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Vital Weekly 529

img  Tobias

Two brand-new Dots CD releases in Vital this week. The first one, Your Children Palate You From Their Premature Graves, is the official new studio album. An almost traditional package of poppy songs, ballads and ambient pieces, it also marks the return of former Dots-guitarist Martijn de Kleer. At times the music steers close to Pink Floyd (for instance on 'The Island Of Our Dreams') and gets away with it. The plodding semi-krautrock of 'No Matter What You Do' however does not work. The album's highlights are the beautifully restrained and sensitive pieces such as 'Stigmata Part 4', 'Bad Hair', 'A Silver Thread and Your Time Is Up'. Is it on songs like these that the Dots show their true class. With sparse instrumentation, the music is able to breathe and develop leaving plenty of room for Edward's word play and poems. Here the saxophones (if any) are non-obtrusive and constructive. More song-based than 2005's Poppy Variations album, this album-with-the-weird-title will certainly please the vast ranks of Pink Dots fanatics.
Alchemical Playschool is an altogether different beast. It comes packed in a beautiful trident-carved soapstone box that weighs a ton. Here the Dots-core of Edward Kaspel and Phil Knight rework environmental sound-material recorded in India (by Charles Powne of Soleilmoon records, the original recordings are available on CD as Indian Soundscapes). In doing so the Dots create a beautiful dreamscape. The four long tracks (parts one to four) evoke scenes of the East with street sounds, crowd noises, voices and field recordings drifting in and out. At times the results are pastoral and on other occasions downright hectic - just as you'd imagine India to sound like. Part Four, with its beautiful voice sample and washes of sound, forms the highlight of this fascinating album. Alchemical Playschool is welcome proof that the Dots are still willing and able to create exiting experimental music. While Your Children Palate might be the easier album to digest, it is Alchemical Playschool that is the moral winner here. (FdW)

(CD by Beta Lactam Ring)
Perhaps I am absolutely the wrong person to review this CD by Brunnen, also known as Freek Kinkelaar, also known as one half of Beequeen, so somebody which I happen to know, erm, let's say quite well. As Brunnen, Kinkelaar plays singer-songwriter material, on guitar, bass, keyboards, singing and some computer doodling. 'The Beekeeper's Dream' is Brunnen first real 'big' release, after a portion of highly limited (and long gone) 7"s, among which are on his own Plinkity Plonk label. This CD collects them, and adds a bunch of new ones. It's the Kinkelaar use of economics. A usual Brunnen song starts with a rhythm loop, and/or perhaps a guitar being strummed and bass coming in and then Kinkelaar's singing. In the breaks between the verses, Kinkelaar adds a few odd sounds. The music is very intimate, like he's sitting there in your room, next to you, whispering his love songs in your ear. With a voice that is a cross-over between say Edward Ka-spel or Genesis P-Orridge, both at their most sweet, this intimate popmusic, that is only remotely linked to his work in Beequeen (especially in the newer works such as 'The Bodyshop' or 'Ownliness'), but more stripped down. Some of them are singalongs right from the start, like 'Fly', but 'Trust In Me' is a bit too long for me.
This CD comes also on vinyl, and some of them will include a picture disc, which shows another side of Kinkelaar: his love of drone music, as shown in the earlier days of Beequeen or in the recent Wander project. On this LP he has various improvisations on the pump organ, which are in some way or the other collated on the computer into fine blocks of sound. Slow, minimal and meditative, this is absolutely great drone music. It could have been as easily the new Wander LP, but it isn't. It still comes from the same house. Get one while they last. (FdW)


In '24 Hour Party People', Tony Wilson says that 'W.B. Yeats was the greatest poet since Dante', but Ian Curtis 'never heard of him, mate'. I heard the name Yeats, but school education never went that far (let alone self-education), but his sensible poems are well spend on Martyn Bates and Troum. The latter are obviously my all time favorite drone meisters of the more forceful kind. Think Mirror or Ora but louder. Playing bass, percussion, accordion, lots of sound effects they create sometimes a subtle, and sometimes less of subtle atmospheric piece of music. I don't think I would easily link them to Martyn Bates, one half of Eyeless In Gaza and recently in Vital Weekly with 12000 Days (see Vital Weekly 486). Back in the day, I was a big Eyeless In Gaza fan, lost sight for perhaps more than a decade but their comeback album for Soleilmoon 'Song Of The Beautiful Wanton' was quite nice again. But somehow I wouldn't expect this to happen. The voice of Martyn Bates is something you either
truly like or truly hate. It's full of passion, emotion or, deciding which side you are on, pathetic. Set against the background of Troum's beautiful music, that solemnly spreads it's wings in 'Mad As The Mist And Snow', this is all too good to be true. I am perhaps not the biggest lover of poems, perhaps on an ordinary day I would not enjoy the voice of Bates that much, but the singing forms only a small portion of the total package. There are even tracks that instrumental. Now its so much more than 'just' a drone record: the voice forms a counterpart of the music, perhaps because it fits so well. This is certainly on of the best drone records I heard this year, because it's so familiar as well as such a surprise. (FdW)

