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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 577
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week 21
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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!
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* noted are in this week's podcast

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JOSEPH NECHVATAL - VIRAL SYMPHONY (CD by IEA)
NAD SPIRO - TINTA INVISIBLE (CD by Geometrik) *
ULRICH TROYER - SEHEN MIT OHREN (CD by Transacoustic Research) *
TEXT OF LIGHT - UN PRANZO FAVOLOSO/A FABULOUS LUNCH (CD by Final Muzik)
RACCOO-OO-OON - BEHOLD SECRET KINGDOM (CD by Release The Bats) *
ILIOS - IYEILOPS (CD by Antifrost)
RAN SLAVIN - THE WAYWARD REGIONAL TRANSMISSIONS (CD by Cronica Electronica) *
ADRIAN MOORE - REVE DE L'AUBE (CD by Empreintes Digitales)
ELECTRONIC MUSIC VOLUME III - MUSICA VIVA COMPETITION PRIZE WINNERS 2004-2005-2006 (CD by Miso Records)
SON OF ROSE - DIVISIONS IN PARALLEL (CD by Dragon's Eye Recordings)
JAMIE DROUIN & YANN NOVAK - AUDITORIUM (CD by Dragon's Eye Recordings) *
WYNDEL HUNT - NK AK (CDR by Dragon's Eye Recordings)
SUBSTANZ-T - BEYOND E (CD by Hymen)
HECQ - 0000 (CD by Hymen)
GENETIC SELECTION - WORLD OF TOMORROW (CD by Ant-Zen)
JOHN MORTON - SOLO TRAVELER: NEW MUSIC FOR MUSIC BOXES (CD by Innova)
TIM HECKER - RADIO AMOR (CD by Alien8 Recordings)
NADJA - TOUCHED (CD by Alien8 Recordings)
BLIPVERT - SKR(EP) (CD by Trixy Records) *
KORBER/WEBER/YAMAUCHI - SIGNAL TO NOISE VOLUME 2 (CD by For 4 Ears Records)
KAHN/MÖSLANG/MÜLLER - SIGNAL TO NOISE VOLUME 3 (CD by For 4 Ears Records) *
SERAFINE STEER - CHEAP DEMO BAD SCIENCE (CD by Static Caravan) *
DANNY NORBURY - DUSK (3"CDR by Static Caravan)
HARRIS NEWMAN/MAURO ANTONIO PAWLOWSKI (LP by Glasvocht Records) *
THE NEW BLOCKADERS & PUTREFIER - SCHLIEFMITTELBÖGEN (LP by Birthbiter)
KKH1 LOCK GROOVES (7" by Royal Records)
GLAUKOM SYNOD - HYDROCEPHALIZER (CDR, self-released) *
NINTH DESERT - ZONE (CDR by Mystery Sea) *
DESERT SPACE (3 CDR compilation by Tosom)
PLACENTA POPEYE (CDR by Phaseweb)
PANAGIOTIS SPOULOS - TORPOR (CDR by Phaseweb)
JAZZFINGER - LISTEN AND VANISH (CDR by Cut Hands)
POOR SCHOOL - VOOR NIETS IN ZIJN (CDR by Cut Hands) *
WOMEN IN TRAGEDY - CONSTELLATIONS (CDR by Cut Hands)
PYOGENIC/SWAMPS UP NOSTRILS - CHASERS/SCREAMERS (CDR on Krakilsk)
CARLOS AND GUIDO - BOLENAT (CDR on Krakilsk)
PSYCHEOUT NACHSPIEL NOISE - BANNED ROOM (CDR on Krakilsk) *
BLACK SPARROW - LEGS HEAVY WITH POLLEN (CDR by Dead Sea Liner)
(VXPXC) - CHINATOWN NOSE-CUT (CDR by Dead Sea Liner)
R.S.R. - BLACK BOX (3"CDR by Dead Sea Liner)
MIRKO UHLIG - THE RABBIT'S LOGBOOK (3"CD by Field Muzick)

 

JOSEPH NECHVATAL - VIRAL SYMPHONY (CD by IEA)
Somewhere somehow the name Joseph Nechvatal rang a bell. Did I see his name on a cassette compilation in the eighties or some such like? Ever since 'Viral Symphony' dropped on my desk, I have been thinking about this. Through the wonders of internet I learned that Nechvatal works with ubiquitous electronic visual information, computers and computer-robotics'. His visual art has been on display in museums all around the world and he is a professor in art, science and technology. A smaller portion of his work is dedicated to music, and more in particular computer technology. The strange thing is that on his website you can't find anything related to the 'Viral Symphony', perhaps not updated yet (?), but you have to go the website of Matthew Underwood (www.mattunderwoord.net) to learn a little more. He, together with Andrew Deutsch, perform this 'symphony', which, if understood correctly, is entirely based on a computer generated composition by Nechvatal and Stephane Sikora, based on C++ programming. This original file, spanning fifty minutes, is also to be found on this CD along with the twenty-eight minute version played by Deutsch and Underwood. I am not sure what the latter two exactly do here, but it seems to me that they feed the original sound through their own pieces of software, exploring the 'nano, micro, mezo & macro structures', but it sounds however more like an interesting laptop jam than anything else. Occasionally noise based, with hissy and crackly sounds, occasionally a little bit more soft, but never microsound, ambient glitch or such like. They break the sound down into the smallest particles or let them simply explode into the biggest cloud of noise. It's ok, not great. The raw data file (which comes as regular audio) is a lot simpler in approach - which is of course logical: these are just sounds to be used. It has a minimal built-up, which in fact works well as a noise piece in the background. Played louder, it becomes a bit too stale. (FdW)
Address: http://iea.art.alfred.edu

