number 776
week 15


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!
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OBSIL - VICINO (CD by Psycho Navigation) *
[HAVEN] - AMITY (CD by Zoharum)
AGDAM (CD by Agdam Records)
OUT OF SILENCE (2CD by Podalida/Modisti)
NICOLA RATTI - 220 TONES (CD by Die Schachtel) *
TULA - DON'T SAY A WORD (7" by Static Caravan)
RLW - EARLY 5: GRAUZEIT (CDR by Songs From Under The Floorboards) *
KUWAYAMA & URABE - HETEROPTICS (CDR by Songs From Under The Floorboards) *
MIKE BULLOCK - MILD DISAPPEARANCES (CDR by Songs From Under The Floorboards) *
THE TOBACCONISTS - OCEAN DRAMA (CDR by Songs From Under The Floorboards) *
B*TONG - THE SOUL EATER (CDR by Gears Of Sand) *
BAD SECTOR - RAW DATA (3"CDR by Taalem) *
D'INCISE - ARPENTER (3"CDR by Taalem) *
ENDLESS TIME (cassette by Throne Heap Devotional Music)
L.R. PADGETT - EMBOSSED EARTH (cassette by Throne Heap Devotional Music)
INDIGNANT SENILITY - LABIRINTHINE INCOGNATION (cassette by Throne Heap Devotional Music)
BILL NACE - MUSIC FOR UNFINISHED FILM (cassette by Throne Heap Devotional Music)

Pitz  is an ensemble from Poland consisting of seven musicians playing guitars, sax, vocals, electronics, drums, etc. 'Motety i Jutrznia' is their first (?) and self-released cd. In one word Pitz is a low profile garage outfit with a love for noisy soundscapes. The first ten pieces from this cd make up the work 'Motet'. 'Jutrznia' is the name of the closing piece on this cd. Like the cover of this cd, the music is dark and noisy. Heavy and multi-layered sounds and noise roll into your room. The name 'Motet' refers to a medieval musical form of religious music, vocal if I'm not mistaken. Pitz choose this title for their wish "to reveal the sacredness of music, going beyond the entertainment canons to the higher stratum of reception, understanding of the sound, rhythm, murmurs, rustles and all of the components of the composition, directing the emotions released by the art, similarly to the ways man was achieving that through the different forms of religious cults." How do you reveal the sacredness of Music? What qualities, emotions etc. one has to put into the music in order to let sacredness surface? Interesting questions. Even more I would like to know why is it that Pitz focuses on this aspect of music? The fact that I have a background in theology may explain that I raise these questions here. Questions that remain questions here. Pitz crew is most convincing in the parts where they construct abstract soundscapes, like in the droney closing piece 'Jutrznia'. Excellent. In other pieces where they built upon a rhythmical base, the music has not not that much to offer. Also I have the impression that improvisation plays an important role. In the closing piece of the 'Motet' everything comes very wonderful together in a fine blend of soundscaping, improvisation, etc. Interesting band! (DM)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/pitzpkp

With music like this, I always have to think of Biota and Mnemonists. They recorded improvisations on acoustical instruments that underwent a complete metamorphosis, by manipulating processes. This way they constructed music that transcended the musical parameters where the original sounds came from.  Schubert shows  a similar interest in bringing acoustical and electronic music and sounds together. Also in his case we hear evident acoustic instruments and sounds that were manipulated and synthesized in one universe. The creator of this universe, Alexander Schubert was born in 1979 in Bremen and studied computer science and biology in Leipzig focusing on neuroinformatics and cognitive science. In relation to his other output, 'Sinebag' shows the more pop orientated side of Schubert. Although everyone in my hometown will in no way relate it to popmusic at all. So I ask myself how his other works sound like. For sure this work makes me curious for his other creations. 'Sinebag' gives room to three compositions. The first one 'Semaphores' is a very dreamy and elegant piece. This is electro-acoustic music  that is very rich and has depth. All pieces have aspects of ambient music. Slowly progressing and changing patterns define the music. Also the comparison with a pointillistic painting style comes to my mind. The musical structures are built from a wide variety of dots of sounds and Music. At some moments however I lose contact  with these ingenious structures, and it becomes a bit too much. So to be enjoyed best in parts I would say. (DM)
Address: http://www.ahornfelder.de

OBSIL - VICINO (CD by Psycho Navigation)
Born in 1981, Guilio Aldinucci started playing music when we very young, although his biography doesn't mention any specific instruments. Early on he was also interested in electronics, and he has composed for film and scores for acoustic instruments. 'Vicino' is his third album; I think I only heard his previous, 'Distances' (see Vital Weekly 702). His current label compares him to Susumu Yokota (of whom I never heard, I think) and Christian Fennesz. I can sense that, but perhaps its also a bit easy, like marketing ploy. I think Obsil's work there is more about transforming all sorts of instruments found in the orchestral lot, combining the processed sounds with the original, and obviously add a bit of field recordings, whereas somebody like Fennesz goes more inside the material and is more about the transformations. Obsil is at times a bit chaotic, but also sweet and warm at other times. Like before, sweet and harmless, and in that respect is 'Vicino' more of the same. No unpleasant surprise, that's what some people like. Me? Well, you know: I like some nice music when reading a book, but also some changes every now and then. (FdW)
Address: http://www.psychonavigation.com

