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Vital Weekly 531

img  Tobias

Apart from two or three concerts in the eighties, Nurse With Wound was never a live band, and probably for good reasons. Whatever Steve Stapleton generated was highly studio based, always with a varying bunch of players on board. Yet in 2004 he over-viewed a live mix, by Colin Potter, of the 'Salt Marie Celeste' work for the Dutch Earational festival and that experience was so much fun, that Nurse With Wound are a live band, and for good reasons. Surrounded by players, such as Andrew Liles, Matt Waldron, Colin Potter and Diana Rogerson, Stapleton is comfortable in bringing a live version of Nurse With Wound's studio trickery. And perhaps technology is easier these days. In May 2005 the group played their first concert in Vienna (and mind you, with a group of such a diverse background, it's not likely they will play a lot of concerts), which was loosely based on two older Nurse With Wound pieces: the former 'Salt Marie Celeste' and 'Echo Poeme', two pieces that show the special qualities best: poetic and soft, loosely based on guiding theme's that give the players the opportunity to let sounds swirl in and out of the mix. An occasional blink here and there, leaving space in between. A bit more loosely organized than on a regular studio work, this is however a particular strong piece. Also strong is the much shorter studio piece 'In Swollen Silence' that circles around the voice of Diana Rogerson - just like the good ol' days.
As a bonus, there is a limited amount of CDs to go with the first few hundred, called 'A Handjob From The Laughing Policeman'. 'Conceived by Nurse With Wound. Mixed by Colin Potter', is the only thing on the cover. Drums play an important role throughout these forty some minutes, and miniature electronics swirl in and out. A much more forceful work than the 'Soundpooling #3', but essentially the idea is the same. Despite this being a studio-work, there are some crudities built in, and thus forms a good pair with the live CD. With Nurse With Wound you are in for surprise, but it never fails the listener. (FdW)

The fact that Dirk Serries, for twenty or so years, the man behind Vidna Obmana, started a new 'band' (again of just himself), did lead to the conclusion that Vidna Obmana was dead, or on hold at least. But it's not. Or perhaps it is, and is Hypnos just a bit late, releasing this album. It's the third act in a series of four. The first one was by Vidna Obmana himself, and on the second he transformed the saxophone sounds (see Vital Weekly 420). For the third act Vidna Obmana treats the piano sounds, played by Kenneth Kirschner, who is perhaps best known for similar collaborations with Taylor Deupree. The piano playing of Kirschner is quiet, just a few notes every once in a while, and the recordings he makes are usually finely treated with small clicks and hiss. This is excellent music for Vidna Obmana to expand his ambient tapestries on. Vidna Obmana adds guitar and synthesizers, after which he locks the music into his chamber of sound effects, looping all the sounds, making small shifting changes while certain elements keep returning ad infinitum. The piano sounds by Kirschner remain audible throughout this work, it doesn't seem that they are treated to such an extent. In the warm ambient bath created by Vidna Obmana they find a good home. Soberly orchestrated, the dedication to Morton Feldman is no surprise (although perhaps many more notes are played here than on average Feldman composition). Vidna Obmana doesn't necessarily add something new to ambient, but his music still belongs to the best the genre has to offer. (FdW)

Perhaps its intended, perhaps not, but this is the second collaboration of Jonathan Coleclough, following the one with Lethe (see Vital Weekly 468) with no solo Coleclough in between. Here he teams up with Murmer, aka Patrick McGinley, who had releases on Ground Fault, Bake Records, Absurd and S'Agita. McGinley hails from the USA, but moved to the UK and since recently lives in France. Both McGinley and Coleclough are men armed with microphones. You can see them crawling behind refrigerators, admist sheep or out on the street capturing the traffic. Of the two, McGinley is usually the one with a lesser extended sound treatment and leaving sounds as they are, whilst Coleclough is the man is our man to treat the sound to such an extent that nobody can recognize the original. That is already a most promising start. Much of the material on this CD (or two, if you are lucky to catch one of the first two hundred with a bonus CD) started as a live improvisation, at least that is what we are told, as it certainly doesn't sound like it. After careful editing, which seems to me the work of Coleclough, the rest is spread over four long pieces. The first time around I was listening to this CD in a totally new house, in a new house block, with some work being carried out still. The occasional drilling outside interfered nicely into the music, which had a similar drone like character, but was in the end the whole thing is less rigidly orchestrated than the usual drone record. Field recordings of all sorts drop in and out with irregular intervals, thus creating a slow by lively mixture of drone like sounds that go on, but change to quite an extent, and sounds dropping in out. Bell like sounds, engines or whatever is hard to identify. This is quite a beautiful CD. And with a limited edition of two CDs you can't be wrong. Another fine addition to the small but great catalogue of both artists. (FdW)


