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Editorial news: we have decided to stop reviewing MP3 releases. Please do not send any discs with MP3 releases. Just send me an e-mail with a link and a short description, so people can download it. The amount of releases pile up every week and I can no longer devote time to MP3s. Whatever you see coming in the next few weeks are the last ones. Please do not send anymore. Also: releases that do not contain the original artwork will most likely be no longer reviewed. The real thing is necessary for a real judgment. If you wish to send us not the real thing, please contact us first. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
JEAN-MICHIEL RIVET - A FLEUR DE QUAI (CD
by Sonoris) *
PETER WRIGHT - AN ANGEL FELL WHERE THE KESTRELS HOVER (CD by Spekk) *
TETUZI AKIYAMA & TOSHIMARU NAKAMURA - SEMI-IMPRESSION (CD by Spekk) *
DIRAC - EMPHASIS (CD by Spekk) *
SHIELD YOUR EYES - SHIELD EM (CD by Gravid Hands)
MARK BEAZLEY - STATELESS (CD by Trace Recordings) *
BURKHARDD STANGL & KAI FAGSCHINSKI - MUSIK - EIN PORTRAT IN SEHNSUCHT (CD by Erstwhile Records) *
ASPECTEE - MORBED (CD by First Fallen Star) *
INFALLEN - THREE DAYS OF DARKNESS (CD by First Fallen Star) *
KASRTEN HAMRE - THROUGH THE EYES OF A STRANGER (CD & DVD by First Fallen Star) *
DENSE VISION SHRINE - TIME LOST IN OBLIVION (CD & DVD by First Fallen Star) *
ACRE - ISOLATIONIST (CD by Isounderscore)
GANESH ANANDAN & HANS REICHEL - SELF MADE (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
IGNAZ SCHICK & MARTIN TETREAULT - LIVE - 33 - 45 - 78 (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
RAINER WIENS - SHADOWS OF FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
FRANS DE WAARD - KLANKSCHAP 1999-2005 (CD by :Zang) *
EDWARD KASPEL - TRAPPED IN AMBER (LP by Plinkity Plonk) *
MIRKO UHLIG - VIVMMI (LP by Plinkity Plonk) *
GLÖGGERNE & MARTIN KLAPPER - WITH SOUND! (10" by Tonometer)
IAN HOLLOWAY & BANKS BAILEY - A BRIEF SOJOURN (CDR by Quiet World) *
VARIATIONS IN WHITE PART 1 (CDR by White Line Edition)
MUBLES - BILBOCENTRISMO (CDR by Hamaika) *
STROM NOIR - SEN SIMNEJ NOCI (CDR by Hibernate) *
HAKOBUNE - ISOHEL (3"CDR by Hibernate) *
HONG CHULKI - AMPLIFIED WC (3"CDR by Ghost & Son) *
NICK HOFFMAN - ANCIENT TAPE MACHINE VOL. 2 (cassette by Pilgrim Talk)
CHIHEI HATAKEYAMA - WHITE SUN (3"CDR by Taalem) *
POLLYPRAHA - JULE (3"CDR by Taalem) *
NATURE OF DISLOCATION - ELEMENTS (3"CDR by Taalem) *
SAITO KOJI - PRAYER (3"CDR by Taalem) *
JUSTIN BENNETT - THE CITY AMPLIFIED (book by Stroom)
OLIVES - TREMBLE (cassette by Moon Glyph)
JEAN-MICHIEL RIVET - A FLEUR DE QUAI (CD
Following Donzel-Gargand two weeks ago, and last week's Zanesi, there is now a third composer from France who I heard off, but in fact don't know much music of, Jean-Michel Rivet. He studied composition at the GMEB in the late 70s and at the Xenakis' Cenamu in 1982. His music is mainly for theatre, radio and exhibition. The liner notes are in French (pardon my) but I understand that each of the seven tracks uses a particular set of sounds culled from daily life. It opens with railway sounds, taken at a station, also there is a piece of voices, a demonstration and a game hall. The first piece, with the train station, is great, with the train entering and leaving in the stereo panning of the piece. Haunting are the police dogs in 'Vah Ma Awalo', with a voice speaking in despair (it seems). Rivet applies all the techniques from musique concrete and such like Donzel-Gargand and Zanesi in his own way, avoiding too strict rules from the book of composition. This music has some great qualities as radio plays or soundtracks. Scary effects dropping in at various times, reversing the sound to give it that extra force. Planes, cars, trains pass by, warning signals flash around. Especially if you play this is a darkened room, at night and pretty loud, it could easily bring on serious trouble. Beautiful trouble at that. Scary beautiful trouble. Great music, and especially 'Pique-Nique Au Bord De La Route' is great with all its car and motorway sounds. Even better than Donzel-Gargand and on par with Zanesi. (FdW)
PETER WRIGHT - AN ANGEL FELL WHERE THE KESTRELS
HOVER (CD by Spekk)
TETUZI AKIYAMA & TOSHIMARU NAKAMURA - SEMI-IMPRESSION (CD by Spekk)
DIRAC - EMPHASIS (CD by Spekk)
Somewhere in my (virtual) book of labels, I think Spekk is filed under 'laptop - subsection microsound', but when I heard Peter Wright's 'An Angel Fell Where The Kestrels Hover' I may have to revise that. Wright is best known, I guess, for his guitar music. Guitars plus sound effects. He has done so on his seven albums so far. This new album deals also with the seasonal changes, just like the previous 'Snow Blind' (not reviewed in Vital Weekly), which dealt with autumn and winter. This new one is more about spring and summer, and has a 'generally sunnier disposition', Wright says. For him, as an antipode that might, but when I am outside the start of winter is very much present. Meaning that I don't hear this to be a very light record, or even a bit lighter. This is all highly moody music, still, with guitars meandering freely all along the line of sound effects used. Effective atmospheric music, no laptops in sight, no microsound, but some damn drone like ambient music. Nothing new under that sun, but its fine as it is.
