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Vital Weekly 514

img  Tobias

As a non-classical trained person, I don't know how many letters the Greek alphabet has, but Asmus Tietchens reaches with Zeta-menge the sixth letter, following Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma and Epsilon. It's a specific group of works, like not is uncommon with Tietchens to work in groups (one could think of his various works with water sounds called 'Hydrophonie'), that deals with the processed sound of sine waves and white noise. In all his work, the 'menge' series is Asmus in his most reduced form. Somewhere there is a basic hum, that in 'Teilmenge 37' sounds like someone is breathing. Somewhere there is a sound that leaps in and out, sometimes there is a slight variation in that sound. There is somewhere some change, but not much. And that's about it. Highly reduced material, but full of intensity. Play this loud and very detailed variations will occur in the material. Play this soft and only the 'top' sounds will be clearly heard, which would be a pity. In all this vast emptiness there is a lot of stuff to discover. Maybe with six albums, the concept of the 'Menge' series is quite clear, but perhaps Asmus will give it another dimension in the future. He can do that. (FdW) Address:

(CD by Rune Grammofon)
MOHA! - RAUS AUS STAVANGER (CD by Rune Grammofon)
So far I wasn't aware of Food, a quartet around drummer Thomas Strønen, sax-player Iain Ballamy and the recently departed bass-player Matts Eilertsen and trumpet player Arve Henriksen, or in fact any of Strønen's activities, such as Humcrush (a duo with Stale Storløkken of Supersilent) or his various other improvising projects. 'Pohlitz' is Strønen's first solo work. I learn from the cover that he plays 'beatable items, live electronic treatments, music' and read in the press message that he plays a variety of percussive instruments here, uses live sampling from the percussion, thus in real-time stacking all the elements together. I must admit, I am rather impressed by this. His music is true cross-over of improvised music, electronic music and composed music, but played with sheer elegance. The sampled elements provide a nice, relaxed bed for the percussion to sleep in. Minimal in it's playing, a bit Steve Reich like, but more smeared out, a bit more empty, but always with a slow building of the pieces, by slowly adding elements, real time percussion and sampled elements thereof. In 'Natural History Of Creation' Strønen reaches for a Gamelan sound, with a similar hypnotic feel to it. Quite an amazing debut.
Nothing subtle however with MoHa!, a duo of guitar player Anders Hana and drummer Morten Olsen, the two youngest Rune Grammofon artists, but despite their age (23 and 24), they have been playing together for eight years. Maybe it's their youth, but they like to be a fine piece of noise music. But they keep their pieces short and to the point. All ten pieces are heavy feedback guitar pieces, scraping, scratching guitars and percussion, but each of them explores a certain area of noise. You never get the idea of listening to ten times the same track, but in all the improvised-no overdubs-live-to-tape recording there is a great sense of communication between both players. They exactly know each-other and know how to play these ten blocks of highly concentrated pieces of free form noise improvisation. Another great disc! (FdW)

On the ever so lovely Verato Project label three new releases, spanning the wide territory of experimental music. Pi Cab Alter leaves us still in the dark as to who and what, but he's from France and this is his fourth album. No more of the heavenly voices as on the first two, but still working his way into the mood music, playing his own fine blend of ambient music. Fifteen track, playing over an hour worth of material - that is perhaps a bit too much, but I strongly suggest listening to the entire album, since towards the end there are a couple of more experimental pieces, with vague metallic percussive sounds. The first say ten tracks are loosely based on heavily processed radio waves (such is at least suggested by the title), which altogether make up some pretty decent, not at to clean ambient music. Say of the more adventurous kind.
In a lovely small film can we find another release by Pi Cab Alter, together with a few stripes of film. The music has changed here and tends towards a more rhythmical version of his own work. The ambient as influence is still here, but in many of the tracks, sampled, minimalist rhythms are used, voices of various media are incorporated. Overall this is much more 'free' material than the previous release. It's also a more varied release, with piece that tend to be downright soft such as 'Entracte' or more present and even a bit noisy, although it shouldn't be regarded as noise with the big N. Quite a nice release again, but the other suits the late night listening better.
Also up their fourth album are Filthy Turd from the UK. Now here we speak noise with the big N. Three tracks, forty seven some minutes of unrelentness noise, like the previous releases. Distortion, feedback, noise, mayhem and chaos. It lacks the perfection of say good ol' Merzbow, but again, for what it is, it's not that bad. Noise is a genre which lacks progression, well most of the time, and Filthy Turd will certainly not progress for a while or two. (FdW)

Gears of Sand is one of the more professional CDR labels. Nice design, full color label artwork, printed on the CDR and great music. It's a pity though that not much information is available on some of the more unknown artists. Like: who is Mikronesia? Since I got this, some two weeks ago, I have been playing this a lot, but I can't make up my mind on what I think about this. It's surely quite a nice release of melodic ambient music that is throughout these eight pieces rhythmic oriented in a sort of tribal/pseudo ethnic way, a bit like a more mechanical Rapoon, with mumbling voices here and there, chilly synths and all other fine ingredients for solid atmospheric music. But still it's not easy to up my mind. I sit back and listen... I like what I hear but it also moves out of the attention pretty easily. The music doesn't grab one and forces to pay full attention, but perhaps that's not the idea of Mikronesia. In another life, this would be the more adventurous ambient house things, reminding me of Meridian Dream (but I might the only one to remember). It's pleasant music to whatever you do when you pleasant, not too demanding music. (FdW)

Jim Denley isn't perhaps someone who is reviewed a lot in Vital Weekly, but he is still one of the leading persons in the Australian improvisation scene, playing with anyone (it seems) and everywhere (that is a fact). Denley' skills lie in playing the alto saxophone, but you never have the idea that it's one. Plus he is responsible for field recordings and editing and teams up with a younger (?), newer generation improvising musician Joel Stern, who lived in London for a while, but I believe is now back in Australia and who plays electronics, feedback and field recordings and does a share of editing too. The editing is important. The material itself was recorded through methods of improvisation, but all the material was carefully looked at, added too, cut and reshaped, and put together in a collage form of one kind or another. This makes this still sounding improvised on a superficial level, but if you listen carefully, then you notice all the editing parts. The opening piece 'Cornish Tape Stratagem' for instance with it's precise edits, is almost like a popsong. Multitracking plays a bigger part in some of the other pieces, such as the more subtle 'Ancho-rubbed Ground' or 'Wild Game Crockpot'. Here it seems that some specific layers form the backbone of a piece over which other sounds were dubbed. The whole things sounds surprisingly electronic, with the saxophone playing usually a sustained note, rather than free-form melodies. The whole encounter of eight tracks breaths a very vibrant and lively atmosphere. All together a most enjoyable release, a well-done mixture of improvisation and composition. (FdW)

The complete "Vital Weekly" is available at: Vital Weekly

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