number 1354
week 38

Vital Weekly, the webcast: we offer 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 releases 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:

Listen to the podcast on Mixcloud!

DEAD VOICES ON AIR - ABRADER REDUX (CD by Cold Spring Records) *
JAGATH - SVAPNA (CD by Cold Spring Records) *
TOC – DID IT AGAIN (4CD by Circum Disc) *
D'INCISE - KAMA (CD by Insub Records) *
CYRIL BONDI & D'INCISE - LE SECRET (CD by Insub Records) *
CANDI NOOK - How I Invented Sound And Redesigned The Human Ear (2CD by Spleen Coffin Records) *
VIOLETA GARCIA - FOBIA (CD by Relative Pitch Records) *
KLEISTWAHR - MOBILITY (LP by Fourth Dimension Records)
KLEISTWAHR - DO NOT (LP by Fourth Dimension Records)
IMMEN/BO MENNING (split LP by Plato Utrecht Records)
AD HOC - DISTANCE (cassette by Shame File Music) *
DRONE WARFARE (compilation CDR by Ice Age Productions)
EDWARD SOL - GLASS EYE/RUBBER LEG (cassette by Sentimental Productions) *


Last week we had a trio of quite noisy releases on the Japanese Ftarri label. This week it is a bit quieter. However, I recall that a few Seijiro Murayama releases ago, I wrote that it was quite a noisy release for Ftarri. Murayama is a percussion player, using cymbal, hi-hat, bass drum, snare, voice and objects. He recorded five of the seven pieces at the Skuc Gallery in Ljubljana and two at the Studio Asylum in the same city, all earlier this year. As with his previous work for percussion (he sometimes works with field recordings as well), his music goes in all directions. Wild drumming, introspective, tight or chaotic, it is a bit of everything. His approach is relatively conventional. The recording is excellent; crystal clear, with lots of detail. The fifth piece is the only non-percussion piece here, and Murayama works with his voice. It sounds like sound poetry and breaks the atmosphere created by the percussion pieces, which is a pity. Again, like his previous solo percussion work (Vital Weekly 1242), some of these pieces are long and maybe a bit too long. Perhaps I prefer a collaborative work by Murayama regarding his percussion music.
    Magnus Granberg already released three works on Ftarri and now brings his fourth. 'How Lonely Sits The City' is a work he composed during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a work to be played by his seven-member ensemble, Skogen. Still, in October 2020, he completed a version for a quartet, which he performed with Eva Lindal (violin), Leo Svensson Sander (cello), Stina Gllberg Agback (harp) and Granberg himself on the prepared piano. As usual, I have no idea how such scores work (as always, I'd love to see one), how much room there is for interpretation, and nothing about intervals, time frames, etc. This fifty-five-minute piece of music is only a very slow piece, with the two string instruments playing sustaining sounds, not too long, so it doesn't become drone music, while the harp and piano play short attacked notes, like roadsigns for the strings. If there is any such thing as 'what does this music depict', and thinking of the title, I'd say that this music depicts the lonely city during the pandemic quite well. There is a great sense of slowness here. The music just meanders about, not going in any direction, purpose, or goal. The city is in lockdown, as represented by the music. I might be barking up the wrong tree, of course. I think that this music you can undergo, without listening too closely. Just let it go on and on, and that's it. Listening too closely, trying to figure out if and what the rules are, didn't work for me. But then, maybe I am wrong there as well. (FdW)
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JAGATH - SVAPNA (CD by Cold Spring Records)

Not for the first time, I am playing a re-issue, released by Cold Spring Records, scratching my head and thinking: did I hear this the first round? In this case, it could very well be. Mark Spybey recorded 'Abrader' over a couple of days in 1993, and it was released on cassette by Akifumi Nakajima on his G.R.O.S.S. label. I was in contact with Nakajima in those days, so that I may have heard this one. The original cassette was about thirty-three minutes and is now expanded with two released tracks from 1994 and two unreleased tracks from the same year. Interestingly all of this shows how quickly Dead Voices On Air progressed. Spybey, moving from England (where he was briefly a member of zoviet*france), moved to Vancouver in the early 90s and used sparse equipment to record his music. On the three original tracks of 'Abrader', we find music created with short repeating loops, probably from one of those early digital foot pedals. On top of those loops, Spybey adds a lot more electronics, so the result can be both described as hypnotic and annoying. I guess it all depends on your state of mind when playing this music. The music has that overall industrial touch of being caught in the wheels of the industry. 'Pape Papa Revers', the first bonus (recorded with Cevin Key of Skinny Puppy and Download; Spybey was a member of the latter), has a rhythmic touch, but now more courtesy of drum machines and sequences, along with synthesizer and voices, and in the other three tracks, the whole short rotation loop plays an increasingly more minor role, and the ambient aspect of the music comes to the foreground; not so much in 'Honour Boe', but in the massively slowed down sound of 'Water Waetr', the music becomes a shaking, below the surface thing. 'Gassbag' is the almost lighthearted finale. Playing this, I had not really have an idea of instant recognition, but I enjoyed this particular history lesson a lot.
