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
your MP3 player and enjoy!
CHERYL E. LEONARD - ANTARCTICA (CD by Other Minds Records) *
TOSHIMARU NAKAMURA - NO-INPUT MIXING BOARD #11 - LIVE IN TOKYO (CD by Input Error) *
DRUG AGE - DYSLEXIC ACTION (2CD by Input Error) *
ENSEMBLE DEDALUS & ERIKM - FATA MORGANA (CD by Relative Pitch Records) *
ERIKM & HANATSUMIROIR ENSEMBLE - ECHOPLASME (Book and CD on Bisou Records)
REGLER - REGEL #10 (MIMALISM) (CD by Seminal Records) *
REGLER - REGEL #12 (AMBIENT) (cassette by Crystal Mine) *
ORHAN DEMIR - FREEDOM IN JAZZ VOL. 3 (CD by Hittite Records) *
BOSCH & SIMONS - THREE MUSIC MACHINES (LP by Staalplaat) *
JENS BRAND - RATCHETS (LP by Staalplaat) *
ARVO ZYLO - DYSFIGURINES (LP by No Part Of It)
VERTONEN – BLACK PATTI 8056 (10” lathe + CDR by Ballast) *
THE LONEY BELL - GHOST TOWN BURNING (CDR by Blackjack Illuminist Records) *
MARK CAUVIN - COMPOSITIONS, INTERPRETATIONS AND IMPROVISATIONS (CDR private) *
DOC WÖR MIRRAN & STADLMEIER & FIEBIG - SANOZAMA (CDR by Attentuation Circuit) *
DOC WÖR MIRRAN & TESENDALO - SUSPACIOUS (CDR by Marginal Talent) *
DOC WÖR MIRRAN - WORLD OF TRAILERS (CDR by Marginal Talent) *
CARMEN JACI - HAPPY CHILD (cassette by Noumenal Loom) *
TIM DAVISON - VIEW FROM THE GATE (cassette by Moon Villain) *
ADRIANA CAMACHO & STEFAN CHRISTOFF - AÑOS Y MINUTOS (cassette by Moon Villain) *
CONTRAFACTA - A PLACE TO SING AT NIGHT (cassette by Moon Villain) *
HYPNAGOGUE - LYING IN A COLD FIELD, STARING UP AT THE SKY (cassette by Moon Villain) *
CHERYL E. LEONARD - ANTARCTICA (CD by Other Minds Records)
There is much to read in the booklet about the music on this release by Cheryl E. Leonard. From 2008-2009 she went to the Antarctic Peninsula as part of an Artists and Writers Program. For five weeks, she made field recordings and collected rocks, shells, and penguin bones (with permission, the booklet says), and sometimes she'd make recordings on the spot playing with these. She recounts the trip in general and then details each of the nine tracks, what she uses, sound wise and some background on the specific locations. It goes too far to go into the same detail per track for a review (well, it wouldn't be fair on the releases that don't get the same length, which is another reason). In the years following the recordings, she carefully planned and executed her compositions. What struck me most is that it is not your typical work of field recordings. Granted, penguin sounds, and ice is melting/water is dripping. Still, there is also the curiously musical piece of 'Meltwater', with its penguin bones that rattle like chimes in the wind, slowly developing into what seems to be a primitive xylophone. I am unsure how Leonard works regarding sound processing and so on. Some material sounds like there is not much processing going on. It sounds crystal clear. There is, however, some pretty extensive layering going on, with quite diverse sounds going on at the same time. Maybe there are variations in the pitches of sound, but I am also unsure if she uses any of that. Throughout, Leonard likes to keep her pieces minimal. There are various layers of recordings, rocking back and forth in a prolonged manner, but no wild changes or abrupt moves. Sometimes an audio travelogue, and sometimes more akin to improvised music (in 'White On Water', for instance). I played this release a couple of times over the last few weeks, and my idea of it changed each time. Not one thing or another, but a multi-dimensional music release. Very nice! (FdW)
––– Address: https://www.otherminds.org/
TOSHIMARU NAKAMURA - NO-INPUT MIXING BOARD #11 - LIVE IN TOKYO (CD by Input Error)
DRUG AGE - DYSLEXIC ACTION (2CD by Input Error)
I always get happy when we get mail or material from unknown labels. Why? Because it's Google Time! Time to learn new stuff about new artists, and now and then, you get to find out about something that triggers you in some way. So when Ewan from Input Error asked if we would be interested in his latest output ( ** note from the editor: There will be several input-output puns in this review, most of them are intended, some probably accidental **), of course, I'll say yes. The previews we were sent were really promising. As for Input Error, the list of releases contain some names we all know and some lesser known. So it might be interesting to check it out on the website or Discogs.
