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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 628
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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!
complete tracklist here: http://www.vitalweekly.net/podcast.html

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* noted are in this week's podcast

 

C (CD compilation by Zelphabet)
ROBERT ASHLEY - CONCRETE (2CD by Lovely Music)
THOMAS BUCKNER - NEW MUSIC FOR BARITONE & CHAMBER ENSEMBLE (CD by Mutable Music)
KOLKHÖZE PRINTANIUM - KOLKHÖZNITSA (CD by D'Autres Cordes)
NURSE WITH WOUND - MAN WITH THE WOMAN FACE (CD by ICR Distribution) *
GOTHENBURG 08 (CD by Fang Bomb)
TIM BRADY - TOPOLOGY: SCAT (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
JOE GRIMM - BRAIN CLOUD (CD by Spekk) *
MATHIEU RUHLMANN & CELER - MESOSCAPHE (CD by Spekk)
METHAHDRONE - STERILITY (CD by Foreshadow) *
THISQUIETARMY - UNCONQUERED (CD by Foreshadow)
SKITLIV - AMFETAMIN (CD by Cold Spring)
PUNCH INC. - FIGHTCLUB (CD by ANT-ZEN)
HATEWAVE - FREE RINGTONES (CD by Apop Records)
EB.ER/LANZ/PHILLIPS - SCHIMPFLUCH-COMMUNE INT. (CD by Nihilist) *
ANDY ORTMANN - OCTAGONIST (DVD by Nihilst)
BONNE PARTE (CD by Wham Wham Records)
MICHEAL J. SCHUMACHER - FIVE SOUND INSTALLATIONS (DVD by Experimental Intermedia)
COR FUHLER/MATS GUSTAFSSON (LP by Narrominded) *
JON MUELLER - STRUNG (LP by Table Of The Elements)
MIKA VAINIO / HASWELL & HECKER - POPOL VUH REMIXES (12" by Editions Mego) *
JAMIE DROUIN - SONAMBULO (CDR by Rope Swing Cities) *
THELMO CRISTOVAM - PAISAGENS SONORAS EM OSTRO HYIJA (CDR by Triple Bath)
ANAKRID - LITTLE SIR ECHO (CDR by Insult Recordings) *
ASTRONAUT - EARLY PERIL (CDR by Insult Recordings)
MUURA - BLACK BIRD SINGS (CDR by Black Petal) *
CITY PEOPLE'S FARMERS MUJSIC - AFTERNOON TEA (3"CDR by Black Petal)
ANIMAL MACHINE HOMO HOMINI LUPUS CDr by KIF Recoding)
SWAMPS UP NOSTRILS DIGITANA (CDr by KIF Recoding)
THE NOISER (AKA JULIEN OTTAVI) - LA TRILOGIE DES FANTÔMES (CDr by Free Software Series)
PATO - CLIP_CLAP_CRISIS (CDr by Free Software Series)
JOSETXO GRIETA - SORISAS VENDO, DONDE NOS LLEVAN! (CDr by Taumaturgia)
IRON BITCHFACE- KITTEN APOCALYPSE (CDr by SFRecords) *
PM (3"CDR by Herbal Records) *
DEEP & JUNE PAIK - I MOG DEEP (3"CDR by Verato Project)
FREIBAND - REFLECTION (3" CDR by Moll) *

 

 

C (CD compilation by Zelphabet)
Hot on the heels of 'A' and 'B', follows 'C', the third volume in the Zelphabet series. The 'C' of Charlemagne Palestine, Chop Shop, Contagious Orgasm and C Spencer Yeh. The old meet the new, but there is some great consistency here. From Palestine we get a lovely piece of oscillating sounds, drone music that is, recorded in 1974 and from Spencer Yeh a more noise based piece called 'Three Synthesizers', recorded in March 2008. Hectic, nervous sounds. A total opposite to the Palestine piece, which opens this CD and marks the perfect ending for this journey along generations. In set up both pieces are similar, yet with a very different outcome. Chop Shop recently surprised me with his 'Oxide' CD release, and here he comes with 'Retrofit' which is the sound of decay in action (or should that be 'action in decay'). Noisy blasts of eroded tapes, loops, hum are put together in a great collage of highly rusty sounds. Contagious Orgasm is a bit of an odd ball in this collection (the other three would have made the perfect drone based CD, with three different perspectives on the matter) with a nice collage of found sound - spoken word, eating chips and electronics. As such, as said, the odd ball here, but it provides a counterpoint too. Great volume in this encyclopedia. (FdW)
Address: http://www.zelphabet.com

ROBERT ASHLEY - CONCRETE (2CD by Lovely Music)
Robert Ashley is a New York composer. He started his careers many decades ago, during the fluxus period. During the 60s he was one of the circle of composers who organized the ONCE festival. Language has always been one of the central aspects in his composing, to be more specific, spoken language. Works by Ashley are extensive, in the sense that they last long, are of epic measure. Perfect Lives, an opera which he composed in the early 80s and which was released as a whole in 1991 lasted 3 discs long. A lot of attention is given to the libretto of the opera. "Now Eleanor's idea", a tetralogic opera, was released on 4 separate discs. Here, on Concrete, the monumental character is also present. One part of Concrete (2 discs) consists of musings, a monologue interieure of an old man who lives in a big city (hence the title). The other part are "dialogues interieure".
Music-wise there is not very much new going on. Being very critical I might say that the singing, the melodic developments, the sound accompaniment has not evolved since his works of the 80s. Indeed, even a few of the performers present on this disc were in the cast of Atalanta and Perfect Lives and Now Eleanor's Idea. Only the subject matter has changed. Of course, the libretto is perfectly written and indeed make us believe that an old man with many spare hours living in a big city might have these thoughts. But I don't know whether I'm already interested in them. I'm sorry to have to say that, in comparison to a lot of earlier material, this is rather disappointing. (IS)
Address: http://www.lovely.com

