number 894
week 34


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.

help Vital Weekly to survive:

HANNES LOESCHEL – SPIN (CD by Loewenhertz)
PLUS INSTRUMENTS - TRANCESONICS (CD by Declaw Ditties/Blowpipe) *
M.E.S.S.Y AND FRIENDS - ANTHOLOGY 1988-2013 (CD by EE Tapes) *
JIM FOX - BLACK WATER (mini CD by Cold Blue Music) *
GOING 1 – GOING (LP by Silent Water)
N|13 - PRORA (LP by Empiric Records) *
PAAL NILSSEN-LOVE & MATS GUSTAFSSON - CON-GAS (double 7" by Bocian Records)
FRANCISCO LOPEZ - UNTITLED #308 (CDR by Very Quiet Records) *
RICHARD RAMIREZ - SHADOWS IN THE ARCADE (cassette by Auto Badau Kassettenmanufaktur)
RAWMEAN - SELF SAME FORMS (cassette, private)

Apparently I am not supposed to say a lot about covers and such like, because in these days it's the music that counts. However the cover of this release is rather poorly designed, and looks like an early 90s pagemaker effort. I am not sure if I ever heard the music of Joao Castro Pinto, whose music is 'a collection of pieces based on the recreation of field recordings (from natural and urban proveniences) & sampled sounds (objects and utensils of our daily live) through d.s.p. techniques' and it's 'goal is to forge sonic spaces, departing from the actual locations of the sampled sounds to the unknown space of the composition: a field of potentialities and forces actualized by the composer that displays imbricate semantic relations which can be questioned, confirmed or contradicted by the listener's aural contingencies'. Each of the four pieces is described short what it is about and where it was performed - if at all. It's not a long CD, only thirty-three minutes, but Pinto is along with the best in his field. The name that most easily came to my mind was that of Roel Meelkop (who also had an excellent release on this label), with whom Pinto seems to share a love of careful computer processed field recordings. Sometimes bordering closely to the inaudible with a deep bass sound, and with a few high end glitches here and there, slowly building up to a mighty crescendo, only to be cut short, roughly and move along in an entirely different field. The third piece, 'Interspersed Memories' seems to me a bit simple in approach, but the other three are quite nice, from the intense 'Chasm' to the heavy cut up of 'Simulacra'. Modern day musique concrete which doesn't have that academic quality, and because of that sounds so much fresher than many of his more academic peers. (FdW)
Address: http://oto-jpn.narod.ru/index/oto_releases/0-33

HANNES LOESCHEL – SPIN (CD by Loewenhertz)
I had a good time with Loeschel’s tribute to the music of Vienna 'Herz.Bruch.Stück' of some time ago. A very pleasant and warm work. With ´Spin´ Loeschel shows a totally other face. It is a conceptual  and abstract work, far from typical Austrian music. For this work  the composer and musician Loeschel takes inspiration from the spin phenomenon: the spinning movements by elementary particles. He took this as a model for his composition. The music turns on its own axis again and again, and then jumps to another spin. It is modeled as a suite for string ensemble, turntables & electronics and performed by Phace, an innovative ensemble from Austria. Here is the whole crew: Ivana Pristasova (violin), Annelie Gahl (violin), Shang-Wu Wu (viola), Roland Schueler (cello), Nikolay Gimaletdinov (cello), Michael Seifried (double-bass), Tibor Kövesdi (double-bass), Dieb 13 (turntables), Josef Novotny (sampler, electronic devices), Simeon Pironkoff (conductor), and Hannes Loeschel himself on piano. The music is about rotation, but paradoxically many parts of this work make the impression of a static structure. Other parts however like in the first piece ‘Readymade’ and the second piece ‘Spins’ really do evoke  sensations of turning. The impression of movement is most obvious in the opening of ‘Rad’  where the music moves forward with a drive that we know from early minimal music. So Loeschel succeeds in translating the concept of spinning into audible characteristics. Every minute from this work is made up of very condensed sounds and built from small gestures. ’Flügel’ circles around long sustained strokes and notes. Sounds coming from a far distance. Very reflective and meditative in its effect on me as a listener. This is not a work for immediate consumption. It is a complex, introvert work, that began to reveal its beauty to me after repeated listening. (DM)
Address: http://www.loewenhertz.at

