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Vital Weekly 577

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It's been about five years since we last from Nad Spiro, also known as Rosa Arruti from Barcelona, Spain, with then her third release 'Nad Spiro's Fightclubbing' (see Vital Weekly 351). Things were by no means quiet for her, as still plays live around the world and doing workshop for children between 6 and 16 years. She however still plays the guitar, sings and feeds it all through software. If you expect a singer-songwriter album, then you couldn't be more wrong. How exactly she does it, is a bit of a mystery, but not much on this new CD sounds like a guitar. Faint traces perhaps, a residue, a string being hit, but throughout Nad Spiro knows how to make things sound like an electronic mass. Previously she was compared to Coil, and that's still stands. The overall atmosphere of this album is best described as moody. No songs of joy and hope, but with Philip K. Dick and David Lynch as your inspirations that is no surprise. On her cover she also mentions 'Low Berliners and Frank Tovey', and yes, it might Bowie's darker side of Low and Heroes or Fad Gadget's early excursions in electronics, even when Nad Spiro's own voice is never really singing, but rather whispering and reciting. It's electronic music that defies a description: dark, moody, but also highly taken by the software involved, so a bit glitch and click n cuts, and then also improvised, poetic and a bit noisy. Nad Spiro blends various inspirations and musical sources together and makes it her own thing, which is quite a nice achievement. (FdW) Address:

ULRICH TROYER - SEHEN MIT OHREN (CD by Transacoustic Research)
It's difficult to imagine to loose one of your senses; I am without smell for some time now, and one gets used to it, but in my case I didn't develop a stronger hearing or seeing sense. If you loose hearing or seeing one usually starts to develop the other remaining sense. Do blind people hear better or more? I am not sure, since I'm not blind. 'Seeing With Ears' is the translation of this new work by Ulrich Troyer, who interviewed six blind people about their perception of architecture, meaning of space and how to get by in the city. He makes a sound collage out of that, alongside with environmental sounds, cars, birds or the subway. A vivid sound picture - excuse le mot. The problem is of course a bit that all the six people speak in German (with an Austrian dialect, as that's where Troyer lives), which makes it for the trained German speaker (like me, not native) not always easy to follow. I rather tended to sit back and enjoy the total of the piece, the speaking of the voices, listening to the sounds while having my eyes closed. I am not sure if this hörspiel is something I would play very often, but for now it made a nice impression. (FdW)

Now here's a band who need little introduction: Alan Licht (guitar), Lee Ranaldo (guitar, electronics), Ulrich Krieger (sax, saxtronics) and Tim Barnes (drums, percussion, electronics). Heavy weights in the world of improvisation, and who probably hardly see a recording studio. Everything they do is improvised and so is this recording: recorded live at Auditorium Concordia in Pordenone, Italy, about two years ago. Like usual, this too was played while screening films by Stan Brackage, although we have no indication as to which films were screened. That is a pity, but not a big problem. Separated from the film, the music stands firm by itself, and it can thoroughly be enjoyed by itself. The 'sonic continuum' is important. Text Of Light bangs on in a loud, forceful way, showing no way back and just speeding ahead. They can burst out in noise, where the saxophone plays occasionally a nasty role and in the more softer parts the guitars are explored with objects and devices. One guitar leaps into a drone, the other continues to bang. In this hour or so work, there isn't a single moment of weakness, a soft spot or something out of place. It's a full hour of sound; loud improvised music. A strong work, but did we expect anything less? (FdW) Address:

The first time we got introduced to the music of Ran Slavin was on his 'Product 02' CD release for the very same label that now releases 'The Wayward Regional Transmissions'. Slavin hails from Israel, where he produces digital music, experimental cinema and video art. On his latest CD he approaches 'Oriental Middle Eastern Music with Abstract Glitch' and to this end he uses in some pieces the BulbulTarang, a three steel string Indian instrument played by Ahuva Ozeri, who was the first female star of Mizrahit music. Another piece uses the Ud, played by Moshe Eliahu. It may seem an odd mixture at work here, but in fact the opposite is true. The minimal patterns played on the traditional instruments mingle quite nicely with the electronic music of Slavin, which is not always glitch like. He employs rhythm through rhythm machines, which he processes by digital means. Of course the hotbed of cracks, hiss, static and such like is present, to make sure that this is the world of glitch. There is however something quite warm about this CD, almost like a lazy tropical afternoon, such as in 'Jericho 6AM' (although the title suggest a different time). The music is not unlike that of Thilges, who have been working on this kind of merging of western digital techniques and middle eastern instruments. This CD fits quite nice the Cronica label, who have been before bringing special themes to the world of glitch and not being an ordinary label for ordinary glitch. Slavin's disc works with traditional approaches, both in computer music and in oriental music but the combination thereof is quite new. Very nice work. (FdW) Address:

HECQ - 0000 (CD by Hymen)
"My motivation as a musician is to process my various influences. A digital diary". The description from the man himself, Benny Boysen, reveals that the German sound artist Benny Boysen knows exactly how to describe his daily impressions into deep expressions that will then again end up as strong impressions on everyone diving into the sea of Hecq. Discreet columns of clicking micro sounds opens the fourth release of Hecq, titled "0000" in quite an inaudible manner, but soon after the track, simply titled "0001" (tracks are titled "0000" - "0018") reaches landscapes of utterly beautiful and warm ambience. A very nice way to welcome the listener to the world of Hecq. If you haven't been introduced to this German wonderboy of IDM, Benny Boysen is respected for his otherworldly blend of IDM, clicks'n'cuts and ambient since his debut album "A dried youth" released on Kaleidoskop in 2003. And this latest album keeps the impressive quality levels of the previous albums. Characterizing "0000" (and the previous albums) is the mixture of longer tracks and the smaller intermezzos building up the atmospheres that saturate the album(s). The works are complex textures of rhythm and sound. But the complexity does not appear as an abstract sonic painting: There is a fine line between complexity and beauty, resulting in a touching album giving plenty of sonic food both for the intellect and the heart of the listener. There is no one like Hecq, and this a certainly a compliment to you, Mr. Boysen! (Niels Mark) Address:

It's of course with some envy that we look to the Swiss: touring the world and making CDs all with 'thanks to Pro Helvetica and the City of Zürich/Popkredit for financial support'. Like a holiday advert. Following 'Signal To Noise Volume 1' (see Vital Weekly 552), here are two further volumes in the series (with two more to come) of recordings made at recent travels of a bunch of Swiss musicians. Volume two is by Tomas Korber on guitar and electronics, Christian Weber on contrabass and Katsura Yamauchi on saxophone, recorded at the great location of YCAM in Yamaguchi, Japan. In the first piece the three players play by the mighty book of silence: a sound here, silence, a sound there, some careful blow, a hiss, a crack and a strum. This is nice music for sure, but it's also a bit predictable. Maybe they arranged it like that, or perhaps it was the start of the evening? In their second and last things are much more free and open. Sound is more present and each of the individual instruments are more easily to be recognized. It seems as if mistakes are allowed in here, which make a less subtle piece, but I liked the open ended character of this one. A great piece and one that is good. Not a bad score.
Volume Three is in an entirely different world. Here we find Jason Kahn (analog synthesizer, percussion), Norbert Möslang (cracked everyday electronics) and Günter Müller (ipod, percussion, electronics) with recordings made, again at YCAM and also at Tokyo University. Of course we know Kahn and Müller as people that play some highly introspective music, it's however Möslang who takes both players by the hand and lead them into a wholly new area: that of rhythmic music - back to the roots of both Kahn and Müller as it were. Möslang introduces Pan Sonic like rhythms made out of cracking everyday electronics as a carpet for the others to play their likewise more rhythmic outings. It cracks, sizzles, hisses in every inch of the sound spectrum. Densely layered, but always held together by the ongoing rhythm. Even some 'real' percussion is to be recognized in here. This may have caused a ripple or two in the audience, if they were true lovers of improvised music, since the ongoing rhythm is a very uncommon feature in that area. The very particles of the separate sounds could make a great minimal dance piece, again not unlike Pan Sonic, but these three players stay away from that, keeping it safely floating around in a more free improvised setting, which is a great move. (FdW)

