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Vital Weekly 543

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Z'EV - SYMPHONY #2: ELEMENTALITIES (CD by Blossoming Noise)
First of all I need to apologize to z'ev for misspelling his name wrongly over the past few reviews. It's either z'ev or Z'EV but not Z'ev. I am sure I will do wrong again in the future. It seems as though mister z'ev is quite busy these days. In the pipeline are collaborations with Nigel Ayers, Francisco Lopez, Soma, Kasper T Toeplitz and NON, as well as various solo works, of which 'Symphony #2 : Elementalities' is the most recent one, and according to z'ev himself the best work he ever did. It has nine movements of sound and nine poems in the booklet. The source material for this CD comes from a previous CD by z'ev, 'Ghost Stories' (on Soleilmoon), which was recorded in 1991 in concert, in a gallery in Amsterdam. Apparently z'ev uses the gaps between the section, where sounds from the street would come in, drunk people and tram sounds. It was a large space, so all of this sound and reflections thereof is used in this new work. The sounds are smeared out over many tracks in the studio (or multitrack software), and each is a specific mix of a number of tracks, ten tracks being the smallest number and fifty two tracks the highest number. I am not entirely sure how z'ev made this, as there seems to be metal sounds also used, but the more tracks he uses, the more the sounds are layered, swirling around each other, being out of sync, and thus creating new rhythms, like dry echos and odd phasing. In the pieces that use lesser tracks, the emphasis lies more on rhythm in a more pure sense. I am not sure if I would call this z'ev's finest hour, but it's certainly one of his finer hours indeed. (FdW) Address:

MERZBOW - F.I.D. (2CD by Fourth Dimension Records)
A while ago I gave up on collecting everything by Merzbow. It was with some pain, but occasionally I like to hear things again and again, and with the sheer amount of Merzbow material (and other listening habits) it turned out to be impossible. So now I just hear whatever lands on this desk, and skip whatever is too limited. Since a couple of years, Merzbow is fighting the good cause of animal rights, so one pound of every CD goes to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals ( to put in my five pence). I learned that Merzbow is using various techniques for his CDs and that each of the releases explores a specific sound concept. 'F.I.D.' works with 'analogue feedback sounds', transformed by a whole bunch of effect pedals. So it's a bit like the early nineties releases, before Merzbow went digital and an era of Merzbow which I particularly liked (the first few laptop albums were not really well spend on me). Having not played any of that in quite a while (I believe since playing the entire Merzbox in one go) this is a good re-introduction for me. The noise spatters out of the speakers in a total furious mode. No animal sounds were used, as far as I can tell. This is a good, solid Merzbow work, which probably the fans already cherish, but newcomers should be having this too, if only for the fact that some of the older stuff is no longer available. (FdW) Address:


(CD by Formed Records)
Group is a trio, perhaps of a more temporarily nature, of Ernest Karel (trumpet, analog electronics), Kyle Bruckmann (oboe, English horn, analog electronics) and Giuseppe Ielasi (electronics, guitar, piano). Bruckmann and Karel are perhaps also known as EGK, and as such having released various works on such labels as Locust and Sedimental. Ielasi is by now a well-known improviser, having played with a whole bunch of people, as well as some beautiful solo CDs. The material on this CD was recorded by the three of them during a tour in New England, in April 2005 and later expanded in the respective home studios (Ielasi in Milan and Karel in Berlin). Karel mixed three tracks and Ielasi two. That is the statistics of this release. It sounds great, but it sounds also like you would expect this to sound, if you know any of their previous work. The trademark sounds of both are in there. The analog synthesizer sounds, playing all sorts of blocks, saw and square sounds, the careful blowing of the trumpet and the horn, which represent the EGK part of this, and Ielasi's love of drone music played on sustaining guitars, and sparse piano notes and field recordings on top. In the fourth (untitled) piece, mixed by Ielasi, suddenly a lonesome trumpet sound pops up, adding a whole new dimension to the music, a sense of melancholy, even the music stays very abstract. This is the kind of improvisation that works very much along the lines of new methods of playing, but which is free to enough to bend and break their own rules. Not entirely a big surprise, but it's a very fine disc altogether. (FdW) Address:

By now the name Andrey Kiritchenko should be a household name. Playing concerts all over the world and releasing very fine discs. Here he presents another one, on his own Nexsound label, in a very nice cover. The cover credits read 'guitar, processing and field recordings' and moving further into the world of glitchy ambient music. However the guitar remains a clear feature. In most of the tracks the guitar is clearly recognizable as such. Whatever computer processing Kiritchenko employs it remains an ornament to his playing. It's been pushed towards the back of the recording, while the guitar stays clearly in the front. Field recordings might be in there too, but then they too are not easy to detect. Turning his music in favor of the guitar he plays the ambient card more than the microsound one, and the music surely benefits from that. Kiritchenko comes closer to the music of the likes of Japanese musicians on labels such as Spekk and Noble, or the German Flim. The microsound aspect is reduced, but not entirely gone, and as such it means that the music made an interesting step forward, while still staying (or perhaps more than before) inside the traditional offerings of ambient music. (FdW) Address:

JUKEBOX BUDDHA (CD by Staubgold)
Once one Brian Eno discovered the Buddha Machine by FM3 there was no holding back. The Buddha Machine is a small sound box, working on batteries and storing a bunch of lo-fi loops. It was commercially produced by Christiaan Virant (who lives in Beijing for more than twenty years) and Zhang Jhian, both also known as FM3. Once Eno had one, everyone needed one: Blixa Bargeld, Adrian Sherwood, Sunn O))), Sun City Girls and Gundrun Gut. You could fare less well with such a cast of remixers (sadly Eno is not at home here) plus the more usual suspects as Thomas Fehlmann, Robert Henke, Mapstation, Kammerflimmer Kollektief and Alog. In various way the loops stored on the machine are used. Some use purely the loops, while others add other music, such as Sherwood and Doug Wimbish adding rhythm and voices, and on a totally different level Gut does the same. Henke and Es stay with the loops, but adds electronics, to create a finely cluster of drones. Sunn O))) piece sounds similar but highly unlikely their recent barrage of sound. Bargeld produces a bunch of bird calls, oddly enough (and by far the shortest piece here). The other pieces make less clear of statement, but they all sound pretty nice. The limitations of the machine are well expanded by this rather unusual bunch of remixers. And my suggestion to FM3: put that 'BuddhamachineCommercial' by Jelinek/Pekler/Leichtmann on your website and you'll sell a lot more. (FdW) Address:

Throughout the by now extensive career of Marcus Schmickler we have learned to know (and like) his work for its immense diversity. An improviser with the likes of Mimeo, electronic music as Wabi Sabi, Pol, techno with Marc Ushmi, post rock with Pluramon and electro acoustic with Kontakta. If that isn't enough, you should realize they all work with electricity. But Schmickler was trained as a composer and knows how to scribble notes on graph paper. On this LP only (what a pity that must seem to some), we find three pieces that deal with a choir. The opus magnum here is 'Demos', which means community in Greek, and the choir represents the ability to voice their desires, requests and demands and is based on texts of Nietzsche's 'Also Sprach Zarathustra' (and sounds nothing like the Strauss piece of the same name). It has spoken word vocals, sung vocals, cluster. The spoken word sounds like Eva Libertine of Crass, while the sung part is mediaeval like, like a mass. The chamber quintet provide with wind instruments and the electronic music ensemble scratching and squeaking noises, which all form a dense pattern of sound. Chaotic it may seem if you try to concentrate on specific parts, but listening to the overall sound things fall right into place. A scary piece, but very beautiful.
On the first side of the LP we find '0' which seems to be for choir only. Building clusters of sounds, singing as well as whispering, with some vague sounds of falling objects, this is almost like Cardew's 'Treatise'. If that wasn't fine enough, 'Rache Ist Des Willen Widerwillen' is also on this side of the LP, which is an even better piece. The voices clearly distinct from each other, humming and singing, with a differation between the male and female voices. A great beauty this one. Address:

(MP3 by Mixthemixthemix)
It's been a while since I last heard 'Die Scottische Symphonie' by Joseph Beuys. Foremost Beuys is of course known as a visual artist, but he made a couple of records, with Nam June Paik and also with Hennig Christiansen. With the latter he recorded 'Die Scottische Symphony' in 1970, and if I recall well, it was a duet on two grand piano's. The work is used in a performance of 'so called filtering, translation or real-time instrumentation process' by Arturas Bumsteinas, held in Düsseldorf earlier this year. If I understood well, Bumsteinas listened to the original on headphones and transcribed in real time. The original consisted of the two artists simply playing notes over and over again, and not caring that much about melody or structure. Bumsteinas in that sense stays close to the original (which has to be dug up again to see what that was all about). The whole recording is about sparseness, which seems to getting even more sparse towards the end. Very nice, contemplative work. (FdW) Address:

Belgium's Hidden label has brought us far twelve releases of ambient music, technoid rhythms and some more outer limits music. The thirteenth release is a compilation, perhaps a best of, who knows, of the first twelve ambient pieces. The next release will be a 'hidden beats' compilation. Some of these releases have been reviewed in Vital Weekly before, but it's a quite nice selection they have put together here. Ambient in the vocabulary of Hidden doesn't mean something that is played on a bunch of digital and analog synthesizers, going into new age land. The ambient music of the artists on Hidden are much more experimental and at times sound like they all listened carefully to Aphex Twin's 'Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2' (and some even to volume 1 as well). Music is by Inklings, No, CIRClings, Kosmobot, Alkaloid Desperado, Cosmic Connection (never knew he was still active!), The Moon and Himog. Three tracks are previously unreleased. If buying a CDR by one of them is a too big of a risk for you, then this compilation might serve as a good alternative and a good introduction. (FdW) Address:

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