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Vital Weekly 580

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12K's compilation 'Blueprints' (see Vital Weekly 550) was supposed to be the stepping stone of a bunch of newly signed artists. Pjusk was the first to do their debut (Vital Weekly 575) and now it's time for Jodi Cave from the UK. Unlike Pjusk, Cave did leave an impression on the compilation, with some musique concrete inspiration composition. On 'For Myria' this is continued, but incorporated in a more musical setting. Cave is capable of handling many instruments, such as harmonium, clarinet and guitar, which he waves along side field recordings, stones, scraps of metal, some of the recording at close range: the musique concrete element. Seven pieces, somewhere between nine and two minutes. The good news is that Cave plays some mighty fine music. The combination of the music side with the concrete sounds works fine. The downside is that there is not much difference between this and so many others. It's almost if there is a blueprint (pun intended) out there, follow these seven steps to create  this type of music. As such I really didn't hear much new in the work of Jodi Cave. But as someone recently asked me wether it's really necessary to have something new going on all the time, or that it's my own person who wants that (perhaps as a result of hearing so much of everything). That is a valid question, I think, and one I can't answer too easily. Indeed it might be the overkill of this (as well as other kinds of music, say noise) kind of music that makes me a bit harsh on what is released as such, but I realize one can't always be original. Perhaps for some people, and maybe Jodi Cave is such a person, it's good enough to make some music which is just nice to hear. Cave certainly made such as CD. It's well made, sounds great, but alas is not the most original one. (FdW)

Melon Expander's third release is by Points Of Friction, following releases by Joseph Hammer and Solid Eye. Forthcoming releases include other members of both Solid Eye and Points Of Friction. I mention this to point out that it arrives from a lively scene: Los Angeles. All of these people and bands have existed since the late 70s when they were all loosely (or less loosely) associated with the Los Angeles Free Music Society label. Points Of Friction released two cassettes in the 80s, which were released on CD and CDR in 2002 and 2004, by which time they gathered again and started anew. Points Of Friction's line up is now Tim Alexander (prepared zither, wooden bowl, electronics, birdcage, toys, spring-loaded mechanisms), Damian Bisciglia (metal sculpture, psaltry, birdcage, digital piano, sampler, electronics), Mitchell Brown (arp synth, ring modulator, electronics, birdcage, tape loops), Joseph Hammer (real time tape loop manipulations) and Kenny Ryman (turntables, loops, zither, thumb piano, electronics). Perhaps needles to say, but Points Of Friction play all improvised music and with such as extended line up, this is quite massive. Massive in a sense that silence is not apparently not allowed in this music. There is always, so it seems, at least two things happening at the same time. They like to feed their sounds through various delay lines, which makes this sound altogether continuos affairs, sometimes it's a bit too much, but at the same time it also makes very vibrant music. The tape-loops bounce sound back and forth, sounds pop in and out of the mix, electronic and acoustic alike, and there is no instrument that takes on a lead. In a totally democratic fashion everything that is possible, also happens. Two longer and three shorter pieces of tape manipulation form the right sized album of this kind of music, which, in the old days would have made a great LP. In a way Points Of Friction sound like the old LAFMS bands did, but they also upgraded their
sound to the new millennium. They play like children, but it's a great recording, spliced together with great care and style. (FdW)