The word 'semi' in the title by Tetuzi Akiyama and Toshimaru Nakamura was intended to be 'zen', as their music was often referred to as zen music (not that the two advertise like that themselves), but then the person who made the calligraphy wrote 'semi', which can of course refer to the semi, the Japanese word for cicadas, which can be so present and loud in Japanese summertime. And perhaps that is a fine word too to use for this music. Not that it is loud music, even when Nakamura can make some mean noises. Nevertheless it seems that, as a duo, they know how to play some great music that dwells on silence, like Japan can also be, with the occasional outbursts like the cicadas can do. Three live recordings here, two from Sweden and one from Austria. No doubt the Sweden ones where made at the same time as they did their recording which was reviewed a fortnight ago in Vital Weekly. Akiyama plays his acoustic guitar with great concentration, although there is always sound coming from it. Nakamura is perhaps a bit more silent when it comes to the general picture, but when he produces something it can surely be loud as hell. Together that makes some great music, meditative, even zen like perhaps.
The name Dirac popped up on a compilation before, but they also have a CD out with the same name, and 'Emphasis' is their second CD, recorded in a basement in Salzburg, Austria, using drums, guitars and field recordings. All recorded directly onto two tracks and then later edited together. Recorded in isolation, this is music far away from the hectic life in big cities (not that Salzburg is that big), bringing out the silence proportions of music. The drums and guitar sound like guitar and drums (or vibraphone, or whatever piece of percussion used), playing slow, peaceful music. The field recordings complete this silent approach. If there is a connection to be made then I'd say it resembles the music of Tape. The same kind of 'slow' playing, placing great emphasis (yes) on each, individual sound, making gentle gestures with them. x 'rock' like, but a fine quality of its own, defying any category. None of these three deal with laptops or microsound, so perhaps I was all wrong about Spekk. Great releases. (FdW)
SHIELD YOUR EYES - SHIELD EM (CD by Gravid
'Shield Em' is the second release by this London-based trio of Stef Ketteringham (guitar, vocals, lyrics), Henri Grimes (drums) and Toby Hayes (bass). Toby and Stef come from Strobe 45, a hardcore band from around Guilford. After the split Toby continued with another hardcore band, and Stef started playing violent blues (Guns or Knives). Both influences meet in their new band Shield with Henri Grimes on drums. Since 2008 they climb the stage. Things change quick: Toby Hayes is replaced recently by Nick Bavin. Although this one is recorded in the studio it sounds like a live recording, which is to be preferred for this kind of music. But alas it sounds like a very mediocre live-recording. A better production would have helped. Now this more then 50 minute journey becomes a bit tiring and the music becomes very uniform in the end. As such the music is however more then okay. Well-constructed songs with unusual turns. Most of them are bluesy, beefheartesque guitar-dominated songs. The well-crafted and inventive playing from Ketteringham, is what makes this one special. But also because of the convincing performance by this trio. Loud and noisy from start to finish. Rough and edgy, instrumental or with loud screaming and singing by again Ketteringham. Next time I hope they will free their multidimensional and fresh music from a flat recording as happened to 'Shield Em'. (DM)
MARK BEAZLEY - STATELESS (CD by Trace Recordings)
Never judge a CD by its cover. Here we have a simple cover, with some water color painting, lots of white, and titles that read 'Three Twenty Five', 'Three Thirty Five', which turn out to be lengths of the tracks. Maybe this is an album of microsound, glitchy electronics? Mark Beazley was a member of Rothko, who released on Lo Recordings a decade ago with heavy bass laden music, but with the help of a trunk load of people recorded 'Stateless' at home from April to September 2009. Nothing microsound here. This is modern classical music. Lots of strings, violin and cello, some piano, all cut down to the average length of three minutes - the perfect popsong, but then housed in a classical form. I have no idea what to think of this, but perhaps thats due to the fact that I don't know much about modern classical music - the melodic variation at least thereof. Sometimes I like the melodies quite a bit, but isn't all a bit too sweet I wondered? Maybe this is music for adverts? But then also I liked some of its charming bits, the whole nice melodic aspects of the music. Perhaps its a like sugary cake: very tasty at the beginning, but to eat it the entire thing its a bit too much? For now, I must say I quite enjoyed its elegance. (FdW)
