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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 559
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week 2
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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

BRENDAN MURRAY - WONDERS NEVER CEASE (CD by Intransitive Recordings) *
SEHT & STELZER - EXACTLY WHAT YOU LOST (CD by Intransitive Recordings)
THE STUMPS - SPLIT FLEET DODGE (LP by Palinedrone/Intransitive)
DEPARTMENT - BOMBS IN HIGH PLACES (CD by Laboratory Records) *
CARLOS GIFFONI - ARROGANCE (CD by No Fun Productions) *
JASON KAHN & TOMAS KORBER & CHRISTIAN WEBER - ZÜRCHER AUFNAHMEN (CD by Longbox Recordings) *
MIKE SHIFLET - ICHINOMIYA 5.3.6 (CD by Little Enjoyer) *
MATTIN & BARNES - ACHBAL AL ATLAS (CD by Little Enjoyer)
HELENA GOUGH - WITH WHAT REMAINS (CD by Entr'acte) *
LUSTMORD - THE PLACE WHERE THE BLACK STARS HANG (CD by Soleilmoon)
JOHN WATERMANN - CALCUTTA GAS CHAMBERS (CD by Cold Spring)
ELISABETH FLUNGER - SONGS (CD by Loewenhertz)
AEMAE - MAW (CD by Isounderscore) *
RHODRI DAVIES & KO ISHIKAWA - COMPOSITIONS FOR HARP AND SHO (CD by Hibari Music) *
PERLONEX/KEITH ROWE/CHARLEMAGNE PALESTINE - TENSIONS (2CD by Nexsound)
KOTRA & ZAVOLOKA - WAG THE SWING (CD by Nexsound) *
THE ONE ENSEMBLE - WAYWARD THE FOURTH (CD by Secret Eye)
T.RAUMSCHMIERE - RANDOM NOIZE SESSIONS VOL. 1 (CD by Shitkatapult)
N.STRAHL.N - BROT UND LÜGEN (CDr by TOSOM)
DJ MUSICIAN - KLINSI (CDR by White Label)
NO - MOONGOON (CD-R by Tourette Records/No Rekords)
MUTANT THURD - CANAL TAPES (CDR by Verato Project)
STORMHAT - HYPNAGOGIA (CDR by A Beard Of Snails Records) *
DAG ROSENQVIST & RUTGER ZUYDERVELT - VINTERMUSIK (CDR by Machinefabriek) *
MILLISECONDE TOPOGRAPHIE - POSTER NO.1 (CDR by Ekumen)
MILLISECONDE TOPOGRAPHIE - POSTER NO.2 (CDR by Ekumen)
MILLISECONDE TOPOGRAPHIE - POSTER NO.3 (CDR by Ekumen)
MORCEAUX D'EKUMEN (MP3 by Ekumen)
JEPH JERMAN & ALBERT CASAIS - AND THIS (CDR by Winds Measure Recordings)
BEN OWEN - RADIO>IN (CDR by Winds Measure Recordings) *
FORMATT - NÏNSTITU (3"CDR by Silken Tofu)
BUNK DATA - ZOMBIE MACHINES (MP3 by Silence Is Not Empty)
SEETYA - SEE THINGS (MP3 by Silence Is Not Empty) *
PAWEL GRABOWSKI - KISSING EVIL GHOSTS GOODBYE (MP3 by Silence Is Not Empty)

 

 

 

