number 921
week 10


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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ASUNA - VALYA LETTERS (CD by White Paddy Mountain) *
15 SHADES OF WHITE (CD compilation by Dronarivm)
GELBART - VERMIN (LP by Gagarin Records)
NAGUAL (LP by Ergot Records)
ORPHAX - UNDONE (3"CDR, private) *
LUCIANO MAGGIORE - ONAGRO (3"CDR by 1000Füssler) *
AMPTEXT - SEEDS OF ERASURE (3"CDR by 1000Füssler) *
RAWMEAN - OF TODAY (cassette, private) *
NO! (cassette compilation by No! Records)

Although active for maybe thirty years now, it seems that Michel Banabila is working his ass off in the last couple of years, having lots of new releases all the time, and playing around with his mates from Rotterdam, such as Radboud Mens, Rutger Zuydervelt and Roel Meelkop. Here's his latest album, which we, perhaps, should see as the follow-up to 'The Latest Research From The Department Of Electrical Engineering' (Vital Weekly 837), which I may regard with some hindsight as the album which turned me back to Banabila's music. Before that I assumed that his music was more or less third world music, ethnic perhaps yet electronic. That album proofed me wrong and since then I have a keen ear for his music. Banabila uses a variety of instruments from electric sources, such as Korg monotribe and monotron and EX24 sampler, but also soft synths, found objects, fluorescent tube sounds, refrigerator sounds and plug sounds and creates some excellent electronic music with that. Nothing third world, nothing even remotely exotic, unless you think abandoned factories are exotic places; some of Banabila's music sound straight from such sites of industrial desolation. Some bits are still functioning but not all of it. Banabila's music is a construction of sounds, sometimes in the form of a collage and at other times in more straight forward moving lines, sustaining sounds. A work of electronic music indeed, and to some extends also from the world of musique concrete. However, none of these eight pieces last very long and Banabila doesn't apply very complex compositional techniques - maybe that's the only thing that has any relation to the world of 'pop' - whatever that means in this context. Electrical interference is sampled into a rhythm, phrases are repeated, and on top there is a whole extra layer of weirdness. Intelligent, experimental music. Not too difficult or alienating, but wonderfully accessible. Excellent release! (FdW)
Address: http://www.banabila.bandcamp.com

A rather short CD, I was thinking, and perhaps at less than twenty-seven minutes maybe the shortest by the Mystery Sea label. James Wyness' music was reviewed before (Vital Weekly 689 and 796) and he works with composition, live concerts, installations and such like. On his website he writes about his music "My compositional aesthetic converges on the materiality of sound, on compositional strategies informed by morphogenetic theories borrowed from the biological sciences, and on the behaviour of sound in space, an on-going concern in relation to multi-channel installation and theories of architecture. Sound sources typically range from field and experimental studio recordings to hand made acoustic and electronic instruments to found objects", and this new work is an example of all of this. It's one piece, but build from a variety of sound sources, such as Scottish ponds, Iberian geophonies, mountaintop chapels, and transmission masts, metal factory, hand bells and metal drinking vessels. That's an interesting collection of sound material, some of which are water related - the usual guiding for Mystery Sea - and some not. Wyness creates a piece of music that is in strict linear build up, like we are crossing land along the straight line of a stream that goes through it. It is not a work of one sound being explored over and over again, but it uses a multitude of sounds, all at the same time, mixed together in a highly versatile way. Sounds move in, move away, move around, move out, and all of this in a nice vibrant manner. There is no standstill, but there is always a slow yet constant motion around these sounds. Multi-layered but with a fine clarity over these sounds, distinct and clear from each other, this is a great work. However with one thing to complain about: with less than twenty-seven minutes, this is actually very short; I wouldn't have minded this to be thirty-five/forty minutes. (FdW)
Address: http://www.mysterysea.net

