number 863
week 1


Vital Weekly, the webcast: we offering a weekly webcast, freely to download. This can be regarded as the audio-supplement to Vital Weekly. Presented as a radioprogramm with excerpts of just some of the CDs (no vinyl or MP3) reviewed. It will remain on the site for a limited period (most likely 2-4 weeks). Download the file to your MP3 player and enjoy!
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P16.D4 - PASSAGEN (6CD/1DVD by Monotype Records) *
MOLE'S MILK & OTHER PIECES  (CD by Korm Plastics/Sea Urchin)
NEW NIKS – ON (CD, private)
ZEITKRATZER - SONGS (LP by Bocian Records)
ANDREW CHALK – MUTSU NO HANA (10" by An’archives)
INKE ARNS & DIETER DANIELS - SOUNDS LIKE SILENCE (book by Hartware Medien Kunst Verein)
LE SYNDICAT MMX - CHAOS SUPERIOR (CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
ERNIE ALTHOFF - TIDE SHELF (CDR by Avant Whatever) *
THE MAIDU - FORMS (download by Full Spectrum Records)
TIM FEENEY - WEAKNESS (download by Full Spectrum Records)

P16.D4 - PASSAGEN (6CD/1DVD by Monotype Records)
Of course, looking back from 2012 to the early 80s it's not easy, or impossible, when I first heard the music of P16.D4. Most likely I actually read upon the name before hearing it and perhaps it was in Dutch magazine Vinyl, reviewing 'Offene Systeme' or 'Masse Mensch', compilations on P16.D4's label Selektion. Likewise I am not sure now what attracted me to their music once I heard it. In those days cassette compilations were the ultimate way of getting to know a band, and following them. Obviously The Legendary Pink Dots made a big name for themselves, simply because they sounded so different than the rest. Perhaps something similar happened to me when I encountered P16.D4. They weren't your typical industrial band, they were actually a band, and their music was a bit of improvisation, tape splices (like the Dots actually) and had a more serious presentation. Here we didn't encounter concentration camps and sex imagery, but black and white drawings, and the occasional hint of something that looked a score; an idea; a concept. This was something else. I was hooked, and their first two LPs, 'Kuhe In Halb Trauer' and 'Distruct' played endlessly, leaving a great impression on me. Especially 'Distruct' proofed to be a massive source of impression: musician mailed in tapes of sound to P16.D4 and they were mixed together by the band, adding, when needed, their sound material. Not called remixing in 1984 but recycling. All sound material could be subject to recycling, creating new, endless possibilities, with as many stages of processing as required. On 'Nichts Niemand Nirgends Nie' we have P16.D4 collaborating with S.B.O.T.H.I. (with whom they ran the Selektion label) in quite a few stages (S.B.O.T.H.I tracks still not available CD, also not in this box, sadly), while with Merzbow they also exchanged through various stages, even when P16.D4 became effectively more and more the solo project of Ralf Wehowsky. The recycling of material also followed the lines of technical changes: from cassettes and reel-to-reel tapes, but later also their own material on vinyl and early signs of computer treatment. The group's last released recording was from 1992, following which Wehowsky started an active solo career as RLW, which included many collaborative works. The group's output was released on CD before, mainly by Odd Size, but out of print for quite some time, and this box collects a whole. Here we have 'Kuhe In Halb Trauer' with as a bonus the pieces from 'Masse Mensch', 'Distruct', with as a bonus the 7" that came with Wahrnehmungen 3LP set (the forerunner of Selektion), 'Tionchor' compiles nineteen tracks from compilations, 'Nichts Niemand Nirgends Nie' has an unreleased bonus, 'Acrid Acme Of P16.D4' has no bonus pieces, 'Three Projects' has one bonus and then there is a DVD. That one includes films they used on the 'Captured Music' project, although the music appeared on other releases - it would take a more scientific approach to say what exactly belongs were than a simple review could offer. In the film 'Machines Deviantes' and more so in 'Improvisation Jan 87' we see them at work as a group, improvising, generating raw material to be used in future works. Basically running around, hitting things, creating chaos. But in their recycling approach everything was to be re-organized anyway in their musique concrete approach. It's almost pop music to me: even when I haven't played some of this in some time, I could still almost 'whistle' any of these tunes. Odd, I know, since this hardly music one can whistle. But it's just that familiar. An excellent collection of all those things essential P16.D4.
There are some points of critique too - but that's perhaps the spoilt brat I am. There have been many more compilation pieces, why not fill the entire disc of 'Tionchor' up with all of them, and there is running order problem compared to the liner notes on the cover for this CD? Or the likewise early compilation tracks of 'Offene Systeme' on the disc of 'Kuhe In Halb Trauer'? The book runs twice the same review from Vital, which seems a mistake, although it's great to see it reprinted (strictly personal speaking of course). The same book shows pictures of P16.D4's concert at V2 - I know since I was there - and knowing V2 documented everything on video, wouldn't it have been nice to see this on the DVD too (although there is bits in 'Les Honteuses Alliances' I think)? The group's two earliest cassettes, later re-issued on vinyl by Was Soll Das? Schallplatten, are also missed here, so may I suggest another small additional box set filling these gaps?
But then what I am complaining? Do I want everything and why can't I be happy with this? That's of course bullshit: I love this! I have been playing this all over christmas, soaking in the texts by Howard Stelzer and Dan Warburton, reminiscing days gone by. Life wasn't better back then, but it certainly had more value for me and P16.D4 was of great value for what I still am and do to this very day. (FdW)
Address: http://www.monotyperecords.com