NAD SPIRO - TINTA INVISIBLE (CD by Geometrik)
It's been about five years since we last from Nad Spiro, also known as Rosa Arruti from Barcelona, Spain, with then her third release 'Nad Spiro's Fightclubbing' (see Vital Weekly 351). Things were by no means quiet for her, as still plays live around the world and doing workshop for children between 6 and 16 years. She however still plays the guitar, sings and feeds it all through software. If you expect a singer-songwriter album, then you couldn't be more wrong. How exactly she does it, is a bit of a mystery, but not much on this new CD sounds like a guitar. Faint traces perhaps, a residue, a string being hit, but throughout Nad Spiro knows how to make things sound like an electronic mass. Previously she was compared to Coil, and that's still stands. The overall atmosphere of this album is best described as moody. No songs of joy and hope, but with Philip K. Dick and David Lynch as your inspirations that is no surprise. On her cover she also mentions 'Low Berliners and Frank Tovey', and yes, it might Bowie's darker side of Low and Heroes or Fad Gadget's early excursions in electronics, even when Nad Spiro's own voice is never really singing, but rather whispering and reciting. It's electronic music that defies a description: dark, moody, but also highly taken by the software involved, so a bit glitch and click n cuts, and then also improvised, poetic and a bit noisy. Nad Spiro blends various inspirations and musical sources together and makes it her own thing, which is quite a nice achievement. (FdW)
Address: http://www.geometrikrecords.com

ULRICH TROYER - SEHEN MIT OHREN (CD by Transacoustic Research)
It's difficult to imagine to loose one of your senses; I am without smell for some time now, and one gets used to it, but in my case I didn't develop a stronger hearing or seeing sense. If you loose hearing or seeing one usually starts to develop the other remaining sense. Do blind people hear better or more? I am not sure, since I'm not blind. 'Seeing With Ears' is the translation of this new work by Ulrich Troyer, who interviewed six blind people about their perception of architecture, meaning of space and how to get by in the city. He makes a sound collage out of that, alongside with environmental sounds, cars, birds or the subway. A vivid sound picture - excuse le mot. The problem is of course a bit that all the six people speak in German (with an Austrian dialect, as that's where Troyer lives), which makes it for the trained German speaker (like me, not native) not always easy to follow. I rather tended to sit back and enjoy the total of the piece, the speaking of the voices, listening to the sounds while having my eyes closed. I am not sure if this hörspiel is something I would play very often, but for now it made a nice impression. (FdW)
Address: http://www.transacousticresearch.com

TEXT OF LIGHT - UN PRANZO FAVOLOSO/A FABULOUS LUNCH (CD by Final Muzik)
Now here's a band who need little introduction: Alan Licht (guitar), Lee Ranaldo (guitar, electronics), Ulrich Krieger (sax, saxtronics) and Tim Barnes (drums, percussion, electronics). Heavy weights in the world of improvisation, and who probably hardly see a recording studio. Everything they do is improvised and so is this recording: recorded live at Auditorium Concordia in Pordenone, Italy, about two years ago. Like usual, this too was played while screening films by Stan Brackage, although we have no indication as to which films were screened. That is a pity, but not a big problem. Separated from the film, the music stands firm by itself, and it can thoroughly be enjoyed by itself. The 'sonic continuum' is important. Text Of Light bangs on in a loud, forceful way, showing no way back and just speeding ahead. They can burst out in noise, where the saxophone plays occasionally a nasty role and in the more softer parts the guitars are explored with objects and devices. One guitar leaps into a drone, the other continues to bang. In this hour or so work, there isn't a single moment of weakness, a soft spot or something out of place. It's a full hour of sound; loud improvised music. A strong work, but did we expect anything less? (FdW)
Address: http://www.finalmuzik.com

RACCOO-OO-OON - BEHOLD SECRET KINGDOM (CD by Release The Bats)
After the full blown introduction to the musical world of Raccoo-oo-oon, after having missed out on all the limited releases they also produce (CDR, tapes, vinyl), 'Behold Secret Kingdom' is the second encounter with this free form rock band. I must admit I don't hear that much difference between this newly recorded release, and the previous one heard here, 'Is Night People': raw, intense playing in a rock/punk context, quite untamed, but in general not always well spend on me. I do like rock music, well sometimes, and I do like punk, well that too sometimes. Quite powerful, but perhaps you need to be younger than I am to fully grasp this power. (FdW)
Address: http://www.releasethebats.com

ILIOS - IYEILOPS (CD by Antifrost)
For some years now, or maybe even longer than we can remember there is Ilios, the Greek man in Barcelona, who has produced a nice body of work, mainly released on his own Antifrost label. He also plays live concerts, so he's not a total obscure composer. Part of his sound work is made for a dance company called YELP, which started out as a disagreement upon the collaborative process in 2001. They still disagree for seven years, which now is closed with the full agreement on the release of this CD, compiling works from nine different dances. It's a mighty varied and strange collection of music (of course one would love to see the dance moves). First of all tracks are quite short, up until the last piece 'In Silence' which lasts about nineteen minutes. Some of these pieces have the microsound approach of deep sonic rumbling such as 'Carbon Copy' (leading to highly processed muzak in the final part thereof), but there is also the CD skipping of 'The Stitch' (most of these pieces have actually more parts) and some sort of musique concrete like work with contact microphones. As said a strange CD, this one. The highly varied whole, backed with a length of over seventy minutes, doesn't make this an easy to digest release. It lacks a certain homogeneity that was present in his recent releases and it is best enjoyed when taken in a few tracks (or rather one piece/a few tracks) per time. The total absence of seeing the dance certainly doesn't help. Here a DVD release would have been much welcomed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.antifrost.gr

RAN SLAVIN - THE WAYWARD REGIONAL TRANSMISSIONS (CD by Cronica Electronica)
The first time we got introduced to the music of Ran Slavin was on his 'Product 02' CD release for the very same label that now releases 'The Wayward Regional Transmissions'. Slavin hails from Israel, where he produces digital music, experimental cinema and video art. On his latest CD he approaches 'Oriental Middle Eastern Music with Abstract Glitch' and to this end he uses in some pieces the BulbulTarang, a three steel string Indian instrument played by Ahuva Ozeri, who was the first female star of Mizrahit music. Another piece uses the Ud, played by Moshe Eliahu. It may seem an odd mixture at work here, but in fact the opposite is true. The minimal patterns played on the traditional instruments mingle quite nicely with the electronic music of Slavin, which is not always glitch like. He employs rhythm through rhythm machines, which he processes by digital means. Of course the hotbed of cracks, hiss, static and such like is present, to make sure that this is the world of glitch. There is however something quite warm about this CD, almost like a lazy tropical afternoon, such as in 'Jericho 6AM' (although the title suggest a different time). The music is not unlike that of Thilges, who have been working on this kind of merging of western digital techniques and middle eastern instruments. This CD fits quite nice the Cronica label, who have been before bringing special themes to the world of glitch and not being an ordinary label for ordinary glitch. Slavin's disc works with traditional approaches, both in computer music and in oriental music but the combination thereof is quite new. Very nice work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cronicaelectronica.org