When Zoharum re-released 'Soundtrack For The Antwerp Zoo Aquarium' (see Vital Weekly 818) I confessed that I was never a big fan of Hybryds, mainly because of their ritualistic, occult thing. "Maybe it was the connection they made with anything 'ritual' to which I developed an allergy,” I wrote back then. Now, obviously lots of things one does are rituals, but I am sure here it is more connected to the occult, and maybe I don't feel connected to anything that is faith/religion/system/occult based. I'd rather do my own rituals. I am pretty sure I heard 'Music For Rituals' before, as it was released by Artware in 1992, but now, more than twenty years I was wondering how it holds up. There is surely a market for such re-issues as Zoharum more than once proofs, and they add a bonus disc of rare and previously unreleased pieces. The music of Hybryds, a duo of Magthea and Yasnaia, with additional help from others such as Vidna Obmana, is recorded onto cassette four track, which would now be a statement of intent maybe, but back then was the only affordable option. Instrument wise they use a Korg delay, cello, a synth and microphones. The Korg delay only sampled short (-ish) fragments, which add a rhythmic element to the music, but at times also an element of industrial music. Some of these pieces seem to be nothing more than some loops phasing together, which is actually quite nice. It's very much something of those days, I think.  And at other times there are wordless chants to be heard, ritualistic, tribal percussion and such like, and you can start burning incense over the pentagram in the cave below, but here too, I actually enjoyed it. It's a lot of music here, two and half hours, but for the more experimental heads, such as me, on the bonus disc there is some interesting stuff with the help of saxophone player Barry Pilcher, processed by Hybryds, which brings some wonderful, alien ambient music. It is followed by the longest piece, with lots and lots of sounds from the Koto, but without a nice form of processing, and is a rather weak ending. But to be fair: I actually enjoyed this whole package a lot!
Emil Mat'ko is the man from Slovakia who is behind Strom Noir. We have reviewed his music before, although maybe not all eight albums. Number is 'Urban Blues' and his first for Zoharum. It has, of course I might add, nothing to do with blues, and all with drones and ambient music. Actually, come to think of it, the word 'urban' is also something I am not sure about. This could, as easily space blues, as far as I'm concerned. Strom Noir creates very a very consistent catalogue of music. This release may sound the same as the previous lot by him. Careful constructions of heavily processed field recordings, guitars, spiced with some electronics and put together in a nice, moody way, with a few likewise carefully placed ticks and cuts (with delay pedals) so it has a vague notion of something rhythmic. Like the cover says: 'conceived as headphone music', and that's very true. Lie back and listen. Sleep and listen. Or maybe go around town and play this quietly in your headphones, and execute that 'urban blues' idea of the title. You might think I may not like this music or perhaps find it too easy, but there you are wrong. I wasn't looking for something new in the world of ambient music - mainly because that seems to be very hard and that's something I accepted as a fact: renewing ambient music is not easy - but on this grey winter day, reading a book, staring out of the window and such pastime, this is a great soundtrack, even for a slow, suburban street, like this street. (FdW)
Address: http://www.zoharum.com

What an excellent album! If anyone had asked me if Japanese Noise-legend Masami Akita alias Merzbow would ever create some trippy kind of rock album, I would have denied the thought. However this present collaboration project between Merzbow and ex-members of Sutekh Hexen - a black metal/noise project located in California - tells quite another story. Considering the background of the threesome, you might stil expect some kind of abrasive expression however this is not the case. The album carrying the title "No closure" consists of two lengthy pieces. First piece is quite soothing with a great trippy rock expression drifting somewhere in-between spacerock and krautrock-inspired expressions. Underneath the rock-ish expression subtle sheets of noise drones creates a great depth to the piece. Second track begins in the same rock-spheres however as the piece develops it moves into more darker spheres drifting somewhere between trippy doom metal and spacerock. Still the noise drones from Merzbow saturates on this second piece, but as was the case with the opening piece, the noise expressions stays in the deeper levels of sonic expression. "No closure" is an intense sound experience, demonstrating how subtle noise and trippy space rock can weave together into piece of alluring tranquillity. (NM)
Address: http://www.coldspring.co.uk

