number 675
week 17


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


RAPOON - DARK RIVERS (CD by Lens Records) *
A CATASTROPHIC SILENCE (CD by Architectural Association Independent Radio)
APRICOT MY LADY - Newly Refurbished and Tussock Moth (CD by Z6/Esc Rec)
PERFECT VACUUM - A Guide to the Music of the 21th Century (CD by Z6)
AIDAN BAKER - GATHERING BLUE (2LP by Equation Records)
EDWARD KASPEL - DREAM LOGIK PARTS I-III (4 LP set + 2 CD by Beta Lactam-ring)
LARRY GUS - IASMOS (CDR by Okko Records)
VERY FRIENDLY #1 (book + 7" by Komplott)
MIRKO UHLIG - SUPPER (CDR by Afe Records) *
NIGHSHIFT (CDR by 267 Lattajjaa) *




According to the press release it has been five years since we last saw a release by Pimmon, but it seems much longer. Well, perhaps I didn't see that last one, and it was longer for me. Perhaps I thought Pimmon lost interest in doing music and moved on to do something else. However its good to see him back on track, and hear him doing what he does best. Densely layered electronics, guitars, analogue synthesizers and such like. Melted together inside the bit rot of the laptop, creating some highly intense music. There is something happening on every level of the recording, no silence in sight anywhere. Pimmon doesn't play microsound, ambient glitch, but then also no noise or industrial music. Its a highly personal mixture of those two odd ends tied together. Musique concrete? Sure why not, but its never in the acousmatic sense of the word. Pimmon's music is certainly beyond any tradition, except for his own. And that might be the thing that some people wouldn't like about 'Smudge Another Yesterday'. It may seem as if Pimmon still sounds the same, and perhaps he does. That may be one of the disappointing things about this release, and sometimes I would nag about that. But after such a hiatus in recording, in a time of his career when at least I thought I'd like a bit more, this just picks up where he should have continued back then. A fine come back album. (FdW)
Address: http://www.preservation.com.au

RAPOON - DARK RIVERS (CD by Lens Records)
Robin Storey, the man behind Rapoon, hails from the northern parts of the England and if I understand well this new album is a 'sonic exploration and reflection' of the landscape. If that is true, I think more of Rapoon albums deal with that subject. But more precisely 'Dark Rivers' is a thematic album about a particular part in Northumbria which was once the border of the Roman empire as well as an army base in the cold war. Out of a previous job, I heard many Rapoon albums and always enjoyed them and after that I lost count of whatever came out, but still enjoying the consistency of his work. Tribalistic drumming, dark ambient soundscapes, sampled voices and objects and for the first time, at least to my knowledge, field recordings of birds. Its music that hardly seems to change. Rapoon every now and then changes a bit, making a particular release a bit more rhythmic, and another a bit more ambient, or, as in the case of 'Dark Rivers' things seemingly in perfect balance, but none of that makes an essential difference. Change is just one of those things that hardly matters to Rapoon. That's a conscious decision of course and makes a consistent body of work. Not something I'd play on a daily basis (but then, what would?), but every now and then, the dark side of ambient meets industrial in a most gently way is fine enough. (FdW)
Address: http://www.lensrecords.com