    New music arrives from Jagath, from the city of Perm, in Russia. This city is some 1100 kilometres from Moscow, and there is "an abandoned Soviet-era swamp drain near a residential building in the Zakamsk suburb" where Jagath recorded their music. Rumblings with metallic objects, whispering voices, and effective use of the natural reverb are all perfect markings of ritual music. Well, or dark ambient or ritual and industrial. You get, so I hope, the jist behind this. Always good to know: "This album is dedicated to the victims of totalitarian regimes"; I am sure the future will see other abandoned military objects as the playground for music. I have no idea if Jagath is a group or a single person. It is also a mystery if there has been a lot of post-production here, editing or mixing various sessions. There are four long pieces here; each has the cavernous quality of large halls and massive caves. There is very little here that reminds us of instruments, even when there is some of it at the start of 'Vyayana (Separation)', which could very well be from an old Soviet recording, slowed down from 78 to 16 rpm. Spooky is the operative word here or haunted. Well, both, of course. Maybe this all sounded a bit formulaic, but nevertheless, I enjoyed it quite a bit. There is a closet goth hidden in me somewhere. (FdW)
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TOC – DID IT AGAIN (4CD by Circum Disc)

With ‘Did it Again’ Toc - a Lille-based power trio of Jrmie Ternoy (Fender Rhodes, piano bass), Ivann Cruz (electric guitar) and Peter Orins (drums) - celebrates its 15th birthday. They choose to mark this event for a generous release of four CDs! The first three CDs contain registrations from their European tour in October 2021. Each CD contains one about 40-minute improvisation recorded respectively in Poznan, Budapest and Lille. The final cd has a live recording dating from their early days, recorded in 2008 in Lille and released in 2009 in a very limited edition. Touring has always been important in their way of life as a trio. They are experts in creating extended hypnotic, trance-inducing improvisations. This makes them related to The Necks, who likewise express themselves often in extended and hypnotic improvisations. Often, the Fender Rhodes, in Troy's hands, defines their sound by offering a minimalistic and repetitive continuum. Cruz intervenes with short licks, and Orins with calculated dream beats. From the beginning the atmosphere is threatening and dark. Gradually the interplay intensifies. In a way they create some sort of a static continuum. Still, inside there is a lot of movement and tension culminating in chaotic and noisy outbursts that are very dynamic and full of energy. It is followed by sections where they groove along in their own characteristic way or create drone-like abstract noise textures. Their influences are diverse: improvisation, (post-)rock, drone, ambient, noise, and it is hard to say which of them dominates in the original and impressive amalgam they created. Their music is far more than the sum of its influences. Their pulsating improvisations have an obsessive character, for example, where Orins keeps on hammering the same beat. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between guitar and Fender Rhodes in their raw and noisy textures that feel like a psychedelic trip. Listening to their music, it is almost impossible not to be absorbed by their intoxicating and captivating constellations. So a happy birthday to this trio extraordinaire, and may they continue on their path! Totally relevant and very urgent music! (DM)
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Behold, a Meta description if there ever was one: The music is broken - because it's Kapotte Muziek - it is created from mainly tape loops - hence the title - but the tracks aren't endless (even though while listening, you'll hope for it). The original cassette is now being re-released on CD by a label with Tapes in its name ... So yeah, I'm sold in advance.