BRENDAN MURRAY - WONDERS NEVER CEASE (CD by Intransitive Recordings)
SEHT & STELZER - EXACTLY WHAT YOU LOST (CD by Intransitive Recordings)
THE STUMPS - SPLIT FLEET DODGE (LP by Palinedrone/Intransitive)
The very last concert I saw in 2006, was on new year's eve, and by Brendan Murray, the unknown hero of experimental music. Due to some technical problems, it wasn't the grand finale of a great night, but he worked himself cleverly around the problems and did a more than suitable ending. Murray has a new CD to present, 'Wonders Never Cease' and I lost count a little bit, but it's perhaps his fourth or fifth solo release, and hopefully this will put him on the map for good, as he is ready for it (well, actually since his first CD, but that label disappeared all too quick). Murray plays around with the notion of drones in a clever way. The opening piece 'Hymn One' starts out as a loud beast, almost in a violent way, but when Murray pulls back the volume, things develop in a beautiful way. Heavily layered, with throughout changing patterns, which especially in 'Seas' works quite well, almost in a Steve Reich like manner, it is hard to believe that this actually a live album, even when bits and pieces were reworked in the studio. It's a clever drone album, since it by-passes the Mirror et al as Murray's music is much more upfront and present, and that very same quality makes it also anything far from ambient music. 'Wonders Never Cease' is Murray's finest album to date and hopefully puts him on the map of great experimental composers.
Seht is one Stephen Clover from New Zealand who teams up with Howard Stelzer, cassette manipulator, improviser and head honcho of Intransitive Recordings. Even when Stelzer loves to improvise, the material on 'Exactly What You Lost' was cooked up during the exchange of tapes through post. There isn't a clear plan or concept behind this, so it's a mutual love of sound. It's hard to say, but apparently there is a lot of processed field recordings, which are processed to the limit, that is: beyond the point of recognition. Long stretched drone material is created from this, interrupted by some of Stelzer's finer cassette manipulations. At times, certainly with the highly processed field recordings, I was reminded of some of the older Hafler Trio works, but throughout this is a little more raw than that, but at the same time also with great intensity. A more than great collaboration of highly composed (as opposed to improvised) music, with great menacing drone music, field recordings and manipulated cassettes.
The same Stephen Clover is also a member of The Stumps, a band with him on bass and synthesizer, but also with Antony Milton, James Kirk, Kieran Monaghan and Campbell Kneale playing a guest role. Although this is more traditional rock oriented music, it still goes down as prototypical New Zealand free rock/noise. Perhaps altogether a little bit more psychedelic than say Sandoz Lab Technicians (still an all time favorite of mine here), the name The Stumps has been well chosen as the work somewhere along the lines of old krautrock ideas, but in a more nineties noise rock jacket. Quite nice. (FdW)
Address: http://www.intransitiverecordings.com

DEPARTMENT - BOMBS IN HIGH PLACES (CD by Laboratory Records)
With the regular ticking of a clock, Australia's Department produces CDs. 'Bombs In High Places' is their fifth CD, following 'Shape Decay' (see Vital Weekly 495) and 'The Turncoat Sessions 97-03' (see Vital Weekly 453) and two older ones (see Vital Weekly 306). Although they are a duo, of Delov and Gatz, they manage to sound like a band. A real rocking band. More than before it seems, they are playing around with rock music. Either played by themselves, or sampled from other sources, the eight pieces are a highly varied bunch of musics, with distorted guitars, pounding drums and vocals. Moving away from the more cinematographic approach of the older material, they now offer a bunch of 'real' songs, that is varied, but still makes a coherent unity. The title track, with the chorus sung by a bunch of kids, is not exactly 'Another Brick In The Wall', but it makes a very streetwise piece of music. Again, a great CD, moving in a slightly different direction, Department is always in for a nice surprise. (FdW)
Address: http://dept.com.au/

CARLOS GIFFONI - ARROGANCE (CD by No Fun Productions)
New solo album from one of the most interesting noise musicians around, apart from being one of the instigators of a whole scene with his No Fun Fest, held every year in Brooklyn, and No Fun Productions label. This is the first CD for that label after seven great LPs, and not only is it a departure for format, it is also a slight departure concerning the music. Where his recent work (with "Welcome Home", his last album on Important, being one of the best in the genre) specialized in highly detailed digital noise constructions that sounded like some sort of John Wiese but with more compositional talent and more sense of contrast & volume, his new album is all made with analog synths. Some sort of reverse Merzbow? Maybe, but to be honest the sound itself hasn't maybe changed so much as could be expected. It is more what he does what it. Its five morphing drone pieces meander like a bulldozer lost in a thick fog, staying in place but slowly shifting form. Gone is the frenzy and overabundance of his recent records, but also a certain sound richness that I personally found totally addictive is lost. But getting lost can be fun, and it's certainly a great place to be which he carved out here. (RM)
Address: http://www.nofunfest.com