ASUNA - VALYA LETTERS (CD by White Paddy Mountain)
From these two new releases on Chihei Hatakeyama's label White Paddy Mountain I started with the one by Asuna, nom de plume of Naoyuki Arashi, who already released work on Lucky Kitchen, Apestaartje, Autumn Records, and/OAR, but whose work I don't seem to know. This album was 'inspired by a scene of old Russian movie in which girl is always sending missing letters on making 'Valya Letters'', it says somewhat cryptically on the press release. Asuna does that via three pieces of eleven to thirteen minutes and two rather short ones. In the short ones we clear hear the guitar, tinkling away, softly, set against some field recordings and sound effects (more in 'Song In Farthest Harbor' than in 'Lonesome Lark Who I Remember'), but in the longer pieces, Asuna stretches out these sounds via granular synthesis (I think! I am not sure), adding a few sound effects when necessary, and changes a few colours of the sound when needed. This brings us spacious ambient pieces, which are, to be honest, somewhat predictable, but which are also quite (and quiet) nice. Maybe it's a bit of cheap drug, using these techniques to create this kind of music, but it works well. Grey day, winter, cold, warm, drones… all those clichés I can think of are present here. Clichés perhaps, but I must admit it works well.
Someone who has (also?) carved out his own niche is Rutger Zuydervelt, Machinefabriek. Via an endless stream of releases, one could more or less "predict" his next move. A surprising record would be him strumming acoustic guitar, singing, C&W style. Or Dixieland jazz. That's of course not the case on this new release, as true aficionados recognize the title 'Halfslaap' from an earlier 3" release by Standard Form in 2010. Here, on the second part of that piece, Zuydervelt uses the violin playing of Anne Bakker, and he uses two phrases which are overlaying each other, but sometimes also make a crossing point, like touching up each other and then drifting apart again. It takes a long time (the total length of this piece is thirty-five minutes) before we hear anything else, electronics perhaps. But slowly this piece amasses in amount of violins and sounds derived from the violin, while all along retaining that slow, majestic quality. If Arvo Pärt is a reference for maybe the first ten minutes, it might not be the case for the more crowded latter part of this piece. 'Stiltetonen' was originally an installation piece in a small alley in Amsterdam, and was a looped, minimal piano piece. In the twenty minute version here, the piece is expanded and no longer just a 'loop'. Unlike 'Halfslaap II', this piece doesn't amass anything, but stays on a very minimal level, with some heavily processed, ambient/drone like sounds leaking through, vanishing and occasionally we hear the 'real, normal' piano sounds rising out of this. Quiet tones - as the title translates - indeed. A great, yet perhaps not too surprising, album by Machinefabriek. (FdW)
Address: http://whitepaddymountain.tumbr.com

Behind Aqua Dorsa we find Enrico Coniglio (guitar/synth, sampler, piano, percussions, vinyls) and Oophoi (synths, waterphone, glass chimes, percussions), which, if you have been reading Vital Weekly for some time, means we are dealing with the capital A of ambient and the major D for drone, and suspicious minds could think 'ah, new age' again, but that's not really the case. Aqua Dorsa surely plays mood music, but it's a bit too dark to be new age. There is an Italian text in the booklet, but I have no idea what that is about (I could plead for a translation on the website?), or in fact if it is related to the music. Here we have an album of some fine frosted music. It's wintery, chilly and alien, but at the same time also dark and always atmospheric. Eleven pieces which you probably won't notice as eleven, but one long trip into the arctic circles on a dark winter's evening. Hardly any sunshine, cold as hell and the polar expedition moves slowly. This is something I stuck on for the whole afternoon, while doing other stuff, reading, working, walking around, phoning and such like, and when the album was done, just plays it again. It means perhaps I didn't listen that closely, and one can assume that's a pity, because isn't music to be listened to, without any restriction? Yes, obviously that goes for most music, but with this kind of deep ambient music, it might be different. Here we may not expect something new. (FdW)
Address: http://gterma.blogspot.com

