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Vital Weekly 528

img  Tobias

The first time I started playing the new Giuseppe Ielasi solo CD, I walked away for a few minutes, and when I came back, I heard some sort of minimal dub-techno rhythm. I was confused. Had I started to play something else, and mistakenly thought it was Ielasi? I took out the CD to confirm that this was the Ielasi and started playing the thing again. When I was fully there again, and starting again, the first piece (all untitled) took me also by surprise: a slow rhythm, scraping violins and all of a sudden a beautiful, dramatic horn section. The second piece is that dub-techno thing that doesn't look at of place with the rest when one has heard the entire album. The rest of the pieces are perhaps a bit what we could identify as the Ielasi trademark sound: guitar picking along the lines of Oren Ambarchi, but with the addition of percussive, electro-acoustic sounds that expand the sound of Ielasi a lot. Before it was very good, now it's great. Compared with his previous solo albums, as well as some of collaborative albums, this is a major leap forward for Ielasi, who proofs that he has excellent musical skills, both as a composer and as an improviser.
Recently flowers seem to be the thing to use to title your CD: petals and monk's horn and now cow parsley. That is what Hundloka means and it is one of the most common meadow flowers: a weed whose distribution is restricted with great difficulty. I wouldn't know, I don't have a garden. The for me unknown Anders Dahl has a CD with three pieces, all called Hundloka, and each is for a set of instruments he plays: guitar, bouzouki, violin, clarinet, recorder, percussion and prepared speakers. The music Dahl produces lies somewhere in between the 'composed' and 'improvised', in all three elements of drone music are in place, but the execution differs a bit. In the first piece things are more mood related, but in the shortest, second piece, things are much more noise related, within the self-chosen format. The most complex piece is the last one (also the longest piece), in which clarinet and recorder sound like recorded by Phil Niblock, but the guitar, bouzouki, percussion and computer play a more chaotic rule, trying to complicate the matters for the two wind instruments. It's a struggle that has no winners, but ultimately it's a complex and great piece of music, just as the other two. Two CDs on Hapna, two times again at their best. Hapna proofs to be the best in the world. (FdW)

On April 26, 1986 the worst nuclear power accident in history occurred at Chernobyl in the former USSR (now Ukraine). A poorly conducted test at one of the four reactors went out of control resulting in several explosions. Radiation was released into the atmosphere and spread over northern Europe. The town and surrounding areas were evacuated, to this day remains a dead zone, except for a few government workers attempting to clean up the area, and the aged who returned to live and die where they were born. Twenty years later Jacob Kirkegaard journeyed to the "Zone of Alienation" to create this work. Kirkegaard picked four rooms that were once places of social activity: a church, an auditorium, a swimming pool, and a gymnasium. In each of these abandoned spaces he made a ten minute recording of the silence and then played it back into the room, and recording it and repeating the process up to ten times. The process is reminiscent of Alvin Lucier's work "I am Sitting in a Room" with the difference being that Kirkegaard left the rooms while the recordings were being made. The end result is the amplification and unveiling of the resonances of each space. The CDc.d. opens with the Church which is very dense are hard to penetrate. With each following track the density lessens and the resonances more refined. "Swimming Pool" which I anticipated to be rich and reverberate, surprisingly is very minimal and bleak. The closing track "Gymnasium" is the most menacing, with very distinct frequencies swelling through the desolate space. Although the sound is hypnotic, the end result is unnerving and disturbing. "4 Rooms" is a document of shadows moving in dark empty rooms. (Jeff Surak)


(CD by Alien8 Recordings)
After a period of silence, all of a sudden the second new release by Francisco Lopez, following 'Untitled #164' (see Vital Weekly 524). Like noted than, things are changing for Lopez. There is small, vague image to be spotted on the cover, and there is the line 'created at mobile messor (montreal, johannesburg, oslo, barcelona, madrid) in 2005'. That is more information than we usually get. I have been thinking about that line, while playing this. Like 'Untitled #164' this is not the usual Lopez with a few very low volume, long field of sounds, but a collage of sounds. I am not sure wether these sounds are field recordings from the cities mentioned, or that Lopez, always touring the globe, worked on it on his laptop (mobile messor) in hotel-rooms. It's hard to tell, I didn't recognize anything that sounded like Barcelona, Oslo or Montreal. Lopez created small blocks of sound that are clearly originating from field recordings, and yes, they are most likely city sounds, which is repeats in all sorts of variations and combinations. What seems familiar in fact isn't because smaller portions are used in different ways, intercepted by short breaks of near silence. It's certainly a break in Lopez tradition, and it's something to get used to. The volumes aren't as low (except for the last five minutes and a section in the middle) like before, and the composition is quite interesting to hear, although perhaps for some people the variation in sounds might not be enough. I can imagine people wondering what this is on about, as there doesn't seem to be a 'story', or a 'mood'. In that sense Francisco Lopez has once again succeeded in adding controversy again. (FdW)