[HAVEN] - AMITY (CD by Zoharum)
Zoharum is a Polish label that focus on a wide range of electronic music styles from IDM across ambient to Industrial-related styles. Three new albums has seen the light of the day. First album comes from the Polish trio consisting of Magda Glocka, Marcin Jarmulski and Michat Brychy. They called their project [Haven] and their first album was launched back in 2005 on the War Office Propaganda-label under the title "The last breath of the lonely buildings". Since then their albums has been released on various label such as Tympanik Audio and Rage In Eden. This latest album title "Amity" is the first release on the Zoharum-label. Never the less this a very nice release combining downbeat IDM with acoustic expressions of various instruments counting cello and guitar. Another important part of the musical textures is the nice vocals of Magda Glocka that reminds a little of Dead Can Dance's Lisa Gerrard in the chanting vocal style. Very nice album that balances between downbeat IDM and vocal-based electropop.
Next album is quite a different gem from the label. This time we move into industrial-grounds with the project calling itself Different State. Brain-man behind the project Different State is Polish artist Marek Marchoff who on this latest release is joined by a number of fellow artists on among others acoustic instruments such as bass and guitar. Musically the album titled "Yield" blends drone-rock, post-punk and industrial-rock into quite harsh textures leaded by a growling vocals reminiscent of early Godflesh with utter slow drum textures. The sound production is dark and unpolished to create atmospheres of filthiness and it works quite well. Last album comes from the artist Karol Su-Ka who has been active in many fields of creativity for many years. He has been working with music for 20+ years and one of his projects is this present project as Arkona. Musically present album titled "Acid landscapes" circulates in spheres of ambient with textures of IDM and dubstep in-between. The album is very much built on atmospheres and is based on materials from a long time archive of Arkona. A very interesting album. (NM)
Address: http://www.zoharum.com/

British label Cold Spring is the kind of label that shines in its ability to release a wide range of musical styles, from droning ambient textures across harsh noise territories and martial into with this astonishing compilation album focus on: Folk music. Four years ago Cold Spring released the excellent and award-winning British folk compilation "John Barleycorn Reborn". Present compilation with the title "We bring you a king with a head of gold : Dark Brittanica II" continues the style of the "John Barleycorn Reborn"-release. The compilation offers 146 minutes of atmospheric from 34 of the best artists from the current British music scene. If you are unaware of the beauty of folk music, this double disc will invite you into a sonic world of ancient beauty based on acoustic instruments and deep felt vocals of truth. An alluring experience. From the beauty of early British folk music based on traditional instrumental artistry, next album pulls the listener into extremely
different contrasts of sonic expression.
Two of present world's most border searching sound experimentalists join forces on this one. The result is nothing short of mindblowing! Japanese king of harsh noise, Masami Akita alias Merzbow manipulates and (mis)treats modern machinery into a sick but hypnotic world of aural machismo. The ear shattering noise-expressions from Merzbow is combined by one of the true legends of early pioneering industrial Z'EV. The album sounds like a blend between contemporary sound art of the extreme kind and electronic psychedelia circa early Pink Floyd. The combination of concrete steel percussions and ultra-aggressive drones of noise extremity works very well and pulls the listener into an opposite kind of listening trance in comparison to the folk world of "We bring you a king with a head of gold : Dark Brittanica II". Two excellent albums from Cold Spring. (NM)
Address: http://www.coldspring.co.uk/

Lets make it clear from beginning: Steven Severin is not Mr. Anybody. Being a co-founder of legendary British band Siouxsie & The Banshees, Steven Severin was the bassist of the legendary goth-punk band. Apparently he has more musical talents beyond the Siouxsies; Since the late 90s Steven Severin has been working on various soundtracks this being the sixth release from him. "Blood of a poet" is the entire soundtrack for a French black and white surrealist classic movie from 1930: Jean Cocteaus "Le sang dun Pote" aka "Blood of a poet". The album is built on small fragments of pieces from the soundtrack, but despite its fragmentary nature this is a pure and beautiful piece of ambient work. The elements first of all is drone-based chill out sounds spanning from dark expressions to lush and light patterns. A remarkable part of the album is the beautiful piano parts around the album and the atmospheric string patterns occurring frequently. Excellent soundtrack! (NM)
Address: http://www.coldspring.co.uk/

German artist Philipp Mnch has been an extremely productive artist since he began his first explorations back in the early 90's under a number of different flags such as Ars Moriendi, Monokrom and probably most well-known projects such as Synapscape and The Rorschach Garden. The two last mentioned projects was first of all rhythm-driven with two different approaches to expression, Synapscape working in the powernoise-style and The Rorschach Garden focusing on electropop-expressions. Under his own name Mr. Mnch moves into more experimental and abstract spheres with both elements of rhythm-texture and pure ambience. His album "Into the absurd" draws attention towards the early scene of British industrial with the mixture between semi-harsh textures and minimalist electronics. Especially early Throbbing Gristle crosses my mind thanks to drone-based minimalist industrial-noise reminiscent of earliest efforts from the industrial
pioneers. There is a great cinematic feeling upon the album with frequent use of ambient textures and distant samples of voices. Awesome album that deserves close attention with headphones. (NM)
Address: http://www.ant-zen.com/

