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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 620
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week 13
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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

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* noted are in this week's podcast

 

ANNEA LOCKWOOD - A SOUND MAP OF THE DANUBE (3CD by Lovely Music) *
JUSTIN BENNETT - WILDLIFE (CD by Spore Records) *
IREZUMI - ENDURANCE (CD by Snow Blood)
THANOS CHRYSAKIS & DARIO BERNAL VILLEGAS & OLI MAYNE - PALIMPSESTO (CD by Aural Terrains) *
COTI - DUNUNG (CD by Antifrost)
RLW & TITO - MAHLZEIT (CD by Hinterzimmer Records) *
KIKO C. ESSEIVA - SOUS LES ETOILES (CD by Hinterzimmer Records) *
THE RITA & WILT - WEREWOLF IN THE BLACK SPACE (CD by Cipher Productions)
CLEW OF THESEUS - THE PLAYGROUND OF THE DAMNED (CDR by Cipher Productions)
LOUIS DUFORT - MATERIAUX COMPOSES (DVD by Empreintes Digitales)
SMALL TOWN BOREDOM - AUTUMN MIGHT HAVE HOPE (LP by Trome Records)
IDEA FIRE COMPANY - THE ISLAND OF TASTE (LP by Swill Radio) *
CONNECT_ICUT - THEY SHOWED ME THE SECRET BEACHES (LP by CSAF Records)
FESTIVAL DER GENIALEN DISSIDENTEN (LP compilation by Enfant Terrible) *
R.O.T. - CECI N'EST PAS AVIOTH/ILS CHANTENT POUR VOUS (LP by Morc Records)
ILLUSION OF SAFETY - SEDATION/QUELL (10" by C.I.P.)
VED - TAYGETOS (CDR by Psychic Malmo) *
GOLDEN VARIOUS (CDR by Bremsstrahlung Recordings)
METEK VS N.STRAHL.N - ANCIENT MACHINERIES (CDR by Dim Records) *
ASHER & UBEBOET - CELL MEMORY (CDR by Winds Measure Recordings)
CIVYIU KKLIU & ILYA MONOSOV - CARTOLINA POSTALE (CDR by Winds Measure Recordings) *
SERAFINA STEER - PUBLIC SPIRITED (3"CDR by Static Caravan) *
BERLIN ELECTRONICS (4x3"CDR by Absinth Records)
MUS****C (MP3 compilation by Cronica Electronica)
YOSHIMI! - MIXED (MP3)
SIEGMAR FRICKE & ROYCE ICON - FALSE NEGATIVES (MP3 by Agonal Period) *

 

ANNEA LOCKWOOD - A SOUND MAP OF THE DANUBE (3CD by Lovely Music)
JUSTIN BENNETT - WILDLIFE (CD by Spore Records)
Rivers sometimes provide inspiration for music. Remember 'Mississippi' from Pussycat? Better not. Wrong example. Strauss jr's 'Blue Danube'? Nice but romantic kitsch. Smetana's 'Moldau' comes closer. That piece depicts the start of this river until it's very end. A classic from my childhood, I might add. Another classic - different time for it's creation and for me - is Annea Lockwood's 'Sound Map of The Hudson River' from 1982, in which she does the same as Smetana, but then using sounds recorded at various points from where its springs to life until it's very end in the Atlantic. It's however not the only river she has recorded, but the Danube project is certainly the longest river she did. She spent five trips to Europe over three years to make the recordings along this river from where it springs in Germany in the Black Forest to the very end in the Black Sea. Obviously there is the water flow, but also animals, insects and even several interviews with people who live along the river. It comes with an extensive map, and I noticed I crossed it at Regensburg once, in Passau, in Linz, Vienna and finally Budapest, so I haven't seen half of it. Lockwood's music is a trip that completes the entire journey. For almost three hours this takes us along the beautiful river and its likewise beautiful landscape. The interviews are all in native language (translation supplied on the backside of the map), but if you decide not to pay attention to them and try not to understand it than it's even more journey like. You feel like a tourist on a boat, flowing down stream, crossing all these countries in which you can not always understand the language. This is a true sit back and let it all come release. Lockwood is our guide on this journey, noting whatever is interesting noting to hear. Maybe I feel more connected to this because the environment is so familiar, rather than the Hudson River, which I also have crossed a couple of times, but which is less familiar. And for someone who doesn't like being on boats, this is the best alternative route to float.
In a similar line of interest is the work of Justin Bennett. He didn't release much recently but that's not to say he isn't busy with sound installations or pieces for dance companies. Out of the latter came 'Wildlife', which seems to me an inappropriate title, seeing it was all recorded in zoological and botanic gardens in Berlin, Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam and Bergen. The sounds were recorded for a dance piece, and later reworked in 'during a series of live performances and in the studio'. More than with Lockwood, the pieces flow right into eachother, thus making more a unified picture of the zoo. Bennett gives his pieces titles that doesn't leave much to guess, like 'aapjes' (monkeys - Bennett may be from the UK, but his long term stay in The Netherlands learned him a beautiful new language), 'Persian Leopard', 'Butterflyhouse' or 'Pond'. It's hard to tell wether these sounds are all processed or not. The more I hear it, the less I know. It might be, but on the other hand it might not be. Sometimes it sounds as pure as can be, but then what exactly did he rework in live performances and in the studio. Not that it really matters of course, it's the end result that counts. And that's beautiful in this case. Great recordings, great composition, and although different than Lockwood in many ways, this is great CD. (FdW)
Address: http://www.lovely.com
Address: http://spore.soundscaper.com

