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Vital Weekly 570

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PHILLIP PIETRUSCHKA - ITINERANT LABOURS (CD by Cajid Media)
This is certainly one of the stranger CDs I heard lately. Pietruschka studied electro-acoustic composition at RMIT (that is down under) and influenced by 'studio production techniques inspired by Pierre Henry, Luigi Nono and Ennio Morricone and playing around with improvisation musicians. That doesn't make this a strange release though. Each of the pieces 'is a study or commentary on a particular film of films and the accompanying soundtrack. The films were chosen as provide a significant point of intersection between the cloistered world of avant-garde and experimental music and the populist world of cinema'. Five pieces, and I do believe all the films are from the genre 'horror or phantasmagoric nature'. None of the titles did mean anything to me. Pietruschka found a whole bunch of people to play all sorts of instruments on this record. Many guitars, but also cello, vibraphone, percussion, trombone, oboe and accordion, mainly by people who we found on earlier Cajid releases. It's strange music, since it links to film, perhaps but to which scene, if any at all. Or is it really merely a play with the type of sound tracks used, and are these films imaginary? (I know could investigate online, but I think I rather leave myself thinking about possibilities, than knowing for sure). The music itself is a rather nice, ranging from softly played to shrieking noise to cheesy almost poplike music in 'The Evidence Of Love'. It's in various places and that is the strange thing about it. It takes elements from soundtracks, the cliché's perhaps if you want, and they are replayed in a strict musical sense. That makes this release not just a strange one but also a fascinating one. Because it's so different and in various places, makes it quite a cinema for the ear. Great release. (FdW) Address: http://www.cajid.com



EXPANSION BAY - STAR OBOLESCENCE (CD by Spanish Magic)
From New Zealand comes Nathan Thompson, who is a long term member of Sandoz Lab Technicians - one my favorites in the field of lo-fi drone noise rock. He's also been a member of Sleep, Eye, Gate and many more, but Expansion Bay is his solo project. He plays 'processed instruments and a g4 laptop, also utilizing field recordings and samples from various band projects'. Nathan is not a subtle man, but he moves away from the world noise but still maintains his way in making a bit more forceful music. It's not that it's loud, but he uses loads of sound files which he plays at the same time, seemingly adding a new one every time. Some of these files are the same as the before, but placed a bit of order, so that a swirling mass emerges. In 'Three Peaks' these are loops of church bells, with a little bit of what could be firework sounds. In this endless stapling the bells still sound like bells, so unlike Reich's 'Come Out' the sound stay as they are. In the other two pieces it's more difficult to recognize what is going on, but they might be violins, guitars and/or electronics. It music without a real focus, but that's in this case quite appealing. It doesn't go anywhere but it keeps swirling and moving around. Field recordings moved away from the microsound area, and one that makes a bit of difference. Very nice work altogether. (FdW) Address: http://www.spanishmagic.org



