number 748
week 38


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. Feed is broken for the time being

NACHTJOURNAL 2009 (CD by  Satelita)
CORNELIUS CARDEW - WORKS 1960-1970 (CD by +3Db Records) *
LEMUR - AIGEAN (CD by +3Db Records) *
STRIE - SLEPTIS (CD by Soundscaping) *
BEN OWEN - 05012009 FP (CDR by Winds Measure Recordings) *
ROBERT MAYSON - HROSS (CDR by Black Petal) *
XNOBBQX - (LIVE IN PARMA) (CDR by Black Petal) *
BERTIN - MINI (cassette by Stenze Quo Muziek)
GOVERNMENT ALPHA ABERRATIONS (cassette by Quagga Curious Sounds)
RESUMING TREATMENT THE FIRST YEAR (CDR and Cassette by Fragment Factory)

A composer of whom I never heard, who is also a poet. The booklet lists a whole bunch of festival where he presented his compositions - none of which ring any bells, I must admit, and also his text 'Expropriation and reappropriation' is a bit alien. Maybe I need some more education? It deals with 'space', I think, in a philosophical sense. But that's as far as guessing brings me today. It says 'musica elettroacustica' and that's, aha, something I do recognize. The music is based on electro-acoustic elements, being treated through means of the computer (I think). The work was already composed in 2006, and premiered that year at the Goethe Institut in Rome (which is another name I recognize!). It seems to me that Coluccino belongs to the world of acousmatics, but perhaps from a some what more adventurous kind. Of the four pieces that 'Neuma Q' consists of, I had most problems with the first part. It seems a more or less random approach towards sound processing takes place, ranging from very loud to quiet, but the whole thing comes across as a bit too chaotic for my taste. The other three pieces are more linear in approach - building from start to finish, around central themes of sound. It doesn't bounce up and down the scale, but seem to work from inside the sound itself. The best is saved until the end, the fourth and longest piece of this quartet with sounds dying out beyond their sustain, a carefully constructed building of the piece and a fine range of acoustic sounds (flutes perhaps?). Quite a great CD altogether, except perhaps that first piece. (FdW)
Address: http://www.dieschachtel.com

NACHTJOURNAL 2009 (CD by  Satelita)
‘Nachtjournal 2009' is a fine compilation of a live outtakes of concerts from the experimental music events series, as they took place in Tsunami and Rakettenklub in Cologne. Fragments have been chosen and compiled in such a way that they make up one coherent continuum of very different groups and projects. Maybe for this reason the pieces carry no name. Most of the participating artists are new to me. The cd cd opens with a piece by Multibass Orchester, a quartet of four bass players from Cologne, producing a piece of deep and heavy drones. To be followed by a whirling percussion piece by overactive american drummer Eli Keszler. An impressive improvisation. On return the third piece by Robair , Hubsch and Ulher is again a very calm sound improvisation. Most of the pieces that follow keep us in the regions of abstract electro-acoustic music from Flickr, Pirx, Core of the Coalman, Adachi Tomomi & DJ Sniff, a.o. Institut fur Feinmotorik stay close to their name with a piece built of looped sounds. The fragment by Koro is the exception on this compilation. They come most close to rock music with their gorgeous kind of free (kraut)rock with the fantastic guitar players Olaf Rupp and Dr. Borg.
Carefully compiled compilations like this one, show that a compilation can be more then just the sum of its parts. (DM)
Address: http://www.satelita.de/

In 2008 Audio Tong released ‘Dirty Maps’ the first album of Trevonic. It contained tracks for trumpet and electronics of very spacious, a bit melancholic, delicate, moody music. This description is also very fitting for his new release ‘No Red Lights, No Red lights’. In an environment of minimalistic and sparse electronics Trever Hagen blows his trumpet or cornet, resulting in effective and moody atmospheres, very spacey and laid back music. Calm and echoing sounds that find their way through the mist of Budapest, Bristol and Prague, where he did his field recordings. In one track Hagen is assisted by another musician. On ’Moszkva Ter' Zoltan Dujisin plays the piano. This kind of music is absolutely not spectacular or demanding in any sense. The more this indicates Hagen is master of his craft, as his ambient music is absolutely THERE. (DM)
Address: http://www.audiotong.net/