THOMAS BUCKNER - NEW MUSIC FOR BARITONE & CHAMBER ENSEMBLE (CD by Mutable Music)
With two different ensembles Buckner performs three works. With the S.E.M. Ensemble of Petr Kotik, Buckner interprets 'Luminescence' written by Annea Lockwood and 'Conceptuality/Life' of Petr Kotik. With Continuum Buckner plays 'Canto', a composition by cuban Tania León. All pieces were written for Thomas Buckner, a very reputed singer of avant garde music. 'Luminescence' is a strong narrative piece, based on eight poems by Etel Adnan. It is music with a timeless atmosphere talking about the love for the ocean. 'Canto' is also a songcycle, but a much more jumpy composition built around rhythm. The voice of Buckner is accompanied her by clarinet, cello, percussion and piano. Like in the first composition in 'Conceptually/Life' we hear the flute, trumpet, violins, cello and percussion of the SEM Ensemble. It is one lengthy piece of 27 minutes, composed in 2003. In all three works, Buckner, who has a wide range of vocal expressions and techniques, sings in a way you probably associate with classical music. His baritone voice fits perfectly with these ensembles, and what they offer together is a sort of modern chamber music. It is not music that immediately talks to you. It only talks to the patient ear. (DM)
Address: http://www.mutablemusic.com/

KOLKHÖZE PRINTANIUM - KOLKHÖZNITSA (CD by D'Autres Cordes)
This french band combines the talents of Philippe Gleize (drums), Hugues Mayot (saxophone), Paul Brousseau (keyboards), Jean-Philippe Morel (bass) and Maxime Delpierre (guitar) together, assisted by guests Ucoc Lay, David Linx and Matthieu Metzger. Brousseau, from Poitiers (1976) is the central force in this group of young talented french musicians. The self-educated multi-instrumentalist Brousseau learned a lot from playing with Louis Sclavis, Marc Ducret a.o. And with this album his ready for his own thing. All compositions are by his hand, leaving plenty of room for improvisation. He is an adventurous composer/musician, trying to combine influences you don't find normally together. Fusion jazz is one source, but another is hardcore to name the two most important ones. Intelligently Brousseau creates unusual hybrid structures. They are played with verve by the musicians. Mayot plays in most tracks his sax in a way close to the esthetics of jazz and fusion in a lyric way. This is contrasted especially by the dark hardcore-like playing of Morel on bass. The electric guitar of Delpierre is close to rockmusic most of the time. Brousseau doesn't take much of the solos but he is omnipresent in most tracks as he is constantly adding strange soundsamples, etc., making the pieces very detailed and multicolored. In a ballad like 'Fsy Tokyo' he creates strange soundscapes and textures as a background for the solo by the saxophone. A lot is happening on this CD. Each track has new things to offer. Strange eclectic mixtures that work. In all complexity the music remains sensual and vivid. The playing is very dynamic and enthusiastic. The overall sound is rough and edgy. All in all this is a very fresh treat. This band is definitely in for something new, and they have a good sense for humor. In the closing track 'Mana' it is as if we hear Yes singing or another other progressive rockgroup from the 70s. Very funny, and not just for this effect. A promising group that is hard to pin up down! We will hear more of mister Brousseau. I'm sure about that and can't wait! (DM)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/dautrescordes

NURSE WITH WOUND - MAN WITH THE WOMAN FACE (CD by ICR Distribution)
When your label has released your record and go bankrupt right after that, it's bad, but you have the opportunity to re-issue it later on and adds a bonus. That's what the Nurses do. When they released 'Man With The Woman Face' their label World Serpent went under shortly after that. Now Colin Potter's ICR does a re-issue and like with so many of the ICR releases we are treated with a bonus CD. I love Nurse With Wound, I think Steve Stapleton is a true genius, but having said that I have some trouble keeping with his recorded output. It's ominous, and at times expensive. So pointing you in directions as to what this 2002 album is - Nurse drones, Nurse krautrock - with specific titles is not an easy task. There is a bit of everything in here, I'd say. I recognized the 'Spiral Insana' influence in the opening 'Beware The African Mosquito' but more concise and including some of the rapid changing in sounds. The second piece 'Ag canadh thuas sa spèir' (which means in Gaelic 'Up in the Air, Singing', is a strong piece which starts out with modern classical avant-garde electronics, but is intercepted with collated sounds and krautrock interceptions. The longest piece is 'White Light from the Stars in Your Mind (A Paramechanical Development)' which for me was harder to place in the Nurse With Wound catalogue, but that's because I haven't kept up with Stapleton's work with Tibet. The title is repeated admitst a mass of sounds, both very dry ones and ones with heavy reverb. It's a nice one, but not the classic Nurse piece, unlike the other two. On the bonus CD there are alternative 'versions' of the first and the third track, plus an unreleased outtake. Even in it's alternative form, the track is beyond saving: I still don't dig it. But the other two pieces are great. The 'Blue Lacune mix' of 'Beware The African Mosquito' is a more ambient affair with none of the rapid changes but with haunting quality. 'White Light etc' home demo is a bunch of banging and rattling, which is nice for four minutes but they entire twelve. In between is the unreleased 'Camel Be Air', which seems indeed like an outtake: the band tuns up and once there they play a neat, jazzy like tune with sounds swirling in and out the mix. Nice one, if a bit long - but hey, it's an outtake. The bonus CD is nice too, but more for the true die hard fans of Nurse With Wound and provides a look in the kitchen. Fine work throughout. (FdW)
Address: http://www.icrdistribution.com