It's been a while, even a long while since I last heard music by Putrefier. Perhaps close to say fifteen years? Things went dark for both Putrefier and Birthbiter, their own label, but this LP marks the glorious return. Putrefier and The New Blockaders, both bands consisting of a single person, team up for quite an interesting work - and one that doesn't carry the word 'final' in there somewhere, like it's used with the blockaders in the past ten years. This is noise music for sure, but one of an entirely different order than what we know as such - or at least, they move into a territory that is a waste land (next to the overcrowded land of people with distortion pedals). Putrefier sounded, in my memory, like a good solid copy of Ramleh in the old days, and feedback was also on the daily digest of The New Blockaders. Here however they go back to the very early days of the blockaders, using acoustic objects and field recordings. They rumble about in their shed, kicking boxes, stumbling upon metal and other sonic detris (roof tiles and sewing machines are mentioned). True noise! Not because it's just plain loud - it's not - but because it defies the laws of music. They don't care about such as 'structure', 'composition' or even 'improvisation', let alone 'loud music'. They create a noise without a point, without beauty (or ugliness for that matter) - anti music by it's real definition. The more common territory of noise is on a CDR that comes with the first 100 copies. Here feedback plays a role, but also other loud elements, which are merely the result of close miking and motorized objects. It's the other side of the same coin. Perhaps a more common ground, but one that fits the noise tag better - well, to some of the more conservative minds. I can imagine that those who call themselves true noise lovers will raise an eyebrow and dismiss this as a joke but I think it's a pretty strong and pretty daring statement of noise. A great LP! (FdW)
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DESERT SPACE (3 CDR compilation by Tosom)
No doubt the target for this compilation is not me. With sheer endless amounts of music delivered to the HQ, it's slightly an impossible task to go through three CDRs, filled to the top with music - that is some 350 minutes of music. If I understood correctly, there is a sort of thematic approach to this music: desert. An empty place, arabic but also the site for atom bomb testing. A theme with many approaches possible, although the emphasis seem to lie in the ambient approach, most of the times, but occasionally also noise based. I put on these CDRs one after each other, picked up a big book and started reading, while playing these musics in the background (I know, it should not be done that way), without caring too much as to whose track is what here. Occasionally I raised an eyebrow when things were a bit abrasive, but that was only very occasionally. Most of the time this was a pleasant trip through vast empty music. The track listing reads as a who's who in the field of CDR business. To many names to name all, but included are Aidan Baker, Oophoi, Netherworld, Tesendalo, Feu Follet, Atrox, Cria Cuervos and loads of people I never heard of. Much like the big box cassette compilations of the 80s (see 'Thee Book' or 'Sex & Bestiality'), this is quite an useful overview of some of the more interesting underground artists of today. Quite an achievement. (FdW) Address:

(3"CDR by Dead Sea Liner)
A short peek at the website of Dead Sea Liner learns us they released a bunch of CDRs, mostly by people I never heard of, such as Textured Bird Transmission, Cel, Another Enough Chairs, Damno Te but also Thirdorgan, Bjerga/Iversen and Mutant Ape. The three releases on this desk are all by people I never heard of and unfortunally the website is not very helpfull in providing us with information. The label describes their music as 'drone, noise, lo-fi' and that seems to me a very appt description of what it is.
Whoever Black Sparrow is, we don't know. There are four lengthy pieces on 'Legs Heavy With Pollen' of, indeed, drone and noise recorded in a lo-fi manner. Sligthly distorted humming, part tribal sort of chanting and wooden percussion. All of which seem to me recorded by lowest form possible, in order to enhance (!) the lo-fi tag on this. I could all to easily assume Black Sparrow are from New Zealand (which they are most likely not), but it has that certain quality of lo-fi which is always so charming about the anti-podes and that is also charming about Black Sparrow. Nice one.
One more track has the release by (VxPxC), a trio of Justin McInteer, Grant Capes and Tim Goodwillie. They too have learned the recording skills down under, but play music of a somewhat different kind. Their drones are played on an organ, alongside with percussion - I would tend to think two of them play percussion and one the organ. Occasionally there is some sort of vocal use, which might go down as singing. A guitar is played in 'Gentle Rolling' - which serves the title well - it's gentle rumble rolling here. All recorded in 'Echo Park, Los Angeles, California', but it sounds still like a shed. This is the American leg of the world wide movement of lo-fi noise makers (and of course the country where all of this music is hailed as the next masters of the genre). Also alright this one, but not as great as Black Sparrow.
One track only on R.S.R. and not even a single piece of information beyond the title, label name/number and labelwebsite. Here it's full on drone and noise, and from a source that is kept well hidden, in the black box maybe. Or maybe it's a black box that produces the sounds? A heavy weight piece of, let's assume here for a while played on a bunch of guitars, feeding through a wall of amplifiers and colored boxes, this piece actually moves back and forth all the time. It changes throughout in shape, color and weight. A highly psychedelic piece of music, but not for the space heads, only for those who carry the weight of noise. Perhaps the best of these three. (FdW) Address:

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