A remarkable European-American quartet of four experienced improvisers: Luxemburg-based saxophonist Roby Glod, Roberta Piket a pianist from New York, bassist Mark Tokar from the Ukraine and  Klaus Kugel and Roby Gold, a Cologne based drummer. We find them here in a live recording at Centre Culturel Op der Schmelz in Dudelange, Luxembourg, february 2010. They play a kind of improvised music that makes you forget the boundaries between chamber music, jazz and improvisation. As the players come from different countries, I guess they do not often have the opportunity to meet. Considering the fine and intense interplay, they surely will do their best to plan a next meeting. Their improvisations start most of the time from an accessible angle or theme, that is elaborated, deepened, in a very free and open context. All four of them are accomplished players with their own handwriting. It may be a contradiction, but listening to this CD, it was evident that this improvised music and in that sense ‘new’, but also it sounds conventional and is ‘old’ in at the same time. There is something predictable in the succession of the soloists, the battles, their playing style. But undeniably a lot is happening and they do their thing with verve and conviction. And that’s why I enjoyed it in the end. (DM)
Address: http://www.nemu-reocrds.com

Following a week of no-review activities, a night of good solid sleep in my bed, it's time to get to work again. What to pick from a small pile of CDs that have been gathering in the last week? I choose for Severence on Bine Music, which seems to be a safe option. Bine Music is a German home for specialized ambient music with touches of dance music, and that's the kind of music Elliot Denmark, the man behind Severence, creates. He's been on a Bine  compilation before, but this is his first full length album. It opens with the long sustaining, no rhythm, ambient doodle, but in most of the other pieces, there is that slow bumping, dub induced (inducing?), trance rhythm, cascading slowly onto the shores of your ears. Very slow, so you can't move your head, not even slowly, but it's great music to chill out to. Think an even more slowed down version of the early Chain Reaction sound. You could wonder if there is enough variation in these nine pieces, because I think there isn't. Even when all of these pieces have a title of their own, the overall style remains on the same, maybe occasionally venturing more out into the land of rhythm, such as in 'Modulate', but it could have also been nine parts or variations of the same piece. Of course that's no real big problem: you start playing this record, sit back and enjoy what's coming for the next seventy minutes. If you didn't finish your book by then, or you just started a new cocktail, then you play this again, just as easily. (FdW)
Address: http://www.binemusic.de