MOLE'S MILK & OTHER PIECES  (CD by Korm Plastics/Sea Urchin)
Several problematics here, the recordings are of events, happenings, 'music in support', (a performance by Ben Schot as an introduction for a screening of Jodorowski’s film ‘El Topo’ …. Kapotte Muziek performed a rare laptop concert when Ben Schot received the Pendrecht Cultuur Prize in 2003… et al.) there is a kind of carnival fluidity in these, and differences of composition by de Waard, Meelkop, Duimelinks, van Bussel, Schot and Schot. So these works exist dependently, and further they appear on one level to be critical- happenings – as performances of this type can appear in their un-scripted Mardi Gras – elements of the ancient festivals of misrule –  Dionysiaca processions - the brief acknowledgement of the id. Critical in the same way as a performing bear or visit to Bedlam. The 'other' here is no excluded 'outsider' - but the repressed inner mad animal which is at once terrified and also angry towards the cage of civilization, order and good government. Critical in this case of music, rock music, (a nice use of Guitar Hero) performance music, and even then of themselves.  Metaphorically and musicologically the self induced schizophrenia of mescaline's madness…?  Add to all these a feeling of their being as much culturally removed more than geographically removed from the comfort zone of known categories – they have almost an exoticism about them- as opposed to mere documentaries. Ben Schot – Artist -  performance – installations etc- publisher (Sea Urchin) of Avant Garde Counter Culture???  And collaborator here with various members associated with FdW and Kapotte Muziek… A Dangerous supplement. (jliat)
Address: http://www.kormplastics.nl/kp3051.html

Somewhere along the lines of Lopez and Joe Colley we find also the work of Francisco Meirino. In his music we find a great amount of field recordings, like Lopez, but also recordings of dying machinery, faults in the recordings, broken speakers and such like, like Colley. Usually his releases have one long piece (well, most of the times anyway), but here we have sixteen pieces of sounds from his personal audio library, recorded both at home and while traveling. These sounds are untreated, i.e. presented as is. Sometimes the title gives away what it is, like 'Falling Snow' or 'Strong Wind On Scaffold', and sometimes nothing at all, such as 'Untitled 5'. This is something that is actually quite nice to hear and Meirino did a fine selection of sounds and the running seems to form it's own story. These pieces are never overtly long and that keeps the flow of the CD going. But you could wonder if you'd want such a thing on a CD, especially when, for all the right reasons, this is packed as CDR with not so great artwork. Make it look more spectacular and perhaps people will be more engaged to get it? Plus I can imagine that a CD with more or less source material is also something that someone would pass upon, unless there is an explanation on the cover what this is all about, and not on the website only. There is some room for improvement here I'd say, but also with the label's recent release by Roel Meelkop, I think this is a fine start for this young label. I hope they survive. (FdW)
Address: http://oto-jpn.narod2.ru