IREZUMI - ENDURANCE (CD by Snow Blood)
The French label says Irezumi, at 21, is 'quite possibly the best ambient artist of his generation', which might be justifiable claim: how many ambient artists are there anyway at that age? Like young Thomas Köner once did, in his first album 'Nunatak Gongamur', Irezumi is inspired by the tragedy of the Antartic expedition of Ernest Shackleton. Music-wise there is indeed a bit that refers to the classic Köner album, but Irezumi does things a little bit different. He uses software, synthesizers (analogue or digital), guitars and spoken word samples to generate a densely layered pattern of ambient sensibility that has a strong feeling of chilly air, freedom but also loneliness, a bit like the mountains that are photographed on the cover. A few persons walking up mountain, among lots of rocks and snow. Dark but not too dark. Grey sky with a touch of blue - that kind of feeling is what comes of this release. The voice samples that of a low voice, which reminded me of the KLF's 'Chill Out' (when did I last hear that - makes note here to listen again) and music wise the Space album out of the same KLF home. None of the rhythms are apparent. Space is suggested by the extensive use of reverb, which is not always something I like very much, but Irezumi keeps things neatly under control. Like said, the best ambient artist of his generation might be a claim to soon; it's a fine idea to keep ears open for whatever else he has to offer, but as a start, yes! 'Endurance' is a very mature sounding CD and makes a perfect start. (FdW)
Address: http://www.snowblood.eu

THANOS CHRYSAKIS & DARIO BERNAL VILLEGAS & OLI MAYNE - PALIMPSESTO (CD by Aural Terrains)
Music by Thanos Chrysakis has been reviewed before, most notable his 'Klage' CD (see Vital Weekly 586) in which the vibraphone plays a central part, even when it feeds through some bits of software. A warm, ambient glitch piece of music. Here he returns with two compadres of whom I never heard, Dario Bernal Villegas who contributes drums, vibraphone, bass-drum, cymbals and inside/string piano and Oli Mayne on vibraphone. The latter doesn't play on all pieces though. 'Palimpsesto' is the work of real time composition as these improvisations are called. The title refers to the use parchment being erased and re-written. How exactly this relates to the music here is a bit of a riddle. Chrysakis writes: "Is music but a palimpsest in the air? A moment to moment of writing and erasing different temporal layers? A coexistence of what we have accumulated, and how we relate, and respond to the instruments and to each other, in the course of a musical encounter?". The music that comes here to us, in nine pieces, is of a rather dull nature. It's surely improvised, there is no doubt about that, but in the good ol' fashioned manner 'let's hit something together and we'll see what comes out of this' approach, which indeed sometimes can lead to great results, but also at times some pretty tiring moments, which counts for this CD as well. Sometimes I felt this was all pretty tight and strong, but then things break up and down and you land rather with a bump in some area which you don't want to end up with. So I have rather mixed feelings about this one. 'Klage' was much nicer! (FdW)
Address: http://www.auralterrains.com

