RSS feed RSS Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook 15 Questions 15 Questions

Vital Weekly 560

img  Tobias

The collaborative effort is something that is very important for Ralf Wehowsky. He has collaborated with a great number of people, including Johannes Frisch, RM74, Bruce Russell and here with Bhob Rainey, who plays the soprano saxophone in numerous improvisation ensembles, including Nmperign with Greg Kelley. He is a rather unusual saxophone player, the one that treats his instrument as an object that makes sound. As such he (and others who play in similar style) they are players of electro-acoustic music, and can easily sit behind a computer doing their own compositions. So it's not a surprise to see Bhob working with Ralf, who sits ,  his computer since a long time, doing music like this. It took almost five years to complete this CD, and a shortened diary can be found on the cover of the release. It does only little to describe the actual sounds that exchanged, except for a recording of skating children. Not that's really important, it's the result that counts. Especially the opening piece 'Awaken Elsewhere, Unforeseen' is a pretty strong piece. Field recordings roll in, processed and unprocessed, collide with electronic sounds and take off again. The title piece is the longest piece and seems to be evolving around a lot of processed instruments, such as perhaps (!) the saxophone and the cello. A more contemplative piece. From the liner notes I understand that the third track 'Re: Hi!' was a bit of problem maker, and I must say that this piece, with it's obvious time stretches is indeed the somewhat weaker brother of the three pieces. But throughout this is a great CD, especially the first two tracks are great, total contrasts, but excellent examples of electro-acoustic music and computer techniques. (FdW) Address:

Not being the greatest fan of the Velvet Underground, I could easily forget that the banana cover record was released forty years ago. Josetxo Grieta (that is a band, rather than a person, mind you) from the basque country was asked by Alvaro Matilla of the Brutus zine to record a version of 'European Son' and here they are. It's both a tribute to Velvet Underground as well as the man subject in the lyrics, Delmore Schwarz, a poet and mentor of Lou Reed. One piece is live with voice and guitar (played by Mattin), Inigo Eguillor on drums and Josexto Anitua on voice and radio. It's a rather chaotic version of ever forward pounding drums, but especially the guitar and voice are quite dope-related: in that sense it seems to be capturing the original Velvet atmosphere quite well. Nice alright, but the studio version is nicer. Here it mounts up to twenty years layered plus the sound of broken glasses, three watering cans and voice. A highly psychedelic piece with sound swirling in and out of the mix, but at the very same time also a noisy piece of music, almost like a violent piece of drone music. This is a great piece and one of the best I heard with involvement that is non-noise related (or at least to some extent) by Mattin. (FdW) Address:

Of course the name The Marcia Blaine School For Girls is a nice one, and taken from a fictional school of the 1961 novel and film, 'The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie', it's also the name of a trio from Glasgow. Before we ran across them when they had releases for such labels as  Static Caravan, Expanding, Awkard Silence and many more, but 'Halfway Into The Woods' is their first full-length release, and it seems to me that they have taken advantage to use the entire length of the CD, being in this case sixty-one minutes. That is perhaps a bit much, but The Marcia Blaine guys have covered this problem quite well, me thinks. Although their music operates in the usual broken beats, melancholic keyboards and not too outspoken samples, they bring on some variety that makes this quite interesting. There is a strong uptempo piece followed by a truly mellow one and then a mild one. Sometimes I thought tracks were a bit too long for the amount it had to bring over, so some more editing would have been in place. Otherwise it's a fine example of what this kind of music has to offer and the girls offer quite an amount of variation of it - which should be an example to fashion travelers. (FdW) Address:

FRANK GRATKOWSKI & DAVE FOX & DAVID MENESTRES & IAN M DAVIS - ORM (CD by Assembled Sound/Umbrella Recordings)
Umbrella Recordings is the outlet of improvisor and pianist Dave Fox from Greensburo. The small catalogue offers several recordings by the Micro-East Collective. Reviewed earlier for Vital Weekly was the interesting album by Shull & Flandreau & Radding 'The Branch Will Not Break'. Two new CDs of improvised music appeared recently. Two very different ones. First there is 'Orm' by a quartet of David Fox on grand piano, Frank Gratkowski on alto sax and clarinet, David Menestres playing double bass and Ian M. Davis on percussion. Recordings were made on one day in october 2004. Frank Gratkowski is a well-known improvisor from Germany, usually working on the European continent (Grubenklang Orchester, Klaus König Orchester, etc.) but in october 2004 during his third visit to the States, he joined with three other local musicians, for a session of improvised music. Dave Fox is a teacher, composer and performer of composed as well as improvised music. Ian M Davis is also an important force in the scene of Greensburo. He organized the Micro-East -Collective, manages the Umbrella label, and plays with other improvisors. 'Orm' offers many beautiful moments of tight and inspired improvisations. Improvisations that are built up with a good sense for direction and with great interplay between the improvisors.
For 'The Foxbourne Chronicles' Dave Fox joined hands with his neighbor Eugene Chadbourne. Both are from Greensboro. We hear Fox on piano and Chadbourne on banjo, guitar and vocals. The 'artwork' of this CD is in the typical untidy Chadbourne style.
For the greatest part this CD contains a 'Sonata for banjo and piano (quasi-improvised' in 14 parts. What struck me first is the gap between the playing style of Fox and Chadbourne. The playing of Chadbourne has many rough edges and humor is always there, whereas Fox plays in a much more clean and serious manner. So this is not my favorite combination. Two totally different improvisors concerning their esthetics and approach do their best, but it doesn't fit. It never happens. So in the end I liked the additional improvisations and compositions most, especially the opening track 'Two Plumbers', where Chadbourne and Fox make both use of extended techniques and create a nice intertwined piece. (Dolf Mulder) Address:

REUBER - SÜDPOL (CD by Staubgold)
Timo Reuber might not be very well-known as a musician but every few years he releases a record on Staubgold, which is hardly a surprise, since the label is run by Markus Detmer, with whom Reuber forms the Klangwart duo (whose next album is still far away!). the good thing about Reuber is that none of his albums sound very much alike, me thinks. 'Kintopp' (see Vital Weekly 453) was already different from the previous more ambient like releases, but 'Südpol' is again a bit different. 'Kintopp' was like a long collage of sound, using samplers to create various cinematographic musics, on 'Südpol' he goes back to the big book of German cosmic music. 'Südpol' means Antarctica in German, and if you expect some glacier like synth album, then you are in the wrong place. Right from the start it's clear that analogue synthesizers do play a big role in this music, but the arpeggio button is always close by. Reuber adds a fine blend of technoid rhythms and as such updates the cosmic sound to something that is perhaps still not very much like the new millennium, but it's becomes a very lively thing. A fine combination of Klaus Schulze's psychedelic synths meeting up with techno in a finely carved niche of his own. (FdW) Address:

IGOT KRUTOGOLOV - WHITE (CD by Topheth Prophet)
The fact that Maurizio Bianchi is back is something that is known. I think the new age muzak he created right after his return should be seen as a false start, as since quite some time now, he returned to the world of noise and that is a territory that we can safely call his territory. Bianchi here teams up with one Maor Appelbaum, who is a member of various Israeli project such Poochlatz, Vultures, IWR and who has various solo projects Screening , Vectorscope and Plated Steel - not that I heard any of these. "This work provides profitable logicality to the futuristic aversions, subjecting the deprecared barins marketing to an elistist unpretentiousness". In case you didn't know. The music are six lengthy slabs of noise. Feedback crushes into each other, and is fed through a bunch of synthesizers and sound effects. At times things 'mellow' out just a little bit and goes into some ambient industrial area. It has that same unfocussed sound that is the trademark of Bianchi. It goes on and on, but it has something captivating. Quite alright this one, but it seems to me that the production could have been better. The sound has more potential than is shown here.
From Israel comes Igor Krutogolov, who is besides a musician also the designer for Topheth Propeht. Apparently he is mostly known for his 'klezmer core' project Kruzenshtern & Parohod but also a 'toy orchestra' Igor Krutogolov's Karate Band as well as various collaborations he has done with people like Chaos As Shelter, Agnivolok, Bastard Noise, Tidal and Darkwood. For 'White', which comes with a booklet with white pages (funny or arty) he plays bass with bow and strings, voice, keyboards, objects, flute and birds and gets help from somebody playing bells and someone delivering a tape of rain sounds. Divided into seven parts, this is however very much one piece. The musical theme's re-occur in every track, the rain sounds return every now and then. The label compares this is to Colin Potter and Andrew Liles, which, especially in the case of Liles, I can see some parallel. The drone like sounds form the backbone of the piece and with irregular intervals, real instruments are added. Unlike Liles however, Krutogolov doesn't dwell that
much of sound effects, and rather uses them in a more natural sounding way. Quite hypnotic and engaging at times, this is surrealist music, with a built in tension that keeps lurking around the corner, and the listener is waiting for something to happen. Wether or not it happens I won't reveal, but it's a pretty strong CD. (FdW) Address:

FORTNER ANDERSON & TAPE/HEAD (CD single by Wiredonwords)
Although pressed up as a real CD, this lasts only seven minutes. It's a work of a highly political nature. It deals with the torture of Omar Khadr, a fifteen year old who was captured by the US in July 2002 and is still in custody without trial. So that's why this is a CD single, hoping for radio play in Canada and the USA, to gain attention for people in prison without trial. Tape/head provide the backing of machine like noises and obscured tape manipulations, but Andersons recitation is clearly to be understood and a firm 'j'accuse' to these circumstances. A highly political statement, as said, and worthwhile to be played on every radio station throughout the entire world. (FdW) Address:

Thom Bailey, also known as Thomas Transparant, the man behind the The Domestic Front, surprised us before with a release that was entirely made of him breathing, partly based on his experiences as an asthmatic. I don't think these experiences are being dealt with on his new CD, since it starts out with what I think is a treatment of 'Ode To Joy' by Ludwig Van. For his new CD he uses field recordings made in various Japanese cities and the deserted American plains. Not that I couldn't tell, as The Domestic Front uses a lot of time stretching of sounds and a lot of sound effects. Unlike his previous release on Tib Prod, which was a bit more quiet, this one is very lively and very collage like. Bouncing back and forth in various moods and textures, and captures perhaps not entirely the sounds of the city, it's sure captures the feel of a big city: the liveliness, the chaos, the activity. It is all captured well in this release. It uses the montage techniques of Nurse With Wound and has the electrical charges of Irr.Apt {ext}, but has sufficient enough of his own originality. Quite a nice one indeed. (FdW) Address:

TAMING POWER - SIX PIECES (10" by Early Morning Records)
Still being a man on his own, somewhere in Norway, away from the usual noise crowd is Askild Haugland. Since some years he works as Taming Power, and has released a whole bunch of vinyl, of which 10" is his favorite. His tools include anything but a computer. Strictly using cassette recorders and reel to reel tapes, he crafts with the use of singing bowls, voice, metallophone, dingsha and harmonica, a kind of drone music. Before his music sounded some crude, perhaps due to his more lo-fi techniques, but on this new record I must say the music sounds much better. There is a clear diversification of sounds within each piece, a finer tuned mix of the music, but it's still clearly drone music. Much along the lines of the old Maeror Tri, with a slight touch of mystickal influences (but luckily well covered), this is perhaps the finest moment of Taming Power I have encountered. Only 110 copies were made, so act fast to grab this beauty. (FdW) Address: <>

SEASON OF SNOW & ICE (2CDR compilation by Zaftig Research)
Zaftig Research last surprised us with the Christmas compilation and in a way 'Season Of Snow And Ice' can be seen as successor to that, but it is less hark now hear the angels sing and more a double CD that can be played all winter. The two CDs are divided between 'ice' and 'snow', although it's a bit unclear what makes a track belong to one or the other. It may seem to me that 'ice' has a little bit more up tempo pieces. The music on both discs is a highly varied bunch and not, as one could expect, a whole load of ambient (glitch) pieces. Like before Zaftig Research has found a whole bunch of artists that at least I never heard of. Such as Dead Man's Hill, God Flight, Human extermination Project (sounds cosy around the christmas tree), Tote Stadt, Stolen Light, Conure, Black Saturn, Goose, but also several whose CDR releases were reviewed such as Karl Bosman, Suspicion Breeds Confidence, Flutwacht and Simulacra. As said, not particular christmas music (except well perhaps some) and something that can be played during summertime too. (FdW)Address:

Since many years, it has been noted before, Kirchenkampf is a solid player in the field of dark ambient electronics, but it never became a true household name like, say, Troum. Which is a pity since it would be truly deserved to get some more attention than a handful of CDRs over the years. 'Island Of The Dead' on Kirchenkampf's own Cohort Records is another fine leap forward. On his previous two releases Kirchenkampf worked with intercepted radio sounds, which were transformed through a bunch of sound effects. Which is probably what he does on the new one, but he takes matters a bit further. The first twenty or so minutes are much of the usual radio/synthesizer/sound effects stuff, but in the second half he picks up on a classical theme, which at first is played 'normally' but then slowly gets transformed and changed. The sustaining sounds of the orchestra are replaced by the sustaining sounds of guitars, synthesizers and smaller particles drop in and out. A very intense second half, with lots of hidden tension and intentions and 'Island Of The Dead' has become his greatest achievement thus far. (FdW) Address:

GOLDEN CUP/KAM HASSAH (2x business card CDRs by Long Long Chaney)
JOSH LAY - ABANDONED BY CHRIST (cassette by Long Long Chaney)
Long Long Chaney Records may want to go down the history of record labels for doing weird formats, although to some of course the audio cassette is still a regular size. The Golden Cup/Kam Hassah split release comes on two business card CDRs, which I always think is a funny format, even when it's usually too short to form any good option. Golden Cup play around with drones on organs and some vaguely humming alongside with percussive elements. It's a bit of a lo-fi recording. Kam Hassah also works around with drones, but in a more aggressive vein. Loudly present, with piercing feedback at the heart of the controls, this is vicious slab of drones. Both are too short however.
The first cassette is by Josh Lay, and like all artists on Long Long Chaney, I know nothing about him. He too hoovers around in aggressive drone areas, with a pulsating lo-fi drone which he effectively destroys with an effective amount of distortion. The b-side 'Throne Of Dead Moths' is a piece that is less drone related and works around slabs of noise. It's however less convincing than the a-side.
Women In Tragedy follow the same line of operations. It starts out with what seems to be treated voices, but soon explodes into a barrage of noise. The best thing is the b-side which is an oasis of rest after all the noise excursions. Relatively soft with mumbling voices and a farfisa organ going through a distortion pedal. Great stuff all along! (FdW)

TZESNE = ALTER EGO (MP3 by Sototik)
Sototik is a spanish MP3 label, and unfortunately all information is in Spanish, which is a pity, since I can't tell that much about Tzesne release. So far Tzesne has had a couple of releases reviewed, and he is a man (also from Spain actually) who likes his drone material to be dark and atmospherical. I am not sure what he uses, but my best guess is that he uses synthesizers to filter and modulate waves taped of a shortwave and mixed with a bunch of sound effects. 'Alter Ego' is a twenty six minute piece that slowly builds up. There are rhythmic particles running a long of looped sine waves, but the basis of the piece is the dark humming drones in the background. After the piece is half way through, things start to fade out during the rest of the track and natural hiss drops in the mix and it has a rather tranquil ending. Not really a big surprise this piece, but it's executed with great care. (FdW)

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

Related articles

Vital Weekly 564
Frans de Waard presents the ...
Random Stabbings 20b
January's second round of interesting ...
Vital Weekly 561
Frans de Waard presents the ...
CD Feature/ Gernot Wolfgang: "Common Ground"
Just like hearing “Le Sacre ...
CD Feature/ Pneumatic Detach: "[Re-Vis-Cer-A]"
Back to the dirty clubs.
CD Feature/ R.Y.N.: "Whistle and I'll Come to You"
Unravelling the mystery means spoiling ...
Vital Weekly 544
Frans de Waard presents the ...
Vital Weekly 538
Frans de Waard presents the ...
Vital Weekly 534
Frans de Waard presents the ...
CD Feature/ Fear Falls Burning: "The Amplifier Drone"
FFB has now turned to ...
Vital Weekly 531
Frans de Waard presents the ...

Partner sites