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Vital Weekly 588

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BEYOND IGNORANCE AND BORDERS : AN AFRICAN MIDDLE-EASTERN, ASIAN NOISE AND ELECTRONIC COMPILATION (CD by Syrphe)
Throughout the last twenty years or so various noise compilations with focus on the different cultures around the Globe have been released; from the "Japanese/American Noise Treaty" (Relapse/Release) across "Sound Of Sadism : An International Power Electronics Compilation" (Crowd Control Activities) to the "Extreme Music From."-series with editions focusing on Africa, Russia, Japan and Women (Susan Lawly Label). Now Belgium label Syrphe Records has brought us a new compilation of noise music. Titled "Beyond ignorance and borders" the compilation presents us for artists of nationalities from the Eastern world. The contributions do not come from Japan, the kingdom of Noise, but from other countries that are relatively unknown regarding noise music. And this is what makes this compilation very interesting. Twenty tracks from countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Lebanon, South Korea (just to name a few), the styles ranges from extreme noise to breakcore and field recording. What makes this album interesting is that the origin of many of the artists represented on the compilation seems to saturate the expressional style on the contributions. Highlights on the compilation is the weird technoid track "629" by Skorfuse (Philippines), harsh noise tracks such as "Useless summer" by Yan Jun (China) and the ultra-aggressive "Ithrane n ithige" from Algerian artist Nepa Ios. Also the ear-shattering closer "The night as it was raining (aka 26 aunigrai)" from Goh Lee Kwang (Malaysia) is remarkable. This is certainly a great compilation, worth investing whether you are noise-head or simply an adventurous listener of the more extreme kind. Highly recommended! (Niels Mark) Address: http://www.syrphe.com


ENCOMIAST - SELF-TITLED (CD by Lens Records)
Over the years we heard quite a bit of Encomiast, which has a strange line up. First time around (back in Vital Weekly 271), they were trio, then a solo project (Vital Weekly 463) and then a duo (508), and here they are still but different names: Ross Hagen and Nick Paul, instead of Ross Hagen and Megan Garland. Perhaps it has to that the recordings captured on 'Self Titled' are from 1999 and which have recently been re-edited? Encomiast, in these early recordings, start with a blueprint of what was to come later (we can safely say with some insight), music that we would simply call 'ambient industrial drone' music. Too loud to be ambient, perhaps even too strange to be 'just' ambient (thank god), but on the other hand also too soft to be real industrial music. Sounds loop around, trapped inside sound effects (delay and reverb are two favorite machines around here) and swirl in all directions possible. It's like a time machine, not to 1999 when this was recorded but 1989, when industrial music softened out and became sometimes mellow. At times it seemed I was listening to old Illusion Of Safety LPs and cassettes, and that is certainly not a bad reference at all. Dark, haunting, soundtrack like, Encomiast was even in these early stages a fine, be it not very new, player of good atmospheric music. Nice work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.lensrecords.com


THE BEAUTIFUL SCHIZOPHONIC - MUSICAMOROSA (CD by Cronica Electronica)
As far as I remember this is the first major work by Jorge Mantas, who has published works on CDR before as well as being part of a previous release on Cronica Electronica. Among his influences he ranks rather writers (such as Proust, Poe, Dante), painters (Friedrich, Waterhouse), nouvelle vague cinema and erotic photography. I was playing this CD and couldn't help thinking: I heard this before. Ambient scape drone music. Made with a laptop. Based on field recordings and instruments. How easy do you want to have it? Yet I was playing this a couple of times and every time I thought: wow this is nice. The guiding theme here are 'romantic drones'. Violins are sampled, layered, looped around, and sound like a warm bed, candle lit, incense perhaps (don't know how romantic things should be) and in the background the ambient glitch muzak of The Beautiful Schizophonic. The music is a bit like sweet cake. You take a bite and think that it's nice, and even the second and third bite are great but then your teeth start hurting of all the sweetness. That is a bit the trap of this album. It's a sweet album, a great album, but perhaps to be taken in just a few bites every time. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cronicaelectronica.org


FAR CORNER - ENDANGERED (CD by Cuneiform)
A recent release from Cuneiform belonging to the art rock/progressive music-section of their catalogue. Far Corner is an american band who debuted in 2003 on Cuneiform. I can't make any comparison, as I haven't heard their first one. Far Corner is a quartet, assisted in one track by violist Jerry Loughney. We hear William Kopecky on fretless and fretted electric basses, plus spring dum; Dan Maske on keyboards, trumpet, melodica, and additional percussion; Angela Schmidt plays acoustic and electric cellos, violin, bamboo flute and Craig Walkner drumset. All of them are classically trained musicians. The playing is top-notch. The nostalgic sounding keyboard work of Maske is often in the centre. No surprise, as he composed all the titles. The opening track "Inhuman" begins with a spacy intro and sets in with a Présent-inspired rock beat. So the title, "Inhuman" may be a reference to the most recent record of Présent "A Great Inhumane Adventure". Far Corner moves between instrumental classical chamber rock and progressive rock. Music that seems to arise from its ashes in the last few years. So it is a real pleasure to hear this kind of music meeting the standards of sound quality and production of nowadays. "Do you think I'm spooky" and "Creature Council" continue along similar lines. Very well-constructed progressive rock pieces, performed with a great drive. Music that one inevitably associates with ELP and King Crimson. Like King Crimson and Univers Zero, Far Corner has also another side: "Claws" is an improvisation. For this piece the players limited themselves to scratching their instruments, creating an atmosphere comparable to the improvised track on Univers Zero's japanese maxisingle. It is followed by "Not from around here", a laid back jazzy tune of lyrical elegance. The cd closes with the titletrack, "Endangered" a 20 minute work composed by the group, that has very interesting and nice moments, but does not convince as a whole. Here we are arresting the weak spot of this release, if you ask me. This and the other compositions are lacking originality and a personal touch. The music moves along to well-known paths. Lacking depth and a feeling of necessity, which is so evident in the music of Univers Zero and Présent. So I hope they work on that aspect of their otherwise greatly performed music, and I'm looking forward to discover what there is more behind this far corner. (Dolf Mulder)
Address: http://www.cuneiformrecords.com/