Even though it's been out for a little while, nothing has appeared in the Vital pages about the new Legendary Pink Dots CD. This omission is duly corrected here. In the 80s the Dots' music was very important to me. When the line up of Edward, Phil, Barry Gray, Jason Salmon, Graham Whitehead and Patrick Wright exploded in the late 80s, their music changed considerably. And how could it be otherwise? New members were employed and a new course was set. The Dots created The Maria Dimension, which gained them a whole new audience ready to accompany the band on their new journey. They kind of lost me during that journey, even though I think 1994's Nine Lives to Wonder is among the very best of their records. Now we have the new CD Plutonium Blonde on ROIR, which is causing quite a stir among Dots-lovers. Openers Torch Song and Rainbows Too? are based on rhythm loops featuring crunchy guitars, keyboards and saxophones added. They are nice to listen to, but not remarkable or special. A World With No Mirrors is therefore a welcome change with just Ka-Spel's singing, guitars and flute. You either love or hate My First Zonee; an upbeat singalong with deliberately silly lyrics. And then something very interesting happens; somehow the atmosphere of the album completely changes when the utterly beautiful Faded Photograph starts. A slow song with vocoder looping, great lyrics and an interesting end (did I hear echo's of the "hokus pokus" intro from Flowers For The Silverman?). Spoken Word opens with, as one can suspect, spoken word, which is something Ka-Spel's voice is utterly suited for. Add a nice background of small bleeps and bloops ending in an almost early 80's (more echoes) rhythm box song. Mailman with its surprise banjo playing is another lovely small song. At 2.33 this is one of the shorter tracks on the album. Oceans Blue, with its reversed sounds and spoken word, could easily be from one of the early Dots cassettes. The playing is delicate and reflective. Savannah Red is more rhythmic, almost gamelan, and a brief interlude to the closing track Cubic Caesar, which is another beautiful, reflective song with nice guitar playing. This is almost like an album with two faces; out of the first 4 songs, 3 sound somehow out of place. The rest of the album is a fascinating and true return to a form. At 55+ minutes, I personally feel the album could have benefitted from some editing (no prizes for guessed which tracks). This is the best album the Dots have made in years. (FK)
Address: http://www.roir-usa.com

The new French label Swarming starts with a trio that first played together in 2005 in Brisbane and Melbourne, but when Samartzis came to Europe in 2007, the collaboration he started with La Casa and Samartzis, continued. They played concerts in France, Germany and the Czech Republic. Guionnet plays 'extended saxophone', La Casa microphones, prepared recordings, laptop and Philip Samartzis electronics, field recordings and laptop. Almost forty minutes, three pieces, some liner notes in French which didn't mean much to me, and the whole thing being 'nice'. Now, I now that qualification isn't a great one, but I can't help it either. I played it and thought, yes, this is nice. I hear each player doing his specific contribution, and it all sort of fits together in a nice way, but at the same time I couldn't help also thinking: I heard it all before also. By them, by others. That's isn't a big a problem, and then the CD isn't bad at all, but it also doesn't seem to stand out of what is done. By them, by others. Just a fine but regular piece of work. (FdW)
Address: <swarming@free.fr>

Its been a while since we last heard from Pal Asle Pettersen from Stavanger. He's one of the two behind the Zang: label, and organizer of various concerts in Stavanger, as well as being actively involved as a composer. To date his sparse releases are collections of compositions he did, and they are numbered: 'Komposison 23', 'Komposison 15' etc. and this CD collects the pieces made between 2005 and 2008. Pettersen uses field recordings and treated acoustic objects, but its hard to trace them to anything you would recognize as ducks, rain, or the moving of ashtray on the table - to mention a few possible sound sources. Everything is treated to the limit here in a very 'traditional' musique concrete sense, even when Pettersen doesn't use scissors and tape to work on his material, but computer technology. Plug ins or sound tools that programms have (normalising, reversing, pitch shifting), they are all used here and with great care and style and not as a display of possibilities. Just like Erdem Helvacioglu, reviewed elsewhere, the music composed by Pettersen stands firm in this tradition and wouldn't look odd in the catalogue of Empreintes Digitales, but like Helvacioglu its surely something different and more original than many of their peers on the Canadian label. Pettersen's compositions are short and to the point, and throughout this is a fine collection of pieces. (FdW)
Address: http://www.zang.no

To be honest I must admit that the name John Luther Adams is a familiar one, but did I ever hear the music? I must, perhaps with much shame, admit I don't think I did. Perhaps this new release is not the right place to start to know him, but then it perhaps is. Adams found last year a box of old recordings from him from the early to mid seventies, and he started playing around with these old reel-to-reel recordings of some extraordinary music. 'In A Room' for instance uses two cheap speakers and a microphone, and the feedback, shaped up with by means of the computer, sounds like a beautiful flowing piece of sine wave/feedback material, with great sustaining sounds. Think Phill Niblock or Arcane Device. 'At Still Point' uses two Fender Rhodes piano recordings, beautifully layered over eachother, whereas in 'In The Rain', he uses rain falling into various pots but they are reconfigured on the computer, which gives the thing a sort of gamelan feeling. The CD closes with a companion piece of 'In A Room', being the title piece. Four very interesting pieces, and for once not pieces that were scored for a solo instrument or an ensemble, like is common for Cold Blue Music, but great pieces of electronic music. Excellent work.
Something perhaps more along the lines of the usual Cold Blue releases is the new CD by Peter Garland, who is besides a composer, also a world traveler, musicologist, writer and former publisher of Soundings Press. Like with Adams, I don't think I ever heard his music. Like the title says, this CD has 'String Quartets', number one and two to be precise. Here is where my capacity to review music fails. Occasionally I could say something nice about say a rock band, but these two string quartets are beyond my knowledge. I think (!) they sound fairly 'normal', like late nineteenth, early twentieth century string quartets (pauses here to think of a name to compare it with, but fails again). I happen to play this while having breakfast and reading the morning paper, and this is perfect music to wake up with. I think its nice stuff, even when I'm clueless otherwise. (FdW)
Address: http://www.coldbluemusic.com