GOTHENBURG 08 (CD by Fang Bomb)
Years and years ago Dutch company Donemus released two double LP sets with the history of electronic music, one from 1955 to 1965 and from 1965 to 1975. Why they never bothered to make 1975 to 1985 (or beyond) is a riddle that I have no answer (nor the fact why they aren't on CD still). In Sweden they do things better. In 1984 Radium 226.05 released a LP 'Gothenburg 84' which included electronic music by CM von Hauswolff, Freddie Wadling, Zbigniew Karkowski and Jean-Louis Huhta, showing us the vibrancy of the city's electronic scene. These days some of them live elsewhere, but there is still an active scene in Swedish second largest city. Names that we also welcome in Vital Weekly, such as Viktor Sjöberg (last week!), Sewer Election, Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words, Jasper TX, The Skull Defekts and Tsukimono. It's a pretty varied bunch here, ranging from noise to sheer ambient (Porn Sword Tobacco even does new age) and in some cases from people which you don't expect to do so. Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words even use vocals which is a rarity for them (and in this scene in general). Best pieces are the heavy controlled drones of The Skull Defekts and the lighter drones of Jasper TX. Not as 'academic' as the '84 generation but throughout quite an enjoyable compilation, displaying an active scene. (FdW)
Address: http://www.fangbomb.com

TIM BRADY - TOPOLOGY: SCAT (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
'Scat'contains four compositions of the canadian composer and guitarist Tim Brady dating from the years 1998-2000. All pieces are performed by the australian leading new music ensemble Topology or members of this ensemble and recorded in january 2006 in Brisbane. From the start it is clear that this was a fruitful collaboration. The cd opens with the three part suite 'Scat'. The first and the third part of this piece are very dynamic and powerful. It is a true pleasure to hear this rhythm-driven piece performed by these excellent musicians. The chambermusic of Tim Brady has the power and directness of rock music. In effect it sounds very fresh for modern composed music. 'Lighting Field - Darkness/ Illuminations' consists of two parts. The first part is a very dark piece of music where the instruments play against a background of electronic sampled sounds. The second part 'Illumination' is built upon minimalmusic-like patterns played by the piano and violins. It moves steady forward, alternated by parts where the instruments are whirling around and chasing each other. 'Dark Matter' was originally composed for the Relache Ensemble. It is the most introspective piece on this cd. But also in this composition there is often a strong pulse. The cd closes with 'Struck Twice by Lightning' an exhausting battle between viola and tape. Again Brady delivers a cd with very appealing compositions by his hand, and played very convincingly and eagerly by the Topology crew. If Brady is new for you, start here. (DM)
Address: http://www.actuellecd.com

JOE GRIMM - BRAIN CLOUD (CD by Spekk)
MATHIEU RUHLMANN & CELER - MESOSCAPHE (CD by Spekk)
Spekk is still on my favorite labels, and with these two new ones they prove once again their style. Even when there is no information supplied on Joe Grimm, from his personal notes to his CD we still learn something, such as the fact that he participated in Branca's 100-guitar symphonies and that he's a keen admirer of Charlemagne Palestine. On 'Brain Cloud' there are five of his own personal investigation into the world of overtones, not through electronic manipulation but through actual, physical playing of two instruments: three pieces for the piano and two with harpsichord. In the piano pieces, called 'Brain Cloud', there is also the addition of voices, violins and horns, but the piano is the main player. In these pieces the Palestine influence is most clear. With a rapid attack and the sustain pedal down, Grimm creates a dense web of swirling sounds, not quite unlike Palestine, but with some expanded sounds that go beyond Palestine. The two harpsichord pieces are improvisations of fast playing and the high pitched sound which is so recognizable for the harpsichord. The grande finale is reached with 'Brain Cloud III', which is a piece for three piano's played the eighteen hands in total, yet they manage to work the dynamics very well.
Of a different kind, more the Spekk kind perhaps, is the work by Mathieu Ruhlmann which he recorded with Celer, a duo of Danielle Baquet-Long (pianosm words, custom electronics, tape-loops, theremin) and Will Long (pianos, custom electronics, tape-loops, arrangement diagrams and splicing). I never heard of them. Ruhlmann, which we know from his previous releases in the field of microsound, field recording and ambient, gets credit for field recordings, bowed ukelin and cymbal, violin, kettel and contact microphone recordings of the Mesocaphe. The latter is a work by Jacques Piccard, and is a naturally-propelled submarine, also known as the Ben Franklin. It has been in the water for thirty days back in 1969, but it's not as well-known as the moon-landing which happened shortly after that. The music here, in three parts and each with distinctive different parts, is build from both the field recordings of water and the submarine as well as the instruments, which make a great combination. The sub-aquatic thematic approach here recalls the many albums released by Mystery Sea, but I must say this is something that is just a bit better. There is more detail in the music, due to better (more extended) mixing of the diverse sounds, and attention to smaller parts are brought in. Though it's not easy to differentiate between the various sounds used, the boat rumbling, water splashing and the drones produced by the various instruments, there is throughout a gentle flow (pun intended) in this music. Maybe less surprising than the Grimm disc, this stands out well in the Spekk catalogue. (FdW)
Address: http://www.spekk.net

