number 842
week 31


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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help Vital Weekly to survive:

MARC BARRECA - TREMBLE (CD by Palace Of Lights) *
TON (CD by Granny Records) *
THE DISTRACTIONS - THE END OF THE PIER (CD by Occultation Records) *
FACTORY STAR - NEW SACRAL (CD by Occultation Records) *
ULNA - LIGMENT (CD by Karl Records) *
ASTMA & A SPIRALE - CASEMATTE (CD by Viande Records) *
ALTER 2011 (DVD-R by Toxo Records)
UN - THE FINAL QUESTION (CD by ICR Distribution) *
MICHAEL MUENNICH - ZUM GELEIT (3inch CDr by Fragment factory)
SELF/SKY BURIAL (10" by Peripheral Records)
JESUS ON MARS (CDR by Dissolving Records) *
NOCTURNAL EMISSIONS - COMPOST (CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
AMALGAMATED - SPARK 1 (3"CDR by Intangible Cat) *
PRAAWANDER - THE NUMBER YOU CALLED (postcard by Static Caravan) *
BARTEK KALINKA - VIOLIN & DRY LEAVES (cassette by Knife In The Toaster)

MARC BARRECA - TREMBLE (CD by Palace Of Lights)
Its easy to call Marc Barreca an ambient composer, even when that is true. Yet his ambient music is not easily be compared to others, like say those we know from the world of drone music or those who work with field recordings. Unlike his previous release, 'Subterrane' (see Vital Weekly 737) there is no listing of any instruments, field recordings or even methods of producing this, but the result is something quite different than what we usually encounter. It continues where his previous left us and again we have a very full but spacious sounds. Perhaps again its the use of field recordings, along with an accordion and various other electronic sources, which move like tectonic plates alongside each other. Sometimes one is louder, then another, then something else, and sometimes everything seems to be in balance for a long time, and it all stays the same. But since the sound is so richly filled, the mind has trouble focussing on specific elements and it only seems things are moving. A full on sound that has a strangely relaxing atmosphere - its like being in a rainforest: it seems quiet but its full of sound and full of liveliness. Maybe I have this strange vision of rice fields, burning sun, eyes closed, colors washing and all of such things? Barreca's music also has something that is no doubt to be called 'psychedelic' - hallucinating music. Its a great album. Warm, exotic and ambient - although perhaps not always by the common denominator of the genre. Excellent album. (FdW)
Address: http://www.palaceoflights.com

If Bwana is the solo project of  Al Margolis, a musician with a long history. He emerged  from the experimental underground music scene of the 80s.  In 1989 he started the Pogus label together with composers Dave Prescott and Gen Ken Montgomery . An interesting and profiled label that also counts releases by Margolis himself.  Like ‘E(and sometimes why)’, a double cd presenting a magnum opus Margolis has been working on for about three years. For the first time in his long career he has composed a work to be performed by others. The pieces were composed for the Amsterdam-based Trio Scordatura. This ensemble of Elisabeth Smalt (viola d’amore), Alfrun Schmid (voice) and Bob Gilmore (computer/laptop), is specialized in vocal and instrumental music involving microtonal tunings and spanning a broad range of musical styles.  A project on Harry Partch was at the beginning of this trio in 2006. They try to encourage composers to explore further the intricacies of microtonal tunings. No idea however they met Margolis and decided  to work together.  Two CDs are filled with seven compositions by Al Margolis. Some of the compositions however are by the Trio.  For other works the Trio provided material for  the composition. “They played with If, Bwana and they played If, Bwana and they were played with and by If, Bwana."  An unique multisided collaboration.  All pieces center around combinations of long extended notes  by acoustical and electronics sources, mixed in a way it is difficult to distinguish between the two.  As a consequence it is music that moves slowly like a constant  fluid stream of sound. To say that the music ‘moves’ is not always a correct.  In another metaphoric  attempt  it seems better to say that Margolis tries to give duration to what is given in a moment: extensions of moments. I asked  myself why a double cd. Some of the works do not differ that much as they originated from an identical scope.  All of them are similar lengthy explorations, and one cd would do for me.  ‘The Tempest, Fuggit’  is an exception.  On top of  long extended patterns and notes dominating, Michael Peters gives a dramatic reading on top of it of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.  Also the opening piece ‘Gilmore’s Girls’ has drama.  Voices, instruments, can be distinguished easily in this sound poem.  The piece that did it for me, is ‘Cicada 4AA’  that is built from layers of busy interactions on a microscopic level. (DM)
Address: http://www.pogus.com