SCANNER - TEENAGE WOCHEN (12" by Bine Music)
Throughout the many years that now span Scanner's career I have been following him off and on, without keeping exact track of all of his many releases. But ones that were captured by these set of ears where quite good. Scanner moves in all sorts of directions, within the dance music area, but always with a keen ear for new directions, reworking them for his end. Two tracks on this 12". The title piece piece on side one starts with a guitar but quickly moves into the area of electro music with a jumpy rhythm and a very joyous melody line. A great up-tempo tune that has the word 'summer' stamped all over. On the flip there is 'Autumn Nights', about twice as long, with a bumpy rhythm and Germanic cosmic synth lines with noises (people speaking, rattle snakes) swirling in and out of the mix. More dramatic in approach, this is indeed rather autumn music than full on sunshine mid-summer. I have no idea wether this is part of a forthcoming album, but if so: where can I sign up to get one? (FdW)

US label Gears Of Sand presents us with a steady stream of releases on the CDR format, but they love a professional package, making them look like the real thing. The other fine thing is that dig up artists I never heard of, and William Fields is one of them. Born in 1977, playing music since 1993 in various styles. He produced work as Asoka, before turning to his christian name, releasing music on such tbtmo, Hippocamp, and Audiobulb Records. All of which I am afraid was unheard in these headquarters. On 'Timbre' (which in lexicon terms mean: the combination of qualities of a sound that distinguishes it from other sounds of the same pitch and volume), he offers ten tracks that show a distinct love of ambient glitch music. How he does it, I don't know, but I suspect all the usual ingredients are there: field recordings, max processing, guitars, computer manipulation. All the usual references are there, from Fennesz to Stephan Mathieu, from Taylor Deupree to Sogar (or perhaps 85% of everything on 12K), which makes this nothing never heard before. Not that's of any relevance, since Fields does a fine job. Each of the tracks are produced well, show variation in approaching the sounds and is just a very nice, pleasant CD. Which is sometimes just as fine to hear. (FdW)

(CDR by Breaking World Records)
WATERSPORTS - NIGHT LIFE (cassette by White Tapes)
So soon after our last tape review, here is another tape, and that is not much of a surprise. Watersports and Idea Fire Company arrive both from the same corner of the music world, although probably a world of difference in ages, their approach are similar, and both release cassettes (as well as CDRs, LPs, etc). I must admit I don't know much about them, other than they are duo. What they play, how they generate their sound, I don't know. Both this CDR and cassette release have a pretty lo-fi character. Perhaps there are one or two synths present at the recording, and some sort of tape manipulation of field recordings (meaning in an analogue sense of the word, using cassettes to store the sound on and feeding them through analogue effect pedals). Lengthy stuff and in an odd way spacious. Sounds move forward a little bit, but there doesn't seem to be any sense of direction, well, perhaps other than to lie back and like what you hear. That seemed to be the only logical thing to do.
Especially the cassette is a bit too poorly recorded, but the CDR shows depth which makes it altogether more intense, although I have no idea what christmas has to with it (as suggested by the title). The sound comes close to that of Idea Fire Company and represent, I think, a forgotten area of the US experimental noise scene. A scene that is less based on the 'real' noise, but rather the more cosmic/psychedelic/musique concrete one. Time is right to put the spotlight on there (well, if we were a big time music magazine, of course). (FdW)
Address: <>

(MP3 by Con-V)
Cheapmachines is just one word, but it's also just one guy: Phil Julian. His discography is already a long list of CDR and MP3 releases, for some known (like his own Authorized Version) and some utter obscure labels. Con-V of course isn't part of the unknown names, as they appear in Vital Weekly a lot with their MP3 and CDR releases. For his piece 'Latitude' Cheapmachines uses field recordings, sinewaves, amplified metal objects, white noise and feedback. Over the course of the next fifteen minutes, Cheapmachines operate in a strict linear fashion. The proceedings don't start out soft, but it only gets more intensified as the piece progresses. It gets louder and louder and louder, growing in an intensified way, until a howling feedback is left. Like a James Bond movie, where the subject is tied to a conveyer belt, and moves towards the big destruction (saws are preferred, if we need to compare the sound). What is left is what we hear at the end: everything hacked to pieces, debris on the floor and a vacuum cleaner clears out. Quite an intense release. (FdW)

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

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