(CD by Important Records)
Once three men wanted to go to America to play some music. A big country, alas but not with much money for three men to get everything they needed to get to this big country. So they decide to create a CD of pieces of music that are generated through the mail. A most common practice to make music these days. But then, for whatever reason, the whole tour fell through. And someone sat on this music created for this tour support CD. It's good to see it released, even when the content is puzzling. Apparently it's Liles playing Potter and Hafler Trio, Hafler Trio playing Liles and Potter, and Potter doing something similar. Perhaps there is something solo by each as well. All clear, except the order of the proceedings and why three times three make eight and not nine tracks. My estimation is that the first track is indeed by Liles. Adding a bit of trademark collage music stuff in a somewhat synthetic field of sound, there is some little surprises. The second piece seems to me The Hafler Trio, with also a trademark sound: the wind like sounds we remember from 'Inoutof'. Colin Potter must be the author of the third track, with it's cymbals being played and a faint trace of digital distortion. Nicely drone related. After this things get a little bit more difficult. They are less trademark pieces, and it's more difficult to decipher the codes of the specific drone in this. Of course it's not worth fighting over who did as it's the result that counts. And the result is surely just right up what you'd expect from the three man. Drone related, stretched out, atmospheric, spacious or whatever qualifications one can think of, this is a very fine disc of mood engineering. Perhaps it's a pity that the tour fell through, but on the other hand, we have another treasure to add. (FdW)

(CD by Rune Grammofon)
Behind Phonophani is one Espen Sommer Eisde, one half of Alog. Eisde released two albums on Rune Grammofon but with his self-titled album he adds a third one. It's a re-issue, of an album originally released on Biophon, indeed Biosphere's label. Its from 1999 and was released in a small limited edition of 500 copies. And that was indeed a pity. As one can expect from a release on Biosphere's label, this album also deals with 'ambient' and 'electronica', but it's something that is beyond the usual textured, atmospheric patterns. Phonophani uses a fine blend of computer techniques, mainly of treated orchestral instruments, sometimes recognizable and sometimes entirely abstract, to which he adds a blend of synthesizer-like sounds, that is highly atmospherical but doesn't take the listener to an easy ride in the sky. Doom loaded in 'No Strangeclock', this is even vaguely industrial sounding, bringing the album to a somewhat odd, but captivating mix of ambient, electronica and industrial music, without falling in the trap of being too dark or showing the inhumane. Warm music from a chilling country (climate wise, that is). Great music, and good to have back in print. (FdW)

This is what you get when you cross Fantomas with death metal and use extreme software editing techniques. Drum Machine Gun is one of the most interesting albums I have come across in a long time. It's fast, ever changing, brutal, experimental and sometimes humorous because of certain movie samples used. It is a compilation of artists but remains a cohesive release of unique extreme music. Forget about deciphering any of the vocals, as they sound like a rapid delivery of down tuned belching. At 74 minutes, the album can become overbearing. I would suggest listening to it in brief chunks to avoid becoming overly sensitized. It is by far one of the most unique albums I have heard from Relapse. I recommend it when it is released on June 27, 2006. (Craig N.)