CORNELIUS CARDEW - WORKS 1960-1970 (CD by +3Db Records)
LEMUR - AIGEAN (CD by +3Db Records)
To review classical music, as I noted before, is not really my cup of tea. Not because I don't like it, but simply because I am not qualified to say anything useful about it, and although I could pretend, but that doesn't seem like a good idea. Cornelius Cardew was a politically inspired composer from the sixties and seventies who died in a hit and run accident some (almost) three decades ago. His best known work is 'The Great Learning' and the visual score 'Treatise'. There is an excerpt of 'Treatise' on this CD of works from the sixties, as performed by John Tilbury (piano, who was in AMM, in which Cardew also participated for a while in the sixties), Michael Duch (doublebass) and Rhodri Davies (harp). Here the pieces from the sixties are played, when Cardew was more of a composer of avant-garde music. Lots of piano, and a little bit less of doublebass and the harp only seems to be largely present in 'Unintended Piano Music', which also seems to be an entirely different piece from the sixties, moving towards the music of the seventies. I must admit two things: I played this very early on the day, much more earlier than anything else in a long time and that I quite enjoyed it. Maybe it was because I am tired, or otherwise a bit distracted, but to me it was some nice music. Highly modern classical and maybe something I didn't fully understand, but very pleasant.
'Music for one' is the name of a new series by +3DB Records, in which improvising musicians are presented with a solo work. Duch, who also played on the Cardew record, plays of course double bass on this solo record. Now this is music I understand much better. A very pleasant recording too, just like the previous, in which Duch shows us to be a great, capable player of the double bass and he offers a bunch of exciting improvisations, with some of the right amount of variations possible. From wild and vivid to quiet and introspective. Duch, throughout, plays his bass as it is supposed to be played and not always a big wooden box that happens to have a bunch of strings, but not exclusively. Duch knows his various ways to the instrument and shows that in a great way.
And more Duch is to be found on the second release by Lemur for +3Db, a quartet of Duch, and Bj»rnar Habbestad (flutes), Hild Sofie Tafjord (french horn) and Lene Grenager (cello). The first release I reviewed was their first album on +3Db, in Vital Weekly 649, but there have been more albums. Just like the previous album (never a good point perhaps following a two year gap between this and the previous album, I wondered) we find this new album in what we could call traditionally improvised music. Still the various instruments do what they were once build for, to sound like flutes, bass, horn and cello and Lemur still have that chamber like musical quality. Perhaps its a pity that some of it may sound very much like their previous work, but Lemur exactly know what they are doing and they do it very well. They are not yet convinced to change their modus operandi and perhaps that's right: why should they? (FdW)
Address: http://www.plus3db.net

A solo project from one the members of Emeralds, their guitarist to be precise. Mark McGuire has already released a whole bunch solo stuff, but they were in small to micro print runs. This might be his very first solo outing that is more available than any other. An odd release, and hardly Mego like, so that's always good. This is pretty 'standard' sort of solo guitar, sound effects and mixed in people talking, from the big audio diary of the family of McGuire (made by himself and his father). It doesn't sound like Emeralds, unless you say, with some vivid imagination that this solo guitar stuff has the same spacious character as his band. Well, maybe it has, indeed, but to compare both I'd say that is comparing two planets, say Earth and Mars. They are both planets, yet both a very different. McGuire uses the loop device to great lengths here, strums nice bits and does throughout quite a nice bit of music. Nothing special, very home grown, and thoroughly relaxing. Nothing electronic is the good Mego sense of the word, which may scare off a few listeners, but I thought it was all quite entertaining - also in the right sense of the word. (FdW)
Address: http://editionsmego.com

Another artist leaving behind his old 'band' name and working under his own name: Brandon Nickell used to work as Aemae. For his first work under his real name he drew inspirations from personal experiences, extensive research with auditory hallucinations and a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke. Nickell writes that his new album does not fit the 2010 trend of 'cassette revivalist culture, analog synthesizers and nostalgic aesthetics', but he uses computer based sequencers, a Sequential Circuits Pro One synthesizer, the human voice and various other digital and analog means. I believe that can be heard. The sound is raw at times, but has a great refined character, all recorded crisp and clear. Nickell joins the ranks of those artists that come from the world of noise (although in his case never that loud), that seem to be moving away from the strict noise sense and start working with a sound that is deeper, more complex and more layered than just a set of random noise bleeps. Not every moment is great however. 'Time Throne' takes too long to move away from random loops into a more organic structured piece. That is however the only downside. The other four pieces have this organic approach and make indeed a great audio hallucination. Working with quite an obscure set of sounds, Nickell creates a great world of sound. Sustaining sounds, gliding scales, part firmly rooted in the world of drones, but never too 'soft', but nicely 'present'. An intelligent and excellent release, with a great cover. (FdW)
Address: http://www.isounderscore.com