TON (CD by Granny Records)
A daring move, I thought, on all accounts. For the label to release this in these darker days of investing in CDs on new groups, and perhaps for this duo to create music that is hardly 'new' by any standard. Ton is a duo of Dimitris Damaskos (also known as Damcase) and Haris Koutsokstas (who apperently also works as Vokal Idiot). I didn't either of them before this work. I am told that they have both quite different backgrounds. I am also told these backgrounds are quite different and that for this collaboration they use field recordings, analogue sound sources, lo-fi samples with sine waves and high pitched tones. All of that is well of course and the ten pieces here vary from forty seconds to six minutes and thirty four seconds (in total thirty-two minutes), which perhaps makes matters nicely concise and to the point. The music however reminded me very much of the good ol' microsound scene of say a couple of years ago. Lots of static, lots of crackles, the occasional low end sine wave bump or high end peep, wind blowing down the long pipe, straight into the microphone. Perhaps the main difference between 'then' and 'now' is the approach in how this was recorded/conceived. No more laptops, plug in or max/msp, but a fine combination of all things 'low'. If indeed that is the case. You never know with this. Maybe they have used laptops to store all those analogue matters and present it back through laptop playing, but somehow I suspect this is not the case. Whilst the approach of Ton towards music is hardly new I must admit that it all sounds pretty much alright. They do a fine, decent job and while not original, its a damn fine album to listen to. Good, sturdy experiments take place and they are presented as fine, small collages of sound. (FdW)
Address: http://www.grannyrecords.org

D'Autres Cordes label boss is Franck Vigroux is as a musician also a busy guy. He is both a composer and improviser, working solo as well as with groups as Camera and Push The Triangle, or with improvisers such as Eliott Sharp, Zeena Parkins, Bruno Chevillon but also in work with video artists, performers and writers (Kenji Siratori for instance). He plays guitar, turntables, electro-acoustic sound sources and voice. On his new CD he gets also help from Annabelle Playe on voice (she herself had a CD on his label quite recently). Ten tracks here, of which the last one takes up one third of the entire length of the CD (which is forty-two minutes) and throughout it walks that fine line of noise and more subdued material. Say that fine line that I like very much. Occasionally drone like, dream like, almost then, perhaps in '2600', but bouncing, noisy, in the piece that comes straight after that 'Ashes IV', followed by a collage of manipulated vinyl in 'Bruisme' after 'Death In Paris' computer voice and finally we land in 'Traits' a Pan Sonic like piece. All in the space of twelve minutes. Its all thought out carefully, although perhaps also created through means of improvisation. Here we have someone who knows how to play around with the notions of noise and silence, to create something that grabs your attention, and not tries to shock you with one hour of endless noise masturbation. Vigroux plays his pieces short and to the point. If there is nothing more to say, you stop it and not continue: its simple as that. This CD fits very well the current trend of things being loud but carefully constructed. I like that a lot. (FdW)
Address: http://www.dautrescordesrecords.com

