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Vital Weekly 532

img  Tobias

Behind Humcrush we find Thomas Strønen on drums and live electronics and Stale Storlokken on keyboards. Strønen is a member of Food, Maria Kannegaard and Parish, and Storlokken a founding member of Supersilent, Terje Rypdal's Skywards, Bol and Cucumber. Not many of these names mean much to me, but that's perhaps they are mostly linked to jazz music. 'Hornswoggle' is their second CD, following their debut of 2004. With the instruments at hand, one would expect this to be not very jazz related, but in an odd way it does sound like jazz like, but of a more electronic nature. The drums play at times a groovy, funky rhythm, sometimes as disorganized as you can expect from jazz, but it's the electronical component of this CD that makes the difference, and is the icing on the cake. Sometimes they follow the rhythm, but more often they just seem to drop in and out of the mix, like raindrops (as opposed to rain). All the tracks are the result of improvisations, which is a big surprise for me, as it seems much more planned and organized. As the album progresses the music gets more a tad more experimental and stranger, but it always stays on the edge of entertaining and listenable. Very fine work. (FdW)

GREG MALCOLM - HUNG (CD by Celebrate Psi Phenomenon)
Since with the last review of a Greg Malcolm solo record, you must be aware that his solo concert at Extrapool in 2003 was one of my all time favorite concerts and it's not necessary to repeat that again. 'Hung' is his latest solo CD. Greg Malcolm plays three guitars at the same time, one with his hands, and two with his feet. He added some extra strings to his hand held guitar, contact microphones, but also springs and bells attached to the guitar on the floor and thus becomes an one man orchestra. The pieces he plays are improvised on the spot. Its not easy to describe the music of Greg Malcolm, if you never heard it. Perhaps as always, it doesn't entirely justify the music. Malcolm strum, plucks the guitar, and bangs out a simple rhythm. Sometimes he add a small motor device or an e-bow to form more solid backdrop, but that's not part of the normal routine. The results are always spacious, free floating tones, that create an intimate atmosphere. Unlike the previous release, the tracks are shorter here, each creating it's own biotop and time seems to come to a virtual stand still. Solemnly, slowed down, but never pathetic or doom loaded, this is just 'simple' played beauty. Great CD. (FdW)


(CD by Ravenheart)
This is my first encounter with Objekt 4, a sound project of Anders Peterson from Sweden. 'Extermination Processing Tower' is his second full length release, after a hand full of EPs. I don't know how this new release relates to the previous work, but I must say that I rather enjoyed this release. While it is nothing new under the ambient industrial sun, Objekt 4 is rather good at his job. Dark ambient textures, with much thanks to the use of reverb, in combination with musique concrete elements, such as the dragging about of stones and the squeaking of doors, make this is into a highly spooky record. 'Breath Of Sickness' (I guess titles aren't his best thoughts) is at such the highlight. From all the influences he could take, Lustmord seems to me the one that he cherishes most. Sometimes there are elements of noise and rhythm on some of the pieces, and that is an area that should not be touched by him. They break away from the atmospherics captured in the other tracks, and on 'Encrypted No.2' it sounds like In Slaughter Natives at on an off day and on 'Minisex' it's Muslimgauze on a bad day. Those aside this is really a well-enjoyable album that should definitely finds its place on the overcrowded market. (FdW)

On the ever so excellent Formed Records a group named Wane, but perhaps it's just an one-off band. Wane consists of two Viennese musicians, Werner Dafeldecker on guitar and percussion and Boris Hauf on synthesizers and baritone saxophone along with Kyle Bruckmann on oboe and English horn. The later is from Chicago and is mostly known as one half of EGK. This trio does a great job at combining long sustained sounds from the various wind instruments and the synthesizer with the shorter, more randomly produced sounds of the guitar and again the synthesizer, or shorter sounds produced by the wind instruments. None of the three players has a specific role, and it seems if all members are equal in their goal to produce something that is at times very Alvin Lucier like in terms of sine wave/feedback like sounds, but with the addition of all sorts of smaller sounds. There is a high level of concentration in the playing of these three guys, but strangely enough, it doesn't seem to require the same concentration of the listener. Rather, he can sit back and let it all come by just as seemingly easy the musicians have produced it. Great improvised music by three established players. (FdW)

