps 85% of the music is instrumental. Quite drone with e-bows on guitars, feeding off through pedal samplers, but the drums make this even a bit more krautrock than expected. In 'Gravitational VI' things sound very seventies and very ccchermanic - very much Neu!, Can, Ash Ra Temple. This time no points for originality here, since every single sound or idea contained herein has been heard before, I thought it was a most pleasant record. Recordings are fine, music is not too experimental, flowing nicely and is executed with care. I look out the window, see a bit of sunlight and sometimes that's all there is to have a fine time.
How exactly he does this, I don't know, but here is another record for Fear Falls Burning, also known as Dirk Serries, in a previously life-time Vidna Obmana, for some twenty years. As Vidna Obmana he released some thirty-five CDs, but it seems as if he is trying to do more that with his new incarnation. I already lost count since he started two years ago with Fear Falls Burning, but several CDs, LPs and a five hour DVD. The principle is always the same. All pieces are live, recorded to two track. Dirk plays guitar, feeds it through effects and that's it. This is my main objection: the rigid working method is preventing any changes. A common Fear Falls Burning piece start out with some strumming, and from there beautiful (because don't get me wrong: I think it's wonderful music) clouds of overtones start to emerge, like shimmering clouds, organ like tones, and in some distance there is distortion working on the strings. There is no big bang ending like in some of his other works, and another minor difference is that this sounds a bit more noisy than some of the more ambient works from before. Minor differences can be spotted here, and it is still no doubt a great record, but it would be time for some more fundamental change.
Thumbs up for the presentation: full color gate fold sleeve, extra inserts, and beautiful colored vinyl. Both in a limited edition of 400 copies. Did I hear the word 'collectors item'? (FdW)
Address: http://www.chronoglide.com/equation.html

PAUL DEVENS - TESTING GROUND (DVD-R by Moab Records)
PAUL DEVENS & 10:21 AM - LATITUDE (DVD-R by Moab Records)
From the southern part of The Netherlands hails
Paul Devens of whom we reviewed 'Gunpop' in Vital Weekly 504. Here are two works that deal with video and audio - or audio and video, which you prefer first. For 'Testing Ground' it's best to play it a high volume and on a surround sound system. The first I can do, but not the second. There is a stereo mix. 'Testing Ground' deals with space and sound. Speakers play strict separated sounds, high and mid range on to speakers facing the ceiling, with the bass rhythm rumble bouncing around. It's a bit hard to describe and the way I played it, probably hardly justifies the real thing, but the video gives an impression of things looked like. The bass rhythm (which isn't in anyway a dance thing) provides a strong backdrop, on top of which the high end comes around in a vicious, dirty manner. Explosive work.
Together with someone who calls himself 10:21 AM, there is also another DVD-R release, but here no video, just a black screen for the first two-third of the work. Again the work is probably best heard in surround sound, but again no such thing. Over the course of almost eighteen minutes, the two merge rhythmic particles together in a very minimal way, but with great care and style. Minimalist changes and in quite a noisy and crude way. Perhaps influenced a bit by Pan Sonic, or rather Mika Vainio's solo work, this is an austere work. Once the video kicks in, things also change sound-wise: it becomes thicker, due to heavy layering of sounds. Like before, this review is only like listening to it with one ear. A surround sound as a present for christmas tree, is what I want! (FdW)
Address: http://www.pauldevens.nl/

NOKALYPSE - OCEAN OF INEXISTENCE (CDR by Triple Bath)
Triple Bath label owner Themis Pantelopolous works as Nokalypse and as such he has already released two CDrs, of which I heard only 'Axiac Infinity' on Echo Music (see Vital Weekly 481). Pantelopolous calls this 'reflections of ambient, electroacoustic, classical', but for me it's mainly ambient, albeit of a darker nature. Five lengthy pieces, spanning in total 81 minutes (!), and most tracks are divided into several parts. It's system music: music that goes from system to system, sounds are linked to eachother and seem to follow out of each other in a kind of natural way. Things move slowly and in a minimal way, occasionally rhythmic but the emphasis lies on producing highly atmospheric music. Some of these pieces could easily fit the Mystery Sea label (I wouldn't be surprised if he releases there in the future). It hardly holds a surprise this music, but it's executed with great care. Perhaps a bit long, but at the same time it's the longitude that works well and is perhaps needed for this kind of music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.triplebath.gr/

SELECTONE - UNEARTHED (CDR by Ressonus Records)
The first time I reviewed music by Selectone was in Vital Weekly 472, when they had a split release on Mufonic with Neutrino. Now they return on a new label, also from the Czech Republic. The first time around I wasn't too impressed by their music. It deemed to me that they used low resolution samples made on cheap samplers of lounge music. Musically 'Unearthed' has progressed from that into something that still uses samples but now of all sorts of music. There is rock, hard rock, classical music, ambient and ethnic music. I am not sure what exactly they are aiming at here. Is it a display of their record collection? A show-off what they can do? Or is there a genuine story behind this? It's hard to tell, as the music shifts back and forth between all sorts of musical influences, including the obvious crackling of vinyl. Sometimes I quite like the moods they depict, especially when things calm down and sometimes it's too heavy loaded with pathetic orchestral music or bombastic hard rock drums. There is potential in here for sure, but Selectone has to make up their mind, I guess. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ressonus.net