COTI - DUNUNG (CD by Antifrost)
Antifrost's catalogue is in general filled with music that is sometimes best described as 'difficult', even 'noise', 'conceptual', but hardly ever as 'easy listening'. Coti, who before was one half of Textu Rizer with Nikos Veliotis, just releases 'Dunung' which is one hell of a break with that. Coti, real name Costantino Luca Rolando Kiriakos, born in Milan 1966, but living in Greece, was active since the mid 80s with bands as Ricochet, Dada Data, Raw, Spiders' Web, In Trance 95 and worked with Tuxedomoon, Stereo Nova, Blaine Reininger, The Raining Pleasure, Nikos Veliotis and ILIOS to but a few. On his fifth solo CD he offers music for the piano. Simple as that. No concept, well not other than playing the 86 keys and a bit of electronic treatment, like a bit of reverb, processing but it's kept a strict minimum. Playing the piano is what counts here. Coti plays minimalist patterns, not unlike old Steve Reich, not always with a similar clarity, but a bit muffled through the use sparse of sound effects. It entirely fits the current wave of people playing the piano that were so dominant in 2007. If you like your Sakamoto, Harold Budd, Steve Reich or Erik Satie like than this is right your alley. I thought it was a bit much for the similarity the work had to offer, but as 'music while you work' this did a pretty fine job. (FdW)
Address: http://www.antifrost.gr

RLW & TITO - MAHLZEIT (CD by Hinterzimmer Records)
KIKO C. ESSEIVA - SOUS LES ETOILES (CD by Hinterzimmer Records)
Sure, sure. I am a big fan of the music of Ralf Wehowsky, ever since the early days of P16.D4 down to this very day. Many of his works are recorded in collaboration with others, and here it's the Transindustrial Toy Orchestra, a loose collective from Hamburg and Amsterdam, of whom I never heard. Here they have three members, Peter Kastner, Ine Ophof and Jan van Wissen, with a 'vast collection of toys and kitchen tools, using electronic devices to transform them into bizarre acoustic situations'. RLW adds electronics, instruments, voice and 'body functions', bouncing material back and forth. Some pieces are by RLW,. some by Peter Kastner, some by Jan van Wissen and one is 'RLW plays Tito'. 'Mahlzeit', as a title, refers to eating and cooking: it's German for enjoy your meal. I'll be honest: it's not my cup of tea. It's quite noisy at times, which put me off a bit, but it's not the main point. It seems that these pieces are thrown together (probably they are not, and the result of hard work), and rather a big bunch of improvisations of all sorts which could have been edited into nice pieces of music, but it's not. It still stays on the rough side of things. To use the analogy of cooking: you can eat it, but does it taste nice? I thought this meal could have used a bit more preparation. Many dishes are on the table for sure, but the burping says it all.
At the end of last year I reviewed a CDR releases on Tilt Recordings by Eric Boros and Kiko C. Esseiva. The latter was unknown to me and played piano on that release. I never heard his first release, 'Musiques Pour Haut-parleurs', but here's his second solo release 'Sous Les Etoiles'. Not limited to playing the piano, in fact hardly at all, this is a release to combine acoustic instruments, noise, voices, field recordings and 'static sheets of sound'. Hinterzimmer compares it to the likes of Luc Ferrari and older Nurse With Wound, which indeed make two great places to start investigating this album. Hard to describe this melting pot of krautrock (without any drumming that is), musique concrete, improvisation and electronic music. As a whole it's a much more coherent work than the RLW & Tito release, moving around in all sorts of strangely textured sounds and odd shaped compositions. It doesn't always have the vivid imagination of Steve Stapleton, but then it's rapid changing sounds, musique concrete like cutting and pasting of sounds, all in a non academic fashion is quite nice. Maybe some of the pieces could have used a bit more rigorous editing, but throughout it's nice. (FdW)
Address: http://www.hinterzimmer-records.com

THE RITA & WILT - WEREWOLF IN THE BLACK SPACE (CD by Cipher Productions)
CLEW OF THESEUS - THE PLAYGROUND OF THE DAMNED (CDR by Cipher Productions)
Counter to the proliferation of "objects" in amongst other things cybernetics but also in the world of celebrity which appears to cover everything now- including The Rita- I was reading that despite our primitive notions of number- that numbers may not be objects at all- but properties - if so then what we have here is a denial of that, of the de-establishment of the totality of what The Rita was and is (now) in collaboration with Wilt which erodes the semantic totalities into something with beginnings middles and ends. The provision of such pieces found here re-casts the object as some narrative process, negating what was once Rita's truly indistinguishable noise (back) into authorship. The semiological breakdown has been (sadly) arrested. As is said elsewhere the "murderous rampaging of The Rita material shaped, shrouded and clouded by Wilt." droney echoey rhythmical intros washed in reverb merge into static and lowrise noise
feedback and back out again or sometimes fade into oblivion- or blocks of hail and blue echo-spaces like english bank holiday weather. Nothing is erased - a picture is painted and painted again in the second Cdr where the monster reverb roams and roars. And what is similar with the first release is the mix of harsh noise - ambient reverb and quoted speech - Ben Brucato states his "music" Never sounds like itself. - "Sound can be ambient, experimental, harsh, quiet, cut-up, wall of sound, etc." Which could be a plea for noise to progress into a totality of arbitrariness? Of the kinds of experimentalisms in the use of shortwave radio and the iching of the previous century. And that would be my main concern - as in recent conversations with others over the lack of irony which is needed now but might not be present. Not that there is anything wrong with that - quite the reverse it holds up (again) an ethic - even if it's a totalizing one. (jliat)
Address: <cipherproductions@lycos.com>