M.E.S.S.Y AND FRIENDS - ANTHOLOGY 1988-2013 (CD by EE Tapes)
Last year saw a small revival of Ultra - the Dutch version of post-punk (in 2 words). You'd better browse back to Vital Weekly 822 and read more. It brought back a lot of happy memories and old musicians, but it seems that the one artist who benefitted most was Truus de Groot. Once a member of Nasmak, then Plus Instruments (in a first incarnation with Lee Ranaldo and David Linton). Just before the revival started she released a great CD 'Dance With Me', of all new songs, which showed she still had the same great charm as she had thirty years ago. It brought her a retrospective album on Vinyl On Demand (which sadly didn't make it to these pages) and concerts in The Netherlands and France. Plus of course new work, and here's another album of twelve new songs. 'Dance With Me' was great, but this new one is even better. More coherent altogether, variations on what Truus does. And what's that, you may ask? Truus de Groot plays her crackle box, synthesizers, rhythm machines and sings. She does that with great style. The music is pretty much straight forward, sequenced rhythms, to which she bends her voice to sing songs. Not moan, howl, whisper, but actually singing great songs. Her crackle box functions as machine to create weird songs that float around her strict beats. Music that reminds you of DAF at their peak, but less macho, more feminine and, perhaps, listening to sweat ditty as 'Magic Carpet', also a bit more hippy like. That whole thing makes this something which is something that surely some people will like, who found DAF a bit too pathetic, too German. It still sounds like 1982, but then updated and way more poppy. 'Detour Square Dance' is her version of 'Der Mussolini' and should be an underground dance classic. Excellent!
To reach the part of The Netherlands were Messy lives, you have to take the boat, or go via Belgium. A remote and rural part, but Messy and her partner Hahamandad have been organizing concerts over there, from the deep trenches of the underground. If you backpack and can afford to travel you are (were?) probably welcome to play there. By this couple discovered the world of do it yourself, of cassettes and such like, I more or less dropped out, but went there to one of the early festivals and I heard some of the very early releases. I must admit I have no idea what Messy and co have been doing these last 20+ years, so I am a little surprised to find this release, from the ever so sympathetic EE tapes, which is actually from Belgium, but close to where Messy lives. Quite a daring move, I should think.  Messy is, as a musician, a vocalist and lyricist, and thus depended on others to deliver music. I lump this in with the review of Plus Instruments, because there are some similarities to be spotted, and not just because they are both women with quite a musical history. It's because they are both Dutch, and both play electronic music. But, as said, Messy, relies on music from others, such as Amanda Man, Due, M. Nomized, Konstruktivits, Alain Neffe, L.J. Karma, which perhaps makes this music wise a little less coherent in approach. There is some great music here, like 'Sceneries Like Paintings', with a flute (?) and clear cut vocals; it sounds like The Legendary Pink Dots when they still had Niels van Hoorn. But there are also pieces in which the vocals are less easy to understand and when the music becomes a bit blurry and semi-improvised. It's clear that around some musicians, like M. Nomized or Alain Neffe, she is more comfortable and does a better job to direct the music and poetry together. It's all much less rooted in the world of pop music, certainly compared to Plus Instruments. Twenty tracks, seventy-five minutes is perhaps also a bit of a long ride, but in discovering someone you may have forgotten about (like I did) or never herd of (you perhaps?), this is actually an interesting discovery. (FdW)
Address: http://www.blowpipe.org http://www.plusinstruments.com/
Address: http://www.eetapes.be

While my CD player broke down, I'm forced to play everything on my computer (with real sound card to real speakers, mind you), Itunes opens up CDs and tells me what I am playing. Obviously a lot of the new CDs reviewed here are not yet part of their database, but sometimes it lists funny other releases, just because they have similar lengths. This CD opens as the first disc of a larger set called 'Disco Symphonies' by Donna Summer, with long version of Love To Love Baby and Patrick Cowley's legendary I Feel Love mix - a must have classic. Should find download, make note. It has of course nothing to do with the ensemble called Active Recovering Music, eight Japanese musicians, of which I only seem to recognize Taku Unami. Others are Masahiko Okura, Masahide Tokunaga, Toshihiro Koike, Takahiro Kawaguchi, Shibatetsu, Satoshi Kanda and Masae Okura. They all play slide whistle and percussion. I must admit, I had to look up what a slide whistle is [insert wikipedia]: "A slide whistle (variously known as a swanee or swannee whistle, piston flute or jazz flute) is a wind instrument consisting of a fipple like a recorder's and a tube with a piston in it. Thus it has an air reed like some woodwinds, but varies the pitch with a slide. The construction is rather like a bicycle pump." Oh yes, one of those things. Its one of those things which you will easily relate to children. This is one hell of a strange release. The percussion is a bit of faint clicks every now and then, and the slide whistles play long minimal gestures, but because of the multitude of the whistles it's sounds like various layers nicely bumping along. Maybe it's because I was playing some Alvin Lucier music the other day, that I am now thinking this sounds like a poor man's Alvin Lucier. It has that same conceptual approach, that same esthetic of long sustaining sounds but sounds a bit more raw and primitive. Low humming birds, rising slowly up in '#7' and primitive direct in '#1'. '#10 (Blues)' is another variation. Maybe fifty-one minutes of this is too much I was thinking, even when I thought the whole concept was quite nice.
The other CD is Taku Sugimoto and Moe Kamura. I must say it's been a while since we last heard something from Mister Sugimoto, who, about 8-10 years ago, was quite active in releasing CDs. Here he presents no less than twenty-two pieces of music, from a few seconds (well, forty) to a few minutes. He plays plays guitar as always and guides as such Moe Kamura who sings, recites poetry or whatever you wish to call this. If you have no idea how Sugimoto's guitar playing sounds like, then this might be a fine introduction. He plays very few notes per song. A plink, a plonk, maybe two at the same time, pauses, waits, silence and then again. Unlike his earlier work, he plays actually more here than on many of the older releases, but it's still sparse. One of the longer songs, and perhaps a surprise is the presence of 'Vexations' by Erik Satie, set to words by Kamura, although not easy to recognize. Here Takeshi Ikeda plays percussion, like he does on about half the songs. Very quiet music here throughout, even with the very rudimentary percussion of Ikeda (more like a bang on piece wood most of the times). Very poetic I'm sure, and probably at forty-five minutes also long enough. This is music that requires a lot of your concentration, otherwise it's not easy to keep up with this slow music. There is a lot of nothing happening in here but in order to access that you have elevate yourself into a state of zen too. I am not sure if that amount of concentration is something I can do on a hot day in August. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ftarri.com