    Kapotte Muziek back in 1988 - a whopping 34 years ago - was a project where Frans de Waard created a home for his experiments. Those experiments were created with the tapedeck from his dad and a second one he borrowed from his neighbour. Loops all over the place, recording, re-recording, bouncing track... What a wonderful yet coordinated mess it must have been. I can only hope there are pictures left from that era that will, at some point, surface.
    The CD counts seven tracks, four of which were released on tape back in 1988. "Metalle" and "Papier und Flche" are two tracks almost touching the 15-minute mark, "Wiederspruch" and "Resonanz" are a bit shorter yet still between 7 and 10 minutes. In total, a bit under fifty minutes of droney, noisy, throbbing experiments has a really hypnotizing effect on the listener. The fact that they're noisy doesn't mean the "distortion" noise or "white noise" noise; They're erratic in nature, and it's sometimes just challenging to find the structure. And knowing that you will at some point surrender to the structure that *is* there, but what you might not have heard because you *tried* to focus. I love that kind of audio structure as they always relax me. The titles, by the way, refer to the sound sources used for each of the tracks, but none of the tracks is recognizable as such.
    The final three tracks - a little extra for this CD release in comparison to the tape - are short "Collages". These tracks were recorded in the same period, using the same set-up, but instead of the droney approach, these are more collage type/cut 'n paste (with tape). They are also based on different sound sources, as I recognize some music/radio/shortwave types of material.
After thirty-four years available again thanks to our friends at Tribe Tapes. Thank you! (BW)
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D'INCISE - KAMA (CD by Insub Records)

Even when I abhor the use of lengthy quotes, let me quote the information about D'Incise's 'Kama' in full; "The word καῦμα (kama) gave us the calm losing its primary sens of heat . Here an archaic experimental music, a more or less advanced electronic technology with questionable sustainability, false loops, oscillations and glidings, between immutable harmonic series and dubious Chinese components. If kama also gives chmer ( not to work ) (from occitan caumar , to rest during the heat ), another warming would call to disturb the calm, the pattern, to come out of our torpor (κῶμα, kma ( deep sleep ). But above all a syncretic, stretched music, between languor induced by this poetry of white noise and defect and a playful speculative processionary will." One of the reasons I started with this release from these new releases by Swiss Insub Records is the list of sound sources, "MS20 synth recordings, analogue filters, tube overdrive, spring reverb, laptop & softwares [sic]"; not exactly the sort of thing one usually finds on releases by this label. So, I didn't understand much of the liner notes here. Still, I gather this is all about some automated process, semi, or quasi-automated, allowing some instruments to play sounds back and forth so that during a heatwave, not much action is required. I might be wrong. The results are four pieces of very ambient textures. These are not exactly automated but have some finely woven irregularities, shifting calmly backwards and forward. Also, there is not much stasis in these pieces. Each is built from several smaller segments, stuck together as a long collage. Quiet at times, but not all too quiet, and ultimately it is ambient music, but one of a different nature than one is used to. A bit of installation music, perhaps, soft and not always too demanding, but beyond the traditional limits of conventional ambient music. Most enjoyable!
    Cowbells is the subject of the CD D'Incise recorded with Cyril Bondi. The latter wondered about the choices one has, and he, too, some unclear text, but they got access to a collection of a thousand bells and recorded four different pieces with those. Irregularity is the keyword here too, and perhaps also ambient. Maybe it is similar to the sounds I heard in (albeit) Austrian alps on my many holidays as a young man, but I remember the cow bells sounding a lot more than on this CD. Here there is space between the notes. Not a lot, mind you, but still room. I am also reminded of the very obscure cassettes by Kubus, from The Netherlands, with their slowed-down cassettes of xylophone playing, but even those had more action. At this time of the year, the cows are moved from the alps to the stables. Still, today the weather here in the relatively flat surroundings of Vital Weekly is very mild. With the doors to the balcony wide open and some stinky cheese bought in Germany yesterday, eyes closed, it almost feels like a relaxing holiday again. That's how this worked for me, but on a slightly different note, I can imagine that there is someone out there who would take each bell sound apart to create a fine sample library.