LOUIS DUFORT - MATERIAUX COMPOSES (DVD by Empreintes Digitales)
Sometimes, afterwards, I think I was a bit too harsh. When I recently reviewed a couple of DVD (but with music only) releases by Empreintes Digitales, the final review was a re-run of the previous reviews - as to outline the repeat character of the music. That was, perhaps, not entirely fair. But it make want to listen with much anticipation to the release by Louis Dufort. That was, again, all wrong, as this one, I must admit (and never afraid of admitting when I'm wrong), I quite liked. The differences between this, and some of the precedent releases by the label, are to me clear. Dufort's interest doesn't lie in the ways sounds are processed by similar pieces of software which seem to be applying to the other composers, but he rather uses a more roughly shaped compositional method. His sounds are more direct, more in your face, not processed beyond belief as some of the sounds what they are. In, for instance, 'Materio _***', there are farm sounds, scraping the surface, cooking sounds and clusters of instruments. They all make perfect sense, a fine, balanced audio picture. Sounds do not bounce up and down, back and forth, stumbling and tumbling, but are placed with great care in the right spot. Of course Dufort uses all sorts of computer techniques but as a means, not an end. O.k. so I was perhaps wrong in writing off this label. It doesn't mean I will necessary straight away applaud everything they do, but this release made up things in an excellent way. (FdW)
Address: http://www.electrocd.com

SMALL TOWN BOREDOM - AUTUMN MIGHT HAVE HOPE (LP by Trome Records)
This is one of those albums where the title says it all really. Autumn Might Have Hope is the debut album of Fraser McGowan (who also writes the lyrics) and Colin Morrison. Here they are aided by a bunch of friends and local musicians and together they have created this album, which can probably best be described as 'would-be low-fi singer/songwriter shoe-gazing' music. You know what I mean. This is not to say this is a bad record, for a debut this is well-recorded (and not as low-fi as the band wants us to believe) and contains decent enough tunes. The problem is however, that this (in the words of Kevin Rowland) 'all sounds the same'. All songs are based on guitar and vocals with hardly any rhythm section in sight. All songs are below mid-pace 4/4 tempo. All lyrics revolve around the 'I'm pitiful because you left me' theme. You want proof? Check out Apologies For Apathy "I came round to the sound of quiet backwoods rain, static on the TV and you were gone again" or "We're here again with promises lost in this bed" (on Afternoons At Thornhill Road) or "Its all the same but you're not around" (on Enjoy The Fireworks). You get the idea. Maybe it would be a good idea if McGowan would allow his bandmates some input on the lyrics next time. There are those who will lap this stuff up and there are those who will hate this. I fall in neither category; however, as much as I enjoyed playing this (and I don't want to sound too negative about this album) I know I will never play it again. Still, the packaging is nice with a lovely color sleeve and an insert with all the lyrics. When you find yourself on a lonely Sunday morning with your lover gone, the rain pelting against your window, an empty fridge, lying in bed not able to move your limbs because of an over-powering grief, this is the album to play. (FK)
Address: http://www.tromerecords.com