Rafal Iwanski is the man behind HATI, a percussion group from Poland, but in his spare time he is also the man behind a solo project called X-Navi:et, which is all about electronic music. Here he works with Wojciech Zieba, also known as Electric Uranus. They already released an album in 2011, which was more a split album, which each of them playing three pieces. The name, Voice Of The Cosmos, should be taken literally: they use recordings from out space, picked up with a 32 meter radio telescope in Torun. Here they have five pieces which they performed live at the the Planetarium and Astronomical Observatory in Grudziadz, plus two solo pieces each. You could, perhaps all too easily, think this is the kind of early long form synth music, with pieces that last twenty minutes, lots of arpeggio's on the keyboard, bouncing jolly forward. This is not the case here. These men keep their pieces actually quite short for this type, and not exclusively build with the use of synthesizers, but also with samples from space and even a heavily processed voice. This is the kind of music that is actually striving to be a pop song, even when the music is not entirely 'pop' like. The structure of the pieces is all to be a rounded song structure, and not a more open ended free fall of synth sounds. The use of long wave sounds in this music add a nice experimental component to the music. The solo tracks, aren't the divided sum of the total, but more along similar lines, so perhaps you could wonder if perhaps this could have been entirely in solo mode, but of course the element of creating together adds that a bit of extra tension to the music. It's worth picking up their 2011 album, the split one, and get a more complete picture of the development. Excellent cosmos music, something just out of the ordinary, but not too estranged. (FdW)
Address: http://www.beastofprey.com
JIM FOX - BLACK WATER (mini CD by Cold Blue Music)
It may hardly be a surprise, but I like my music to be minimal. ever since in the late 70s I got Steve Reich's 'Drumming' on DG. Now, almost thirty five years later, I know that minimal music comes in various shapes and colors, and one such player in the field of minimalism/department 'easy and nice'h, is the Californian Cold Blue label. There is nothing 'cold' about their music. For many years now they have been releasing some delightful minimal music, which is perhaps 'sweet' and 'romantic' (both terms to be used with care) and perhaps 'not so demanding'. However I usually enjoy  them, and with these two new CD singles (playing time around twenty minutes) this is no different. With a title like 'Music For Airport Furniture' your (and my) thoughts probably go out to Brian Eno's 'Music For Airports', but the for me unknown composer Stephen Whittington is also inspired by Erik Satie's 'Furniture Music' (of course, how could I forget this), and for him the airport lounge is 'an arena for human emotions - boredom, apprehension, hope, despair, loneliness, the tenderness of farewells - all taking place within a bland, often desolate space'. Some of that desolation, I think, rings through in this music. Within these twenty-three minutes, the music is a slow moving melodic piece in minor chords, revolving without evolving. A sad and desolate song, perhaps as desolate as airport lounges are. Unlike the Eno's pieces, which were performed in airport spaces, I seriously doubt wether this would happen to this piece. It's simply too desolate. So let's forget those notions as 'sweet' and 'romantic' here, it's just sad but utter beautiful. One to put on repeat.
Strangely enough Jim Fox' piece 'Black Water' starts out with something that more up tempo and filled with joy - despite the title. This work is for three piano's and inspired by a short story by Alberto Manguel. The piano parts are all played by Bryan Pezzone, and is a pretty strong piece, louder than some of his more recent music - this was composed in 1984. It's four parts are equally strong and minimal, but separated by three interludes which are dark water at night, flowing from one majestic lake into the next. It's minimal, but parts return and are over laid with each other, and, and form ripples in the water, caused by the falling of black rain perhaps. Yet it all doesn't sound as dark as this might suggest. It's not joyful for sure, but powerful present music. Excellent work, and could have easily lasted thirty minutes instead and very sadly doesn't. (FdW)
Address: http://www.coldbluemusic.com