FACTORY STAR - NEW SACRAL (CD by Occultation Records)
Now, right now, the summer is almost perfect. Good temperature, not too hot so you can't think anymore, but nice, a bit clouded, but lots of sunshine. I should be out there, doing whatever people do 'out there', a holiday perhaps. Pick a book from shelf that I already a couple of times, say 'Factory - The Story Of The Record Label', by Mick Middles and lie on the beach, listening to that 4CD set of all the great moments of Factory Records. Perhaps, perhaps I would wonder whatever happened to some of those bands, certainly when Middles' book provides no answer for it. But he mentions, extensively, the 'great lost band' of the new wave era, The Distractions. It took them no less than thirty two years to come with a follow-up to the only LP 'Nobody's Perfect' (Island Records) and the great 7" on Factory Records. That's something else, like releasing thirty-two CDs in a single year. Ten songs, thirty-nine minutes: classic pop length. With only two original members left, but with the characteristic voice of Mike Finney, this is some excellent encounter in the world of pop music - a world I hardly know anything about. The Distractions play some excellent melancholic songs (I am known not to pay too much attention to the lyrics, so I have no idea what they are about), but with a great breezy, early autumn atmosphere. Not instant sing-alongs, as this is not pop for the masses, but for people with a refined taste. Sometimes wine gets better over many years, what about The Distractions? They are surely as great in those days, but perhaps even better? Excellent stuff.
Which can also be said of Factory Star, the new band of Martin Bramah, a long time ago of The Fall and The Blue Orchids. I sure liked their previous full length album 'Enter Castle Perilous' (see Vital Weekly 776) and their christmas single (Vital Weekly 808). A band with Bramah at the helmet and on vocals and guitar, along with someone playing organ, bass and drums. Simple and effective music, be it more rock than pop, to draw a difference with The Distractions. Here are six new tracks, spanning the length of a 10" (in which this is also released, for Occultation CDs are effective tools of promotion) of again mild psychedelic music, with the organ playing that highly effective role, remembering us again of The Doors, although Factory Star doesn't share the jazz like feeling of Manzarek's playing of the keyboards. It colors the music wonderfully well. 'Strangely Lucid' one of the songs is called and that's how one probably feels after hearing this. Great stuff too. I am about ready to book that holiday and take with me all those great Occultation releases and nothing else. (FdW)
Address: http://www.occultation.co.uk

ULNA - LIGMENT (CD by Karl Records)
Following 'Frcture', Ulna's debut CD reviewed in Vital Weekly, it took quite some time for the follow up to arrive, four years to be precise, but 'Ligment' is finally there. Ulna is the duo of Valerio Zucca Paul (formerly known as Abstract Q) and Andrea Ferraris (Ur, but also a writer for various music sites), who both play laptop and synths and further explore the edge of dance music. They receive here help from Mark Beazley (Rothko), Barbara de Dominicis (Julia Kent). The rough edge that some of the pieces on 'Frcture' had, influenced by old Esplendor Geometrico, Sympathy Nervous or Dive, is entirely gone here and the nine pieces here sound all quite smooth, more or less. It covers that grey area of older Warp Records releases, with a more daring influence of musique concrete, minimal techno and field recordings - perhaps. Music that is surely pleasant to hear indeed and the entertainment value of this disc is quite high. One doesn't necessarily hear something one has never heard before, but that should not always be the case, I think. Somebody sheer fun and entertainment is fine, even when Ulna is, I think, not aiming directly at the dance floor. Their material is a bit too weird for that. So perhaps its not easy to say what it is they are aiming for then, but play this while driving cars/traveling on a train - and I think that should do the trick. (FdW)
Address: http://www.karlrecords.net

The first time I heard music by Anna Homler it was when friend Anton Viergever played me her tape 'Do Ya Sa Di Do'. He may have even reviewed it in Vital, when it still was on paper. Strange that only after a week that Anton passed away I get a CD by Anna Homler of whom I haven't heard in at least fifteen years - I would have loved to hear his opinion about it. I learned that since the mid-90s she has worked with Voices Of Kwahn, Stuart Liebig, Stephanie Payne and now with Sylvia Hallett. She works with improvised and composed music, solo and in duo (ao. with Clive Bell and Mike Adcock). All of which I never heard. The strange thing about their work together is that it is immediately familiar again, having not heard that first solo cassette/CD by Homler in so many years. That probably says something about the unique character of her voice. Homler and Hallett first met in 1992 and have been playing together ever since. This album is the result of playing together in the studio and exchange of sound files. Besides using their voices, they use a whole bunch of other things, such as accordion breath, walkie-talkie, wood devil, pocket theremin, sound kitchen, bells, assorted metals, plumber's pipe, packing tape, pet toys, bowed cymbal, mbira, saw, jew harp, toy piano, pebbles, bells, bowed bicycle wheel and then I have listed about 2/3 what is mentioned. The music has something folk like, something ancient, or even something tribal also, like we are just tapping into some ancient culture of some kind, or, for all I know, something extra-terrestial. The ladies use a language of their own, a personal poetry and improvise along but then sometimes also hold what their playing for some time (totally against the 'rule book' of improvisation) and create something that we could constitute as a song, like 'Radio Fish' for instance with that irrestiable jew harp. Thus they move along the spectrum, from very free improvisation to quite tight song like structures. Maybe at times I raised an eye-brow and thought something along the lines of 'hippy' but I never said that out loud. Getit? (FdW)
Address: http://www.the orchestrapit.com

