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Vital Weekly 573

img  Tobias

Behind Pandatone is the man who also runs the label Music Related, but his debut album was three years ago on Neo Ouija and his main interest back then was 'computer processing of his acoustic guitar'. I must admit I didn't hear that record, but the guitar is still a present feature on 'Happy Together', but it's expanded with the use of voices, male and female, slow trip like rhythms, samples, field recordings and a synth here and there. Maybe the 'slow trip rhythms' may already give a clue what this is about: slow trip hop like music, and especially when there is the voice Julianna Barwick, thoughts go out to Portishead or Antenne. But that's only half the story. The music part is actually quite interesting. Pandatone loves sound: from real instruments, but also found sound, tape-hiss, contact microphones scratching the surface and the eight tracks may form a unity in approach towards composition, there is enough small, experimental things happening all around which make this a highly enjoyable CD. At times the influence of Tujiko Noriko can be heard - both in music and the use of voice - but in his songs Pandatone is much tighter and more concise than the sometimes somewhat free formed songs of Noriko. Melancholically music for sure, but with a nice sunlight coming in. It's a very nice CD, subtle, emotional and just great. (FdW) Address:

K. LEIMER - THE USELESS LESSON (CD by Palace Of Light Records)
As a follow-up to Taylor's previous release 'Voiceband Jilt' (see Vital Weekly 526), here is another example of his music which he makes using a piece of software developed by Cycling 74 called Radial. Like before, this new release is recorded live. Before he used the 'Invalid Object' series as the source, here it's all gamelan music, which he spins around. He uses synthesis, looping, sampling and such like to process the gamelan sounds, but the original is deceivingly recognizable. I say deceivingly since it's not always the 'real' thing is listen carefully. It doesn't have the immediateness of the original gamelan music (of which I am not an expert), but Taylor brings the sounds to another level. A highly ambient level, seemingly not moving very fast at all, and he makes the gamelan sounding as wind-chimes, creating richly textured music that floats by nicely. Since the weather is great, and I am listening this with doors open, in early evening, the music mixes nicely with the bird calls, and if I close my eyes I can even think I am in Indonesia, on a trip that hallucinogenic of all sorts of substances. 'Amalgam: Alumininum/Hydrogen' is a great successor to the previous release. Again nothing new under the sun, but it makes more coherent ambient album.
'Statistical Truth' was the 'come-back' album by K. Leimer (see Vital Weekly 533) after many years of silence - at least to these ears. It was a great album, and luckily not the-album-in-a-decade release I was afraid of, since about 10 months later there is 'The Useless Lesson', which deals with two kind of pieces: one set of pieces is composed for a string trio and the other part are the more 'classic' pieces of ambient music which we know Leimer best for. One could easily think that these will bite each other, but in his string trio pieces, Leimer plays slow music, loaded with empathy and melancholy and as such there is not too much break with his original electronic ambient music. Here he introduces also rhythm, which I didn't hear him exploring as before and sometimes he mixes the strings with the electronics. In that sense, Leimer creates a wonderful varied CD, with all sorts of atmospheric mood music from all sides of the coin. 'Statistical truth' was a good come-back album, but also the classic Leimir, on 'The Useless Lesson' he re-invites his music, creating new possibilities and makes quite a step forward. (FdW)

Field recordings can be used in various ways, but the most common one is to record sounds inside/outside and put this into a new context by adding other sounds or taking the field recordings into a new direction. Less common used, for no good reason it seems to me, is to go outside and record your music as part of the nature. I believe that is what one Benjamin Bondonneau (clarinet) and one Fabrice Charles (trombone) do on their double CD 'Dordogne', named after that lovely country-side in France. Not all of the tracks were recorded outside, but some where, and added is a bit of water, the natural reverb of cave or some street sounds. That makes an interesting thing. The music Bondonneau and Charles play is of a highly improvised nature, sometimes perhaps a bit too regular, but they too play sometimes their instruments as objects, which is quite nice. Together this is an interesting bunch of music, however it must be said that two discs is a bit long. When all the more onkyo pieces that involve field recordings were put together than it would have made up a great single CD, now it also involves some pieces that are just a little bit lesser in quality. (FdW) Address:

Earlier this month a little greek boy named Orion became one year old, and this is celebrated with the release of this CD by Kiwako Kaneda, from Japan. I never heard of her (him?), but it's music in the best Tujiko Noriko tradition. Frail, intimate, with toy like instruments, and childish vocals. The somewhat lengthy title piece is perhaps the odd ball in this collection for it's ambient music pur sang, whereas the others hoover in the Noriko areas of music. Of course I should bring this CD to my sometimes day occupation of baby-sitter and test the waters on a two year old and see what his reactions are. I think it's all a bit too sweet for my taste, but then I may not entirely be the target group for music like this. If Noriko or the acts on Happy are you thing, then this must be too. (FdW) Address:

The big band improvisation is getting more and more popular. I noticed this before, with Mimeo, Plains and Freq_out, we now also have Grosse Abfahrt. Named after a catastrophe with a zeppelin about a century ago, this is a big band: Serge Baghdassarians (electronics), Boris Baltschun (electronics), Chris Brown (piano, electronics), Tom Djill (trumpet), Matt Ingalls (clarinet), Tim Perkins (electronics), Gino Robair (analogue synthesizer) and John Shiurba (guitar). They all improvise their way through the pieces, and what was noted with Plains, can also be said here: it seems that the bigger the band, the quieter the music is, or perhaps it's just a matter of low volume mastering. They have four lengthy pieces and one short one here, and it's quite an affair of subtleness. Feedback like sounds, scratching the surface of guitar and wind instruments, crackles and peeps, this demands a big form of concentration, that is quite rewarding in the end. Parallels can be drawn to the music to that of MEV or AMM, and less to the bands above, mainly due to somewhat more extensive use of acoustic sound sources. It's a marriage that works well, the meeting of electronic and acoustic sounds, and it makes this not really an easy CD, but certainly a most rewarding one. (FdW) Address:

UNTITLED (3CD compilation by Public Guilt/UndeRadar/Epicene Sound Systems)
This is not an easy task. Three CDs, making up some three hours of music, with no less than fifty-five names. It's released by three labels, and I am not sure if each label curated their own CD, or that they all collected pieces which were then put into one whole. Housed in a nice box, this might be to some a most welcome introduction to the world of noise, experimental and drone music - in that order. Although much of the fifty-five stem from the USA, we also come across swiss acts as Strotter Inst and Herpes O Deluxe and Japanese Guilty Connector. On the USA side we recognize names as Thurston Moore, John Wiese, Gerritt, Jason Zeh, ultra//vires, Destructo Swarmbots, Panicsville, The Cherry Point Donna Parker, Burning Star Core and Mike Shiflet. So we can safely say that the majority of the names are new to us. In that respect this is a gold mine for (would-be) labelowners. Get this and pick out your favorites to release on your label. As said noise is the main thing on this release, and there are some loud beasts here. But there is also some more interesting explorations of the genre of noise, with some better listenable and more imaginative results. These are the more interesting pieces on this compilation. After three hours things sort of burned in my head and it was no easy to re-collect which pieces were the nice ones and which were a bit less. But if you wonder about Door, Teeth Collection, Sick III Cell, Heirs Of Rockefeller, Back From Iraq or Perfect Teeth and all those others sound like, this is one hell of treasure box. (FdW) Address:

GERRITT - PROOF OF POWERS (LP by Misanthrophic Agenda)
The full name is Gerritt Wittmer, but as Gerritt he is around for some time now, and has worked with the best from his area: Sunn 0))), John Wiese, Yellow Swans, Bastard Noise and Merzbow, either in direct collaboration, remixing, doing split releases or releases on Wittmer's own Misanthrophic Agenda label. A busy bee, in which his own music plays the smallest part. On 'Proof Of Powers' he however shows his best capacities in producing noise. As always we don't know what it is that he does, but I must admit I quite enjoy Gerritt's music. It made me think of a bunch of reel-to-reel machines playing loops at high speed, slowed down voices on the same reels, some sound effects, a cassette being fast forward and such like more lo-fi qualities in producing noise (unlike say: bash a plate metal and feed it on end through two distortion pedals), which is something that brings out various good memories here. The opening piece on the b-side reminded me of The Haters, whereas the following track of Henry Chopin. Gerritt's noise is not one that is a straightforward blast of feedback, but one that can be described as intelligent, thoughtful and above all, nice. I wish there were more people like this, working with similar techniques and thoughts. (FdW)