ADRIAN MOORE - REVE DE L'AUBE (CD by Empreintes Digitales)
ELECTRONIC MUSIC VOLUME III - MUSICA VIVA COMPETITION PRIZE WINNERS 2004-2005-2006 (CD by Miso Records)
In the world of composers like Adrian Moore things do not evolve around making CDs, but on playing concerts, preferable on multi-speaker systems for a seated audience (with an arty facial hair, thick glasses, sipping wine. I'm joking here, right?). So it's been a while since we reviewed 'Traces', his previous CD by him - see Vital Weekly 298 and 'Reve de L'Aube' has pieces from the years 2000-2004. Moore deals with electro-acoustic music: from the power tools in 'Power Tools' (not software, but let's say real hardware such as a lawn mower) to field recordings of water, children, Venetian gondolas, horses and the piano - how lovely it is when these things are described on the cover. All of the sounds are fed through a wondrous mirage of electronics and bounces back and forth, up and down. Like music on Empreintes Digitales usually does. It clearly defined style of music, which to my, perhaps perhaps, not enough trained ears, sounds like working through a formula. On one end you feed the sounds in and due to some trademark apparatus the music as we hear comes out at the end. Having said that, I think that Adrian Moore produces some nice music, especially the closing piece 'Sea Of Singularity' is quite moving: horses, ducks, the subway and in 'In Paradisum' (the separate parts have titles) and perhaps the religious texture of that is what appealed to me. Not a spectacular disc, but certainly one of the better ones from the label.
Having heard 'Dreaming Of The Dawn' on 'Reve De L'Aube', we can skip the opening track of 'Electronic Music Vol. III'. It contains the prize winners of the Musica Viva Competition in Portugal from the years 2004, 2005 and 2006. Ex equo winners, since the first year has two and the other years three winners. They all have their pieces on this CD. Eight in total from composers that are new to me (well with the exception of Adrian of course): Joshua Goldman, Panayiotis Kokoras, Pedro Almeida, Santiago Diez Fischer, Ingrid Obled, Manuella Blackburn and Thomas Peter. It's a long CD with each composer getting some eight to ten minutes, and played right after Adrian Moore's CD, some fatigue leaped in. The bouncing around of sound was all o.k., but the best piece I found at the end: Thomas Peter's 'Neugut-Rand' seemed like an all electronic piece of randomly recorded layers of synthesizer sounds, which were carefully mixed afterwards. Very scattered and collage like, this seemed to break with the genre well defined aesthetics of the genre. (FdW)
Address: http://www.electrocd.com
Address: http://www.misomusic.com

SON OF ROSE - DIVISIONS IN PARALLEL (CD by Dragon's Eye Recordings)
JAMIE DROUIN & YANN NOVAK - AUDITORIUM (CD by Dragon's Eye Recordings)
WYNDEL HUNT - NK AK (CDR by Dragon's Eye Recordings)
The amount of new names is, as always plentiful. Here are a couple of new artists on a label I never heard of. Dragon's Eye Recordings was founded in 1989 by one Paul Novak and is a 'family run independent record label that focuses on limited run and varied format releases from a growing roster of sound artists, musicians and producers'. Now his son Yann Novak runs it. The two CDs are in a limited run of 400 and the CDR of 100.
Behind Son Of Rose is one Kamran Sadeghi from Seattle, who has two full length releases before this one. Apparently he moves to the world of 'electro-acoustics, paring digital processing and synthesis with a grand piano'. The piano is much in demand these days (think Fennesz/Sakamoto, Feu Follet, Red Needled Sea and Krater), and now Son Of Rose, even when there is distinctive difference. Kamran first records the grand piano and then feeds it to his computer: as such we hardly recognize the piano, except perhaps for some of the attack and sustain. What he does with the piano sounds is purely improvised. Of the three CDs on Dragon's Eye Recordings reviewed here, this is one that I was least attracted to. The music sounded nice, and the sounds and techniques applied are nice, but it seemed all to me a mere copy of Fennesz, but then a bit slowed down or Taylor Deupree when he would be on speed. Sounds bounce from left to right, keep ringing and sustaining, are highly minimal in development and as such it's right on in the world of ambient glitch - if that wasn't such a well explored path. It made a fine listening, if nothing new.
Yann Novak himself teams up on the second release together with Canadian born Jamie Drouin. They met last year at a conference on sound art and shared a common love for field recordings and spaces. This was the starting point for their collaborative work which they recorded live. Drouin first recorded the empty space of the gallery in which they were to perform. The various recordings were superimposed over each other and Drouin inserted 'sonic pings and rhythms' which come up during the piece. It starts out in the familiar low end rumble, which will be present throughout the piece, but Drouin and Novak create some sonic clarity later on, and the sonic pings help. Imagine a collaboration between the sonic depth of Francisco Lopez and some of the minimal rhythm material of Alva Noto/Ryoji Ikeda; again Taylor Deupree (this time with a clear head!) and also Richard Chartier are influences that inspired these two. Again, a path in music that has been well explored before, but Drouin and Novak move through various shifts, patterns and textures and create quite a richly varied mixture of these. Also not really top new, but also a somewhat finer listening than Son Of Rose
Wyndel Hunt is an 'audio-visual artist living in Seattle'. Sometimes no more in required, information wise. His release is on CDR (I have no clue why two are real CDs and one is a CDR), but the eleven tracks could have as easily been released on a CD, as far as I'm concerned. Computerized blissful drones, that would be the most apt description of this. What exactly he puts into the computer is a bit unclear; occasionally I thought of guitars (such as in 'Nou'), but perhaps there is no input, and is everything inside the computer, using software to both generate and process the sound. Quite drone related material, which has a somewhat harsh digital texture to it, and the material works best in pieces that have a slight collage like building structure, that is not unlike some of the early Hafler Trio work. It could have used a bit more variation, but it's a nice work anyway. Perhaps even the best of all three. (FdW)
Address: http://www.dragonseyerecordings.com