A CATASTROPHIC SILENCE (CD by Architectural Association Independent Radio)
Now here's a CD which is a bit hard to follow who did what and where. Apparently its a compilation of some kind, but who did what? Three tracks, three principle names are mentioned: Douglas Moffat, Joshua Bonnetta and Steve Bates plus an extensive list of people being thanked. "Acoustics, Electromagnetics, Cinematic Soundtracks: three ways of listening to the city", in this case the city being London. Big cities can be noisy places, we all know (I think), and possible places for huge catastrophes to happen. I think this is more less the approach for this compilation. Street and city sounds are being processed, and each seem to be working towards a 'collapse', or use a hidden tension underneath. The three pieces are pretty nice to hear, although none of them sticks out, nor to what has happened in the field of microsound. There is a certain cinematographic aspect to these pieces which makes them good candidates for experimental horror movies about the subject of big city destruction. The cover is a mailer, so its like a postcard. Nice! (FdW)
Address: http://aair.fm

APRICOT MY LADY - Newly Refurbished and Tussock Moth (CD by Z6/Esc Rec)
PERFECT VACUUM - A Guide to the Music of the 21th Century (CD by Z6)
Three very different productions that have the involvement of Lukas Simonis in common. Faces is a group of dutch composer en electronica performer Huib Emmer. 'Tijdlus' ('Time Loop') is their most recent project, a multimedia thing with the participation of Lukas Simonis (guitar, composition), Joost Van Veen ( live video), Nina Hitz (cello), Kaoru Iwamora (fortepiano, electronic organ) and Huib Emmer (live electronics, composition). These people come from very different backgrounds. Hitz plays old and new music. Before Faces Iwamura played baroque music only. For the first time now she plays a modern instrument: the ARP Odyssey. Joost van Veen is an experimental filmmaker, filmperformer, sounddesigner and producer of celluloid-involved projects. Emmer is a composer and guitarist with a love for electronics. Long time member of Hoketus and Loos. In the 'Tijdlus'-project music and video are of equal importance. Images serve the music, and the other way around. It is a live-cinema work, where music and images are interwoven into each other during a simultaneous process. It is divided in eleven parts, telling a story in a very associative way, using archaic images taking from different times and several musical idioms. Most of the visuals were taken from public domain source www.archive.org and underwent creative treatment by van Veen. The music sounds very poppy at places but turning without hesitation into very abstract experimental soundconstructions, as is the case in the opening chapter. We see old images of an expedition into high mountains, accompanied by a Wall of Voodoo-like piece of music that is followed by a calm soundwork. All the music is composed by Emmer and Simonis who easily jump from baroque to improvisation, filmmusic, etc. There is a surprise on every corner. Five more sound-movie works are included dating from 2003-2009. All together a very consistent and engaging collection of image-soundworks. Perfect Vacuum is a project by Dave Marsh (vocals, recorder) and Lukas Simonis (guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals, tight drumming), assisted by a few others. An album of songs with nice harmonies and melodies, bringing back the 60s. But there is more to say about these songs. They are constructed and orchestrated in a way we know from groups like the Residents, Homosexuals, Only a Mother, etc. But above all we know these procedures from earlier work by Simonis and his mates. Superficially these songs may sound very accessible and even catchy, and that is what they are. But they are very cleverly arranged and coloured with strange sounds in a very fanciful way. A very enjoyable and full-grown album. Apricot My Lady is Anne LaBerge (flute, electronics, voice), Lukas Simonis (guitar, effects, voice), Jonathan Bohman (objects, voice) and Adam Bohman (balalaika, objects, voice). The Bohman brothers are known for there sound experiments. LaBerge is a pioneer flutist and composer. As Apricot My Lady they are together since 2003. For this CD they created 18 small miniatures, mainly instrumental tracks. There are played on recognizable instruments plus many found objects and sounds. But the ideas are not that pronounced as on the album by Perfect Vacuum. It is a collection of musical ideas that deserve more. Many pieces offer only a vague impression of what they in potential are. They sound as loosely built constructions without a clear focus. Happily the music on this album proves itself as a very odd meeting between the punk attitude of Simonis and serious music on the other side. In that respect this experiment is absolutely perfect and demonstrating a very fitting going together of very different musical approaches. But I hoped for a more appealing execution of their ideas. (DM)
Address: <http://www.z6records.nl/