MIMETIC UNDER PRESSURE – ULTRA (CD by Spectre)
KRAKEN – CHAGRIN (CD by Spectre)
CAMANECROSZCOPE – ECHOES OV BECKONING ARCANUM (CD by Spectre)
Three albums, from Belgian label Spectre, focus on various expressions of sonic ambience.
Being relatively different stylishly, the common denominator, apart from being released from the same label of course, is their experimental artistic approach to the genre. When something is "ultra" it means that it is beyond normal. Thus the title of Mimetic Under Pressure's latest album hits right in the bull's eye regarding the listening experience. "Ultra" is one musical piece running approximately one hour. Being an extremely complex work it is a hard beast to describe. If not exclusively based on, there is a great utilization of field recordings from the inside of the human body. With an almost inaudible opening, the first part of the album belongs to minimal expressions of deep rumbling and subtle noise drones (blood running through the veins?). As the album progresses the beats of a human heart organ add some discreet rhythm texture to the work. Slowly the work develops from sheer dark ambience to spacey tranquillity. As we approach the end (from approx. 50 th minute forward) the work turns into extremely beautiful and atmospheric sounds spheres reminiscent of Danna & Clement's ambient/new age-milestone Summerland" (1987). "Ultra" is a pleasant and an extremely rewarding piece of abstract ambience. Equally operating in spheres of ambience, the stylish expression of Belgian project Kraken still stand as a contrast to the work of Mimetic Under Pressure. Where "Ultra" had its moments in the dark ambient territories Kraken second album titled "Chagrin" exclusively circulates in the world of blackness. In contrary to the opening of Mimetic Under Pressure's "Ultra", the opening moments of "Chagrin" is everything but inaudible. Like a very bad nightmare, first track "Drijvende honden" might scare the hell out of the listener with its psychotic echoed female voices processed into swarms of satanic drones. Kraken creates spheres that drift in territories of noise and subtly distorted rhythm-textures. With its cinematic approach "Chagrin" would be the perfect soundtrack to psychic horror movies, though if it were ever used in a horror movie, you'd probably be too scared to watch it...! Disturbingly great piece of sonic horror! Third album-release is titled "Echoes Ov A Beckoning Arcanum" and comes from the project Camanecroszcope II. The musical style on the album sounds like a blend between the industrial deep space-ambient of Lustmord's classic "The place where the black stars hang", the sinister dark ambient of Inade's "Aldebaran" and the early expression of the German post-krautrock/ambient-style of Tangerine Dream and Edgar Froese. The balance between cinematic darkness and musical atmospheres created by the floating orchestral soundscapes is quite remarkable here. "Echoes Ov A Beckoning Arcanum" nicely balances between utter darkness and atmospheric beauty. Highly recommended. Thus we have an impressively high quality of experimental ambience on all three albums from the Spectre label. Highly recommended, though do not play at your kid's birthday party! (Niels Mark) Address: http://www.spectre.be



TERMINAL SOUND SYSTEM – COMPRESSOR (CD by Extreme)
This is a very cool release! Australian label Extreme Records has always had a great skill in finding the outer-limit-sound artists. If electronic music labels were a car industry, Extreme Records would unquestionably be a Mercedes! It was Extreme Records that released the legendary "Music for bondage performance"-series from Japanese noise maestro Merzbow plus the massive 50 cd-"Merzbox" from the same artist. Also pioneering artists such as Muslimgauze, Paul Schütze and Otomo Yoshihide are parts of the label's catalog. And the story apparently goes on…! Latest sound scientist from the Extreme camp is the Australian artist Skye Klein composing under the name "Terminal Sound System". With a starting point taken in the drum'n'bass-scene "Terminal Sound System" takes the listener across a great number of impressions and expressions. With breakbeats and buzzing bass drones operating in the sub-levels, mr. Skye, takes everything from technical jazz rhythm-textures and aggressive
thrash-like guitar riffs into his spicy soup of sonic complexity. As a metaphysical carpet above, drifting soundscapes of ambient create an excellent touch of nocturnal atmosphere on the album. "Terminal Sound System" brings something new and unexplored into the drum'n'bass-scene, simply by taking his starting point in the glory days of Britishexperimental breakbeat-scientists such as Jacob's Optical Stairway (a.k.a. 4Hero), T-Power and Squarepusher. Almost twenty years after the birth of jungle it's a great pleasure to realise that there are still new territories to explore. Excellent album! (Niels Mark) Address: http://www.xtr.com



MARK SADGROVE/SAM HAMILTON (CITY PEOPLE'S FARMERS MUSIC) - SHITTY PEEPHOLE LAMA KUDOS (8" Lathe Cut by A Binary Datum)
UN CIEGO - VINCENNES MONUMENT/KALI GANDAKI
(7" Lathe Cut by A Binary Datum)
Two new heavily limited releases by A Binary Datum, a label run by Mark Sadgrove of New Zealand, but these days in Tokyo. On the first record he is active himself. It's a split record with Sam Hamilton, with whom he usually plays as 'City People's Farmers Music', but for this occasion they each filled up their own side. Mark plays three songs which is him singing and playing rudimentary guitar. Here things are truly at the edge of lo-fi music. The whole production process is what it took to lay these down on a dictaphone cassette to ensure the lo-fi quality, but it's captivating enough. Sam Hamilton's side is very much along the same lines, but it doesn't contain that low humming sound that comes free with the dictaphone.
Behind Un Ciego is one Andrew Scott, one half of Nest and occasional collaborator of Helga Fassonaki. Here he plays guitar, but it sounds half the time like a piano. Here too lots and lots of static and hiss sounds. Here is where the real lo-fi meet. A motor like sound might indicate that he has a battery operated amplifier and does his improvisations outside on the streets, feeding his guitar through two delay pedals. But perhaps I am entirely wrong and does he sit at home and records in 24 bit rate with some 'degenerate' plug in tools. Anything is almost possible these days. I must admit I am more pleased with Un Ciego, simply because it seems to me the one with a little bit more effort, and that it's in a way connected to the New Zealand noise rock underground, which is something I usually like. Un Ciego is as such not too far away from this. Very nice. (FdW) Address: http://www.abinarydatum.net