TABORSHELL/SEKTOR - THE TANDEM SERIES SIX (CDR by Boltfish)
ZAINETICA - REDIRECTION (CDR by Boltfish)
Music on the Boltfish label is music with rhythm and these three bands are no different. On something called the Tandem series they offer two artists on one release, the sixth and last installment being Taborshell and Sektor. The first one is Chris Massey, relatively new to creating music, since last year. He likes to use 'destruction, experimentation and re-composition', but I must admit it's a bit unsure how that works in his four tracks. He claims that they aren't 'complete', but they sound complete to me. Broken beats, quite forceful, doomy synth lines, dubby sound effects. Quite nice, even when no big surprise. Behind Sektor is Plamen Marinov, who has released on Tonatom, Uran97, Canomille Music and Kahvi. More or less he works in a similar musical territory as Taborshell, but his rhythm section is less crunchy and his synthesizers more spacious and melodic. Minor differences, but no doubt in this world big ones. Both are quite nice.
Zainetica, a.k.a. Mark Streatfield, is from london where he creates his music that was released on labels as Clickclickdrone, enpeg, kahvi, Lacedmilk, subvariant, rednetic, octoberman and ivdt (and then I think: gosh so many labels that I never heard of!). And still Zainetica has a lot of music, since his 'Redirection' (from what, me thinks) has fourteen tracks that span almost the entire length of a CD, which could all to easily lead to the impression that is not very critical as to what to release. Which is sadly true. His music is closer to Expanding and Highpoint Lowlife than the previous two, even when some more single minded and less complex, but it has mild keyboard lines. Techno plays a bigger role too, at least in some of the pieces but as non-dancer I can't say wether they would all work very well on the dancefloor. It's certainly alright, this music, but I must admit that sitting through the entire length of the release was a bit much for me. No prices for originality, but done with flare. (FdW)
Address: http://www.boltfish.co.uk/

PHROQ - 77 SOUND OBJECTS (CDR by Cipher Productions)
MLEHST - INEDIBLE HARVEST/INDELIBLE HARVEST (8" by Cipher Productions)
CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THE LIGHT - BARREN FIELDS FLOWERING (3"CDR by Cipher Productions)
If something is open for rework than it must be Francisco Meirino/Phroq '77 Sound Objects' - actually it's 76, all quite short and they are used in a big collage form in the first piece, the 77th sound piece. Phroq didn't alter any of the original sound files, but used them in a straight forward manner, although I believe they are layered as such. In the first piece Phroq moves between all the usual suspects of his work: from quiet scratching the surface to very loud eruptions of noise. A very solid, if somewhat unsurprising Phroq work. He's good at creating works like this, but perhaps they sound a bit the same. The 76 soundfiles are equally interesting to hear and perhaps for the more adventurous listeners something to re-use, or even try and re-create Phroq's first piece.
A highly limited lathe cut comes from Mlehst. If understood correctly this was already recorded in 1998 and shows Mlehst in his best lo-fi noise form. Mlehst is short and to the point here, with harsh feedback/drone pieces but his recording quality is never so good, but it adds a great charm to this. With a total length of only ten minutes, this is almost like a popsong, except it's not pop and not a really song. But it's quite nice indeed.
I never heard of Conversations About The Light, which seems to be the project of one Robert Hunter. I really have some trouble with this. In his softer moments he sounds quite ambient but in darker lands, which is quite nice, but why on earth does he have to play his noise tricks too? For me it seems two worlds that are hard to combine.
Address: http://www.iheartnoise.com/cipherproductions

HATI - MANTRA 1: PREHISTORY OF HATI: VOL. 1 (CDR by Eter)
HATI - RECYCLED MAGICK SOUNDSYSTEM: LIVE (CDR by Eter)
HATI - RECYCLED MAGICK EMISSIONS (3"CDR by Malachit)
Quite recently Polish Hati did a small tour together with z'ev. No doubt Hati is one of those bands that use concerts to sell CDs and perhaps for that reason they released these three CDRs. Hati is a drone group who use a variety of instruments: animal horns, bamboo pipes, steel jingle bells, wooden pipe, plastic tubes, cymbal, steel lids, wood wind chimes, and much more and the outcome is both atmospheric and occasionally rhythmic. On 'Mantra 1: Prehistory Of Hati: Vol. 1' we are transported back to the past, to the very first sessions by Hati in 1997. Here they still use loops, guitar, effects, voice, found objects and a drum machine. Especially the drum machine makes a big mark on the music. It rambles on like there is no end. The entire sound spectrum is smeared with sound effects. Very trance like, but for the weak of mind, this can turn out to be a bad head trip. Sometimes a bit noisy, but such as in 'Suntan 1' a nice cross-over between the old zoviet*france and the more recent Troum.
We leap forward to 2006 and find 'Recycled Magick Soundsystem: Live'. I am not sure why people spell magic as magick, as I hoped it would have been over by now. It distracts me a bit of the music. Between 1997 and 2006 Hati has turned off their volume, worked on structure and balance of their sound and working with z'ev has influenced quite a bit. Their sound has softened and became more deeper, but it still uses extensively sound effects and synthesizers. Nice, but a bit too raw of a combination. But this is a live recording so it's also a bit more rough, at least more rough that the 'Recycled Magick Emissions', which is a 3" CDR where they reach the perfection of their sound. Densely layered, using reversed sounds, minimal changes and throughout mostly acoustic sounding. I must say I prefer the shorter recent studio recording over the longer live recordings. The all acoustic sound works quite well. It's drone related, but acoustic and highly atmospheric. Soon a 7" to come on Drone Records, apparently along similar lines. (FdW)
Address: http://www.hati.info
Address: http://www.nefryt.serpent.pl