METHAHDRONE - STERILITY (CD by Foreshadow)
THISQUIETARMY - UNCONQUERED (CD by Foreshadow)
On this for me new label, two artist of whom I never heard of (but the label makes it sound if they are famous - and why not). Behind Methadrone is one Craig Pillard, who is bass player in 'one of the best doom metal bands from the USA, Evoken' and before that a member of 'extreme metal band Incantation' (I can smell tattoo's here), but by the end of the day he likes to expand his doom music into the world of drone music. Drenched heavily in reverb, he strums his guitar, adds deep bass, builds a drone and invites David Galas of Lycia to sing a song. There are more points of reference to the darkwave (less drums) of Lycia and Nadja (with whom he shared a record). Its lesser an affair of plain dark ambient, as Methadrone is much more musically oriented. Doom however is the tone of the day - hardly lush drone music to enjoy the evening, this rather more unsettling doom ambient - perhaps a bit too unpleasant to be atmospheric, but desolation is all over the place.
From Canada comes Thisquietarmy, the one man band
of Eric Quach. He's a 'guitarist in a renowned shoe-gaze band Destroyalldreamers' (the fact that both projects are spelled as one word might give it away, right?) and here too the six strings are used and as such can be recognized. Other than Pillard however Quach wants things to be a bit more abstract, plus he adds a drum sound here and there. His textures are also 'moody' but more atmospheric, perhaps through the addition of female vocals from Meryem Yildiz in one track. Here too a Nadja reference can be made: Aidan Baker, one half thereof, plays a guest contribution and stylistically Quach refers to Baker's solo work. Long pieces of sounds that are stringed together, through the use of loop pedals, creating nice textures and occasionally heavy explosions, such as in 'Warchitects'. That makes the album more varied than Methadrone, but also less suitable as chill out, come down music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.foreshadow.pl

SKITLIV - AMFETAMIN (CD by Cold Spring)
Metal music and electronic based music are most often like night and day when it comes to musical expression. At the moment though, there seems to be a tendency with bands that combines the violence of heavy guitar riffs with the harshness of mistreated electronic equipment. A few weeks ago I reviewed the album "Cult of ruins" by Canadian band Menace Ruins released on Alien8 Recordings. Present album from Cold Spring Records has a similar same approach to expression blending metal and electronics but with a quite different result. The brain behind the project Skitliv calls himself Maniac, he has a background in one of Norways most successful black metal-bands Mayhem. On this debut-album of Skitliv, titled "Amfetamin", Maniac integrates evil black metal-vocals in doom metal-sounds spheres based on ultra-heavy and slow guitar-riffs with guest appearances of Attila from one of the most successful drones-based doom metal bands at the moment, SUNN O))), and intros by Current 93's David Tibet. Abusive storms of harsh noise add a quite interesting supplement to the spheres of metallic steel. A quite interesting album that shows that the mixture of metal and electronic expression can end up with a very interesting result. Thus recommended for listeners of both electronic and metal music. (NM)
Address: http://www.coldspring.co.uk/

PUNCH INC. - FIGHTCLUB (CD by ANT-ZEN)
Punch Inc might be a new name to some of us, but the brains behind have been feeding the listeners of harsh electronics with earlier releases on German label Ant-Zen Recordings. Andreas Glöckner is known for his project Moctan with the last album titled "Suspect" released in 2006. The other half of Punch Inc. is Andreas Brinkert, who under the name Bipol impressed with his "Ritual"-album released a year ago. With two artists that have their musical background in the Industrial sound world, it should make sense that this joint venture is another exploration into the harsh world of Industrial sound. Punch Inc. is like the name of the project reveals a slap in your face. Abrasive Power Noise-sound spheres circulate in territories of deep rumbling bass-lines assisted by atmospheric soundscapes and hordes of vocal samples. The rhythm textures are astonishing on the album sometimes reminiscent of early Imminent Starvation. Punch Inc. is the result of two Industrial brains collaboration and the result is more than successful. Highly recommended! (NM)
Address: http://www.ant-zen.com/

HATEWAVE - FREE RINGTONES (CD by Apop Records)
Some music is meant to be extreme. Present album from Chicago-based project Hatewave is such an album. Being a long time follower of boundary pushing cultures such as horror movies, extreme metal and harsh noise I consider myself being a quite open-minded consumer. Though this album is very provocative when it comes to cover-art, with a cover design unquestionably ranking as some of the most repulsive I have witnessed alongside artworks from Carcass ("Reek of putrefaction", Earache Records, 1988) and Cadaver ("Hallucinating anxiety", Necrosis Records, 1990). The musical containment of the album must also be regarded as, if not sick, then remarkably bizarre due to its untraditional approach to sonic extremity. The harshness of the album is not an eye-opener in itself since the factor of brutality has been way surpassed by other projects from both the metal and the electronic world of extreme expression. What separates Hatewave from other projects is the mildly spoken untraditional approach to grindcore music. The music consists of the classic growling style of underground grindcore but rather than overwhelming the sound picture with evil storms of grinding guitars, Hatewave adds a hammond organ-like electronic sound machine instead. The result is brutal but more than that, it is utterly strange. Listeners interested in boundary pushing releases might find the Hatewave's album quite interesting (I did!), but listeners of sonic beauty or with a more conventional approach to music should stay right away from this one. The cover-artwork itself will probably separate the sheep from the goats anyway. (NM)
Address: http://www.apoprecords.com/