Somewhere in April 2008 Rhodri Davies packed up his harp and electronics and visited Annette Krebs in her Berlin apartment. There she had set up her guitar, lined up some recordings and a mixing board and the two spend a whole day doing recordings, which were then edited by Krebs into what is now released as 'Kravis Rhonn Project'. Both are accomplished and established players in the field of new improvised music. One of the more surprising elements of this work - spanning three tracks in total - is the presence of voices. I am not entirely sure if these voices are to be understood as 'field recordings' or wether they were accidently picked up in the process of recording. They are not easy to understand, but make a distinctive difference in the music. Of course the two play their instruments on the edge of silence, and thus the leaked voices add just that little bit of extra, which makes this release into quite a joyful thing. Careful, intense, this is of course no easy listening music but the fully required concentration span is needed here. But its a work that unveils a lot of silent beauty.
And Another Timbre, clever as there, also released at the same a CDR with a live recording by Davies on his electric harp which he gave with musician and sculptor Max Eastley. The latter plays arc, whatever that may be, but they are surrounded by four sculptures of Eastley, which produce irregular sounds by using phased motors. It goes without saying that this is a delicate work too, but there are some differences. First of all, this is an unedited live recording, which can be heard and secondly there is a certain continuum in the music that makes this easier to digest. That is, the full concentration aspect required with the Krebs/Davies CD is not really necessarily here. This is music that moves around, with strange intervals in the music, creating an atmospheric texture in the music. This is one that you can undergo, sit back and relax and be amazed, rather than sit upright and do nothing else than listen. Two different sides of the harp playing of Davies, twice nice. (FdW)
Address: http://www.anothertimbre.com

Leverton Fox is the trio of Alex Bonney, Tim Giles, and Matt Groom. The music is situated an an out, out of the way crossroads where electronic, improvised, and collage music meet. Lots of off-kilter loops and unidentifiable electronic sounds along with the occasional trumpet, drums, or guitar. the pieces jump around a lot, but each one has its own identity. this makes Country Dances compelling throughout, rather than a pile of random textures. The trio also play very well together as the pieces never get bogged down or lose steam. Leverton Fox is hard to put in a box, and that is a very good thing. (SF)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/levertonfox

It was only in Vital Weekly 668 when I reviewed 'Redux' a CD by Igor Ogogo, which didn't please me at all, to say the least. The half baked attempt at improvised music didn't work. Full stop. Here he returns, again with some tracks with Rodney Oakey on midi trumpet and Andrei Solovyov on trumpet and flute. I must admit that this album is only marginally better. It moved away from the strict improvised corner, and pieces are held together with the use of drum machine (which is rather dull recorded), and Igor Grigoriev plays guitar on top and said wind instruments come in every now and then. Maybe this is his attempt at a pop record, and some of the results are, as said, better, but throughout this again was a CD that didn't do anything for me. (FdW)
Address: http://iiirecords.com