EDWARD KASPEL - DREAM LOGIK (CD by Beta lactam-ring records)
(CD by Beta lactam-ring records)
THE SILVERMAN - STATE OF UNION (CD by Beta lactam-ring records)
BLRR is vastly becoming the purveyor of Edward Ka-Spel music. Dream Logik Part 1 is his new studio solo album. True to the gorgeous artwork (a very lavish thick book-like high-gloss full-cover cover) the album starts off equally gorgeous with the Twin Peaks-like spoken introduction Threshold. From that point on Dream Logik is a rollercoaster of sounds and ideas. These mostly work out great. Songs like Harvester with its slow rhythm and spoken word, the beautiful yet harrowing songs Good Life and And The Stars are among Ka-Spel's best. Unfortunately, this does not count for The 9 O'Clock Train To Oblivion, which does not manage to hold the interest like the previously mentioned songs. The same goes for Revolution 834, which is like its more famous Beatle counterpart, only, well, less fab. With these two exceptions, Dream Logik Part 1 is an intriguing addition to the Ka-Spel catalogue, and far more impressive and interesting than the somewhat directionless Fragments Of Illumina. Dream Logik part 1 is a bleak and highly personal album, full of confusion. "I could not find the doorway" Ka-Spel sings on the beautiful collage-like track Laughing Gas. That is exactly how this album sounds.
In BLRR's very successful Black Series Melancholicus Anonymus is a great addition. Here we get a series of previously released tracks as well as the obligatory unreleased bonus track, all recorded between 2000-2007. The CD begins with Clara Rockmore Dog, one of my personal favorite tracks. Somewhere between a children's nighttime story and a bizarre twisted tale, Ka-Spel's deep sonorous voice tells the story of two dogs who both meet their fate to a background of whizzing and whirling sounds. There is more spoken word with added abstract background in the form of the 20 minute The Evidence Of Absence from the LP of the same title. Clara Rockmore's Dog b-side Stars On Some Days features some beautiful reverberated piano. The CD also includes two tracks previously released on 10-inch gallery edition albums Meltdown and Complex, both of which sell for quite a lot of money on the internet. Whereas Meltdown features the ambient/abstract soundscape you've come to expect, Complex is a beautiful short-spoken word wonder. The unreleased track is Karis In The Spring, which is another ambient piece of work with distorted keyboards. A treat therefore for the Ka-Spel completist.
Although not as productive as his Pink Dot-compadre, The Silverman aka Phil Knight has released some amazing albums. My personal favorites remains State Of Union, which was previously released as a CDR on the Dots private label. This re-release on BLRR features all tracks from the original release including a, you guessed it, a bonus track (not a leftover, but a beautiful full length excursion). State Of Union contains beautiful ambient meditative music, well played and well produced and, on the BLRR release, with considerably less hiss than on the original release. Nothing like the Dots' music, State Of Union is like a cosmic dreamscape, at times like mid 70's synthesizer ambience and if you think that sounds naf - you're wrong. This is a beautiful record that deserves to be heard (again). All these come in gorgeous drawn covers by Jesse Peper. An artist in his own right. (FdW) Address:

ZONK'T - -TROPE (CD by Sound On Probation)
In recent times the name Laurent Perrier pops up quite regularly: either under his one name, or as Heal or Zonk't. Here it is the Zonk't hat again, and once again he changes the parameters of his sound. On his first (not reviewed in Vital Weekly) it was in the trip hop/illbient fashion of DJ Spooky, on 'Purr' it was the minimalism of Bretschneider and Pan Sonic but now on '-Trope' he combines these along side a lot of other dance music influences, such as techno, ambient house, hip hop, more dub, intelligent dance music or glitchy clicks 'n cuts. All played on a blend of analogue and digital instruments. One could all too easily think that this mixture of styles would lead to a CD that is too scattered, but its this variation that makes this a highly enjoyable CD - for home listening, I must add. Somehow I don't see the mass on the dance floor going crazy for one of these tracks or even a live concert - there the varied palette of Zonk't would work against it, but at home this
hotchpotch of dance styles would make a fine listen. (FdW)

MIMEO - SIGHT (CD by Cathnor)
Although I don't like to do big quotes, I must quote a large section of what is written on the website about 'Sight' by Mimeo: "For the sight project each of the eleven members of MIMEO spread across Europe were asked to place approximately five minutes of sound anywhere they chose onto a blank sixty minute CDR. This was done independently of one another, with no communication between the musicians about how or where the music should be distributed on the disc. This process was only completed after the musicians had spent considerable time considering the task at hand, trying to understand what their colleagues may be doing. Finally in late 2006 the finished CDRs were sent to one group member, Marcus Schmickler, who then compiled all eleven discs onto one single CDR, superimposing the eleven pieces of music over each other to create a single work. This task was completed without listening to the music at any stage."  So, did that then include just one CDR with a contribution of each of the Mimeo members, or was this process repeated a number of times, perhaps as many as there are members? This latter is suggested by the fact that Marcus Schmickler 'superimposed' it. Or perhaps he did a blind mix, just like Cy Twombly does occasionally blindfold drawing? Mimeo is a large ensemble of improvisers of which membership can run up to twenty-four members. Here however it's limited to about half of them: Gert-Jan Prins, Thomas Lehn, Kaffe Matthews, Peter Rehberg, Jerome Noetinger, Marcus Schmickler, Christian Fennesz, Phil Durrant, Rafael Toral, Cor Fuhler and Keith Rowe. Whatever sort of conceptual approach was used, it's of course the music that matters here. Mimeo is, by being a large ensemble, a well coordinated troupe of musicians. All of the members have a long history in improvisation and this experience is brought into Mimeo. Be quiet when necessary, make a sound when it fits in. Of course in this case, the all random approach, it might be a total miss (or a total hit), but I think it works out quite well, for the most part. Mimeo is at times a noisy beast. when things shake and burst around, but at other times it's really quiet and only a few sounds can be heard or even enter lengthy blocks of silence. Throughout it's hard to tell what it is that they are doing and unless you know that say Gert-Jan Prins uses radio and cables and Lehn a EMS synthi A or Rowe a guitar, then it is possible, perhaps to trace back specific sounds to specific people. Again, not that that is of real importance either. The arbitrary nature of this recording seems pretty low and it could in fact be the result of a composing, rather than just a random ploy. This is an excellent CD! (FdW) Address:

David Moufang, also known as Move D, is one of the regular visitors to the small catalogue of Bine Music. Here he comes with a superlong CD of a recording made at the Johanneskirche on september 10th of year unknown. Move D is, to me at least, best known for his work on Fax Records, and that's where I place him: ambient techno with jazzy touch. Perhaps I invented the jazzy touch upon hearing this live recording. Deep space synthesizers, jazzy keyboard lines, a jumpy rhythm and an acid style bass line. The first time I played this was early, very early morning at a considerable low volume, and then the ambient character of this record came out quite well, but later on when I turned up the volume a bit the rhythm part turned out to change these pieces a little bit and made me quite cheery. Best be heard in one go, I think, while lying down and relaxing - no doubt like the audience did when they saw and heard the original concert. Quite nice, but at the same time, also quite out of date style wise, as there was a time when there was a lot of this kind of ambient dance music. But Move D certainly is one of the better players. (FdW) Address:

MARSEN JULES - GOLDEN (CD by Genesungswerk)
TARKATAK - MORMOR (CD by Genesungswerk)
Strangely enough Vital Weekly did review a bunch of releases by Marsen Jules before, but not his two albums on City Centre Offices, and that's probably where most people know him from. Jules, or Martin Juls as his real name is, hails from Dortmund and started working as Krill Minima, having releases on Genesungswerk, Thinner and Autoplate. His work is not easy to describe, but it's partly rooted in ambient music, partly in electronic music. Jules likes a melodic and dramatic touch. For his latest album "Golden" he returns home, to Genesungswerk, and while it's not easy for me to compare this with the two previous records he did, I must say this is a pretty strong album. Jules plays guitar, piano and electronics - and probably in this order. The electronics are kept to a minimum - glitches in the background, rhythmic, supportive and never asking for the lead in the music. That role is for guitar and piano - both on an equal level. They play minimal melodic touches - more like poetic thoughts and gestures than well rounded compositions. Highly atmospheric music at work here. Defying the notion of ambient (too much glitch) and microsound (too musical by any standard), this is also a work of non-dance music, as one could perhaps expect based on his City Centre Offices connection. Folky, poppy, electronic, those are the keywords, but in a more modern classical setting. The name Durutti Column popped up. Great work.
Tarkatak is Lutz Pruditsch, who works under this name since 1994, and who has released a whole bunch obscure CDRs, cassettes, 7" and a LP. 'Mormor' is his first real CD, and it's about time it happened. Since long he is ready to conquer the world of ambient drone music. It's been a while since I last heard music by Tarkatak, and I associated his music before with analogue synthesizers, e-bow, guitars and effects. When a switch over was made I don't know, but there definitely was one, since 'Mormor' sounds far more digital than anything I heard from him. Tarkatak's music is still highly atmospheric, but much more sparse these days. Each of the four long pieces is built around just a few loops, which Tarkatak plays around with, changing the color of them, getting them out of sync and back in sync again, and such like, and creates a wonderful textured sound. There are times when 'Mormor' reminded me of Taylor Deupree, but then a bit more dark, but it has the same relaxed feeling to it. But there is also the featuring of rhythm, which is also an entirely aspect, certainly when it comes down to stripped down techno rhythms. Quite a break with the past, I think and quite a step forward. Including is a film for one of the tracks, which depicts the sea and the sand, along with a lonely man - the sort of film you'd expect with this lonesome music. Great CD, and hopefully bringing him some more recognition. (FdW)

