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Vital Weekly 546

img  Tobias

From the recently deceased composer Luc Ferrari a CD with two pieces, which are for a small ensemble and tape/electronics. The small ensemble here is the Ensemble Laborintus: five people playing harp, percussion, clarinet, cello and flute. In 'Et Tournent Les Sons Dans La Garrigue' (meaning 'and sounds are spinning in the garigue') I believe the score is somewhat open ended. Musicians are asked to communicate with each other along the lines of what is presented on tape. It's hard to figure what it is exactly on the tape and what is played. We recognize the percussive sounds for sure, but the other sounds aren't easily to separate from the instruments. I believe the tape is rather made of organ like sounds, which are sometimes in drone position (the beginning of the piece) and gradually move into a very hectic form of playing. Instruments follow easily in all of this and everything is woven together in a very harmonic way. The ensemble also performs the second piece, but with guest player eRikm on CD player. Originally Ferrari was supposed to play eRikm's part, but he died six days before recording it. The CDs contain sounds over which the instruments improvise, while it 'must stay together' and occasionally they are allowed to play quotes from 'Patajaslocha', a dance suite from 1984. This gives the whole piece a circus music like character with sounds swirling around, from the total abstract to rather joyous music, but somehow it lacks a bit of tension.
On the same label is 'Noord Five Atlantica' by Lionel Marchetti, the self-taught master of musique concrete. Liner notes are all in French, and so is the labels website, which is a pity, since I am a bit in the dark what it is all about. It's a relatively long Marchetti piece, just over thirty three minutes, and throughout it breaths a solemn atmosphere. Its almost drone like, composed of sustained sounds from instruments or field recordings (the latter being more likely), but interrupted by spoken word (by people such as Yoko Higashi and Greg Kelley) which is likewise hard to follow what it is about and radios tuning in and out. Despite all this vagueness, there is a great deal of tension around this piece. It's like some anger is always lurking around the corner, waiting to attack. Sudden outbursts in sound makes this even more scarier. The whole piece is quite narrative, even without having an exact understanding what it is about. A powerful piece, almost hörspiel like. Great listening but be careful with it in a dark room at night. (FdW)

SISSY SPACEK - DEVILS CONE AND PALM (CD by  Misanthropic Agenda)
LHD - LIMBS OF THE FAWN (CD by Misanthropic Agenda)
Of these three new releases on Misanthropic Agenda there is one common factor: John Wiese plays on all three of them. The first release is with Gerritt, the main man behind the Misanthropic Agenda label and meet up as occasional members of Sunn 0))). On 'The Disappearing Act EP' they have three tracks, of which the first two are relatively short and walking known noise paths. A barrage of sound and mayhem from the destruction of whatever objects lay about, fed through piercing electronics. But there is a strong elements of electro-acoustic music in there as well, taking the noise thing out of its safe house, and bringing it in to something new. The third piece however starts with a long silence, perhaps too long but once the ball is rolling, it is really rolling: sine wave like tones mingle with it each, accelerating until it never reaches a collapse point. Also in the noise territory, but what a great piece!
Sissy Spacek is one of Wiese's older project, a grindcore band he founded with Corydon Ronnau in 1999, back in St. Louis. After Wiese had moved to Los Angeles, the Sissy Spacek project became a solo affair, with Wiese chopping up old recordings. Now Ronnau also lives in Los Angeles, and they add a third member, Jesse Jackson. I believe that the one, twenty-one minute, piece here is a mixture of the old and new Sissy Spacek. It features the mindless, harsh grindcore sound, but then heavily chopped to pieces, not too dissimilar to Merzbow's 'Scissors For Cutting Merzbow' project. A harsh noise affair, but towards the end there is the collated sounds of people cheering, which adds a funny note to the music.
LHD seems to be a new name for me, even when they have releases on PacRec, Blossoming Noise, Pure, Jyrk and Chrondritic Sound. LHD is the collaboration of Phil Blankenship a.k.a. The Cherry Point and John Wiese. Here we enter total noise land: thirty five minutes of unrelentness noise attack. Furious, loud, dirty, distortion crashing over feedback, feedback adding feedback. You get the drift. Fine for what it is, but perhaps also too much of a dead end street noise thing, which is a pity since Wiese shows on the other two discs that he surely knows the way out. (FdW) Address:


Although Thollem McDonas is working as a composer and improvisor for a considerable period, it is only since 2004 that he started to release cds of his music. From this moment he surprises with a continuous stream of high quality releases. With each release McDonas impresses as a gifted musician. This is also true for his newest album "Poor Stop Killing Poor". With this release McDonas completes his trilogy of solo piano albums. In his own words: "Together the 3 albums represent very different approaches to much of the same material. The first "Nuclear Bomb, Cave Painting" is a studio recording primarily presenting many ideas without development incorporating much silence throughout. The second "Poor Stop Killing Poor" is a live recording in Detroit this past spring, the concert was played straight through without pause and with much improvisation. The 3rd album "Racing The Sun, Chasing The Sun" consists of the first half of two different live recordings from this past year welded on top of each other, woven in and out."
On "Poor Stop Killing Poor" McDonas concentrates his ideas in 15 improvisations. Most of them are short and pregnant. All pieces were recorded during a concert in Detroit at the Bohemian National Home. Must have been a great evening as - listening of his cd - McDonas was in good shape. He is never hesitating and never thrifty with ideas, playing continuously with maximum concentration. The playing of McDonas is not only of a high technical standard, but also very communicative. His music is drenched in many musical traditions, and McDonas succeeds in making an original brew of it. 'Post-classical circus punk world jazz free music' is he once described it himself. Above his music always dwells the spirit of an 'angry young man' who deals and connects with what is going on our fantastic and absurd world. So this vibrant music is really about something, if one can say so. Often I find it a tough exercise listening to solo albums of improvised music. But this one - and other records of McDonas - are absolutely an exception. Just jump in this exceptional source of musical energy and enjoy it. (Dolf Mulder) Address:

HUE - UN'ESTATE SENZA PIOGGIA (CD by Grey Sparkle/Trazeroeuno)
The summer of 2006 was hot, but the summer of 2003 was also extreme. It was the month that Italian musician Hue worked on a CD, traveling the small villages of Italy, armed with minidisc and a microphone to record the people working and various other kinds of sounds. A year later, Hue visited Davide Valecchi (also known as Aal) and played guitar with him. From then on the album 'Un'estate Senza Pioggia' emerged as Hue also recorded some other friends, such as Giuseppe Verticchio (Nimh), Giulio Biaggi (Nefelheim), Andrea Marutti (Never Known, Amon, The Afeman), Paolo Ippoliti and Laura Lovreglio (both of Logoplasm) and Luca Sigurta (Fhievel). Some of these people are known for some more abstract, non traditional musics, but Hue managed to find them in a rather playful mood. The title translates as 'A Rainless Summer' and is a quite nice work of some of the more daring areas of ambient music. Traditional instruments of ambient music, such as guitars, organs and didgeridoo, play the more recognizable and accessible part of this work, but there is also lots of space for elements from the world of glitch and the processings of field recordings - still the starting point of this work. Sometimes warm (pun intended) and joyous, some with the chirping of insects and dogs and a desolate guitar, empty and spacious. Not an album of major surprises, but a fine release on the brink of seasons changing.
On the same label Passo Uno, which is a four piece including Hue on field recording and mixing, Stefano de Ponti on acoustic bariton guitar, electric guitar, percussion, keyboards, Alessandro Bider on cello, clarinet, double bass, acoustic bass and keyboards and Andrea Avolio on drums and percussion. The music here is apparently the soundtrack for 'Memorie Di Crespi D'Adda - Il Passato Riemerso' by Stefano Di Ponti and Michela Mozzanica. Of course I haven't seen this film, but the music has great cinematographic qualities. It is much alike the music of Hue himself, but whereas he plays experimental ambient, the ambient part here is played on a rock instrument line up. Carefully they play the desolate songs in a very spacious way, melodic and rich. The experimental part comes from whatever field recordings Hue mixes in. At times I was reminded of 3/4Hadbeenelimated, but Passo Uno is less experimental, but the studio-as-instrument, is also of great importance for them, while staying on a much more melodic level. Intense, warm but also, to stay in the analogy of seasons, more autumn like music. The clarinet and the guitar play minor chords, adding a strong sense of melancholy. Not going unknown musical paths, but a great musical trip. (FdW) Address:

TEXTU RIZER - 7 (CD by Antifrost)
Behind Textu Rizer are two considerable well-known Greek musicians: Coti K (electronics) and Nikos Veliotis (cello). The first one plays on several of the Antifrost releases and Veliotis has released a beautiful CD of solo work of a highly drone like nature. His playing on '7' (which hold four tracks, rather four parts that flow into each other) however is highly minimal, but not always as droney. In the opening piece, '7.1', the cello is used almost in a percussive, with short bangings that are gradually getting stronger and stronger. Electronics seem to be absent, or at least they mingled with the cello to that extent that they couldn't be heard. However they open up in '7.2' and then the cello follows, both in a highly stereo fashion. This short piece fades over in the third piece, which is the longest here, and half of that track is filled with just solo cello. Here too the full stereo element remains present, and listened on headphones, like I did, creates a very spacious atmosphere. The overtones with which this ends make up the final track, which is basically one long fade out. It seems to me that electronics dominate this piece. It's hard to say how this is exactly made: the cello is as such to be recognized, but the electronics aren't. It would give the listener the idea that it plays a lesser role, but I wouldn't be surprised to know that they are in fact much bigger. The whole CD is one of utter minimalism, but at the same time of an amazing beauty. Very controlled, very focussed, and simply great. One of the best Antifrost releases. Ever. (FdW)

Behind this odd name there is just one person: Olle Svensk. So far he just released one CDR but almost fifty pieces on the internet. 'Arfihorpotis' is one piece, divided into five sections and according to Svensk absolute music, meaning that it has no particular meaning or underlying concept, but is rather open for anyone to be interpreted. The work is an example of drone music, but one that goes from the quieter moments to louder parts, and doesn't necessarily stay on one particular stance. From the opening metallic rumble (with lots of reverb) the work shifts back down into the depths of slowly developing tones and drones. Sometimes things move very slowly and nothing seems to be happening, but that creates at the same time a hypnotic effect, without leaping into boredom. The music is quite nice, but nothing spectacular in terms of developing new insights in the world of drone music. Lovers of the Mystery Sea label will know to find this. (FdW) Address:

The drawings of Jon Martin is the starting point for this collaboration between Norwegian Iversen and Spanish Tzesne. Luckily the cover shows the black and white drawings of Martin, so we can see how they look like. It's however not a drawing per track, as there are eleven drawings and seven pieces. Both sound artists are known for using computers and playing music that is probably best described as ambient industrial: not really noise related, but daring enough to step out of the usual boundaries of ambient music. On their joint release, for which they have just the telephone line to create it, hence the title, they display the best possibilities they have to offer in this field. Deep dark tapestries of sound, with elements of the concrete sound world being highly processed, make up a rich, deep sound world, that is sometimes as minimal as the drawings on the cover. Just like the drawings, the music is perhaps also black and white: endless fields of droning sounds set against small shimmering white lights. From both artists, this is one of the stronger works I encountered (well, perhaps alongside some of Iversen/Bjerga releases). (FdW)