Two drummers, although each with a different background. Jason Kahn was originally a rock drummer, before moving to Europe and moving towards percussion and electronics. Jon Mueller always had strong ties in the world of improvisation. In 2005 they met up and played a concert at Hotcakes Gallery in Milwaukee. The recordings were later on mixed by Jason Kahn. Both play percussion, and Kahn adds analogue synthesizer and Mueller cassettes. It's hard to say that this is an album of all things percussive, for it doesn't sound like that. Rather it's an album of dark rumbles and hummings. The music sounds a bit 'far' away, like it was made with microphones from some distance, but perhaps it's part of the esthetic. It lets me a bit down, recording-wise. I would think (or perhaps it's wishful thinking) that music like this is recorded through mixing boards (wether or not with microphones), but it doesn't entirely justify the music. Whatever there is in it, I don't think it's fully explored.
Of an entirely different nature is the recording made by Jon Mueller (percussion), Jim Schoenecker (analogue synthesizer and shortwave radio) and Werner Moebius (computer and devices). This one is really 'there'. The music is improvised but walks the edges of minimal like Alvin Lucier type of material towards quite fiery noise related banging. And almost every line in between. The static crackling of the radio and synth, versus the live sound of the drums and the computer generated and processing both ends of the sound spectrum. A very vibrant and lively recording. This is the kind of improvisation that is highly appreciated. (FdW)

(CD by Digitalis Industries)
WITH THROATS AS FINE AS NEEDLES (CD by Digitalis Industries)
So far the Digitalis Industries label released mainly CDRs in small editions, but perhaps the stumbled over some cash, and release now three CDs. Musicwise all three are somewhat related. Two of them hail from New Zealand, our beloved country of lo-fi drone music. The name Peter Wright might not be altogether well-known, but he released a whole bunch of CDRs on various labels. He plays guitar - a 12 string Danelectro to be precise - effects and field recordings. Usual ingredients for the work of Peter Wright, but, and perhaps it's just my twisted mind here, it seems that things matured over the previous work. Careful strumming, just the right amount of reverb and delay, all sparsely humming along with likewise sparsely used field recordings. Never over the top, but in stead, held back and finely coordinated. Good to see such a thing on a real CD, at last.
With Throats As Fine As Needles is a new name for me, but it's a four piece of well-known New Zealand musicians: Campell Kneale of Birchville Cat Motel, Antony Milton, James Kirk (of Sandoz Lab Technicians and Gate) and Richard Francis of Eso Steel. They don't record their music inside a studio or some such, but they drag out their stuff into odd places and work with battery powered devices to record their stuff, using the space as an extra instrument to add to the proceedings. Mildly drone music of guitar feedback, metal plates crashing and other sorts of humming birds are dragged into the scenery, and the natural reverberation of the cage does the rest - although it's not always that well recorded, but that's part of the game, I think. It sounds a bit like Sandoz Lab Technicians, which is a good thing (i can't remember hearing anything new from them). Vague, disoriented, lo-fi: all terms that perhaps sound negative, but it has a strong intensity of it's own.
According to the label, Ben Reynolds is 'one of the prolific contributors to the UK ecstatic-drone scene over the past year', but this second CD (following various CDR releases and a CD on Ikuisuus) is my introduction to his work. He plays guitar, synthesizer and perhaps other instruments which are perhaps too obscure to recognize. Just like Wright, his music is vaguely related to neo-folk, with pluckings that hint in that direction and some of the scraping and tabla-like playing, such as in the title track, refer to Vibracathedral Orchestra. Its certainly music that fits the style of ecstatic drones, but many of the eight tracks were just a bit too loosely improvised for my taste. 'Classic At The Sound World' is such a piece: with a synth set on 'bubbling' and the guitar just randomly plucking its way, but it takes too long for what it tries to tell us. Its sort of alright, not too bad, not too brilliant. (FdW)