Jrme Chassagnard was part of the project Ab Ovo before he decided to go solo in 2008 with his first album titled "(F)light" on Hymen Records. And now the time has come for his second solo shot, this time under the title "The time from underneath". An impressive effort that shows how the Belgian composer manage to create awesome atmospheres of deep grandiosity and otherworldness. There are some excellent chill-out spheres on the album that turns my memory back to the glory days of chill-out maestro Irresistible Force and Pete Namlook alias Dreamfish. Especially the track titled "Rest upon the dream" appeals with its beatless beauty meanwhile the repetitive and rather mysterious subtle rhythm-track "Space boats" allures the listener in other ways. Also the short but intense second part of "Forseen" shines out with its hypnotic trancelike nature, just like the end-piece
closes in an elegant manner thanks to its chilling atmospheres. Excellent album! (NM)
Address: http://www.hymen-records.com

Millipede's contribution is one of the reason's why I keep coming back to the awesome compilation of Hymen Records titled "Miwak twelve". The way the American composer Don Hill alias Millipede manage to create emotions is astonishing. His previous album and his first on Hymen Records, "All my best intentions", showed the strength of Millipede on a whole album. An awesome mixture of idm-textures, grandiose ambientscapes in semi-harsh lands of distorted industrial beats. This new and third release of Millipede continues the style and this time the expression seems even more deeply felt. Not strange since the album titled "powerless" was composed in a dark period of the Don Hills' life where family tragedy saturated the family life of the composer. Each track of the album has been created in a joint venture with a new fellow composer in every piece. Despite the fact that new companions appears on each track there is a beautiful line on the
album thanks to the compositional skills and sonic saturation of Millipede on the album as a whole. Favorite moments for me is the "No place to stand"-piece derived from a collaboration with Lucidstatic and the closing piece "Above all, grace" (featuring Tapage); - a beautiful dark piece that seems like telling the listener, that there always seems to be some kind of light at the end of every dark tunnel. In all senses a deep felt and strong effort from Millipede. (NM)
Address: http://www.hymen-records.com/

The Jazzfakers is an initiative by David Tamura (saxophone, keyboards) that came into being in 2008 when Steve Orbach (drums), Isaac Taylor (bass) and Robert L.Pepper (violin, keyboards) joined the band. Now they deliver their first release produced by Martin Bisi. One may call this experimental music, but in the end these guys don't make it very difficult for their audience. Not to say that several pieces are quite boring like 'Open Head Exercise'. Rhythmically spoken their music is close to pop. The solos by Tamura on sax bring in jazzy atmospheres. Resulting in instrumentals that are not very demanding, original or whatever. Their is some continuity with music from the 80s. The bassplaying in the opening track 'Forgotten Baseline" reminded me of the Bush Tetras and other bands from that time. Also in other tracks it is the bassplayer who did it for me. (DM)
Address: <TheJazzfakers@gmail.com>

AGDAM (CD by Agdam Records)
From the mid 80s onwards The A Band changed
line-up a lot and can be considered a somewhat influential group from the world of improvised music. I copied from Discogs their member list: Andrea Biden, Andrew Fletcher (2), Anthony (9), Barry Rothery, David Large, Isabel Scott-Plumber, Jean-Emmanuel Dubois, Jim Plaistow, Neil Campbell, Neil Lent, Neil Pates, Niggle, Paul Clements, Pete (8), Philip Smith (4), Richard Youngs, Roger Caney, Sarah Attridge, Sharen Woodward, Simon Morris (3), Stewart Walden, Sticky Foster, Stream Angel, Tim Barker, Vince Earimal of which of course Richard Youngs and Neil Campbell are the best known. This compilation 'Agdem' has pieces from the vaults of various members of The A Band, so its not a compilation of their own music. The main piece however is a thirty three minute 'remorphing' piece from 2007 when, after a 15 year hiatus, twelve members reunited. From what I know from The A Band is that their improvisations could move into all sort of directions, noise based rock jams, singer songwriter stuff, space jams and tape manipulation. Their 2007 recording is one of the noise rock jams, chaotic and disjointed. Perhaps a bit too wild for me. But the other tracks, from various members together or solo are quite nice. The casio abuse of Stewart Walden, the more organized chaos of Gay Animal Women, plunderphonics from Well Crucial (locking the intro of OMD's 'Electricity'), the strange acoustic guitar and singing/talking by Walden/Campbell/Plaistow, guitar noise drones of Sepopeplel and the solo violin drones of Campbell, during his Vibracathedral Orchestra phase. All totally different points of entry and fields of interest which make up the remarkable A Band. Its perhaps also a good point of entry or getting renewed interest. (FdW)
Address: <zeropoint_uk@yahoo.com>