JASON KAHN & TOMAS KORBER & CHRISTIAN WEBER - ZÜRCHER AUFNAHMEN (CD by Longbox Recordings)
Both Kahn and Korber are active boys, both on stage, playing the world's stages as well as releasing music on CD. Slowly both can easily be linked to people like Merzbow in terms of producing a lot of CDs. It's not easy to set the various releases apart, but on this new release with Christian Weber indeed something else is going on. Kahn plays percussion and analogue synthesizer, Tomas Korber plays guitar and electronics and Christian Weber plays contrabass. The six pieces were recorded mid 2005. It seems to me that it contains much of what Korber and Kahn do in the realm of digital music is transposed here to the acoustic playground. Careful strumming, soft, percussive elements and only a mild form of resonance. The emphasis lies on the acoustic quality of the instruments. This is what sets this release apart from many of the other releases by especially Kahn and Korber. It's music that has come to an almost stand-still, a frozen moment in time, in which a lot happens, but at the same time it doesn't. By far one of the best CDs out of Switzerland from this lot, in an otherwise already great catalogue of works. (FdW)
Address: http://www.longboxrecordings.com

MIKE SHIFLET - ICHINOMIYA 5.3.6 (CD by Little Enjoyer)
MATTIN & BARNES - ACHBAL AL ATLAS (CD by Little Enjoyer)
If I am not mistaken (I usually am), this is the first 'real' CD for Mike Shiflet, the man behind the lovely Gameboy Records, as well as a member of Scenic Railroads and a solo artist in the realms of noise. Loud noise that is, but it's also of the more interesting kind. Here he doesn't opt for the true harsh noise, but plays around with a violent, motor like piece of drone music. Present on all levels in the dynamic spectrum, from the low end hum to the high end piercing sound, this moves only slowly around, with subtle changes that occur with regular intervals. Although minimal and conceptual in approach, Shiflet produced a work, one track only, that never leaps into boredom or repetition. It's a work that can be played loud or soft, that can be a menace but also a work that can be regarded as a beautiful drone. Exactly this makes Shiflet one of the more interesting noise artists, adding something new to the genre in which so many copycats dwell. A great work.
More noise and of likewise intelligent kind is on the duo disc of Tim Barnes and Mattin. Mattin plays his usual computer feedback and Barnes on "prepared drum & effect pedals, analog feedback, gong". This is not for the weak of heart, but the two play an interesting bunch of music. It's not entirely noise cum feedback for the full length of the disc. There is actually a lot more happening than that. They move from the true loud noise into areas of quietness (?) and stillness (??), and as such this is more a sound collage of their tour together, than an actual reflection of the tour. Well, I assume so. It's a furious release, but a great one. The cover is really great too. It is printed on paper that was left in the streets of New York and by passers painted on them, before they were printed. Very streetwise release! (FdW)
Address: http://www.littleenjoyer.com

HELENA GOUGH - WITH WHAT REMAINS (CD by Entr'acte)
On the always excellent Entr'acte label we are always welcomed by new artists, such as Helena Gough. She is from Birmingham, and trained as violinist and composer at the Royal Academy of Music. Her main interest lies in 'the collection and manipulation of 'real-world' sound material and the exploration of its abstract properties. Each new sound piece is created by taking everything possible from the tiniest element - working to create something from nearly nothing." Which is perhaps not something new to those who read Vital weekly regularly. 'With What Remains' is of course a more than obvious title for her debut album. Taking field recordings apart and transforming them. The origin of the field recording is no longer known, or to be traced back. It could be anything, but me thinks it's a whole bunch of sounds recorded around the house. In each of the seven pieces, she crafts a highly intelligent, but not always surprising form of microsound. Working along the likes of Marc Behrens and Roel Meelkop, she proofs to do music that is similar but in no way less than her peers. Thoughtful, varied, microsounding. Crackles, hiss, static and moving around of objects. It's all there and it's executed with great care. (FdW)
Address: http://www.entreacte.co.uk

