number 1193
week 31


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Vital Weekly in the summer of 2019:

1194: 4 August
1195: 9 August
1196: 27 August

  Zoharum) *
  Zoharum) *
23 THREADS - I WOKE UP DAWN (CD by Zoharum)
QUENTIN ROLLET & VOMIR (miniCD by Lenka Lente) *
FABIO ORSI - EACH DAY MOON TIDE (LP by Oltrarno Recordings) *
ANADOL - UZUN HAVALAR (LP by Pingipung/Kinship) *
COSIMA - PLOAIA (7" by Pingipung/Future Nuggets) *
RICHARD YOUNGS - BAD WORDS (CDR by Chocolate Monk) *
TAKAHIRO MUKAI - HELPLESSNESS (cassette by Degenerate Trifecta) *
PIOTR CISAK - MATRIX (cassette by Degenerate Trifecta) *
IZUEL_ - WE WILL NEVER BE SO COOL (CDR by Degenerate Trifecta) *
  Di Maiale) *
COMPACTOR - INFRASTRUCTURE (cassette by Oxidation) *


Here we have a release with two long pieces commissioned by Ensemble neoN (as the spelling
goes); one went to Phill Niblock in 2012 and one went to Catherine Lamb in 2016. In 2018 the
pieces were recorded and mixed by Lasse Marhaug. First, there is 'To Two Tea Roses' by
Niblock, written for two "more-or-less equal ensembles of unspecified number and instrumentation.
The parts of the second orchestra are to be pre-recorded and played back in performance, one
chord for each orchestra, of course". The microtonal character of Niblock's music that we know and
love so very well is a strong presence here. We have flutes, bass flute, bass clarinet, alto and
baritone saxophones, violin, cello, bowed vibraphone and piano. Also, I would think, there is an
important role for the space in which this is recorded. The room adds a very lively vibe to the music
and has a dome or tunnel-like character; it's hard to explain but it gives a very strong edge to the
music. It works well, but as a Niblock lover for many years, you knew I was going to say that.
Catherine Lamb is much younger than Niblock (born in 1982) and is a Berlin-based composer
and violinist. In her piece, she uses two female voices, flute and bass flute, bass clarinet, alto
saxophone, violin, cello, electric guitar and wine glasses. Guests of the ensemble play some of
these. Following the loud Niblock piece, this is quite a dramatic change of scenery. The recording
space plays no role, I would think, in this piece and the music is quite introvert. It is a piece that is
sparse and very modern classical. It also works with microtonal passages, ebbing and flowing,
with a small thread of near silence in between the passages. It works very well, certainly in
contrast with the Niblock piece. Excellent release, all around. (FdW)
––– Address:


So far Banks Bailey has delivered a very few very interesting albums, mixing together field
recordings with Tibetan bowls, flutes and electronics. The last album I heard from him was 'The
Pool' (Vital Weekly 1111) and that one was also released by Unfathomless and it seemed to be
dealing with just field recordings. For this new CD, he went in search of very quiet places that
were formed during the Holocene era, almost 12.000 years ago. These places he found in
Oregon, Utah, Alaska and Arizona. It was the era of the last glacial cycles and since then men
have walked the earth, and we speak of an Anthropocene era. Bailey writes that these days no
place is completely cut off from human presence and an aeroplane overhead is always there, but
in the forty-five minutes of 'Mountain And Views' he captures some tranquil moments that, however,
are, obviously, not silent. I would think the work is divided into two main sections; the first section,
roughly the first half of the piece has some beautiful drone-like sounds; I was thinking: where in
nature do you find these? Or is there perhaps some sort of electronic treatment applied here? I
have no idea. But I do know it sounds really good; very contemplative with the occasional bird
sound. In the second half, we retreat to a more natural sound approach, with again some sort of
drone sound, but more remotely present, while the natural elements, bird, wood, maybe a
riverbank, provide a fine bed of contemplative sounds. If the first half has a sense of being locked
up, then this part is more looking out over a wide-open space. Just like last week's release by
Ecovillage, this too is like being on holiday (a very Anthropocene activity, I guess, but then so is
taking a recording device into the mountains) and on a hot day like today, escaping the house is
all I would want; out into the open air on a some faraway mountain. (FdW)
––– Address:


The previous album by The Cray Twins wasn't reviewed by me (see Vital Weekly 1026). These
twins are not twins at all, but friends; Paul Baran and Gordon Kennedy. Perhaps The Cray Twins
isn't a duo also, as they see it as a collective of musicians and sound artists, who send in their
sounds, which The Cray Twins, the core duo that is, take to the editing table and start fiddling
around it. Not necessarily, I would think, via heavy transformations with software and electronics,
but keeping them 'as is' and find the interaction between the various instruments supplied. Baran
plays electronics, chapel organ, samples and Buchla synth, while Kennedy plays electronics,
organ, mellotron, samples and keys. Their friends are Ryoko Akama (modular synthesizer), Werner
Dafeldedecker (guitar), Bruno Duplant (chimes), Sergio Merce (microtonal saxophone), Antoine
Beuger (flute), Kai Fagaschinski (bass clarinet), Jessica Evelyn (spoken word) and Lavinia
Blackwell (soprano). There are three pieces here, of which the last one is co-written by Werner
Dafeldecker. The title piece is the opening track here and at almost forty minutes also the longest
piece. If this list of players means something to you (and reading Vital Weekly you should know at
least some of them), then you may have an idea where this is going here; lots of microtonal, quiet
explorations of instruments. Everything moves very slowly here and there is an interesting 'live'
vibe to this material. It is almost like some (or even all) of these instruments were recorded in a
room, with some amplification; almost like a real 'live' recording. But I have no evidence to support
that. The short interlude that is the second track, 'The Absence Of architects' has a much more
orchestral feeling to it, and Evelyn's voice, reciting a text. In 'Architects', the third and final piece,
her voice returns, but now sounds a bit remote and pushed away, but the instruments are more
together and flow along with each other very closely. This one is, perhaps, the rockiest of the three
pieces. I would have been perfectly happy with that long first piece being the only piece, as it is
quite demanding to hear it all together in one go. (FdW)
––– Address:


In the 80s Univers Zero was one of my top favourites. ´Ceux de´n dehors´ is a landmark record and
European Avant rock. At that time Guy Segers was still a member of this illustrious Belgian band.
But after he left I lost him out of sight during the years. So very surprised I was last year to have a
new release in my hands by his Eclectic Maybe Band for Discus Music. The record (‘The Blind
Night Watchers' Mysterious Lands’)  itself disappointed me a bit, but it was great to discover he still
is making his music. For this first release for Discus Music, the line up was comprised of Roland
Binet, Joe Higham, Michel Delville, Catherine Smet, Dirck Wachtelaer and Guy Segers. Now
Discus Music releases the second volume of this project “where the basic live band session is
enhanced by extensive post-production involving contributions from a wide range of musicians.”
Segers invited: Carla Diratz (vocals), Cathryn Robson (vocals), Martin Archer (sax sopranino &
alto), Dave Newhouse (sax alto & tenor, bass clarinet), Jean-Pierre Soarez (trumpet), Ariane
Plumerel (violin), Sigrid Vandenbogaerden (cello), Eric Lemaître (guitar), Ángel Ontalva (guitar),
Andy Kirk (guitar, keyboards), Franck Balestracci (keyboards, drums). Among them some old
connections from RIO-circles: Soarez (Art Zoyd), Kirk (Univers Zero) and Newhouse (The Muffins).
It was a good move to invite others to the project. Where their first album was too open for my taste,
this one is far richer in sound and has more to offer musically. At the base are again spun out
textures.  Sometimes jazzy and grooving evoking Miles Davis. Like for example the opening track
‘Horizontal Bounce’ or ‘Oncoming Season Wake’. Sometimes open improvised excursions, such
as ‘Spreading an Invisible Stream’, an atmospherically sound-improvisation. Also ‘Day of the
Tsunami’ is a sound-oriented improvisation that gradually culminates in an incredible wave of
noisy sounds evoking this natural phenomenon. ‘Belgian Rain Drop’ is one of the shortest pieces
and it is a beautiful dark and sinister UZ-like miniature. Although a lot of postproduction was
exercised here, the music sounds together and organic. Please continue mister Segers. (DM)
––– Address:

Over the years we reviewed several of Gronseth’s recordings. He is a thorough composer and
performer. He knows music history well, and he takes inspiration from it for creating his own music
that is musically and emotionally appealing. We wrote here of his eclectic Mini Macro Ensemble.
Also, he had a project with Debashish and Subhashish Bhattacharya, a meeting of jazz and the
Indian music tradition. Next step is his quintet Multiverse of Hayden Powell (trumpet), Espen Berg
(piano), Audun Ellingsen (bass), Einar Scheving  (drums, percussion) and Gronseth playing the
saxophones and bass clarinet. The quintet debuted last year with the album ‘Multiverse’, that was
recorded on a few days in December 2017 at Sparkle Sound Studio. This new release by Gronseth
was recorded during the same sessions, so same time, same place. Also on this release, Gronseth
and his mates start from classic jazz aesthetics. They do this with much poetry and elegance in
their playing. The five are very well attuned to one other. Together they develop the themes
through their intuitive interplay that is focused on harmonic and melodic aspects. The music is very
sensible and delicate, ornamented in a very modest way with functional small gestures and
accents. There are Balkan influences on ‘Inflation’, and for ‘Alternative Timeless’ material by
Purcell and Satie is used. But above all the music makes a very coherent and inspired impression.
They have a very strong voice and identity of their own whatever the influences are they integrate
into their music. Superb! (DM)
––– Address:

23 THREADS - I WOKE UP DAWN (CD by Zoharum)

From the active force that is the Polish Zoharum another bunch of releases, once again displaying
their interest in re-issuing old music and new music. I started with a re-issue of two CDR releases
by Genetic Transmission. This is already the sixth re-issue from this Polish band. The first piece
here was originally released as a mini CDR under the moniker of Twardawa and Jankowsku in
2003 and the rest, seven tracks in total, was released as Genetic Transmission in 2004 and
recorded by Tomasz Twardawa. At the basis of the first piece, 'Kapuke', were three improvisation
sessions that Twardawa later spliced together. From his previous releases, I know that he likes
sound montages and this one is no different, but perhaps a little bit of it is. There is not necessarily
a rapid and abrupt montage of sounds, but more a stream of seemingly unrelated sounds that give
the listener a slight feeling of uneasiness. I was thinking of early Nurse With Wound live recordings;
the same sort of sound treatments, screams and weirdness, but not yet the harshness of the later
material, which is apparent on the seven other pieces. These are much louder and dirtier, most of
the times that are, with fiery attacks of radio hiss, feedback, noise and scraping the oil drum. Here
too, he is not always working with the heavy chops and cuts, but they are there; some of these
sounds continue, while others are eaten alive by the gremlins of whatever Genetic Transmission
used to work with. All of these pieces were intended as soundtracks for Viennese Aktionists, who
made silent movies in the sixties. Maybe a DVD would have been lovely I thought, but surely there
is also a problem with copyrights to do that.
    The other re-issue is by Hybryds and by now I lost count how many Zoharum did. I am quite
surprised that there are so many Hybryds releases waiting to be re-issued, has not kept up with
the group at the time when the originals were released. Although, one of the two discs here was
originally released as Na-Dha. Following 'Mistrust Authority & Tectonic Overload' (see Vital Weekly
1130), which consisted of much techno-based rhythm music, here we have something for the after-
party. Both discs see Hybryds, essentially a solo project by Sandy Magthea Nijs, enlisting the help
of friends on voices, sounds and such, working with a more ambient approach. On 'Dreamscapes
From A Dark Side' this leads to sixteen pieces, ranging from five to fifteen minutes, with electronic
sounds, scraping metal objects, lots of reverb and a dash of rhythm, some samples that have seen
quite a bit of electronic treatment, but the most important feature here is the use of film quotes, from
'Devils', 'A World On Your Own', 'Matka Joanna Od Aniolow', 'Wolf' and a Maori tribe. Those voices
add quite a cinematographic character to the music, but do not take control of the music; it is still a
release that is about music. It is best enjoyed as one continuous piece of music, like a movie.
Voices play also a role on 'Voices Without A Sound', lifted from short movies this time, in the first
five pieces (all recorded live), followed by improvisation with Martin Franklin (TUU) and two more
live pieces. Maybe it is the live recording/concert situation thing here, but it has a slightly more
experimental feel to it and perhaps that was the reason it was released back then as a side-project.
Now it is also possible to see this as a work by Hybryds, displaying a more experimental side to
their music. The picture gets more and more complex and I wonder when the vaults are empty?
    It has been quite some time since I last reviewed Karol Skrzypiec's musical project Inner Vision
Laboratory. If I'm not mistaken that was in Vital Weekly 833. Zoharum has been releasing some
more work by him in the meantime, but for whatever reason, that did not reach this desk. There
have been no radical changes in the music of Inner Vision Laboratory. The music is still very
ambient, but I am told, via the blurb, that these days, Skrzypiec uses a lot more acoustic
instruments. There seem to be grand piano, guitars, synths, drones and field recordings. Electronic
devices enhance these instruments, I should think. First of all, there is, of course, the use of reverb,
that magic tool to create something all atmospheric. But I would think there are also some other
electronics at work here, to colour those instruments. The music is quite soft and mysterious, which
I enjoyed very much. I would think that he took a leaf or two out of the textbook of mid-90s Steve
Roach or Vidna Obmana. It all sustains, drones and flows along. I believe I also heard flutes,
Tibetan bells and bowls but that doesn't seem to be the case; oddly enough, perhaps. These are
pastoral sounds and evoke a fine sense of melancholy. Like before this is well-produced, with a
keen eye for the finer detail. And like before as well, this is perhaps not something that you haven't
heard before. While this is quite dark, and I was listening to this on one of the hottest days of the
year in this country and find myself immersed by the music, while, perhaps, I couldn't move at all.
    Then there is the double CD with two different projects by Karol Su/Ka, who once worked as
Arkona. Here there is, firstly, a new album by him as Escape From Warsaw, which might be his
main project by now, and a disc by Santa Mata & Karol Su/Ka. The discs were intended for a
separate release but ended up together. On the Escape From Warsaw CD, we find no less than
18 songs, spanning some seventy-one minutes. That seems a bit long, I would think. The music
is very rhythmic; I am sure I lack the proper nomenclature to call this by its just name, so I will stick
with what Zoharum says, and that "dub-based rhythms, electropunk nerve, sometimes even club-
oriented structures and samples taken from various sources". To which they add that is mixed in
'characteristic psychedelic Escape From Warsaw style", which is something I can't vouch for. In
many songs, there are samples and voices, which deal with subjects as our environment,
ecological threat, modern life and such. Some of these lyrics are in Polish so again a bit difficult to
judge. I feel I am not the sort of person to judge this. I think it's not bad at all, but fear that this is also
a bit too far away from what we normally write about, even when we do write about dance-related
music from time to time. The second disc has twelve songs in forty minutes and is less based
around a strong rhythm, though not absent either. This is more the sort of ambient music, but now
with a lot of vocals; well, voices are perhaps a better term. I assume they are from Santa Marta and
she recites texts in Polish. I assume about similar subjects as on the other CD, but I am not sure.
The music gets a bit lost with the text that someone doesn’t understand without a proper command
of the Polish language, but I enjoyed the music quite a bit. It's ambient, experimental, and
soundtrack-like and works quite well, I think.
    And, finally, there is another release by 23 Threads, one of the bands by Marek Marchoff. I am
guessing here, but I assume we at Vital Weekly get this on the basis that we like some of his other
projects, but the two previous releases by 23 Threads weren't received favourably here (see Vital
Weekly 982 and 1117), to say the least, and that doesn't change. I am sure this is great music. But
the stoner rock jams on gothic themes are just not what Vital Weekly is about. There are certain
types of music we are clueless about. This is one of them. You know now it is out. Check it out if
words like stoner rock magick or magick stoner rock appeal to you. (FdW)
––– Address:

QUENTIN ROLLET & VOMIR (miniCD by Lenka Lente)