BURKHARDD STANGL & KAI FAGSCHINSKI -
MUSIK - EIN PORTRAT IN SEHNSUCHT (CD by Erstwhile Records)
Two veterans from the Viennese musiclife, that's Burkhard Stangl (guitars, electric devices, piano and vibraphone) and Kai Fagaschinski (clarinet, piano, acoustic guitar). They worked with almost everybody, and been to every place to play their fine brand of improvised music. They first met in 2002, and in 2007 they recorded two sessions at the Amman studios, which were mixed last year and then took another year to see the light. Of course it has been well worth to wait. Its quite an interesting record, because it has a great variety in approaches. It opens with a sparse duet of acoustic guitar and clarinet, but that's not the way the entire sounds like. 'Last Night I Had Visions' is a long piece that involves sine wave like sounds produced by e-bows and clarinet and almost sounds like an Alvin Lucier piece. 'Sexy M.F.' is then a short piece of highly improvised matter. In other pieces they sound folk again, such as in 'Weisst Du Noch Unser Lied?'. Sometimes there are bits of field recording, provided by friends such as Klaus Filip and Dieb 13. A highly personal record, very delicate in approach and just overall an excellent record. (FdW)
ASPECTEE - MORBED (CD by First Fallen Star)
INFALLEN - THREE DAYS OF DARKNESS (CD by First Fallen Star)
KASRTEN HAMRE - THROUGH THE EYES OF A STRANGER (CD & DVD by First Fallen Star)
DENSE VISION SHRINE - TIME LOST IN OBLIVION (CD & DVD by First Fallen Star)
A somewhat risky affair here. Its sunday afternoon, very grey and rainy outside. Inside its warm, there is coffee, a fine book and a pile of releases of the First Fallen Star label. Their appearance looks like like 'gothic' label - a term I always use for anything that looks grey, black, dark with those semi-handwritten fonts, the real gothic writing. well, perhaps that is not the case in the CD by Aspectee, a side project of Evoke Scurvee, with its more clear fonts. The music however is perhaps all what you would expect from the world of dark ambient music. The (grand-) sons of the later Lustmord. Nine tracks of deep, low ambient rumble of atmospheric electronics, a bit of field recordings here and there. Nine excellent soundscapes. I have no idea how this was made - synthesizers, pure computerized sound syntheses or otherwise - but its quite nice. 'Unwic', the final episode on the album sheds a bit of light in the work. Otherwise the painted picture is of utter gloom and doom, but without any religious undercurrents, which makes this quite a pleasant dark trip.
The label design for Innfallen shows a horse and a woman on a bed - a romantic picture, and everything is in the gothic font. Infallen is the veteran (?) Doyle Finley (of Invercauld) and Kevin Scala and this release is 'their vision of the Catholic prophecy of 'Three Days Of Darkness', although as a (only baptized) catholic I have no idea what that is (us catholics are known not to read the bible). Whatever those three days of darkness are, no doubt something to do with Armageddon (armageddon out of here!), and its surely no fun. Demons descend to earth, fires all around, and hardly anyone survives (would you want to survive such a disaster, I always wonder; I don't think I would). Innfallen do a great job to provide the necessary soundtrack to such an endgame. Just like Aspectee this is an utter dark ambient ride, again without any sight of a possible instrument, but perhaps its just an endless line of electronics connected to eachother as the sound moves between various parameters - the various shades of black. Even if you don't want to grasp the grim nature of what lies behind it - like me - and you want to disconnect the actual music from its surrounding theme, then this is a great journey. Afternoon fades early and its getting darker and darker.
Time to switch on the light. The next two releases are both a CD and a DVD and are both by Karsten Hamre, whom you could know from his work as Arcane Art, Penitent and Defraktor. Seven tracks are to be found on 'Through The Eyes Of A Stranger', but if you decide to watch the DVD then they run into eachother and make a nice whole unified thing. I can be short about the film. Its not a film, it a series of great black and white photographs that flow into eachother. Churches, landscapes, old factories, the graveyard (of course), stars at night - that sort of thing. Not something you watch all along but you glance at every now and then , I don't think it tells a specific story. The music is that of dark ambient, but it seems a bit more 'mellow' than on Infallen, a bit toned down and also more musical. There are bits that have some sort of vague percussion bits, strings and swirling electronics. Dark music of course here too, black and white music for black and white images. I could do without those images, I must admit, but its fine music.