These days you don't see these a lot, 3"CDR with a transparent outer ring. Not as much as you did years ago, when Raster-Noton produced their 20 to 2000 series, or the 'Material' series by Staalplaat. Here we have one on the Italian Farmacia901 label, which, design-wise could easily have been on Raster, Line or 12K. Music-wise this is very much along similar lines of Line, more so than the other two labels. Laptop music. Warm, drone like, glitches form rhythm particles, a deep end sustaining rumble, no build-up. It fades in after about a minute and the most surprising thing that happens is that after thirteen minutes it fades out and that lasts about nine minutes. It's all rather unsurprising if you remember the 'old' days, but does that mean this is not a fine release? Well, no, this is more than fine release. It's performed with great care, with some fine ear for the chosen sounds, radical sounds (bass and high frequencies) and throughout nice composition which is absolutely pleasant to hear. It's just, that's the only that's been bothering me, it's all so much a template of what was around some time ago. But then, people still play guitar the way The Rolling Stones did fifty years ago, and probably more people than those who copy Richard Chartier, so what do we nag about? (FdW)
Address: http://www.farmacia901.com/

The Dutch claim to Factory Records fame was of course the one-off 7" by Minny Pops (but moving on to Factory Benelux), but also the Minny Pops off-shoot Streetlife, a more street-wise electro based band with two 12" under their belt on Factory Records. Streetlife was Minny Pops vocalist Wally van Middendorp and his long time associate Wim Dekker. But if the pops were a more an arty, conceptual construction in electronic pop music, Dekker also wanted to create just great electronic pop music, without any angles. That became Smalts, who released a great 12" on the Minny Pops label Plurex in the early 80s (and later re-issued on a Minny Pops CD). In the late 90s Smalts started again, playing some form of electronic music, but also with guitars and vocals, more complex, and highly musical. They played Terry Riley's 'In C', they set poetry of Louis Lehmann and Jan Hanlo and this LP is an American introduction, a best of if you will, of the work they carried out in the last ten years. Funny to see that their Dutch songs aren't left out. The music is highly melodic, finding it's origin in electronic melodies, digital and analogue percussion and has moody, world music like feel to it. This is the kind of popular music that really doesn't fit the description of pop music I should think. This is all high civilized, adult pop music. Music without sweaty guitarists, played in smoky basements, super loud and dirty. Instead things are smooth around, well worked out, lots of different instruments, but also with lots of avant-garde power, a fine sense of doing weird things, strange moves and gestures. Civilized indeed, one for down in the theatre, but some great stuff indeed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.blowpipe.org http://killshaman.com