If I understand well, PAS Music curates a series of releases for the Alrealon label in France, in which a musician invites some of his friends for a compilation based loosely on a theme. Here its Thorsten Soltau, who runs the MM Label - 'dedicated to plunderphonic music, experimental and abstract audio' - and this compilation is his first public release showcasing his artists. As a theme they settled upon 'tracks for non-existent movies', which in reality could be of course any sort of musical activity that is not directly related to an existing movie. So they six tracks here can also be seen as just 'six tracks'. These pieces are by PAS (surprise?), Margitt Holzt, Herr Penschuk, Eibinger, Nika Son and Herr Penschuck & Thorsten Soltau. I must admit I didn't hear something that I immediately could relate to as a soundtrack. The six pieces here are all considerable fine pieces of electronic music in which montage/collage of sounds is the keyword. In some way they all sounded like the sons of Nurse With Wound, with a fair amount of instrumental passages, either played by the artists involved or sometimes as lifted from vinyl, cut together with some field recordings, electronic interludes, bits of voices, cut cleverly together. Soltau and his friends surely play some fine music, but throughout also doesn't stand out of what we already know - but perhaps that's the problem with compilations in general. (FdW)
Address: http://www.alrealonmusique.com

ASTMA & A SPIRALE - CASEMATTE (CD by Viande Records)
ALTER 2011 (DVD-R by Toxo Records)
The boys from A-spirale (Mario Gabola on acoustic and feedback saxophone, scream, amplified strings and Maurizio Argenziano on electric guitar) seem always very busy. In March 2011 they co-organized a festival in Naples and met up with Astma - Alexei Borisov (electronics, guitar, voice) and Olga Nosova (drums, percussion, voice, contact mic, effects), whom also played at the festival and went on tour together for ten days. In the basement of A Spiral they played together for perhaps a day or so and the result of those recordings are now released. Seven pieces of a wild party indeed. Of course this is all improvised music along the general working methods of both groups solo, and combining these two beasts brings out an even larger animal. Wild banging on drums, lots of feedback, warped vocals, total mayhem all along and surely something that will leave the listener quite tired behind. Improvised music but something more along the lines of free rock, especially in the use of the drums. Quieter moments are hard to be found around here, although they are there ('Vozgoranie part 1' for instance) and there is even an attempt to a real song, in the form of 'Wicked'. Like said, rather fruitful events down in that basement in Naples.
Along I got a DVD-R which I assume is some sort of documentation of the festival A Spirale organized. It has one piece in which we get to see a short clips of all those who played or, in some cases, the background video. Its a pity that this is not indexed since it lacks a bit of context this way. Now the whole thing comes across a sound collage. Sometimes its interesting to see a musician work, like Jerome Noetinger and his reel to reel recorder (solo and with SEC_), but somehow I miss the point of this release. I think I preferred an indexed version with perhaps longer excerpts of the concerts. Or perhaps as a friend of mine put it recently: its quite boring to watch music on DVD. By which he meant all music actually, and there might be truth in that. I prefer to listen than watch anyway. (FdW)
Address: http://www.vianderec.info

Ronny Wærnes – electronics - Lars Nicolaysen- drums- heavy rock pounding rhythms … from Norway…. On the first track, track two totally different, improvised shenanigans … which slowly gets louder… track three more wild drumming and electronics which could almost be a sax… track five and we have some vocals pounding drums 4 4?  Track 5 more drumming  heavy rock style and sax like electronics. I must admit I’ve had this Cd for awhile, the general promo material and title “Nightrider” made me fearful of what might be here, my fears were correct, and so I will pass over this in silence. If you like punk/heavy rock you might like it, I guess Ronny and Lars do – which is the first bad move… (jliat)
Address: http://www.gotogaterecords.com/