STRIE - SLEPTIS (CD by Soundscaping)
The label Soundscaping sounds like a new label to me and their line is 'sonic excursions into new electronic music', and the two releases that are presented here do indeed show that interest. First we have Chihei Hatakeyama, of whom we reviewed releases before on Room40, Hibernate, Taalem, Home Normal and such labels alike. For his release 'Variations' he 'embraced the opportunity to contemplate his own compositional techniques - to understand its meaning and the processed sound, resulting from his usual production method of composing in real-time DSP software environments, where heavily processing of pre-recorded sound material transforms into different forms, often to an extent with no traces of the originals'. He uses guitar, piano and vibraphone here, and a bit of field recordings here and there. Indeed its not easy to recognize a guitar in 'Variation For Electric Guitar 1' or to tell its difference in sound from say 'Variation For Piano 1'. The six pieces may sound a like, but throughout there are subtle differences and perhaps it all sounds the same, if examined superficially. Hardly a problem, since it makes this into a very coherent album of microsound meeting ambient. In Hatakeyama's body of work hardly a surprise (and that one might feel is a pity), yet it is a mighty fine addition to the work he has been exploring so far. Great late night relaxing music.
Iden Reinhart is behind Strie, who 'lives in a secluded mansion on the rural outskirts of a town in Central Europe that shall remain nameless'. Otherwise the label doesn't care to tell us much about what she did, other than that she retired from an earlier career 'performing with several quartets in Europe'. So that's all we know. Her album is strange. Not bad, but just strange. Hard to get a grip on, what does she want? Or perhaps: what is it all about? Strie plays a rather curious mixture of styles. The CD starts with some rather conventional glitch music, but soon spreads out over wide variety, in which voices pop up, classical music, more glitch, ambient layers, jazz bits, bits of electronic rhythm. Lots of real instruments, lots of computer processing: here is someone at work who knows what she is doing. It doesn't make much sense, or so it seems, but oddly enough it does when you hear it. Atmospheres shift around, but always have a melancholic touch to them. An album that sounds more like compilation than one by just a single artist. But as said, also quite a pleasing album, all a bit a sombre mood. Very moody, highly varied and very nice. (FdW)
Address: http://www.soundscaping.net

Following three releases under his own name and one as Silver Stars Rising, Kevan Revis made the jump from CDRs to LPs and with 'Sollicitudo' he released his first one, in a limited edition of 100 copies. Not a lot of information on this one, but at least it looks better than his previous CDR only releases. There are no track titles, so perhaps its two tracks? One each per side, or perhaps its one long track, divided over two sides of the vinyl? But then, when listening to the record, one could also think that Revis uses various short bits that stand by themselves but are somehow also connected? Revis leaves us in the dark with that, but also when it comes to the nature of the instruments or sound sources used. By and large I think its a work of electronic music, using an array of synthesizers and sound effects on the first side and on the second side he ventures out in the world of sound collage and noise, mainly from what could very well be acoustic instruments. On both sides however he uses the cut up technique, which especially on the second side is set to a crude use. Here he opts for a rather noisy music on this side, but he never takes his material over the top. Revis is not a noise musician in the classical sense of the word, but rather plays some nice, low resolution music. The other side is less noise oriented, and seems to be going out in a more psychedelic field. Here too we find we occasionally acoustic samples of an undefined nature. The sound quality overall is not too great, but I'm not sure if that is due to the pressing or the recording of the record. It makes however a distinct difference, and falls in between genres. Not really noisy enough, but surely a far cry from the world of microsound. Quite a nice record! (FdW)
Address: http://www.boxer-records.com/

BEN OWEN - 05012009 FP (CDR by Winds Measure Recordings)
There is some curious line on this release: 'frying pan light ship, hudson river, new york, ny. field recordings for underfoot installation'. So there you are. There is a light ship called frying pan, and Ben Owen presented some kind of installation based on field recordings. Right? Or is there are frying pan as part of some installation on a light ship? No, I don't think so. Four sound pieces here, all dealing with field recordings. Lengthy pieces of sound, with lots of water and rusty metal , both from above as well as below the surface. Most of the time the music is very quiet and seems to be focussing on detail and minimalist movements, like the sea waves against the ship on a calm day. A very nice release of unprocessed field recordings material, but I then also think this material is layered and culled from various sources, perhaps two or three at the same time. It makes a nice ambient soundtrack as such. Perhaps not as 'new' in approach, but surely quite good. (FdW)
Address: http://www.windsmeasurerecordings.net