Toshimaru Nakamura is a name I had not heard of before, which is strange as he's been active since 1995. "Guitar and No-Input mixing board player", states his Discogs profile and shitloads of releases. So my anticipation here is that he is someone who knows what he's doing with mixers. The four tracks on "NIMB #11" (I'll be using this abbreviation from now on) are between 8 and 20 minutes. Fifty minutes in total of NIMB-ing. Sessions that are simply titled #71, #72, #73 and #74 with additional location and date of recording. Sessions? Live performances? The information doesn't state that part, but a few things came to mind while listening to the tracks.
First, NIMB-ing is a one-take session where you create loops around a mixer and control your feedback loops. And the more you do it, the more you know your gear and everything you use within the loops (for example, FX-pedals). But the whole system you generate and use to make sounds is 'hot as f***', and each little thing you do has a direct effect, making it very difficult to control. Sure, I hear you think, 'but it makes noise, and that's what I want' and yes. If that's what you want: true. But to CONTROL the noise, now THAT is difficult. And Toshimaru proves with these recordings - particularly in tracks "NIMB #3" and "NIMB #4" - that he is in complete control of his sound. Subtle when even really harsh, wow. The first tracks show a harsher approach, which is a bit more 'in your face' (more sudden changes, a bit more harshness, noisier), but this is a master at work. The CD screams those words—a very nice release.
The second release is a double CD by Drug Age entitled "Dyslexic Action". And those of you who are interested in the Italian Harsh Noise scene might recognize this one. It is indeed a rerelease from a 2013 very limited (53 copies) quadruple cassette box. I guess that one of those 53 copies was bought or traded or somehow got to Ewan's collection, and when he replayed it recently, his thoughts were that it simply had to be heard by more people. So, a double CD on Input Error was a logical next step.
The four original cassettes were divided into two batches leaving the original track order intact. The artwork, however - from what I could find on the first edition - is entirely different. The now gracefully designed grey-tone / dark cover contrasts the cut 'n paste ethics of the original box. The cut 'n paste ethics seem to fit the style of noise Francesco Tignola and Matteo Castro generate a bit better. It's loud, erratic, sudden movements, extreme changes, and the other usual suspects of complete compression, squeaking feedback, rattles and so on. The length of the - total - 16 tracks is roughly 1 and 16 minutes. And I noticed something ... The original four cassettes, so that's eight sides, all had different themes in composition and use of sound. So me stating that my favourite tracks were side C will probably mean something to Francesco and Matteo, but will leave all of you enthralled in the way of "wtf is he babbling about". A total of 90 minutes of harsh noise collages, finally available on CD, and worth your time. (BW)
––– Address: https://input-error.co.uk/
ENSEMBLE DEDALUS & ERIKM - FATA MORGANA (CD by Relative Pitch Records)
Based in Toulouse and founded in 1996, Ensemble Dedalus are a group specialising in modern contemporary music that touches base with improvised music. They interpreted pieces by Phillip Glass, Eliane Radigue and Brian Eno, to name a few. Here we have a release based on a concept by eRikm (Eric Matt), a France-based artist. The idea is to make the world around us audible that we can’t hear. A bit like the sound of whales or bats we can’t hear, transform it into our sound world, rearrange it for ensemble Dedalus, and combine the two, the field recordings made audibly and the musicians mimicking and interpreting the transposed/transformed sounds. In the video section on their website, you can hear and see a shorter take of the results (Dedalus (dedalus-ensemble.fr). The sound world we are in sounds alien and familiar at the same time. 'Antares Neutrino' sounds the most alien to my ears and thus aptly named after Antares, the brightest star of the Scorpio constellation. The pacing is relaxed, and with several blips and tropical bird (?) sounds thrown in, it makes for a compelling listen. And that’s true for all the pieces. Things are not rushed, and once a mood is set, or I should say an environment is created, it never gets boring or tedious because new elements are regularly introduced, juxtaposing previous elements or creating even more tension in the already tense intervals like in 'solastalgia', where the same cello comments an ostinato in the cello. Marvellous in its shortness: three minutes. This is delicate music with a great sound design. Every aspect is distinguishable, and the unheard sound world around us is made audible. In short: an excellent release, warranting many listening rounds for all its details and a wide audience. (MDS)
––– Address: https://relativepitchrecords.bandcamp.com/
ERIKM & HANATSUMIROIR ENSEMBLE - ECHOPLASME (Book and CD on Bisou Records)
Another release with ErikM (Erik Matt). This time with the duo Hanatsumirroir. The duo got together in 2010 and has since collaborated with many people, expanding the flutes played by Ayako Okubo and the electromagnetically manipulated percussion by Oliver Maurel with viola and contrabass clarinet, for example. A different beast than the other one reviewed in this week's edition of Vital Weekly, this one deals with the Japanese- supernatural creatures of the Yokai. I misread the title; I thought it read ectoplasm, made famous in the Ghostbusters movies. I wasn't far off with the Yokai being the subject.