Apparently there has been already an album by Dense Vision Shrine called 'Time Lost In Oblivion', but we are guaranteed that this is a new album. The music is quite different than on Hamre's disc under his own name, and hence he uses the name Dense Vision Shrine. The images here are in the same vein: photos that flow into eachother, except that they are now sometimes in color. More landscapes and graveyards. The music starts out in quite a melodic fashion, with sampled orchestral sounds, but as the work progresses the same dark ambient leaps in, though it seems to me largely based in samples of violins, cellos and other instruments from the orchestra. This too is best described as the darkest of the darkest, but with a touch of difference with the Hamre release. The differences might be thin, but they are surely there. Nightfall has set in, lights are dimmed and its time to rest the head. (FdW)
ACRE - ISOLATIONIST (CD by Isounderscore)
Acre's stunning 'Isolationist' is an expert foray into expansive, deep drone. Its first track is new-to-release, while the two others both saw the light of day on 'Painless,' a hyper-limited CDR edition on Cincinnati imprint Students of Decay. Despite the fractured origins of these compositions, however, this comes off as a remarkably cohesive album. Each track makes use of Aaron Davis' distinct, buzzing drone - an electric texture that seems to emulate the sound encountered when standing below power lines. On the first composition, Davis' approach is highly gradual, and even glacial; the foreground is a crushing wall of high-voltage sound, and below its dense oppressiveness one hears subtle textures at play. The second track is more dynamic, populated with fluid, electric ebbs which are positively trance-inducing. The final piece is a return to more slow, dense drone but this time the sound is more grisly, pitching an ethereal ambient hum atop a bed of crumbly feedback. Eventually the hum evolves into a rapid, pulsing scissor, growing in intensity until the climax trails into a gradual resolution. Recalling the collapse of a supernova or some other colossal, nihilistic event, 'Isolationist' is a valuable peek into Aaron Davis' distinct approach to sound. (MT)
GANESH ANANDAN & HANS REICHEL - SELF
MADE (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
IGNAZ SCHICK & MARTIN TETREAULT - LIVE - 33 - 45 - 78 (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
RAINER WIENS - SHADOWS OF FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
Three new releases from Ambiances Magnetiques, all of them with a german connection. We met guitarist Rainer Wiens, from Germany but now living in Montréal, earlier on trio recordings with Malcom Goldstein and John Heward, and another one with Ganesh Anandan and Malcolm Goldstein. 'Shadow of Forgotten Ancestors' is in fact his first solo album where we learn more about Wiens as a composer, and as a player of the kalimba. Over the years Wiens composed several pieces that we now find on this CD. The title track of this CD, 'Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors', as well as title 'The Taste Pomegranate' indicate that filmmaker Sergei Paradjanov was a special source for inspiration for Wiens. The CD opens with 'The Valley of Green Ghosts' with Wiens solo on kalimba, creating inevitably an african climate. Most pieces however are duets that have not Wiens, but Jean Derome (flute), Malcolm Goldstein (violin), Frank Lozano (saxophone), Jean Rene (alto) and Joshua Zubot (violin) as performers. In the title track flute and violin play - almost and almost continuously - uni sono. 'Shh... Whisper to the Wind' is a delicate between violin and breathing sounds. 'Bird of Jade' with Derome on flute, and 'If a Bird sings in the Forest'(sax), as well as other pieces seem to be inspired on the whistling of birds. All pieces are mature and thoughtfully composed moving between traditional (african) musical forms and new composed music. And all players play very inspired and dedicated. The result is a very strong and convincing album, where everything is on its place. The cover of 'Self Made' has a nice photo of Reichel and Anandan portrayed as two proud 'self made' men. Even more the title refers to both artists as designers and builders of their instruments. Hans Reichel, guitarist from origin, is known for his daxophone. Anandan built the shruti stick and a metallophone. The 'daxophone' is a single wooden blade fixed in a block containing a contact microphone, which is played mostly with a bow. Reichel draws many colourful sounds from this instrument - sometimes sounding like birdcalls, animal sounds, flutes, human voice and breath, etc. Very impressive and absolutely an amazing instrument. The shruti stick is a 12-string cither. Anandan presented it on another duo-cd, 'Shruti Project', which he worked with John Gzowski who played self-designed micro_tonal guitars. For 'Self Made' Reichel and Anandan concentrate on creating sounds and textures. Structure is not their main interest. Although Anandan often lays down complex rhythmic patterns, and Reichel plays his solos over it, it is not always clear where they want to go. They create nice atmospheres, and specially the daxophone sounds very direct and very near to the human (language of) body and voice. Several of their improvisations are very worthwhile like 'Drunkeness'. It is very subtile, virtuoso and soulful. Others however don't bring me anywhere. The playing of Anandan I enjoyed most in the solo piece 'In the Stillness' that develops like an indonesian gamelan-like piece of music. Pure beauty! For this and other qualities these improvisations deserve your attention.