ANDY GRAYDON - AT BAY (CDR by Winds Measure Recordings)
EA - BALANCING ACT WITH CONTROLLED DYNAMICS (CDR by Winds Measure Recordings)
Winds Measure Recordings are steadily building a fine catalogue of what could called 'careful' music. Here they introduce me to the music of a band called EA and one Andy Graydon. I never heard of him, but the cover of his release lists the usual 'field recordings, electronics, ukulele and processing' and indeed it sounds like one could expect from this. Careful microsound like music. Or as some people would say 'ambient glitch'. Graydon plays his field recordings in a highly processed fashion back to us, along with crackles, hiss and other static sounds. While I was playing this I was doing something stupid, a little manual labor thing, but fully concentrated on the music. I never thought, 'oh well, I heard this before' or something of that nature, but I was quite taken by his music, wanting to hear it from the beginning to the end, uninterrupted. I thought it was quite good, despite that it is perhaps a copy of something that I may have heard before. Especially Richard Chartier and Kenneth Kirschner's work comes to mind. But nevertheless quite nice.
EA is a large group of people including Gill Arno, Richard Garet, Andre Goncalves, Andy Graydon, Ben Owen and Gill Sanson - I believe all boys with laptops. They play scores, graphical ones that lead them through their improvisations. It seems that the bigger the group, the more quiet things get. I recently noted that also when I heard Plains from New Zealand. They have about the same size of members. It seems like some people, if not all, to be loud, or to be different from the group. Everybody waits to have that small particle thrown in and then fades out. The score, made by Goncalves, is not yet online, so it's hard to see what kind of built up is needed. In all, I must say that EA does a pretty decent job, again alongside Plains, or a softer version of Mimeo and Freq_out, to mention two other big bands of this nature. Highly improvised, not always holding the attention required, but a fine start. (FdW)
Address: http://www.windsmeasurerecordings.net



ADAM_IS - MOLES (CDR by Echo Music)
The city is a noisy place - we know. Cars, metro, people - they all make a sound. About a century ago, Luigi Russolo thought of the city noise as music and since the invention of the tape-recorder it has become music, starting with the train sounds of Pierre Schaeffer. Michail Adamis is a new kid on my block, but he's well known enough to be invited by the company which are building 'an underground tunnel in the national road connecting Athens to Thessaloniki. In their offices Adamis made an installation using field recordings made during the construction. As far as I can tell it doesn't use any sort of electronic processing, but that is not necessary: the electronica used in making the tunnel gives already enough electrical charges and subtle changes that it's already an interesting release. Five lengthy pieces of environmental noise. Elevators, drilling sounds and cars passing. It may sound like it was all recorded in one go, but there is a piece of 'score' enclosed which suggest the contrary, and that makes it all the more curious. It all makes a pretty decent, not really surprising release. (FdW) Address: http://www.echomusic.gr



EARZUMBA - REAL RUIDO PASTIZO (CDR by Editions_zero)
Christian Dergarabedian is by now more known through his Earzumba than his previous engagement with Reynols, and releases a great bunch of great CDRs. More and more he relies on the sampler to be the crazy melting pot of sounds and here he seems to be taking matters a bit further. From the field recordings of 'Intro' to a heavily cut up reggae collage madness in 'Descuidado'. Spinning vinyl by hand and picking up crazy fragments, and not by strange coincidence Editions_zero remarks that this is a nice soundtrack to a b-movie. I was playing this a couple of times in a row, and each time I turned it back on and discovered new themes in this crazy road movie. It has a strange appeal, this madness, this hotchpotch of music. A strange kind of radio play even when words aren't really used here to any extent. Not even a real story actually now I come to think of it. Turntablism without turntables. A story of no words, but the perfect soundtrack to out and make your own crazy roadmovie. (FdW) Address: http://www.void.gr/absurd


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