First a few words on this small label. It is based in southern Italy and specialized in freeform jazz, white funk, avant punk, etc. Most releases from their small catalogue concern a free-funk band called BZ BZ UEU. Free and funky also characterizes the music of Bass Bone Trap, an english combo from Sheffield. With this release the label gives a second life to their one and only album originally released in 1983. White funk was in the air in those days. Just think of A Certain Ratio, Bush Tetras, James White, etc. The (re-mastered) music of Bass Tone Trap sounds remarkably fresh after all those years. Their punk jazz offers a nice mix of british funky new wave and free improvising. The more straight funky pop pieces sound a little dated like 'Africa Calling', but other more free and experimental pieces still stand. The band emerged form the Sheffield free music scene at the end of the 70s and existed until 1984 somewhere. The group consisted of competent jazz musicians and some non-musicians: Derek Saw (sax, clarinet), John Jasnoch (guitars), Paul Shaft (bass, vocals), Pete Infanti (drums), Neil Carver (guitar, little instruments) and Martin Archer (sax, violin, organ).
Musicians with very different backgrounds and abilities, but intensively they frequented the local pubs and stages and they grew into a very tight unit. They make no secret of the fact that they take most of their inspiration from James Blood Ulmer and Ornette Coleman.
Bass Tone Trap was the first band of Martin Archer, who changed in later years to electronic manipulating of prerecorded improvised music. What happened to the others? John Jasnoch is an active improvisor, solo and in several ad hoc ensembles. With Martin Archer he had the electro-acoustic duo ASK. Both gentlemen do also most of the solowork on this CD if I'm not mistaken. Or better, saxes and guitar are dominant, played by Neil Carver and Derek Saw as well. Although I didn't know this album from the time it was released, it served as a perfect trigger for nostalgic feelings and brought me back to the musically interesting early 80s. I don't mean to say it is only of historical interest. For those interested in experimental free and funky music Bass Tone Trap is a welcome exponent. (Dolf Mulder)

AUBE - COMET (2CD by Cipher Productions)
GELSOMINA - NOSTALGHIA (CD by Cipher Productions)
There was a time that Aube, aka Akifumi Nakajima was as active with releases as Merzbow. It was the time when a new label would start with a Merzbow release, and then one by Aube (and then disappear). For whatever reasons I never fully understood, this came to a halt, also some years ago. But he's back, or perhaps not. The recordings on this double CD were made from November 1997 to April 1998, re-mastered in 2002 and then shelved until recent. Like with many if not all of his releases, the music is made with a single sound source, or in this case, one sound source per disc. One disc it's ice and on disc two it's space, although I must admit, I am not sure what that means. Space as in the space you are in, or the constellation above us? Whatever Aube lays his hands upon, soundwise, he produces a couple of short sound with them, samples them and then starts playing around with them. Loops spin on end, in sometimes a more ambient way and at other times in a more rhythm and noise manner.
I hadn't played much Aube in the last years, but now I hear this 2CD set, I do remember what it is that causes a problem for me: many of the pieces, regardless of the sound input, sound a like. One loop, another and another one, some delay and reverb effects, built up, climax. Out of the pieces on this 2CD I think one could select one quite alright CD, but there are some weaker brothers here that make two a bit too much.
The name Gelsomina was encountered before, on a bunch of CDR compilations from Finnish Musically Incorrect Records, who also released 'Rautavaara' (see Vital Weekly 365). The first ten tracks on 'Nostalgia' were originally released by Smell The Stench in 2004 as a cassette. Gelsomina is the nom de plume for Pekka PT, who is credited for 'noise' and noise is what we get. Loud obnoxious feedback and distortion, the full works are here. Unlike others in this field, Gelsomina has 'depth', has 'variation' and has 'skil' - three factors not always present in the work of the lesser imaginative noise makers. Even when Gelsomina walks the paths of noise that is now paved like a highway and no longer a 'find your way in the bush', he still does a pretty fine job, pretty much along the lines of a good Merzbow. One of the better noise makers I encountered recently. (FdW)
Address: http://www.iheartnoise.cipherproductions