EB.ER/LANZ/PHILLIPS - SCHIMPFLUCH-COMMUNE INT. (CD by Nihilist)
ANDY ORTMANN - OCTAGONIST (DVD by Nihilst)
At the end of 2006 the Swiss label Schimpfluch existed twenty years and thus also the musical activities of Rudolf Eb.er, erstwhile known as Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock, but these days also known under his own name. Perhaps it also marked twenty years of Sudden Infant, whose early material was also released on Schimpfluch. Here Sudden Infant, also known as Joke Lanz and Eb.er team up with their more recent associate Dave Phillips and produced together 'Schimpfluch-Commune Int.' Lanz and Phillips provide what is called on the cover 'elemental recordings and pre-compositions' and Rudolf Eb.er with the same as well as 'allover mutation and final composition'. The three of them collect acoustic sounds, picked up with a contact microphone as well as open microphones their actions and sounds from the mouth, which are they meticulously edited into music. This is noise music plus. Other than a sheer wall of noise, this is collage music, cut and pasted together, through ultra short editing, swift changes and dry sounds. This is not laptop heavy plug in music, if at all made with computers, as I would rather expect these boys to use a splicing block and a demagnetized razor blade to physically cut magnetic tapes, but a rather 'old fashioned' electro-acoustic record. A great one at that, actually.
Something which is actually also the case with the release by Nihilist label boss Andy Ortmann. Before better known as Panicsville, but now moving into the realms of serious music (this new release got some sponsoring from arts councils) under his own name. The octa-thing deals with the number eight, and the three pieces here on this DVD (no images) can be played on a 7.1 installation, if you have such a thing. I only have a 2.0 installation, called 'stereo', but it sounds great still. Ortmann lists (inconveniently on the DVD itself) a list of instruments - mainly old analogue synthesizers and where he did his field recordings. Just as on the Schimpfluch disc, I'd say this is the small alley where noise is really interesting. Not because it's super loud, although there are points when things are pretty loud, but because of the fine balance between electronic, noisy sounds and the crackling of highly amplified field recordings which are all put together into an interesting collage of sound. Not like Schimpfluch of short and shorter sounds, but through longer pieces which work quite well. Great stuff, both of these releases and if noise is like this, I'd sign up again. (FdW)
Address: http://www.nihilistrecords.net

BONNE PARTE (CD by Wham Wham Records)
Last week we had Pale Man Made, this week it's Bonne Parte, a band from that lovely part Friesland and they exist since 2006. This is not at all music that fits Vital Weekly very well, but I dig it more than Pale Man Made. This band plays ultra short but loud rock songs ('think Beefheart, Shellac, Sonic Youth, Millionaire, Adept', to which I like to add Lul, older but from the same part of the country). I like this sort of loud music, perhaps even better when one could see it in concert, for what it is: loud rock music, but it's nothing for these pages. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/whamwhamrecords

MICHEAL J. SCHUMACHER - FIVE SOUND INSTALLATIONS (DVD by Experimental Intermedia)
This is not a DVD with musical compositions in any sort of traditional manner. It doesn't 'play' in a conventional way. One has to copy all the information to the harddisc (watch your system requirements, and there is both Mac and Windows available) and then you will have five pieces of music that are made in real time. Every time you play one of the five it will sound different. It's the work of Micheal J. Schumacher who has explored before sound installations and his releases were often 'just' the musical component of it, not the spatial side. But now you can set it up, stereo or surround sound (unavailable in the HQ here). Still not quite interactive: one can't load sounds yourself to the pieces, an Schumacher has set the parameters of the pieces, but there is, obviously, more freedom than a regular. This is music that plays until you stop it or if your computer shuts down. Definitely the first release ever in Vital Weekly that you can't download on a blog! I played every installation for about fifteen minutes to get the drift of it. My favorite was 'Room Piece Twenty-four': it had continuos gliding sounds which filled my space with elegance - certainly work to have playing for some time. The other four pieces more cut and paste pieces that arrive a bit louder than the first one, thus making a bigger 'presence' in your space. They were fine too, but I choose to play them at a somewhat lower volume but there is certainly sense in having these pieces play for a long time and see what it creates for you (unfortunately time is not something the average reviewer has too much at hand). Next step would be something to incorporate ones own sounds I guess. (FdW)
Address: http://www.xirecords.org

COR FUHLER/MATS GUSTAFSSON (LP by Narrominded)
It's been a while since Narrominded released the previous split LP (Hydrus/Kettel in Vital Weekly 414 and before that Living Ornaments/Accelera Deck in Vital Weekly) and now they return with two artists that also can be lumped together, just like the two previous editions. Both Cor Fuhler and Mats Gustafsson hail from the world of improvised music. Fuhler builds his own instruments, plays the prepared piano and is part of Mimeo, Otomo's Yoshihide's New Jazz Orchestra and his own Corkestra. For his two pieces here he plays the prepared piano, with magnets, ebow, hand drill and milk shakers. It's hard to believe that this is so, certainly in 'Tengam', the longest of two. It doesn't sound like, say John Cage, with strange blowing and plucking sounds, given a strange, direct in your face sound with lots of hectic movements. Towards the end the sound of what seems a geiger counter drops in and more loud noise. Quite a heavy weight piece, but the shorter 'Repus' brings a great counterpoint. A great room filling drone/tone piece. Gustafsson on the other side of the record has just one piece, 'Sleeping Instructions' for baritone saxophone and live electronics. Its hard to believe that Gustafsson is a member of anything free in music, as this sounds like a strictly composed piece of highly concentrated and condensed drone music, with long sustaining sounds and strange piano like tinkling qualities. A great piece that, as far as I'm concerned, could have lasted much longer than the thirteen something minutes that it does now. Fuhler does what he does best, I think and Gustafsson makes the real surprise here. Great record! (FdW)
Address: http://www.narrominded.com

JON MUELLER - STRUNG (LP by Table Of The Elements)
Already noted before: Table Of The Elements love Jon Mueller, and who doesn't? Here he leaves the drum kit for what it is and plays guitar, as an addition to the labels Guitar Series Vol. 3, an one-sided LP (the other side has an etching, which is a bit hard to see in transparent vinyl) of Mueller playing the guitar as if it was a mechanical beast. Perhaps with rotating blades? A ventilator? Mueller cuts out, in a rhythmical manner, sounds and thus one strum arises, repeated, until the full guitar orchestra falls in, with full blown drones. A very consistent idea that is worked out well, and makes this sound like a great album, coming from a great tradition: from Lou Reed to Glenn Branca to Earth. At the same time it also sounds like a Mueller record, with amplified hums. Perhaps a bit too short, as this seems over before it has properly started, it seems. The built-up takes some time because it keeps shifting back and forth, adding a strange movement to the piece. This is a great record, showing a new side for Mueller I think. (FdW)
Address: http://www.tableoftheelements.com