    The final release is the only one with conventional instruments. Frederik Rasten is on the 12-string acoustic guitar, and Leo Dupleix is on the spinet. The latter I know more for his work with electronics, but he's also a composer. From Rasten I heard a few interesting minimalist solo releases. They recorded two parts of 'Delve II' on February 25th this year. A most curious release. The spinet is always an instrument that sounds a bit baroque, even when it is played in a minimalist way on this CD. Basically, the two strum a chord and do that consistently for both pieces. It is, however, not the exact same chord but comes with minor changes. Some of these changes are also repeated but not in a logical order. The 12-string guitar and the spinet have a slightly metallic ring that may account for the baroque atmosphere. The music has nothing to do with baroque but rather modern music, meeting minimal music. It doesn't obey the 'rules' of minimal music, and within the chord they play, they allow themselves to diversify within that chord, like one string a bit later or earlier, creating a strange sense of time changes in the pieces. There is a majestic slowness in these pieces, which I enjoy a lot. There are quite a few changes here, but it is not easy to note them too quickly when you listen superficially. Once you dive in, you will notice the beauty of this minimalist work in two parts. (FdW)
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CANDI NOOK - How I Invented Sound And Redesigned The Human Ear (2CD by 2CD by Spleen Coffin Records)

The only time the name Candi Nook popped up in Vital Weekly was a long time ago, in a review (not by me) of 'Extreme Music From Women' (Vital Weekly 215). Now there is this compilation of her work, sourced from her six releases, all from the earlier part of this century. They were all on CDR and cassette; some of these are previously unreleased material. I am not sure why Spleen Coffin goes out and re-issues this on CD. Is there a hype I missed? The obvious reason, of course, is that they think it is damn good stuff. There is no information otherwise available about instruments used (for instance). Don't let her contribution to 'Extreme Music From Women' think we're dealing with harsh noise here (if that was the case back then). While there are surely ties to the world of noise, this is not your usual noise bundle. It is not easy to say what Candi Nook uses in her music. Electronics, obviously, I'd say, some drum machines, some plundered sources, voice and music wise, all sampled via some cheap sampling. The results are a mixed bag of almost electro-pop, weird collage music, cut-up, ambient passages, turntable madness and tape manipulation, and mostly it stays on the light side of noise. And on the bright side of madness. Candi Nook keeps her pieces short and to the point and offers quite a bit of variation. It's not easy to say that she has her inspiration from a few particular artists; there are many and none in particular. Nook doesn't necessarily has a voice of her own, but I found this quite entertaining; not every track is a winner per se, but in her speed, this is not necessary. There is a new track already waiting for you. (FdW)
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VIOLETA GARCIA - FOBIA (CD by Relative Pitch Records)

Violeta Garcia might be best known in Europe as being part of Blanco Teta, a trio of bass guitar, cello and drums based in Buenos Aires. She is part of the Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp and has played with many internationally known improvisers. In this release we hear Garcia playing solo on her cello. This is her second solo cello release. The first one (Acero) was released on TVL REC, a label she co-founded. All 15 pieces are centred on the central theme of phobias. Harvard Medical School defines a phobia as a persistent, excessive, unrealistic fear of an object, person, animal, activity or situation. In other words, producing anxiety in that person. And does she deliver? Hell yes, this is scary, dark music with only hints of melodies scattered around the various pieces. The longest piece, 'Love3' might be, along with 'Acero', the most traditional piece on the release for playing method and sense of melody. Played with skill and intent, all fifteen pieces never sound boring or dull. In each relatively short piece, she creates a sound world demanding attention. This is not easy listening music and might not be for everyone. Ahre. (MDS)
