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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 659
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week 1
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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

before submitting material please read this carefully: http://www.vitalweekly.net/fga.html Submitting material means you read this and approve of this.

* noted are in this week's podcast

 

KTL - IV (CD by Editions Mego) *
ANTHONY PATERAS & ROBIN FOX - END OF DAZE (CD by Editions Mego) *
SUM OF R (CD by UTech Records) *
ERIK FRIEDLANDER - BLOCK ICE & PROPANE (CD by Skipstone)
ANTOINE BERTHIAUME & ELLIOTT SHARP - BASE (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
FRED FRITH & DANIELLE PALARDY ROGER - PAS DE DEUX (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
JOËLLE LÉANDRE & QUENTIN SIRJACQ - OUT OF NOWHERE (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
MICHEL F.CÔTÉ & ISAIAH CECCARELLI - VULGARITÉS (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
JAN-M. IVERSEN - ARTICULATING IDEAS (CD by Tib Prod) *
JAN-M. IVERSEN - MODUL 2 (MP3 by Tib Prod)
SLOBODAN KAJKUT - THE COMPROMISE IS NOT POSSIBLE (2LP by Wire Globe)
PHILIPPE EMMANUEL GUEBLE - FIRE & REMEMBRANCE (CDR by Mirage) *
CORY ALLEN - GESEMI TROPISMS (CDR by Trans>parent Radiation) *
WEREWOLF JERUSALEM & WASP HONEYMOON - PROXIMAS VICTIMAS (CDR by Ronf Records) *
ORIGAMI BOE - NOISE DIARY (3"CDR by Ronf Records) *
PUIN + HOOP - APPROVED BY THE CURIOUS DENTIST ASSOCIATION (3"CDR by Tbfagnk Records) *
AXXONN - SHOULD YOU HEAR HELL (MP3) *

 

 

KTL - IV (CD by Editions Mego)
ANTHONY PATERAS & ROBIN FOX - END OF DAZE (CD by Editions Mego)
SUM OF R (CD by UTech Records)
All of KTL's previous work was commissioned for theatre and film, but this new one is not. KTL stands for Kindertotenlieder and is the ongoing collaboration between Sunn 0)))'s Stephen O'Malley on guitar and Peter Rehberg on computer and synthesizer. On two tracks they receive help from Atsuo on drums (on 'Paratrooper') and gong (on 'Natural Trouble'). KTL is one of those supergroups, the seventies term for well-known people collaborating, but in the case of KTL its probably much more serious. 'IV' was recorded and produced by Jim O'Rourke in Tokyo and once again its one hell of a beast. Wall of sound was never better defined, but having said that, KTL isn't just about noise. Perhaps, come to think of it, not about noise at all. Surely its loud, but unlike so many other noise music this is also about detail. This isn't some muddy sound thrown on tape which is loud but without depth, this is has sonic richness. Lengthy pieces of endless walls of guitar sounds, while Rehberg's computer also sounds like a rocking machine. Not carefully processed sounds, but loud sounds, clicks, drones, hiss and machines humming on end. Very powerful stuff this KTL, even when they pull back in volume, such as in 'Eternal Winter' or the opening of 'Benbbet' or the sheer silence of 'Natural Trouble'. When its all open its mayhem such as in the landmark piece 'Paratrooper'. A refined example for all aspiring noise makers who would want to try their hands at making good noise music. Must be frustrating, because its unlikely it will be as good as this.
Although something entirely different, something similar can be said of the third Editions Mego release by Anthony Pateras and Robin Fox, who this time operate as a laptop duo, and leave their usual instruments at home. Perhaps some of the sound material they play around here was made during the previous concerts, and they add some ARP 2500 synthesizers sounds which they recorded at the studio of Worm in Rotterdam. Here too it would be too easy to say we are dealing with noise, and yes, this is 'loud' music, but it is, like KTL, by no means one of those pointless exercises in feedback. There are moments of quietness, such as in 'Hyperpole', the following piece after the sheer noise attack of 'Lung Butter Blues' - its the same side of the noise coin. Whereas most noise is generated through improvisation, but more in the sense of not knowing what to do, these skilled improvisers know how to improvise, and this time it is with a set of acoustic and electronic sounds playing from their computers along with synthesizers sounds. The hasty changing sounds doesn't sound like at all like KTL, yet its surely noise too. More improvised, more based in serious avant-garde music, yet loud and forceful, this is another damn fine disc.
Normally I wouldn't go on with a CD that has nothing to do with these two, but there is a connection to be made. Behind Sum Of R we find Reto Mäder (bass guitar, strings, electronics, piano, effects), Christoph Hess (manipulated turntables, also known as Stotter Int.) and Roger Ziegler (harmonium, effects). If you look at that, then what does Mego have to do with it? Sum Of R play also forceful music, noise even, but also have their quiet moments. More KTL than Fox/Pateras, and that's where my little problem comes in with this disc. Whereas KTL seems to have so much clarity and detail, the noise drones put on by Sum Of R are a bit more muddy, a bit more clouded and less refined. They start out their pieces through relatively 'easy' drones, but once everything has come in place, things seem to explode, effects are in full use, and then the refined details are gone. Surely this is not a bad release at all, but right after the two Editions Mego (and why does noise come in this amount in the darkest days of the year? It made me wonder), this is the weaker brother. What I did like was the addition of the manipulated turntable, as this added a strange, rhythmic component to the music. Throughout I thought this was a fine work too, nothing wrong with it, well, except that it could have been better produced. Next time in Japan, gentlemen. (FdW)
Address: http://www.editionsmego.com
Address: http://www.utechrecords.com