Rarely is someone with a formal and recognized institutional academic background able to both use this and reject it in relation to composition. Bernard Shaw is not the only amateur to throw doubt on the academics ability
to compose freely, and I'm well aware of such institutions and their priorities and hierarchies which require careful negotiation. Yet Gardiner, here using as a source 'discarded piano variations'  processed, synthesized and distorted by a wave editor into what is at most times unrecognizable sounds, noise, has achieved something quite remarkable. Though Gardiner might regard this work as more an iconoclastic 'blast' at the past, I'm more inclined to see it as a deconstruction, which is a positive trope, something long long overdue in music, to render it like others plastic arts 'real' for the first time in centuries.  And to take a big risk I'm saying that this is a deconstruction which both puts into question, suspends, and animates the Hegelianism which all music was hitherto attached. Very remarkable. (jliat)
Address http://www.visceralmediarecords.com

OUT OF SILENCE (2CD by Podalida/Modisti)
In Vital Weekly 772 Zsolt Sores Ahad had a music piece based on Samuel Beckett's 'Endgame', a week later a three piece compilation around the works of this writer and now a double CD compilation. I have no idea where this sudden interest comes from. The big piece on this double CD is the thirty minute piece by John Duncan, who already did 'Home, Unspeakable' (reviewed all the way back in Vital Weekly 57). Among the participating artists he is the best known. Lots of the artists here work with the idea of 'silence' and 'repetition'. Silence from empty spaces and repeating small voice blocks, alike 'Krapp's Last Tape'. Some of the finer moments is the voice loop of Antanas Kucinskas, the drone like emptiness of Philip Julian (to some also known as Cheapmachines), Duncan's stretched sounds (although perhaps a bit long), the crackles of Ola Stahl and the breath piece of Seth Guy (which lasts only a handful of seconds). Throughout a nice compilation with no really weak pieces anyway. (FdW)
Address: http://www.podalida.com

NICOLA RATTI - 220 TONES (CD by Die Schachtel)
In what I call the world of small opinions, the fact that someone cares to review every week some music, and doesn't remember all that is written, is not by any stand a journalist. I foolishy said that the name Nicola Ratti was a new one for me, but then someone of course dug out all the previous reviews of Ratti's work, and put in the subject 'this is how FdW is a well aware journalist': which in fact is not true. I don't call myself a journalist, let alone 'aware'. And apparently one is no longer allowed to make mistakes, or the small opinion brigade is out there to correct you. I really am not the biggest lover of internet, in case someone thought any differently. So I know Ratti's music pretty well, and thanks for the small opinion brigade, I can tell you to look for reviews in in the following issues 591, 623, 683 and 397. He is from the same scene musical scenery as Giuseppe Ielasi, but more the old Ielasi then also a little bit of the new one. Armed with a guitar, farfisa organ, record player, reel-to-reel recorder - all things that can't do without voltage, hence the title of '220 Tones'. Unlike Ielasi who splices his material together, these days that is, to create a strange hybrid form of techno music, Ratti combines the old ways of carefully improvised music with small blocks of repeating sound, which Die Scachtel calls a 'wander between techno and electro-acoustic music'. Well, hardly techno I should think. The skipping vinyl (a techno record no doubt) doesn't make a techno per se (at least I don't get visions of a dance crazy crowd), but it does make some nice music. A bit like Gas mixed with some nice guitar sounds, bumpy road sounds and some amount of improvisation. Not a clicky-cut as Ielasi, but Ratti found his own way in new musical field. (FdW)
Address: http://www.dieschachtel.com

Some Place Else is a label based in Finland. My Sweet Nightmare is the debutalbum of the Russian soundartist and musician Igor Bardo. He is member of Bardoseneticube, an experimental/post-industrial group from Russia and is formed in 1998. This band released a lot of albums all over the world and they are wellknown as a powerful audiovisual live-performance act. The band ended in 2010. Bardo describes his album "My Sweet Nightmare" as a surrealistic album.  The album is well composed and most compositions have a mix of recognizable sounds of musical structures like jazzy drums, religions chants or militaristic marches. He combines lots of different elements of music and sounds. Some tracks have an ambient noise style. The mixing between highly electronic sounds and fresh field-recordings and natural sound is well chosen. Old recordings of folk songs are mixed with ongoing electronic soundwaves and he creates a new old world. ?The end of the end? is a track with the shouting voice of Adolf Hitler. He samples his terrifying voice who evokes to destroy all Jews in the great German Reich with bombastic beats and chords. The song becomes more and more abstract and personal. But for me this song has nothing to do with a sweet nightmare. The track grabs my by the throat and my stomach starts turning. Real physical music, no more, no less. Highly recommended and real surprise for experimental ears and people with a strong stomach. (JKH)
Address: http://www.someplaceelse.net