This double CD is a re-release of the ‘Unfolk’ album, first published in 2006, plus a live recording of the ‘Live Book’ project Monti and Kevin Hewick. A project that we know from the excellent studio recording ‘The Venetian Book of the Dead’ (2010). Alessandro Monti is a musician from Venice.  From what I read he was involved as a musician or producer on many productions, like ‘The Wind Collector’ together with  Gigi Masin and ‘Master Cylinder’ by Caveman Shoestore.  He is a man who works carefully and patiently  on his own solo projects. His main instrument is the mandolin, an instrument that is not often heard. This instrument  was developed in Italy a few centuries ago.  The instrument also  found its way into Carnatic music from India. That is why asked myself whether it is coincidence that some of pieces on the ‘Unfolk’ album have an Indian touch.  He creates imaginative world or ethnic music. All instrumental.  With very carefully and detailed arrangements and well-balanced sound spectrums. More than composing his talents are about arranging, creating fine textures and combining  acoustic instruments and electronic sounds.  ‘Unfolk’ is a collection of 11 these instrumentals that travel between imaginary and real worlds of ethnic music.  This is typically a record that is indifferent to all hypes and modes in popular music. Tapping from traditional music Monti creates a timeless and universal music. But also rock elements occur, for instance in the playing of guitar maestro Alex Masi. The pieces are built from layers of instruments and sounds, with an important role for Gigi Masin (electronics).  Great to have this beautifully produced gem available again in a remastering by Jon Astley. Also included are 5 bonus tracks from the abandoned Unfolk2 project. After the ‘Unfolk’ projects Monti came into contact  with Kevin Hewick, you may remember from his Factory and Cherry Red releases in the 80s. With several other mates they realized the ambitious project ‘The Venetian Book of the Dead’, which was one of my favorite albums in 2010. The second CD contains live renditions of these songs from concerts in England and Italy in march and may 2011. Of course in this live performance, songs are more stripped down, but still stand because of the spirited performance: the aggressive guitar playing by Hewick, the spaced out textures by Berizzi on trumpet, etc. The collection of songs is introduced and closed by  instrumental  sound works. Especially the one on the end of this album is a fascinating and mysterious sound work. (DM)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/unfolk
Very sophisticated playing by this trio from the north of France, that started their life around 2000.  Jérémy Ternoy (piano), Nicolas Mahieux (bass) and Charles Duytschaever (drums) are the crew of this trio. They are an exponent of the new jazz scene in France, but alas I don’t know anything of their specific musical whereabouts. But what I can tell is that they deliver an excellent full-grown work with this release that  is not their first one. It is evident that we are in the company of very experienced musicians. The trio is mainly a vehicle for Ternoy’s musical ideas, as all compositions carry his name. The music is of great richness. Full of ideas. Very poetic parts, melodic also, are changed for rhythmic-based pieces. And always full of suspense. Very coherent and sensible music, in a concentrated performance. There are hints of classical music and rock music, but above all this is jazz of a very relevant kind. (DM)
Address: http://www.circum-disc.com

NEW NIKS – ON (CD, private)
Arend Niks started from a pop background, before entering the world of jazz and impro in the mid 80s. He played a lot with guitarist and composer Corrie van Binsbergen over the years, and has his own projects going on. Also he is often involved in dance and theatre productions.  He developed himself as a percussionist and composer. His own group New Niks is around for some ten years, and recently they released their third effort. Besides drums by Niks himself, we hear electric violin (Jasper Le Clercq), electric piano (Erwin Hoorweg) and guitar (Andreas Suntrop). A curious line up, with no bass!  All 14 pieces are composed by Niks. They deal in electric, fusion jazz, a kind of jazz that is not often covered by Dutch jazz formations. Everything is recorded live in Rotterdam but the result sounds like an studio-album. Happily we encounter no endless virtuosic  jamming  nor too many musical clichés, as is often my fear with fusion music. Not at all. Everything is functional and trimmed down in these compositions. Performances by Le Clercq and Suntrop are virtuosic but never for sake of that. The pieces breath a sphere of harmony and balance, in spite of the complexity that is under the surface of this music. All my allergic reactions to fusion music disappeared listening to the music of this sympathetic combo. (DM)
Address: http://www.newniks.com

Quite hot on the heels of his first CD (see Vital Weekly 825), Florian Wittenburg, from Germany but living in sunny Nijmegen most of the time, presents another work. This is a totally different work, I think. First of all it's all about the sound of the piano and perhaps much less about the computer used to treat this. But perhaps even that's not the case anyway. And we have just ten pieces of composed pieces for the piano. All of these pieces are quiet and contemplative, all composed in the spirit of Morton Feldman and his 'crippled symmetry'. Wittenburg explains this in the press information, but I'm afraid I can not repeat this, perhaps because I hardly understand what's it about. But it's safe to say it's well thought out, and that we are dealing here with a CD of modern classical composition, even when some of the work is only through a suggestion and improvised by the player and three pieces use ebows to generate drones. Maybe it was because it's dark outside, even during the days in not so sunny Nijmegen and the whole end of the year blues is upon us. Things are supposed to be quiet but perhaps they are not. But in between christmas and new years everything slows down a bit, and a good book is never far out of reach and then this sort of quiet piano music is always nice to hear. I am perhaps not qualified at all to say something about this in terms of where it stands in the world of true classical music, but it does sound great to these untrained ears. (FdW)
Address: http://www.nurnichtnur.com