15 SHADES OF WHITE (CD compilation by Dronarivm)
Michael Cottone is the man behind The Green Kingdom, and I think this might be the first time I hear his music. He plays the guitar and reminds us of Machienfabriek at that. Looped, sustaining, ambient: highly atmospheric and textured music. That is, however, one side of the story, as Cottone wants to pay homage to "classic ambient and ambient techno albums of the past (of course filtered through the distinctive sound world of The Green Kingdom)". So there is a fair amount of rhythm to be found here too. Back in the day, say 1996, I was a massive fan of what was called 'ambient house' then, and this album by The Green Kingdom might easily have been released back then, in the more adventurous corners of that kind of music. I was thinking about The Heavenly Music Corporation and A Small Good Thing combined with some of the early Stars Of The Lid (for instance). There is a beat indeed, but you don't find this kind of music easily filling dance floors. Guitars sustain, field recordings are used and looped around, and very occasionally there is 4/4 time measure below, but more like the sampled sequenced crackles of a quiet campfire, or the pressure of a stomp box being pushed and sampled. Nice moody music. Is there still such a thing as a chill out room at a current day techno party, I was wondering? If you so, The Green Kingdom should certainly play there.
The other new release by Dronarivm is a compilation. It's not just a label sampler, but also one with some thematic approach: fifteen pieces about the colour white. That is something that fits a label about drones quite well, unless some had the audacity to come up with harsh noise wall based on white noise? That doesn't happen of course. I name checked a few artists, such as Aaron Martin & Christoph Berg, Marcus Fjellström, Orla Wren, Ian Hagwood & The Green Kingdom, Talvihorros and Marsen Jules. All of which you can find in the crowded field of drone/ambient musicians, but quite a few here use one or more acoustic instruments as part of their deal. Pianos and string instruments such as violin and guitar seem to be most popular, but then so is a small/big amount of processing, field recording and such like to spice things up/down. It's a very fine compilation - actually like most compilations are fine - with no specific stand out pieces, nor bad ones. It makes - downside? - perhaps that the music and artists are also a bit interchangeable, except for the piece by Kaboom Karavan, called 'Ge Moet Klaar Zien' (you have to see clearly, in Flemish), which has a somewhat more raw feel to it than the fourteen other pieces. A sort of curious lo-fi ambient music of some very direct sounds. Altogether a very nice compilation. (FdW)
Address: http://dronarivm.com/

When not playing his own music, Timo van Luijk is busy with recording music with other people, and with some of them as part of an on-going collaboration, such as In Camera with Christoph Heemann and Elodie with Andrew Chalk. This is Elodie's fourth full length release (see Vital Weekly 781 and 828) and like before the album has rather shortish pieces, even more fragmented, it seems, than before, eighteen in total. It therefore isn't one of those 'one drone, one side, LP done' sort of releases. This is all highly atmospheric music as you can surely imagine given the reputation of both of these composers, but then played on a wide variety of instruments, of an acoustic and electronic origin. The carefully strummed guitar (Chalk), the flute, percussive bits, (both van Luijk) along with electronics - no computers I should think - play short and sketch like pieces. Not refined oil paintings on canvas but pencil sketches on paper. Introspective music, moody, but also airy and light. Moving like clouds on a blue sky, some white, some grey, some times rainy. Textured music, like you have textured paper, with spots of ink on them. Excellent stuff here.
Of a different nature is the music by La Poupee Vivante, which is apparently something new by Van Luijk, together with Arlette Aubin and Frederique Bruyas. The latter worked with Raymond Dijkstra before on a similar album of concrete sounds and poetry. Upon listening to this album, I could easily think Dijkstra had something to do with this too, as the improvised nature of these pieces may suggest such a thing. The electro-acoustic component is mainly small objects, a tuba or some other wind instrument, and lots of echo/delay on some of these. Not everything is played with great care, as some of this is rather loosely played; improvised for sure, and perhaps made by editing down lengthy sessions of this kind of. That makes that this album is less atmospheric and moody, but more experimental, or even industrial in some way, with all of this echo/delay manipulation. It's very hard to figure out what these poems are about, but that surely is one of those things that add that bit of atmospherics to this. It's not music with continuous spoken word, but rather finely scattered around the music. More music than poetry, I would think. Certainly altogether a more surreal record than the new Elodie one. Both of them are great, however, in their own respective fields. I didn't prefer one to the other, as both had fine quality in their own right. Fans of Raymond Dijkstra might take notice of La Poupee Vivante! (FdW)
Address: http://www.lasciedoree.be/