Okubu plays the contrabass flute, which has many twists and turns to get to the contrabass octaves. Low whispers, flattering, clicking of the keys, and talking into the mouthpiece, makes for an eerie sound. Add to that the percussion played by Maurel, sometimes electromagnetically enhanced or transformed; you get an uncomfortable and brooding sound environment. Finally, there is the layer added by Erik, electronic soundscapes. And the cherry on the cake is narrators who tell stories, or just words or phrases concerning the Yokai, or perhaps mimic a Yokai. There's a detached quality about the music, in a good way. Ghost music pur sang. Or, in English full blooded ghost music, is most fitting given the subject. I recommend listening to this in a dark room on a higher volume (or with good headphones). Outstanding work.
There’s also an accompanying book with visuals created by ErikM. And lastly on Youtube there’s a video of a performance that’s very informative about the proceedings on this disc. (MDS)
––– Address: https://bisourecords.bandcamp.com/
REGLER - REGEL #10 (MIMALISM) (CD by Seminal Records)
REGLER - REGEL #12 (AMBIENT) (cassette by Crystal Mine)
I forgot all about Regler, the group consisting of Mattin, Anders Bryngelssson and (guest player) Andreas Soma. They all play pencil, along with (in order) guitar, snare drums & effects, and a contact microphone. They "set up rules and try to do different genres of music with rock instruments". They already covered dub, free jazz, harsh noise or blues. That last one, reviewed in Vital Weekly 1093, was the last I heard from time. They pop up again, albeit with older recordings, as we will see, with their take on 'Minimalism' and 'Ambient'. There is no explanation for the latter, but reading (trying to) about the first in the booklet, gave me a mild headache, with its highly complicated art world talk. There is not much minimalism there. Drawing with a pencil slips in there somewhere in the text, and that might explain the use of pencils in the music here. The record made at the Mädchenkammer in Berlin is already from 2017. The forty-five minutes this work lasts is a strange affair of amplified acoustic sounds, non-rhythmic snare drums sounds, some kind of electronic sound and, yes, a very minimal approach. Not in terms of Steve Reich (et al.) and his minimalism, but more as in 'there isn't much happening in terms of development', but changes, as always, even with minimalism, take place. Perhaps fatigue and strains play a role, thanks to the hands playing this. 'Minimalism' becomes a ritual in that way—strangely compelling music.
Of more musical interest for me was 'Regel #12 (Ambient)', which they recorded in 2015 in Stockholm with Seth Kim-Cohen. The cover is Brian Eno's famous diagram of the tape delay system. Using two reel-to-reel machines, one can record sound on one machine, feed the tape to the next and connect that machine's output to the first input, feeding the signal back. Interestingly (well, pure privately), I tried this a few weeks ago with varying results. I am unsure of my technical ineptitude or that my machines are too old, but it worked only so. I couldn't tell if Regler here uses two devices or just delay pedals. Kim-Cohen gives a lecture about Eno's tape delay, but as the talk quickly overlaps previous recordings of his voice, it becomes difficult to figure out what he says. Mattin and Bryngelssson's music isn't ambient per se, but they spin long waves of small sounds and lots of delays, so it becomes a bit relaxing. Especially the second side works well in that way and, from one point, sets out on a kind of very slow fade out. The voice becomes an instrument and is no longer recognized beyond a certain point on the first side. Quite lovely work! (FdW)
––– Address: https://seminalrecords.bandcamp.com/
––– Address: https://crystalmine.bandcamp.com/album/
ORHAN DEMIR - FREEDOM IN JAZZ VOL. 3 (CD by Hittite Records)
As the title suggests, this is volume three from master guitar player Orhan Demir playing his material. Born in Turkey in 1954, he moved to Canada in 1977 and lives in Toronto. As I wrote earlier about his trio work, he is a virtuoso guitar player, a wizard in service of the music and not for his ego. Culling from standard jazz progressions, he infuses it with Middle Eastern scales. This is intimate and delicate music. Listen to this after-hours (non-alcoholic) cocktail in hand and let the music let you drift away. This isn’t background music: although you can discern certain signature melody lines or building blocks throughout the fifteen pieces, it doesn’t get tedious. Again, highly recommended. (MDS)
––– Address: https://orhandemir.org/
BOSCH & SIMONS - THREE MUSIC MACHINES (LP by Staalplaat)
JENS BRAND - RATCHETS (LP by Staalplaat)
