VITAL

Week   49

Number 62







GRAT - ERDWERK (CD by Sparagmos)

Sparagmos was until now known as the best mail-order for experimental

music in Switzerland, but is now also a label in their own right.

Grat is a new Swiss duo and they deliver their first CD.

The manipulate strings of all kind to create dense atmospheres and

overtones. These overtones are created by using (natural) reverb,

which makes this like sounding a big cave where a violinquartet is

playing in the distance. For those who need the usual reference

points: Grat is where Lustmord's Paradise Disowned and any work by

Organum were mixed together. But Grat is not a copycat per se.

In the fifth track (only known for it's length: 17:41) the real

violin sounds make the difference. A great CD for dronists. (FdW)

Address: <reto@sparagmos.aare.ch>



PBK - LIFE-SENSE REVOKED (CD by Lunhare)

PBK is what some would call a veteran in the noise scene. Releasing

cassettes a decade ago, and now after some CD's by ND and a 3LP set

for RRRecords after quite some time back on the track with his first

serious European release. PBK is helped out by a handful friends,

such as AMK (on lock grooves), Brian Ladd (noise bursts), Hands To

(drone, ambient percussion), Deaf Lions (rain source) and most

surprising Jarboe sings on two tracks. The first track with her is

an outstanding sung piece with Deaf Lions on the rain tapes and PBK

simply processes this piece into the highlight of the CD. A piece

that breaks the ambient industrial image that is careful built up

until then. The 10th piece, also with Jarboe, is also a nice break

but less intense. The remaining 10 tracks operate more in less in

similar style: experimentalism and sound processing through out,

which sometimes work quite well, but other times lack consistency

(such as on 'Outside Of Time'). Overall this is a varied and

enjoyable CD. (FdW)

Address: M. Gatti - Via Mozart 13 - 20092 Cinisello (MI) - Italy



XVM - MACOUTE: HELLECTRONIC MUSIC(CD by Sparagmos)

HELLTRONIC MUSIC it says on the cover with a woman dressed in leather.

Taken this, plus the fact that it was recorded in Brazil, one would

except maybe some fifth rate Nine Inch Nails or something similar,

but au contraire. Clocking in with 1 piece over 37 minutes comes

a strange electronic music piece, allledgely made with a Theremin

(and maybe other old analog gear - who knows) in which crescendo's

and descrescendo's built on and off, thus creating a clever modern,

and at the same time old piece (in that sense that it lleans on old

academic composers). The press blurb talks about similar works like

Tudor's Microphone piece, and yeah I see a point of reference in

there, so set yourself over the ugly covr and buy this. (FdW)

Address: as above)



DRONE - DRONE (CD by Freek Records)

No no, not the band that is from the label Drone Records, but what is

it then? I never heard a band operate in so many different styles on

their CD. The first few seconds I'm reminded of The Lost Jockey

(but who remembers their excursions of minimal music meeting pop? -

and more important: who will release the records on CD?), but then

voices drop whispering in and the balance gets more to popmusic.

Other pieces lean towards Tortoise doing their minimal act and it

becomes clear that 'minimalism' (wether it is Steve Reich, Glenn

Branca or Micheal Nyman) is their thing. All 7 tracks hint in some

ways to minimal music. In fact I am so strongely reminded of Steve

Reich' Different Trains with the last track, that I think this is

a popcover of that piece. The sudden changes of tempo, fiddling with

stuttering samples, but then played by piano, drum computer and

violins. Great piece. Great CD too actually. (FdW)

Address: Freek Records - P.O.Box 3585 - London NW3 3RH





ERIC LACASA - UN COMPOSITION... (miniCD by La Legende Des Voix)

Eric Lacasa was the man behind Syllyk, but for reasons I don't know

he now releases this 20 minute work under his own name. The last

Syllyk CD was pretty much a sound scaping affair, and this is

an extension of that. As I hear this, it seems to me that this is

composed with samples, maybe of breathing and other throat sounds.