XNOBBQX - (LIVE IN PARMA) (CDR by Black Petal)
On the vastly expanding Black Petal label, as always with nice handmade packaging, an artist of whom I never heard: Robert Mayson. He was a member of Grey Daturas, Breathing Shrine, Whitehorse, Collapsed Toilet Vietnam, Maggoted, Bone Sheriff and EOH. All of it to be found in the world where improvised meets rock meets noise. I have no idea what Mayson plays in these bands nor what he plays here. Four tracks of sheer minimalism. Played on… let me think… either a set of connected effect boxes, creating a feedback loop, or something like that with at the beginning some ultra cheap synthesizer. A dirty sound, but a great one too. Think 'Metal Machine Music' by Lou Reed but then with a bit more variation per piece. By opening up filters and closing gates he subtly changes the color of the sound. It stays static until the moment you realize its not static at all. Mayson knows how to alter the sound input, which is probably very static and create something that is truly captivating.
Also minimal, but then entirely different, is the duo called xNoBBQx, who have had releases on Siltbreeze, Breakdance the Dawn, Root Don Lonie For Cash, The Seedy R, Palustre and Golden Lab. The duo is Matt Earle and Nick Dan, guitars and drums. '(Live In Parma)' was recorded in April 2009 in Parma, Italy and shows what noise rock meets improvisation can be: a truly minimal affair of not very coherent bashing of instruments. Its like they say: 'my four year old could do it too', and that perhaps is true, but they never fly out from Australia to Italy to perform that in front of an audience, who may have even paid to witness this. I like this free energy music, which doesn't equal speed I should add, but its a very consistent mass of sound. Now that's something a four year could never accomplish, I'd say. I am sure it doesn't beat the real thing - the concert situation - but I must say I quite enjoyed this trip. Both releases are packed in sandpaper - and that is hardly a surprise, given the musical content. (FdW)
Address: http://www.blackpetal.com

To change into a wolf, that is what this release is about. Not just a piece of music, but it comes with neatly designed and printed pocket book on the subject of wolves. In history, in military and in legends. A well researched work. I don't like wolves, or any canine descendent for that matter, but that didn't stop me from wanting to hear this. Thomas Bey Williams Bailey is someone whose work I respect  a lot. He's one of those people who think about noise and do something that is more interesting than what is regular in that field. For this release he works with a 'feraliminal lycanthropizer drone modified with "spectral shaping" plug ins', samples of black metal using the word 'wolf', processed vocals spontaneously captured during fits of rage and 'additional sonic ornamentation, of a too varied nature to list here'. This are put together into a piece of music that lasts almost thirty minutes and that has an unsettling power. Particular loud here, compared to some of his previous work, but Bailey knows how to pull back and add that much needed variation in his work. Brutally loud at times, and unsettling quiet at well chosen times. White static noise, banging metal samples, piercing drones and uncontrolled voices make this both an unsettling and pleasant work. It didn't change me into a wolf, nor did it make them appreciate more (or perhaps even less, come to think of it), but Bailey proofs once again to be a master of intelligent noise. (FdW)
Address: http://www.mirrortapes.blogspot.com

And then it was all over. This is the twelfth and final part in the weather series from Toy Bizarre, based on weather conditions in Atherton Gardens in Australia. A different cover, full color and no mentioning of what the weather was like. What is also different, is that this is a some kind of collaboration, between Cedric Peyronnet (whom we know otherwise as Toy Bizarre, and who then are the mentioned Toy Bizarre Orchestra?) and one Jacques Soddell (I wonder if there is a relation with Thembi Soddell, whom we reviewed before). This is a slightly different piece again, not unlike previous releases, but with minor differences in the music. This sounds more like a live recording of a duo improvisation, using electronics (laptops maybe) and inside those electronics we find those field recordings from the previous eleven releases, but then further processed, with some very abrupt changes in the sound material, with adds a slightly disturbing character to the piece. It also ends abruptly - as to keep it in the twelve minute range (like all previous releases) - but here it sounds a bit too odd for an ending. Throughout a very fine piece of music, with some interesting moves and a fresh approach to field recordings in a live context. (FdW)
Address: http://www.kaon.org

BERTIN - MINI (cassette by Stenze Quo Muziek)
The bad news first: this tape is sold out. At least according to the label, but perhaps they can direct you to a place where you can get one. Or perhaps send an e-mail to Bertin himself and ask him to put it on his bandcamp site. Bertin loves plastic toys, especially when they have keys. Like produced by Yamaha and Casio. The nine pieces on this cassette are named after the instrument you hear. So there is 'Yamaha PSS 150', 'Casio SK 5 (glass sample)', Yamaha SHS-10 & Mini Pops Junior & Echo' etc. Bertin also loves a simply melody. He plays them on his tiny old keyboards. This time no vocals, just nine lovely instrumental songs. This is one of those things that came out in 2010 in a shamefully small edition and which might very well be discovered in twenty years as a lost masterpiece and be re-issued on whatever format then is the craziest thing. Now in 2010, I am more than happy with hearing it now. A grey day and no reason to leave the house: this tape is on repeat for a few hours! Happy music. (FdW)
Address: http://stenzequo.blogspot.com/