IDEA FIRE COMPANY - THE ISLAND OF TASTE (LP by Swill Radio)
I've been waiting for this album to arrive for quite a while. IFCO's previous album Stranded made it to my 'Top Something' of the year and is played regularly with great pleasure. With such high hopes the chances that The Island Of Taste would disappoint are, admittedly, quite high. But The Island Of Taste does not disappoint. Far from it. More than ever IFCO (consisting of mainman/women Scott Foust, Meara O,Reilly, Jessi Leigh Swenson and Karla Borecky, this time aided by Dr. Timothy Shortell, Graham Lambkin and Frans de Waard) have created their own little safe haven. Like all IFCO releases this albums sounds out of any place or date, much like a journey rather than one static location. This is probably why IFCOs music works much better on LP (where the music benefits from space and length) than on a single format. Inside the colorful cover (a painting of an island with huge plants, which seems to be floating above a sea) you will find an envelope with various cards featuring photos of the band (Karla Borecky looking especially cute - I can't help it, I have a weak spot for pony tails) and essays on the phenomenon that is taste ('Taste is the fundamental quality that sums up all other qualities' - a quote by the Count of Lautreamont - a man who knew everything about taste). In short, the concept behind IFCO's music is that taste has been reduced to a static commonplace. However, true taste (true beauty) is something which needs to be re-discovered by each individual. The Island Of Taste offers a possible journey for such a re-discovery. The album starts off with Land Ho!, featuring sounds of walking/scraping combined with sparse electronics and bells. The title track, Lost Victories and Like Old Days all consist of sparse piano playing, bird and rain sounds, singing (on Heroes Of The Last Barricade), remote feedback and tape hiss. But, as always, I find the music of IFCO hard to put into words. Somehow the words (also those in this review) tend to remove the beauty from the sound, which is not what IFCO is about. There is so much to discover in this record. To paraphrase Scott Foust: "I think of my work as a timebomb set for a mythical future. I would like to see it explode during my lifetime, but if that does not obtain, I will die knowing it is still there. Ticking". That sums up the output of IFCO perfectly. Beauty waiting to be discovered by those willing to shake off convention. This is a beautiful record. (FK)
Address: http://www.anti-naturals.org

CONNECT_ICUT - THEY SHOWED ME THE SECRET BEACHES (LP by CSAF Records)
The time gap between this album and the previous 'LA (An Apology)' is smaller than with the one before that, 'Moss' on Dehausset Records (Vital Weekly 569 and 467). Yet the new album seems to be moving away from the previous, as the pop sensibility of the previous album is gone here and now in favor for a more regular work of glitch music. Musical glitch I should add straight away, as Sam Macklin, the guy behind Connect_icut, plays little melodies with the glitches that he has produced through computer means. Maybe his sources are guitars or, more likely, organ, but they all undergo processing through max/msp, that piece of software nobody seems to be without these days. Still high on influences as Oval, Fennesz, Tim Hecker and Rafael Toral, I thought that this was a good record, but somehow it lacks something that made 'LA (An Apology)' so enjoyable. But I am not sure what it is that is missing here. Maybe its the similar approach that runs through some of these tracks, or perhaps the lesser pop approach, I don't know. It's surely still nice music to hear, away from the very silent microsound approach, still with something of his own, but also something missing. Hopefully to be returned the next time around. And this album, of which the releasedate is apparently july 1st (!) is a lot less limited than the previous album. (FdW)
Address: http://www.connect-icut.com

FESTIVAL DER GENIALEN DISSIDENTEN (LP compilation by Enfant Terrible)
The first time I heard of the Dutch label Enfant Terrible was when they released, very much to my surprise, a compilation LP of the also Dutch cassette label Trumpett Tapes, not surprisingly one of my favorite labels of the early 80s. Little did I know, never willing to keep up with what is hot and what not, that the electronic pop inspired music by Trumpett Tapes was still hot, 'in certain musical circles'. Since then I receive their mailing and, even when I don't get everything they release, there is both love of the past (releasing a 7" by Störung) and the present followers of fashion. It's a whole international scene. On the new compilation 'Festival der Genialen Dissidenten' (which sounds very Neue Deutsche Welle, had it not for the festival der Geniale Dillitanten in 1984 in Berlin) only has artists from this day and age. Many of them manage to sound like the very early 80s, but much to my regret I also hear the influence of EBM, a musical style I associate with black suits and marching rhythms. Music history is like a double helix, when one movement is in the ascendent, the other is in the descendent, like a criss cross. Someone was said by the guy who played him, and this very true for this kind of retro music. Some of the music on this compilation sounds fresh because it's very old and thus very new, and some of the music sounds naff because the style is something that was cool once, but not anymore. My favorites are those that simply reminded me of twenty-five years ago, dabbling about, all day and all night with cassettes. Included are Agent Side Grinder, Dolina, Vincent K, Nosztalgia Direktiva, Adolf Filter (great name, me thinks), :Codes, Le Traingle De L'Androgyne, Pierre Normal, Yseult Descieux, Jongbloed and Coeurvert. Nice record! (FdW)
Address: http://www.enfant-terrible.nl