They are long stretched and are built up throughout the piece.

A strong poetic piece in a wordless sense. A great archaic cover too.

(FdW) Address:



NIGHT PASSAGE DEMIXED (CD by Dorobo)

This CD has four demixed (still trying to figure out what

the difference is with remixed) pieces of the Alan Lamb's wire sounds.

As known Lamb has an archive full of recordings he did with telephone

wires. His first CD (also by Dorobo) is one that is filled with dark

ambient/industrial sounds. Dorobo succeded in finding 4 composers in

more or less the same territory to do a demix. The Night Passage album

is to appear later on on Dorobo. This makes it difficult to review

this CD, as we have no point of reference to the original. Ryoji Ikeda

opens up with a true trademark piece: long stretched tones with

underneath high pitched tones that eventually increase in intensity

but never go over the top. Also Thomas Koner is an excellent pick to

do a remix. His piece has nothing to do with his recent work a Porter

Ricks (so no dance beats) but it stays close to his solo work of dark

ambience, making the inaudible a slightly more audible changing

the filters slowly, thus adding more high end. Lustmord is third and

Brian Wiliams is helped out by Paul Haslinger, former member of

Tangerine Dream. Their 19 minute piece is strongely based on sampling

and of the four pieces the most that plays with some melody, making

chords of the sounds. Sound effects add to the flavor. A trademark

piece of Lustmord. Earlier this year I had the oppurtunity to hear

the final piece of this CD, by Bernard Gunter in his CD and it sounded

great on his speakers, so I was curious to see how my speakers would

respond. Turn up the volume as you must always do with Gunters pieces.

The most audible part is in the beginning with his high end

frequencies but gradually the piece (which is the most collaged piece

of the four) disappears into low end bass hum with clicks and ticks

all over. Of the four pieces the most strange one and in all it's

reduction, maybe the most disturbing. This CD is stongely recommended!

(FdW) Address:



KEY RANSONE/CHERYL E. LEONARD (7" by Apraxia)

This is Apraxia's first release in their newly founded 'composers

series'. Not exactely a new idea to put out (seriously?) composed

works by people who have their roots in... well in what? Just what is

'composing'? Is what Key Ransone is doing under the banner of Small

Cruel Party then not composing, and if not, what is it then?

Or Leonard when she is with Caroliner Rainbow? If one considers

'music' to be anything happening within a given time frame,

then anything could be considered composing, I'd guess. Having said

this, it is hard to describe the pieces on this record. Key Ransone

offers two 'preludes' played by himself on the piano. For me it is

hard to place this in the right context, as I simply do not know

enough of the history of works composed for the piano. So I rather

stick to the easy thing: two short nice pieces of piano tinkling.

Cheryl's composition is for clarinet and tape, the latter consisting

of 'processed foghorn sounds'. This piece reminded me of Ingram

Marshall's 'Fog Tropes' with it's sustained sounds. Its probably

the clarinet that gives this piece a melancholical quality. (FdW)

Address: <apraxia@apraxia.seanet.com>



TREAT THE GODS AS IF THEY EXIST (CD by AUF ABWEGEN)

A surprising release on Auf Abwegen, usually punters of the printed

word (in Chermann) which covers much of the territory to be found on

this CD. It is somewhat inaccurately described as a 'collection of

dark atmospheres' It opens with 'Tabletalk' by Beequeen which comes

across as an unsuccessful attempt at data transmission. This is

followed by Drome with what could be a tongue-in-cheek soundtrack

for a French film. Similarly Chris and Cosey provide accompaniment

for the unexpurgated version of Little Red Riding Hood.

Circumnavigating the wall of radio sounds erected by Schloss Tegal,

we arrive in Roseland, a gentle place defined by O Yuki Conjugate.