POCKA - UHRWERK (CDR by The Hand Work Press)
The Hand Work Press is being handled by Matt Borgi and is in fact a real hand press machine. It made the nice cover for the release by Pocka, 'Uhrwerk'. Or perhaps 'Pocka' by Uhrwerk. I am not entirely sure but I think Borghi is also responsible for the music. Before I though Borghi was part of the synth scene such as Matthias Grassow, but the previous release, 'Images' (Vital Weekly 471) showed a deepened interest in rhythm in his music. Here on 'Uhrwerk' he returns to the old ambient styled works of 'Washout' (see Vital Weekly 417), but perhaps in an even more minimalist vein. Per track he touches upon a few sounds, a chord or two, and keeps that going for some time. Maybe the 'Uhrwerk' (clockwork) stopped, or perhaps it's a metaphor for standing still and contemplate? The music as such is a perfect tool for such meditations. Nothing much happens here, but that is absolutely not the idea of this music. Relax, empty your mind and float gently down the stream, and enjoy this nice Eno-esque trip. Nothing new, but bright as a star. (FdW)

The Editions Zero label always finds me artists which I never heard like Antoine Chessex, who turns out to be a player of the tenor saxophone, some effect pedals and a guitar amplifier. Welcome, once again, to the land of improvised noise. In 1993 I saw Borbetomagus play: two saxophone players and a guitarist, who blew me literally away. Unbelievable loud music. Everything I tried to play some of their music on record or CD I was disappointed since it never captured the same intensity on a record. Maybe something similar happens here. Chessex is a capable producer of improvised noise music, and I never seen him play live, but no doubt it's unbelievable loud music. Yet these five pieces may not have captured the true intensity of the music. It's surely great, as were Borbetomagus recordings, but I sure like to check this guy out in a live concert. Perhaps soon somewhere. (FdW)

MACHINEFABRIEK - STOFSTUK (businesscard CDR by Machinefabriek)
If you release a CDR here and there and wonder why fame hasn't met you yet, you should start to study to methods of Machinefabriek. Still throwing out CDRs he produces himself, but a little check of his website will learn you he's by now gaining quite a reputation and forthcoming releases are due on many different labels around the world. Plus he plays his socks off live. Classical example of self-promotion paying off. For the graduation project of Yvette Geelen, he recorded 'Stofstuk' ('dust piece'), using a singing bowl, a contact mic, a vinyl record and a laptop. It's the refined Machinefabriek sound. Slowly building drones, fading out, a few crackles - dust under the needle - and slowly building up again but taking a different shape. A short but delightful piece, Machinefabriek at his best. And perhaps I am not at liberty to tell, but 'Stofstuk' is also the basic material for a forthcoming remix project. No doubt interested parties should start the bidding. (FdW)

This is already the second DVD-R release by Scott Foust, main hero of XX Comitee, Idea Fire Company, Swill Radio and solo artist - universal genius. In the first 'The Four Accomplishments' he had his solo theatre piece, here it's a new solo show, the premiere of it at The Gladtree Festival in March 2007. It starts out with bird twitter and Foust reading a text (best line is about why he doesn't like improvised music: "would want to cross a bridge that was improvised this afternoon?"), which is barely audible, but it has subtitles. Followed by a piece of motion action, or what some other people would refer to as 'dancing'. The final act is a piece for voice and radio, the instrument that Foust so masterfully controls. Filmed from one camera position with the sound not always being that great, this is however a great film. But alright, I am biased towards Foust (who says about 'The Hero': "I wanted 'The Hero' to rely less on theatrical devices and more on my outstanding personality and performance skills"), as I think he's a genius - although I may have said so. He looks great in his red suit. The DVD-R format to document such important events, even when not of the highest standard is well spend on the work of Foust. The hero of our time. (FdW)

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

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