ERIK FRIEDLANDER - BLOCK ICE & PROPANE (CD by Skipstone)
The first solo album 'Maldoror' by american cellist Erik Friedlander offered improvisations inspired on 19th century french surrealist poetry. The title of his new solo album 'Block Ice and Propane', indicates a totally different poetry. It is an album of thirteen composed pieces that are deeply drenched in the history of american roots music. The opening piece 'King Rig' is close to african music. Other pieces are inspired on folk and blues traditions. Many of the tracks are played in a pizzicato style, making the cello sound like a guitar. Friedlander comes from the New York downtown scene, and played with John Zorn, Laurie Anderson and many others. He opens the included liner notes as follows: "Every summer my parents would pack us up for months of camping. My father is a photographer, and he had the plan these trips around his work, various teaching jobs and photo shoots, all across the U.S." In line with these early memories, he travels through the history of american roots music. I would not say it is a sentimental or regressive journey. It is a very up to date homage to american music that made possible the musical melting pot of New York where Friedlander feels most at home now. The inspired performance make all tracks on this album very worthwhile. Friedlander has a rich sound. His playing is colorful and concentrated. It has an irresistible charm. Some of the pieces are built around very simple, catchy melodies. Other pieces are beautiful because of the nice harmonies. A track like 'Rusting in Honeysuckle' is a fine spherical and abstract excursion. From start to finish it is evident that Friedlander treats the american musical traditions with respect. All in all it is a stunning and varied collection of Americana. A beautifully recorded journey to the essence of american music. (DM)
Address: http://www.erikfriedlander.com>