SUBSTANZ-T - BEYOND E (CD by Hymen)
Since 1991, the two German artists, Arne Stevens and Alex Lange, have been collaborating under the project "Substanz-T". Characterizing the project is their blend of down tempo rhythms, industrial beat textures and atmospheric soundscapes. Four full-length albums has been released since the birth of the project. Almost four years between their third album "Electric opium" (Hymen Records, 2003) and this newest shot from the project, "Beyond E". If the title "Beyond E" refers to the "beyond electronic music" it is a well-chosen title. Taking its starting point in the electronic sound spheres the album floats into other more rock-based territories. With the addition of bass guitar, double bass, percussion and theremin, Substanz-T moves far beyond your average e-music album. An important brick in the sonic architecture on the album is the great vocals of female vocalist Verena Niksch. With guest appearances of among others FM Einheit (ex-Einstürzende Neubauten), the sound of the project can best be described as acoustic-based trip hop drifting in dreamlike spheres of ambient. There is great dark and nocturnal atmosphere on the album. A dark and beautiful album that easily lives up to the ambitious title "Beyond E". Excellent! (NM)
Address: http://www.hymen-records.com

HECQ - 0000 (CD by Hymen)
"My motivation as a musician is to process my various influences. A digital diary". The description from the man himself, Benny Boysen, reveals that the German sound artist Benny Boysen knows exactly how to describe his daily impressions into deep expressions that will then again end up as strong impressions on everyone diving into the sea of Hecq. Discreet columns of clicking micro sounds opens the fourth release of Hecq, titled "0000" in quite an inaudible manner, but soon after the track, simply titled "0001" (tracks are titled "0000" - "0018") reaches landscapes of utterly beautiful and warm ambience. A very nice way to welcome the listener to the world of Hecq. If you haven't been introduced to this German wonderboy of IDM, Benny Boysen is respected for his otherworldly blend of IDM, clicks'n'cuts and ambient since his debut album "A dried youth" released on Kaleidoskop in 2003. And this latest album keeps the impressive quality levels of the previous albums. Characterizing "0000" (and the previous albums) is the mixture of longer tracks and the smaller intermezzos building up the atmospheres that saturate the album(s). The works are complex textures of rhythm and sound. But the complexity does not appear as an abstract sonic painting: There is a fine line between complexity and beauty, resulting in a touching album giving plenty of sonic food both for the intellect and the heart of the listener. There is no one like Hecq, and this a certainly a compliment to you, Mr. Boysen! (NM)
Address: http://www.hymen-records.com

GENETIC SELECTION - WORLD OF TOMORROW (CD by Ant-Zen)
This is Industrial simplicity in its purest form. German Industrial-artist Boris Kasper, impressed with his debut album "Orbital Ground Attack" released on Ant-Zen Recordings back in 2004. With this third album, Genetic Selection continues in the fast lane of full-throttle distorted beats with atmospheric soundscapes in the sub-levels. The rhythm textures are the main ingredient on the album, quite often with touches of early EBM-expressions transformed into 21st century Industrial attack. Expressively the album ranges from deep and emotional trancelike tracks ("Alive but lost", "Poisoned water", "The beyond") to the more straight vocal-based "slap in your face"-tracks ("A man and his droid", "Endgame"). Most tracks carries some remarkable hypnotic trance-elements swirling inside technoid sounds and beats, making "World of tomorrow" an awesome album for the club-scene. Despite the album's screaming for some physical performance of the consumer, "World of tomorrow" also works well in the state of more passive listening. "Orbital ground attack" was an impressive debut by Genetic Selectino but "World of tomorrow" is even better. Power Industrial par excellence! (NM)
Address: http://www.ant-zen.com

JOHN MORTON - SOLO TRAVELER: NEW MUSIC FOR MUSIC BOXES (CD by Innova)
We are surrounded by electricity. You know the drill. But from most things we have no clue how it works. When it is broken we throw it away. Not so one John Morton, who takes small machinery apart and builds it into new instruments: toy piano's, music box comb, and a mbira - those are his main instruments. On this CD you will find four of these compositions that sound slightly gamelan like in 'Teetines' or processed through max/msp in 'Ta-wee' and 'Through The Wall'. The latter also includes 'field recordings' - as heard 'through the wall' of his home. This music is not just the result of live playing of these instruments, but rather the careful layering and mixing of these sounds, but the result is always sweet little music. Relaxed as in 'Teetines' or hectic and nervous in 'Ta-wee'. culminating in a version of 'Amazing Grace', on a set of no less than seventeen 'recomposed and altered music boxes'. Highly minimal, but truly fascinating. However this CD has five pieces and it's the fifth (second on the CD) that I have some trouble with. It's the title piece, which has music boxes and an ensemble of five voices reciting a poem by Cynthia Nadelman. The serious music character of the piece breaks through the somewhat naive charm of the four other pieces and I must admit it took the CD down for me - although it's probably the prize winning piece in a contest for 'serious new music'. Without this piece it would have certainly been a great CD which also time wise it could have been left off. (FdW)
Address: http://www.innova.mu

TIM HECKER - RADIO AMOR (CD by Alien8 Recordings)
NADJA - TOUCHED (CD by Alien8 Recordings)
Since the disappearance of Mille Plateaux, there is a whole world open for daring minds to go and do re-issues. Or is some of the music a bit dated by now? Tim Hecker releases these days on Alien8 Recordings and got his new mates to release this work from 2002 (and previously released by TJ Norris in Vital 365), who quite rightly noted it has nothing to do with the dance floor, as opposed to many other works on Mille Plateaux. The atmospheric crackle of detuned radios being heavily processed offer a lullaby like atmosphere. There isn't much separation between the tracks, making 'Radio Amor' almost like one piece, in stead of ten smaller ones. Field recordings, static hum and a laptop running amok. Idea wise it's perhaps not as strong these days as it was in 2002, but it makes good sense in re-issuing this work. The highly atmospheric character of the music still has many admirers, so there is a new world to gain.
A hot new release is by Nadja, the duo of Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff. They have a couple of releases under this guise, although not as many as Baker as solo to his name. Together they play guitars, vocals, drum programming, bass and vocals and Alien8 calls this 'outsider metal'. I really do like it when musicians step out of their usual habitat and play us something entirely different. But in the case of Nadja, I must admit that their wall of sound/heavy metal approach doesn't appeal to me very much - it's outsider indeed. I was thinking we have not really a reviewer on board to handle 'outsider metal' (anyone?). It's grinds, shakes and rumbles in a slow mood, with an endless wall of guitars and slow stomping rhythm patterns. Not unlike Earth or Sunn 0))), but like their previous 'Truth Becomes Death' (see Vital Weekly 495) this is a bit too blurry for me. Occasionally fine, this weight heavy stoner rock, but as a whole not too well spend on me. (FdW)
Address: http://www.alien8recordings.com