Following last weeks review of Zavoloka and Kotra, here comes another release, this time involving the third champion of Ukranian experimental music, Andrey Kiritchenko, as part of Nexsound's live reports series. Recorded on the 16th of April 2005, they have a set of swirling sine waves and percussive like sounds. Subtle at the beginning, but somewhere half way through it gets a bit distorted and reduced feedback like. However the piece, just over twenty-eight minutes, stays under control. Highly atmospheric, it is still remotely away from the current warm ambient glitch music produced by Kiritchenko or the usually louder music of Kotra. More microsound than click and cuts music. Careful silent music in a long beautiful curve. Very nicely produced. (FdW)

The Norwegian Tib Prod label always finds new talent, from the strangest corners of the globe. Christian Galarreta for instance, who hails all the way from Peru. He used to work under such names as Evamuss and Diosmehaviolado and had a label by the name of Aloardi, as well as a whole bunch of other projects for radio and websites. A busy bee. In recent years he works as solo artist under his own name and collaborates with others. The recording here at hand is a live one from 2004 and Galarreta uses hard and software as well as 'self made physical instruments' to play the extreme silence or the extreme loudness. As such it's a bit unbalanced: the noise side of this prevails over the quieter moments. Galarreta's work hoovers to large extends in the digital area, the total fucked up Mego-like style of yesteryear. It works best in the opening and closing tracks where things are best balanced. Quite a nice release altogether.
Also new for me is Tüsüri from Basque country. He contributed various MP3s and other pieces to Tib Prod releases, but somehow failed to impress. Here, on a 3" format, he presents one piece of music made out of field recordings: car passing, objects in the wind and other sounds which aren't easily to be traced back to anything. After some active beginning, the piece unfolds into a more static thing, with repeating, lengthy blocks of sound. A rather more noise related kind of drone, despite the fact that it's not really noise at all. It lacks the refinement of the usual drone material out there, but that makes it all the more enjoyable. Not great, but quite ok. (FdW) Address:

GOH LEE KWANG - ROOM SOUND (CDR by Herbal Records)
JUTO AVITEN - WATER MUSIC #1 (CDR by Herbal Records)
Of these three new releases on Herbal Records, the most well-known artist is Alan Curtis, formerly of Reynols, now known as Alan Curtis. These days he is active a solo musician, playing stages around the world. On 'Live Action' excerpts from three such performances, one in Japan, one in Belgium and in the USA. Armed with electric guitar, tapes, mini disc, toba violin (whatever that is), contact microphones and 'no-instruments' he crafts some interesting pieces of loud experimental music together. Not noise in the strictest sense of the word, but clearly present. The guitar plays the important part in these improvisations, fed through boxes of distortion and other foot pedals, whereas the tapes have a more modest role in the background. Densely layered, dirty, raw but with lots of tension underneath, this is a highly enjoyable release.
Herbal Records label owner Goh Lee Kwang's previous releases weren't all that convincing so far, but this release quite is. It's the first thing he did when arriving in Berlin, recording it on his miniDV camera (sound only). Subtitled 'solo improvisation with DJ mixer', he explores the various possibilities of the machine, ranging from sheer silence to feedback noise, but has a level of control, which doesn't let thing go out of hand too much. The noise bits are sometimes uncontrolled nasty frequencies (such as in the sixth, untitled, piece), but when he takes matters back, volume wise, it's intense, playful and carefully constructed. So far the best release I encountered by him.
The most unknown one here is Juto Aviten. No information here whatsoever, just the cover saying 'made with water...', which is indeed clearly to be heard. Water drips a little bit here, and gets somewhere along the line a computer treatment by Aviten. Deep bass made via forms of extreme filtering, a very occasional high end tone, which seem to be arriving more in the second half of this forty-five minute piece, when the real water sounds are long gone. I don't believe it's Aviten's idea to play a piece of music, but rather playing a large block of sound that works as an environment, that can be played at a low volume and will fill your own environment quite nicely. Played loud and paid with lots of attention, this work isn't that strong. (FdW)

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