AIDAN BAKER - GATHERING BLUE (2LP by Equation Records)
Somehow, the theme for this review appears to be "blue". It's not just because of the title. For one, this Aidan Baker album arrived the same day I picked up a second hand copy of Oren Ambachi's In The Pendulum's Embrace 2LP, which was pressed on gorgeous blue vinyl and, whilst I opened the door for the mailman, Dennis Wilson's Pacific Ocean Blue LP (also pressed on blue vinyl) was playing. Much to my happiness, the Baker album is also pressed on blue vinyl and gorgeous it is too; 93 of the 499 copies are pressed on marbled blue. Add to this the fact that the only other Baker release I have in my collection, an early Drone records single, is also pressed on blue vinyl and you get the picture. Baker's latest album, a double one no less, comes in a gatefold cover with color still-life photography by Alan McClelland. It just looks great. Now on to the music. Somehow, here the theme "blue" also persists; as this is downbeat music, played in minor keys. Hailing from Toronto, Canada Baker is an accomplished and inventive guitarist (another parallel with Oren Ambachi, though admittedly not with Dennis Wilson who was a drummer) working in the field of drones and ambient reworkings. He has also published a number of poetry books. On this largely instrumental album the ardent Baker-fan might recognize The Cicadas Sing Our Love Song as that is a remix from an earlier version. Baker's music luckily never falls into the trap that is computerized/filtered guitar droning. His music is more like structured/composed sound (rather than just washes of guitar) mixed in low, deep drones. With Baker's music I get the feeling actual composing is the basis of his songs, rather than just letting drones do their work. Occasionally lighter sounds and recognizable guitar patterns protrude the atmosphere. The tracklisting on this album is a bit confusing, with only 5 tracks identifiable on the albums themselves and 9 listed on the cover. Oh dear. Still, in the end this doesn't matter as this is an album you probably listen to as one whole. The vocal tracks are on side two, including a surprise soft haunting version of Joy Division's 24 hours. The final (side long) track adds some drumtracks, but somehow I found this a bit of a distraction to the general feel of the album. In all, a wonderful album. (FK).
Address: http//www.Chronoglide.com/equation

And we continue the guitar theme, though not the blue theme, with the new release by Bass Communion aka Porcupine Tree aka Steve Wilson. Himself an accomplished, and these days quite successful artist, Wilson brings us this new, lavishly packed (though unfortunately pressed on black vinyl, not blue), double LP with bonus 10 inch record (exclusive to this release). The full set retails at 30 Euros. I have to admit I'm not a Wilson/Bass Communion fanatic, so this record is my initiation to his music. The heavy vinyl (180 grams) plays great and the sepia tinted cover featuring Japanese photos of WWII scenes looks fittingly moody. It is therefore a bit of a disappointment that the actual music doesn't quite live up to its packaging. Consisting of a re-release of an album previously released on Important records (though you wouldn't know from the very sparse information on the cover, which simply states "guitar pieces recorded by Steve Wilson on location between 14-17 February 2008"), this album features 4 (extended) side long tracks. The first one, Molotov 1502, consists of a continuing single harsh sound that could be a heavily filtered guitar, but could also be anything else. It goes on without much development for 20 very long minutes. Side two Glacial 1602 fares much better, here Wilson employs what sounds like an e-bow with long attack and decay to make his sounds. This is a much quieter, reflecting piece and nice to listen to, even though this too knows little progress. Side three's Corrosive 1702 sounds, well, corrosive and has the same harsh atmosphere as side one and a fade out that takes minutes. However, the real beauty of this record is hidden on side four's Haze 1402. The 26+ (!) minutes of soft sounds on offer here are soothing and beautiful, and form a tranquil and immersive soundscape. By far the best track on the record. The free bonus 10 inch album contains two tracks; 'Haze Sharpnel' by Steve Wilson and a remix of said track by Freiband (Frans de Waard). The original is much like the quieter bits of the 2LP set. Nice and friendly. The same goes for the remix, which sounds close to the original track. I have to admit I'm a bit disappointed by this release. There is some great music to listen to (like Haze 1402 and the bonus 10 inch), but I seriously wonder how often I would listen to this album. Perhaps I'm being too harsh on Wilson, it is just that I had expected more from the man, but then again, I'm unfamiliar with his other work, so this might just be a weaker brother or his music might just not be for me. (FK)
Address: http://www.tonefloat.com