'Live' by Berlin-based Ignaz Schick and Martin Tetreault is the most far out of these three CDs . Two avant garde turntable-masters who collaborate since 2004. "Our music is made with raw materials that have nothing to do with the passive uses of the turntable. We quickly and sharply use our set of home-made sonic tools to produce dialogues of varying speed, volume level, and duration. Recorded live, our music offers lively exchanges where tone arms are playing a sonic sport! These exchanges will get you ears moving..." Within the parameters of their musical games they make truly fascinating music using concrete sounds only. Records are abandoned, instead they use various objects and manipulations to produce their micro soundworld. The CD contains two series of seven pieces listening to poetic names like '1-p45 un' and 'cave12part1'.The music itself has more effect on my phantasy. It sounds like the recording of some never-heard-of primitive life-form deep down in the ocean or earth. (DM)
FRANS DE WAARD - KLANKSCHAP 1999-2005 (CD
A little while ago I played a gig in Krakow, and a couple of guys were shouting and heckling me for a short while before they left. Apparently they were disappointed because the music wasn't "entertaining". They had repeatedly asked the organizer - who also manned the door - if it was entertaining music, and he had repeatedly answered "no". Neither is this CD from Frans de Waard. This is definitely not entertainment music or background music, but instead listening music of a rather intriguing, evocative, and - for some (most definitely for these hecklers in Poland!) - provocative music. Not because it's really radical, but because it demands close attention to detail. What can one say about Frans de Waard that hasn't been said (or at least thought of) before? One of the pillars of the European fringe music community, writer, publicist, tobacconist, conceptualist and a guy who's heard more music than most, this is actually only his second proper full-length CD under his own name. Yep, I also found it hard to believe.
This disc consists of 6 pieces, all realized between 2002 and 2005, despite the title. It's bookended by 2 short pieces called "Werkplaats #1" and "Werkplaats #2", both derived from older Kapotte Muziek workshops. Both of these splurts out some manipulated machine sounds and odd electronic treatments and work well as intro and outro. The second piece is entitled "Klankschap #9" and in this piece we're literally exposed to the elements. The 20 minute piece is based around field recordings of running water, which I guess is a waterfall or a river, and howling wind crashing against the microphone. It's a tricky business to capture sounds from a specific environment and release them in a new sonic terrain. The sounds are "recontextualized", ultimately transformed into new sonic values, but there's always the danger that the link between what it once meant and its new life is missing. The other approach to this "problem", is of course, as we all know, to just "set the sounds free". As music concrete, this piece doesn't quite do it for me. And sticking to the first approach, I seem to somehow be missing that link here. However, "Epitaph", based on recordings by the late John Waterman is great. Somewhat threatening drone sounds, like they are coming from inside a floatation tank or some kind of a pressure chamber are combined with bursts of static. "Klankschap #2" is based on recordings from a shop in Tokyo, and later revised in 2007. Crunching and thumping sounds, like a piece of sandpaper is played on a turntable, are followed by high-pitched electronics that becomes quite unpleasant. The static that comes in halfway through has the effect of highly needed summer rain on dry stinking asphalt. The piece ebbs and flows with some treated field recordings combined with what sounds like manipulated turntables. Great piece. Equally great is "Ramp" from 2002, constructed from pieces of recordings from the US by de Waard, Peter Duimelinks, Roel Meelkop, Jason Talbot and Howard Stelzer, the latter one of which de Waard definitely shares a similar sonic aesthetics. Expertly mixed, this piece is crackling away, like electronic insects hovering in the humid air in a rainforest jungle on an alien planet.
De Waards second proper CD release is certainly intriguing, the pieces are fresh sounding and balanced, dynamic and expertly mixed. Somehow the second piece that is largely based on rather pure field recordings fails to engage me. Still highly recommended to anyone interested in fresh sounding electronic compositions from the world of "klankscapes" rather than "klangfarben". (Review by Sindre Bjerga)
EDWARD KASPEL - TRAPPED IN AMBER (LP by
MIRKO UHLIG - VIVMMI (LP by Plinkity Plonk)
The Penny Black postage stamp that graces this new Kaspel album is something quite special; it was introduced on 6 May 1840 as the first-ever stamp in history. It marked a revolution in the world of the postal delivery; before its introduction the mail had to be paid for by the receiver, which obviously created a few problems, when more and more receivers simply refused to pay for their mail. In the new system it was the sender who had to buy the one Penny stamp beforehand, which made sure the post received their money and, with a little luck, the receiver the letter. Being the first stamp ever, the Penny Black is quite a desirable item in the world of philatology. Parallels can be drawn between the stamp and the music on this album. First of all, there is an Englishness about the music of Kaspel that is equal to that of the Penny Black. And, in a sense, this album also sounds like the start of something new for Kaspel. Trapped in Amber is a reference to fossils that are trapped in amber, like a time-capsule. Fascinatingly enough, this album sounds a bit like a time-capsule itself. Like the music is frozen into time. Trapped in Amber sounds like a natural follow-up to Painted Rivers of Regret, which is one of the best Kaspel solo records in years, and is, like its predecessor, fully instrumental. Trapped in Amber does not disappoint. In fact, it shines and shimmers throughout the two side-long tracks. Side one, the title track, opens with a brief operatic female voice, that leads into a gorgeous shimmering piano theme with added gated reverbed sounds. The music has a gentle quality, sounding at times so hesitant it feels the music could break down any second. The side ends with more operatic female voices. A true beauty. The second side Christmas On The Moon surprisingly starts with a bright keyboard sequence/rhythm that instantly flashed my mind back to the Sand LP by Ragnar Grippe, which, accidentally, is a brilliant album well worth listening to. To this sequence various sounds and environmental recordings are sparsely added. A melody line is introduced. That may sound like a simple concept, but it takes a lot of talent to make this work. Kaspel pulls it off beautifully. Even though this pressing is limited to 350 copies, it remains to be seen of course if this album becomes as collectable as the stamp. It is however, just as brilliant.