"Pierre Loti; pseudonym of Louis Marie-Julien Viaud; 14 January 1850 – 10 June 1923) was a
French naval officer and novelist, known for his exotic novels and short stories." Thanks for that,
Wiki. As you know, almost all of the neat, little book releases by Lenka Lente are in the French
language and the short story 'La Chanson Des Vieux Epoux' '('The Song of the Old Spouse') is a
short one and you can find the original French text online, and I had Google doing their
translations, which machine gets better and better methinks, so I got the jest of this story, about
two elderly Japanese persons, who have been living together and now separate, finally. The
language seemed very descriptive and poetic, even when the meaning, if there is any, sort of
eludes. I am not a literary critic! The music is certainly much less poetic; I expected the full-blown
Vomir harsh noise wall experience here, but that didn't happen. In this close to the twelve-minute
piece we hear the saxophone from Quentin Rollet loud and clear as well. Somebody, maybe
Rollet himself, loops the results around, and it doubles and triples and expands even further and
there is a wall of saxophone sounds against the never-changing wall of noise that is the trademark
of Vomir. They seem to be on an equal par together, which oddly makes Rollet audible but Vomir
perhaps not the loudest. Maybe they have an uneasy marriage as well, or perhaps this captures
the story well? I am not sure there; I do know this is quite a powerful track. Maybe you can read
the whole story at the same time? (FdW)
––– Address:

FABIO ORSI - EACH DAY MOON TIDE (LP by Oltrarno Recordings)

As I am playing this new LP by Fabio Orsi, as noted earlier this year, fully back on track with
releasing new music, now fully armed with analogue and digital synthesizers, I was thinking of the
copy I borrowed from a friend 'In Search Of Hades', the 16 CD set of the 'Virgin' years' by Tangerine
Dream, as re-mastered expertly by Steven Wilson (I wish I could afford me one and me didn't see a
promo coming this way), with classic early 70s records by them and live recordings, and I was
thinking about relatively easy it is to do such music, as Tangerine Dream did in those days. No
longer trucks of equipment are needed, no longer the stage looks like the interior of the Tardis, but
a few boxes and screens are enough. Would I be a purist, and I am glad I am not, I would, of
course, say something that one 'surely' hears the difference between Orsi's take on cosmic music
and the Tangerine Dream somewhat later work. Now, the Germans are a strong musical reference
for Orsi, there is no doubt about that. The bouncing arpeggio, the sustaining synth tones, the slowly
shifting composition, the sheer yet elegant minimalist approach, it works damn fine. And yes, surely
Orsi has an 'easier' job, working with equipment that is much better to control, but of course, that is
not the point, is it? The point is, do we like what we hear? Independent from references, styles,
copies, equipment, historical weight and such like? And yes, Orsi produces a lot of stuff like this,
but also, yes, I love this type of music very much. Perhaps it is my weak spot; the bouncing, non-
surprising endless arpeggio sound, what sometimes is called the Berlin electronic sound. Are you
really surprised? I can't imagine. I said before and will say it again. Lovely stuff? Yes, absolutely,
but I can imagine some people will be allergic to this. More please. (FdW)
––– Address:

ANADOL - UZUN HAVALAR (LP by Pingipung/Kinship)
COSIMA - PLOAIA (7" by Pingipung/Future Nuggets)

For all, I know, and I am convinced that amounts to not much, Pingipung is a German label with
an interest in the fringes of electronic music, pop, but also having their feelers out for some weirder
and exotic stuff, as they proved with these two releases. First, there is Gözen Atila, a Turkish sound
artist and photographer based in Berlin, who works as Anadol. I never heard of her, yet 'Uzun
Havalar' is her third album for which she uses the "collective improvisations of middle eastern folk
songs called 'uzun have'" and she had a bunch people playing drums and guitars in Istanbul; they
crack up, they keep their rhythm, there is laughing, talking, trumpets and what is the role of
Anadol? That is a bit hard to determine, I should think, but I assume we should see her as an
overall conductor of the proceedings; recording whatever goes on, editing, splicing and ultimately
determining how it sounds on the record. She is the composer and she does a great job, even
when it half-half eludes me what it is I'm listening to. Perhaps it is that hybrid combination of fringes
pop, improvisation, sampling, film music, easy tune, experiment and but I must be careful here,
also a bit of Turkish folk music? I have no idea, but all-around Anadol offers six excellent pieces,
in which she blends all of this into some very coherent music. Sunny music it also is. It must be the
sun outside; it prevents me from working as much as I want to, but it also means I have records in
a longer rotation that fit the hot mood, and this one certainly did. I may not have a clue about what I
heard, but I am sure I liked it.
    Also slightly exotic is Cosima Opartan, or Cosima, from Bucharest, who plays music she files
under 'widow pop'. I am not sure if that is meant to be tongue in cheek. She is originally trained as
an architect, is the founder of the Queer Night, "a series of itinerant parties engaging the local
LGBTQ+ community and part of Corp., a Bucharest based platform dedicated to supporting and
promoting female & female-identified musical talent." Her music is produced by Ion Dumitrescu,
not to be confused with Iancu, composer of serious avant-garde, on one side and the other by
Horatiu Serbanescu. There is, despite, the up-tempo beat and steel drum samples of 'Ploaia' a bit
of nostalgic and sad feeling to be noted in the voice of Cosima. Vaguely there is the Mediterranean
feel to it, that reminded me of more obscure records on Les Disques Du Crepuscule, Anna Domino
and such like, but with a production that sounds surely much more modern, 'Ploaia' is the slower of
the of the two pieces, while 'Mai E Si Altefel De-A Iubi' has a more electro-pop with guitar feel to it
and throughout sounds a bit darker than the other side. Close to six minutes of great pop tones.
Sunny? You bet'ya. (FdW)
––– Address:


Another transmission from Planet Chocolate Monk here! First up, the latest by Richard Youngs,
whose omnivorous production takes in more styles and modes than most artists attempt in their
entire careers. Somehow, though, his compositional personality shines through everything he
does, whether its acoustic ballads, tape music, improvised noise, guitar solos played with his feet,
whatever else sparks his interest… all are quite different and yet clearly and recognizably spring
from the same mind. What unites nearly all of Youngs’ daunting catalog is a grounded musicality,
even when he gets very abstract. That’s certainly the case on “Bad Words”. The concept is clever:
each song is built up from loops of Youngs repeating the “bad words” of the song’s title. For
example: “Fuck It”… “Piss Fuck Wonk”… “He’s a Bastard”… “Gobshite”… you get the fucking idea.
What might have been merely a one-chuckle joke turns out to be a rather lovely collection of
minimalist mantras. Youngs’ spoken voice is transformed into mesmerizing melodies, harmonies,
and playfully rhythmic patterns that swirl and bounce off of each other until the actual language is
blurred and subsumed by musical content. In addition to the main pieces of the album, you get a
“Sweartrap Mix” of “Fuck it”, girding the original’s loop in light-footed beats and prickly synth
bounce. A “Single Edit” (ha!) of “He’s a Bastard” is essentially a shorter reprise that isn’t much
different from the first version, other than its duration. The effortlessly lovely backing loops of
“Fuck Off” are hilariously contrasted with Youngs spitting out the title command. And just in case
you didn’t get enough of the first version of “Gobshite”, the album concludes with a 23-minute-
long version ending with a sharp speed change and harmony to jolt you out of your sweary
    Mike Dilloway is not a person, but actually a duo of Mike Collino (who typically plays languid,
tape-processed violin and guitar as Dog Lady Island) and Aaron Dilloway (who, if you’re reading
this, I assume you know… and if you don’t, go fix that now). I tend to smile like a fool when I hear
someone jamming their thumbs onto tape as it runs over a play head. If you do too, then boy howdy
is this short album for you. Two ten-minute ditties for elastic fumble, car doors and copious
codiene… backwards ballads, waterlogged tape spliced by thumbless children, and general post-
human scramble.
    Laugh Stains’ “Gaze Into the Drain” is a combination of skillful production, disarming humor
and wide-ranging sonic character. The band is comprised of Cody Brant and Jonnie Prey (whose
“Life on Bob-Lo Island”, a Chocolate Monk release from 2018, I wrote about in Vital 1141). They
favor ironic television samples and dialogue collage over a bed of dark industrial thump, mournful
screaming, saxophone wailing and concise song-like tape-and-processed-instruments
constructions… it’s all here, and the kitchen sink approach works. Some parts remind me of “Meet
the Residents” crossed with Glands of External Secretion. Some of the songs are absurd stories
set to music, like the mental health emergency narrated in “Abandoned Shack, Here I Am Don’t Be
Scared” or the ridiculous “The Rhubarb Man”, which might be an improvised shaggy-dog-story joke
about the titular character with accordion and chimes backing the storyteller, whose voice is
blurped by destabilizing tape warble just as the story gets too ridiculous. “Your Butthole” is a one-
minute brag that wouldn’t be out of place between songs on a hip-hop album. As with other
albums that Cody Brant is part of, the brevity of the songs leaves me wanting more, though I
understand that part of the impact lies in the judicious editing.
    Swedish composer Dan Froberg’s album is a grower… a single, deeply immersive 45-minute
bath of organ, oceanic tape lurch, and sonic chasms so deep that it took me several listens to just
get a handle on what what was going on. “The Common Error of Ordinary” is one hell of a ride. For
me, the structure emerged on the fourth go ‘round. As it oozes forward, the sections of “Common
Error…” shift like tectonic plates; slowly, barely noticeably, but with seismic results that are more
felt than consciously perceived. Piano chords become dense delay-smothered fog, extraneous-
seeming artifacts become the rhythmic backbone for a minute before I lost track of what layer they
sunk off to. Gnashing chords bang against lilting loveliness as the piece oscillates from deep-sleep
drone to half-remembered melody and back, sometimes letting the outside world in (with birds, a
tape recorder’s clicking buttons, human movement) and sometimes smearing it into puddles of
goop. The album sounds massive and mysterious even after many close listens. I hadn’t heard of
Froberg before this, but am now sure I’ll check out his other work.
    Finally, the one album that didn’t do much for me: Mr. Duke Pinch’s “Mud Hen, Prick and Green
Belt” is a collection of Englebert Humperdink songs played on a zither. You read that correctly. It’s
played fairly straight aside from the apparent incongruousness of it coming out on this label. Why
would you want to listen to this? Maybe you don’t, but I did it for you because that’s how selfless I
am. You’re welcome. Maybe if you’ve been surviving on a diet of Incapacitants and Sick Llama for
days, these solo acoustic zither tunes will come as a soothing and pleasantly odd reprieve. Doesn’t
do much for me, though. I’m not certain how many days passed between the very first time I ever
listened to a solo zither record and the afternoon when I listened to “Mud Hen…”, but if the same
amount of time elapses before I listen to another one, I think I’ll be alright. (HS)
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TAKAHIRO MUKAI - HELPLESSNESS (cassette by Degenerate Trifecta)
PIOTR CISAK - MATRIX (cassette by Degenerate Trifecta)
IZUEL_ - WE WILL NEVER BE SO COOL (CDR by Degenerate Trifecta)