EDWARD KASPEL - DREAM LOGIK PARTS I-III (4 LP set + 2 CD by Beta Lactam-ring)
Brand new is the very luxurious boxset by Edward Kaspel, even though part of its contents has been available. Dream Logik Part I was released on CD a while ago and starts off with the Twin Peaks-like spoken introduction Threshold. From that point on Dream Logik part I is a rollercoaster of sounds and ideas. Songs like Harvester with its slow rhythm and spoken word, the beautiful yet harrowing songs Good Life and And The Stars are among Ka-Spel's best. I still don't quite get The 9 O'Clock Train To Oblivion or Revolution 834, which are tracks where Ka-Spel runs electronic amok, but somehow appears to lose control in the middle. As a whole, Dream Logik Part I is a bleak and highly personal album, full of confusion, that makes a fascinating listen. Dream Logic Part II continues this theme, but here Ka-Spel seems more in control of his sounds. If you know and like Dream Logik I, you will surely love the music as presented on parts II; a collection of great songs and soundscapes. The real beauty, for me personally, lies in Dream Logic Part III; two long spacious tracks of beautiful restrained ambience. Absolutely amazing! The boxset also includes a bonus CD with an alternative version of Burning Church (from Part III) and, if you're lucky, your set also comes with yet another bonus CD, this time with 3 additional tracks, including a beautiful spoken word track. A few final words on the packaging: this set spells l-u-x-u-r-e-o-u-s. The box is embossed with silver colored lettering and artwork. Inside are the 4 discs in high gloss color sleeves, a numbered insert and the bonus CD(s). All artwork is by Jesse Pepper who is rapidly turning into BLRR's house art-madman. His tense paintings fit the music well. In all, a great looking and great sounding boxset. There are 400 copies available of Dream Logic Parts I-III and they retail at a very fair price. Now go out and buy one! (FK)
Address: http://www.blrrecords.com

Always in for a surprise, our Taylor Deupree. With this 7" he announces a series of 7" releases for 12K, and its the first vinyl on 12K ever. Perhaps your initial thought would be the same as for me: is the kind of music normally produced on 12K the kind of music that should go to vinyl? I don't think so, but these two lovely pieces, exactly four minutes each, proof me wrong. Deupree uses here acoustic instruments and looping devices and is away from the computer. He creates two little drone pieces. The drones form the hot bed for the sounds to sleep in, be conformting and cosy. Initimate music and two pieces that fit underfully well on vinyl. Relaxing music of which the only problem might be that it is a bit short. That is the disadvantage of a vinyl of course. (FdW)
Address: http://www.12k.com

LARRY GUS - IASMOS (CDR by Okko Records)
Recently I found that Antoine Chessex is/was a member of a band who I actually saw a couple of times: Monno. He told me that himself, when he played at Extrapool. That concert was short, powerful and noisy, but it worked really well, with Chessex using the dynamics of the space. Here he has a solo one sided LP, but with a hidden track (think New Order's 12" on Touch) on the other side. It is a kind of documentation of stuff he has done recently, using saxophone and electronics. It starts out in known land (nodding to the title here), of heavy noise: piercing electronics and sustained saxophones. Then there is a somewhat quieter piece of saxophones in a larger hall, which create a kind of strange atmosphere. Nice as well. So it goes for the final track of the one side which some heavily controlled playing. In between there is a noise blast and so is the main part of the hidden track. I think I expected a bit more of this, based on what I heard live, but this fits the saxophone brut that he is known for.
I guess Dan Burke and Al Margolis don't need much introduction, because if they do I'd be asking: where have you been? Or perhaps you know them from their 'band' names, Illusion Of Safety and If, Bwana. If not, I'd say go back in time and read the preceding 674 issues of Vital Weekly and discover their long history in real underground music. Both have shifted a bit towards music that might be less industrial by some standards these days, and tending towards serious musique concrete, but what they recorded on April 5 in 2008 in Belgium, seems to these ears harking back to the older days of crude looped material, processed clarinet and field recordings. Maybe it has to do with the fact that this is a microphone recording, in stead of a line recording (the popping of beer bottles is a present feature), but it gives the music a very nice sort of retro feeling to it. Modern classical music, meets industrial, meets musique concrete. Maybe a bit more editing could have been in place, but its nice as its crude.
Somewhere in the more remote area of Xanthi there is family who treat their two children with unusual birthday gifts, usually specially played recorded CDs. One Larry Gus played some music for the second birthday of Orion (who I saw being baptized, but that's another story), which seems partly based on field recordings of a children's party and, for a larger part, on electronic keyboards, loop devices and a bit of vocals. Eighteen short pieces here of highly improvised music - there is a story about the original master being and it had to be restored or recreated in a short time span, but it sounds quite nice altogether. Childlike, obviously I'd say, intimate and also at times joyous. At thirty two minutes also having the right length for such a thing.
And finally the last and/or latest release by Niko Veliotis, the cello player from Greece. He recorded 100 one hour drones of 'every possible pitch on the cello' which were subsequently mixed into a work of one hour and released in an edition of 100. After that the cello used on the recordings were turned into powder and put into 100 jars. Welcome to the concept land. The work can be downloaded for free. The music sounds like a motor in a turbine hall in a factory at full works. Nothing much seems to be happening and that is probably the downside of concepts in music. What sounds (!) like a great idea may not always be a great piece of music. And that's the case here: its not a great piece of music. Like stale wind in an empty hall. Lots of engines at the same time. That sort of thing, but certainly not worthwhile for a complete hour. (FdW)
Address: http://www.noise-below.org
Address: http://www.cellopowder.com