LUSTMORD - THE PLACE WHERE THE BLACK STARS HANG (CD by Soleilmoon)
Ever since my first visit to the world of Brian Eno in the late 70's, ambient music has had a very special place in my heart. Especially three albums has brought me to a world beyond: Pioneering ambient composer Brian Eno's inner fictive soundtrack to the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969 titled "Apollo" (1983), Biosphere's beautiful ode to the Norwegian nature "Substrata" (1997), and Welsh composer Lustmord's incredibly dark and deep spacey album "The place where the black stars hang" - originally released back in 1994. A few years ago important American label Soleilmoon Recordings re-issued two great works by Lustmord, "Paradise disowned" and "The monstrous soul". Meanwhile Brian Williams' (aka Lustmord) greatest achievement, "The place where the black stars hang", slowly faded out of print. Having been a strongly requested item among ambient listeners worldwide for several years, Soleilmoon Recordings has brought this treasure of dark ambience back to life. "The place where the black stars hang" separates from the two aforementioned albums by Brian Eno and Biosphere in its pure darkness and extreme minimalism. The album focuses on textural atmospheres rather than expressional variation. With a division into five chapters and a total running time of 75+ minutes, the art of the album is its extremely minimal approach to ambient music. Imagine yourself isolated in a space shuttle far away from any living creature. As the shuttle drifts through space you can see how things gets darker and darker but there is no escape. Slowly you fly into the blowing winds of satanically dark drones and eerie synth washes. The first three chapters (approx. 45 minutes) focus on cynic and cold but extremely atmospheric sound textures. As the fourth chapter titled "Metastatic resonance" takes over the first sign of human emotion penetrates with warm and solemn drones of beauty that washes into the mind of the listener. There is a reason why this album reached very high second hand prices on web-places like eBay and <http://Amazon.com>Amazon.com. This is a truly unique work of sci-fi blackness. The original release was one single track. This new edition, beautifully re-mastered, also separates from the original release with its distinction into five actual sections giving the listener the opportunity to skip between the five chapters. A good service for the listener but practically unnecessary since it is absolutely impossible to escape! As soon as you have started the trip to the black stars you will not leave until the last sign of sonic pulse has left the listening space. Essential album! (NMP)
Address: http://www.soleilmoon.com

JOHN WATERMANN - CALCUTTA GAS CHAMBERS (CD by Cold Spring)
If we were forced to know about all gruesome maltreatments of human beings around the globe taking place every day, we'd probably become insane or, in best case, totally depressed people. On the other side it would be absurd to ignore the fact that human atrocities unfortunately is an unavoidable part of the world. Australian sound artist John Watermann has taken the listener back to the horrifying gas chambers of Calcutta that remained in full action until the 1980's. This re-issue of his album "Calcutta gas chamber" was originally released back in 1993. The album is partly based on tape recordings that John Watermann did on his exploration to the site back in 1990. Rather than being an album of authentic concrete recordings from the chambers the eight works (titled "Shudder project 1-8" each of them with quite disturbing sub titles) more concentrates on atmospheres of gloomy darkness and claustrophobia to express the horrors of the site. And it does work terribly well! The tracks of black ambience use concrete sounds of industrial timbres, clanging noises and icy drones drifting back and forth between abrasive and subtle expressions. The complete lack of melody increases the feeling of darkness and total isolationism. Being more than "just" an impressive work of ambient, the inner-beauty of the album lies in its incredible way to express detest for the sadistic interaction of human mankind. Essential album in all aspects! (NMP)
Address: http://www.coldspring.co.uk/

ELISABETH FLUNGER - SONGS (CD by Loewenhertz)
Neatly packed in a tin case comes the CD by Elisabeth Flunger 'Songs'. It's subtitled '24 Solos For Metal Trash Instruments'. Although she was born in Italy, she lives in Vienna since 1979 where she studied musical science and ethnology and percussion and composition. Since 1987 she works as a percussion player, mainly in contemporary music. On 'Songs' she plays on various trash metals, as indicated. The cover only vaguely gives an idea what they look like. The CD is slit up into a very section, like nine pieces called 'Grosse Kreis', three are called 'Mikado', etc. I believe in each she explores specific possibilities of specific pieces of metal. She does this mainly in a rhythmical fashion, although it's far away from say Test Dept or Neubauten or even z'ev. Highly dry recordings this is, which is great. No reverb, artificial or natural is used. Recorded direct in your face. Each of the pieces is a sketch like composition of various movements that are possible in this area, before moving on to the next piece. These pieces are nice to hear, but with twenty-four it gets a bit much. I am not sure if it is intended to be heard all at once, or that we perhaps should consume bits and pieces every now and then. I know that I like it that way better then eating the whole lot at once. And it's probably excellent material to play around with for the more adventurous DJ using the the 'A-B' function on his CD player. (FdW)
Address: http://www.loewenhertz.at

