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Vital Weekly 524

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FRANCISCO LOPEZ - UNTITLED #164 (CD by Unsounds)
Things have been quiet for Francisco Lopez. It seems, at least from my end of the telescope. Just a few live recordings were released, but not so many new studio recordings. But at long last here is 'Untitled #164', composed in commission of the Brussels Sonic Matter festival, organized by Argos in 2004. Lopez recorded sounds in the city, together with TRMX, Johan Vandermaelen, Martiens Go Home and Building Transmissions, but it's Lopez who in the end mutates, collates and processes these recordings. Lopez moves away from a few things: this piece is lengthy, seventy-three minutes, right from the start it stays in an audible fashion and towards the end there is also a bit of rhythm. That's three major differences. The unearthly rumble at the opening return every once in a while, and it seems that the microphone is buried deep in the ground. Other sounds rumble and hiss along in this utterly spooky work. There is nothing that refers to the city of Brussels (which I didn't visit in some time, but I know what it could sound like). 'Untitled #164' is a different work than many of his other 'Untitled' works, and fits more along with 'La Selva' or 'Buildings [New York]', which are both recognized as master works, but this is surely another powerful work. Moving away from the territory we know and loved, and entering a new territory, which we will no doubt love as Senor Lopez explores. (FdW)
Address: http://www.unsounds.com


M. BENTLEY - THIS WORLD (CD by The Foundry)
The M in the name stands for Micheal and Micheal Bentley founded The Foundry in the mid 80s as an outlet for his chapbooks. A decade later or so later he started first to release cassettes, but quickly moved over to CDs. Alone or with various people he worked under such guises as eM, Mollusk/Malcolm Bly, The Apiary and Rhomb, but more recently also under his own name. His music, as-well as those he releases on his own label, are all strongly influenced by ambient music, but Bentley never leaves the experimental music out of sight. 'This World' consists of two lengthy pieces, divided into smaller ones, of which 'Chronos And Kairos' is the longest and important one. 'Import', being fifteen tracks of one minute, was previously released by Fällt as part of their Invalid Object series (see Vital Weekly 291), which was described back then as 'one long track, starting with field  recordings, modifying them and later adding other sounds of a more digital nature. This is a blend of ambient acoustics and electronics with a strong atmosphere'. Still a nice piece. 'Chronos And Kairos' means 'Time eternal (chronos) and the propitious moment, the time of opportunity or cleverness (kairos)', in ancient Greek. World of men vs world of nature. The music is part of a video, which was lost until recently, but I saw some of the raw material, and it looks promising. Of course lots of clocks, spinning forward and backward, sine waves and abstract imaginary, slowly moving over into the world as we know it, with shots of nature and humans. The music is now released and stands by itself quite well. There is a strong introspective sound played on synthesizers, but the sound of thunder, various clocks ticking or glitchy electronics, make this into a dark ambient work, with lots of external additions, that is far beyond the world of new age or standard ambient music. Even without the images it's already a strong work, but with it (The Foundry is planning a DVD release), I'm sure it will
be even stronger. A very fine work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.foundrysite.com


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ALAN COURTIS - ANTIGIUOS DOLMENES DEL PALEILITICO (CD by Sedimental)
GABRIEL PAIUK - RES EXTENSA (CD by Sedimental)
Two new releases on US Sedimental label, and both deal with music from Argentina. One is by the already well-known Alan Courtis of Reynols fame and one is by Gabriel Piauk. Underlined on the cover of the Courtis CD is the fact that no microphones, instruments or inputs of any kind were employed in this project, but it lists a bunch of equipment, such as a mixing desk and several sound effect processors. Courtis plays the no input mixer here and that is hardly a new trick, but then, many people play the same guitar and there is no complaint either. It's way you do with it, I guess. The title means 'ancient palaeolithic dolmens' and was the inspiration for this four part composition. Courtis doesn't exactly play the soft card here, it's quite loud and piercing music, just as you would expect from feedback like music. In the 'Part I' the deep bass end and in 'Part II' and in 'Part IIII' the higher end of the spectrum in a very minimal fashion. In the third part the machines start humming like birds, and that is the most interesting piece of the entire CD. The high feedback sounds in the fourth part are just a bit too much for my taste. Courtis executes a very consistent work, but it's perhaps a bit too single minded, idea-wise.
Paiuk is a new name for me. He is a composer, improviser and pianist from Buenos Aires and his pieces are usually played by ensembles. As an improviser he played with people like Jason Kahn, Axel Dörner, Manuel Mota and loads more. 'Rex Extensa' is a tape piece, consisting of various layers of sound materials 'related to our everyday sound environment and coming from different origins: marginal sounds from electric devices, analogue sources, field recordings and many more of unwanted sound that are present in our daily surrounding. "The fragments used in 'Res Extensa' [...] are not a representation of the world but rather extracts of our vibrational experience, of our shared surface of perception, feeling and thought". In this piece of all of these sounds are layered and stapled together and in the mix unfold their beauty. Paiuk creates a dense, yet minimal microsound affair of buzzing cable, helicopter noise and refridgiator hum. Sometimes they work unisono, all together, working their way into a mighty crescendo, but the main difference is that Paiuk uses the abrupt cutting in sounds to move to a next section. Sometimes things are really sparse, with just one sound moving almost silently. It's an absolute nice piece of music, working in the realms of microsound and musique concrete and as such it's perhaps not much new under the sun, but Paiuk surely created a well-crafted piece of music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.sedimental.com