R.O.T. - CECI N'EST PAS AVIOTH/ILS CHANTENT POUR VOUS (LP by Morc Records)
It's been a while since I last R.O.T. from Belgium, who play foremost 'free music' inside the boundaries of rock music. Guitars, organs, percussion, objects, electronics and wind instruments. Now they have two new pieces on one side of a piece of vinyl, but I found it very hard to get excited by this. First of all there is the recording quality which is a really lo-fi affair - like a cheap microphone in the middle of a room while the various band members just seem to be rumbling about - checking out whatever sounds they might want to play when they start really recording - but whatever they might be recording is not what they actually recorded when they cut out these two pieces out of their waiting and mucking about. Free music is a nice thing, but why put it on vinyl? (FdW)
Address: http://www.morctapes.com

ILLUSION OF SAFETY - SEDATION/QUELL (10" by C.I.P.)
There was a time when Illusion Of Safety was one of the most active forces in the US experimental music scene. With a varying line up the nucleas was and is Dan Burke. He and his band members played lots of concerts, of which I happened to see quite a few, in varying line ups. They could be a total miss, but most of the time they were great. Combining real instruments with electronics, acoustic objects, tapes and later on computers, they carved out music that was on the crossroad of industrial, ambient and musique concrete. On CD it was the same, absolute master pieces like 'Probe', 'Cancer' or 'Historical' outnumber the weaker brothers, of which I only remember 'Inside Agitator'. These days Illusion Of Safety celebrate their twenty-fifth anniversary and it's mainly Dan Burke solo. Still on the road, still on top of things, but music is no longer his main thing, diversing with other activities in life and away from the endless pressure of having to deliver music. So the releases have become sparse, but are still great. Two pieces on this 10" 'Sedation' and 'Quell'. Both pieces are concentrated works of densely knitted web of sounds. Apparently Burke uses an old typewriter, turntable pops/crackles, shortwave and oscillations. The two pieces could be brothers in arms. Slow development, taking time to take shape. Dense but not blurred. This is the Illusion Of Safety side of ambient - not comforting quiet, but discomforting beautiful. 'Sedation' is a humming low end piece with tension lurking underneath. Two great pieces of someone who should have his name writing large in the annals of music history (but of course won't, since there is no such thing as justification). (FdW)
Address: http://www.cipsite.net

VED - TAYGETOS (CDR by Psychic Malmo)
Not being any sort of design freak, I too am sometimes attracted to covers of releases, and sometimes not at all. So Ved's 'Teygetos' most definitely falls in the latter kind. Clumsy folded, badly designed sleeve, totally uninviting to hear it. And then the label name, Psychic Malmo, what. is that all about it? So, this is one of those releases I put aside and get until the very end of the day. The start of the release isn't very promising either. Some jazz like loops with some high end scraping noise. I am prepared for an hour of bullshit. But I'm wrong. Dead wrong. To spoil the end of this story: there is one more stinker on this release, a slow piece that could be pass off as magickal music. But then: eight absolutely great tracks. Ved plays or samples guitars, rhythm machines and electronics and blends it together into some crazy form of popmusic. I must have played it four times or more by now, and I still find it very hard to make up my mind what to think. It sounds great, but what is it. Lounge? Electropop, instrumental? A worn out cliche? Psychedelic? Reggae tunes then? I don't know. What I do know is that these eight pieces are very pleasant easy pieces of music, which I enjoyed very much for what it is. Whatever it is. Great popmusic. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/psychmalmo

GOLDEN VARIOUS (CDR by Bremsstrahlung Recordings)
The following I had to copy straight from the information: 'The Golden Mean is perhaps the best known ratio in the world. If one produces a series by adding two consecutive terms to arrive at the next term (0,1,2,3,5,8,13...etc.) then as the numbers increase the factor each term is larger than the previous term approaches it's limit; 1.6180339887... It is this limit that is often called the "Divine Proportion," and it and its reciprocal have been widely drawn upon for inspiration and explanation in the natural sciences, architecture, engineering, art and music." When I was thirteen I failed miserable in my maths, but I have an idea what the Golden Mean is, perhaps because I saw it explained with a painting at hand. Here eleven musicians deal with The Golden Mean, each in their own way. Liner notes explain what they are doing, which makes the non-math guy in me think that this Golden Mean isn't that obvious. Josh Ronsen, a.k.a. Brekexkexkoaxkoax says he didn't succeed in translating the Golden Mean into music, but still has a track on this compilation, which I thought was pretty funny. I found it hard to follow some of the more conceptually inclined pieces in that sense that I know what they want and what it is about, but do I like to hear them? That might altogether be a different thing. Sine waves of certain frequencies for certain lengths - well, ok... Just like my math books gave me a headache when I was thirteen, the liner notes did pretty much same here, and I started ignoring it, while listening. That did my alpha (or was it beta) head much more right. The artists on this compilation all arrive from the microsound scene and one should be prepared for some lo-fi humming, crackling of field recordings and static sounds. None of the tracks really stood out as being different than another, but then on the other hand it was also difficult to point out the weaker brother in this lot. It all sounded pretty decent to me. Included are Jos Smolders, Elektronengehirn, Dale Lloyd, Brekexkexkoaxkoax, Toshiya Tsunoda, Dan Warburton, Toy Bizarre, John Kannenberg, Alex Keller, Brent Fariss and Josh Russell. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bremsstrahlung-recordings.org

