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Vital Weekly 515

img  Tobias

This collaboration was waiting to happen: the leading lady of glitch poetry Antye Greie Fuchs, aka AGF and upcoming star on that scene Kateryna Zavoloka. These women know eachother since 2003 and they have played together in concert in France and Belgium, developing the concept Techno Like Trees. Now this is worked out, or rather sketched out, in fifty short, one minute pieces, each dedicated to a certain plant. There are five subgroups: trees, bushes, meadow, flowers and spices. The names of the plants are sung in either German, Ukranian and English, but are usually to cut up to be understood. It doesn't matter really, what plant is what, unless of course you are a connoisseur of these matters (which I am not at all). This singing is set to one rhythmic pieces that is sometimes ongoing for a minute, but also at other times is totally broken up, and I must admit that doesn't help to enjoy the CD that much. The whole thing, fifty tracks in as many minutes, is already a guarantee that for a more sketch-like approach, but for the more chaotic pieces this makes matters even less easy. But some flowers are beautiful blossoming and you would want to keep that going for some more time than just that one minute. The repeat button is always a handy feature here, but the 'next' button also has it's proper function. Maybe an all female remix project would be an option. (FdW)

Danielle Roger is known for her work with all-women groups like Wondeur Brass, Les Poules and Justine. With these and many other projects she became a leading force as a percussionist and composer in the new music scene of Montréal since early 80s. In recent years she concentrated more and more on composing music. On her new cd 'Bruiducoeur' Roger presents an extensive vocal composition, recorded live in june 2004. Its a vocal work for two narrators, two soloists, two percussionists and a thirteen-piece mixed choir. An oratorio to be more exact. Not a very regular musical form. I know Florian Fricke of Popol Vuh always wanted to write one. The oratorio is a musical composition that was at his peak in the 17th and 18th century. Most oratorio s had religious themes. This seems to be case with 'Bruiducoeur' also as it is subtitled 'Prières des infidèles'. "This secular ceremony revolves around three characters: LUI, who is dying, scared and delirious; ELLE, who acts as an ironic witness, describing his fears and his struggle; and the CHOIR and SOLOISTS, empathic, representing us, the others, as we too will die one day." For full enjoyment of this cd it helps if you understand french, but the booklet helps as it contains the full text in french and english. Voices sing, speak, scream. Sentences, words, but sometimes only syllables, or just sounds. The soloists and narrators do a great job. The whole is sparsely instrumented with percussion. Overall the music is not very melodic. At moments medieval sounding melodies appear at the surface, like in track one and three. Track six starts with mongolian throat overtone singing. In general it is a kind of 'sprechgesang' that dominates. Well you may have an impression now of this work... (Dolf Mulder)

This cd introduces the newest work of canadian composer Tim Brady, played by his ensemble Bradyworks and baritone Michael Donovan. It is a one-act chamber opera written for voice, electric guitar, piano, percussion, saxophones, string quartet and tape. The work is inspired on the life and work of Norman Bethune (1890-1939) who was a talented surgeon and medical inventor who left his comfortable life in Montréal to fight with the Republican International Brigade in Spain in 1936, and finally to join the Chinese Army in early 1938. For this composition Brady used writings of Bethune that are sung by baritone Donovan. The opera has three parts, each one representing a phase of the life of Bethune: Montréal, Madrid and Chin Ch'a Chi. Evidently the texts play a central role in this work and because of that the voice of Donovan also. The composition and the instrumentation fulfill a serving role in evoking Bethune's life through the texts. Brady makes good use of the different instruments from the ensemble. It's a very colorful work and very well arranged and performed. And the composition is a successful dramatization of the story. Track eight for instance is almost rock-music reminding of the work of Louis Andriessen. Through tape Brady introduces sound-material that evokes the different geographical locations. For my ears this is most apparent in the part that tells of Bethune's chinese adventures. I needed repeated listening before this opera began to talk to me. But in the end this thoroughly composed opera revealed its beauty for my ears. (Dolf Mulder)

(CDR by Stray Dog Army)
Stray Dog Army is a label run by James Brewster, who is also the man behind Mole Harness. I didn't hear his first album 'All Your Memories Return At Once', which was released in early 2004 on Float/Silent Age. It was made with a 'basic sampler', but for his second record he uses the computer. Not that I initially thought so. I started playing this and thought this was all made with guitars, electric and acoustic, and some delay machines. But not so, it seems, and that is quite an achievement. Mole Harness uses the original played sources on indeed a guitar and bass, but he layers the processed parts into some wonderful nice ambient music. The whole digital/computer notion appears in such a way that it is hardly noticed. The eight pieces float gently by in a harmonic and atmospheric way. The weather is cold outside, but sunny and Mole Harness delivers a perfect soundtrack for such conditions and it's a beautiful sunday morning wake up record, recovering with a hangover. (FdW)

(3"CDR by CLaudia)
WITCHING HOUR (CDR compilation by CLaudia)
Three new releases on the New Zealand CLaudia label, two of them are compilations, and one is by Sam Hamilton. For reasons unclear to me, his 3" CDR contains just one nine minute piece, for which he lists guitar, voice, computer and drums, and all of these instruments are to be recognized in this strange curious piece of computerized noise, guitar strumming and playing the cymbals. There is some sort of cut-up collage like elements to be discovered here, which reminded me of the first solo CDs of Dean Roberts. A nice mixture of glitch music, improvisation but also in a strongly composed manner. Quite nice, but unfortunately with only one track only as an introduction. Would be interesting to see what else he can do.
The next release is a 3" CDR compilation, called 'Procession', and although this isn't stated anywhere, I assume it deals with processing sounds on a computer. For each of the five pieces it lists instruments, such as guitars, rubber hands, polystyrene cup, glockenspiel or santur (ok, whatever that may be), but also the computer is listed on four out of five (the piece by Helga Fassonaki uses the aforementioned santur, ebow and bow). As one can imagine this is a glitchy affair of carefully processed sounds, in which occasionally one hears the 'real' instrument sipping through the static hiss, crackles and whatever plug ins are running amok this time. This is quite a nice affair, what these five people come up with (Nigel Wright, Adam Willetts, Tim Coster, Helga Fassonaki and Mark Sadgrove), although when heard superficially it might not be easy to recognize the difference between the various pieces and the various composers. The other compilation deals with 'field recordings of night-time', and by hearing them (and reading the extensive liner notes to them), they seem to be rather unedited. The night-time is the time of the day to sleep, have sex, stroll around (for you insomniacs). Some of these pieces are quite nice, certainly when it involves real field recordings (as in the field, outside), such as the chirping of insects, rain, or the contact microphone wedged into a door frame collecting sounds from the fresh water steam that runs down the valley next to the house, which I'd like to hear more than the snoring of Phil Dadson (for fifteen minutes). I don't exactly understand where the 'witching' comes in, or when this is best heard, but I heard it pretty much during the day, so perhaps some of the deeper meaning went by me. But throughout quite a silent affair this CD, which makes it pleasant backdrop for whatever you doing, day or night. Also enclosed are P. Westbourne, Un Ciego, Lau Nau, Tim Coster, Richard Francis, Felicity Ford and Paintings Of Windows. (FdW)

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

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