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KLEISTWAHR - MOBILITY (LP by Fourth Dimension Records)
KLEISTWAHR - DO NOT (LP by Fourth Dimension Records)

From a lengthy article in As Loud As Possible, a one-off magazine from 2010, we know a lot about Broken Flag (one day, this article will make it into a proper book!) and the background of its main musician, Gary Mundy. Best known, perhaps, for his band Ramleh, which is sometimes a two-piece noise unit, or a larger heavy noise-rock group, he also had a bunch of other solo projects. Kleistwahr started early on as a secret noise project so the label's catalogue would expand. He had much of the Ramleh equipment at home anyway, so why not use it for some solo recordings? Following some five releases (although the fifth was a best-off of the other four) by Broken Flag in the 80s, Kleistwahr went on a long hiatus, mainly due to Mundy losing interest in working with electronics. After 2010 he started again and has released more since then than in the 80s. Also, music-wise, there has been quite a change. In recent years, Kleistwahr has concentrated blocks of atmospheric, moody drones, deep and piercing, but no longer with the sort of noise he worked with in the 80s; not as Ramleh, not as Kleistwahr. Fourth Dimension re-issues two of the five 80-s cassettes; 'Mobility' is a single-sided LP, and 'Do 'Not' is a full-length LP (the other two were released on LP by Harbinger Sound in 2011). I had not heard these back then. What is most striking in terms of 'now' and 'then' Kleistwahr music is that the current version is more complex; back then, it was all relatively easily constructed. There is some vinyl abuse here, looping and skipping, along with stabs on organs, radio fragments, or even a drum machine towards the end of 'II' on 'Do Not'. Also of note, I think, is that Kleistwahr doesn't have that loud noise sound; certainly not in the way Ramleh had back then. There is certain chaos here, especially on 'Do Not'. Each side contains one piece of music but is broken up into smaller segments, some better constructed than others. On 'Mobility', there is more of a Ramleh influence on its treatments with noise, drones, and effect-heavy. That one is one straight out of the power electronics manual, whereas 'Do Not' has much opener music and relies less on the stricter rules of the genre. If you are, like me, a relative new comer to the music of Kleistwahr, then these two LPs offer great insight into the earliest work. (FdW)
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IMMEN/BO MENNING (split LP by Plato Utrecht Records)

In recent times there has been quite an influx of music here at VWHQ that, in my humble opinion, is not at the core of what Vital Weekly writes about; jazz and modern classical music, plus way more improvised music and free jazz than before. One of my nightmares is reading one day: Vital Weekly, a leading jazz publication. Then it's time to quit. Because as one, probably, a wiser reviewer said, 'if you do one, they expect you do m all; just say no'. Which is perhaps what I should do. Immen and Bo Menning have nothing to do with the aforementioned musical genres and also (probably) are far outside the musical domain we cover. So mentioning (to avoid the word 'reviewing'), this split LP should not open a new route of music which I feel I know nothing about. However, I enjoy the fact that a record store in Utrecht starts a record label in these times of great (and grave) uncertainty and does not take an easy route by releasing quite unknown artists. Their first release was a 7" by the No Brains, a punk combo from the same city with an average of 17 years. Now there is a split LP by Immen, the music project of Clasine Haringsma and Bo Menning, guitarist/vocalist of Aestrid, "a three-piece rock outfit from Utrecht". For both, it is a debut. There is a partial overlap in the music here. Immen's three-piece-suite sees her playing the guitar and singing, and whose music is best to be called indie folk. Very intimate songs, sometimes with the addition of strings (cello and/or violin) and drum machine or real drums, such as in 'Pill'. It all remains on the dreamy side of the musical spectrum and has, for me, enough strangeness to be different.