METEK VS N.STRAHL.N - ANCIENT MACHINERIES (CDR by Dim Records)
Recently we came across the name Metek for the first time (although has been around since the early 90s), when he made a collaborative release with Jliat. Here he returns for another collaboration, with Germany's N.Strahl.N. Metek is from Sweden and has some thirty-five releases to his name and twenty collaborations. They supplied eachother with 'field recordings, unfinished compositions and loops' to work on. Metek has two pieces, and N.Strahl.N four. That be the statistics from this release. I am not sure what the ancient machineries are that are mentioned on the cover. Maybe old and rusty machines that were recorded? Or perhaps it refers to the old school industrial music to which certainly has its ties. Both artists love the mechanical movements of such machines, which they recorded and then, in all sorts of manners transform using their computers (o.k. that might be a break with the old school). Looping things around to make it even more mechanical, bringing out certain frequencies. The result is a soundtrack of alienation, the empty factory space. Certainly one we heard before, quite as good as this one, which on an average level ranks 6 out of 10. For the lovers of the darker side of industrial ambient. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/dimrec

ASHER & UBEBOET - CELL MEMORY (CDR by Winds Measure Recordings)
CIVYIU KKLIU & ILYA MONOSOV - CARTOLINA POSTALE (CDR by Winds Measure Recordings)
Very hot on the wheels of their recent collaboration here is another one by Asher Thal-nir and Miguel A. Tolosa, also known as Asher and Ubeboet. It doesn't say on the cover, but no doubt this is the work of field recordings being processed. Two pieces of almost equal length of some utter dark and densely layered material. Slowly moving forward, like a giant beast leaping forward. It sounds like the processed sound of wind humming, recalling ghostly voices. If dark ambient didn't exist already as a musical genre it could be invented by this release. Not really the sort of spectacle that the music could be, but in its genre quite nicely put together.
More 'trouble' I had with the release of Civyiu Kkliu and Ilya Monosov - both gained some reputation for some of the more conceptual outings in music. In 2002 already they recorded some improvisations together. Monosov plays a music box and toothpicks, whereas Kkliu plays blank vinyl and a metal object. "The duration and nature of the work corresponds to the small/intimate/charged space of a postcard. Postcards as artifacts of place/time/memory/distance/immediate impressions, etc. frame (sound-) text in interesting ways" they write, and the release is packed on a postcard. The music is utterly soft. I put it in my computer, normalized at zero DB and it's still soft, but a lot more hissy. Rumbling about is the best description I can come up. I have no idea what this means. The two of them mess about for some twenty-three minutes and left me completely puzzled. I am sure I missing a conceptual edge here entirely. (FdW)
Address: http://windsmeasurerecordings.net

SERAFINA STEER - PUBLIC SPIRITED (3"CDR by Static Caravan)
Head down in the world of field recordings, computer processing, hiss, crack, noise one tends to forget there is a whole world of normal music, and luckily there is Serafina Steer to remind us. Back in Vital Weekly 577 we already reviewed her CD, which she cited such influences as The Cure, Kate Bush, Fleetwood Mac (all three also my favorites), Leafcutter John and Leonard Cohen. Here she returns with four new songs, why oh why on a 3"CDR and not a nice 10", Static Caravans? Steer's voice is more sweeter than that of Björk, to which she reminded me initially. Now the music, played on harp, synthesizer and vocals (with additional drums and clarinet by others) sounds even more folky than before and have a great charming quality which stick right in your brain. Great sweet music. The great counterpart after a day of field recordings, computer processing, hiss, crack, noise. (FdW)
Address: http://www.staticcaravan.org