MIKA VAINIO / HASWELL & HECKER - POPOL VUH REMIXES (12" by Editions Mego)
On transparent red vinyl Mego Records released this 12" with two remixes of Popol Vuh tracks. Mika Vainio reworks the track 'Nachts:Schnee' from the Cobra Verde-soundtrack, originally released in 1987, when Florian Fricke returned to electronics using the synklavier.
The original piece (1:51) is extended here to about 10 minutes. Haswell & Hecker picked out what may be the most famous Popol Vuh piece, namely 'Aguirre', recorded in 1972 for the film of the same name by Werner Herzog. Fricke just put his Moog aside and used an obscure mellotron-like instrument for 'Aguirre'. The first however to remix Popol Vuh, was Florian Fricke himself. For the 1993-album 'Sing, for Song Drives Away the Wolves', Fricke remixed and reworked old Popol Vuh material in order to update their sound. Vainio, Haswell and Hecker have other intentions, as they add new elements to the original. By the way, why they decided to use Popol Vuh-material I couldn't trace. And if they happen to be Popol Vuh-fans I don't know either. Reworks and covers of Popol Vuh songs are rare. To be found mostly by obscure Italian musicians, and not to forget the great interpretations Gary Lucas recorded of two compositions (see: http://www.popolvuh.nl/). Whatever the intentions of Vainio and the others may be, the importance of this release is that it brings Popol Vuh into contact with a younger public. The other way around it may also introduce a few older Popol Vuh-fans with younger alternative musicians.
Vainio let his piece start with a big smash. When silence returns, the ambient sounds of 'Nachts: Schnee' set in. Rudely disturbed by a big and loud swift after a few minutes. This swift returns a few times later on. In between these interruptions he increasingly plays with the ambient sounds. In the second part the ambient sounds are reduced increasingly by adding 'drop-out-like short silences' etc. Haswell and Hecker needed about 8 minutes for their comment on 'Aguirre'. They leave the structure of 'Aguirre' in tact. Halfway they start to pile up wild, chaotic sounds on the mellotron-choir. Although less intense, these sounds remain to the end. Thus far I' m very descriptive. But if you ask me wether I appreciate these remixes, the answer would be diplomatic: these remixes didn't change my skepticism towards remixes, as they often don't add much in my perception. But may be I miss the point. (DM)
Address: http://www.editionsmego.com/

JAMIE DROUIN - SONAMBULO (CDR by Rope Swing Cities)
Work by Jamie Drouin were previously released by Dragon's Eye Recordings, which he recorded with Yann Novak and later with Lance Olsen (although the first time his name was mentioned in Vital Weekly was in issue 385 - more recent reviews are in 577 and 599), this is however the first work we hear from him solo. It deals with sleepwalking. It seems to me that it deals entirely with field recordings, which come to us in both a clean and a processed manner. Bird twitter, rain fall, insects and such like which are transformed into carefully streams of soft sound. Like his previous work this is all firmly rooted in the world of microsound. Deep bass sounds, high pitched crackles: nocturnal music indeed, as this works best when played in a dark(er) room, when light has faded and the stars arrived at the firmament. Quite nice, if somewhat unsurprising (or rather not very new) in the world of microsound. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ropeswingcities.com

THELMO CRISTOVAM - PAISAGENS SONORAS EM OSTRO HYIJA (CDR by Triple Bath)
Work by Thelmo Cristovam has been reviewed before. He's a member of various groups in the field of improvisation and electronics, such as Hronir, Combo Recife De Improviso and Abillas and plays various wind instruments, such as c-melody saxophone, pocket trumpet, valve trombone and flute in combination with phonograph/field recordings and electronics. The works on 'Paisagens Sonoras Em Ostro Hyija' were made from 2003 to 2006 and sees him exploring also the acoustic guitar in 'Ago' and spaces in 'Construcoes Em Barro, Vidro e Plasma' along with his usual line of instruments. The shortest piece is just under eight minutes and the longest is over twenty-three. That is a bit problematic I think. Not everything he has to say needs that much time. Here is a rule for Cristovam's music: the longer the piece is, the less interesting it is. It seems that Cristovam's likes his sounds very much, especially the fee use of sound effects, and that love he wants to share with us. His music could be 'saved' if he would prepared to make some choices and make things a bit more concise, instead of offering a free run of sound material. As it were to get out of the improvisation mood and into composing. Now we hear potentially interesting sounds, but we loose the sight of a composition. There would be a lot to gain I guess. (FdW)
Address: http://www.triplebath.gr

ANAKRID - LITTLE SIR ECHO (CDR by Insult Recordings)
ASTRONAUT - EARLY PERIL (CDR by Insult Recordings)
Panos Alexiadis is the man whom we know as Red Needled Sea for his releases on Tib Prod, Krakilisk and Ambolthue (among others), but he has started his own label Insult Recordings and the first two are, curious enough, not by the man himself. Chris Bickel, the man behind Anakrid, is an active force in all sorts of musical areas, ranging from the experimental to punk. With his Anakrid hat on, he plays drone like music. At least on 'Little Sir Echo'. Three long tracks of dark atmospheric music - if some of his previous music was to be compared with Nurse With Wound's more wild tape splicing techniques, then this is 'Soliloquy For Lilith' pitched down to a size when it comes a black painting. Slow moving sounds in the two parts of the title track and in 'Yamomari' things 'open up' with a percussive piece, which is a bunch of dry tape loops of wood on wood and wood on metal, with some slight sound effects, creating a third world feel. Very nice piece that one, whereas the two previous are nice, but a bit too regular dark ambient.
I never heard of Astronaut, which seems to be a three piece group: Daniel Lopatin, Lee E. Tindall and A.R. Plovnick who are all credited with playing synthesizer. Their music is best described as an explosion of the dark cosmos. Their music is like big dark clouds passing by, moving slowly, but moving. A grey sky, loaded with rain and thunder, but that's only a treat, no real rain falls from this sky. Densely layered cosmic music, that won't appeal, I think, to the fans of the cosmic music of the seventies, but rather finds it way to those who love the darker back alleys of ambient music, with some pins sticking out of the walls, poking in your flesh. Consistent release which is worked out well. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/insultrecordings