Three releases from Japan, on three different labels, but all promoted through the same source. Martin Schulte's name may suggest he's from Germany, but his real name is Marat Shibaev from Kazan in Russia. We reviewed his album 'Odysseia' before (see Vital Weekly 734) and 'Slow Beauty' is his fifth album. The Lantern calls this dub techno, and like before this is somewhere between Cologne's Kompakt, Wolfgang Voigt in particular (hey, as far as I judge such matters) and the older Chain Reaction releases - again: I am hardly the expert on dance music, and the splintering of styles makes me dazed and confused. But, yes, this is indeed dub like, techno music, highly laid back and like with the previous release you could wonder if ten tracks in sixty-five minutes is really necessary, but perhaps this should not be regarded in terms of pure musical effort which requires ones full attention, but rather as something that is intended as music to dance to, to chill out to, to work with and perhaps more of the aural wallpaper kind. Which is of course is something entirely different.
I know aural wallpaper may not sound very nice, but there is of course nothing wrong with music that functions as such. In a way perhaps one could say that the release by two female Japanese artists Chiharu MK and Sachiko Nagata. The first is, I think, a computer musician and the latter a percussion player mainly using the iron slit drum  called 'Hamon'. She combines that with field recordings from Japan, recorded by MK. As I was playing this, someone walked in and said: what's this release from Obscure Records again? I told him it was not, but I could see what he means, as it bears resemblance to the Toop/Eastley record on Obscure Records - the percussion that seems to have been set outside in the field somewhere, and we hear wind, birds and watery percussion sounds. This is indeed music that very much deals with the surrounding in which it was recorded and perhaps also in which it is played back. Like far away temple music, which may be odd in my street, or wind chimes on a summers day - again odd for the time of the year. Excellent meditative music here, one that actually fits all seasons. Maybe aural wallpaper too, but then of an almost religious nature.
Aljedanro Franov is from Argentina, who plays the accordion, keyboards, guitar, citar, percussion and sometimes even sings. He's 'around' ten solo albums, and is one of the most famous Argentinean musician in Japan, according to the label. For his latest album, he took inspiration from the scared mountain Champaqui located in the Cordoba, Argentina, where Franov taped his birds and insects which he uses along synthesizers, gong and flute. Here too we deal with ambient music, but the result is a bit urgent than on the other two albums. Here it's not the strict aural wallpaper approach but something that works as a more regular piece of music, something that requires a more strict listening approach, I think. Sometimes hovering closely - too closely perhaps - to the world of new age, especially in the flute parts, but luckily enough it close to the edge, never across it. This is fine electronic, experimental mood music, atmospheric but all of which perhaps from a mildly conservative side of things. Real innovation I didn't find around these pieces and it seemed all rather template atmospheric music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.naturebliss.jp

Music from Aki Onda rarely makes it to these pages. I am not sure why. Maybe there isn't that much or perhaps these labels don't mail us their promo's. In this case I got the CD from Meeuw, who did an excellent design for this release, rather than the label itself. Onda's 'South Of The Border' is placed in Mexico. His earliest memories are from the super 8mm movies his father made from the Olympics in 1968 where he was a member of the hockey team. Later on Onda saw 'El Topo' and then, finally in 2005, he visited Mexico himself for the first time and it was everything he thought it would: rich, poor, contemporary, ancient, intellect and superstition. In 2009 and 2010 he went back with three cassette walkman's to do field recordings; two of the machines broke down but could still be used, which Onda did. All of these field recordings form the basis of his five compositions. Very few of them involve real instruments, usually a fanfare on the streets, but there is also flute like sounds in 'I Tell A Story Of Bodies That Change'. I am not sure how Onda works around with his sounds, i.e. wether he loops them around or wether he plays them straight forward. I do know he adds a bit of electronic processing, such as kaos pads and also amplification is quite important in his work. The five pieces are very strong. Rich in textures, moody and atmospheric, with lots of hissing, droning sounds from whatever strange sources Aki Onda found on his way. At times I was thinking about insects, but at other times it may very well just wind blowing the cave somewhere, or sounds from a shopping mall. In either case: it sounds mysterious and intense. This is some very nice music based on field recordings, but then recorded and treated in such way that we very rarily hear. Excellent release. (FdW)
Address: http://importantrecords.com/