GRKZGL - ESQUE (miniCD by Angle Records)
'Esque' is the first 3" mini-cd ep release on Angle Records. To create the music Grkzgl uses laptop, synths and bass, plus there is metal percussion on the last 6th track, which is the most noisy of all. Otherwise, the sound is in the atmospheric glitchy areas, loosely improvised but with a clear direction of where it's going, sometimes even a rhythmic patterns appear. Grkzgl is obviously inspired and influenced by the post-industrial ambience, not being too minimal or too harsh, but still merging all those styles into one whole piece, divided in 6 tracks which are mixed into each other. Very nice ep for this artist and hopefully more releases in the same format to come on the label. (Boban Ristevski)

The conceptual nature of the work of Jliat should be known by now, but it's not always clear what it tries to communicate. Today, June 19th, I receive this new work by Jliat, entitled 'June 10th, 2006', which clearly shows the marketing principles of releasing your works on a CDR. 'Dedicated to and inspired by the remarkable work of Ad Reinhardt', who was a painter painting one color per painting. The source material is 'white noise 1000 hertz 36 db'. There is a whole list of gear used on this hour long piece, but it's hard to decipher any more definitions in this howl of noise. It's one long rumble of noise, which hardly changes over the course of the piece. In a way it returns to the first beginnings of Jliat: a monochrome piece of music, but whereas the old work is all about harmonious playing, this is the total opposite, and a black painting by Reinhardt is set perfectly to music. This could have lasted one minute or five hours and it wouldn't have made any difference. Musicwise I prefer the old monochromes. (FdW)

(CDR by Retinascan)
Of the four new releases on Retinascan, there is one new name for me, Frank Difficult. He is from Providence, Rhode Island, where he performed with V. Majestic and he is loosely connected to Mudboy, whoever they are. All the tracks on this release were written in October last year, but how this music is generated in a bit unclear. It seems that Difficult tapes his sounds from whatever source (radio, TV, internet) and collates them together, adding a bit of distortion to it, or perhaps this distortion comes from scanning other radio channels. Its probably the simplest form of making music, but there are examples of this kind of music playing in the past that showed that with some imagination it could be done. Difficult however doesn't always succeed. Sometimes his pieces he derail a bit too much and becomes a blurr of noise. However 'Sorrowful Moon Lamp' should be mentioned: this is a more electronic piece of music of a more introvert character, a bit like older Nurse With Wound. A very fine piece.
Just exactely what Sodaplay is, I am not sure after deciphering the info in the booklet, but its some sort of sound application found in computer games, that with some imagination can be rebuilt into a more complex sound machine. Burkhard Kerlin, the label man of Retinascan, recorded some pieces with this and mailed this onwards to his friends Brian Klein and Carl Kruger, who did remixes of these tracks. The final result are fifteen tracks that are not far away from eachother. Of course the originals are the most minimal, but essentially they  aren't that different from the remixes: minimal drone like pieces, very occasionally with a rhythm, and very occasionally quite a bit of noise related. Too crude to be downright ambient, but too soft to be noise. A bit forceful, present mood music for the more daring minds. On a second CDR there are more versions and one can see the complete development of the cover.
Pablo Recho from Buenos Aires has a long string of releases available, and some are in collaboration with other people. 'Duae' is his second collaboration with Madrid based Miguel Angel Tolosa, aka Ubeboet. He is perhaps less known, but he has releases on Non Visual Objects, Zeromoon and Earlabs. For this new work they solely use field recordings made in their home cities, but they are transformed to a point in which they are hard to recognize. Perhaps the heavily treated sound of rain and thunder? The end of 'Natura Duce' hints to that. Throughout the four tracks are low end humming birds for which the volume has to be put in a much higher fashion (it's mixed in true Lopezian tradition), but it's a solid, good work that can easily meet with the better in the field.
More Bjerga/Iversen, here with a selection of a session recorded in 2005. Although it's indexed as four separate tracks, it's in reality one long tracks. It builds from a low minimalist pulses to a large field of static crackling, feedback humming about in the background and analogue piercing sounds, all fed through a long line of sound effects. As noted before, this duo has a good deal of releases, and though not very convincing at the early beginning, they have certainly grown into something great, and their current releases are many (too many perhaps), but recently of a consisting quality. (FdW)

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