MUURA - BLACK BIRD SINGS (CDR by Black Petal)
CITY PEOPLE'S FARMERS MUJSIC - AFTERNOON TEA (3"CDR by Black Petal)
Three regular visitors here to the world of Anthony Guerra's Black Petal label. Matt Earle is a busy man, and as Muura he has had two previous releases on Black Petal. He plays all of the stuff at the same: guitar, drums, analog synthesizer and singing. Which sounds a lot at the same time, but Earle sets his synth in some drone fashion (tape those keys down!) and plays his guitar with his hands and the drums with his feet - or vice versa - whatever is required. His music is a minimalist affair, an endurance test perhaps. For how long can I produce a certain sound, keeping up rhythm and still make interesting small moves to make a 'song'. He does that remarkable well. The pieces have enough tension to be interesting and the only thing that bothers me a bit is that the sound quality is, as always perhaps, a bit too lo-fi. I'd be curious to know how it would sound if it was recorded with some better microphones. Perhaps it sounds better, but perhaps some of this music would loose its magic.
On a smaller size we find City People's Farmers Music, a duo of Mark Sadgrove and Sam Hamilton - I believe both from New Zealand and now both in Tokyo. Together they operate on a variety names, solo, together and with other people and both have their own label. If I may say so, here they operate as singer-songwriters with just guitars and Sam doing the vocals and Mark the backingvocals. I think we should regard this as tongue in cheek - also my remark about singer-songwriters. Although there is not much else to hear than some highly experimental form of guitar playing - this is the true non-musicianship at work - just rubbing a string with a piece of plastic, which slowly may or may not develop into some loose figures playing, or so it may seem, with mumbling vocals - which sound like backing vocals already if you ask me. Very minimalist stuff, very lo-fi, but also highly captivating and quite emotional - which made me think of the whole singer-songwriter tag. Very nice. (FdW)
Address: http://www.blackpetal.com

ANIMAL MACHINE HOMO HOMINI LUPUS CDr by KIF Recoding)
SWAMPS UP NOSTRILS DIGITANA (CDr by KIF Recoding)
Homo homini lupus is a roman proverb - people act like wolves to each other - as in are cruel, for never are humans happier than killing each other apart perhaps from working out new ways to do this. Giving such a title to 4 tracks of essentially harsh noise provokes the comment that here noise once again criticizes what others call civilization - which is also its "music" - its organization of sound, in particular western music, an organization which is responsible for the world we find ourselves in. A worry is that using animals pejoratively misses the point of the extent of man's fall from grace, man invented punishment- not animals - how much this is to be taken seriously? - should we be serious at all- for noise's amateurism and in-competence denies appropriation into an academia which if no longer literally throws humans to wolves - by way of amusement - "justified" as punishment - does so in far more spectacular and devious ways. Modernism's programme of absolute organization - (of everything including sound which it defines as music) generated paranoia - post-modernity's schizophrenia (look at the proliferation of groups and labels in *noise* - often the same people - *same people* multiple personalities).. is the overcoming of modernity. But I explain too much? Digitania has what appears to be 6 tracks - beginning like an experimental work based on sine and other wave forms, beats pulses and silences - interrupted by swathes of noise which are themselves interrupted. Interesting but more acoustically/ethically problematic (modern!) than the ideological deconstruction of AM. (jliat)
Address http://www.freewebs.com/kifrecording/index.htm

THE NOISER (AKA JULIEN OTTAVI) - LA TRILOGIE DES FANTÔMES (CDr by Free Software Series)
PATO - CLIP_CLAP_CRISIS (CDr by Free Software Series)
JOSETXO GRIETA - SORISAS VENDO, DONDE NOS LLEVAN! (CDr by Taumaturgia)
Free Software Series is an organization which releases work made using - you guessed it. sadly goes on to say it releases "experimental" work. This is bad though I've used the term myself - I should not - do we need the so called respectability of "science" to ideologize work? is art to be subject to objective falsification? There is some ethical consideration of just what can be done in the name of experiment. See - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Harlow - you might not - so here- "Harlow was recognized with several distinctions, including - National Medal of Science (1967), and Gold Medal from American Psychological Foundation (1973) chose deliberately outrageous terms for the experimental apparatus he devised, including a forced mating device he called a "rape rack," tormenting surrogate mother devices he called "iron maidens," and in about 1971, an isolation chamber he called the "pit of despair" where baby monkeys were left alone in darkness for up to one year from birth"- So there is a general ethical connotation as to the idea of "research" and "experiment" & the idea of de-humanizing - of gaining "the truth" and through this some kind of academic hierarchy which legitimates not only torture but "CULTURE" and "ART" - which - in the first example - appears is precisely what our Jules is about. "Founder, artistic programmer, audio computer researcher (network and audio research) and sound artist of the experimental music organization APO33. the purpose .. the advancement of sound creation. "etc etc. - Advancing where exactly? Why, & @ what cost? - advancing? by producing drones drenched in reverb and static white noise bursts with pseudo electronic tibetan chanting. Are such pieces verifiable in the Popperean sense?
The only information regarding Pato I could find was on the disk sleeve- 12 tracks recorded in a dirty living room in Berlin - on a broken laptop, would appear to lie in direct conflict to the noiser. & the others. Josetxo Grieta - is I think a group of 3 - Josetxo Anitua, Iñigo Eguillor & Mattin- run the label Taumaturgia, (Mattin's the person responsible for the free software series) -they have played with Eddie Prévost- haven't we all? Been reviewed by Art & Language, The Wire et al. - we continue the schizophrenic paths .. with strong links to Bilbao and London- seem to radiate around various groupings/festivals and publications of the "avant garde's" institutions and state funded art bodies - dire - 10 minutes of a guy talking in Spanish whilst another shouts and screams (about his lama?) followed by an encore of twiddling guitar feedback - I suppose sufficient for some grant or bursary? But still dire. Pato's is the only piece which lives up to its reputation of in-competence and challenges the rest of this academicized bull-shit. (jliat)
Address: http://www.freesoftwareseries.org/
Address: http://www.taumaturgia.com/