A new label, started by Riccardo Dillon Wanke, hailing from Portugal, and his first release is a double CD with nearly 150 minutes of music by flute and electronica player Manuel Zurria. I don't think I ever heard of him or his work, although he had a work on Die Schachtel in 2008. He plays here pieces by composers, rather than say improvisation or his own compositions. A fine mixture of composers, both old (Giancinto Scelsi, Alvin Lucier, Pauline Oliveros, Alvin Curran, Clarence Barlow, Frederic Rzewski and Terry Riley) and new (Jacob TV - perhaps the least known here, but nice to see a fellow Dutch man here - , Eve Beglarian, William Basinski and John Duncan), whereas the latter two are not generally known as composers of notated pieces of music. The booklet has interesting explanations about the pieces and some interviews with the composers. Zurria's electronics are various loop stations, which he can use to overlay his own playing. There is a variety of musical point here. although the main point is minimal music. Sometimes a bit hectic such as in '…Until…' from Barlow, or the dreamy flutes of the Basinski piece, the deep bass flutes of Rzewski. Some of these pieces are alike versions we already know, like 'Almost New York' by Lucier (see also Vital Weekly 764) or 'Dorian Reeds' by Terry Riley. The most interesting piece, because its somewhat different, is 'The Carnival', which is composed by John Duncan who delivers his part in playing the laptop. The two pieces by Jacob TV are entirely different, dwelling heavily on spoken word samples and reminded me of 'Different Trains' by Steve Reich, with the same stuttery aspect in the voice material. Its an excellent set of music, which is perhaps a bit long to grasp all at once. (FdW)
Address: http://mazagran.org

Listening to music all day is of course a great thing, and obviously something I like to do. But of course playing experimental music of a serious nature all day is not always the most easy task, but thank god for labels like Static Caravan or Occultation, which deliver pop music on my doorstep. Martin Bramah, erstwhile of The Fall and The Blue Orchids, formed in 2008 a new band, Factory Star. A simple line up of Bramah on vocals and guitar, along with bass, drums and keyboards. It sounds like a live recording actually and according to the press release it was more or less recorded without many overdubs. A great record it is of what the biz calls 'urgent' music. Demanding music, uplifting and dark. Especially I like the addition of the organ here. Partly because I like organs in popmusic, and here it reminds me of some of The Doors or The Stranglers, although less persistent with Factory Star, but it gives the music a great drive. Slightly psychedelic but with the urgency of a garage rock band. Excellent counter-point of this week. (FdW)
Address: http://www.occultation.co.uk

A DVD like presented here gives the listener of fine idea of how improvised music is made. We see Josef Novotny busy at the piano, working with objects which he places on the strings, plays the keys and such like, sometimes with shots from made by video artists from scenes out doors. Its not the only instrument he plays, as 'Scheduled Organ' uses organ sounds in a rather melancholic improvised way, building large blocks of sound. Of the two long pieces, I liked 'Scheduled Organ' more than I did 'Erratic Piano', as a piece of music. Instruction wise, if at least we are allowed to look from such perspectives then the piano film was more interesting, and the organ piece more poetic, and not clarifying at all. There is also a film for 'Die Novotnyorgan V.1.0.1' which uses stop-motion and which is really nice. Here Novotny plays organ and perhaps additional field recordings were used.
Its all a bit much, since the music on the DVD is the same on the CD, with the exception of 'Die Novotnyorgan V.1.0.1'. Its not included since the other two pieces make up the entire length of a CD. Novotny has a great relaxed way of playing his music, but perhaps also doesn't know when to stop.
Even more music can be found on the triple CD set by Burkhard Stangl, who is perhaps best known, at least in Weekly circles as a guitarist with great improvisational skills from Vienna. I must admit I didn't know he was also a composer of serious modern music, but after almost three hours I know. Here we have pieces for small ensembles, large ones, single instruments with or without electronic sounds on tape, an electro-acoustic piece etc. Its of course interesting to see, especially with the large works, or the pure 'orchestral' pieces if Stangl is still the composer of quiet music, with lots of silence. That is not always the case, and perhaps also not always possible, or wanted. But in a piece for 'Posaune' (which is a trombone, played by Radu Malfatti) and orchestra, he proofs this is possible. Its from 1994 and has lots of silence, and sudden outbursts. That seems to me quite a traditional modern classical piece. For those who love Stangl's more 'Vital' like work, the second CD has a wide range of pieces, some of which have been previously released, such as a TV Pow remix. This CD is closest at it gets to the world of Vital Weekly. To me this CD was an eye-opener: I didn't know Stangl had so many tricks up his sleeve. A lot of music to discover here, but almost all of it of great beauty. (FdW)
Address: http://www.loewenhertz.at

TULA - DON'T SAY A WORD (7" by Static Caravan)
From Sweden comes Tula, which means something
like 'to wander far into the forest' and its basically a female singer from the folk tradition. Very sparse on the music side, with just a bit of electric piano, some guitar, a slow bang on the reduced drum kit and Tula's voice on top, sometimes double tracked. Dream pop, absolutely folk like and reminding me of This Mortal Coil, especially on 'Don't Say A Word'. The b-side has two shorter pieces, oh too short pieces of more melancholia, and with 'Tula' even with a poisonous rhythm. Too short, but that's life. Sad but true. An excellent breezy 7" of great elegant singing and folky music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.staticcaravan.org/