About a year ago I reviewed a 3"CDR by Pierre Juillard (see Vital Weekly 811), as part of Kaon's river series, and I liked it a lot, reminding me of Lionel Marchetti's work. As I had never heard of him, I wondered what else he did. This is (not) the answer, but an indication of whatever else he is doing. Here he has a CD with Frederique Bruyas, who did a CD before with Raymond Dijkstra (see Vital Weekly 801), which didn't do much for me. Like on that CD, she is a narrator and here recites texts by Huguette Legare. Now, obviously I wasn't a good boy in school so I didn't pay enough attention when I was taught French, so none of the three pieces mean much to me. Normally I would say something along the lines of 'spoken word releases with music is not something I like' but here I was thinking that it actually works well. Maybe because I don't understand it that well, I guess? That might be so, but also because music and voice blend together really well. Bruyas doesn't use much intonation or acting, but more or less speaks rather poetically, and Juillard's music is a fine combination of processed sounds from the computer and even what sounds like a rhythm machine at the start of 'L'Hiver Orange'. His music has a like-wise dream-like quality to it. I am not sure, of course, if this music is in any way related to the recited text, but I must say I don't care actually. I think I can enjoy this very much on just hearing what it is. It reminded me of the old Belgium band Cortex (whose work was re-issued on a double CD in 2011), except that here we have three longer tracks, and not many short ones, but which was of a likewise poetic nature. Perhaps not all to be heard in a row, actually just like Cortex, but a very refined work indeed.
Along similar lines - electronic music and texts read in the French language is to be found on the release by Vromb and Lucien Francoeur. Vromb we obviously know from his various releases on Ant-Zen, but also from Hushush from his home town Montreal. He has quite a following I am told. Lucien Francoeur is a writer from Montreal, who has been active since the mid 60s. In his performances of the past he worked with musicians from the world of improvisation and as such has released a couple of LPs. Here we have twelve pieces, and unlike the release by Bruyas/Julliard, it's not easy to escape from it; one can not play this a nice backdrop. The voice of Francoeur is more demanding in it that it is more present, and perhaps also because he skips occasionally back and forth between French and English, so you pick up sometimes something. The electronic music by Vromb is also more present and up front. Not in a disturbing way loud or anything, but more piercing at times and also more demanding. He has sustaining, insect like sounds, pulsating beats of a minimal nature,  and throughout the music is spooky and mysterious. Certainly indeed one that requires full attention but if you fail to speak the language, like I do, it's also a bit more complicated to grasp. We may return to what I said about the CD by Petit/Robinson in Vital Weekly 858: "it's also something that I like to hear once or twice, but would not return to all too easily. Now I was thinking: maybe this is perhaps something to be seen live, seated in the dark and let it all come? I could imagine that would do well." Especially this spooky stuff would do well in such places. (FdW)
Address: <socquettes@orange.fr>
Address: http://www.oral.qc.ca

From the Tetreault release I only received a promo of the CD part, not the DVD, so I am not sure what is on there. But as this is a composition for four turntablists, I assume they all have their place in one speaker. The composition is by Martin Tetreault, also a turntablist, who took his inspiration for this work from the work of Kandinsky, Malevitch and Mondriaan, and no doubt his score is one of lines and dots to be interpreted by a quartet of turntable players (Nancy Tobin, Alexander MacSween, David Lafrance and Magali Babin). The players were in a straight line and if you play this from the DVD (not enclosed here) you should align your speakers accordingly. The press text lists a whole bunch of other musicians which do similar stuff (Jeck, Dieb13, Yoshihide, Ng, Arnaud Riviere) and I couldn't help thinking: why would this be any different than much of what I already heard from either those people or Tetreault? Is the turntable not as overdue as an instrument as say the laptop? The hissing textures, the skipping of needles, the rotating surfaces of paper, wood, metal: aren't those methods been well used by now? Then, so, what remains? Is that perhaps something I haven't heard before? Not really, I think. In itself nice enough, but it doesn't stand that much out from the rest of that turntable lot. But as with so many things: perhaps it works much better in concert? Or on a multi-channel DVD (not enclosed here)
Address: http://www.oral.qc.ca

ZEITKRATZER - SONGS (LP by Bocian Records)
So I wasn't entirely blown away by Zeitkratzer's 'Neue Volksmusik' (see Vital Weekly 849), and thus perhaps I am a bit wary what to expect from an album by them that is called 'Songs'. Also I am, perhaps, a bit lost on what Zeitkratzer is about. At first I thought this was all about playing modern classical music, not always by classically trained composers, but I never imagined as a 'pop' band, which is something they do here… more or less. Eight songs, four per side, and very much like 'Neue Volksmusik' it seems that the idea is "See, we do difficult stuff, but here's a song you may understand", but there is an important difference: these songs I do like. In the usual way of improvising as a big band they take the notion of a pop song and perhaps along the lines of improvised composing/composed improvising they arrive at some great songs. These pieces are of course not in any way traditional, not with sing-along lyrics, but they keep their pieces short and to the point., with some great results in 'Loop' or 'Waltz' and perhaps a bit lesser in 'Sweet', in which the improvising voice is a bit of nuisance. A piece like 'Groove' lives up to its name. If Zeitkratzer are seriously considering moving over to a bigger audience, and there is no reason why this shouldn't happen, then this is the right away to do it. I must admit I personally like their modern classical music best, especially when it comes to playing Lucier or Cage, but this side-line interest is very nice too. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bocianrecords.com