RLW attempts to wrench coherency out of his battery of sounds and

it's left to Skank to drop in the first kikdrum on this compilation

with their track 'acid creep'. The creep continues with Coil

unleashing what might be wolves. Barbed cut up some drums and added

bass to a stuttering Orpheus and then there is the unbelievably out

of place and totally annoying 'Old Farts Out' by Stewy Home;

a semi-shout-rant which completely fucks up this collection. Halcam

head for the house called boogie for their 'Occidental Pow-Wow' and

then Any Lagowski  plummets like a drop of molten lead to those

extreme depths, where heavy pressure can omly articulate in

stretched thumps and groans. We've been here before but it's always

pleasant to return. Ultramarine provide a rather static track and

Asmus ends this unusual collection with a quaint piece which closes

with a request (in Chermann, again) not to copy this archive material.

Yes, more good than better and much better than bad.

Get it ! (geddit?) (MP)



THE TAPE BEATLES - MUSIC WITH SOUND (CD by Staalplaat)

Thank Jezebel and all the Gods that Plunder for this re-release of

the classic Tape Beatles CD which could once be found on

DOVEntertainment five or six years ago. Hats off to Staalplaat for

making it availible once more. Hopefully this definitive CD is

(in)famous enough to be known to you all. This is your opportunity at

last to replace your original copy, which has probably been worn out

by now. (MP)



THE PSYCHOACOUSTIC SOUND CLASH - VOLUME ONE  (CD by KORM PLASTICS)

Another weirdo ... Did not know what to think of this one when I first

put it on, but I tried again at about 2.30 in the morning after a very

long day and somehow it seemed to make more sense. This CD is part of

the 'Introductionaire Paperback' series, which only releases stuff by

artists who have never appeared on CD before. No wonder you've not

heard of these blokes yet. There is so much sonic ground and so many

different styles covered here that it is almost a compendium of late

twentieth century distraction. Abstract equipment is detailed on

the sleeve...good luck to you if you can spot these 'instruments' in

the music. There are amazing passages constructed from radio

interference, some excursions into the Realm of Thud and a barrage of

wonderful vocal quotes culled from documentary films about public

safety and nuclear explosions, snipped, sliced, diced and recombined

in a surreal soup of sharp and accurate commentary. Similar in it's

mystery to Ceremonial Silence, a previous release on this label,

PASC have provided a glittering debut, which while a bit too long,

is destined to provide keen ears with several and a half hours of

entertainment. (MP)



SHIFTS - NO GO AREA (7" by KORM PLASTICS)

This record was made with acoustic guitar and bells which were recorded

to four track tape and then mysteriously treated to sound like

something never heard before. The music is divided into two parts,

the first of which is infinitely better. It sounds like an angular

beastie shedding it's metallic hide...monstrous steel scales slide off

and float to the ground reverberating in this gravity-free zone.

The second part concentrates more on the bass tones, contains less

movement and is perhaps the soundtrack to accompany the soft dispersal

of the beasties lingering shadow. Compares favourably to all of

the guitar-based atmospherics by any of the twang-dronermeisters of

our times. Short and infintely sweet. (MP) Address: <staal@euronet.nl>



SQUARE ROOT OF SUB - STROPHE AREA 1 : UR VOICE COMES FROM THE BEES

(LP by Korm Plastics).

As soon as I started playing this new album from "Wortelsap", I was in

orbit. Looking at the stars from there, I suddenly started feeling very

small and unimportant, just a dot. If you're lucky you can see

"a falling star" or meteors. Lighting up when entering the atmosphere,

they give you that sense of being part of a very much alive universe,

where everything is moving constantly. You can find a few on this

record and they are coming right at you at the speed of light, going

right through you, leaving a black hole the size off Uranus, where you

get sucked in, after which you end up in a microcosmos. Suddenly small

insects look like giants, creeping all over you and trying to make you

their dinner. Then I question myself; "have I been abducted by aliens?"

They push and shove me, give me large amounts of something which

reminds me of DMT and "do their thing". Yes, I know where Area 1 is! or

is it that I have been smoking too much of these Dutch flowers named

after the Aurora Borealis? (RM)  Address: <staal@euronet.nl>