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Vital Weekly 583

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You could think this is a cunning marketing plan: 'Leave Your Wet Brain In The Hot Sun' by Warmth was already released and reviewed in Vital Weekly (489), but you need to know that Warmth was called Roxanne Jean Polise back then, the label was Audiobot and the edition of was 80 copies. Now it's Warmth, a real CD and 1000 copies are available. Behind either name is one Steev Thompson and I have no idea why he did change the name of his project, but it's unlikely to be a cunning marketing plan. Back then I wrote: "I think Roxanne Jean Polise are from the USA and it's pretty hard to describe what is going on their release. It's pretty dark music that seems to me sampled together from various musical sources, mainly guitars but also some classical music. In the first piece this leads to a dense modern classical piece, but in the second (all untitled of course) it feeds through a bunch of distortion pedals, pilling up into noise. The third track starts out in an almost ambient mood, which grows and grows with the use of skipping vinyl and sound effects slowly into what could be an uncontrollable noise beast, but the backbone stays present until things explode at the end. File under: fairly intelligent noise." On the CD version there are also two bonus tracks, making up about thirty minutes of extra music. One of these pieces, 'Thank You Cloud. Fuck You Dear Fly' is quite a noisy bugger, which breaks the more gentle clouds that were the first three tracks, but the last one makes things up in similar vein as the first three, and thus tops of a great CD. A very wise decision to release this as a CD. (FdW) Address:

GOEM - ROBBED (CD by Small Voices)
Originally Goem used to be a trio of Frans de Waard, Roel Meelkop and Peter Duimelinks, and while they still exist as a trio, there have been several solo and duo releases by the various members under the name of Goem, the latest being a solo work by Roel Meelkop. All the source sounds for 'Robbed' were sampled from one single CD; we are told that the details should remain secret, but except for the conceptual delight and above all the fun of wondering what it could be (mainstream pop? A rock hero? 1990s Euro trash dance?), it doesn't really matter anyway, since it seems next to impossible to trace back the origin of the sounds and they can well stand on their own. Goem's trademark is the straightforward rhythmic pulse, but it's probably needless to say here that the music isn't fully suitable for the dance floor. This doesn't mean, however, that the music on 'Robbed' is devoid of groove. The tracks are based on short loops, consisting of one or two recurring elements, which go through varying combinations, and the resulting rhythmic patterns offer a taste of minimal funk that thrives greatly on the strictly repetitive character of the music. The overall sound is of remarkable digital warmth and fullness, and far away from the standard vocabulary of clicks cum sine waves. Cleverly switching between up- and down-tempo passages, Roel Meelkop achieves a nice balance between various moods. Some of the tracks evoke a relaxed, at times even dub-like feeling, while others include odd contrasting elements, which give them an insistent, driving character. Goem's music is well structured and demands repeated listening to discover the complex micro-variations within the rhythmic patterns; but what makes 'Robbed' truly likeable is that it succeeds in blending these characteristics with a swinging, thoroughly pleasant overall atmosphere. (Magnus Schaefer) Address:

After a bit of silence Bottrop-boy started up again, changing the look of the label, in favor of highly handmade covers, which look nice, and no doubt will drive some to craziness (not to mention the limited availability of 250 copies). I have kept up only a bit with Sunroof, or in fact Matthew Bower's entire career, and it's not out of laziness, but there is only so much you can keep up with. I liked Skullflower a lot, Total was a lot less, but Sunroof was again great. The differences between the latter too are in the details, I guess. If you would have played me 'Spitting Gold Zebras' and asked me to guess which of Bowers names he was using, I would have probably guessed it would be Total. Maybe it's my lack of knowledge or the differences are in the details. The fact that Bower plays with other people on this CD makes it I guess Sunroof. I thought this particular Sunroof was a bit more noise related than some of the more previous outings by the band, with an onslaught of guitars, feeding it through the colored boxes on the ground, swirling feedback and other noise generators. The fifth track has Merzbow like proportions, topping off a loud CD that grows in intensity.
Intensity and noise are also the keywords to the collaboration that Bower did with Mattin. Bower on guitar and feedback and Mattin on computer feedback, recorded to a cassette (although that's hard to believe). Recorded in one go, a forty-eight minute onslaught - again - which is much more singular and straight forward than the more complex Sunroof. It's a bit hard to guess what the title has to do it, as an old bloke like me thinks of Virgin Prunes right away, but this single minded attack on the ears is something different. Well, perhaps this is the real new form of beauty - the beauty of ugliness, the beauty of cruelty. But it's beauty for the true lovers of the genre, whereas Sunroof could appeal to more people. (FdW) Address:

First time I listened to Canadian concrete sound artist Alan Bloor was with the release of the harsh noise-compilation "Coalescence" from Alien8 Recordings. That was under the alternative project of Alan Bloor, Knurl, which represents the harsher side of the artist. Pholde shows another musical approach from Mr. Bloor. Pholde is his dark ambient project. As is the case with Knurl, the expression of Pholde has a heavy weight put on concrete sounds. Alan Bloor once said: "I find the metal instrument must contain different tensile strengths to achieve a complexity of sound. The way it is played and the objects that are used to play the instrument also play a vital role in achieving the desired sound. " It is certain that the artist knows how to process and manipulate his source materials with the result of sending the listener into a dark world featuring everything from abstract noises of musique concrete to the interesting sounds of concrete metal-based music. "Finding internal asylum" - as the title of the album reveals the six works of the album operates in spheres of an introvert character meant to dive into with all senses focused on the music. The result is extremely addictive, but do not expect any jolly tune that you can whistle while you work afterwards. (Niels Mark) Address:

Following last week's re-issue of two old Smegma works, here is a super new collaboration of the old men from Portland and the latest (?) craze in noise music from Norway Jazkamer, who are John Hegre and Lasse Marhaug, but here with Carlos Giffoni in their midst. Jazkamer played the westcoast in fall 2006, and stopped by the Smegma studio to record this bunch of five songs together with the extended Smegma line up. Jazkamer's moving from the real noise, via laptops to a noise metal unit, is something that doesn't show here very much. There are only faint traces of the noise and fury of Jazkamer, but it's more the playing of Smegma that prevails here. The improvised manner of them playing their instruments, blowing horns, mumbling voices, bass and drums is picked upon by Jazkamer who return the favor by making similar improvisation gestures on their instruments, most likely the guitar, bass and synthesizer. Of course, these eight people get carried away at times, and things go wild and rampant. There is a nice free jazz mood on this CD, which makes it altogether quite nice. Noise is only here for smaller bits and bops, here and there, but free loud improvisation is the main goal. Quite nice. (FdW)

Guitar, softwares [sic], synthesizer and microphones are operated by Alessandro Massobrio, who works as Flushing Device and 'Event Horizon' is his first release, which he calls an EP, but with some over thirty minutes of music is also a real CD, at least in my book. The blend of field recordings, computer processed guitar and synthesizer sounds is of course these a common one, and as such Flushing Device doesn't offer much new, even when he separates his interest. 'Sensucht' is a piece that dwells entirely on synthesizer, whereas the opening piece 'Montemarino' offers a true guitar glitch wave field. The music by Flushing Device is hardly to be called a big surprise by any means, but he does a true fine job. I played it three times in a row, while doing some things around the house, and every time I thought, it was quite o.k. Nothing innovative, new or otherwise breaking the rules, but throughout a most enjoyable, not too difficult disc of warm glitchy music. (FdW) Address:

SIMON H.FELL - COMPOSITION NO.62 (CD by Bruce's Fingers)
One of the pleasures of writing reviews is that from time to time you come across a totally unknown musical universe that really hits you. This happened to me with these four CDs of Simon H.Fell that recently dropped on the doormat. Overviewing the catalogue of the Bruce's Fingers label, it is clear that it is a high quality label of improvised and other contemporary music. Many, if not most releases have some involvement of Simon H.Fell, so I guess he runs this label. The website of the label is very informative, giving lots of background information, through interviews with Fell, etc. So what can I add? Well, I give it a try. First, with these four cds my first encounter is a very intensive one, as none of them make it easy the listener.
Only 'Comprovisation' is a recent release, the other ones go back to 2001-2005. It is a solo cd by new music pianist Philip Thomas from Sheffield. He performs works from, besides Fell, Paul Obermayer, Chris Burn, Michael Finnissy, John Cage and Mike Beck, featuring music from recent series of concerts of the same name. The works by Beck, Burn and Fell were specially written for Thomas. All the works have in common that it are compositions that play with improvisation in one way or the other. And that is were the heart of Thomas beats. Educated in the european classical music tradition, he felt more and more attracted in playing improvised music in the last few years. For Fell it is the other way around. Coming from a background of jazz and improvised music, he integrates and communicates more and more with traditions of composed music. The composition by Fell on this cd is called 'Thirteen New Inventions' and is the result of Fell's research on Bach's keyboard repertoire. Some of the parts of this work are indeed close to Bach, in the way that the influence of Bach can be recognized. In other parts however are completely different in nature and dynamic. Thomas feels very much at home in this work and gives a fine and dedicated interpretation of all the compositions on this this excellent recorded cd. Comparing 'Comprovisation' with the other three cds, it is immediately clear that 'Comprovisation' is an exception, as it is an solo album for piano, whereas the other three cds make no doubt that Fell prefers large ensembles.
As 'less is more' is a musical device often used, why not also the opposite 'More is more'. Fell is dedicated to the second principle: lengthy compositions, big ensembles, integrating many influences, etc. In all respects Fell is a guy who does not choice the easy way. One could easily accuse him of megalomanic tendencies, but Fell is in all respects in control.
'Thirteen Rectangles' is a 70-minute giant composition Fell composed for the quintet SFQ, inspired on a painting of the same name by Kandinsky. It has Alex Ward on clarinet, Gail Brand on trombone, Alex Maguire playing piano, Steve Noble on drums and Simon H.Fell on double bass. I was completely absorbed by it. It switches from very swinging parts to very modern composed new music. Leaving room for solo excursions by all musicians, so also for improvisation. I especially liked the playing of Ward. No easy listening, but very well structured and condensed music. A great work! Truly amazing how many ideas pass by and make up one work. 'Kaleidozyklen' (composition nr.57) is the name of another expanded composition by Fell, this time for double bass (Fell), clarinet (Rachel Cooks) and piano (Paul Kosciecha) and orchestra (the LSTwo Ensemble, conducted by Simon Baines and assisted by 5 assistant conductors). As in most of his work Fell is researching the borders between composed and improvised music, not only concerning the way a musical structure comes about, but also in the way of playing and interpreting the notes. From this point of view the orchestra on this cd also engages in playing in the spirit of jazz. Bringing a liveliness and emotionality that is often lacking in modern composed music. Recorded in 2000, with 'Compilation IV' we come more to the present. This work was recorded in 2005. Again a countless number of musicians are involved here. In this work Fell more explicitly refers to the work of other composers and artists like Birtwhistle, Mancini, George Russell, Stockhausen! To write such extensive works and not get lost in pointless complexity is an impressive job. As the first generation of european improvisors moved first from american styled jazz to completely improvised music. In a second phase they moved from improvised music to composed music, integrating composed music in the context of improvised music, or the other way around. This is the battlefield where Fell fights his musical adventures, making an essential contribution to European new music. Absolutely no doubt. (DM)