My claim to no fame regarding TV appearances is minimal. As a 26-year-old, I was very briefly interviewed about Paul Panhuysen's 'Canary Grand Band', a concert for birds, and I commented negatively on a work by Peter Bosch and Simone Simons, called 'Was der Wind zum Klingen bringt (1989-90 / 2003)'. This was a piece for 48 vacuum cleaners. I only said this because I knew it would be so out of the box that going to concerts for vacuum cleaners or birds is normal. Honestly, even then, I did not recollect the Bosch & Simons piece much. As a young man interested in weird music, I probably thought that anything goes and everything had my interest, and many things were consumed and forgotten. I lost track of this duo, mainly because I wasn't going to galleries and museums to witness sound art (well, with some exceptions; I saw an installation by Ad van Buuren and one by Remko Scha in those days). While playing this LP, I read and looked at their website and learned that this album is a sort of retrospective of their work, including the Was der Wind zum Klingen bringt', with a recording from 1990. The other two pieces are 'Krachtgever', which won them a Golden Nica in the category Computer Music at the Ars Electronica in 1998 and 'Cantan Un Huevo' from 2000-2001. For each of these three pieces, I could quickly write (well, more like copy/paste) what it is about, but that would be lengthy, so I'll keep it brief. In 'Krachtgever', they use crates and spirals, computer-controlled, and judging by the video clips on their website, a massive work. Crates can be controlled individually or in bundles, or as a whole. The music is like a huge wave, ebb and flow-like, sometimes sounding like a helicopter. The recording captures the machines from some distance, which gives the piece a relatively smooth nature, certainly compared to the other two. 'Cantan Un Huevo' ('they sing an egg' says Google Translate) uses springs from beds, again computer controlled, with glass bottles on them. These vibrations make the glass rattle, and the result is most powerful. The result is a very industrial sound, the rattling of conveyor belts, but I was also reminded of Z'EV; the music here shares that percussive element, as if Z'EV is performing on steel plates. The entire second side of the record is that old piece, and now that I hear it so many years later, it sounds entirely different. Here too, we have that heavy industrial sound of vacuum cleaners starting up, shutting down, and accelerating. By all means a scary piece of music, mainly because of all the start/stop action, and one has no idea what comes next—kind of overwhelming stuff. I could write another lengthy bit about the necessity to put this kind of sound installation on a sound carrier, effectively removing the visual side of the piece. That may be the case with 'Krachtgever', but with the other two, that is not true. Here the music stands very well by itself, and the absence of visuals is not bad.
I was thinking: do I know Jens Brand? Maybe I do, but it seems lost over time. He's a German-based artist inspired by seeing people like Phill Niblock, Paul Panhuysen, David Behrman and such at De Apollohuis in Eindhoven. He has created installations since then. His interest is more in parallel activities than ideas of fusion. In 2002 he did his first work for ratchets, motorized and also controlled via the computer and in 2022, he revisited these, and the recordings on this record are from last year. I looked online to see what that looks like, but hard to find, apparently. I understand it works with high speed, and he uses at least eight of these, so the result is a very dense sound. Recorded in a gallery by the honourable Radboud Mens, we find various pieces on this record. Like the Simons & Bosch record, this is not easy listening. Much of this is a drone, but sharp and loud. Yet, you need to turn up the volume and feel the sound. This sound has a spatial quality, as the music can only be captured in a room and not via lines on a mixing desk. Turning up the volume gives the music more space; you hear and feel the space of the music and the room in which the sound travels around. It is as important as the music itself. Each of the eight (nine including a digital bonus) pieces is a very consistent, single-minded piece of music, rattling about, but there are enough variations in the music. With its building up, pieces like 'Kiss 03' have a very different quality than the variations of the same piece, which we find on side A, which are strictly monochrome excercises. The three pieces on the second side have more guitar-like qualities, reminding me of Remko Scha. All in all, a very consistent record. (FdW)
––– Address: https://staalplaatlabel.bandcamp.com/
ARVO ZYLO - DYSFIGURINES (LP by No Part Of It)
Steady readers of the Vital Weekly now know the man, the name, the label, and his output. Arvo Zylo runs No Part Of It, and that label is a very active little bugger. And I mean it in the best way possible. I mean: We all know those small 'internet' / Bandcamp-based noise labels where everybody releases every single little fart that happens to be looped through guitar pedals and creates a massive sound. There are too many of those high-output labels if you ask me. Sure, now and then there is that 'pearl' you find between the pebbles, but ... Well, I meant to say that No Part Of It is everything but a label like that kind. The output is high, but not too high, and each release is in some way physical. Pro replicated CDRs or vinyl in ultra-limited editions.