ANTOINE BERTHIAUME & ELLIOTT SHARP - BASE (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
FRED FRITH & DANIELLE PALARDY ROGER - PAS DE DEUX (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
JOËLLE LÉANDRE & QUENTIN SIRJACQ - OUT OF NOWHERE (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
MICHEL F.CÔTÉ & ISAIAH CECCARELLI - VULGARITÉS (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
Four CDs of improvising duos. Duos that take very different routes. With the exception of the CD by Frith and Roger, this are also examples of meetings between young and older generations. Berthiaume teams up with veteran Elliott Sharp. Quentin Sirjacq works with reputed french improvisor Joëlle Léandre, and Isaiah Ceccarelli works with Michel F.Côté.
'Pas de deux' is a first encounter - at last - between veterans Fred Frith (electric guitar, processing, voice) and Danielle Palardy Roger (drums, percussion, voice). Roger was most of her career involved in all-women line ups like Wondeur Brass, Justine and Les Poules. The recordings come from two duo concerts that took place in 2007 at the Festival des Musiques de Création. But they are not delivered here as played. Through a process of editing and mixing by Roger, Frith and others they compiled a collage of the best moments from these concerts. Frith uses many different techniques here. He integrates melodic and other conventional musical aspects into the improvised context where he earlier concentrated on pure sound and noise. This an album by two improvisors who are still passionate about their art as this album proves.
'Base' is filled with 11 improvisations by guitarists Berthiaume and Sharp. They were recorded in New York. Berthiaume played duets earlier with Derek Bailey and Fred Frith, as well as with another guitarist, Takumi Seino and Mary Clare Brzytwa on flute and electronics. Now he has a date with Elliott Sharp, a central force from the New York avantgarde scene for some 30 years now. Their guitar improvisations consist of thick layers of heavily processed noisy sounds. Although this is a radical investigation into the world of sound and noise, their powerplay failed to impress me. For my taste it all sounded a bit arbitrary.
Let's switch to another duo. In contrast with the lengthy and at times bombastic streams of noise of Berthiaume and Sharp, Ceccarelli and Côté concentrate on small and subtile sounds.
Both Ceccarelli and Côté play drums and percussion, piano, electronics, lap steel, trumpet and drumhead feedback on their inspired collaboration 'Vulgarités'. Michel F.Côté is already around for some time and his discography carries many remarkable CDs like 'Compil Zouave' and '(Juste) Claudette'. Ceccarelli is a young drummer and composer. He plays a lot with other Montréal-based musicians in projects like Steppe Trio, Quartetski does Prokofiev and Quartetski does Satie. With a great sense for detail Côté and Ceccarelli deliver a very spirited improvised music. And without losing themselves in these details they are able to built captivating and surprising structures. Their pointillist style assures you hear something new after each listening. Quentin Sirjacq (piano, gong, prepared piano) I only met once before on a CD with Anthoine Berthiaume and Norman Teale. Joëlle Léandre needs no further introduction. She is a french improvisor on cello, to be heard on dozens and dozens of records. The improvisations on this record where done on one day in january in Paris.
From all four duets these ones may be the most
conventional and accessible ones. A romantic mood prevails here. The use of extended techniques is very limited. This has the advantage that the players can be easily distinguished. The interplay is more transparent. Their improvisations often come close to modern composed chamber music, like in the closing track 'Closing. (DM)
Address: http://www.actuellecd.com/

JAN-M. IVERSEN - ARTICULATING IDEAS (CD by Tib Prod)
JAN-M. IVERSEN - MODUL 2 (MP3 by Tib Prod)
Following the recent transition to CD by Bjerga/Iversen, its now Iversen solo who goes the same way. A great but perhaps daring move in such troubled economic times, but hey this is Norway, so no money worries there, perhaps. Of the ten pieces, two are new, two are extracts of longer works and six were released as MP3 before. Another daring move, I'd say. Music by Iversen is not a rare thing as the man has an output which is best described as 'vast'. Not everything is great in his catalogue, which is hardly a wonder with so much available and I'm sure I'm glad I didn't have to select the pieces for this release. It seems to me that Jan-M. Iversen selected the tracks from his vast body of work with the tag 'ambient and beyond'. Its perhaps Iversen biggest interest when dealing with music, but there have been adventures in the land of noise too. As said however, here he deals with ambient music. Quiet, lengthy tracks of processing field recordings into microtonal tapestries. Delicate material of carefully selected clicks and deep end bass sounds. Perhaps some of the tracks are a bit long - Iversen uses the entire length of the CD - which makes the mind wander off at times, but perhaps that's whole notion behind this.
An excerpt of 'Modul 2' can be found on 'Articulating Ideas' but its available as a MP3 which you have to pay for. That's good, no music can be really for free. This new piece very much continues what has been set out on 'Articulating Ideas' but of course takes a longer course to ride. 'Modul 2' lasts some forty-two minutes and is a drone piece pur sang, with hisses and beeps coming in and staying there for quite some time. Again a bit on the long side for the amount of 'composition' that has been put into this, but again that might be Iversen's notion about composing pieces like this. (FdW)
Address: http://www.tibprod.com
Address: http://www.planetorigo.com