More music by Jan van de Dobbelsteen, this time solo, unlike the previous release, but still having to do with the exhibition/installation 'Shadowplay' (see also Vital Weekly 856), which is all about a recent trip Van den Dobbelsteen did, along with Danielle Lemaire, to Indonesia. Inside their installation, while set up in Bandung, he constructed a bamboo thing between the floor and the ceiling, onto which he attached nylon-iron-steel and brass strings. The ceiling of the installation space is the wooden floor of the upper street level gallery, so street sounds and traffic play a role in the music too, which is in fact called a 'concert for traffic and street noise'. Not that we hear a lot of those street sounds, although there is a deep end hum, which may very well be the street, but could also be the quality of the recording. Like much of the music Van den Dobbelsteen does, this is very much improvised and minimal - in that order. He plays his strings with a bow and does that without caring much about the actual composition - more like an automated process rather than a well thought idea. Sometimes shrieking high end, sometimes more mid-end, but never really low. Not an easy record I thought. Without a compositional form, or diverse playing, this is on an automatic pilot, which doesn't make it that easy to enjoy it from beginning to end. One side at a time and not straight away both sides, I should think. (FdW)
Address: http://home.vianetworks.nl/users/jada/cosmicvolume/cosmicvolumes53.html

ANDREW CHALK – MUTSU NO HANA (10" by An’archives)
Sometimes lid e can be quite wonderful. For instance, when, on quite an ordinary day, a parcel arrives that not only contains an exceptionally rare album by Itoh Kiyoko, but also the new 10 inch album by Andrew Chalk. Ever since his work with Christoph Heeman as Mirror, Chalk’s works have never been too far from my turntable. Even if some of his solo work sounds too minimal for my ears, Chalk is a talented musician with a story to tell. And this album, Mutsu No Han (which, perhaps, translates as Love is pure white, but I recall that Hana means flower and No means from – my Google translator abandoned me) certainly has a story to tell. Mutsu No Hana is in fact the name of a quite popular Japanese graphic novel. The soundtrack of that novel features three themed songs: Symphonic Love, Sayonara Kimi no Koe and Kimi-Iro Mirai. Can it be coincidence that this album also has three tracks? Three tracks that feature simply beautiful music: fragile, but structured and featuring what just might be a single keyboard (but I could be wrong here) tone or perhaps feedback slowly shifting phases. Nothing new you might say and I even though I agree, with such gorgeously plaintive, laid back but still brooding and intriguing music, “new” is perhaps an irrelevant qualification. This is music made to enthrall, to surround and take you into a world of its own. Yes, it is that good! Mutsu no hana is the second release (and first one on vinyl) by An’Archives, a sublabel of the French independent label CommaA. The first 50 copies come in an elaborate wooden silkscreened slipcase with a hand printed gatefold sleeve featuring the album pressed on clear vinyl. Audio and graphic quality go hand-in-hand at An’archives, which makes this album even more worthwhile and desirable. (FK)
Address: http://anarchives.wordpress.com