(CDR by Verato Project)
Only about twelve weeks ago, we reviewed the previous release by Ctacik, a.k.a Stanislav Popov (see Vital Weekly 520). Here he returns with 'In Order To Perevent Sense' (and that sounds like a writing error). Compared to the previous 'Amur Region', which was a step forward from his previous more noise oriented work, this new release continues the new style, in which ambient music, noise and musique concrete work finely together. Field recordings of bird sounds and people talking are set against a wall of dark synthesizer sounds. A piano tinkles away with rain sounds, but also with what sounds like an engine. It's still not pleasant music, for its all quite dark and alien music, but it has a certain cinematographic quality that makes this most workable soundtrack for any home shoot movies. As said, along the lines of 'Amur Region', but just a little bit better. (FdW)

LONGMO - SANBAN (CDR by Leerraum)
YUZO KAKO - T/T (CDR by Leerraum)
ZIMOUN - KABEL (CDR by Leerraum
Here is a whole bunch of releases by the Swiss Leerraum label, who also organize art events, installations and such like. Their releases are housed in a simple but very stylish carton sleeves, and are limited to 150 copies. We meet and greet people we already encountered before in Vital Weekly, as well as some new names. Asher for instance is somebody whom we met before. In his usual style of minimalism, he produced three lengthy pieces of music at the usual low volume. Using static humming bass sounds, and carefull cracks of vinyl skipping (or so it seems). Quite nice, even when I don't understand why it's listed as three separate tracks, since there is an altogether very strong similarity in all three tracks.
Whoever Longmo is I don't know, but he lives in Zürich, Switzerland and on 'Sanban' just one piece. Again firmly rooted in the world of microsound, with crackling and static sounds, but it's a lively mass. I see loads of insects or ants crawling about in a big bucket. Every once in a while something stirs the animals, that represented by a piano chord played every now and then. As the piece progresses, all sorts of subtle changes arrive on the scene, a bit more bass here and there, some more insects are thrown in the bucket. This is an absolutely great piece of microsound music. Organic and lively.
More playing around with the notion of silence and just a little bit of sound is Kenneth Kirschner. Usually he plays the piano in his own undefinable way, but for the three tracks on his Leerraum he seems to be leaning towards the use software synthesizers for the main part, and lesser to the piano, although it can be heard here and there. There are gaps of silence between the sparsely played notes, creating a fine atmospheric tapestry of highly contemplative sounds. Great stuff.
The next two releases are linked to eachother. One Mahmoud Refat from Cairo plays five pieces with Zimmoun on 'Statics 1'. Zimmoun is the man behind the Leerraum label. These five pieces live up to their name: machine like humming that barely moves forward or backward, but throughout each of the pieces, minimal changes become apparent by means of carefull filtering.
I might be entirely wrong but I think 'Statics II' is a continuation of 'Statics I', and perhaps even using the same sounds, so perhaps it's an extension or a remix project. With an extra player on board, one Pe Lang, they continue in similar style of careful crackling, machine hum and other such delights. Played right after 'Statics I', this might be a bit too much.
If all these things carefull and delicate is a bit too much to be true, then Autobam might be something for you. On 'Quasi Satellite' up front rhythms play an all important role, and even when its built from clicks and cuts, there is an element of dance music throughout these pieces. It has that Ryojia Ikeda sort of groove, that makes your feet go tapping along (if you are one of the dancers that move like me). The clicks and cuts feed off through a bunch of synthesizers (probably all digitally) and it's highly enjoyable for those who like Kompakt's minimalism.
Like Yuzo Kako, of whom I also never heard. He or she plays on 'T/t' five pieces  minimal techno music, which are even less techno like than the ones by Autobam, but more in a good Pan Sonic direction. These five pieces have also a good driving force. Deep bass sounds, clicks on top and white noises playing the rhythm. Nothing new under the minimal sun, but it's great music.
The final release here is by labelboss Zimoun, whose work fits more the last two, Autobam and Kako, but who works more in a style that is related to Pan Sonic, but without the highly rhythm groove. Zimmoun's music is entirely rhythm based, but these rhythms aren't for dancing. His work bears similarity to that of Goem: minimal to the bone, always rhythm inspired, but not necessarily dance music per se. Rhythms aren't made of machines here, but are rather short loops of white noise and static. Quite a nice one this one, too. (FdW)

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