    On the other side, we find Bo Menning, who also plays the guitar and sings but expands his pieces with electronics, drums and some strange samples of spoken words that link the five pieces together. Or perhaps, don't link these together. Lifted from films or documentaries, these samples give the whole side quite the cinematic character, and the music is only partly folk-like. There are aspects of shoegazing and ambient music mixed with these alternative folk songs, yet it retains a song structure. Menning's music reminded me of the old 4AD sound, guitar, vocals, and a drum machine, all bathing in an abundant reverb. Now, this is closer to the world of Vital Weekly than I expected! Daring choices are made on this record, a bold move and hopefully paying off for Plato Utrecht Records. (FdW)
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Following many releases as Black To Comm, and some as Jemh Circs and Mouchour tanche, Marc Richter. The information doesn't mention what prompted this change. However, the fact that this LP contains pieces presented as Ina GRM and the ZKM Institute in Karlsruhe as multi-channel works, I would think that Richter want to move away from band names and be a more 'serious' composer. The title piece was recorded just before the terror attacks in Paris in 2015 at the GRM studio (in the same city) (so says the information, but why that should be relevant, I don't know), and uses a text by Michel Serres. This text is "a philosophic metaphor about human interaction and communication. The other side contains 'Spiral Organ Of Corti', for the 47-speaker Klangdom concert hall in Karlsruhe and is dedicated to the late Gary Todd, who once ran a record label, re-issuing works by American minimalist composers, primarily Terry Riley. In this piece, Richters works with sustaining sine waves, the human voice of which we no longer recognize any words or meaning, and more obscured 'other' sounds. Richter keeps it all close together, like a massive cluster of sounds, all struggling not to drown, and sometimes one or another leaps a bit. In a transitional part of the piece, the clustered chaos makes way for percussive sounds, tranquil perhaps, but occasional bursts of chaotic energy return. Still, it never returns to full-blown chaos. 'Diode, Triode' is along similar acousmatic music lines but with slightly different results. In this piece, Richter takes a more collage-like approach to the sound material, with some jump cuts sitting next to continuous granulation of the material. Especially the voices get a lot of treatment, and any text is rendered impossible to hear. Yet, it seems they are from words rather than mouth sounds. If the idea was to have any meaning to these words, they are now lost in the cracks of sounds, speeding up (at one point, I had to check if I wasn't playing this at 45 rpm) and slowing down these sounds, something happening simultaneously. Less concentrated and covering more ground, this is another damn fine piece of music. If this is the start of Richter's career in 'serious' music, then it is a most promising one. (FdW)
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AD HOC - DISTANCE (cassette by Shame File Music)

'Elliptical Gamelan' is the follow-up to 'Molecular Gamelan', the debut CD. Now Ian Andrews presents an LP with recent recordings. He uses an array of small objects captured contact microphones, home-constructed cartridges, miniature piezo microphones and conventional microphones. These objects are played on turntables with "a number of distancing strategies, such as the use of hand drills, film winders and motorised drills/screwdrivers". The objects are metal; the word gamelan is chosen to be part of the title because of the use of the metallic objects. It has that gamelan sound, but it also sounds a bit different. The ideas of amplifying small sounds come from the work of John Cage, David Tudor and Gordon Mumma, but they give it their own twist. In some of Cage's recordings ('Cartridge Music', for instance), feedback and hiss are not avoided but made part of the music. Astasie-Abasie doesn't do that and works with pure sounds. Many little sounds are working together randomly or, rather, not working together. Think of the music as sitting on your front porch (I bet not many readers have those), and there is not one wind-chime but twenty. Different tunings, sizes and speeds make them all sound different. This makes it hard for the listener to focus on a single sound. It is, of course, not necessary to do that, to concentrate on a single sound, as you could also enjoy the overall nature of the music. As I wrote before, the music has a zen-like quality, and that is what we have here again. I'd say ten pieces are all the same and yet all different. Maybe there are a few field recordings, just like last time, but none too obvious. This is some very relaxing music!