GOVERNMENT ALPHA ABERRATIONS (cassette by Quagga Curious Sounds)
RESUMING TREATMENT THE FIRST YEAR (CDR and Cassette by Fragment Factory)
Packaging: that would be a theme that links these two releases other than degenerate noise, the C40 arrived in a purple velvet pouch with  inside the (typically broken) case a cigarette card of Lord Dundreary from the Dandies series of cards from John Player & sons, Fragment Factories birthday present was in a more industrial corrugated card box, spray painted with  CDr & cassette in thin blue plastic.... From a purely  anecdotal history wasn’t it the famous Sergeant Pepper that began the vogue of packaging as something more than – well… packaging, employing not only a “real artist” – Peter Blake – but the whole idea of art and popular consumerism somehow welding together in what became that high point of the 1960s which in its promotion of the consumerist object, LP sleeve, or the ubiquitous MINI – car and skirt, arrived via a strange conflation of radical thought – from the ICA – via mass consumerism, to one where Marx is either pals with Engles or Spenser both in divergent ways becoming the body and soul of the bourgeoisie who now began feeding from the supermarket… So should we , can we un-pack, when even the idea of thinness goes from women /girls through to lap top computers and mobile phones, and “I” whatever Apple thinks we need next, and fat is an issue,  the emblem of the Harsh Noise scene is a fat arse – female of course, is this any different from the Rolls Royce Spirit of Ecstasy, or topless women that sell newspapers and promote la revolution on the barricades?  Sexism, Rock and Roll and radicalism… passing thoughts… however unusually lacking in any pornographics the Government Alpha is a general cacophony of sound works, some mores the pity swathed in reverb, obvious synthesiser sound and studio panning, but elsewhere feeding back  screaming textures of what might be becoming neo-classical noise- in the feeling that compositional devices might be just around the corner? FFs offering is a comp  featuring: Bryan Lewis Saunders, Sutekh Hexen, Yoshihiro Kikuchi, Filthy Turd, Krube, Drowner, Gray Mullet, Out Of The Unknown, BBBlood, Instinct Control, Regosphere and Duncan Harrison… to namecheck them all, and as I’ve wasted much space in pointless digression I can only pass a much too brief comment on the work, however I could do without the Vincent Price type
intro dialogues, corny or kitsch… (obviously) a mixture – some ambient nonsense but on the whole swathes of junk, feedback and white noise, some particularly narrow in dynamics… some “spooky” (not)- industrial… some deconstruction of sound / instruments – circuit trickery knob twiddling et al. … I can see the reference to torture, but given I can turn down or even off the work it doesn’t follow…  I find all references to head splitting in noise somewhat banal, as clearly they are not akin to putting ones head on the euro star line… however all of this passes into some kind of perspective in reference, as opposed to comparison, non is found or sought, to the noise as noise as noise of  BBBloods (track 10 in case I missed something) … who unlike others fails to yield to any form of control or figuration, is a wonderful unthought out of control thing of noise, the strangeness of the ease of noise like this is that few can just do it, though perhaps such id
less freedom is understandably difficult.  However  “Chicago based unit known as Instinct Control, consisting of Ryan T. Dunn and his circuit bent Sony Stereo 530 Solid State reel to reel tape recorder 40 minutes of minimal feedback/bending weirdness” on the cassette,  offers some validation of my digression - mostly at canine frequencies of glitchity… but interestingly a post-modern obsession with the 60s?, this is a Vintage machine – 1967 the very year of the Sony TC 530 and Sgnt Pepper! Spooky eh?  in passing a wonderful demo here youtube.com/watch?v=egybhmaGKDI,  but how odd – or not - that now within what could be called the avant gardists is a recourse to 40+ year old devices, mechanical, not god forbid conceptual? (the question mark here is more than ironic but points to various spectres appearing today) However on such a chronological note (sic) can I wish all concerned many happy returns (how very Nietzsche ien of me! ha ha- and “a splendid time is guaranteed for all”…. Consumerism rules…ruled?)
Address: http://fragmentfactory.blogspot.com/
Address: http://www.myspace.com/quaggacurioussoundsandoddities