AEMAE - MAW (CD by Isounderscore)
'Maw' is the follow-up to 'The Helical World' (see Vital Weekly 490) and is by Aemae, one Brandon Nickell from Oakland. It's hard to say what it is that Aemae does, or rather uses. It might computer treatments, pure sound effects, analogue feedback experiments or perhaps, and most likely, a combination thereof. Nickell calls it 'within intersections of modern electronic music composition, noise and experimental music utilizing synthesis to construct new sounds'. Like before I hear traces of the old Arcane Device music, well treated slabs of feedback, bouncing back and forth in large hall. Here the reverb is used to juxtapose the sound and not as a wholly independent layer of sound, which some people do. Throughout the music is quite dark, but not atmospherical in the traditional dark ambient sense. As such his own description is quite appropriate. Not too noisy, not too academic or even too experimental, but Aemae treats a fine line between well defined genres and creates something that is indeed his own and that is these days quite an achievement. (FdW)
Address: http://www.isounderscore.com

RHODRI DAVIES & KO ISHIKAWA - COMPOSITIONS FOR HARP AND SHO (CD by Hibari Music)
A disc of serious compositions and serious executions of scores. Rhodri Davies plays harp and Ko Ishikawa plays the sho, a reed instrument consisting of 17 slender bamboo pipes. Four contemporary composers were asked to create a piece of music for these two instruments, of which only two were known to me, Toshiya Tsunoda and Taku Sugimoto. The latter offers a piece that is very much like him: quiet with only a few notes played here and there, although it's not silent throughout. Not silent at all is the piece by Toshiya Tsunoda, who has of course a much more conceptual approach to both instruments, using them parallel to sine waves. A harsh sound occurs and the original instruments are hard to recognize. It harks back to the early days the WRK collective, in their highly conceptual approaches to sound.
Two composers are new to me, which is Antoine Beuger and Masahiko Okura. In both their pieces silence plays an important role too, but in both cases the instruments are to be recognized as such. Not many notes, but the instruments do sound like a harp and a sho. In the end it's a great CD. Four pieces, four entirely different perspectives on the instruments, even when in the end only Tsunoda seems to be wider apart than the other three. Excellent work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.hibarimusic.com

PERLONEX/KEITH ROWE/CHARLEMAGNE PALESTINE - TENSIONS (2CD by Nexsound)
KOTRA & ZAVOLOKA - WAG THE SWING (CD by Nexsound)
A celebration calls for a party and then you invite friends. Perlonex, the German trio of Ignaz Schick on turntables, objects and electronics, Jörg Maria Zeger on electric guitar and Burkhard Beins on percussion and objects exist for five years (in 2004 that was, next celebration coming soon) and they invited Charlemagne Palestine and Keith Rowe to play with them. Perlonex is known for their careful improvisation built around their instruments, and with Keith Rowe, it is like having a fourth member. On the first disc we find the four in carefull mood, and no instrument is the boss. Each plays it's own role and the only tension to be found is in the music itself. A free form play of sound, in which all of the possibilities is explored through their respective instruments. With Charlemagne it is a bit different. His keyboards lay down a brick work, the fundament over which the improvisation follows. Palestine strums his piano and Perlonex as a trio is in more sustaining mood than with Rowe. Perhaps lesser known to be an improviser, he guides Perlonex. However in both sets Perlonex show that they are capable of handling any situation. Two great concerts, a celebration to remember.
On the same label, but in a totally different area of music is the long awaited - well, at least by some - collaboration of Kotra and Zavoloka. They already had a teaser EP, but here is the full twenty-four track CD. They play their music using "bass guitar, empty vinyl player, blank cd matrixes, voice and other machines" - by the latter I assume they mean the extensive use of computers. As said twenty-four tracks, which means that none of the tracks are very long. This sketch like approach works well. Some tracks are rhythmic, almost in a swing like mood, but throughout they add a strange element to the tracks, to add something unusual to the music. Of course there are also some more abstract pieces. It all makes the music very vivid. Combining the best of microsound, electro-pop and serious composition, this is a highly enjoyable CD, which comes in a cover that made me think they have money to burn. (FdW)
Address: http://www.nexsound.org