BERLIN ELECTRONICS (4x3"CDR by Absinth Records)
Some pretty long time, Absinth Records from Berlin send us a release containing four 3"CDR releases, all dealing with strings - see Vital Weekly 410. Here they come up with a new edition, also in four different 3" CDRs under the banner of 'Berlin - Electronics'. Nothing is written on them, but the timing is on the cover, so one can see whose who here. Gilles Aubrey's 'Computer Programming' is probably the only solo computer pieces here. Maybe it's him programming his computer, with the attack on the keyboard being amplified and modified through real time software? That's at least the way it sounds like and I must admit I thought it was interesting on a conceptual level (if indeed true) and not as much as on a musical level. Of the three pieces, 'Volutes III' was the most minimal, but also the most interesting one. Annette Krebs could have been on the previous release of string music, because she plays electric guitar, next to mixing board, tape, objects and radios. Her piece sounds more improvised that Aubry, and has a strong dynamic outline, ranging from the subtle to the peak end of noise. Moving back and forth with great ease. I never heard of Andrea Ermke, who arrives just armed with a minidisc and a mixing desk. I think these minidiscs of Ermke are filled with field recordings of some kind - hard to define what it is - which are being mixed on the mixing desk. It's pretty raw stuff going on here, not really careful but quite raw. That rough quality makes it actually quite worthwhile. The last is Ignaz Schick who plays organ pipes, cymbals, objects, violin bows, turntable looper and electronic treatments. This is the most musical of the four. Strange flute like sounds working in the field of overtones make the four pieces very enjoyable. Here too a certain rawness give an additional power to the release, but the best is saved until the last in the lot. (FdW)
Address: http://www.absinthrecords.com

MUS****C (MP3 compilation by Cronica Electronica)
The older I get, the more melancholic I get, the faster time flies by like there is no yesterday, today or tomorrow. Is it tuesday again, am I doing yet another Vital Weekly. It seems so. So in my perception of things Cronica Electronica have been around for ages, but they celebrate their fifth birthday with an online present. No less than 192 minutes of music (which would have been three CDs in real life, but I assume they don't want to end up financially broke from such an affair) and I was wondering when ever they released some of these people. The older I get, the more I tend to forget. Surely I remember Janek Schaeffer, Ran Slavin, o.blaat or Marc Behrens but erm, Heitor Alvelos, James Eck Rippie, Cem Güney? I don't seem to remember. If you would be looking for a good compendium of todays electronica boys (and some girls - counting one here only), a bit like Mille Plateaux used to do with their compilations 'Clicks & Cuts' and 'Modulation & Tranformation', but then updated to today's standard, this is a very good place to go. None of the artists seem to have send it throw away pieces, 'since it's only an online compilation' and many take advantage of the medium to sen in long pieces. Güney has the longest with fourteen minutes, but also @C, Freiband (who sound like a microsound remix of Electric Light Orchestra), Pedro Tudela and Vitor Joaquim go well over ten minutes, while others go easily for six. Autodigest's merely one minute is pale. As said this is a pretty good compilation with music from the low end fields to the loud noise of Alvelos, from chirpy techno like music and the full on abstract. A great party bash this one. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cronicaelectronica.org

YOSHIMI! - MIXED (MP3)
Some time ago we reviewed Yoshimi!'s release for Esc. Rec and now he already returns with a work that is not entirely his, but then again it is. It has four pieces of remixes and covers of his work. Toxic Chicken does a nice quirky remix of 'Hot Stuff'. Crash Roswell bleeps away in a cover, played on what sounds like gameboys and a vocoder. Evince takes a somewhat more serious approach, but his remix didn't entirely convince me. The EP closes with Sebastian Cain feat Yoshimi & The Cartel with what could be a new piece, and breaks entirely with the other three tracks: a slow piece, mumbling vocals but in fact it has quite a nice tension to it. Quite a nice remix work altogether and a nice introduction to this talented young man. (FdW)
Address: http://www.yoshiminotaband.com

SIEGMAR FRICKE & ROYCE ICON - FALSE NEGATIVES (MP3 by Agonal Period)
One of the things you can never 'proof', if there is such a thing to be proven, is the influence people have on other people. But here's a little theory I thought of. Siegmar Fricke helps out Maurizio Bianchi these days and is thus influenced by Bianchi, either from his old work or his more recent. Of course Fricke takes in whatever he has already done in the past (of which I only seem to remember some rhythm music and a collaboration with Giancarlo Toniutti). Effect loaded music that is. Here he teams up with a young artist called Royce Icon, in order to make music 'sure to make you cum in your panties', the label promises us. I very seldom have wet dreams from music, and certainly not this one, although the thirty or so minutes that this harsher form of ambient hovered my space, was quite nice. Loaded with whole stacks of sound effects to which extend the feedback is totally altered, alienated and makes a pleasant - well, almost pleasant - room filling vibration. Not far away from some of the recent Bianchi music, actually... (FdW)
Address: http://www.taediumvitae.com/agonalperiod/