This is the first 'proper' release by Panos Alexiadis, who already released music on cassette and CDR before, but under different names and projects. The title, apparently, translates as 'descend' and the music is made with the use of "modular electronics, acoustic instrument samples and location recordings" and the record has two pieces, the part one of the title piece on side A, and '15:21' on the other side. There is some difference between both sides, even when they also seem to employ similar approaches. The approach is, at least that's what I think, to play sounds according to some plan but in the stage of execution all a bit looser operated. It means that the music is not strictly composed, nor entirely improvised, but it's somewhere between these ends. That's what makes both sides similar, I guess. The difference lies in the variety of sounds used, or in the limitation there-of. In '15:21', Alexiadis seems to be using mostly the modular synthesizer in solo mode, save for the addition of effects - reverb and delay, although perhaps also created with the same modular synthesizer. That makes this side not unlike what they call 'early electronics', like a private pressing from those days of a long forgotten composer. Things are a bit more complex on the other side of this record, the title piece. Here he uses more sound sources, even when they are not always easy to be recognized, but the multitude of inputs makes this a more complex piece of music than the other side. It's a bit chaotic at times and in the end it sounds a bit more improvised and more loosely put together. I enjoyed the less complex '15:21' over this one, since it had a more clear build up and that works for me a bit better. But also for the title piece one could say it is like an obscure 'early electronics' record. Nice work altogether. (FdW)
Address: http://rekemrecords.tumblr.com/

GELBART - VERMIN (LP by Gagarin Records)
It's been years ago that I met Adi Gelbart, from Israel but since years living in Berlin, and who plays some of the wackiest electronic music I know. Unlike many others I know from the field of electronic music, Gelbart is someone who can actually play an instrument, keyboards in his case, at a furious speed, and perhaps even two at the same time. He's also a man who likes to take things apart and see what's on the inside and alter that. It's not music that is easily put in one corner. This new record, with a finely designed cover including a wrap around by Red Bol, has, oops, obviously two sides, but also two faces on the musical side. On one side we have seven 'songs' and one the other side the two-part soundtrack to the movie 'Vermin', also of Gelbarrt's own making. For this Gelbart uses the idiom of big band/orchestral film scores in combination with analogue electronics to create a nice lo-fi science fiction soundtrack. Partly sounding improvised on 'real' instruments, but the orchestral samples hold all of this together very well. A jazzy trip into film noir. The songs on the other side showcase Gelbart's totally unique blend of highly energetic pop songs, build from fast samples, keyboard patterns floating about, and usually with a high BPM. Quite symphonic but then a symphony for the space age rage race. It is music beyond definition (pop? techno? orchestral? space age? outsider? weirdo!) and that's great. Back then I enjoyed his concert, and this record I enjoyed equally as well. Mad as hell, funny as fuck and all of this played at warp speed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.gagarinrecords.com

NAGUAL (LP by Ergot Records)
A new label here, which already released a LP by Aaron Dilloway and a CDR by Adrian Rew, and here present the self-titled LP by Nagual, a duo of Ian McColm and David Shapiro from Oberlin, Ohio. They have been around since 2010 and since then become 'adept at coaxing oblique shades of Frippertronic drone from their extended guitar rigs'. Following a bunch of self-released cassettes (on McColm's own Pidgin label), this LP is their first main release. Now, of course, I am not sure if they use Frippertronics in the traditional sense of the word, or rather loosely, and use whatever sort of looping device there is on the market, which guitarists use these days. There are three pieces here and 'Continuous Becoming' on the B-side is sidelong. It's also out of these three pieces the one that seems to me the most traditionally drone minded piece. Long sustaining guitar sounds flow neatly into each other and make up a fine piece. Nice and fine, but the two pieces on the other side are perhaps a bit more interesting. In a way both of these are a bit rhythmic. In 'Honey River Lacquer' there is a looped rhythm of what seems to be electronic sounds and on the surface this patchwork of guitar sounds. In 'Sweet Raag' we start out with some dark sounds of shortened guitar loops, a whole bunch of them actually, and we move over to some wild drumming (by McColm himself) and it ends 'con furioso': aggressive and loud, but not too noise like. An excellent record with on one hand the more or less fixed notions of drone music, but also with some fine additions to slowly alter the idiom of that on the other side. That makes me curious to see where they would head next. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ergotrecords.blogspot.com