INKE ARNS & DIETER DANIELS - SOUNDS LIKE SILENCE (book by Hartware Medien Kunst Verein)
As announced in Vital Weekly 845, there is an exhibition going on that deals exclusively with '4'33"" by John Cage, the famous silent piece. In that previous issue of Vital Weekly I reviewed the CD that was released about this piece and it's historical significance, presented like a radio program, here we have the official catalogue to the exhibition. When I bought Kyle Gann's book on the same piece of music, my dear mother remarked 'how can anyone write a book on a piece that has no music'. She should see this one. Big in size (25x32 cm), and packed with text and images - close to 300 pages. All on an exhibition of a piece of music with no music. That's not bad, or perhaps, highly remarkable. Gann's book, I thought, was alright, following Cage's life as a composer, culminating in composing '4'33' in 1952, and a bit on what he did after that in relation to that piece, but this catalogue goes out even further. Not just an overview of pieces, articles, artworks, video's dealing in some way with that piece (including Neubauten's 'Silence Is Sexy'), but also reprints of the various scores from this piece, perhaps because the original one is lost, so the 'others' are reconstructions, and also pieces that deal with silence by Cage, such as 'WGBH-TV'. A complete discography of released versions of this piece, as well as some pieces that put '4'33' in a bigger context, such as by Brandon LaBelle and David Toop, of silence, music, but also in relation to art in general. The obvious Cage references pass by: Erik Satie, James Joyce, Thoreau, zen, I Ching, Rausenberg's white paintings, Nam June Paik: slowly all carved, as Cage himself, in history. It belongs to the world of big art now, and perhaps to the already initiated this is all a bit well-known. However, the overwhelming nature of these essays, images and artifacts make this, so far, the best book on '4'33'. Kyle Gann's book I think serves as a nice book to introduce you the world and music of John Cage in general, and following the general history of composing the piece and the reception of it, but this catalogue goes way, way deeper into the matter and is the most comprehensive on the subject.
I got this book right before christmas, and I could have written something in last week's issue, but it kept me occupied for so long. That is great but also a pity. Perhaps due to some error, the catalogue is quite late and the exhibition is on until January 6th, so you need to be heading out right away. However, if going there is no option than you should definitely be getting this book. It's massive, it's complete and all about that curious piece of silence, sold as music.
Address: http://hmkv.de

A while ago I was listening to the Broken Flag set on Vinyl On Demand and thinking that of some people we just never hear again, or perhaps not a lot. Le Syndicat already had a great CD on Monochrome Vision of their older work, but perhaps it had eluded me that they still exist, at least in some form in which they still play concerts, under the slightly different name Le Syndicat MMX. A trio of founder Ruelgo, Popsonne and Scramble System. Gone are the days in which they used a synthesizers, short wave and radio and in came the laptops, noise generators, home made and toy instruments, microphones, but also beat material - borrowing occasionally from the world of hip hop, believe it or not - and didgeridoo. In their concerts, which I assume to be all improvised events, chaos is indeed the common factor in these pieces. Everything tumbles and falls together, collisions occur around every corner, and the new element of hip hop beats (now we are indeed forgetting their hard rhythm phase of the early 90s) sounds like an odd ball here and there. The aim is not to create dance beats it seems but to deconstruct the world of dance, and let the bits fall apart like debris in the wind. Chaotic as hell, and not easy to access on this release, perhaps even a bit long, but I can see this would work well in a concert hall with a great sound system. Where can I see them next?
Address: http://www.attenuationcircuit.de

One of the more exciting new labels of last year is Luscinia Discos from Spain. Pretty much all of their releases I thought were great and none of the names of the musicians and composers mean a lot to me. That means the world is infinitely bigger than a few handshakes. Here we have Carlos Suarez Sanchez, who was born in Spain but lived in Venezuela where he works as a composer, percussion player and ethnomusicologist. He has composed over fifty works for acoustic and electro-acoustic works. I guess this new one is among the latter. The cover doesn't give much away as to the nature of these pieces, but I think it's safe to assume it has to do with field recordings, but also voices, and perhaps processed percussion sounds (but that might because Sanchez is a percussion player). All of this is committed to the computer and transformed into a very nice work of electro-acoustic music, which only partly nods towards the world of serious electro-acoustic music, which to my ears is great as the official world is always a bit stale. But here Sanchez composes ten great pieces, in which the insect sounds of the jungle are used in all sorts of configurations, high pitched but always changing and gliding. The percussive sounds are spooky and intense; almost like a scary movie. The latin texts may not always be my cup of tea, because it sounds a bit 'gothic', but since they are only sparsely used, I may not care that much about it. Indeed, another excellent release on this label. Totally professional package too actually! (FdW)
Address: http://luscinia.ruidemos.org/

This band name should be pronounced as 'broodroof', which is hard to translate, but roughly meaning that you under cut the price of the competition - say because you are an amateur or doing illegal business. It's the duo of Hubertez de Bode and Frans Roovers, who have been playing together since 2001, but only now have time and place to release seven pieces from the first ten years of working together. Maybe none of their other work is deemed fit or appropriate, but maybe they are just very critical. They play around with a bunch of samples, voices, synthesizers, loops, theremin, vinyl and such like but also the rhythm machine plays an important role here. Of course the wordplay continues in the title, and there is indeed a vague similarity with krautrock to be detected in this music. More Cluster than Tangerine Dream, I should think, especially in a track like the spacious opening piece 'Spacetric'. Both in 'Daisuke' and 'Angry German Kid' they use taped voices, the latter indeed an angry German kid, but it doesn't make those pieces stronger. They are at their best when voices are absent, used sparsely or at least reduced a minimum, I think, when it becomes an instrument in itself, and is not as much on top of the music. Then this krauty electronic music works at its best.  It's well played, funny, and while not entirely original, it's actually not something I encounter a lot. I wonder what this would sound like in concert though. (FdW)
Address: http://www.brodrov.com