THE ONE ENSEMBLE - WAYWARD THE FOURTH (CD by Secret Eye)
The One Ensemble used to be The One Ensemble of Daniel Padden, the solo project of, well, you guessed it, Daniel Padden from Volcano the Bear. After having released two solo albums, Padden was joined by Chris Hladowski, Peter Nicholson and Aby Vuliamy (the latter two being members of Nalle) and the name of the project changed. The Ensemble's sound is like a fast turning merry-go-round of warped fragments of traditional music, fake folklore and minimal drones, all played on a whole bunch of acoustic instruments (bouzouki, clarinet, cello, guitar, piano, voice and viola) and amalgamated into organically flowing pieces. A good dose of humor is what holds together this highly eclectic mix. The music is however lacking the chaotic rawness of Volcano the Bear and could have well profited from some moments of noise or some hints of the potential loss of control that is implicit in improvisation. So at first my feelings about this disk were rather mixed, but the more I listened to it, the more intrigued I got. From the weird, almost cartoon-like chanting on "Neither One Thing" (with a vocal contribution from Hanna Tuulikki) to "Horsehead Waltz" with its out of tune piano, a quirky pop appeal of a very own kind is running through the music, making this into an thoroughly entertaining, albeit not easily accessible release. (MSS)
Address: http://www.secreteye.org

T.RAUMSCHMIERE - RANDOM NOIZE SESSIONS VOL. 1 (CD by Shitkatapult)
Sure we know Marco Haas aka T.Raumschmiere with his electro-punk oriented music that he plays by himself or with his band (I saw the band playing live at the Dis-Patch festival in Belgrade). He also releases different kinds of music in various nice styles on his label Shitkatapult, from artists like Napoli Is Not Nepal, Apparat, Hakan Lidbo etc. But I haven't heard much of the quieter atmospheric-ambient side of T.Raumschmiere (the sound of his album 'Anti' on Hefty Records), the sound that is mostly featured on this release. Marco Haas likes his ambient to be dark, but this release is not only about pure ambient music. One track is very much in the manners of minimal(-techno) music (that can be played by djs in the calmer part of the partying night) and few of the tracks are rhythmical in a Pan Sonic way, in the approach being close to the sound and music of the legendary duo from Finland. Not too lengthy with almost 45 minutes and varied enough, it's a nice dark album with a rhythmical atmosphere of it's own, ending with a part of T.Raumschmiere's more experimental-ambient live set and an applause at the end. As fans would probably like to say or notice - pure sick musick at its best... (BR)
Address: http://www.shitkatapult.com/v3.3/

N.STRAHL.N - BROT UND LÜGEN (CDr by TOSOM)
The blurb for this CDR (along with other remarks) states "no message, no deeper meaning, no program..... just some pretty pop-muzak for the "age of bread and lies"" which is (bread & lies) a reference to some other blurb about Afghanistan.
My My... we have it seems a contradiction of sorts- surly deliberate? tongue in cheek?- lets follow this particular white rabbit and see what hole it goes down - yes we have noise musak (when i say it it kind of sounds critical) - chain clinking landscapes of rusting industrial detritus - which appears to have very little to do with the poppy fields o Afghanistan - i'm missing something - yes? Or is the whole thing a double bluff- a CIA plot to render noise a political tool of the bourgeois capitalists -oh well it always was - which the fools don't see - far too
many people listening in bedrooms - say no more. (jliat)
Address: http://www.tosom.de

DJ MUSICIAN - KLINSI (CDR by White Label)
As an introduction to the label called White Label we have this short single-cd release with three tracks, actually three different versions of the track 'Klinsi', by an artist who calls himself (or perhaps herself?) Dj Musician. It's very direct electronic dance music, very much techno and electro directly in your face, ears and brains. This is totally disco and club oriented music, for the dance floors, but actually sounds amusing for home listening too. Well produced and crafted, it reminds of Anthony Rother, with it's seemingly simplistic approach. It's nicely done and will surely fit well into any of your bizarre electro(nic) parties. (BR)
Address: http://this.is/whitelabel/

NO - MOONGOON (CD-R by Tourette Records/No Rekords)
Tourette Records is a new label from Texas and its first release is a collection of older material by Jan Iwers' project No, co-released with No Rekords. Some of the tracks date as far back as the late 1990s and in parts the material has been previously released (on the 7" of the same name on Drone and the Schmoll compilation on Dhyana). No is all over the place here. There is a short piano improvisation, a reverie of quietly dancing notes. There are far stretched sub-bass drones, combined with airy high frequencies and hints of melodies. There are tracks built from contrasting blocks and fragments of sound, rumbling just above the threshold of audibility, spiraling upwards and downwards, moving like soft clouds in the sky. Some field recordings, both processed and unprocessed are to be spotted now and then, but mostly No moves in abstract terrains. He manages to keep a remarkable coherence in all these pieces, a sense of structure and tension and a sound that is all soft and gentle but keeps a certain jagged quality below the surface. So this CD-R presents a nice collection of tracks, making older, probably long gone material available again and serving as a good introduction as well as a highly welcome retrospective. (MSS)
Address: <jnoark@houston.rr.com>