VERY FRIENDLY #1 (book + 7" by Komplott)
The first time I saw a friend of mine depicted in a comic I was quite pleased. Somebody from Rotterdam did a short comic on a concert by Roel Meelkop, which was quite funny. Ronnie Sundin is these days lesser known as a composer, or rather, we don't hear much from him, but he is busy doing books with drawings, which may count for comics. In the second issue called (following issue 0), we have three comics: Ronnie Sundin goes to Trondheim to visit Lasse Marhaug, the premiere of 'Deserts' by Varese and Throbbing Gristle at the Crypt One Club (the concert where Genesis was brought to hospital after an overdose) and various portraits of female composers. I thought this was pretty funny stuff, and a highly original thing to do. Sundin has a nice realistic style in drawing, although I am hardly an expert in the field of comics (owing just all Tin Tin books). The 7" has music by Lasse Marhaug, who heads back to his Trondheim Tape days and builds two different sound collages out of that. One is well balanced on soft versus loud and the other one is mainly loud. Altogether the funniest package of the week, which put a big smile on my face. (FdW)
Address: http://www.komplott.com

Off hand I couldn't say how often we discussed music from Turkey, but I bet it hasn't been more than five times. Erdem Helvacioglu is from that country, but his music seems to be devoid of any ethnical undercurrents, which of course is a fine thing - I never tell this when discussing something from France, USA or The Netherlands either, to mention a few. I am not sure if there is a strong tradition for serious electronic music in Turkey (obviously we do know Mimaruglu), but it surely stands in a wider tradition of electro-acoustic and electronic music. Heavily treated sounds of objects, electronic sounds washing about, the sort of thing that Empreintes Digitales is known for, but the music of Helvacioglu sounds a little different, a little more daring and engaging than much of what comes out of Canada's home of this music. Five lengthy pieces of this stuff (maybe one too many), but throughout this is quite intense music, of which 'Dance Of Fire' is my favorite, as it has a great dramatic curve and moves in quite a dynamic manner. Standing in the long tradition musique concrete, and perhaps not entirely with a voice of his own, but nevertheless a fine work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.aucorantrecords.com

This new release by Mirko Uhlig is a sort of 'conceptual reference album', dealing with music Uhlig heard in the past. But which record it is? Hard to tell. 'Old Clouds' anyone? Uhlig has become one of the more interesting sound artists from Germany. His first main work, the self-released 'VIVMM' CDR (this year to be re-issued on LP I believe) was an exercise in drone based music, but he also dabbled with noise, and with this new album he expands his horizon a bit further. The main backbone is ambience and drones, but there is also bits of guitar music popping up from the world of folk. It seems to me that the main thing here is generated from processed guitars anyway. Uhlig creates highly atmospheric music, but avoids the pitfalls of regular drone music. He knows how to add surprise elements, interesting changes and sudden moves, and lifts his music out of ordinary and do something that is at large not a new thing, but surely is new exciting enough. Uhlig doesn't produce that many works but when he does, its a great one. (FdW)
Address: http://www.aferecords.com