MATT WESTON - RASHAYA (CD by 7272 Music)
7272 Music is a new label for artists that are best presented in small formats. So they plan to release eps and singles only. The first two releases come from Matt Weston, a drummer and improvisor from Chicago. He played with maestro Jack Wright, Ken Vandermark, Jim O'Rourke and many others. But he seems above all to climb the stage for solo performances as a drummer/percussionist. Besides drums, he uses bells and a limited set of other other objects. Also Weston plays electronics. Listening to both minicds is is evident that a true innovator is at work here. Weston has an extensive vocabulary, and weaves nice textures in a post-AMM style. His improvisations have a strong drive and sound very fresh and to the point. In contrast to his subtle drumming is his use of electronics. Especially on 'Resistant Cruisers' we hear him play some primitive and harsh noise. But effective and funny it is. Weston is a very self-consciousness player who knows what he wants, as make these crystal clear improvisations evident. Good stuff. (Dolf Mulder) Address:

The website by Circle Six shows a handful of releases, but what they are about, is hard to say. 'Night In Kansas' is his latest and looking the fourteen titles, they all deal with driving through Kansas (according to his myspace site, this is the place Circle Six is from), because we get songs like 'Driving Into Kansas', 'Night In Kansas', '70 MPH' to end with 'Now Leaving Kansas' (and curiously not 'I Have A Feeling Where Not In Kansas Anymore'), but wether these sounds used on the songs deal with Kansas, or driving cars, is a bit unclear. Don't let the list of influences distract you. The music has little or nothing to with The Cure, Skinny Puppy, Future Sound Of London, Numb or Richard Devine (let alone Kant, Nietzsche or Marx). Just what it is that Circle Six is not entirely clear. There is, I think, electronics involved, sampling and such like, of field recordings, which are knitted in a somewhat obscure mass of sound, which is a bit amorphe. It seems partly improvised and partly worked out. Dwelling on old industrial music, but in a richer and more atmospheric textured environment. Not every moment on this almost seventy minute release is of similar interest, but Circle Six creates some interesting moody textures from the underbelly of the underworld - which might be an apt description for Kansas (how would I know?) - and there are only a handful copies available. That's too bad as it would certainly appeal to more than thirty. (FdW) Address:

SKY BURIAL - SB IV (3"CDR by Silken Tofu)
On the lovely little label Silken Tofu from Belgium two new releases, and the label expands their horizon across the ocean with two bands/projects from the USA. Sewer Goddess is new to me and he hails from New Hampshire. Among his instruments he lists "Boss RC-20 / Boss ME-50 / Eurorack MX 802A / Korg Electribe Em-l / FX 55c pedal / FX 86b pedal / Line6 pedal / ANALOG Tascam Ports02mk11 / Contact mic / Mic", which, me no gear freak, seems like a simple line up to produce some effective noise, judging from the musical content of this twenty minute release. Much reverb is used for a set of crude tones, barbaric drones with a gothic undertone. Especially the use of reverb put me off I must admit, since it's something that one should use with care, and not to create an artificial depth or tension that was not in the music in the first place. It's alright but it sounds a bit too much like a copy of music on Old Europa Cafe to me.
Micheal Page's Sky Burial project is a busy off-shoot of his likewise busy Fire In The Head project and as such he has produced a bunch of releases, some of which made into Vital Weekly. His musical development is going quick, and the eighteen minute piece covered here is a true beauty of dark, atmospherical music. Build around samples of an obscure nature, perhaps field recordings or collapsing sheets of metal, he depicts a dark world or maybe an occult ritual taking place. Horror film soundtrack would be an option if he ever wants to make serious bucks from his music. Still heavily in depth with the likes of early Lustmord, a much louder version of Zoviet France or a much softer early Controlled Bleeding, the choice to put on one lengthy piece is a good decision. It gives his music the opportunity to develop beyond the song format and grow into the heavy beast it's now. It works quite well and it's definitely a road to explore further. (FdW)

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