'VIVMMI' by Mirko Uhlig was already reviewed in Vital Weekly 525. Back then Frans de Waard wrote "What was already present in the music by Aalfang Mit Pferdekopf (or perhaps the others, but I don't know them) is the element of drone music, here again playing an important role. There is also the extended use of field recordings, especially bird calls, the slowed down piano and guitar sounds and the more obscured sounds of objects falling to the ground or a door squeaking. The work is recorded at a very low volume, which is a pity since one has to crank the volume all the way up to hear something and that seems unnecessary to me. Mirko Uhlig plays a form of drone music that is highly refreshing, touched by influences of some of the work of Nurse With Wound, but with enough of it's own. It's drone related, has field recordings and processed instruments, all the common elements so to say, but he creates something that is beyond the ordinary. It is about time that he went out to produce his first real CD." That is yet to happen, but De Waard has put his money where his mouth is, and re-released the highly limited CDR (65 were made) onto LP, and Uhlig did a fine job at remastering, making the whole thing a louder and a bit more present, without losing that great touch of sensitivity. Packed in a similar grey cardboard cover like the likewise fine LP by pick-up on Plinkity Plonk last year, this is yet again a small edition (130), but a lovely item to cherish. (FK)
GLÖGGERNE & MARTIN KLAPPER - WITH
SOUND! (10" by Tonometer)
Tricksters, these two. On the sleeve, 'With Sound!' advertises itself as a 45 r.p.m. record, while on the vinyl itself it indicates 33 r.p.m. This being an experimental release, an adventurous listener is free to try both speeds on for size, though the slower of the two appears to be the correct rate of rotation. Musically speaking, Klapper and Glöggerne (Mikkel Ring and Christian Skjødt) perform jerky, quixotic improvisations which range from sparse to chaotic. In addition to electronics and guitar, the trio also employs inventively-utilized detritus - toys and "amplified objects" - to populate their spasmodic performances, lending an unpredictable "junk-noise" effect to the proceedings. Though it ebbs and flows, Side A is at times positively volatile; played at loud volume, the artists' impulsive sonic zaniness becomes almost oppressive in its hectic exuberance - it's the type of composition that grabs you by the shoulders and shakes you about. Critical to the trio's sound is a sense of tomfoolery - as this music reaches its manic climaxes, a sense of jovial goofiness is impressed upon the listener; ultimately, these three musicians are just having a whale of a time. Even at its more docile moments, the sound is pretty topsy-turvy - the prickly clicking and electric jack manipulation during the mid-section of side A, for example. Then there's the more pensive side B, which begins with restraint, agglomerates into a caterwaul of bells and blonks, and eventually to comes back down again in a whirl of cartoonish ephemera, organ schmaltz, and, eventually, dark, odious ambiance. All in all, an unpredictable whale of a record. (MT)
IAN HOLLOWAY & BANKS BAILEY - A BRIEF
SOJOURN (CDR by Quiet World)
The first time Banks Bailey and Ian Holloway worked together was when they had a third man on board, Darren Tate, on 'Summerland' (see Vital Weekly 635), and now just the two of them. Holloway, the labelboss here, is someone who has relatively simple means to create drone music. First as Psychic Space Invasion and now under his own name. An organ, a few sound effects, it's all he needs, or so it seems. His music is not the most original around, but its very consistent in approach. He sometimes adds his own field recordings to it but he feels he's not always satisfied with what comes out of it, so that were Banks Bailey comes in. Bailey has been recording fields since 2003, being influenced by Monos as a matter of fact, and produced a disc for Quiet World before. His work here fits the drones of Holloway perfectly, or, perhaps, its the other way around: maybe the organ sounds of Holloway fits the fields. It starts out with an organ, which over the course of the thirty some minutes, seems to be either totally disappearing or gets altered in such a way that we no longer recognize it as such. Water, birds, insects find their place in this piece, which is actually quite a nice, if not, perhaps, a bit too loosely organized. Towards the end I thought it the several elements (various field recordings and various drone bits), seemed to be stuck together rather than finely woven. But the first twenty minutes or so minutes this was great stuff. (FdW)
VARIATIONS IN WHITE PART 1 (CDR by White
MUBLES - BILBOCENTRISMO (CDR by Hamaika)
These two releases were send to me by Miguel A Garcia, who has a track on one of them, and takes part in the other. The first one is a compilation in which the artists were 'commissioned to sonically interpret the color white', and has four tracks of each around 10 minutes. The package resembles the 12K esthetic when it comes to design, and the music is also from that some micro-scene. Lots of deep, low bass rumble, a few mid-range sounds and even fewer high end sounds. Andy Graydon wins the contest for the lowest rumble, trying to shred the speakers. No doubt all of these tracks are the result of heavy processing of field recordings but there are minor differences. Lawrence English plays a rather musical piece of drones, Shinkei never hides his field recordings, whereas Garcia uses the sounds of motors, and Graydon as found the deepest cave around. Nice music, although hardly without surprise.
