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Vital Weekly 539

img  Tobias

Besides making music on his own, Mathias Delplanque is also a member of the trio The Missing Ensemble, who have released their album 'Hidden Doors' on the same label Mondes Elliptiques. On this new CD, Delplanque continues with the music in the similar areas as before, only now there's only one piece on the album, which is 45 minutes, while on 'Hidden Doors' there are more pieces with shorter length. The music on this album is a part of a sound installation which is based on 'the recordings of sound produced in spaces with no human presence'. Then the recorded sounds were amplified, with their frequencies accentuated to the extreme. There are layers of hissing sounds on this cd, there's also the occasional bass sound appearing as a background. The music with the sounds altogether are carefully filling up the space, creating a longer drone piece made of many layers of shorter and longer sounds that are spreading in space. It's interesting in the approach and in the execution of the music, which is curious for listening on this cd, apart from the installation where it was originally presented. (Boban Ristevski) Address:

As we have been waiting for the long-awaited re-issue of dark ambient's probably most defining album from 1994, "The place where the black stars hang" by Lustmord (re-released on the 7th august 2006 by Soleilmoon Recordings), the time has come for another re-incarnation of an epic moment in the history of dark ambient. Being far lesser known than Lustmord's milestone, the album "Necrosphere" composed by Russian artist Necropolis is nevertheless a true masterpiece of drone-based darkness. Necrosphere was originally released as an extremely limited edition only counting 85 CDR-copies back in 2003. English label Cold Spring has now given us the chance to experience this unique exploration into the darkest territories of ambient. Musically the album is based on field recordings first of all taken from disused military missile shafts. There is a melancholic atmosphere on the 30 minutes long track both operating in the cold and warm spheres of expression. The album stylishly floats between hostile industrial ambient and warmer spacey soundspheres sometimes reminiscent of early sonic adventures by German krautrockers Edgar Froese and Klaus Schulze. The listener are being taken to obscure territories, where dark ambient fuses with industrial sounds from the military bases. The sound is very dense, though there is much space and air to breathe in the grandiose soundscapes. Deep and three-dimensional sonar effects, multilevel background noises, at times rather tranquil, sometimes suddenly swelling to a massive sound. The album includes an equally high quality standard bonus track - the fifteen minutes ambient work titled "Morning air" that continues the style of "Necrosphere" with the same impressive result. Listeners of hauntingly dark, yet beautiful ambient will appreciate Cold Spring Records for giving this magnificent piece of black art a proper distribution. A true gem! (NMP) Address:

The majority of the releases by Francisco Lopez are 'one piece' releases, one specific work, that can last anywhere between say twenty to seventy minutes. But every now and then he releases a CD that is called 'Untitled' (obviously, since that's what the majority of his pieces are called) and then a year, rather than a number. Usually these CDs have more than one piece, but they were usually all created in that year. Or in this case, 'also performed' in this year, since one of the pieces is a piece Lopez wrote, but it's performed by the Zeitkratzer Ensemble. This is the only recording from 2001, rather than 2005. And of course it's an unusual piece. Whereas the other three pieces featured on this CD deal with environmental sounds, like so many of the Lopez releases, this is an orchestral piece, played on violin, cello, trumpet, saxophone, accordion, piano and percussion (among others), but still has the Lopezian touch: starting out soft and then rising to an almighty crescendo. These instruments play alike the sounds Lopez would use. It's funny to see that the three other pieces, don't have a similar built up: they are more or less straight forward pieces, staying on a similar level, but are (perhaps) heavily layered pieces of insect like sounds, which buzz and sing around. Perhaps it's a very clever edit? Which ever is the case: this is a worthwhile addition to the expanded catalogue of senor Lopez. (FdW)


Late last year Luc Ferrari died, a remarkable composer of musique concrete since the early fifties (being born in 1929), but also one who broke away, finding new ways of creating music. 'Presque Rien No.1' is his most famous piece using solely field recordings, not in a linear way, but rather in a story telling way. 'Far-West News (Episodes 2 and 3)' is something and more recent. It deals with a trip Luc Ferrari and his wife Brunhild Meyer undertook in the far west of the USA, going from Page to the Grand Canyon (episode 2) and from Prescott to Los Angeles (episode 3). It's not a soundscape, Hörspiel, electronic work, not a portrait of reality, but a composition 'in some cases, especially in mine, and increasingly in my life, is a perverted game with the truth'. We hear them meeting people, talking about the pending Clinton impeachment (recordings were made in 1998), talk about cars, food, meeting people, talk in English, French and even Dutch, so it's about miscommunication too. The French - English tongue of Ferrari and there is some electronic music, some found music and such like. It's a fascinating journey to do no doubt, but this is also fascinating to hear. There is a lot of stuff happening on various levels, outdoor sound, communication and music, and thus makes a truly remarkable and highly musical journey. (FdW) Address:

On a lot of occasions we mention that labels such as Expanding Records and Highpoint Lowlife release similar music: breakbeat like with melancholic keyboard lines and such, but in the case of Highpoint Lowlife we should add that they also release music that is way different. Of course this is the case with Mandelbrot Set (otherwise we wouldn't have mentioned it). Mandelbrot set is a band around one Keung (previously of Hentai) on guitars and pedals (very important to mention that!), Melisa on guitar, bass, cello, drums, violin, banjo, melodica and trumpet and Simon on drums. You have to play this loud to grasp it better, I guess. Mandelbrot Set is a drone rock band, playing walls of sound, employing all the pedals required (mainly live sampling and overdubbing the guitars) and furious drums banging beneath. Whatever Melisa adds is around this: her sounds become the pictures on this wall of sound. Stoner rock? Shoegazing? It's all there, but Mandelbrot Set gets away with it. Of course because they do something entirely different than 90% of the acts usually to be found on this label, but also because they play a dam fine tune, not caring about any hype or trend, they do their own thing, and at such perhaps not so new under the sun, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, just because it was so different. Great, furious one. (FdW) Address:

AXEL DÖRNER & MATTIN - BERLIN (CD by Absurd/1000+1 Tilt)
Mattin. Where doesn't this man go? On 'Berlin', he plays together with Axel Dörner, and was no doubt recorded in the city with the same name, and perhaps even has to do with the history of the city in relation to popmusic. Perhaps not. But Absurd kindly send us the lyrics from Lou Reed's song of the same name, about the city of the same name. Mattin, the man of the furious walls of feedback coming from his laptop, has proven to be more than just a loud troublemaker: he can play also soft and inaudible, and even released a couple of singer/songwriter works. I thought his work with Dörner would see a continuation of his more subtle work of lately. Dörner is a trumpet player, whose playing resembles probably anything but a trumpet. But softness plays an important role for him. Here on 'Berlin' things are different. The music is always present, and is a true duo of trumpet and computer. Perhaps the sound of the trumpet is fed into the computer and manipulated and perhaps not. Perhaps both are done. Dörner and Mattin plays short pieces that are collated together. Because of the length of the work, three tracks in total, it's not easy to follow what is going on, and it may leap into a bit of boredom, and you think: oh they cut another sound here. After most of the cuts there is a short silence, but not one that corresponds with the CD index. The third and longest track is perhaps the track that is also the most silent around here, or least it works on a different dynamic level. It sounds more stretched out, which works better when one tries to fully concentrate on it. Throughout a pretty radical disc. Not as soft as some of previous Dörner releases and not as loud as Mattin's early days, but most enjoyable indeed. (FdW) Address:

The four way split release sounds, well at least for me, like a return to the mid eighties, when a compilation LP was good when it had four bands, each about 12 minutes of music, and thus getting a better introduction than when it had 10 or 12 bands. With a CD release you can have up to twenty minutes per artist, so what better introduction could you want? Of the four on this one, I heard Yellow6 and Kimonophonic, but just in passing rather than fully exploring the full catalogues of said bands. Lope starts of with three tracks. Lope is Victor Kvarnhall from Sweden and has a couple of self-released records. His tracks have a lot of bass, perhaps even a bit too much bass, which sorts of breaks with the high melancholic textured music he plays on top of that. Melancholy is a word that can also be used for the other three bands, but there are differences, even when these are minor. Yellow6's shortest track is pretty much along the lines of Lope, but the other two longer tracks dwell more on guitar sounds, which produce both drones and strummed notes. The piano adds to the melancholy. Absent Without Leave is one George Mastrokostas from Greece, who had a couple of CDR releases and an album for Unlabel. His 'Achromatic' is the longest track on the CD, just over twelve minutes, but it's also the most ambient piece of the lot, quiet and peaceful. Much shorter but similar is his 'Delete' track and the his last peace sees the addition of a rhythm to it. Kimonophonic is perhaps also a bit more well known, for he had releases on Earworm, 555, Awkard Silence and such like, and he is the one that shakes up things a bit. His track are shorter, and offers six of them. Two of them are live and one is a collage of field recordings. Rhythm is much more present and his keyboards are cheap, rough and warm. The melancholiac bit here is present but only a very reduced level. It's great music, by all four actually, and seeing this is the 103rd release by this label, who have much more of this kind of music, it's time to investigate this highly curious named label. (FdW)

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

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