BLIPVERT - SKR(EP) (CD by Trixy Records)
Behind the name BlipVert is one Will Redmond, who has been playing music for fifteen years now, playing rock and metal bands, but of course (??) turned towards electronic and experimental music later on. Currently he's in Oakland. California, and plays with all sorts of people from the Bay area and with various bands, but BlipVert is his solo project. Here he sees himself as being influenced by say Aphex Twin, Skinny Puppy, Squarepusher and Kid 606. This all can be noticed in the highly fucked up music that he produces. Built around short loops, which he fanatically plays in a highly disjointed manner. Breakcore is never far away, but it's not an exclusive domain for him, even when he genuinely plays a fucked up tune. In 'Gettem Irvan' the beat is rather continuous, but the best pieces are the closing 'Cohesion Of Solid Souls' with it's improvised cello playing and the opening 'Candycane Man' which is almost like a real popsong, including robotized vocals. To different ends of the music coin, but with the three tracks in the middle, BlipVert shows you can get away with it. (FdW)
Address: http://www.synapsecompound.com/

KORBER/WEBER/YAMAUCHI - SIGNAL TO NOISE VOLUME 2 (CD by For 4 Ears Records)
KAHN/MÖSLANG/MÜLLER - SIGNAL TO NOISE VOLUME 3 (CD by For 4 Ears Records)
It's of course with some envy that we look to the Swiss: touring the world and making CDs all with 'thanks to Pro Helvetica and the City of Zürich/Popkredit for financial support'. Like a holiday advert. Following 'Signal To Noise Volume 1' (see Vital Weekly 552), here are two further volumes in the series (with two more to come) of recordings made at recent travels of a bunch of Swiss musicians. Volume two is by Tomas Korber on guitar and electronics, Christian Weber on contrabass and Katsura Yamauchi on saxophone, recorded at the great location of YCAM in Yamaguchi, Japan. In the first piece the three players play by the mighty book of silence: a sound here, silence, a sound there, some careful blow, a hiss, a crack and a strum. This is nice music for sure, but it's also a bit predictable. Maybe they arranged it like that, or perhaps it was the start of the evening? In their second and last things are much more free and open. Sound is more present and each of the individual instruments are more easily to be recognized. It seems as if mistakes are allowed in here, which make a less subtle piece, but I liked the open ended character of this one. A great piece and one that is good. Not a bad score.
Volume Three is in an entirely different world. Here we find Jason Kahn (analog synthesizer, percussion), Norbert Möslang (cracked everyday electronics) and Günter Müller (ipod, percussion, electronics) with recordings made, again at YCAM and also at Tokyo University. Of course we know Kahn and Müller as people that play some highly introspective music, it's however Möslang who takes both players by the hand and lead them into a wholly new area: that of rhythmic music - back to the roots of both Kahn and Müller as it were. Möslang introduces Pan Sonic like rhythms made out of cracking everyday electronics as a carpet for the others to play their likewise more rhythmic outings. It cracks, sizzles, hisses in every inch of the sound spectrum. Densely layered, but always held together by the ongoing rhythm. Even some 'real' percussion is to be recognized in here. This may have caused a ripple or two in the audience, if they were true lovers of improvised music, since the ongoing rhythm is a very uncommon feature in that area. The very particles of the separate sounds could make a great minimal dance piece, again not unlike Pan Sonic, but these three players stay away from that, keeping it safely floating around in a more free improvised setting, which is a great move. (FdW)
Address: http://www.for4ears.com

SERAFINE STEER - CHEAP DEMO BAD SCIENCE (CD by Static Caravan)
DANNY NORBURY - DUSK (3"CDR by Static Caravan)
The odd-ball award of this week goes out to Serafina Steer, who already had a 7" on Static Caravan before, after meeting the label through myspace - so it works... wow, how could we know. Steer, nom de Sarah Scutt (I believe) who sings and plays harp and harmonium (on one track). That 7" didn't made into Vital Weekly (Static Caravan only sends whatever and whenever they want to), but here is her full length CD. She cites The Cure, Kate Bush, Leonard Cohen, Fleetwood Mac, Leafcutter John, Stravinsky to mention a few, and that's wide apart as far as a music taste goes. Her voice reminded me a bit of Björk, with all these odd bending of the voice, but that's by far the only thing that connects her Björk. The music is rather minimal, down to earth (as opposed to her Icelandic counterpart), but also warm and intimate. Definitely not the kind of music that spins here everyday, but it certainly has a charming naive quality to it.
And we keep being trapped in moody land, with the likewise unknown (at least in the part of the musical world) Danny Norbury, who has a beautiful designed 3" CDR on Static Caravan. Does he really play the violins himself? Or does he simply use some sort of midi program - well, does it matter? I reckon' he plays it himself in an ultra-fashionable modern living room music style. The closest I can compare it with is some of Eno's Obscure Records, more in particular Gavin Bryars ('The Sinking Of The Titanic' in particular) and Micheal Nyman ('Decay Music'), but also the likes of Gorecki and Pärt or, if this is all too much old news for you, Johann Johannson. Chamber music for piano and strings. Today is an official sunday here, even when it's thursday, and the streets are empty. This music fits the feeling of a desolate, a bit grey day. Norbury plays the perfect music for such a day. (FdW)
Address: http://www.staticcaravan.org

