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Vital Weekly 522

img  Tobias

What  a contra-guitar is, I wouldn't know, but Austria's Burkhard Stangl plays one, along with normal guitars. Taku Unami plays guitars and objects. For reasons that are surely of no interest, I played this CD on a pair of headphones, which is something I normally don't do, after playing it first on my regular stereo. There is a computerized sound throughout some of these pieces that is far away in the mix, if you would play this CD not very loud, you wouldn't even notice it. On top there is the careful guitar playing of Stangl, and occasionally there is a object that bumps into another object somewhere in the space. Sometimes guitar playing and object bumping meet up, but sometimes they move in their own course, with caring too much about the other. Sometimes it's all really quiet, in true onkyo style, but in the fourth piece 'I Was....', which is a live recording (and if you didn't know you wouldn't tell the difference from the three studio pieces), things explode suddenly  at one piece, which scared the shit out of money, since the volume was of course all the way, to hear all the fine delicate differences. Of course it's all improvised music and sometimes not easy to follow, but there is a great sense of concentration throughout and if the listener is prepared to do the same, then it will surely be rewarding.
Elevator music is of course nobody likes to hear when they speak about one's music. It's the type of music that one get in the elevator, or the supermarket. Muzak. Yuk. But in the case of the new Eric La Casa mini CD it's truly elevator music, music made out of the sound of elevators. Going up, going down, the computer voice, alarm, the bells and the ropes attached to the elevators. All of the sounds that are so familiar for elevators pass by, yet not very often humans. Divided into sixteen tracks, La Casa made his recordings mostly in Paris, but there is also a sound from Melbourne and Antwerp. However it's better to hear this as one work and not sixteen small ones. It's sound scaping in it's most pure form: without any electronic treatments, La Casa tells us a story and builds from all the familiar sounds a fascinating journey, even when the journey goes only up and down. (FdW)

This is for me a new known name and a new label, but the label is run by Keith Fullerton Whitman, so perhaps that is already a guarantee for quality. There is no history available for Geoff Mullen, or at least not one we know. Mullen plays guitar, banjo, electronics and amplification. It's not easy to put this into a little corner of its own: there is bits of drone rock in the first piece, which is slow monolithic beast, but in the second one (tracks have no titles of course) things are quirky played on the guitar, but with some nasty sounds underneath. A bit folky but with enough weirdness thrown in. The rest of the pieces keep on balancing between these parameters: the drone related noise and the finger picking guitar and banjo pieces. It's quite alright material, even when not a big surprise. The influences of mr. Whitman himself, or that of Jim O'Rourke (area 'Happy Days') are never far away. A good, solid work, without many new steps taken, but one that is nevertheless quite alright. (FdW)

Although we came across the name Kora Et Le Mechanix on the compilation 'Out Of Place Artefacts' (see Vital Weekly 472), the music didn't make a lasting impression. Here they arrive again, this time with their debut album. Kora Et Le Mechanix are a duo of Michel Koran, who previously played in Richter Band and Zapomenuty orchestr Zeme snivcu and Filip Homola who worked with Die Archa and Znameni kruhu - none of which mean much to me actually. The list of instruments shows analog moduling synthesizer, laptop, vocoder, sampler, loops and electronics. Two of the tracks were recorded 'live at Biosphere concert', I assume when Kora Et Le Mechanix played the support act. This may also provide a clue as to what Kora Et Le Mechanix may sound like: ambient music but with a great sense of experimentalism. Things are mysterious, deep, atmospheric, but also there are far away nasty sounds to be detected that never take on a lead or a main role, but that firmly keeps this out of the hands of the new age monster. In terms of daring ambient music, Biosphere is most certainly an influence to account for, as-well as perhaps The Hafler Trio from a few years back. Ambient music is a dead end, that much is clear, but every now and then, new people occur on the scene and they seem to be doing a nice thing after all.