CONTAGIOUS ORGASM/GOVERNMENT ALPHA - HEARTSTRINGS
(CD by SSSM)
Following the previous release by Contagious Orgasm, the collaborative work with Zyrtrax (see Vital Weekly 486), here is another collaboration, with Government Alpha. Both are from Japan, and both have a background in noise music, but there are differences: Government Alpha is in general the more over-the-top noise and Contagious Orgasm is the more rhythmic oriented one. It's a combination that works well, as proven by history and by this disc. The rhythms are loud and fast, sometimes techno inspired, but always quite heavy in approach and never exactly dance music. On top there is a whole bunch of noise related sound, sometimes working in sync with the rhythm parts, sometimes not at all. Besides there is a whole bunch turntable manipulations going on that adds even more mayhem to this already filled sound pallet. Top heavy music, with lots of things going on, on all levels of the sound spectrum. Played loud you will no doubt feel exhausted at the end, as this surely sucks up all the energy in your body. Cleansing music, after which you feel refreshed. Not necessarily something new, as the combinations of rhythm and noise have been tried before, but this in another well made effort in similar fashion. (FdW)
Address: http://www.geocities.jp/coolanatomy/


KK NULL & Z'EV - ARTIFICIAL LIFE (CD by C.I.P.)
A review on a CD like this could start like this: do these two heavy weights of experimental music need any introduction, probably not. But then who remembers that KK Null was originally a guitar player, although in the recent years we see him mostly playing electronics. Something similar can be said of Z'ev, although in recent years he shifted back from electronics to percussion, which is the thing that gave him his household name since the early 80s. Recently both were on tour in the UK, and on that occasion this CD was produced and in a way can be seen as a continuation of a recent work they did with Chris Watson (see Vital Weekly 503). Both are works of playing together, but in the case of the release with Watson, it was Z'ev putting the stuff together afterwards based on the sound material offered by KK Null and Chris Watson, whereas in this case Null and Z'ev where together and played the music in an improvised way. That means there are differences to be noted. The Touch CD was much more densely shaped with a wide variety of sounds being blurred together into fine woven pattern, whereas here electronics play a main part but separately from the percussive elements thrown in by Null (who gets credit for electro-percussion) and Z'ev. Less dense, but with a lot of variety. From the tribalism third piece (all are untitled) to the abstract and quieter second and fourth piece, these two gentlemen play a fine piece of music. Throughout they know what they are doing and it may seem that Z'ev is the man who plays the 'solo's' here, meaning he gets a more distinct sound, but it's a wonderfully varied and intelligent disc. No wonder they are heavy weights. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cipsite.net


PROJECT: BICYCLE
(CD compilation by Ache Records)
Listeners of BBC 4 Radio voted the bicycle the most significant invention since 1800, beating computers, internet and combustion engine, and as a true lover of that travel device (and watcher of bicycle racing), I can only applaud that. Each of the artists on this CD received just one sample of the bicycle and reworked that sound into what became this highly divers project. The participants sample the hell out the sounds, pitch it and down the scale and in general no bicycle is to be recognized. There are jumpy pieces, almost in breakcore fashion by people like Aelters and Secret Mommy, but also more contemplative pieces by Romanhead and Tu M'. Two pieces stand out: the one by Greg Davis who plays the source material while riding his own bicycle and Jason Forrest, who adds, even when not allowed, sound material from others, such as the almost inevitable 'Bicycle Race'. Throughout a fairly decent compilation, and for the daring (or perhaps unsatisfied) listeners who are musicians (aren't we all?), the original source material appears at the end of the compilation.
Address: http://www.achrecords.com


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