"Dysfigurines" is a limited vinyl (10 copies), and the two 20-minute tracks are created from field recordings. In this case, more than one field recordings from different times and different situations are layered upon each other creating an eerie atmosphere. Faint echoes from layer 1) can cause artefacts or sounds in layer 2) to get a different meaning. And an atmospheric recording can, and vice versa, give a recorded voice a fully different meaning. A bit like what you get when watching a movie while you play the soundtrack from a different movie simultaneously.
Sure, you can also use field recordings and granulate or loop the hell out of them. Something I - when done correctly - like a lot. But This release goes back to the basics of what it's all about. Layering, checking, controlling, manipulating the output into a continuous dynamic... And through the process, Arvo creates an album with a beautifully urban soundtrack on side A / "Concave time": Imagine an NYC office by night. Side B / "W Tears" I have no clue how to describe ... It reminded me of the first output by The Caretaker. Arvo's take on things is a bit more like an acid trip in contradiction to the 'submarine' feel of The Caretaker. Maybe a bit more Kubrick / The Shining style. Yes, less 'the field recording as is' and more manipulated, but very well done. Nice one! (BW)
––– Address: https://nopartofit.bandcamp.com/
VERTONEN – BLACK PATTI 8056 (10” lathe + CDR by Ballast)
It's Chicago Time! The Windy City! One of my favourite places in the United States. And why? I haven't got the faintest clue, other than the fact that I really appreciated and liked the "Chicago guitar sound" back in the days (style wise: Big Black, Touch and Go, Slint, Bitch Magnet), which weren't Chicago bands mainly, but in my head, they were all connected somehow to a big city where people tried to think differently. So with my project, I've played Chicago twice - the basement of The Nervous Center and The Empty Bottle - and I think back with a big smile to both events. And my timeline coincides with many people from around there, Marc Benner from Oxidation being a name you come by in the Vital quite often and: Blake from Ballast / Vertonen. And this one is about Blake and Chicago.
Because Chicago has a history when it comes to music, the guitar scene in the 80s and '90s is just an example, and in this release, Blake gets to another part of Chicago History: The Black Patti label, which only lived in the year 1927. It mainly released jazz, blues and sermons, but I thank the good lord on both knees that this release isn't jazz at all. The 10" lathe has titles hinting that way: "Run Out Groove Blues" and "Frying Bacon Blues", but the title doesn't fit the tune. It's how the original label hinted at the covers of the release's content back then. However, some of the sound sources Blake uses on the lathe tracks seem to fit the description correctly. The A-side uses those crackling runout grooves, which you won't hear when you have an automatic shut-off record player. And the B-side, in a way, has the same but with a bit of fantasy the run-out groove is manipulated into sizzling bacon - and I might add: vegan friendly. Both tracks are around 10 minutes, made of crackling piano samples and voices, and manipulated heavily into drone-like soundscapes.
The CDR elaborates on the sound palette chosen for the lathe tracks. These compositions are around 25 minutes each, and because Blake decided to use more time, the flow within each composition is more gradual and accessible to the ear. The first track is a hypnotic and super-dynamic masterpiece. Lots of - what I suspect - granular synthesis or at least more minor sounds stretched into atmospheric layers. And some less 'atmospheric' and more intrusive sounds. It's what creates the dynamics here. Lovely. The second track opens with a piano sample and from that moment on... The mid-section is creepy, with a pulsating, almost rhythmic background, and the track ends with what I can only describe as 'the sound of emptiness'.