MUTANT THURD - CANAL TAPES (CDR by Verato Project)
A highly obscure release, this one, I believe somesort of collaboration between Filthy Turd and something else. Cover nor website provide us with the necessary information. As obscure as the package is the music. Feedback, distortion, crashing metal, all the usual ingredients we have found before on Filthy Thurd releases are present again, and which still fail to make a big impression on listener. Quite tired music. Perhaps there is a point I fail to recognize, and if so, I'm happy to revise my opinion. (FdW)
Address: http://www.verato-project.de

STORMHAT - HYPNAGOGIA (CDR by A Beard Of Snails Records)
Following 'Vindspejl' on Cohort Records (see Vital Weekly 527), this is my second encounter with Stormhat, a musical project by Peter Bach Nicolaisen from Denmark, named after 'Monks Hood', a plant growing the garden of the composer. It's poisonous and Nicolaisen is interested in all sorts of plant that are poisonous and hallucignenic. Here his new release deals with the period of falling asleep, also known as hypnagogia. Again, Stormhat uses to quite an extent field recordings and processed version thereof, all created in the digital territory. Gliding tones, crackles and deeper drones make up the five pieces on this release. Like on 'Vindspejl' he does a truly fine job at that, but doesn't side-step the regular territory of microsound. Stormhat is just one of the many doing this kind of music, and alike many, he does he fine job. It's time to make the next push forward to revive this music. Stormhat could do that, or perhaps not. We have to wait and see what happens. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bsbta.com/abeardofsnails

DAG ROSENQVIST & RUTGER ZUYDERVELT - VINTERMUSIK (CDR by Machinefabriek)
The new year kicks off with a new release by Machinefabriek, and that is hardly a surprise. But what is a surprise is that it's a 5" CDR this time, recorded with one Dag Rosenqvist, also known as Jasper TX from Sweden. Also Machinefabriek uses his christian name this: Rutger Zuydervelt. Winter is the thematic approach of this release. Armed with guitars, effect pedals and computers they treat the sources in such a way that a glacier like sound arises, including field recordings from people walking in the snow. That must have been recorded in Sweden, since in The Netherlands there is hardly any snow. Stylistically Zuydervelt continues his sound from the latest batch of 3"s: deep, drone like material, minimal in approach, with an important role for the guitar sounds. I have no idea how this release was, nor did I hear previous music by Rosenqvist, but unless I'm very mistaken it seems that mister Zuydervelt has a strong say in this. Maybe given his recent releases, this is not a real big surprise, but it's quite a solid and good work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.machinefabriek.nu

MILLISECONDE TOPOGRAPHIE - POSTER NO.1 (CDR by Ekumen)
MILLISECONDE TOPOGRAPHIE - POSTER NO.2 (CDR by Ekumen)
MILLISECONDE TOPOGRAPHIE - POSTER NO.3 (CDR by Ekumen)
MORCEAUX D'EKUMEN (MP3 by Ekumen)
Ekumen is small net/CDR label from Montreal, city of many beautiful things as I recently experienced once again, and music is just one. There are three releases by Milliseconde Topographie, which, if understood correctly, all deal with three posters created by Urban9, which were spread over the city of Montreal. These posters can be bought along with a soundtrack by Milliseconde Topographie. I will discuss them here as a unit, since the musical divisions among them is not wide apart. It seems to me that Milliseconde Topographie deal with processed acoustic music, somewhere in the digital domain. Piano and guitar sounds play an important role. That sounds off and on in a natural, unprocessed way, but also occasionally in a less regular way. Cracks, cuts and hiss leap in. On 'Poster No.1' this explodes half way through into a melancholic interplay of accordion, piano and guitar, in quite a nice way. Though not every piece is a standout, throughout Milliseconde Topographie play an alright tune. I would like to suggest they take the best pieces of all three and make a proper, easier release on their label. The posters look nice, but I'm sure are not easy to send around.
On the same label there is also a compilation available in MP3 format, which collects all the current musicians on Ekumen. Although it's advertised as a varied bunch of music, I couldn't help noticing that the seven pieces are strongly linked together. One may use a little bit more rhythm such as Jacques Poulin-Denis and Nicolas Bernier, or more ambient influences (Urban9), the computer still plays a big role and brings in an unity in this release. It's a good point to start your journey in Montreal. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ekumen.com