It has been quiet for Running On Air, but they are back and changed from recycled cardboard sleeves to handmade digipacks, which look much better. We also see the return of Guy Birkin, following his first release 'Symmetry-Breaking' (Vital Weekly 787). I wasn't too impressed with his first release, which I thought was too much along the lines of the 12K catalogue. Warm, glitch music. Nice, but hardly original. For his new work he turns to the compositional method invented by Arvo Pärt, tinntinabuli. Because Wikipedia uses the right words, I just copy that: "Musically, Pärt's tintinnabular music is characterized by two types of voices, the first of which (dubbed the "tintinnabular voice") arpeggiates the tonic triad, and the second of which moves diatonically in stepwise motion." It has a bell like sound, but in a slow tempo and usually minimal as well as meditative. In these eleven pieces Birkin showcases this perfectly well. The bell like sounds, maybe from processed piano sounds, marimba or glockenspiel is part of every piece, and has a fine ambient like undercurrent. That means there is a downside to this also, I think. The differences between the pieces are rather small, unfortunately. Only when we get to the ninth piece that changes and a rhythm machine below decks make this into something else: a fine piece of minimalist techno. In the other pieces the ambient music from a rhythmic, bell like sound is a constant presence. Not slow, but rather in quick sequences. Moods may change from track to track, but the approaches are overall quite similar. Maybe a few more of those minimalist techno pieces would have been nice, I was thinking. Create a few more different approaches? I am not sure. I liked all of these pieces, I guess, but maybe not in one go. (FdW)
Address: http://www.runningonair.com

Caduce from Canada is a CDR label, which spend some time and money doing a great, pro-printed cover for their releases, almost a rarity these days. Many of their releases deal with music that is in some way improvised, but using a selection of electronic and acoustic sources, and not necessarily traditional musical instruments. Coppice is a duo of Noe Cuellar and Joseph Kramer of whom I reviewed two releases before (Vital Weekly 882 and 892), and they have two pieces of music, both using a prepared pump organ (of the brands Kinder and Estey), along with tapes, multi-material filter, tapes processes and Estey Expander Module v.1. Not y'r usual improvisation gear? What they create with this also defies any category. I can imagine some sort of improvised schematic when they recorded this, but no doubt there are has been some form of post production/editing of this material. The result, in both pieces they present here, is a fine mixture of drone like sounds, mild noise and rattling machines. It has a lovely lo-fi character and it sounds excellent. In a way I was reminded of the work of Jason Zeh, for all it's lo-fi cassette like sound, excellent compositional form in a some rough state. The lungs of the pump organ sound like man-made in his final moments. Like with their previous releases, I think both of these pieces are great.
Charles Cros, as mentioned in the title of the quartet recording of Joda Clement (analogue synthesizer, field recordings, objects), Daniel Jones (guitar, electronics), Lance Austin Olsen (tape players, amplified objects, trainer guitar) and Mathieu Ruhlmann (reel to reel, cymbal, ukelin, objects), was (and I hope I got the right Cros), "well-regarded poet and humorous writer. He developed various improved methods of photography including an early colour photo process. He also invented improvements in telegraph and Paleophone technology." He lived from 1842-1888 and "He is perhaps most famous as the man who almost, but not quite, invented the phonograph", which perhaps is the reason to dedicate a concert to him. The music consists of four pieces, recorded on May 11, 2013, and I assume this was recorded live. This is, more than the Coppice release, the work of improvised music and goes by the adagio: more is less. Here the four players walk carefully along the border of inaudbility, via crackles, hiss, feedback, and sine waves, but always very quiet. Sometimes below the threshold of hearing, sometimes right above but not a lot. It's not easy to see where Charles Cros fits in, but it surely makes some very intense music, which requires the listener to fully concentrate and do little else. Great music, even when perhaps witnessing the concert would be even more intense. (FdW)
Address: http://www.caduc.org