RLW - EARLY 5: GRAUZEIT (CDR by Songs From Under The Floorboards)
KUWAYAMA & URABE - HETEROPTICS (CDR by Songs From Under The Floorboards)
MIKE BULLOCK - MILD DISAPPEARANCES (CDR by Songs From Under The Floorboards)
THE TOBACCONISTS - OCEAN DRAMA (CDR by Songs From Under The Floorboards)
Yes, whatever happened to RLW's 'Early' series? Already started in 1999, when Swill Radio released two LPs, and then one on WSDP and a CD on Editions Zero in 2004, which seemed to ended the story of the early musical life of RLW. Ralf Wehowsky started in 1980 PD, which later evolved into P16.D4 and then into his solo career as RLW. An expert on the computer and all things musique concrete. Following their 'Inweglos' LP in 1980 the group split up, drafted new members (keeping Wehowski and Achim Scepanski, in a later life head of Mille Plateaux) and the first sessions this new line-up recorded, in October 1980, are on six tracks of this CDR as well as two improvisations that were later released on the first P16.D4 cassette 'Wer Nicht Arbeiten Will Soll Auch Nicht Essen!'. A transitional work so to speak. On the six tracks we still here the old PD sound of free improvisation within a rock band structure, with a bit of tape manipulation in '…Und In Punktlichkeit'. Extraordinary out of date music, I must admit, but actually quite nice also. Its not easy to exactly note the differences between the first six and the last two tracks, when PD merged into P16.D4, but I'll try. I think this is the moment when organization leaped into the music, less chaotic, and also a bit more leaning towards electronics, yet its still far away from their later, and best known, work when they applied musique concrete techniques to their work. Still lots of guitars, bass, drums, the punk rock variation of krautrock. Probably as equally out of date, even if you love retro, but as P16.D4 die-hard fan, an essential release.
In the first batch of releases on Songs From Under The Floorboards there was 'From Abolition Port' by Kuwayama Kiyoharu, the cellist (violin, metal junk, wood sticks) and Masayoshi Urabe, the alto-saxophonist (chains, metal joints, bell). That recording was from 2003, now they found one (under the floorboards presumably) from October 3rd 2002, which is pretty much an extension of that work. The saxophone plays a big role, along with rattling of cages, deep drones produced by Kuwayama and falling of objects, using the natural reverb of the space. Again a totally free work, but here comes jazz with a '?'. Especially in the second half of the work there are two lengthy passages that very quiet, with the second one (starting around 42 minutes) a leading role for the cello, making this an odd modern classical part with folk like influences. The whole second half was anyway more spend on me than the first half.
The release by Mike Bullock is probably also from the world of improvisation, as he best known as a cello/bass player with lots of electronics, bringing out some heavy duty frequencies (low and high end). Bullock was once a member of Fetish, an anti-jazz trio with David Gross and Tatsuya Nakatani, and had a long time duo with Vic Rawlings and is part of the large group The BSC. All matters of improvisation, but wether this is the case here, on 'Mild Disappearances', I don't know. Just as much as I don't know what role the bass is here, if any at all. According to the notes on the website, Bullock is "wrestling with analog and digital synthesis" on this album, and for all I know it might be true. Lots of piercing electronics, but there is also quite an amount of what seems to be contact microphone abuse. 'First Disappearance' has four parts, 'Second Disappearance' only one. The first of 'First' is a relatively short piece of object abuse, field recordings (or perhaps a matter of recording outside?) and electronics. If improvised played a role, then it seems to me in the collection of sound material, but its most like also organized than just that. Take for instance the fourth part of the 'First Disappearance', which is a blunt piece of organized noise. This makes this a very fine work of raw musique concrete and improvised electro-acoustics.
In April 2009 Scott Foust came to Europe to screen his movie "Here's to Love" and he started to cooperate with Frans de Waard. Both are heavy smokers, so they started The Tobacconists. They create music in the Extrapool studio in Nijmegen, the hometown of Frans, and composed seven pieces with a small keyboard, an echo machine, a radio, some pre-recorded tapes, a laptop and some contact microphones and after a tour  in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the UK. One track is already released as a 7" at Plinkity Plonk/Swill Radio. The other six tracks will be released in 2011 as an LP, called "Smoking is Green" by Hanson Records/Swill RRadio. One piece of this album, called "Ocean Drama" is reworked and extended to a piece of 32 minutes. Foust recorded sounds on a wooden boat and added these fieldrecordings. The whole piece takes you to a journey at the sea. Some noisy soundlayers continues like a machine, but other sounds come and go and give space to the oppressive sounds. A minimal melancholic melody completes the dramatic atmosphere with some screams at the background and crisping and breaking sounds. Ocean Drama is like a abstract radio-play where no-one knows what is the time-line of the story, but the sphere is so intense that this play is equivalent to a page-turner. (FdW/JKH)
Address: http://www.intransitiverecordings.com