JEPH JERMAN & ALBERT CASAIS - AND THIS (CDR by Winds Measure Recordings)
BEN OWEN - RADIO>IN (CDR by Winds Measure Recordings)
Despite the fact that these two are 'just' CDRs, they have a great cover, minimal and done with style. The first release is by Jeph Jerman and Albert Casais. The first one has a long career already from Hands To to working under his own name, using objects and microphones. Much of the material he uses is from natural origin. Casais we may mainly know for the work he released under the name Omnid. Here he uses a bunch of objects. They sit, no doubt on the floor, with all these objects around them (the cover lists the whole lot) and they play it. Without amplification, just as is. It lasts about half an hour and it's a recording of a highly contemplative nature. If you listen closely there doesn't appear to be much structure in these recordings, and perhaps that has been the intention. It's soft music, random scattering of sounds, set forward to make an introspective listening. It should be listened as being part of your environment, as it works best as such. Great music as such.
The second release is by Ben Owen, label owner. He uses as source a FM radio transmitter, FM radio and a mixer. He uses an unused bandwidth of which the sound goes through the mixer to the FM transmitter. In the third piece he also uses some tuning adjustments. Radio as the source of music has been done before a lot (from David Tudor to John Duncan to Pedro Bericat), but Owen does a nice job with his conceptual set up. In the first two pieces a high pitched hum hoovers on an occasional low bass hum. Nothing much seems to be happening, but on a microscopic scale a lot is done. The third track is something of an odd ball in this, as it's much louder and sort of breaks with the tranquil character of the first two pieces. But throughout it's quite a nice release.
Address: http://www.windsmeasurerecordings.net

FORMATT - NÏNSTITU (3"CDR by Silken Tofu)
The second release on Silken Tofu is again reserved for a Belgium artist, this time the more known Formatt. His career already spans a couple of years, mainly releasing CDRs, as well as some CD, but they weren't always convincing. Sometimes his pieces are quite alright glitch 'n cut 'n crack, but sometimes it also stays in mere attempts. This new one is no different. Formatt plays around with a slow hip hop like rhythm in the first part of this almost twenty minute piece, sauced and spiced up with computer treatments. Nowhere it falls into a groove, so that is probably not the idea. But what it is exactly that he is after is also hard to tell. It's all a bit too long, seemingly without structure or much intent. It left me behind a bit puzzled. (FdW)
Address: http://www.silkentofu.org

BUNK DATA - ZOMBIE MACHINES (MP3 by Silence Is Not Empty)
SEETYA - SEE THINGS (MP3 by Silence Is Not Empty)
PAWEL GRABOWSKI - KISSING EVIL GHOSTS GOODBYE (MP3 by Silence Is Not Empty)
Three new releases on Pawel Grabowski's 'Silence Is Not Empty' label, of which one is by himself. The others are Seetyca and Bunk Data. About the latter I don't know anything. His three pieces are based on field recordings, mumbling voices (the zombies perhaps?) and lots of sound effects, especially the use reverb stands out, but not in a positive way. The three pieces sound rather 'tired'. A 'been there, have heard it all' comes to mind. Not bad, a pity about the reverb, and we better move on to the next one.
Also I have no clue who is behind Seetyca, but he or she uses the same ingredients as Bunk Data, less the voices. But throughout these two pieces it leads to far more interesting music. Largely based on keyboard sounds, fed this time through echo pedals, and birds humming, this is ambient glitch music of the highest order. Slowly waving and meandering this is warm music, even when it sounds glacier like. Very nice, very subdued.
Grabowski plays objects, bass, samples, voice and field recordings. It suffers the same problems as I have with the Bunk Data release. Too much reverb is put on the various objects he plays, and the mumbling voice remembers me of Contrastate, but it's too 'gothic' for my taste. Some of the music is quite alright, but the overall picture of this release doesn't please me too much, I'm afraid. I heard Grabowski do better. (FdW)
Address: http://www.silence-is-not-empty.com

 

 

 

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