So yeah: I like this release. A lot. My favourite track, the 2nd track from the CDr. But that's not what this review ends with. Because: This is the first release in a Ballast Subscription Series. Only 25 copies each, of which 19 are for sale. So collectors, be sure to check the link at the bottom for the information you need because the message of this review might well be that Chicago just got a new chapter in its musical history. (BW)
––– Address: https://ballastnvp.blogspot.com/2023/04/10-lathe-series-subscriptions-now.html
––– Address: https://ballastnvp.blogspot.com/
THE LONEY BELL - GHOST TOWN BURNING (CDR by Blackjack Illuminist Records)
Here is the follow-up to 'Kingdoms Of The Deep' (see Vital Weekly 1370) by Ali Murray's musical project The Lonely Bell. He is from the north part of Scotland, from the Isle of Lewis. There are two pieces on this new release, both twenty-minutes and some seconds, "recorded using home recording equipment". I am not sure what those should be. A laptop? A Walkman? Whatever is the case here, the music has again that deep quality that I heard on the previous release. While Murray writes that we may think it's all ambient and drone music, he likes to mix it with modern classical, shoegaze, electronica and sound art. That is something I don't hear in the music, but I take his word for it. I think Murray takes a leave out of the early albums of Thomas Köner (or rather the textbook Köner used when he started, manipulating gong sounds), by treating sounds in various ways, slowing them down and use the treatments as basic music for further processing. And so on. Ad inifnitum. No instruments are recognized in the music, unlike on the previous release I heard. It all sounds like when you stick your ears in a bathtub and hear the world from below the water's surface. Like before there is a strong aqauatic subtext in the music. Maybe this is from the fact that Murray lives on an island? Crossing water to get to land, and that sort of thing? Music on a slow drift, as you can imagine, but there is a drift. Slow moving, but moving. Most enjoyable music for a slow Sunday; nothing much going on, but also not a day in which nothing happens. Music slowing down time. (FdW)
––– Address: https://blackjackilluministrecords.bandcamp.com/
MARK CAUVIN - COMPOSITIONS, INTERPRETATIONS AND IMPROVISATIONS (CDR private)
This release by Mark Cauvin is his third release, but the first time I hear his music. He is a double bass player from Australia and also uses electronics. This release has six compositions by Chauvin and one each by Karlheinz Stockhausen and Boguslaw Schaeffer. The first three pieces were commissioned by the Art Zoyd Studios as part of their YouTube Christmas Market in 2022. In these three pieces, the electronics play a significant role and sometimes sound damn fine noisy. The element of improvisation is also never far away, making a fine combination with a lot of tension. It reminded me of Kasper T. Toeplitz in terms of intensity. Toeplitz's name also appears in 'Motor Bow - Improvisation', in which Cauvin uses a motorised bow, introduced by Toepltz and made by Leo Maurel. Here too, there is quite a bit of noise, which is most enjoyable. A zip plays a role in 'Zip Bow - Improvisation', and in 'Tape Piece For Double Bass, Noises And Electronics', he uses concise bits of magnetic tape and long strips, which he stuck together. This piece is the final piece of the release and also the one that is the most electronic piece. Perhaps no surprise that the last piece is also the one I enjoyed most. All of these pieces make up for an excellent release; as far as I am concerned, this would have been enough. All of that clocks in at over fifty minutes. There seem to be no electronics in the Stockhausen piece, and it sounds like an acoustic improvisation; well, I know it is modern composition, but nonetheless. That too can be said of the Schaeffer piece, but now with electronics; perhaps, noisy too, but of a different kind. Not bad, but for all I care, I was already happy with Cauvin's own pieces, which gave me a pretty clear idea of his music, and I enjoyed his noise and bass combo a lot. (FdW)
––– Address: https://markcauvin.bandcamp.com/
DOC WÖR MIRRAN & STADLMEIER & FIEBIG - SANOZAMA (CDR by Attentuation Circuit)
DOC WÖR MIRRAN & TESENDALO - SUSPACIOUS (CDR by Marginal Talent)
DOC WÖR MIRRAN - WORLD OF TRAILERS (CDR by Marginal Talent)
Here's a true story: these three Doc Wör Mirran releases arrived on the same day; two directly from the band and one from Attenuation Circuit. Before I started playing with these, I carefully inspected the covers. One of these seems to be a solo release by founding father Joseph B. Raimond; one is an older work from Raimond and Peter Schuster (also known a Tesendalo) from 1998, and a collaborative effort with Sascha Stadlmeiner (voice, noises, effects) and Gerald Fiebig (samples, effects) as guests. Next to the guests are Raimond (guitar, bass), Michael Wurzer (keyboards), Stefan Schweiger (theramin [sic]) and Adrian Gormley (saxophone, effects). It's here where I started because I suspected this would see the group in their current sound; spacious free rock music with a leading role for the saxophone. I was wrong. Perhaps Gormely uses way more sound effects than we are used from him, but the sound of the sax is not omnipresent. Instead, the six players have a more electro-acoustic approach to their music. A sort of early Kluster (sans the biblical narrative), meeting with MEV and free improvisation. It has a neat krauty and cosmic sound, and yet nothing all too tightly arranged. Like a fine jazz combo, each player gives way to other players and takes up a role in the overall proceedings. Sometimes, perhaps, a bit too loosely orchestrated, but I think that is part of the charm. It has very much the idea of a concert recording.