SLOBODAN KAJKUT - THE COMPROMISE IS NOT POSSIBLE (2LP by Wire Globe)
For this I guess a lot depends on the word 'compromise' in the title. To what is a comprise not possible? To whom? To which? One Slobodan Kajkut is the creator of this, the final mix is by him, perhaps even the composition, but the actual music is played by Christine Scherzer (voice), Robert Lepenik (guitar), Jannes Kerschbaumer (organ) and Wolfgang Eichinger (drums), who all perform 'The Compromise Is Not Possible' on March 7th at the St. Andrä Church in Graz, Austria. So far the details, all culled from the cover, as there was no information otherwise available, not even even a website or contact section. So to what does it not compromise? The music seems to me fairly conventional. Loud, pounding drums, heavy guitars and a bit of theatrical, opera like voice and on one of the four sides much room for silence and church organ. It sounded like Glenn Branca, KTL (their 'Paratrooper' piece reviewed elsewhere came to mind right away), Gore (without the tempo changes). Music that sounds like excorcism, like the soundtrack to an Viennese Aktionist Spiel, but it seems all safe on the side of musical compromises. The rules aren't broken, the compromise is right there. But hey, what do I know, maybe I am missing something here, like background information that explains more about the compromises being broken and that they are to be found in an entirely different area. Nice record for slow hardcore rock fans. (FdW)
Address: none given

PHILIPPE EMMANUEL GUEBLE - FIRE & REMEMBRANCE (CDR by Mirage)
Apparently Philippe Emmanuel Gueble was trained by Robert Fripp, Pandit Pran Nath, David Hykes and Alain Kremski and they left an ever lasting influence on him. Gueble plays keyboards, electronics, digital percussion, radio, electric and acoustic guitars, plus he receives help from Serge Parys on guitars and Sid Of Lia Fail (being Phil Bruss and Audrey Chanu) on e-bow and voice. I have no idea what else Gueble released, and I suspect I am stuck here with a release from 2007, which by my account is more than six months ago, but in these somewhat quiet days between christmas and new year, not much mail arrives, so I let this pass. Maybe its also because its ambient music that fits the tone of the day: mood music for moody times - but then this is not the time of the year I like very music. Its best to zip some wine, stare outside, read a book, and play some highly atmospheric music. Gueble makes us the right offer for this. His twelve pieces of ambient music is partly light and joy and partly dark and down. Although much of the album relies on synthesizers and electronics, the nice thing about it is the addition of the other instruments, such as the heavenly voices or the tinkling piano. That makes the full hour of this music to be quite varied, be it that it offers nothing much new under the ambient sun. Its just a very nice album of atmospheric music, along the lines of Eno and Fripp and probably much of what came after that. (FdW)
Address: http://www.pegueble.com

CORY ALLEN - GESEMI TROPISMS (CDR by Trans>parent Radiation)
Back in Vital Weekly 636 I was pleasantly surprised by 'The Fourth Way', a solo release by Sirsit member Cory Allen. He combines in a rather unusual way analogue equipment like a Fender Rhodes piano, Moog voyager, violin, glockenspiel and ring modulator with digital processing from the computer. That is perhaps not something new, but the outcome, loud warm analogue drones and crispy digitalism, was certainly a pleasure to hear. 'Gesemi Tropisms' however is not that loud, not as loud as 'The Fourth Way', even when he moves on similar lines. Still with great ear for sonic details, he explores his sound in a more calm mood. There is drones from the moog, the processed fender rhodes piano and high pitched sounds in the opening piece 'Whirling White Light' but the short 'Excited Molecules' that follows it is an exercise in violin scraping and noise and is together with 'A Screaming Comes Across The Sky' the noisy counterpoints of this album. Throughout however Allen seems to be lesser interested in producing the noise thing and goes for something that is present in volume (not a microsound release here), but also pleasant to hear. It defies ambient, drone and noise, but it seems to be throwing all of these things together and create electronic music that is rather fresh and sparkling. Unlike 'The Fourth Way' this is more easy listening and less cruel beauty, but this is rather a more natural beauty. Its great to experience such a development in a matter of only the next release. I have no idea wether Allen plans things as such but both this one and the previous made a great impression on me. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bremsstrahlung-recordings.org