UN - THE FINAL QUESTION (CD by ICR Distribution)
Paul Bradley and Colin Potter have played together before, for instance when they recorded 'The Simple Plan' (see Vital Weekly 716), but apparently they decided to have a joint name together for their ongoing work, which is Un. Their latest venture is called 'The Final Question' and its recorded in France, Switzerland and Norway, which I assume is related to venues, rather than field recordings (the 'thank you' list includes Cave 12 and Nødutgangfestivalen), but melted together into one piece of just under thirty four minutes. Its not difficult to spot where things are cross-faded into another part, but of course that's hardly interesting. I am not sure why but perhaps I expected this to be a work of many drones derived from a series of field recordings, so much to my surprise I hear a lot of synthesizers. I am not sure if these are analogue or digital (perhaps another matter that is not really interesting), and through a fine slow arpeggio Potter and Bradley play some great cosmic, bringing us right back to that Flowmotion compilation LP Potter released some thirty years ago. It takes up what is perhaps the second part of this piece. Throughout there is a whole bunch of other sounds to be noted in this, like fine high end frequencies, low end keyboards and whatever else feeds off through what must have been an endless bank of sound effects. It connects very well to the current world of cosmic music, and at the same time breaks away from the field recordings processing they are known for, especially in their solo work. It continues where we had them with 'The Simple Plan', but then in an every more spacious (literally!) mood. Excellent release.
On the same label, another new release by Darren Tate, although the inside also mentions 'added to and amended by Colin Potter, IC Studio, London' (which is also something new for me: I didn't know Colin moved his studio). Tate has been producing music since 1984 and is a member of Ora and Monos and occasionally works with others, such as Paul Bradley and Ian Holloway. An interesting man from the world of 'drone' music in the UK, with a solid history in music. Tate takes credit for electric guitar and synthesizer, perhaps just like Bradley/Potter don on their release, but the result is quite different. Only to a smaller extent this is 'cosmic', or perhaps it doesn't walk the more easy paths of bouncing arpeggio's. The works falls apart in two lengthy chunks of synthesizer sounds and a bit of guitar through a loop station (I assume). Slow and calm drifting like driftwood on a calm sea. Drone like and majestically moving - the fade out takes no less than ten minutes, in which also new elements are entered. Dark and mysterious, like an unknown forest at night. Its perhaps in the history of Tate's career not a release that radically alters your perception of his work, since it continues quite in a linear way what we already know, but I thought this release was a particular fine one. Well thought out, carefully planned and expertly executed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.icrdistribution.com

MICHAEL MUENNICH - ZUM GELEIT (3inch CDr by Fragment factory)
Montessuis’ work (art-noise and experimental sound poetry - collaborations with a host of artists such as Charlemagne Palestine, Phill Niblock, Julien Blaine, David Larcher, ) of 23 tracks 35 minutes is of processed vocals – his voice- at times cartoonish,  guttural… at others shear noise, always in its scream like qualities of a human voice quite disturbing. Muennich’s  (a performance in Berlin 2011 long, electro-acoustic composition ) crackles and pops of 17+ minutes are made from springs, a tin can and tape loops,  presenting a fairly uniform sonic structure. To paraphrase – the one thing wrong with these sound works is the sound. Its not the sound of the sound but its very presence. (pre!) The aesthetic of the material is only – or is more than the material – it is a concept of materialism – and without the concept we just have a re-presentation – not a presentation – as in an actual object – but a representation of a “sound object”. A good trick would be to remove the sound and so reveal the object. Philosophically perhaps an impossibility, but not in sound art. The first assumption should be the first point of departure, the first thing to be questioned an put under erasure – before the event – before the event of sound, and so the event is stalled, should never arrive as its already announced. Its only when the sound becomes un-important that anything can be said- even the expression of the emptiness of all communication. Sound artists pre-occupation with sound- here again is the pre – beforehand – the precept is already given as a priori the material, the medium – no longer the message and contra Harman’s recent talk – how can you “say” the medium is the message- that is a contradiction – whereas this form of sound art its not – but it is an a priori event – you know its concerns are sonic. You know before you hear it, whereas it can only work if you only know *after* you hear it- as in “what was that?”. This sound art was never a good “ploy” as it was always a singular move – the one thing that Don Judd didn’t like about Flavin’s work was the lights. We know what to expect- so we expect what is already there, the work needn’t then be created as we all know good avant garde work- sound arrives “before” we hear it. It exists as “sound” – but sound here is so “essential” it is no longer a surprise, it can not begin, or become because its already here in the sense of being what it is, it needs to fail, annihilate itself, but it doesn’t because it is good mannered “ART”. That sounds kind of cruel, but only by such an annihilation can it remove itself from its already presence. (jliat)
Address: http://fragmentfactory.com/