B*TONG - THE SOUL EATER (CDR by Gears Of Sand)
Its been a while since I last heard music by Chris Sigdell from Basel, Switzerland, but  his work is always welcome on my desk. Music that is based on soundscapes from electronic sources as well as field recordings. Apparently in his concerts he uses a microphone, metal, springs and kitchen stuff, which he transforms into music, using effect pedals to create his drone like material. I assume this is what he also uses when recording at home, just expanding more on the sounds. Whatever he uses, his end-result is firmly fixed in the field of very dark ambient music, of what was once called Isolationism. Sounds get locked into some circuit and stay there to live a life of their own. A cavernous sound of metallic rumble, spooky voices, animal cries and transmissions intercepted. I think I made the reference to Lustmord before and it still applies to this new release. Utter dark, highly atmospheric and simply very good music. It has a certain menace about it, like waiting for some mass destruction that, thank god, never arrives. Intense music, that doesn't come with a warning: don't play this in the dark on your own.
Label-boss Ben Fleury Steiner is, together with Jeffrey Bumiller behind Black Chant Circuitry. I might be entirely wrong of course, but it seems to me that this is a live concert recording. They use a variety of synthesizers (analogue, digital, laptop: I am not sure), some guitar effects and assorted percussion, as well as their own voice; so it seems. I don't know Bumiller, but Fleury-Steiner's work I do know. While it has some of the ambient like workings on his solo work, this is all rather freely improvised. In the field of ambient music as it is, but quite loosely organized, and perhaps at such too loosely for my taste. An endless amount of sound effects is at their disposal to feed their sounds too, but it all seems a bit too much without too much effort. Black Chant Circuitry try to create oh so spooky ambient music, but somehow it all seems to fail. It doesn't do anything for me. May I suggest to go into the studio and do the same thing, but then properly mixed into real compositions? Or perhaps use the B*Tong release as textbook material? (FdW)
Address: http://www.gearsofsand.net

Best known, perhaps, from his work released on his own Ripples Recordings, Ennio Mazzon also released music on Time Theory, Impulsive Habitat, Q-tone, Audiotalaia and Resting Bell. Up until now his music was based field recordings, but 'Azure Allochiria' (the Greek words 'allo' and 'chira' meaning 'other' and 'hand') is his first work that deals entirely with electronic sound. Its not easy to say where these sounds come from; at times I thought they were alarm clocks, warning sounds or randomly spliced together sine waves. Mazzon puts these together in a somewhat chaotic pattern, of which one is not always sure its a pattern, or a random clattering of sounds. But this chaos somehow makes sense. Its the density of it all, that makes it quite nice. A vibrant mass of crawling insects, moving and working. Obscured processings take place - in the sounds rather than the insects of course. Maybe some of the material is a bit long, but perhaps its also this longitude that makes this is into quite a nice work. The best work so far I heard from him. (FdW)
Address: http://www.triplebath.gr

If ever there was a case of justifying the "intentional fallacy" then this release might be an excellent example. With the title of both producer and product, the plastic DVD case with B&W skulls, a sticker and a badge, track titles such as "Necro Prayers" and "Chalice Of Snake Venom And Piss" one could be excused for imagining the actual sound on the CD would be gothy/emo neo-psychedelic fake Satanist rubbish. But its not, the actual sound works despite the blurb's Vincent Price approach to critique are well constructed. Somewhat theatrical, and too theatrical in places - but nowhere like the ghost train propaganda which surrounds it, with some judicial editing, but little, just to remove those more trippy patches and a repackage, re title and you'd have a respectable (if you can use that word) work of minimal noise wall, which merely in its presence would not need the all those trappings. But that might not be at all the intention of the artists and producers concerned with this release, which of course brings us back neatly to my
opening remark regarding the intentional fallacy, despite what appears could place the work into the skip marked 'cheap kitsch' - it materializes itself as a remarkable work of abstract sound. (jliat)
Address: http://www.crucialblast.net/

Supposedly a split, this is 14 tracks, though its difficult to tell if these fourteen tracks relate to the two titles given on the sleeve, it might then be a simple case of miss identity, I don't know?... a collage of musical snippets, fanfares and scrapings,  a long noise wall which fades into soft vinyl noise. and hums etc. distorted speech / guitar ambient space trippery synths. a contingency which is not decisional, or even intelligible,  poetic in a Joycean sense, though perhaps at times a little too poetic? And wasn't James Joyce writing quite awhile ago? So maybe too decisional, too intelligible? I could say that I like the undecidability of the work, but I
don't, its far too musical for that, and so strangely political. human all too human, whether it be deadly serious or a dadaesque joke I find it in the end chauvinistic- but that's not the word either, difficult listening? I think in the end I suspect politicizing even if using harsh noise wall, but I guess that makes it a kind of 'capitalist' appropriation of noise, which there is nothing anyone can do about.  I maybe should explain 'capitalist' here, it treats sound as a commodity. so sets up a system of values - obviously not monetary- with which it both negotiates internally and externally with the listener, have I just defined music? If so that's what it might be, and you know I don't like music.(jliat)
Address: http://kvlt667.com/