GOING 1 – GOING (LP by Silent Water)
Silent Water is small vinyl label started by Giovanni Di Domenico  meant as an outlet for his projects. Di Domenico is based in Bruxelles, but his roots are in Italy. Over the years he played and experimented in very different musical contexts: improvisation, pop, dance productions, etc. He played with people like Arve Hendriksen, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Toshimaru Nakamura, Jim O’Rourke, to mention a few. An impressive list. So I am eager to experience what my first meeting with his music will bring. Both combos have the involvement of four musicians. Mulabanda is Daniele Martini (sax, percussion), Bruno Ferro Xavier da Silva (bass, electronics, percussion), and João Lobo (drums, cymbals, percussion) and Giovanni Di Domenico (keyboards, electronics, sound manipulation). On their record they improvise slowly moving rhythm-based patterns, combined with noisy and/or ambient textures, reminding me a bit of Supersilent. Laid back for the most part. Eventually the abstract noise textures take over, pressing the rhythm patterns to the background, especially on side two. Going is another combination: Pak Yan Lau (hohner pianet, synths, electronics), again Joao Lobo (drums), Mathieu Calleja (drums, percussions, electronics) and Di Domenico (rhodes, electronics). But they make comparable exercises as Mulabanda. Again the music is built on repetitive structures without much added to it. Going however sounds more friendly. I think it is because of the prominent role of the Rhodes. There are far echoes of Miles Davis. Jazzy spaced out atmospheres dominate. Again the quartet operates in an consequent manner. The music surely has its charm. The playing is solid. But I keep asking myself what they are pointing at, although their musical escapades have a clear and distinct character. I guess their concept is too minimal, too stripped down for my tastes. (DM)
Address: http://silentwaterlabel.com

N|13 - PRORA (LP by Empiric Records)
Technically, size wise a LP, but length wise, more 12", with twelve minutes on one side and thirteen on the other. The ever so mysterious N, or returns. Or, perhaps return is not the right phrase, as this album was already released in 2009 by Droehnhaus, but is now available again on Empiric Records. N is the solo project of Hellmut Neidhardt, who also plays with [Multer], and as N he basically numbers his works, so this is n|13. It's inspired by the now desolated area of Ruegen, a former holiday resort of the national socialist party in Germany in the thirties. N plays guitar and lots of effects and creates drone music. Usually of a somewhat refined nature, but maybe it's the surroundings that inspired him to do something a bit different here, as these two pieces are loud affairs. Loud, but not noisy. N manages to create drones with guitars, which sound like organs gone wild. It drifts nicely on and off, like waves on a wild sea - again, none of this with extreme, chaotic meanderings, but these easily moving along heavy waves. 'Prora Stadt', the b-side is the even louder of the two, with mild distortion towards the end and both pieces are essentially variations of each other. That ties them together and make up a great record. The album comes with a 12-page LP sized booklet with full-color photographs of the area, and this is why physical releases are, most of the times, much nicer. Great, powerful drone music. Too short! (FdW)
Address: http://empiricrecords.bandcamp.com

PAAL NILSSEN-LOVE & MATS GUSTAFSSON - CON-GAS (double 7" by Bocian Records)
Of course we know Bocian since their earliest releases, which was all on 7". Now, an impressive catalogue further, they suddenly return to this format, and make two of them. On one hand Bocian is a label for strictly improvised music and on the other hand for radical experiments in electronic music. This 7" is clearly a product of the first interest. These four pieces were recorded earlier this year in Vienna and has Nilssen-Love on congas and Gustafsson on slide and brass saxophones. This is the moment where I probably ponder over such notions as 'is this the kind of music that should be released on a 7"?" routine, but I am not going there. I have no idea what kind of agreements were made between these two men upon commencing this recording, but it might very well be: 'let's not do our usual routine of long slabs of heavy free jazz blearing, but let's try and construct four (assuming of course they knew it was going to be a double 7", which I doubt - fdw) pieces in which we use our routines but to create well rounded piece of music'. Obviously not the rounded piece that we would call a 'pop' song, but one with a head and tail, a composition if you will - although I have no idea wether they would think that's a valid notion - with Nilssen-Love in a highly remarkable, different role, playing his congas, sparse, intimate. Intimate might also be the word for Gustafsson's wind instruments. Four introspective songs of a highly refined nature. Free improvised music will not fit a 7"? This particular release proofs me wrong. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bocianrecords.com