It seemed like yesterday or so that I reviewed Mubles, but it was in Vital Weekly 644. Its a free improvisation group of 'the worst improvisers' in Bilbao, Al Karpenter, Loty Negarti, Kakofunk, Carlos Valverde and Miguel A. Gracia, which is a somewhat different line-up as on the previous release. I have no idea why Gracia calls this the 'worst' improvisers. Maybe that notion of being the worst improvisers, is to make some sort of statement about improvising - 'any can do it' - or perhaps they hope for a review which says this is great and they laugh their heads of. Well, this release isn't bad, but it isn't great either. Unlike the previous CDR, which was a mixture of noise and improvisation, this new one doesn't deal with noise as such. Its a total free play of drums, guitar, toys, maybe even a bit of electronics here and there, and some of the pieces are actually quite nice. But then its all way too long, and we have to wade through long fragments of disjointed sounds that don't connect very much. Even when it says 'edited by Miguel A. Garcia & Loty Negarti', I think it should have much more concise than this. (FdW)
STROM NOIR - SEN SIMNEJ NOCI (CDR by Hibernate)
HAKOBUNE - ISOHEL (3"CDR by Hibernate)
From time to time we receive music by Strom Noir,
from the Czech Republic if I am not mistaken, and its always like a time machine, a stopped clock. A bunch of tracks, nine in the case of 'Sen Zimnej Noci' of highly ambient music. It seems as if there no development in the music of Strom Noir. I was thinking, does it matter? Perhaps to a reviewer it does, and perhaps it doesn't to the fans. Excellent ambient music made with guitars and a bit of field recordings, peacefully humming their way into the living room. Right down from the Brian Eno book of ambient music, this is great drone music, that indeed holds absolutely no surprises but its a damn fine disc for a grey afternoon.
Ambient music is also at stack on the release by Takahiro Yorifuji, who already released on Symbolic Interaction (see Vital Weekly 658), U-Cover, Install, Tobira and Waterscape. Its however a bit different than the music of Strom Noir. 'Late Autumn' is built around somewhat louder drone material, which seems to finds its origin in some more fierce organ like sounds. A more uptight version of drone music at work here. 'Late Spring' also has some darker undercurrents, but throughout has a somewhat lighter charm to it. Quite elegant dark ambient music. (FdW)
HONG CHULKI - AMPLIFIED WC (3"CDR by
Ghost & Son)
NICK HOFFMAN - ANCIENT TAPE MACHINE VOL. 2 (cassette by Pilgrim Talk)
I received both of these together, but I am not sure how they are related. Hong Chulki we came across before, and belongs to the current scene of improvisers from Korea. He does however also music for film and installation. 'Amplified WC' is an installation piece at the Nam June Paik Art Center in 2009, where Paik presented 'Prepared WC' in 1963. I could rewrite the whole press text, but basically it deals with feedback loops, contact microphones on the ventilation duct and tin foil. It would be nice to see this, rather than just hear it. Although its an interesting piece, not static at all actually, but moving with an increasing and decreasing feedback, its also quite noise based and perhaps a bit long for the twenty minutes captured here. If you don't know the story, you'd probably put this down as improvised noise. Not a bad release, but a bit long.
Also on the improvisation scheme is Nick Hoffman, mostly known as Katchmere and mostly for his electronic music, but under his own name improvises with percussion - at least on this release. Value for money this release! On side A we have a recording from Boone (Iowa) on the left channel, and Fukuoka (Japan) on the right channel, while on side B various field recordings from Seoul are on separate channels, while on the center (stereo) channel we have a live recording from Chicago. An obscure release, I must say. Things are very low on percussion side, slow, sometimes with a bit of feedback or no input mixer stuff. The fact that's separated is actually quite nice. On both sides it works out well. I have no idea whether there has been any sort of edit or if we are listening straight to concert recordings cut from the beginning, but there is a great sense of minimalism to this material. Peaceful and experimental. Very nice. (FdW)
CHIHEI HATAKEYAMA - WHITE SUN (3"CDR
POLLYPRAHA - JULE (3"CDR by Taalem)
NATURE OF DISLOCATION - ELEMENTS (3"CDR by Taalem)
SAITO KOJI - PRAYER (3"CDR by Taalem)
Four new releases in the ever expanding horizon of Taalem, and curious enough all four are by Japanese musicians. The first one is by an artist who already had some releases on Kranky, Spekk, Room40 and recently on Hibernate (see Vital Weekly 699). One piece here, almost twenty-four minutes. The sine wave drone like opening quickly expands into some sort of processed instruments, most likely to be a guitar and some granular synthesis. In the past I wasn't blown away by Hatakeyama works, but I thought this one was quite nice. Not highly original, maybe a bit long, but nevertheless a piece that works well in the warm microsound ambient glitch sun.