HARRIS NEWMAN/MAURO ANTONIO PAWLOWSKI (LP by Glasvocht Records)
So far Glasvocht Records released some CDRs and a CD or two onto the world, but here they strike with a LP, a split LP with two guitarists. Harris Newman is foremost a man with a mastering studio, but also playing with Triple Burner, Hrsta and Sackville (all bands from the Montreal area), as well as solo. The LP opens with a lengthy and space like tune 'Early Onset Tourette's', a finger picking piece, feeding through an endless reverb and delay, adding that spacious character to the piece. A great opening piece. 'Sit Down, Stay Down' is a fast piece, blues like and although much shorter, it's also a fine piece. His last piece is the least one, as it harks back to the opening piece, but with an overload in the reverb department. But with two great guitar pieces.
Mauro Antonio Pawlowski might be known for his work with Club Moral and Bum Collar, in the real world of real popmusic he's known to be the guitarist of dEUS, a well-known rock band from Belgium. I can't say wether he is a gifted improviser, if I should be basing myself on his side of the LP. He plays ten short tracks, all around two minutes, in a loose style, strumming some notes on what seems to me a partly detuned electric guitar. Perhaps a bit Derek Bailey like, but it doesn't match right up with him. None of these tunes could really bother me, and it sounds a bit tedious. (FdW)
Address: http://www.glasvochtrecords.com

THE NEW BLOCKADERS & PUTREFIER - SCHLIEFMITTELBÖGEN (LP by Birthbiter)
It's been a while, even a long while since I last heard music by Putrefier. Perhaps close to say fifteen years? Things went dark for both Putrefier and Birthbiter, their own label, but this LP marks the glorious return. Putrefier and The New Blockaders, both bands consisting of a single person, team up for quite an interesting work - and one that doesn't carry the word 'final' in there somewhere, like it's used with the blockaders in the past ten years. This is noise music for sure, but one of an entirely different order than what we know as such - or at least, they move into a territory that is a waste land (next to the overcrowded land of people with distortion pedals). Putrefier sounded, in my memory, like a good solid copy of Ramleh in the old days, and feedback was also on the daily digest of The New Blockaders. Here however they go back to the very early days of the blockaders, using acoustic objects and field recordings. They rumble about in their shed, kicking boxes, stumbling upon metal and other sonic detris (roof tiles and sewing machines are mentioned). True noise! Not because it's just plain loud - it's not - but because it defies the laws of music. They don't care about such as 'structure', 'composition' or even 'improvisation', let alone 'loud music'. They create a noise without a point, without beauty (or ugliness for that matter) - anti music by it's real definition. The more common territory of noise is on a CDR that comes with the first 100 copies. Here feedback plays a role, but also other loud elements, which are merely the result of close miking and motorized objects. It's the other side of the same coin. Perhaps a more common ground, but one that fits the noise tag better - well, to some of the more conservative minds. I can imagine that those who call themselves true noise lovers will raise an eyebrow and dismiss this as a joke but I think it's a pretty strong and pretty daring statement of noise. A great LP! (FdW)
Address: <m.durgan@btinternet.com

KKH1 LOCK GROOVES (7" by Royal Records)
The lock groove pressed in a lump of vinyl is a great tool for DJs, and of course we are all DJs... well, all but me (someone's gotta give up). C.M. von Hauswolff seems also an unlikely figure as a DJ, but on his initiative six students of the Royal University College of Fine Arts in Stockholm produced this 7" - each, plus Hauswolff making one lock groove. They are cut on side A. On side B, Hauswolff produces a piece of music out of it. Also it should be noted that all seven participants have now a group where the lock grooves are mixed live on seven record players. It's been a while since I heard such worn out ideas. But hey, I'm not a DJ, so I don't need the tools. (FdW)
Address: http://www.kkh.se/royalrecords

GLAUKOM SYNOD - HYDROCEPHALIZER (CDR, self-released)
Our second encounter with Glaukom Synod from France. I am not even sure if the thing I have here is the way it looks or just a xeroxed form thereof. It says 'sampled, analyzed, distorted and conditioned with cool edit and mad tracker' and just like 'Uczulony' (see Vital Weekly 540) the four tracks (which have the odd length of thirteen minutes and three more of less than two) here are heavily inspired by Dissecting Table and old In Slaughter Natives, but it seemed to me more cut up and collated. Throwing around the plug in sections to effectively transform all sorts of guitar and drum like sounds into a heavy mixture of noise rock music. It works well in the long title track, but in the three short other pieces I'm not really convinced: they are over before you even think they begun. It doesn't add much to the previous work, but things grow slow perhaps. (FdW)
Address: http://glaukomsynod.site.voila.fr

NINTH DESERT - ZONE (CDR by Mystery Sea)
When we reviewed Ninth Desert's 'Collision H' back in Vital Weekly 560, we said we didn't know much about him, but some further research learned us that he also worked as Lecanora, Exotoendo and Sechres Mound, the latter in collaboration with Cedric Peyronnet, of Toy Bizarre fame. Herry is also a designer who is responsible for the cover of Taalem and Kokeshidisk. On 'Zone' he offers seven tracks of string like sounds, which seem to be stuck in an endless sustain. Chilling sounds, like a firm Arctic breeze. It's a bit unclear what he does to create this music, wether this is indeed long strings, processed feedback or analogue/digital synth and a lot of effects, but the latter seem to me clear. The previous release saw Ninth Desert in the field of Troum and Lustmord, but here's it more likely to be Alvin Lucier on a musical night. A pity that the seven pieces do sound kind a similar in approach and structure throughout, which makes it just a bit too similar throughout. But as a whole it makes a sturdy addition to the Mystery Sea catalogue of daring, experimental ambient music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.mysterysea.net