The Degenerate Trifecta label, from Washington state, releases hard techno and techno-adjacent
electronic noise… a neat combination, actually. Of the artists on their latest three releases, the only
name I knew was Takahiro Mukai, the very prolific Osaka-based artist who has managed to release
nearly 40 albums (on labels like Alien Passengers, Phinery, Lal Lal Lal, Fort Evil Fruit, and Moss
Archive) in the past five years. Mukai’s work tends to have a deep groove, abstracted by analog
synthesizer noise. On the seven numbered songs that make up “Helplessness”, he doesn’t
disappoint… fuzzy pulses anchor each tune into place, but the slow robot-funk seems to be
malfunctioning. Songs like “#424” show their dub underbelly more clearly than others, all slithering
bass and discordant chirp. Others, like the evocatively titled “#425”, imply an oncoming four-on-the-
floor slam that never quite arrives, preferring to couch its threat in warm restraint and headphone-
friendly stereo action. For mid-afternoon android head-nod, it does the trick. 
    The music of Polish artist Piotr Cisak is far closer to what listeners might recognize as minimal
techno. Sure, the house groove of the title track is somewhat noisier, infused by static and chopped
clips of delayed-out jazz records that haven’t been polished away into smooth surfaces… but it’s
still techno that owes something to Force Inc/Mille Plateux’s soundtracks for European hair salons.
Things go more sideways as the album progresses, with arhythmic analog squelch and harsher
elements threatening to take the Wolfgang Voigt-ish relentless throb off the rails. Luckily, “Kinross”
offers some recognizable signifiers of house music bleep, but not without a layer of distortion and
industrial-strength backbeat. The final track, “The Trump”, is the noisiest of them all with the most
irritating melody over beats that will make you wonder whether your speakers are blown. It’s a
nice effect. “Matrix” is an album for folks who like their techno weird, but not so weird that it isn’t
still techno.
    Finally, the most normal(ish) album of the bunch is by iZiel_, a Spanish techno producer living
in Germany. Sparse two-chord melodies are draped over slamming, relentlessly muscular 4/4
beats. Most of these cavernous and pulverizing tracks sound as if they were intended to played at
top volume over a club PA system, but they sounded alright on my (quite solid, but smaller than a
club sound system) home stereo as well. It doesn’t take long to get the basic idea… each tune
follows a similar format… but then this isn’t the sort of music you play to be surprised. It’s fairly
monotonous by design, but the album creates an atmosphere that a home listener can get
appreciably lost inside. If you don’t live in a club, “We Will Never…” can function adequately as
 an insistent background pulse for housework, reading, dancing with your dog… my dog enjoyed
dancing to this one, actually. He’s a good boy. (HS)
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  Di Maiale)
A free improvised set, recorded in concert in Milan on September 30th, 2018. We hear Del Piano
on fretless electric bass, Giust on drums and cymbals and Oliva voice and electronics. A bit on
their backgrounds first. Olivia is a singer and improviser using electronic and electro-acoustic
procedures in her improvising and performing arts. She worked with very diverse artists like Evan
Parker, Alessandro Bosetti, among others. Del Piano entered the Italian free jazz scene in the 70s.
After a long pause, he returned in territories of jazz and improvised music somewhere this century.
Stefano Giust is around since the 80s in the contexts of improvised and experimental music. Also,
he runs the Setola di Maiale-label since 1993, a label with an impressive catalogue of improvised
and experimental music. On many of them, Giust participates as a performer. But also Olivia and
Del Piano take part in several of the projects recorded for this label. As a trio, they make their debut
now with ‘That is not so’. In the company of these three experienced performers from the Italian
scene, it is immediately clear we are not dealing a more or less normal jazz trio. ‘Vivre Sur le sol’
is a very abstract jazzy ballad with nice vocals by Oliva. Also in the next improvisation ’Ricordata
Bambino’ it is the vocals by Oliva that introduce something of a melody and create an intimate
atmosphere. Giust and Del Piano provide very sound-oriented textures, supplemented by the
looped electronics played by Oliva. Music that is pleasantly somewhere ‘in-between’ everything
from jazz to rock, from song to ambient textures. (DM)
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COMPACTOR - INFRASTRUCTURE (cassette by Oxidation)