IRON BITCHFACE- KITTEN APOCALYPSE (CDr by SFRecords)
"Iron Bitchface is Kyle "Rot" Martin doing voice, keys and programming, and Kris "Fin Du Monde" Misner rocking the guitar." Kind of sits in the tradition of US crazzyness - Spike Jones - Frank Zappa? Loony tunes - noise - and beeps - random sines. well - maybe? And maybe not in the tradition of those - more street theatre a la fluxus? - perhaps - here a very short - inexplicably (7 minutes!) so for a full size CDr - obviously then not a serious commercial venture- ha! - or anything else for that matter? This *outrageous* band of "rock noise", deliberately playing badly, are bewildered at their own success- why I'm not sure - people will pay to see nonsense - bearded ladies and double headed dogs - tiny tim was famous as is the Portsmouth Symphonia, I know guys- there's no point - it's a laugh and been done before- and even before that - perhaps a modern dada gesture based on the medieval fool - or not? But if your promo pics have you holding a crucifix upside down with cans of Carlsberg - at least they could be Special Brew - shocking kids - just shocking! (jliat)
Address: <ironbitchface@yahoo.com>

PM (3"CDR by Herbal Records)
'Oh, we call ourself PM I think' is written on the backside of the envelope in which this came. Also it says on the same backside 'This CDR is done by Lee Kwang Goh and Olf Hochherz in Berlin 2008 at Arthurs place' and two websites. The CDR cover just has the names repeated and no further info. That is, to put it frankly forward, a bit uninformative. I have no idea who Hochhertz is, but Lee Kwang Goh we know from his releases on his own Herbal Records and a player of no-input mixers. His music ranges from the extreme soft to the extreme loud, involving lots of feedback. Of the two pieces on this the first one has lots of hiss and bird like feedback sound. Like a microphone with lots of gain which amplifies the room. In the first piece things work up in a strict linear manner. In the second, much shorter piece, things start out in a rhythmical manner, but grows into an electro-acoustic affair. I think I preferred the second track for its more concise character and broader range of sounds. Next time make it more into a real release, please. (FdW)
Address: http://www.gohleekwang.tk http://www.shwobl.de

DEEP & JUNE PAIK - I MOG DEEP (3"CDR by Verato Project)
In a nice cover comes this 3" CDR recorded by Deep and June Paik. I know Deep as being related to Dhyana Records who releases their music with long intervals, but June Paik is a new name for me, at least if it's not Nam June Paik, but he's dead, so it must be somebody else. These two project played together at the Let There Be Rock concert in february 2007 and Deep member Bernd Spring mixed the material (from april 2007 to january 2008, mind you) which is announced as 'a collection of drones, feedbacks and melodies', which is almost true. Melodies is something I didn't hear very well, but the drones put on by this lot is quite nice. A louder version that what is usually the case in music like this and sounds, through distorted guitars like Sunn O))) or Fears Falls Burning, building in a strict linear fashion. Short but nice. (FdW)
Address: http://www.verato-project.de

FREIBAND - REFLECTION (3" CDR by Moll)
When it comes to microsoundish excursions into the fields of sound and music, then it's the "Freiband" moniker under which Frans de Waard presents us his ideas (and works resulting from them). The latest one being a 3" CDR on his own "My Own Little Label" and coincidentally probably also the last Freiband recording of 2007. The sound sources on this work originate from piano recordings made on boxing day (a day that doesn't really exist in the Netherlands. We don't get the presents, we just have an extra holiday and call it 2nd christmas day. Never anything to do on that day, so what more excuses do you need, to get down to some quality time in music production? I guess De Waard did just that). He didn't keep it to just that boxing day. In the days after, he transformed the original recordings into usable bits, pieces and layers. Culminating into a final mix on new years eve. Without getting to psycho-analytical, this piece (carrying the name "Reflection") might very well be De Waard's "looking back on the year 2007" (if only for the too obvious title). But heck, that's something we all do, isn't it? And nothing wrong with that. In fact, what better way then to do this then by means of your own craft? - (so that it's bound to deliver something nice as well).
"Reflection" is a 16 minute piece that starts off with some pulsating piano tones, while underneath stretched out ones are placed. Slowly fading away, coming back again and eventually dissolving into more stretched out piano soundscapes. A higher pitched grinding marks its presence and invokes a new movement in the piece: we're in the domain of high frequency whirlwinds and storms now. Eventually diving into an ocean of crystal clear tone transformations and finally bringing us back home to the stretched out tones of the first movements (although a bit more airier). The circle is made round again, when we return to piano tones at the end of the piece (but here slightly more distorted).
"Refection" has a comforting contemplative feel to it, which in my opinion is a very suitable soundtrack to the last days of the year. We actually need more recordings like this! Would be such a nice alternative to all that ridiculous Dutch fireworks or spinning Slayer's "Angel of Death" over and over again. (SDT)
Address: http://www.kormplastics.nl/moll.html