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Vital Weekly 593

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BEEQUEEN - SELTENTURM: BEESIDES 1989-2000 (2xCD by Plinkity Plonk/Korm Plastics)
Nijmegen's duo Beequeen (Frans de Waard and Freek Kinkelaar) release a compilation of 23 various works recorded since 1989. Certainly one of the more notable experimental outfits of the last two decades, this collection numbingly sets a certain tone (or atones) both to the past and future. There's a delicate balance of low chords breaking into dark ambient space ("Does He Do As If He Is") from their 1994 recording 'Split'. You're in the dark, someone is casting a vague echo while slowly bowing a cello, you see a faint light. There is this sense of passing figures, black on black shadowy movements hinted at in your peripheral view. At points queasy, others like your spinning in a Spanish villa for just a dazzling moment ("Fond II"). They firmly use the guise of industrialisms to build the droning layers of works like "Land Above Us" which has both a sense of open continuum and repeat cycle that can, for many, become unnerving. Though, they do so with a certain grace that kind of rounds the corners of chaos. The final stage of production, so to speak. And the point is clear, these two men have built a passionate body of work that is at once striking for its qualities emulating the codec of film, secondly they have used that motif to concoct music which is out of the personal body, told from the vantage point of the other. And third, it takes you some place you may have not dared, distinctively told with a fusion of pace, timing, fore/background. Then there are these themes of meditation, observation, then realization. When you sample tracks like "Brasillian Fond" (1989), you are just barely eavesdropping by way of the slight incorporated field recordings. Part mysterious travelogue, part staging for how you might compose music to send to navigate the hole in the ozone and then into the deep universe to cultivate answers to its questions. The work of Beequeen simply trips the mind. (TJ Norris)

Dan Geesin is an englishman living and working in Amsterdam as a multidisciplinary artist. He paints, writes, films, etc. 'Fathead' is his fourth cd, released on his own Atik label, preceded by 'Cars, Bikes, Walking' (1998) , 'Driving' (2000) and 'Green (2005). All music and texts written by Geesin himself. Also the performance is done solely by him, playing windorgan and several percussive objects. But his real instrument is his voice. He sings and performs with a pleasant voice. He tells stories based on observations of daily life, and gives room to tragic and comic aspects of life, circled around small events. The cd counts 20 songs and spoken poems and interludes that prove that Geesin is capable of writing catchy songs. He has a good feeling for writing songs that refuse to leave your mind. Repeatedly I find myself whistling some of them, like 'Electric Rolstoel Speedway', 'I don't want' or 'Hills called the Downs'. And that is something! Melancholy is the dominating spirit, evoked by the harmonium and his voice that reminded me of Ivor Cutler or Robert Wyatt in a way. But may be it is better to say that everything on this cd sounds very, very english. 20 songs drenched in melancholy may be too much of it, but it really is a lovely cd, from a talented singer-songwriter. (Dolf Mulder)

SUN - I'LL BE THE SAME (CD by Staubgold)
It's been a while, actually a long while since the release of the first Sun record (Vital Weekly 372). To refresh your mind: Sun i s a duo of Oren Ambarchi and Chris Townend. Oren is of course a well-known musician, drone meister and gifted improviser and Townend is a musician and producer from Australia. In their mutual project Sun they display their love of popmusic, but it's not exactly MTV friendly music. Sun plays alternative rock music. Guitars, bass, drums and vocals - especially the vocals make things poplike, but it's the weakest link in this popmusic. Maybe it's because I like female vocals better, or voices that have a lot of weight, but the thin voices of Sun, held back, parlando, is not (or in similar cases by others), never well spend on me. But the music is quite nice: melancholic lines on the guitar, swirling drums, a wide open sound. This is again personal music, a bit sad, a bit down. The surprise we encountered in 2003 is gone here a bit, but 'I'll Be The Same' is a nice and worthy follow up to the debut album, and with Ambarchi in Melbourne and Townend in Tasmania, it's no doubt going to take another four years before numero three will arrive. (FdW) Address:

After ten years of no releases, Ghedalia Tazartes came back with '5 Rimbaud/1 Verlaine' last year (see Vital Weekly 547) which was well received here. Tazartes is a man who sings, plays keyboards of all kind (synthesizers and samplers) and drum computers. Yet it's not easy to classify his music, which I think is exactly the point he is trying to make here. 'Hysterie Off Music' is a nice play with words, coming hysteria and history. Tracks are called 'Soul 1', 'Soul 2', etc or 'Country 1', 'Country 2' etc - each of those five pieces, and then one piece called 'Jazz' and one called 'Bonus'. Likewise it's not easy to say anything decent about this. Sometimes the pathos which Tazartes employs to sing is not spend on me at all, and the same can be said of the somewhat loaded samples, but there is something fascinating about this release also. Just because it sounds so far away from what we know and love, makes this an interesting outsider work. Not caring about what is hip and wot not, but strictly caring about what he finds fascinating, interesting or such like. That is something I like more about this, then perhaps the actual content of the release. (FdW)

Might of course be just me not knowing much, but the name Sara Lunden is new to me. She plays synthesizer, vocals, guitar and recorder and composes songs. How she recorded this album with Andrey Kiritchenko (objects, drums, field recordings, programming, electronics and editing) I don't know. Did they sat together and made or did Kiritchenko add his part later? In any case, that is not of real importance, the music counts. A lot. Lunden's voice is alike Portishead and other trip hop like artists, but the music is not like that all. Melodic and melodramatic glitch pop music. There are elements to be recognized from the abstract clicks 'n cuts music, but the overall emphasizes lies on popmusic. Maybe the voice is a bit too much like the triphoppers of this world, but throughout I must admit I thought this was a highly enjoyable release. Careful, vulnerable popmusic with a great modern touch.
On the same label, Nexsound PQP (pronounce pickup), more Saralunden, together with Kyrre Bjorkas, her erstwhile lover and Jagga Jassist bass player Andreas Mjos. Bjorkas has a dark voice that matches the lighter tone of Sara Lunden quite well. The music is bass heavy, although many other instruments are also used. It sounds however less 'modern' as her collaboration with Kiritchenko and more like older trip hop with jazz like influences, which is not bad at all, but less surprising. Five great tracks however. (FdW)