More Electronic Voice Phenomena from Michael Esposito. Normally he records those 'voices from beyond' and sends them out other parties for the creation of music, but in this particular case, we find him in a live collaboration with Francisco Meirino from Switzerland. In October last year they did a two day workshop on EVP in Lausanne (Switzerland). The piece here, roughly about five minutes (flexi discs are usually one-sided) contains hardly voice like sounds, or so it seems, but the rattling of chains in dungeons, and electronic sounds to go a long. Here we find Meirino in a less cut-up fashion than some of his other solo-releases, but in a rather straight forward manner, slowly breaking the piece apart and an obscured hum - with what on third hearing could perhaps be voices indeed, or at least one - remains until the end. This sounds great, but oh no, much too short to be fully satisfying. More, more! (FdW)
Address: http://geraeuschmanufaktur.de

FRANCISCO LOPEZ - UNTITLED #308 (CDR by Very Quiet Records)
It's perhaps nothing strange to see a release by Francisco Lopez on a label called Very Quiet Records. After all his main claim to fame came in the mid 90s with a release like 'Warzawa Restaurant', which was surely one of the quietest releases ever. The whole idea was, if I remember Lopez' reasoning well, that the listener had more freedom to fiddle around with the stereo, adding mid/high/low frequencies and more options with the volume control to set the music at such a level that he would seem best. Lopez' concerts where quite loud affairs, but saw him fiddle around with all of the notions himself. Stuff you wouldn't do easily at home I would think. It brought on a vast amount of releases, which explored this territory quite in depth. Many of these releases were called 'untitled' - as to give no indication what it was about, the difference between absolute and programmatic music - and had one piece. Here we have an 'Untitled' disc with two pieces, part one and part two, with an explanation what we hear: "unprocessed unedited piezo-disk pieces", one recorded in Calakmul rainforest, Yucatan, Mexico and one in Hverfjall crater, Island. As usual with Lopez releases I open these in an audio editor on my computer, because it allows me to do all that fiddling with his music. One noteworthy thing straight away: there is actually something to see in these sound waves, but that not necessarily means there is much to hear. But once you normalized it, put up the volume a bit more, these pieces of raw material turn out to be very nice. We peak into the Lopez kitchen, and see what kind of sounds he finds fascinating. In the Mexico piece this is something very dark, wind on a metal roof perhaps, picked up with a piezo microphone? Or maybe just the wind and a microphone like that? Hard to say, but it sounds intriguing for the entire length of this piece. Nothing static about it, as it moves back and forth. This piece would have been enough, in its forty-two minutes of length. The Iceland piece lasts thirty three minutes and picks up a likewise far away hum; events happening outside the field of microphone. A piezo ceramic microphone has only a limited range when attached to a surface. But if nothing happens on the surface directly, it can also pick sounds from somewhere else. Maybe that's the whole thing that happens here? The Iceland piece is equally fascinating, once you adjust the parameters to your own liking. Very nice indeed. Both of these raw building blocks. (FdW)
Address: http://www.veryquietrecords.co.uk

Chris Videll's second album under the guise of Tag Cloud, following 'Named Entitities', (see Vital Weekly 827) and again lists 'electronics, casio, fx, loops, pitch pipe, shruti box and insomnia' - although the latter is a new 'instrument', but perhaps Videll suffers from insomnia and during long nightly winter hours he created this music? The element of noise, which I seemed to think present on his first release seems to have been pushed a bit further to the background here, in favor of a more drone like approach, in which we occasionally find a bubbling melody, such as in 'The Past'. The rhythm machine ticks away, usually slow and pushed to the background, except in something like 'Grendel Dub (Version)'. In other instances Videll goes out for a more drone-without-rhythm approach, such as in 'Years'. Thus he creates a nicely varied album of rather introspective music, more so than the previous album, except on the all out rhythms of the almost techno piece 'False Positive'. Maybe it's the insomnia, maybe it's the night time recording approach, or maybe the interest has changed. Whatever it is, this new album is a leap forward. It's as great as the previous one, but then also better. With two different albums under his belt, I wonder what will be next! (FdW)
Address: http://www.zeromoon.org