The second release is by Raimond and Schuster. At one point, Schuster was a member of Doc Wör Mirran, next to PCR, a group from Nürnberg, and Tesendalo was his electronic music solo project. He released a couple of hard-to-find LPs and cassettes, some on his Prion Tapes label, and disappeared from the scene for a while. On 'Suspacious', which is a great play on the words 'suspicious' and 'spacious', a recording from 1998. Three pieces of drone-based music, with a strong touch of the kosmische. Well, sort of, but I am unsure about this release. I am not very often all too critical about Doc Wör Mirran. Their music meanders about stylistically, and while not always my cup of tea, I enjoy it a lot. For the three pieces on this release, I think these are outtakes or, in some other way, unfinished pieces of music. The way there is a break in the first one, the volume going down and then up again after some minutes, is an example of what seems unfinished. Also, at twenty-six minutes this is a brief release, further enhancing the idea of a leftover. Maybe I am wrong. I always enjoy the more ambient side of the Docs, but this one is a bit of a letdown in that department.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of this trio of releases is the last one, 'World Of Trailers'. Here we find Raimond in a rare solo venture, and the only credit he takes is for the use of 'Rack' (well, next to photography and screenshot). Of course, many people use modular synthesizers, but let's be honest: to get into that world, quite a bit of hard cash is needed, which is a threshold. An alternative for modular synthesizers is an app and standalone software called 'Rack' or 'VCV Rack'. Effectively this is the same as a modular synthesizer, allowing the player to line up patches and work from there. I will not go into the whole 'analogue equipment sounds better than software version' because, let's face it, if I can't afford a real modular synthesizer, I probably don't have the appropriate sound system either. Raimond uses 'Rack' and recorded a sixty-three-minute piece of music, 'World Of Trailers'. Knowing him as someone who records on digital multi-track recorders as opposed t computers, I found it all the more interesting to see he uses this kind of software. But sitting in a comfy chair, with headphones and an iPad, figuring out nice racks of modules and then recording them the way he always does; why not? I tried my hands at this and didn't find this particular easy to use (effectively another barrier to cross before going fully modular, next to the fear of soldering). I find judging Raimond's effort with 'Rack' somewhat complicated. It would have been an idea to cut this piece into small sections, separated from each other, and not make it one long piece. There is the influence of Conrad Schnitzler in this work, what he called 'non-keyboard electronics', and Raimond stays away from the world of drones and ambient. In that respect, this work is new for Doc Wör Mirran. Not shy to present early results, I think there is enough to offer great potential for future releases. (FdW)
––– Address: https://emerge.bandcamp.com/
––– Address: https://docwoermirran.bandcamp.com/
CARMEN JACI - HAPPY CHILD (cassette by Noumenal Loom)
I don't think I heard (how many times I have used these words by now?) of Carmen Jaci. I don't know where she (?) is from. Her music is a most curious bunch of sounds. "Happy Child is a record about exploration, play, and rekindling with a sense of childlike wonder." That is, indeed, true. It sounds like someone loaded up a sampler with some orchestral sounds, computer games and a voice singing along. This voice is not about words but sings/sighs/breezes of amazement and delight. The result is a wacky doodle collection of eight strange pieces of music. However childlike the approach may have been, I think there is quite some planning behind the music here. It is pop-like, cut-up/collage but highly computerized in an early-of-the-century laptop manner. Think Kid606 or DAT Politics, but Jaci has a solid personal style; her use of voice is one such distinctive difference—nothing too abstract or strange, yet with odd movements. There is nothing to dance to here, and at the same time, it is pretty uplifting and bizarre. Loops repeat and, at the same time, are interrupted and reorganized. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that apps on iPads or phones generate this kind of music. If that is the case, then Carmen Jaci has these apps down like an expert, as the music sounds well-produced—a short album along the lines of a great pop album. The poppiest piece is 'oh ah eh ih ah oh', a very Kraftwerkian piece ('The Mix'). I admit I might be all wrong with my assessment here; maybe there is a whole world out there of people playing this kind of wacky pop music, and none of that washes a Vital Weekly shore. Or another alternative scenario is that AI wrote this album. (FdW)