Bad Sector has been going for some twenty years now and had a lot of releases on labels as Old Europa Cafe, Waystyx and Drone. Although sometimes placed among the industrialists of a darker kind, I always thought the music of Bad Sector (the brainchild of Massimo Magrini) was quite interesting. The pieces here, eleven in total, were first released on an interactive website, but remastered for this release. It seems to be entirely made from computer data, and have a cold clinical feel, with a great dynamics in sound. Deep bass sounds, high end frequencies, looped around, seemingly without much story. Cold but fascinating stuff. Things bump and collide, and then disappear as black holes.
D'Incise from Geneva is quite active these days, following his AudioTong CD and LP on Ini.Itu. Here he offers two pieces based on field recordings. The first piece has sound recorded in an abandoned hospital in Chrzanow, Poland and the second in Lisbon, Portugal. Two pieces of deep end rumbling from the world of electro-acoustic music. High and mighty in the world of soundscaping these two pieces. Not presented in the form of cut-up sounds, but long form drone-like affairs. Excellently produced with lots depth and imagination. Hard to say what was actually captured on tape, I must say, although in the title piece we may or may not recognize some sort of respirator.
Behind Final Cut is a frenchman (no name) who lives in Belgium, where he runs the 3pattes label, as well as the earsheltering netlabel. Two pieces here, which we may see as noise ballads, I guess, looking at the title. Of the three recent Taalem releases, this is the one that is most noise based. Not entirely loud or something like that, but nevertheless a bit less subtle in the processing of field recordings. Final Cut transforms them into drone like music, which sound a bit like stringed instruments, ringing around in overtones. Quite gritty and angular, but quite nice also. Very upright and present. (FdW)
Address: http://www.taalem.com

ENDLESS TIME (cassette by Throne Heap Devotional Music)
L.R. PADGETT - EMBOSSED EARTH (cassette by Throne Heap Devotional Music)
INDIGNANT SENILITY - LABIRINTHINE INCOGNATION (cassette by Throne Heap Devotional Music)
BILL NACE - MUSIC FOR UNFINISHED FILM (cassette by Throne Heap Devotional Music)
Four new releases on Throne Heap Devotional Music, lovely packed as always and all four have names I never heard of.
Behind Endless time is one Kevin McEleney (known from Droughter/Heavy Psych - not by me) who plays drone music, using a bunch of ancient oscillators. His work doesn't fit the cosmic scenery that much as this more grainy and even a bit noise based. Drone music of a more experimental nature. Quite raw and intense, certainly when played loud. Heavily loop based, but within these twenty five minutes he creates a small number of tracks, never staying too long in one thing, but swiftly moving on to the next texture. That too makes it hardly cosmic, but quite psychedelic indeed. Nice one.
Also on analogue electronics, but of his own making is one L.R. Padgett (also known as Loyd Padgett of Defenestrated Records). He also uses 'marantz tape manipulation and microphoned turntable experiments'. This too might be put to the word 'drone', but it is cleverly combined with more electro-acoustic elements, although Padgett doesn't use any sort of cut-up collage techniques. The electro-acoustics are picked up into the world drones, perhaps due to the use of reverb, but its done in such a way that the reverb doesn't take control of the end-result. Here we deal with 'a track per side' but again at twenty-five minutes, so you can hardly go wrong. Excellent dark and isolationist music.
Pat Maherr took two years to create a follow-up to his 'Plays Wagner' cassette, and now no longer uses just classical music as his source material, but 'here expands upon the Ind/Sen sound', whatever that might be. Here I must admit I am a bit disappointed. There is a whole bunch of loops, which still sound pretty classical to me, but which keep looping around, without telling too much of a story or creating a fine composition. It stays a bit too much in the world of sound file playing, and perhaps some call this ambient music, but as the master said: you don't have to call it ambient music if the term shocks you.
The loudest release in this quartet is by Bill Nace who took, in the heatwave of summer 2010, inspiration from Aaron Dilloway's 'Modern Jester' cassette, picked up his electric guitar and a reel to reel machine to create solo guitar music. Its not over the top blowing loud noise, but more angular than the other three. This guitar sticks right into your brain, when it plays some loud noise parts but also when things are 'softer' and Nace keeps playing repeating blows on the guitar. Distorted, vicious, but somehow, strangely enough also covered with the elegance of roughly shaped diamond. Not the highlight favorite out of four, but not to be missed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.throneheap.com

1. From: SEC_ - Toxo Records <sec_@hotmail.it>

I'm going on tour in Italy with Jrme Noetinger from 12th to 15th April.

Here the details:


12/04 - Oblomova (Altera! festival) - Napoli
13/04 - Fanfulla 101 - Roma
14/04 - Sant'Andrea degli Amplificatori - Bologna
15/04 - Spazio Targa (with Lonius) - Genova

2. From: deeez@antenna.nl

Kasper van Hoek : Live at De Werkplaats during the exhibition "Spring"

De Werkplaats
Valkestraat 6

Sunday 17 april at 15.30 h

Information : http://dewerkplaats.blogspot.com


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