ADAPTORIES - KATAS (CDR by 1000+1 Tilt Recordings)
B'TONG - POLAR:IS (CDR by 1000+1 Tilt Recordings)
YURIA (CD compilation by Seedee)
'Katas' is the second release by Adaptories, or at least my second encounter with them, following 'Music Playground Revisted' (see Vital Weekly 463). I believe they are somewhat of a big band line up, including the use of five laptops, two guitars, one contact microphone, two trumpets, one drum set, one Korg MS-20 and effects. In a way, Adaptories sound very retro, a cross-over between the industrial music of Throbbing Gristle, meeting A Certain Ratio (trumpets!) or Eric Random (guitars and rhythms), or Cabaret Voltaire (some radio cut ups). Add to that the recording quality which is not really great, and this sounds like a survived bootleg from the 80s rehearsal space. Sounds perhaps I didn't like it that much, but I thought it was quite nice: spacious, psychedelic and a bit industrial.
I never heard of And The Wind That Will Come To Blow The Dust Away, which is a trio of one Thomas playing didj, strings, effects, Iason (owner of the label) playing guitar, strings, effects and mark playing sax, flute and strings. "Apparently all three paid homage to a delay unit" it says on the cover. It concerns here a live recording that was made in Leipzig, Germany, which was later cut and pasted, while parts of it were audiomulched and mixed again. Highly atmospherical in approach indeed, with a strong love for the echo, which smears everything together. Sounds howl about, fading in and out, creating a spacious affair. Not as retro sounding as Adaptories, but then perhaps not very modern either, but it's throughout a fine release.
Many of the 1000+1 Tilt Recording releases deal with people from Greece, but B'Tong is from Germany, being Chris Sigdell of Nid. His first release was on Verato Project (see Vital Weekly 486). 'Polar:is' is a release that is just one step further from a sound installation B'Tong did, together with Camilla Schuler and Brigitte Gierlich. It consisted of 'a white room with three looped record-players in rotating psychedelic light, plus a separate underwater installation where two live-performance in icy atmosphere where held'. In what way the release is related I don't know, but it mention natural sound and samples. Maybe because this release lasts a bit longer, we get a more coherent picture of the music of B'Tong. Moving away from the microsound laptop doodling, he enters the spheres of isolationist drone music. Deep dark rumbling bass sounds, with gentle, glacier like moving textures on top. It reminded me of what was called isolationist ten or so years ago, but more in particular Thomas Köner's earliest works. A bit dated perhaps, but quite nice for those who love their drones to be darker than dark.
Not a CDR but a pressed up CD is a compilation which has live tracks recorded at Vinyl Microstore in Athens, Greece. They have many hard to find records and Yuri is their dog. Literally. Athens, dogs and me are not the best combination in the world, but for some people dogs are good friend. Every year, the Vinyl Microstore has an in-store festival with the finest musicians from the local scene, and some of which appear regular in these pages, such as PS Stamps Back, Mecha/Orga and drog_A_tek, but also Free Piece Of Tape, Chroniq, Stavros Gasparatos, Bombie Baumann, Minimaximum Improvisation, Trypanosoma, Vyzantium Lambada. One would expect this to be a bunch of laptop musicians, sitting in this small store (but is it a small one? I wouldn't know), but throughout the music holds much more improvisation, especially by those new names of whom we never heard before. Chroniq is a bit of the odd ball here, with a piece of ambient techno, well of sorts. Quite a nice compilation, nicely varied, like a good meal.
Not on the 1000+1 Tilt label is the release by labelman PS Stamps Back. On November 3rd 2005 he played at the aforementioned Vinyl Microstore with his usual array of "laptop, effect pedals, toy generator and various amplified-through-contact-mics surfaces of vinyl". This MP3 is the entire recording of what is on the compilation just an excerpt. Using such fine software as audiomulch PS Stamps Back creates a densely layered field of high energy noise, but with a fair enough dose of rhythm and sense of experimentalism. Louder than his latest releases, this one fits the esthetic of Mattin (who released this on his MP3 label) quite well. A furious, driving force is behind this music, making this a particular heavy affair. Heavy but nice. (FdW)

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

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