ORPHAX - UNDONE (3"CDR, private)
In order to branch out, perhaps, Sietse van Erve releases 'Undone' on three formats: a download (obviously these days), a cassette and a 3"CDR version. The latter two are both limited to 25 copies only. Orphax music is all about processing sounds (of whatever nature, but usually field recordings) in the digital domain; in the case of Orphax this is the not enough used software of Audiomulch. Sounds are stretched out into vast masses of drone like sound matter (I can use the Lopezian word here; one of Orphax' cats is named after him), which here, on 'Undone' is not particular loud, residing on the brink being audible. In these four pieces Orphax is at his most minimal it seems. It's all not very loud and highly minimal. There is very little motion in these pieces, and if there is, it is only happening once or twice in a piece. A small curve up or down, and that's it. I thought this was great music, but all too short. Not just the release, at twenty-two minutes, but also the pieces themselves. I could easily imagine all of these around ten minutes and it would still be very interesting to see how this (not) evolve around a point of stand still. His previous album, 'De Tragedie Van Een Liedjesschrijver Zonder Woorden' (Vital Weekly 899) was already an excellent release, and while this new is too short, it is an excellent follow-up. Onwards to the next full length I should think. (FdW)
Address: http://www.orphax.com

Three new releases on 3" format by 1000Füssler, Gregory Büttner's label. I started out with the release of Luciano Maggiore, simply because it has been a very long time since I last heard of him (Vital Weekly 622). He is from Bologna, uses a variety of speakers and analogue and digital devices (Walkman’s, CD players, tape recorders) as instruments. He also plays sometimes with Francesco Brasini and Enrico Malatesta. Here he has a bunch of field recordings which 'were then improvised with using a Revox B77 tape recorder and edited, over the afternoons of September 15 and 16th 2013'. I am not sure how that 'improvised with using a Revox B77' works, but maybe it has to do with the change of speed of a reel-to-reel recorder; at least, that's what it sounds like: very high crackling sounds, split entirely into the stereo spectrum, sounding, more or less similar, yet also slightly different. These 'field recordings' seem to me derived from indoor acoustic action, but it's hard to guess what these sounds actually are. It's an interesting release with some nice sound and the treatments there of, but I'd say also long enough at twenty-three minutes.
Behind Amptext we find Gary Rouzer, which I think is a new name for me. He is from Washington DC and plays the cello, but also amplified objects, tapes and field recordings. Thre press text describes in depth what he does in his two pieces, and no doubt it's on the website too and I'd say: read that, as it's very interesting. In 'Ex Fan Club' he has an elaborate schematic to record air conditioning fans and use that as part of his improvisations on the cello. Which, actually, never seems to be sounding like cello. He uses all sorts of objects against the body and the strings of the cello, which make odd scraping sounds and very interesting electro-acoustic configurations with it. It has a freely improvised feel yet it also sounds strangely coherent. In the title piece the cello-as-such can be more easily recognized and it's a dialogue of two improvisations at the same time. 'Stick two random recordings together and see what the interaction is between these two' - or some such Cageian guideline.  This piece has a more improvised feel to it, but still sounds quite fascinating and, perhaps, also composed (editing two recordings together), due to the fact of it's more rigorous editing. Great release!
And, finally, a duo release of Gunnar Lettow and Gregory Büttner. The first plays electric bass, electronics, objects and field recordings and the latter loudspeaker, a low sinus wave, fan and objects. The have played a whole bunch of concerts, but this is their first release together. It was recorded June 4th 2013, which made me think this is all improvised. The fan is a computer fan, which Büttner uses to play objects against the rotating fan, as well as objects on the low vibrating cone from the speaker. The two pieces they have here are the most improvised ones from these three new releases. It is music in which the process seems to be very important and part of that is actually seeing what's going with the objects and how these sounds are generated. Hearing is perhaps only half the fun. It's a very solid release, but of these three also the one that is least easy to access. For completists and hard-core improvisation freaks. (FdW)
Address: http://www.1000fussler.com

In 1882 Etienne Jules Marey said he had 'a photographic gun that has nothing murderous about it and that takes a picture of a flying bird or a running animal in less than 1/500 of a second' and it's the inspiration for this one sided tape (15 minutes?) of 8 pieces cut together, so you have no idea which is what. Ten years ago, Socrates Martinis, released his first tape on Absurd - which eventually grew into Noise Below - and that label strted 25 years ago this year. Times flies. Just perhaps as this music seems to fly by. Or not? It's hard to say what it is, but my best guess would be some one with a reel-to-reel recorder and some tape on it with not enough magnetic particles to record (and keep) all those sounds. There seems to be some rot on these songs (?), sounding sometimes far away and sometimes close by. Very vague all of this, but it sounds all right. Had they repeated the same program on the now silent other side, I wouldn't have noticed it that easily. In all it's vague and weirdness very nice! (FdW)
Address: http://www.noise-blow.org