    The other new release by Shame File Music is a re-issue of a cassette that initially came out in 1980. It is the only release of a group called Ad Hoc. The members are Chris Knowles, David Wadelton, and James Clayden. The first got a loan and bought an EMS Synthi AKS suitcase synthesizer back then, quite an investment. The other two bought cheap guitars. The three men knew each other from art school and recorded their music on a four-track machine. You might think that Ad Hoc stands for some Ad Hoc music, being all improvised, but that is not the case. The music sounds very 'modern'; it could have been in recent years. The music has an ambient quality. In the opening piece, 'Yellow Mirror', a piano and some dissonant guitar are playing. The piano returns in other tracks, but it is not mentioned in the information or cover. Whatever they play on the guitars is not very traditional in terms of chords. Repetition is an important thing for this trio. Not by neatly bouncing loops or sequences but manually played, along with the mild inaccuracies that slip in the performance. Mostly delicate stuff, with even something that reminded me of cosmic music ('The Bridge'). An excellent release, this one. This is something that should be re-issued a lot sooner and, perhaps, to satisfy people who love such things on vinyl. An unexpected surprise! (FdW)
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It should be no secret that I have been a big fan of David Lee Myers's work since I first heard his music. Back then, as Arcane Device, a moniker he left behind years ago. Maybe I even started a review of his work before with pretty much the exact words? But stating the obvious again is never a problem for me. These days he releases his works, digitally and physically, and no longer, so it seems, on other labels. These two CDRs are his recent works; as before, he works with feedback. The outcome is quite different. Myers calls 'Logos In Aeon' a collection of sombre ambiences, and true as that is, I also think that somberness is a quality of much of his music. Ambiences; yes, they certainly are. Myers' feedback should not be understood as a sonic overload or something reminiscent of early Whitehouse. It's not 'stick two microphones in front of the amplifier, now turn the amplifier on' type of music. Myers' feedback goes through many machines and is no longer noise or even to be recognized as feedback. There is only a vague trace of rhythm, but mostly these are stretched out, sustaining soundscapes with minimalist changes. The music is far from ambient, but Myers paints some great atmospheres. Dark and brooding soundscapes of rusty electronics, the soundtrack of dystopia, like so much of the music I reviewed these pages. Maybe that explains my somewhat darker thoughts about the sorry state of... well, everything. Myers does, and I am biased here, a great job, of course. This is some intense music, dark ambient as we called it back then (and why not continue to do these days?). Music that pierces right into the brain, in a good way.
    'Partikelrauschen' is a title that made me think of Asmus Tietchens and means 'particle noise'. Here, Myers gives his machines an entirely different spin. Myers calls the '1950s style electronic music. We no longer have the sustaining, minimalist soundscapes but small particles flying in, out, under and over your head. Bursting, scratching, peeping, welcome to what seems to be the sound of instability.  I am not all too sure about the modus operandi from mister Myers. For instance, I can imagine that some of this was recorded live without too much editing, but I might be wrong. In fact, I always believed that much of Arcane Device/David Lee Myers was 'live in studio recordings. Of the two new releases by Myers, I find this the one with more difficult music. There is a similar form of sound treatment going on, of small sounds bending and reshaping, looping around and such, which at a certain point became a bit too much. At sixty-seven minutes, this is quite a lengthy album. Myers captures the feeling of 50s electronic music quite well here, and while not exactly 'Planet Of The Apes', I see flickering black and white images of some fifties-styled homemade science fiction 8mm film. For such a thing, this is the perfect soundtrack. (FdW)
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Somewhere along the lines, Woody Sullender dropped the word 'uncle' from his name, but he still holds on to his banjo. Not an instrument I hear daily. I heard Sullender before (Vital Weekly 721 and 757), albeit not in quite some time. I learn from the enclosed information he dropped the banjo and worked with performance art and installations but picked up the banjo again when he started to work on 'Four Movements', which he describes as a "video game album". The CDR here contains those movements and other recent pieces. The result is an album of eight pieces with quite a diverse approach. The banjo is omnipresent and not always played by Sullender, but it also arrives in sampled form. Next to that, there is an overall electronic approach to be noted, for which he uses the 303 and 808 machines. The result is rhythmic but not necessarily dance-based. The result is an odd pairing of folk-like sounds and beats (which, of course, in the real world is not a strange thing; 'Old Town Road' might even be known to some readers here?), but also introspective minimalism, such as 'House Of Calm Serenity', which he recorded with Seamus Cater (their duo album was the first time I heard of Sullender) or 'Hang Your Head Over', which covers quite some silence too. The album rocks back and forth between these ends, and you could think that Sullender does a highly risky job; you might lose some audience here or there, but I enjoyed this diversity a lot. Mainly because of that diversity. An album with just reflective music would be nice, an album with just beats and banjo too much, so the best of both worlds is preferred. (FdW)
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The Hymns label recently crossed my path with the 3" releases by Heirloom and Landforms - both nice releases for an evening of listening to stuff while reading a book. However, this new release by Jesse Paul Miller, someone I had never heard before, is highly conceptual and definitely outside the realm of 'easy listening. But the concept behind it is so well thought of, I'll try to explain it...