From Ernie Althoff we reviewed music before. Back in Vital Weekly 487, which release had something to do with a sound installation and more recently, in Vital Weekly 834, it was a pure and untreated field recording. Here we have a release which shows again another side by him: a combination of building his own instruments, sound installation and performance. These works, although no dates are mentioned, are from the last twenty years. The music is highly minimal and seems to be played automating, however without the notion of this being mechanic. In for instance the longest piece here, 'Declivities II', we hear what seems to be sound of rain falling on a metal roof. Perhaps it's just that. It lasts twenty minutes, and seems to be minimally changing throughout and has a nice feel to it. A title like 'Twenty-Three Windchimes' may also give away what the sound sources. That, and 'Northbrook House Installation', with a more metallic wind chime sound, have a more or less percussive feel to it - but buys, chaotic, rumbling. 'Do The Fandango' is then a piece in which I think we have real percussion instruments, but here too an element of chaos is present. The recording of these pieces is pretty straight forward, loud and clear. Maybe it could do with a bit more information here, but throughout I thought this was quite a nice release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.avantwhatever.com/

I am pretty sure I don't hear everything that Justin Marc Lloyd releases, as he's one those people who release a lot, and under a plethora of guises. On this 3"CDR he is particularly noise based, more than on a few others I heard, so it seems. He plays synthesizer I assume, along with effects, and the four tracks are quite loud. In the longest piece, clocking at almost fifteen minutes, 'The Shocking Death Of A Magical Bond', he work along some rhythm pattern, which reminded me of very early Esplendor Geometrico, but which was all perhaps a bit long for my taste, and ultimately could have been a bit shorter to be fully interesting. In that respect the other three pieces I thought were much interesting, simply because they employed a single idea approach too, but then kept to a more minimum length and that makes them more powerful. I can't escape the idea that this is all rather easily put together, in one go, without much extra thought. Musique brut I assume.
I am not sure if I heard of Crystal Plumage before. This is a duo of Benjamin L. Aman (guitar and electronics) and Sean F. Barrett (electronics and synth). They recorded their pieces in Berlin, and side A is filled with one piece, 'Neon Swans', maybe as a nod to the Yellow Swans? It sounds like so, with a heavy drone like sound that is right buzzing around, in a minimal way. Piercing and loud, yet  a drone. Not unlike the other Swans. A slow pulse, a minimal change over, breaking it up and down, so that the end is something completely different. The other side has four shorter pieces. Here too we have something that is very minimal, and a bit less loud. Oscillating tones, mildly distorted guitars, all moving around in minimal fashion. Here I thought of Idea Fire Company in concert. This is a great cassette, I thought, exactly the kind of noise/drone that are highly appreciated here. (FdW)
Address: http://www.sincoperec.altervista.org

THE MAIDU - FORMS (download by Full Spectrum Records)
TIM FEENEY - WEAKNESS (download by Full Spectrum Records)
Full Spectrum are convinced this might work, but I don't agree. When I call out for 'real' things to be send here in order to get a review, I may not necessarily mean a booklet and a postcard, with an one-time only download link. I have no idea if Full Spectrum actually care about reviews: this is the last I am doing this, in this way. Next time, proper releases, with proper covers, please; for anything send us an announcement through e-mail. First we have The Maidu, whoever he is. The title piece opens here and its a nice atmospheric ambient piece of music. But then with 'Floating' the rhythm kicks in and in a sort of broken break beat and from then on all of the pieces have some sort of rhythm. 'To Mars' for instance has a drum roll owing to drum & bass, dubstep or whatever it is called these days. Although I think this is not bad, this sort of smooth dance music is not very much of my personal taste. I have no idea why you would want to present it like this though.
For 'Weakness' by Tim Feeney I got a booklet and a download code. Here we have something completely different. In this forty-two minute work we have solo percussion. Feeney rolls about for say two minutes and then remains quiet for a minute. Only in the last seven minutes he continues to roll his sticks on the skins. This is all a highly conceptual release, along the lines of the work Nick Hennies and Alvin Lucier. An intense listening experience, as each of the cuts is almost the same as the other, yet they are all different. Excellent music. Why not on a proper CDR? (FdW)
Address: http://fullspectrumrecords.bandcamp.com/