Since his split with Howard Stelzer we don't hear much from Jason Talbot, the turntablist that made such a wonderful duo with Stelzer, who played cassettes. His Kissy Records seems to have disappeared, and otherwise things are silent. However here he returns for a 2007 tour with Blake Edwards, also known as Vertonen (and CEO of CIP). In 'Thanks For The Kind Words' he has a rather rough collage of turntable noise and cable hum. Feedback generated through contact microphones (needle skipping on glass, ice and sand) and radio interference make up the piece, which somehow seems not entirely finished. Vertonen is back to his drone area, but with a louder piece than some of his recent drone outings. A arpeggio rhythm of a stylus that got stuck in a groove, feeding of through a synthesizer, make a rather noise/NON/Boyd Rice piece of music, but which is much friendlier than Rice ever did. The layers slowly shift and drift and it makes a fine piece that is perhaps a bit too short. On each side you will find five lock grooves (play at 33 RPM the cover says, but any daring and aspiring DJ knows it can be at any speed), which no doubt found their way in the sets of either Talbot and Edwards on their 2007 tour, for which occasion this 7" was produced. (FdW)

In Dutch 'geluid' means sound, 'gluid' could be a shortened version thereof, and 'Binnensuis', could be short for 'Binnenshuis', home interior. To explain this proofs the difficulty about this release, well at least for those who don't speak Dutch. The Dutch texts, written by Jehudi van Dijk, deal with anxiety, phobia of all kind and neurosis. They are read by a dancer, Janneke Lenzen, who reads with a great voice, and set to music by Bram van den Oever. They all came together, after each finished their own part of it, and made a short dance of this. I could ramble that seeing is believing, but I agree with Esc.Rec here: the music stands well by itself and it's good to see this released as a CDR. The voices are not cut, but they loop through echo units and set to a warm bed of electronics. A bit like Expanding/Highpoint Lowlife, but the addition of voices make it to something wholly unique. The anxiety and neurosis really come alive in the spoken word/text of "stepping on dust (don't do it, stop), turning up the heat (or did I do that already), who are my friends, do I think, it's not scary, it is...". It's not scary music, or even scary lyrics, but it makes a truly wonderful combination. One is sucked into this fascinating world, and I really regret that so many of my non dutch speaking listeners will not be able to understand this. Almost a radio play like piece this one, I could hope for a translation one day. While dance is not my art discipline, I wish I saw this one. (FdW) Address:

TYLER POTTS - THE DELUGE (CDR by Dragon's Eye Recordings)
Recently we were first introduced to Seattle's Dragon's Eye Records, who now release the for me unknown Tyler Potts, who is originally is from Denver where he studied Electronic Media Art and Design and spent his time collecting toy keyboards, tape players, xylophones and beater guitars from thrift stores. He has some ties to making music for modern dance, but on 'The Deluge' it's more about writing small songs. Songs as in the classical sense of the word, a small piece of music, rounded, structured and shaped and then move to the next one, which is totally different, but it's whole that makes a songbook. What he exactly does, it's hard to guess. But perhaps he took his old thrift store stuff to the computer, recording them and carefully processes music out of that. Having said that, Potts' music hasn't got much to do with microsound, even when we may recognize some of the sound processing. Much of what he does stays on the musical side: we still recognize that piano, far away a guitar or washes of a synthesizer/organ. Layered are the various recordings, complete with some field recordings and reshaped plug ins. It's a nice combination making things much more popmusic like than the usual micro-posse. However not every track is equally strong, certainly when Potts stays a bit too much on the loop-side: things revolving around a handful of loops, whereas it could have used a bit more melody. But throughout it's an enjoyable release, with an interesting mixture of popmusic like songs embedded in microsound structures. (FdW) Address:

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