I never heard of any of the other three artists/bands. Pollypraha I know nothing about. Its not easy to say if what he does is the result of bending strings along sound effects or some sort of elaborate processing through computerized means. It seems so on 'Jule 0', the opening tracks. A great piece. In 'Jule #', he plays around with field recordings, but in a less exciting way. In 'Jule 1' the strings return, albeit a bit darker and subdued, but a great piece it is again. A fine release of two excellent drone pieces and one fine piece of field recordings.
Three pieces can also be found on 'Elements' by Nature Of Dislocation. This is a collective of artists who work in multimedia. The music side is created by Hiroki Sasajima and Takahisa Hirao. Their three pieces are all the closest these four get to 'regular' ambient music. Long waving, sustained sounds generated through digital versions of analogue synthesizers. Hardly a big surprise this release, but it works well. Deeply atmospheric and organic music. No surprise, executed with great care.
Saito Koji already released on Gears Of Sand and Resting Bell. He too plays guitar and sound effects and fits Nature Of Dislocation perfectly. One piece though here that sounds like a choir of angels (appropriate for the time of the year I'd say) and also heavily based in ambient land. Another damn fine piece, executed with great care, but also one that is perhaps a bit too much based in tradition. Not bad as such though. It carries on the tradition, I'd say. (FdW)
JUSTIN BENNETT - THE CITY AMPLIFIED (book
By now, Justin Bennett, in his mid forties, is recognized as a serious, prize winning artist. Recently he was awarded the Ouborg prize, which is a prize for a groundbreaking artist from the city of Den Haag, where Bennett lives since leaving Sheffield. Part of that prize is having a publication out, and surprisingly its not a CD or a piece of vinyl, but a book. Two pieces on his work, that largely deals with Bennett's interest in sounds from the city, more than from the rural life. Then there is a bunch of drawings that deal with the city and an a leparello of great photos of BMB con, a trio that involves with performance on specific sounds and in which are curiously, according to the photos sometimes to be found in the country side. Informative book, a delight to watch. A pity there is no CD I thought, but you can choose from a wide collection of works already out there. (FdW)
OLIVES - TREMBLE (cassette by Moon Glyph)
'Tremble' marks the third release from Minneapolis' Olives, aka Ross Nervig and Moon Glyph big boss Steve Rosborough. On this well-designed C-32 the two have designed what they dub a "subversion of traditional spiritual song structures and lyrical tropes," an approach which translates to a sort of ritualistic, vaguely psychedelic, and firmly strange sonic exploration. As the press release asserts, the tape is a challenging yet listenable affair - an apt description which applies to all but grating "Onan Revisited," which places cacophonous vocals samples atop an electronic haze and a repeated, airy piano phrase. The rest of the cassette is a strange and eclectic beast, ramped with a ceremonial, mystical atmosphere which suggests spiritual overtones. Case in point: "Were You There," which pairs distorted guitar and tribal percussion in a manner reminiscent of Godspeed You! Black Emperor climaxes, eventually bringing in chanted vocals to complete some sort of primal religious rite. Then there's the eighties synth line and new-age atmospherics of "St. Sebastian," and the longing, post-rock guitar tremble on, yes, "Tremble." On a somewhat different note, "Michael 'Dracula' Goldberg" and "Glass Olives" both employ vocals which nod to Ian Curtis, the former in a post-punk meets no-wave vein, the latter as some sort of pagan ceremony excursion.
Zany stuff. (MT)
From: "LtR@web" <email@example.com>
This is the second release of FeedbackLoop Label, this time around is a compilation called MANIFESTO, which is intended to showcase some of the music and musicians that embody the spirit of this label.
In that sense, FeedbackLoop label proudly presents its MANIFESTO not with words but with music, and its available for free download. The artists in this compilation all share a passion for experimental and emotional feelings, delivering a collection of ambiances and moods that hopefully you'll enjoy.
AVAILABLE here: http://feedbacklooplabel.blogspot.com/ & http://www.myspace.com/feedbacklooplabel
There is no restriction to genres only a passion for timeless music. I tried to gift listeners with some of the best music out there in the world, and I hope that after you listen to this countless times you will get back to the artists and get to know them better and support them.
If you like this music and if possible promote it among your contacts and friends, and check the first release Subterminal - Bitstreams.