    An old vinyl served as the original, a mould was created from this vinyl, a new 'vinyl' in resin was created from the mould, with objects inside the resin, and this record served a source of these recordings. The sound is scratchy as hell. The object inside - a piece of tape in this case - might cause the needle to hang or jump, and listening to the recordings, I suspect that the new record was played and recorded and found its way to this release.
    It reminds me a bit of the thought behind an absolute classic from the Dutch experimental scene by Vance Orchestra. They did something like that by putting a thin layer of silicone on top of old 78rpm records, where the silicone degradation slowly revealed the original recording, which dripped through the Vance Orchestra recording, of course, at the wrong speed.
    The musical result of "Secret Record 160" is a hypnotizing blend of scratchy sounds/surface noises with incoherent phrases of classical music. Which album served as the original, I can't tell you because my knowledge of classical music is very limited. I did enjoy listening to it, even if it was this conceptual. I can imagine stuff like this serving as a sound source for others to even add another level of concept. If you are interested in plunderphonics and drones and don't mind a noisy approach, this might be a revelation to you. (BW)
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DRONE WARFARE (compilation CDR by Ice Age Productions)

This is a four-group compilation, all from Melbourne and each providing a piece of drone music, each in a different key. I must admit I never think of such things as 'keys' (as in 'what key is the song in'; neither 'is this a major or a minor chord'), so the whole 'G', 'Bb', 'D', or 'E' is lost on me. Of the four, I only recognized Sasha Margolis' Automating project. The other three are Beast Bones, Siphonophore and Golden Oak. Each track is exactly fifteen minutes. Automating opens here with a single drone tone and then slowly expands by opening filters and oscillators and builds his piece into a mighty fine, slightly distorted drone that closes on a fade-out. Beast Bones also works with a synth drone, with a relatively simple tone excursion and one that could do with some extra work. There is too much of that one-take feeling that marks that this piece of music is not yet finished. Siphonophore has a more extended sound palette, with drones and sound effects, but also with the addition of a slow pulse and what seems to be voices. There also may be a piano in there towards the end. The result is an excellent piece, which could also be said of Golden Oak, working with 'E'. Here the drone is not as full-on as the others, but still the nicely ringing one. There is also additional sound material in the form of water and some bell-like/windchime sounds. Maybe drone solo is oke, but drone plus is the better idea? I have no idea how or where the 'warfare' fits in (well, except for the obvious thing that a different kind of drone is used in warfare), but throughout quite an excellent compilation. (FdW)
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EDWARD SOL - GLASS EYE/RUBBER LEG (cassette by Sentimental Productions)

Hot on the heels of last week's split release with Lasse Marhaug, there is now anew cassette by Ukrain's Edward Sol. It is about thierty minutes, which seems to be his favourite format. Last week I said that Sol's work is along the lines of the current flow of lo-fi ambient music, but this new work (or, rather, two works; one per side) shows a rather musical side of Sol. Sure, it remains all abstract and long, but at one point in 'Rubber Eye', the music takes a rhythmic turn, rather pleasant and dark. In the drone section before that, I would think Sol layers a few of guitar sounds and, along with shady field recordings of nocturnal quality, this is finely atmospheric. In the middle there is a disruption, of what could be long wave sounds. In the 'Rubber Leg', there is less of this collaging of various elements. In this piece, Sol goes into a long, slow-building drone mode. Here too, so it seems to me, Sol uses guitars, and effects, aalong with some soliatiry percussive bits. There is a grim atmosphere in this piece, reminding of areoplanes taking - or fighter planes, given the current war in Sol's homecountry. Towards the end there is a more Pan Sonic inspired bass beat, filtered and with a slightly militairy feeling to it. I enjoyed both pieces a lot, but had a slight preference for 'Glass Eye', as Sol expands his sound palette quite a bit and comes up with some very surprising musical moves. (FdW)
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