So I never heard of Gary Fisher, and his release is quite poorly packed, which is a pity, since I think a somewhat attractive cover is a pleasure to open up and enjoy the music. As his music is quite interesting I think its a bit of a pity that the presentation is so lo-fi. I assume that Fisher plays a broken cymbal on these recordings, and the titles indicate what he uses to that end. 'Beater, skewer, hands', 'Rice', 'Coin', 'Foil', 'Shoelace, hands' - that sort of thing, and he plays with these objects his broken cymbal in an improvising manner, carefully exploring the objects at hand. Occasionally he bursts out in louder bits, but throughout he manages to keep things well under control. Especially in 'Shoelace, hands' this leads to interesting results of low rhythm based music. Although not entirely 'silent' as some of his peers would do these things, Fischer created an interesting solo work that should put him a bit on the map of improvisers and hopefully some fine collaborations. This release is a fine introduction to the qualities his work has. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/foundinaskip

NIGHSHIFT (CDR by 267 Lattajjaa)
From Moscow and Yaroslavl (two places quite
apart) comes a trio called Nighshift, who are "Self-proclaimed punk-ambient" as it says on the website of 267 Lattajjaa. Four tracks of ambience that much is sure, and why not: played with the attitude of a punk band. They sound very much present and alive, say the punk element of this, which is pretty much due to the nature of the recording I guess, and on other hand they create some highly atmospheric music, with the use of field recordings and electronics. The four tracks have exactly the right length to be entertaining and surprising and the only thing about this release that let me a bit down is the fact that's pretty short. Four track, totaling twenty minutes, whereas I could have easily liked another three pieces, another fifteen minutes, and see what else the have under their hat. But this is a fine start. (FdW)
Address: http://www.dlc.fi/~hhaahti/267lattajjaa/

Behind Hourglass Drops is a young Dutch man living in Germany, whose name right now eludes me. He gave me a CDR one night which had pretty interesting ambient industrial soundscapes, which were probably created with digital sound synthesis. Now Tib Prod has also released a work by him, which makes me less satisfied. Here it seems Hourglass Drops wants to explore the boundaries of ambient noise, or perhaps wants to go over the limits and plays noise music that Jliat would find too soft and I think its too crude. Partly because the recording is mildly distorted, but also because compositionwise I think there is room for improvement. Things start and stop and in between there is not much change, dramatic built up or anything quite engaging to hear. Maybe it sounds a bit like old Maurizio Bianchi, but without the same urge or necessity. The best tracks are however at the end of the release, when he shows some interest in creating changing pieces and structuring his compositions. The last four or five pieces on a 3"CDR would have been great.
No information what so ever on Adults With Chicks, who do a double 3"CDR called 'Aptenodytes Forsteri', which seems to be some sort of environmental inspired release: several cards with wild life pictures. I haven't got a clue why this was put onto two 3"CDR, but surely there is a reason somewhere anywhere. Its a bit of a pity that things are kept so mysterious as the music deserves a bit more attention than this. Adults With Chicks play music that is best described as deeply atmospheric, maybe built from heavily processed field recordings - think Paul Bradley or Keith Berry, but then cut to several shorter pieces, some even only two minutes long. That is quite nice as its a form that not many people do, and Adults With Chicks do a very fine job at that. Nice, intelligent, thoughtful, ambient. Just the band name and lack of info are a bit off for me. (FdW)
Address: http://www.tibprod.com

Behind Orphax we find Sietse van Erve who recently started Moving Furniture Records, but for whatever reason this new release is just 'self-released'. Maybe because its a 3"CDR? The foundation of this recording is a live recording he made in Tilburg, using geese recorded in Hungary, along a bowed thumb piano, a bowed plastic cup, an electric razor, an electric toothbrush and his voice. Later on this piece extended with more field recordings - the tram in Amsterdam and the garden of his parents. All of these together make a multi-layered piece of sounds. Lots and lots of layers are used and the high end part is bit harsh on the ears (some compression would have been in place), but throughout it makes a good Orphax piece. Dense, atmospheric, but not just quiet. Contrary I'd say. Orphax uses some more uptight noisy textures, but knows how to keep things under control and not leap into mindless noise. Orphax has found a great balance between both ends. (FdW)
Address: http://www.orphax.com