SELF/SKY BURIAL (10" by Peripheral Records)
More than happy to leave Vomir's LP/CD with Jliat for a closer inspection, I half-half assumed this would be also a noise based record, and perhaps it half-half is. John Balistreri, also known as Self, knows his classics in the world of industrial music. Maybe a lot of the noise kids not easily recognize the voice of Jim Jones in that final moment of Jonestown (1978), but three decades a classic if you need to spice up your industrial music with some Psychic TV credentials. Self's soundtrack is not really noise like, but rather evolves around a set of lo-fi loops, feeding through some stomp boxes. It curiously reminded me of so many of the old trouble makers, but especially Ramleh in a more ambient mood sprang to mind. Michael Page, also known as Sky Burial, on the other side taps out of the same field of old school industrial noise, through a mean - not as in very loud - set of low humming sound generators. A lot of those and it turned out not to easy to press all of the frequencies into the vinyl. That's a pity I thought, since the track seemed like a most suitable soundtrack to any nightmare. I thought this record, in all its retro aspects, was a great one. (FdW)
Address: http://www.peripheralrecords.co.uk

JESUS ON MARS (CDR by Dissolving Records)
This release is 'dedicated to P. Dick, R. Pinhas and C. Schnitzler', it says on the cover and its not difficult to see why. I have no idea who Jesus On Mars, wether its a group or an one-man band, but it seems that they have acquired a bunch of analogue synthesizers to shape up their science fiction music, and as we know, science fiction always deals with the past, or at the best with the 'now' (which has become 'past' once we said the word). Fuzzy music of old synthesizers, with dust between the knobs and keys, sounding very 'old'. Like Pinhas and Schnitzler's 'non-keyboard electronics' in the seventies. Psychedelic music that takes the listener of an endless journey through the sky, and beyond, up into the dark, onwards to the planet Mars - as red as the cover of this CD. Its not that I hear anything 'new' in this release, hell no, but I played this twice in a row. Alright, I was too lazy to change the player, but also because these five pieces had something captivating. Wild, experimental and yet close to the world of cosmic music - a bumpy ride through the cosmic and one returns all refreshed and bright. Like waking up from a LSD trip, almost. Thoroughly psychedelic. (FdW)
Address: http://dissolvingrecords.blogspot.com

To know when the last time was I heard something new by Nocturnal Emissions I went to the oracle of music itself, being of course Discogs, and I am not sure if I heard 'Collateral Salvage' (2003) but I surely heard the album they list as its predecessor 'Omphalos!' (2000). Except twelve years later I don't know what it sounded like. All of the work Nigel Ayers produced after that I didn't hear, pretty much a lot of what he released from his debut 'Tissue Of Lies' (1980) to 'Omphalus!', I did hear. I never was the biggest fan but always keenly interested in hearing what Ayers was up to now, with the exception of 'Viral Shedding' (which my former office mates called 'Vital Shredding'), which I thought was a classic, and still has its way on my ipod. So I am a bit in the dark when it comes to 'recent' developments. Likewise I have no idea about his set-up these days. Maybe he moved beyond singing and playing CDs? Maybe he uses just a synth and some effects? If I listen to the live recording of last year, now released as 'Compost', I assume its the latter. Music-wise Nocturnal Emissions have been all over the place, but dabbled a lot in ambient electronics, and this is where we find 'Compost' too. Lenghty passages of quiet electronics moving dark but gentle about, slowly changing and every now and then adding sound material, changing the color of the sound and all such minor adjustments, never leaving the bigger, darker texture behind. Only in the beginning and the end things are a bit louder but the whole middle thirty (out of forty) minutes are quite subdued. I think its all pretty alright. Nothing great, nothing spectacular but altogether a pretty decent live recording. With Nocturnal Emissions you never know what to expect but its always of some fine quality I think. But somehow I can imagine a lot of people think: I can do that also. But maybe that's the whole nature of Do It Yourself? (FdW)
Address: http://www.attenuationcircuit.de