FANFARE POURPOUR & LARS HOLLMER - KARUSELL MUSIK (CD by Monsieur Fauteux)
In one word: this is a fantastic cd! Hollmer and Fanfare Pourpour would have fitted perfectly in the program of the resurrected RIO-festival last april in France. Between the dark - but more then excellent!! - music of Guapo, Présent and others, their positive and uplifting music would have been a great contribution. Why linking this Karusell with RIO? Well, Lars Hollmer with Samla Mammas Manna, was one of the groups involved in the RIO-network in the early 80s, as were Stormy Six, Etron Fou, Univers Zero, Henry Cow, etc. RIO had its function in creating a global audience for these groups. Now, so many years later, we can say this was a success. Accordionplayer Lars Hollmer made friends in Canada (Jean Derome, a.o.), and travels the world with his Accordion Tribe. But before that Hollmer made several great solo-albums in the 80s and 90s. From these lps come most of the compositions that we hear on Karusell Musik,. Great tunes, all inspired on swedish folk music. Jean Derome did a great job in arranging them for the fanfare. Fanfare Pourpour are some 20 musicians playing a diversity of wind instruments of course, but also several string instruments (mandoline, guitar, banjo, violin) plus percussion. And accordion not to forget, one of them played by Lars Hollmer himself who also sings on several pieces. The pieces were rehearsed and recorded with Lars Hollmer during a week in october 2006. They must have had a lot of fun, as the Fanfare gives way to a very joyous interpretation of Hollmers, pieces. They embraced his music with great enthusiasm. For Hollmer it is the second time that his super melodic tunes are interpreted by musicians somewhere else on this planet. In 2000 he recorded with a group of japanese musicians (Global Home Project). Fanfare Pourpour has a history going back to the 70s, but since they are working together with musicians from the impro scene, they release every now and then a cd. The first one in 1999 ('Tout le monde'), the second one ('Le bal') in 2004 with compositions by band members. And now the irresistible 'Karusell Musik', a very successful collaboration. Chapeau! (Dolf Mulder)
Address: http://www.actuellecd.com/


COTTON (CD by Dragon's Eye Recordings)
Since a few weeks we have been receiving and enjoying music released by Dragon's Eye Recordings. Here the present a compilation of artists that are currently releasing their work on the label or that soon will be. The music released by the label is, perhaps easily, best classified as computerized microsound and glitch music. The children of Alva Noto at work, certainly when it comes to Yann Novak and Kamran Sadeghi. Other take their inspiration from Stephan Mathieu, such as Corey Fuller (in his solo piece) or take a more narrative road such as the fine piece by Tadahito Ichinoseki and Tomoyoshi Date. It makes the music not be the most original one under the sun, as much of what can be heard here was heard before elsewhere. But none of the eight brothers (I believe no sisters here) play a bad piece. These pieces make quite a coherent listen, maybe a bit interchangeable, but quite nice throughout. (FdW)
Address: http://www.dragonseyerecordings.com


(AD)VANCE(D) - POEM#RED128DOT (CDR by Absurd)
Vance Orchestra from Arnhem are no more, but out of his ashes new paths are chosen. Robert Deters plays around with various people from the local scene, including Machinefabriek, while Mars Wellink goes on solo. As (ad)vance(d) he now presents his first solo work, I think, for the Absurd label. It has been around in their offices for a while, but it's release comes in handy. In various cities (Arnhem, Leiden, Molovos) Mars recorded some field sounds which he knits together to a thirty six minute sound poem. Voices play a role, but more over it's here to create an atmospheric piece of music. The backdrop is a sort of ambient piece of a wall of synthesizers, but it's too angular to be a dull piece of music. On top of that hotbed, Mars lets his recordings drop in and out of the mix, bird calls, insects, people walking and talking. Over the course of the piece things move away from the ambient patterns played at the beginning and moving into the world of strict soundscaping and then spiral back into the ambient backing of the start. A highly atmospheric work that is more like a sound picture, be it of different places, of sound moving in and from various directions than a strict music piece, more like a sound environment. (FdW) Address: http://www.void.gr/absurd


BPMF - PAROUSIA FALLACY (CDR, private)
This CDR came with a note that said something along longer lines than this: "Hi, I just released my first CD after 25 years of creating music". As I never heard of one Jason going by the name of BMPf, I looked up his history in music, and found out that he sold his guitars in 1982, got a synth, and then turned towards techno after hearing Taylor Deupree, with whom he formed Prototype 909. Around that time he started to use the name BMPf for more 'chill out' music, launched and killed Serotonin Records and was active in The Rancho Relaxo All-Stars. However with/as BMPf his work is not entirely based on rhythm, although on the other hand also not entirely free of it. It's a bit hard to tell what BMPf wants with his music. The whole thing has quite an ambient touch to it, created with analogue synthesizers, but overall it's not that sonic carpet that ambient sometimes is. Which of course is a great thing. But then some pieces break out of that and voices and rhythms are added, which makes the whole thing moving into a different direction. It makes the release a bit unfocussed ('what does he want?'), even when the individual pieces are quite alright. Everything is left of the 'real' ambient music, with a great sense of experimentalism to it. I wonder why it took him so long to make this debut? (FdW) Address: http://www.bpmf.us


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

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