For me the name of percussionist Tim Feeney is new, although I read he has collaborated with people such as James Coleman, Howard Stelzer, Jack Wright, ONDA and Christine Sharif Sehnaoui, so his credits are ok, as far as I'm concerned. Here he teams up with Vic Rawlings, who has expanded his cello over the years with an array of electronic devices. Almost two years ago they made this recording together, which took some time to release. But here it is, and it's music that requires ones full attention, otherwise you'll be lost in it. The advise should be: don't play this if you intend to do something else than listening. When full concentration is there, one will be exposed to a series of scratching, bowing, hitting, feedback and short circuiting that move along various paths, pieces, moods and textures. Highly improvised music as one can expect, but played with extraordinarily ease and skill. Great.
Both Seth Nehil and Brendan Murray have a vast catalogue behind their names of both solo works and collaborative ones. Together they have worked since 2003, when they played a set together at the Intransitive festival and then later some more in New York. Much of what they did together is at the basis of this disc. They have a strong interest in both field recordings and computer processings thereof. It's hard to tell from these eight pieces what is what, but it seems obvious that things work alongside eachother. Especially Murray's work in this field is great (and much underrated). Controlled atmospheric electric charges, contact microphones scratching the surface and plug ins constantly rework what is on hand, and the result is a densely knitted field of work. Perhaps obvious work in the field of microsound, phonography and such like, but this is a great recording, as far as I'm concerned. (FdW)

GROSS & RIVIERE - MONO FACE (12", private release)
Ever since I got the 'Nikki' 7" by John Duncan and Chris & Cosey, I am fascinated by the possibilities of split channel records, so on your right speaker you have musician A and on the left B. You can decide to play them separate, or together. Here we have one Arnaud Riviere who plays 'nanalog synth' and on the left there is Jean-Phillippe Gross with 'when you go to swimming pool please throw away your guitar and remove your shoes?'. It's a ten minute, 45rpm, one sided record of unrelentness noise. Loud, heavy, feedback spitting in your face. I must say that it's hard to think of this in terms of split channels and perhaps in terms of true noise not the most surprising record, but the power, speed and concise ness of this makes it up quite nice. Other side has the information silkscreened on the vinyl, to top it off. (FdW) Address:

B'TONG - MICROSLEEP (CDR by Verato Project)
Chris Sigdell, one half of the now split t duo NID (see also Vital Weekly 585), has already released a couple of releases as B'tong, in which he showed an interest in playing the atmospheric card in music and continues where we left him off with 'Polar:is' (see Vital Weekly 522). Metallic percussive sounds, drenched in a lot reverb, spiced with some extra delay, and some rumbling of analogue synthesizers as we go on this journey. A less subtle version of the early Thomas Köner (when he played the gong, anyone remember that), but certainly a release in which B'Tong shows a development from his previous. Things sound more worked out, there is more variation among the separate pieces, and while it doesn't sound too new or strange, this is actually quite a nice release in the field or ambient, drone and isolationist music. (FdW)

Something of an allround artist, this Toxic Chicken, who is a musician, producer, video artist, DJ and dancer/performer. He plays his music on his computer while dancing around in a spastic, anarchistic manner. Despite many gigs 'Lo Fi' is his first release, which, based on the stories of spastic anarchistic performances is kind of normal. Computer voices, nice melodies, a bit of angular elektro rhythms, this is more an entertaining release than say something shocking. Short tracks that breath the good, raw and untamed energy of elektro punk. What can one say? Play this loud at home, on your walkman, while vacuum cleaning, while dancing, while traveling. Music that you can feel good with. Nice stuff. (FdW) Address:

Usually I can start a review of something on Boltfish by stating I know nothing about the artist in question, but in the case of Soutien Gorge, I actually know that it's a duo of Andras 'Banyek' Hargitai and Robert Potys, who released 'L'Etoiles Souriantes' on Bitlab Records (see Vital Weekly 504). Back in the day I already noted that they play music along the lines of releases of "Static Caravan, Expanding Records or Highpoint Lowlife operate: melodic electronics, with (semi-) melancholic keyboards, a bit of acoustic guitars , which are processed a little and IDM rhythms", and as such nothing much changed in those almost two years. The five tracks still work along those lines and make throughout a pleasant listening of twenty some minutes. Nothing new under this sun, but soon we can use the name Boltfish to name check when writing about this kind of music. (FdW) Address:

MACHINEFABRIEK - KOPLOOP (3"CDR by Machinefabriek)
And of course there is Machinefabriek, who in this week's contribution to world of music works with soundsources supplied by Greg Haines (cello) and Anne Bakker (violin), whereas Zuydervelt himself plays guitar, banjo, organ, laptop, memorecorders and effects. The piece is separated in two parts, flowing into eachother. First there is ten minutes of careful strumming long sustaining sounds. Here all instruments are hard to decipher, even when there are subtle waves above the rest. In the second part, things are more recognizable and each instrument, especially the violin and cello play melodic bits that are more there upfront in the mix and things almost turn semi-classical there for change. Nice, subtle music, especially the second part of the piece which provides a new alley for Machinefabriek. One of the finer moments among the already fine moments. (FdW) Address:

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

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