Last week we had a CD review from a release on Hideous Replica, and here's another one. A rapidely-expanding label? Whereas I initially thought the label was dealing with the affairs of VA AA LR, that interesting trio of musicians from London, they expand further here, across the ocean with a release by Justin Marc Lloyd, who himself has an empire to run, Rainbow Bridge. For some time I assumed Lloyd was a man of pure noise, but that is not the case, so I learned. On this thirty minute tape, Lloyd brings out some of his best work (that I actually heard, which I am sure is not all there is!) of rhythmic, high end piercing tones, processed voices, and even more processed sounds from acoustic objects being sampled and such like. Noisy? Yes, noisy it sometimes is, but not throughout, not always. This is not your usual harsh noise wall, not even just plain noise. It just happens to be loud music and it happens to be quite interesting, with a development, a composition if you will. Intelligent noise music, and like said, this is I thought was the best I heard from Lloyd. That's the way to go. (FdW)
Address: http://hideousreplica.co.uk

RAWMEAN - OF TODAY (cassette, private)
One of my favourite new projects to emerge in the past few years is Rawmean (sometimes known as Dockyousucker, but Rawmean is more favourite here, I think), and following some tapes (see Vital Weekly 889 and 894, I must admit I still don't know anything about Rawmean. His covers do not have hardly any information nor does his Bandcamp page. It's a guy with a sampler, sound effects and a drum machine, using 'live looping' to create his pieces, placing layer upon layer. This release, at thirty minutes, is a bit longer than the previous and that's great, as I quite enjoy this again. More rhythm, more locked grooves and vinyl manipulation, a bit of demented techno, which you, no doubt, won't dance too. Perhaps less of a surprise than his previous releases, but a further exploration of what he does (whoever he is). And that's perhaps fine enough, at least for me it is. If you like some lo-fi disco, then this is certainly worth checking out. (FdW)
Address: http://rawmean.bandcamp.com

NO! (cassette compilation by No! Records)
Just the word 'No!' on the cover of this release and inside the box a card with a code to download it, so you can see on the website who's on here. It is inspired by "classic industrial compilations such as The Elephant Table Album or Rising From The Red Sand, No! was created to be an album, not just a 'sampler'. Each track was commissioned especially for this release, and each song complements the others in tone, length and style". Bold statements! Those two classic compilations happen to be favourites of mine, so I know what this label is talking about. But as a young boy, playing these classics, I would glance over and over on the cover to make sure I knew exactly who did what here, but on 'No!' this is not possible. There is nothing to glance at and that's a pity. This sixty-four minute cassette has a total of six pieces, which makes it more 'Red Sand' than 'Elephant Table'; on the latter was more down to pop lengths, but both compilations introduced more artists also. The six projects here are all from the Bloomington area, and I recognized Bluesanct artists Drekka and John Flannelly, both of whom I reviewed before. Other people included are Noon, Canid, Assimilation and Agakus. It's not easy to tell who did what piece - maybe another difference with those two classics. Then it was 'easier' to say who did what, even on cassette (in the case of 'Rising From The Red Sand', the other was a double LP), because the pieces were all quite different. Here it's more along similar lines: all a bit ambient with varying shades of grey/white/black with a varying amount of drones and other sounds, such as rhythm in the live piece by Asssimilation. It's a fine tape - don't get me wrong here, no classic, but a fine tape - and one that works well. One of the reasons the other ones became classics (over time) is that those were great compilations in a vast ocean of mediocre compilations with great songs that immediately stuck inside your head, and the next time you played it, you knew what was coming - almost like a sing-along. That is not the case here. Hardly a problem I figured. If I'm wrong, I am wrong and we'll see a double LP in 25 years of this. I here by volunteer to write the liner notes. (FdW)
Address: http://norecordlabel.bandcamp.com