There have been a couple of James Edmonds releases, I see on his bandcamp page, but I am not sure if they are all available in some physical form. This one is, with a handmade cover, in a small edition, but of course unlimited through downloads. His label, Wafflecotton, 'aims to promote a more organic spontaneous way of releasing music', and perhaps the same sort of spontaneity is used to create the music. It's hard to say what it is that he does, but a charming affair of lo-fi electronics it most certainly is. I gather from these seven pieces that Edmonds uses a bit of electronic keyboards, sound effects and joyfully creates sounds with them, in a rather improvised way. None of these seems overtly composed, but rather be dealing with a bunch of sounds that are set in no particular motion, but just be as they are, sitting next to each other in a piece. It works best if a piece is not too long, somewhere between three and five minutes. If a piece is much longer like the fifth and seventh - none of these have titles - then it goes off the rails and not enough variation is build in to make it exciting all the way to the end. Here some editing would have been in place I think, but perhaps understandably that's not part of the concept of this. Nice, as in not great, but nice. (FdW)
Address: http://jamesedmonds.bandcamp.com

RICHARD RAMIREZ - SHADOWS IN THE ARCADE (cassette by Auto Badau Kassettenmanufaktur)
Gaffer taped package from a relatively unknown German label of two long (45 minutes) of Harsh Wall, static and reverb ‘jet noise’ pieces from the very well known noise artist Richard Ramirez, though I could find no mention of this release on the Ramirez site and only a discogs posting, this stranger is uncertain or pseudonymous in the early Christian sense of the term? Or not -?  In that noise has a lot to do with authenticity and in-authenticity by way of the death of the Author and the very opposite of Heideggerean Dasein or Badiouean event. It would be better for the audience to sing than the singer because of reality, existence as such. The authentic as such is of course an illusion, animated matter lies, it literally lies through its teeth, cows eat grass but grass isn’t food, we eat cows but cows aren’t food… grass consumes sunlight and water but sunlight and water are not made as consumables… all life then is a lie. So someone makes an assertion – modulates sound which is inanimate into a communication, that any act is a communication, however all signification is the creation of differences of value, however when such differences break down and become indeterminate then communication ceases, we never witness reality as a witness but can know its there, the arche fossil or heat death, thus this noise is noise as indeterminacy. In Monte Carlo terms it is the 90% of the universe’s darkness – matter and energy which is not perceived, and this ‘recording’ of something is matter which doesn’t matter is excellent as the demonstration of not nihilism, for clearly there is something (here there is a tape), so there is not nothing… and given life, the problem of indeterminacy is solved only by an imaginative leap of faith or disbelief, which is ever dashed to pieces by noise. (jliat)
Address: http://autobadau.blogspot.co.uk/

RAWMEAN - SELF SAME FORMS (cassette, private)
More music by Rawmean, who is sometimes called Duckyousucker. This is the second release we encounter, following 'Sea Mister', reviewed in Vital Weekly 889. Like the previous Duckyousucker, this is a short release, of something like five minutes per side, and both pieces were 'recorded in single takes using live-looping' and continues the somewhat curious earlier release of sampling hand percussion, slowly building the piece by adding extra layers. In 'Code Switch' it all stays neatly on the minimal side of things, but this side has a fine motorik drive to it. Again Steve Reich would have been proud of such a grandson. 'Sea Mister' - yes, I know, the title of the previous release - on the other starts out a bit more subdued and mysterious, but is like a flower and slowly starts blooming like a flower in spring time and slowly more and more sounds seem to be added to the raw nature of the piece. Like on the previous release, I can't help thinking about lock grooves and vinyl being stuck, but no doubt I am all wrong. Nice tape, but exactly that previous Duckyousucker: why so short? I wouldn't mind this to be thirty minutes again! (FdW)
Address: http://rawmean.bandcamp.com/