About nine years ago, Irdial Records released a four CD 'The Conet Project', collecting sounds from number stations, or spy stations: transmissions found on radio waves of various secret services. A great and no doubt worrying work, if you understand the consequences of it, but also a wealth of great sound. I believe it is not allowed to use these sounds at will (I forget what the fuzz was all about, but somebody got sued for sampling some of it), but Esther Venrooy asked and got permission to use the material to create a sound piece for Belgium radio, which existed seventy-five years. If one is familiar with the original 'Conet Project' recordings, then it's easy to spot all the original voices ('five - three - two - zero - five'), but Venrooy knows her classics in music, especially that of musique concrete: the sudden shifts in sounds, the gentle gliding electronic tones, but also incorporating a little melody at the beginning of the second side. There is nothing really frightening about these voices anymore, they are isolated from the original context, and placed in this new, abstract picture, where they become voices of the unknown. They no longer have their original meaning, but rather a new one. This is a more than excellent record, and by far the best work by Venrooy to date. (FdW)

(CDR by Stray Dog Army)
You may never heard of Jasper Leyland, but his real name is Jonathan Brewster, and that might ring no bell either. He released a CDREP in August 2005 and 'Margin' is his first full length release. Jasper/Jonathan plays a variety of instruments, such as zither, acoustic guitar, melodica and field recordings. These are all processed on the computer, mainly in the form of layering them in various shapes, lengths and colors. The result is quite glitchy ambient with a strong love for the more minimal approach. Once the wheel is set in motion it spins and spins, like there is no end to it. In that respect some of the pieces might be a bit long in approach, but there is a certain warmth and gentleness in these pieces that makes it quite entertaining throughout, although more as a backdrop, living room music thing, that actually as pieces of music that should be listened to and understand as such. Exactly what good ambient should be all about. And Jasper Leyland delivers a fine job at that. (FdW)

LOOOP SESSIONS - OSLO, 24 MAY 2004 (CDR by Tib Prod)
OSCILLATOR 707 - SUITE #2 (CDR by Tib Prod)
Four new releases on Norwegian Tib Prod, of which the first one, by one Alessandro Siciliano, aka Convurazio, is completely new to me. I believe this is first full length CDR, following various MP3 releases and tracks on compilations for such labels as Rednitic. The 'Backside Hellflip' starts promising with a break beat/trip hop rhythm, and samples of the much in praise eighties guitar sound. A very nice piece that holds a promise for the next sixteen (!), but unfortunately we learn quickly that Siciliano is a man behind his computer fiddling about with all sorts of dance music rhythms, techno, breakbeat and trip hop alike, and smears it full with samples of organs at their worst or sometimes with more of that lovely guitar sounds, and sometimes with nothing at all, and keeping it strict techno. Surely nice pieces are to be found, but on the fingers of one hand.
From the ever expanded family of Origami, here is a five piece band Origami Arktika, with a recording they made two years ago of their support act for Acid Mothers Temple. It's an Origami rock line up, of careful playing with a bit of improvisation on what could be guitars (but for all I know, perhaps also some sort of electro-acoustic objects), while bass and drums hold the rest together. At times it's a bit too careful for my taste, but they include three traditional tracks, including singing and that's always nice. It's ok, I guess, but not so my cup of tea.
Also two years ago, on may 24 2004 to be precise, a bunch of people met up in Oslo, to create the Looop Sessions together. This is an almost all Norwegian line up of who's who in the real Norwegian underground: John Birger Wormdahl (Salvatore, Racing Junior), Per Gisle Galaen (Apartment Rec, Crazy River, The Birds, Slowburn), Kai Mikalsen (Kobi, Origami Arktika), Sten Ove Toft (Ryfylke, Waffelpung), Anders Gjerde (Humbug Records) and non Nor Carlos Giffoni of Monotract. On the inside of the cover we see a photo of the proceedings: laptops, at least four of them, effect pedals and obscure things with cables, faders and keys. You can imagine that with so many players on boards it's not easy to be silent or quiet, so this is a rather noise related disc. But it is fortunately quite vibrant music, with sounds pouring in and out of the mix, distorted rhythms, sonic mayhem, but also pieces that are 'soft' and perhaps even a bit ambient. They provide nice counterpoints and makes an overall much enjoyable CD.
The last new Tib Prod release is by Oscillator 707 collective from Italy. There a couple of bands work together: Paolo Veneziani, Strinqulu, Urkuma, !((OrKZa1, Luca Confusione, Talk Show Host, Orchestra Vuota, Black Dezign and Guignol Dangereux. It's the latter one's duty to mix all tracks together. There is one track on this CDR which is a pity since it makes skipping tracks a bit more difficult, but on the other hand it there is uninterrupted flow in these techno/acid/house pieces, which are mixed flawlessly by Guignol. Perhaps it's a bit traditional dance music, but it should do well as start up for your private underground techno party.
And finally there is also more music from man behind Tib Prod, Jan-M. Iversen, whose duo with Sindre Bjerga is by now one that stays. They do their endless improvisations in remote areas, such as lighthouses, but when it comes to releasing music, they do not just present a session on a CDR, they cut the best part out of it. Their instruments is a combination of electronics (Iversen) and amplified objects, guitar and electronics (Bjerga), the music is by and large atmospherical in a sort of drone manner, but also a bit more lo-fi. Throughout their many releases there is an upward line to be noted, but on this new release there is an absolute stand out piece for the duo, the part one of the title piece. Slowly moving forward, highly minimal but also highly moving, working towards a small crescendo at the end of the piece, this is by far the best piece by them. In the other six tracks they explore similar ground, and usually at their best, but that track is a standout. (FdW)

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

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