––– Address: https://noumenalloom.bandcamp.com/album/happy-child
TIM DAVISON - VIEW FROM THE GATE (cassette by Moon Villain)
ADRIANA CAMACHO & STEFAN CHRISTOFF - AÑOS Y MINUTOS (cassette by Moon Villain)
CONTRAFACTA - A PLACE TO SING AT NIGHT (cassette by Moon Villain)
HYPNAGOGUE - LYING IN A COLD FIELD, STARING UP AT THE SKY (cassette by Moon Villain)
I think there's another round of introductions, both label-wise and musician-wise. After I heard these four cassettes, I still had a minimal idea about the label and if there was some kind of mission statement or, perhaps, it was all just about releasing great music. Tim Davison, for instance, is someone new to me, and there is no information. On his thirty-five-minute cassette, we find six pieces. Judging by what I hear, I think Davison is a man of modular synthesis. I couldn't say what kind, as my knowledge here is limited. In the opening (title) piece, he's pretty abstract, in a sort of primitive modern electronics way. Still, as the tape continues, there are some touches of melody in the music, combined with drones, and the result is some pretty good music. Perhaps not too surprising or innovative, but lovely stuff. If tags on Bandcamp are anything to go by, this (also) free improvisation, which, if it is so, I enjoy the accomplishment all the more, as the music sounds pretty coherent. My favourite is the most extended piece here, 'For D.B.', which is lovely spacious and droney.
Also improvised, now clearly, is a duet between Adriana Camacho, who plays the double bass, flute, and bells and Stefa Christoff on piano. They recorded eight pieces of music in December last year in Mexico. While I say improvised, I should add that the music is not traditionally improvised or jazzy. It is melodic and somewhat moody, with low notes on the bass and melancholic minor chords on the piano. There is that direct recording from the basement feeling this music has. It is as if one is standing next to players when they perform their music. There is some variation in their seven pieces, mainly in how Camacho plays her instruments; plucking and bowing the bass makes quite some difference. My favourite piece is, again, the longest of all, 'En el Parque', which seems to be using some moody electronics (maybe the bass is amplified, and the bow creates some resonances) and has spooky quality. As said, most pieces here have a slightly darker touch, perhaps a raw film noir feel, and it all works very well.
For the next release, we stay close to home. I had never heard of Contrafacta, a Jesse Broekman and Christian Smith duo. They are from Zaandam, The Netherlands and recorded the eight pieces on the most extended cassette of this batch (sixty minutes) in 2020. Here no instruments are mentioned, and in the opening piece, I thought this was another droney synth duo. However, I knew I was wrong once the drums came rolling in. Drums play a significant role, but there are also guitars, voices, and a ton of sound effects, as well as modular electronics and granular synthesis. There is an element of improvisation, combined with a strong rock end and, as an opposite, a heavy drone side of things, for instance, in 'Words Never Meant To Be Sung'. This piece is followed by 'For This Love', the final piece on the cassette, in which drums and granulations take over in a pretty wild and free modus. All of this makes this cassette a highly varied affair. Too varied? I am not sure, to be honest. The songs are lengthy, so it takes a while before the next variation sets in. A most curious affair, this music. It is colourful and psychedelic but also monochrome and intense. Strange but great.
Behind Hypnagogue, we find James Rosato. His 'Lying in A Cold Field, Staring At The Sky' is the shortest cassette, with one single piece, close to twenty-one minutes; the program repeated on the second side. Of all four releases, this release is the one that is closest to my musical interest. A slow evolving piece of drone music, majestically rolls of waves washing in ashore. Maybe this is the result of the same kind of modular electronics used by Davison, but the results are pretty different; perhaps the synthesizer set-up is another kind. Again, I am not too big of an expert on such matters. Dark and ominous, this is nocturnal music, the ghostly hour. Indeed, when you are lying in a cold field, staring up at the sky, which is, for all I care, something I would instead do at night, during the day. What's there to see during the day? Exactly! Maybe because it's cold that Rosato limits the music to twenty-one minutes? Does he want to get back inside? I wouldn't have minded a variation of this piece, something similar yet different on the other side and taking a longer glance at the nocturnal sky. (FdW)
––– Address: https://moonvillain.