Oxidation is a label initially set up by artist Marc Benner (aka Dead Shall Not Have Died In Vain) to
reissue old noise CDRs as Bandcamp downloads in order to rescue them from their inevitable fate
as unplayable plastic beer coasters. So far, he’s brought moribund recordings by Cornucopia,
Luasa Raelon, R4, Azoikum and others back from the beyond. With “Infrastructure”, however, the
label leaps boldly into the realm of physical releases, and because he knows well what happens to
old CDRs, Benner's first published object is a cassette tape (and so, not subject to the affliction that
gives the label its name). What an object it is, too! Like a descendant of Chop Shop or Knurl,
Compactor’s “Infrastructure” tape is packed between rusted two metal plates held together with
screws and metallic mesh. It’s a striking and sleek design, worth setting out on a bookshelf for
display and rather well suited to Derek Rush’s smartly-produced industrial howl. Compactor’s
work is typically well-recorded and clean-sounding, even when the shrieking noise is at its most
dense and abrasive. “Infrastructure” is no exception. Every detail is pristine and legible, with
excellent attention to the stereo field and overall sonic clarity. Unlike Rush’s friendlier, more
rhythmic work (like “Multicore” or “Total Data Control”), “Infrastructure” contains two side-long
noise workouts without overt song form. Side one, “Advancing Decline”, is based around a
pounding crunch, though the fractured beat is just a skeleton for screeching synthesizer filigree
to hang onto until the fried circuits overtake the machine hammering. I hear metal pipes being
thrown against walls, You could try dancing to it, I guess, but try not to hurt yourself. The flip side,
“Total Failure”, offers low end pummel without respite… a blast of hot air and harsh edges with
tight coiled tension and no catharsis. (HS)
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