AMALGAMATED - SPARK 1 (3"CDR by Intangible Cat)
Behind Amalgamated we find the cooperative spirits of Cory Bengtsen (Rebekah's Tape on sampler, keyboards, saxophone, turntable), Bob Newell (of Headless Ballerinas Underwater on sampler, keyboards, percussion, drum machine), Mike Richards (also of Rebekah's Tape, but also the man behind Makeshift Music and Intangible Cat on guitars, effects drums, percussion, keyboards and tapes), Phil Klampe (of Homogenized Terrestrials on keyboards and sampler) and D. Petri & Gus Kumo on editing and mixing. Since 2004 they have been playing together, recording every now and then their improvisations on 4 track cassette or 16 track digital, yet this 3"CDR is their first release. As influences they call out for Nurse With Wound, Brian Eno, Autechre and 'miscellaneous psychedelic/noise music across different time periods and affiliations'. That indeed sounds all true to me. 'Rot Makor' has a driving (old) Autechre like beat, but also an Eno-esq ambient backdrop. There are bits of weirdness throughout, but the rhythm seems to be a driving force in this music, even when you hear its not as straight together as your average techno minded record, with odd elements popping in and out, strange elements of repeat. I thought it was all quite nice, even when a bit short to form an overall impression. So, the second one should tell me more. A pity this copy had a lot of copying errors. (FdW)
Address: http://www.intabgiblecat.com

PRAAWANDER - THE NUMBER YOU CALLED (postcard by Static Caravan)
And just what is this? Its holiday season for sure and some people still send a good old fashioned postcard, instead of facebook greetings, instagam or whatever it is called these days. Pressed in the carton is a short piece by the for me unknown group/project Praawander, which finds Static Caravan in a more experimental mood than we usually find them, with spacious synths, a fair amount of delay and reverb, but with that low sound quality of the card, perhaps even sounding better. There should be a remix project of this where people tape it right of the postcard itself, I thought. A great gimmick item, not the first on Static Caravan and hopefully not the last. There is a sound cloud page where you can download a longer version and no doubt that sounds better too. Craziest thing of the week. (FdW)
Address: http://www.staticcaravan.org/ or http://soundcloud.com/praawander

BARTEK KALINKA - VIOLIN & DRY LEAVES (cassette by Knife In The Toaster)
Better known as XV Parowek, Bartek Kalinka now works under his own name. That's perhaps not the only change. When he worked under that particular guise it was all rather raw and a bit noisy. The rawness didn't leave him, but its, at least on this particular new release, quite minimal. Anna Kalinka provided 'stepping on leaves as a guest performance' it says on the cover and that's not just on the side called 'Dry Leaves'. I am not sure if there is a difference between both sides, if in fact one track is called 'Violin' and 'Dry Leaves'. For all I know, and that's actually based upon hearing this tape in its entire form, its only one piece. Someone walking a bit of leaves and some sort of minimally treated violin, which however no longer sounds like a violin. This cassette lasts - I don't know - forty minutes and what is said in here might always be told in ten minutes. Or perhaps I missed out on some finer points in the very minimalist approach Kalinka is taking here. As an ambient sound-scape it worked rather well however: I read a whole bunch of pages in between, fell asleep and when I was awake again, nothing had changed. (FdW)
Address: http://knifeinthetoaster.com