DESERT SPACE (3 CDR compilation by Tosom)
No doubt the target for this compilation is not me. With sheer endless amounts of music delivered to the HQ, it's slightly an impossible task to go through three CDRs, filled to the top with music - that is some 350 minutes of music. If I understood correctly, there is a sort of thematic approach to this music: desert. An empty place, arabic but also the site for atom bomb testing. A theme with many approaches possible, although the emphasis seem to lie in the ambient approach, most of the times, but occasionally also noise based. I put on these CDRs one after each other, picked up a big book and started reading, while playing these musics in the background (I know, it should not be done that way), without caring too much as to whose track is what here. Occasionally I raised an eyebrow when things were a bit abrasive, but that was only very occasionally. Most of the time this was a pleasant trip through vast empty music. The track listing reads as a who's who in the field of CDR business. To many names to name all, but included are Aidan Baker, Oophoi, Netherworld, Tesendalo, Feu Follet, Atrox, Cria Cuervos and loads of people I never heard of. Much like the big box cassette compilations of the 80s (see 'Thee Book' or 'Sex & Bestiality'), this is quite an useful overview of some of the more interesting underground artists of today. Quite an achievement. (FdW)
Address: http://www.tosom.de

PLACENTA POPEYE (CDR by Phaseweb)
PANAGIOTIS SPOULOS - TORPOR (CDR by Phaseweb)
Listening to Placenta Popeye (is there a secret contest for silly names going on?) is like going into that time machine and set the timer for 1983. A rock band plays in the parents basement. They use guitars, a bass and something that might be recognized as percussion, but it's not a drumkit, it seems (it's a blurry image, probably super 8 time machine). The singer was recently wounded in a stabbing and sings like he's not fully recovered and he's desperate for being stabbed again. Their younger brother is taping eight songs of their free improv playing rumble on his first sony cassette machine, with that nice blue microphone. The recording, made in French, is buried deep and after an earthquake unearthed by Phaseweb, who burns CDRs out of it. Actually fun to hear.
Labelboss Panagiotis Spoulos has already quite some releases to his name of some unrelentness music and 'Torpor' adds to the mayhem. He calls these "psychedelic noise / drone songs, ideal for hypnotherapy". I am sure if you get a refund if the hypnotherapy leads to adverse results. Spoulus plays the guitar, cranks the volume up whilst playing the six strings with a bunch of objects, such as a ventilator and a screw driver (the tool, along with a drink of the same name). Occasionally he sings. Tormented songs for demented people. Hardly a hypno therapy, the doctor in me says so. But it's surely a good head trip this music, but be careful if feelings of depression have already occurred. (FdW)
Address: http://www.phaseweb.tk/

JAZZFINGER - LISTEN AND VANISH (CDR by Cut Hands)
POOR SCHOOL - VOOR NIETS IN ZIJN (CDR by Cut Hands)
WOMEN IN TRAGEDY - CONSTELLATIONS (CDR by Cut Hands)
I've been living on a diet of harsh noise lately, the kind of thing where even with no instrument actually plugged in you still get the noise of the feedback and distortioN pedals, both making it and listening to it, it's a bit like vindaloo curries where the spice is so hot your brain is not quite sure if its chicken or lamb, or maybe someone's pet! Eating becomes self inflicted torture which strangers don't understand, never having the bliss of what is known as the curry rush, the release of endorphins as a reaction to what the body thinks is death by chili, noise is similar if not more intellectual in its catharsis.
What is this to do with the above and the other reviews here is that suddenly I'm presented with a diet of what perhaps if not roast beef and dumplings is more like Vietnamese or Thai, with delicacy and subtly and only the occasional hot spice, so I'm having to come to terms with tasting my food, as in listening to parts and not being swamped in a whole ontological wash of noise. So what did I think of Jazzfinger AKA Hasan Gaylani and Ben Jones et al. As on the old maps where it said "here be dragons" here be guitars and saxophones, I love saxophones, especially improv sax playing, they are like dragons not musical instruments, its no accident that where as Mr Blair AKA Mr Bean AKA Mr Clean strums his Stratocaster, Bill Clinton gets down and dirty and puts his instrument into his mouth or Monica Lewinski's. If only George Bush Junior could acquire the modicum of brain cells needed to hold a stick he could take up the drums and form a trio with Tony and Bill. There is someone tinkling on the ivories in Listen and Vanish, this kind of tumbling jazz reminds me of being warm and drunk in an Amsterdam brown bar.
One of Holland's great gifts to humanity apart from Van Gogh is the comforting brown bars of its capital. I'm wandering like Listen and Vanish, there are occasional shards of static, like in a bar when someone breaks a glass. Track one ends like a drunk hitting the floor, and track 2 begins its echoy voyage, will they spill their wheat beer? So what is it like, not Chinese, no MSG reverb which is a little overdone in some other offerings, the Dutch do things with mash potatoes and sausage (double entendre intentional) which is in a similar way delicious, wholesome but at the same time somehow wonderfully excessive. A tip of the hat to all concerned- including the wonderful feedback guitar work - no Mr Clean! or Mr Bean. This review is getting long and sounding like its sponsored by the Dutch tourist board, sorry Frans.
So after beer how about a Chinese or what? Poor School is a trio featuring Bryan Ramirez (Ex-Cocaine), Nathan Hoyme and John Niekrasz, that's the boring bit over - now what does Voor Niets in Zijn taste like. . well its wholesome improv again - if anything even meatier and simpler than Jazzfinger, more like meatloaf (I'd better explain!) the homemade thing with minced steak, not the fat pop singer! I said steak and not beef for a reason, its very good, this is very rich food, musically it has a splendid aesthetic, I'd almost say beautiful quality. - More straight instrumental than the processing of Jazzfinger it sets of like a camel train of sax, guitar a plundering drums, a very musical journey. God stuff. Finally what does Bob McCully offer. Synths! Drones! (De ja Vu!),on track 1 getting harsher on track 2 and noise by track 3, with track 4 again quieter and gentle droning.. and 5 even more droney and church organ. So I suppose it's a kind of sandwich, of pastrami and spicy hot pickle which at least for me doesn't work. (jliat)
Address: http://www.cuthands.net

