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Vital Weekly 535

img  Tobias

Ah two busy bees, Janek Schaefer probably more at the forefront than Stephan Mathieu, but both are always to be found somewhere. This is not the first time that they work together. In 2003 they released a work that was made in a hotel room in Montreal, together with Radboud Mens and Timeblind (see Vital Weekly 379). In 'Hidden Name' they also work physically together, going to Manor Farmhouse in Child Okeford to find there a piano, clarinet, cello, flute, trumpet, accordion, sitar, singing bowls, bells, voices, games and records, plus of course, being both dedicated lovers of field recordings, the surrounding itself. Afterwards the work was edited into what is now present on this CD, eleven tracks, and it damn hard to tell what is what here. There might be crackles of vinyl, or the squeaking of a door, but the vast majority is made up of densely layered patterns of recordings of the instruments. They are woven together in such a way that it is hard to tell what is what here. However, it seems that roles are this: Schaefer plays anything to do with field recordings and records and Mathieu's part is playing the instruments, but also processing the latter inside the computer. Mathieu does what he does best: wave them together into a finely woven cloth of sound, that feels warm and cosy. Schaefer's addition (or starting point, depends on how these things should be seen) works very well, it makes both a contrast to Mathieu's work, but it's at the same time it gets soaked into the music, and makes a natural companion. This is a major tour de force of eleven beauties. Great stuff from great minds. (FdW) Address:

(CDR by Einzeleinheit)
A mother Maria statue on the cover, 'Die My Illusion' the title and Dense Vision Shrine being the band, we have crash landed in the field of musick, magick and perhaps gothick? Dense Vision Shrine is the most important musical outlet of Karsten Hamre and he composed 'Die My Illusion' in a rather free way, he says: "when composing I just put the sounds together without deciding how long the final composition will be. It is done when I feel it's done'. The compositions can be short or long, just as is the case here. Hamre's music, here at least, the only work I heard of him, is about the dark and drone underworld made out of slowed down and highly processed classical music samples. Quite symphonic and despite its stillness, a forcefull and 'present' work, loaded with meaning. Frightening and dark, occassionally bursting out in a rhythm or two, here and there. But it's the mainly the dark, sustaining sounds that form the core of this work. For me it dwells just a bit too much on the classical music samples, with adds a certain patheticness to the music, and I'm just a bit too allergic for that. But otherwise a much alright release. (FdW) Address:


Somehow somewhere Vital Weekly missed out on the first release by Quintet Avant, the LP only 'Floppy Nails', which in retrospect is a great pity. Quintet Avant is indeed a five piece band, of five French musicians playing their analogue synths, microphones and old reel to reel tapes: Jerome Noetinger, Lionel Marchetti (together already a strong duo), Jean Pallandre, Marc Pichelin and Laurent Sassi. Four years ago the played at the Musique Action festival in Nancy (which is a long running festival for anything improvised) and is now, finally, available for home consumption. These five musicians all share the fact that they are highly skilled musicians, have a set of fine ears to respond and aren't afraid to play a louder card. This ended up after all on Editions Mego, which means that something 'soft' is in the book, but not in capitals. Throughout the five pieces, Quintet Avant plays a bunch of strong streams of noise. Feedback waves about, which is picked up by a bunch of old analogue tapes, feeding off through synthesizers and thrown around like there is no tomorrow. This is foremost improvised music, but not for the weak of hearth (you can control the volume, but you can't kill it). No onkyo playing, but harshness throughout, forceful and playful. This is not an usual product of noise, howling from the first second to the last, but a solid interplay of sounds. It may appeal to the fans of Merzbow of course, but the audience could be much wider, from the noise heads to those who have a more daring mind in improvisation or loud electronics. A furious release, not to be missed. (FdW) Address:

By now the concept of the ongoing Brombron-series should be familiar to loyal Vital-readers: two or more distinctively different artists go in residence at the Extrapool studios in Nijmegen and collaborate on new recordings, after which the results are presented at the Extrapool and released by Korm Plastics on CD. For this latest project, number 11 in the series, German artist Felix Kubin collaborates with Rotterdam's Coolhaven project. The recordings took place in Rotterdam during one week in November 2005. Remixing the tapes took quite a bit longer, with the results now finally available on Korm Plastics. And the results are remarkable. Kubin/Coolhaven have created a CD full of strange German-languaged pop songs with a few twists. Sometimes they utilize normal song structures to create Deutsche Welle-like tracks like Wenn Du Mich Liebest and Waschzwangmama, at times the songs are far more abstract like Das Schiff or Dawn Of Dunkel and at times they are poems as in the short Auf den Stufen deiner Schonheit. Nearly all texts are in German, with the exception of Frans De Waard (the homage to eh, Frans de Waard - which is in Dutch) and There Is A Garden (which has English lyrics). The songs and lyrics are absurdistic fun. But humor and music are uneasy partners and date easily. By making their humor abstract and surrealistic, Kubin/Coolhaven have escaped this trap. Best of the bunch is There Is A Garden, which has an infectious sing-along quality. There are also a few "rehearsal" reprises of this song on the CD, with mistakes and strange effects. BromBron releases come in standard packaging, stencil printed at Knust, Nijmegen. The prints look fine as usual, but due to the technique of stencil printing, the colors of the sleeve easily rub off. You can eliminate this by spraying hairspray on the cover. The hairspray can then be used to spray your hair in a Neue-Welle coup or even a mullet! The by then empty spray-can can be used as a fake microphone. Then put on There Is A Garden at loud volume and have yourself a party! Address:

First I have to set the record straight. For a couple of times we mentioned in reviews that Fire In The Head's frontman Micheal Page was once a member of Slogun, but this is not true at all. Slogun is just one man, and Fire In The Head is just another thing by someone else. Correcting this is the best way to do another review of his work, following last week's review of his CD for Eibon Records, here is a new one. Already. One might think he's going for the full Merzbow experience? Not sound wise, as Fire In The Head continues what he does best. A fine combination of power electronics, piercing loud, but not just banging on the distortion pedal, there is strong undercurrent in this music that is related to ambient industrial. Throughout 'Come Closer Cut Deeper' seemed to me louder and noiser than last week's 'Meditate/Mutilate', which had a few calmer moments to spare. Also a little bit less varied than that one. But Fire In The Head is a noise force who knows what he is doing, still. This new one might appeal to the die hard fans.
Also on Nihilist Recordings is a new mini CD by label boss Andy Ortmann who plays four tracks together with John Wiese, who is the man of fame in the world of guitars and noise these days. Ortmann used to call himself Panicsville, but these days wanders around under his own name. One might easily think that this would be the full on noise for some twenty odd minutes, but actually it's not really much of that. Its music that appeals to loud noise music, but it's rather a forcefull twist of electro acoustic music than pure noise. The sampled sound of acoustic sounds is set against some nasty frequencies in 'Last Days For Haas', but in the three other tracks they present a rather playful collage of sounds, that works quite well. Things even drop to a point when it's actually 'quiet', is that something easy to imagine? This is a mighty fine work. Not too long, not too short. Just fine enough. (FdW) Address:

MACHINEFABRIEK - SLAAP (3"CDR by Machinefabriek)
MACHINEFABRIEK - ZUCHT (3"CDR by Machinefabriek)
Now that the career of Machinefabriek is definitely rising, with a CD for Lampse and some 7" on a UK label, it is perhaps strange to see two new releases in the format of 3"CDR, self released. But Machinefabriek, aka Rutger Zuydervelt, is a man of no rest. No wonder that one of the two is called 'Slaap' (dutch for sleep). Using a variety of tools (from electric guitar to electric toothbrush and tuning fork to laptop), he created three pieces dealing with sleep. Although it sees a continuation of his previous CD for Lampse, these tracks are perhaps a bit more 'ambient' than much of his previous work. Waving tones, in which the sustained guitar plays the main role, play a dark atmospheric sound. Probably not putting the listener in a state of immediate sleep, these pieces are a bit too dark for that, but of great quality however.
'Zucht' (sigh) is the other and only has two tracks. Played with guitar, melodica, e-bow, pedals and laptop, this is the true ambient work. Slowly played, like music full of sorrow, grief and pain, but perhaps also just of relief and a moment of relax. This is as far as Machinefabriek reached inside the depths of ambient music and moves far, far away from some of his previous noise works. It also proofs that Machinefabriek is capable of playing many tunes, which he all does quite well. Perhaps in the light of his Lampse CD and these new ones, he starts to seek this as his main line of work, the more ambient and the more concrete sounding music, but of course you never know with such an ever-changing mind. (FdW) Address:

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

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