WEREWOLF JERUSALEM & WASP HONEYMOON - PROXIMAS VICTIMAS (CDR by Ronf Records)
ORIGAMI BOE - NOISE DIARY (3"CDR by Ronf Records)
Noise is of course the territory of Jliat these days, but perhaps this week it seems to be mine too. Which I think is fine, in these quiet days with not much mail, and a Merzbow collection heard twice already. Plus perhaps it is funny to hear band names like Werewolf Jerusalem and Wasp Honeymoon, who collaborate together for a good thirty minutes. If I have to play someone a release of 'noise' music I could easily, no, best, pick out this release as an example of what 'noise' is, as it appears here in its most purest form. There is a quick fade in at the beginning and a quick fade out at the end, and in between there is one line of distorted noise, without too much interference, interruption or change. I am sure that whoever I would be playing this too, would be surprised to learn that the material was assembled from January 2008 until August 2008 and I could hear the witty remark: what exactly did they assemble? How much work could it have been for something that sounds like it was assembled in the amount of time this release lasts. But nevertheless it was quite nice.
And actually even nicer was the 'Noise Diary' by Origami Boe, also known as Tore H. Boe, whom we know as a delicate master of electro-acoustic music, but has here two four minute live pieces. Maybe he'd hoped for a 7" release somewhere? That wouldn't have been a bad idea. This noise is different. Here we hear the mal treatment of acoustic objects, drowned in bath of feedback, created by an explosion of sound effects and the strong amplification - much more live music than the headphone noise of the previous release. We hear the acoustic (indeed, its them) laptops of Boe every now and then popping up, but they sit nicely captured in the electric environment. And opposed to many other noise makers, Boe knows when its time to end a tune. An important distinction. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ronfrecords.com

PUIN + HOOP - APPROVED BY THE CURIOUS DENTIST ASSOCIATION (3"CDR by Tbfagnk Records)
On christmas eve I received this nine minute something release by Puin + Hoop, the Dutch duo, which don't exactly have the word information as their guiding principle. The cover was stamped with a date: 18 Dec 2008, so perhaps this work was conceived and released six days ago? Now that's one of those things I like about CDRs and cassettes: the sheer quickness with which things can be released. Notions, new ideas, a concert - all good intentions to do this. If you have been reading Vital Weekly and you know the work of Machinefabriek and his speed of light you know what I am talking about. One piece here, nine minutes and a bit, and it deals with a vast amount of layered guitar sounds, vaguely intercepted voices from the radio, some pedals underneath the feet, mild distortion and feedback, which makes throughout a nice piece. After some work which I thought was lesser than their first excellent release, this is a mighty nice return to quality. A pity that its so short. Before you know it, its over again. Nice. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/puingeefthoop

AXXONN - SHOULD YOU HEAR HELL (MP3)
This release by AxxOnn looks a bit like a low noise affair release, but actually its not - or at least not throughout. The only name we recognize from this trio is Tom Hall, of whom we reviewed work before. He plays here 'keyboards, noise, various electronics), while Ian Rogers, of No Anchor, plays 'synth, keys, noise' and one Dan Lewis plays 'nothing'. The music starts out with low humming keyboard sounds, which get thicker, fatter, mightier over the course of the next ten minutes when it explodes and might possibly be characterized as noise. It then starts taking things down again into a more pleasant surroundings of vaguely rhythmic sounds and more drones. The middle part is something I could have lived without, I must say, as it breaks the gentle opening and closing of the piece and it has too much distortion going on. Otherwise I thought this was a great piece, a most promising start. (FdW)
Address: http://www.axxonnband.com