PYOGENIC/SWAMPS UP NOSTRILS - CHASERS/SCREAMERS (CDR on Krakilsk)
CARLOS AND GUIDO - BOLENAT (CDR on Krakilsk)
PSYCHEOUT NACHSPIEL NOISE - BANNED ROOM (CDR on Krakilsk)
If I can continue my analogy across reviews, I've been very praising of the Dutch so I should get away with it, bibs on, slipping the Cd in the Walkman (Sony sponsor me as well ) and see what we have. I think now we may be into Thai, and I should say vegetarian Thai on the grounds of balance, definite taste of lemon grass and star anise. In Chasers at least. Screamers is more like a fondue party that's got out of hand, blazing food, table and guests. Chasers screamers is a movie genre and Pyogenic's 7 tracks are dark echoy delicate soundscapes, or better noodlings - get it! Swamps up Nostrils, is it only the Scandinavians that make up such names? two tracks are quite different. Track 8 is what it says on the can - a screamer - of electronic feedback and noise, surprising with track 9 we are back in some underground echoy place.. the noise of track 8 then a little out of place.
My Walkman (T.M!) had problems with Carlos and Guido, as did I. It seemed to think the CD had 1467 tracks, an impossibility I know as 99 is I think the max. My problem was more in the mix, like a cake mix but with everything in it, flour, water, sugar, butter, noise, conventional drumming, noise, apricots, jazz, feedback, rumba, they are South American, Lama then, static rain, noise, if you're feeling quezy so am I, is it Carlos and Co or all that red meat from the improv Jazz? Anyway more noise and bongos! Add to this they make a thing of it being recorded in London even having a picture of the changing of the guard on the front cover, oh the bongos are back playing over a waterfall, and mutating into tabla, whilst a tap is pouring? I not saying its bad, oh Guidos is now singing over the tabla and feedback, I think they should for a start change their name and lose the bongos. By that not their names - but the bands name- something with Nostrils - no - how about Lamas on Acid - or The New Delhi Lamas! Now when I was vegetarian, oh yes I was, not even eating fish, we went to a Chinese in a place called Attlebourgh, not worth a visit, (the town I mean) in a restaurant which was more like someone's front room, we had a dish of fungi which would frighten the horses and should certainly not be served to young ladies of an impressionable age, the young lady I was with happened to be my wife, even so it was a little embarrassing eating what looked like penises or was it the sight of seeing my wife eating what looked like penises, or was it more scary than embarrassing? In the end of course we both could not stop laughing, the Chinese waitress regarding us curiously, why should home cooking promote such mirth. Well that restaurant wasn't called the Banned Room, but it should be. Why? Well on another occasion at some particular friends we sat down to eat to find the table laid out with hammers, the meal it seemed was crab, but only the legs, hence the hammers to smash them open, a no win situation, the effort expended greater than the protean obtained, or another time when they served wood pigeon that everyone else thought was boiled bat. Banned Room again - I hope you get the picture, this stuff is like the things rolled down by the angel to St Peter, strange wonderful, intriguing, disgusting, funny...in the Banned room. (jliat)
Address: http://www.krakilsk.org

BLACK SPARROW - LEGS HEAVY WITH POLLEN (CDR by Dead Sea Liner)
(VXPXC) - CHINATOWN NOSE-CUT (CDR by Dead Sea Liner)
R.S.R. - BLACK BOX (3"CDR by Dead Sea Liner)
A short peek at the website of Dead Sea Liner learns us they released a bunch of CDRs, mostly by people I never heard of, such as Textured Bird Transmission, Cel, Another Enough Chairs, Damno Te but also Thirdorgan, Bjerga/Iversen and Mutant Ape. The three releases on this desk are all by people I never heard of and unfortunally the website is not very helpfull in providing us with information. The label describes their music as 'drone, noise, lo-fi' and that seems to me a very appt description of what it is.
Whoever Black Sparrow is, we don't know. There are four lengthy pieces on 'Legs Heavy With Pollen' of, indeed, drone and noise recorded in a lo-fi manner. Sligthly distorted humming, part tribal sort of chanting and wooden percussion. All of which seem to me recorded by lowest form possible, in order to enhance (!) the lo-fi tag on this. I could all to easily assume Black Sparrow are from New Zealand (which they are most likely not), but it has that certain quality of lo-fi which is always so charming about the anti-podes and that is also charming about Black Sparrow. Nice one.
One more track has the release by (VxPxC), a trio of Justin McInteer, Grant Capes and Tim Goodwillie. They too have learned the recording skills down under, but play music of a somewhat different kind. Their drones are played on an organ, alongside with percussion - I would tend to think two of them play percussion and one the organ. Occasionally there is some sort of vocal use, which might go down as singing. A guitar is played in 'Gentle Rolling' - which serves the title well - it's gentle rumble rolling here. All recorded in 'Echo Park, Los Angeles, California', but it sounds still like a shed. This is the American leg of the world wide movement of lo-fi noise makers (and of course the country where all of this music is hailed as the next masters of the genre). Also alright this one, but not as great as Black Sparrow.
One track only on R.S.R. and not even a single piece of information beyond the title, label name/number and labelwebsite. Here it's full on drone and noise, and from a source that is kept well hidden, in the black box maybe. Or maybe it's a black box that produces the sounds? A heavy weight piece of, let's assume here for a while played on a bunch of guitars, feeding through a wall of amplifiers and colored boxes, this piece actually moves back and forth all the time. It changes throughout in shape, color and weight. A highly psychedelic piece of music, but not for the space heads, only for those who carry the weight of noise. Perhaps the best of these three. (FdW)
Address: http://www.deadsealiner.co.uk/

MIRKO UHLIG - THE RABBIT'S LOGBOOK (3"CD by Field Muzick)
For me Mirko Uhlig is one of the better and unfortunately lesser known drone masters of Germany. His last excursion was a trip into noise land - it is forgiven, as we haven't forgotten his 'VIVMMI' work (see Vital Weekly 525) or his work with Aalfang Mit Pferdekopf. 'The Rabbit's Logbook' is a very recent work, recorded on April 30th of this year and the cover says 'with five sounds for every finger'. What these five sounds are, we don't know. We hear drones, made out of highly processed organ chords as well as of an orchestral nature, with deep atmospheric and dramatic effect. Early in the piece there is also some vague obscure acoustic rumble. I'm not sure if I counted five or more, or less. However it's a pretty strong, perhaps too short piece of drone music, using just the right amount of sound effects, field recordings and the other usual ingredients of drone music. Uhlig's work here can easily match with the best in this field, especially Mirror. It's about time someone made him a real CD and launch his career properly. (FdW)
Address: http://www.fieldmuzick.net