MACHINEFABRIEK - FLOTTER (3"CDR by Machinefabriek)
Perhaps the last release by Machinefabriek for this year, but you never know. It's still 18 days to go. I think I noted this before, but Machinefabriek has settled upon a style now. Highly atmospheric and deep soundscapes, preferable of a longer kind. 'Flotter' has just one track for the full twenty minutes. Crackles that sound like of an old vinyl, fed through a bunch of delay/reverb and a bit of distortion, perhaps the bowing of a guitar (the usual list of instruments misses for this release) and even a longer bit of field recordings (cars passing). Throughout a highly atmospheric release, no big surprise or change after 'Slaap' and 'Zucht', but not with the same impact either. This is a bit too much on the regular side as far as I'm concerned. Too easily made, too fast, and not enough worked out. It fits his catalogue quite well, but not his recent high standard. (FdW)
Address: http://www.machinefabriek.nu

KARL BÖSMANN - VORSICHT MUSIK (3"CDR, as part of Bad Alchemy 52)
In the days of Vital-the paper magazine and the early days of Vital Weekly we used to review magazines. Perhaps because there were more magazines in the environment where Vital Weekly was made, or perhaps the digital age has not as many anymore. One of the survivors however is Bad Alchemy, a German magazine, which sees the daylight three times a year and running since the late eighties. They cover much the same ground as Vital Weekly, but more also: more jazz, more improvised music. Every now and then they have something to go with it, a 7" or in this case a 3" CDR by Karl Bösmann, who has had releases before on Tosom and Verato. I guess, I would have said about his music so far, that is experimental, working with loops, but that it didn't leave a very clear impression on me. 'Vorsicht Musik' came rather as a surprise. The first time I played it, I had to double check if this was the right CD. It was. It's not because I like it that much actually. But the sampled guitars, vocals, drums don't sound like any of his previous work. The title piece is a heavy banger, but someone the sampled together sounds don't work very well. Or rather they do, but they don't make up some nice music. It's kind alike popmusic, in very pompous way. Bösmann knows how to handle the sampler, that's for sure. But I think I preferred his previous work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.karlboesmann.com

SHIFTS - BRANCHES (3"CDR by Taalem)
Derrida's idea that the "semantic horizon which habitually governs the notion of communication is exceeded or punctured by the intervention of writing." which "..does not give rise to a hermeneutic deciphering".. is key to understanding the difficulty of locating the 'drone' within the idea of music which is "western" - i.e. teleological, which is written contra the arguments given in S.E.C. And though we have passed through such a teleological epoch we are only now in the light of post modernism reconsidering the alternatives, i.e. 'turtles all the way down'.. the eternal return of the same. and alternative mythologies - Buddhist, Jain, Hindu .. even Wagnerian prior to Parsifal... And so this 'music' is open to the critique of those who wish to enforce a teleology upon us. (And the usual ploy of leveling ethnocentric critiques on musics which are not part of this great tradition of the west! - and its teleological meta-narrative - i.e. Christian / Jewish / Islamic / Marxist) This piece avoids the latter critique, its very Conrad-esq beginning locates it within modern western culture despite its use of the de-tuned string instrument. Its development, and that's a very dangerous word to use here, is something subtle - it does not so much hide the development but points towards a cyclic anti hermeneutic work - and this is perhaps my only 'valid' point of criticism of this otherwise excellent work, and maybe not that valid - but given a piece of music (normally) has to be temporally located this provides an obvious challenge to the drone work - (unless repeat play is used) - maybe via an mp3 disk this temporality could be extended but never breached, but this is not a significant philosophical challenge to the drone work as its not surprising that our technology supports the western idea of a teleological universe even though there is a likely alternative - eight track tape as the anti-Christ! (jliat)
Address http://www.taalem.com

 

correction: Nyarlathotep's real name is John LUNA, not John Luba and Brian Kopish's solo project is SURROUNDED, not Surround.

 

 

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