RSS feed RSS Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook 15 Questions 15 Questions

Vital Weekly 598

img  Tobias

3/4HADBEENELIMINATED - THEOLOGY (CD by Soleilmoon Recordings)
Following their two excellent CDs (on Bowindo and Hapna) I was a bit disappointed when I saw 3/4HadBeenEliminated live. Quite loud, which didn't do the delicacy of the CDs right, I thought. I was quite surprised to see their latest releases on Soleilmoon Recordings, which seems an odd choice for the label. 3/4HadBeenEliminated consists of Stefano Pilia, Claudio Rocchetti, Valerio Tricoli and Tony Arrabito, and with some imagination you could say that they are a rock band. Well, an expanded rock band that crosses many lines: post rock, singer songwriter, improvisation and above all musique concrete collage techniques. Maybe the stage isn't their place but they should be safely stuck in the studio, where they can freely experiment with sound. Each member plays a wide variety of instruments, except Arrabito, who is just credited for drums. Inside the studio they find a safe place to improvise their music, but not as an end, but as a start. Recordings are separated, deconstructed and rebuilt into something. These two new releases, both lavishly packed with all sorts of nice paper, are best heard together, as mirrors of each other. The CD (limited to 450 copies) and the LP (limited to 225 copies) have however their differences, but the provide a nice view in the kitchen of 3/4HadBeenEliminated. The CD is perhaps more complex in approach. We hear lots of processed guitars, percussive sounds, organ like drones but also contact microphones scratching the surface alongside humming vocals. Not really rock by any rock standard, even when things seems to hint that way. Seemingly things move from atmosphere to atmosphere, gradually, slow, but without doubt moving.

The LP is more singleminded, evolving around rhythmic drone loops and vocals. The start is almost in Goem-like tradition, but with vocals. From then on, things stay more easy, with less complex moves, and more in the rhythm area, although of course you could never move your feet to this. It sounds like this is less edited and, perhaps, perhaps, captures their live sound. Both releases are different from eachother, but complement eachother quite well. Great releases. (FdW)

BJNILSEN/Z'EV - 22.22 (CD by Ideal Recordings)
DEAD MACHINES - PLAYS KWAIDAN (7" by Ideal Recordings)
Three tracks, each of exactly twenty-two minutes and twenty-two seconds. This is not a work of collaboration, but two sides of the coin called drone music. Each of the players is a renowned player in this field, yet the outcome is quite different. BJNilsen, best known for his releases on Touch, presents an eerie, quiet piece solely based on treated field recordings. Where others in this week's issue fail to succeed in using field recordings into their music, BJ Nilsen succeeds wonderfully well. Highly atmospheric, without letting the transformations take over, nor keeping the field recordings too recognizable. A very fine piece. Drone music also comes from Z'EV, who these days may seem to be more into creating electronic music, but here returns to using metallic percussion alongside electronic treatments. Rumble from the below surface form the basis of the material, but slight treatments create a long sustain, at times, on the sounds, which add up to a mighty powerful piece of trance inducing drone music. A good combination of various types of drone music. However I don't understand why there is a third track of equal length, but with seventeen minutes of silence and five minutes of Z'EV like music. I thought that gimmick of silence on CDs was more than explored by now.
Perhaps related, but on a different format is the 7" by Dead Machines which is a side project of John Olsen (Wolf Eyes) and his wife Tovah (of Wooden Wand & The Vanishing Voice). It's my first introduction to their music. I'm not sure if the 7" format is right for such an introduction, but what I hear is quite pleasing stuff. Nothing joyful, as this is the crossroad where drone and industrial music meet up. Not much is happening in the underworld of drones and occasional sound, but what happens is surely quite menacing. There is an underpinning menace, something that is going to capture you, but you are not sure what it is. Unlike the trance of Z'EV, the beauty of BJNilsen, Dead Machines represent the dark side of drone, or rather the morbid side of drone music. As a trilogy of various types of drone music, it makes a damn fine thing. (FdW)

COH - STRINGS (2CD by Raster-Noton)
And you, Coh? Even you? The piano, as noted, the instrument of 2007, plays a small role on the latest release of Coh, a.k.a. Ivan Pavlov. It sounds, certainly in the opening piece, like he is following this trend of careful, computer treated piano music of this year, but we must realize that he recorded the used piano sounds in 2001, when he was working on his 'Seasons' project. Also, the piano is only one of the stringed instruments used here. Two piano tracks, two guitar tracks and three tracks using the saz and the oud, both Arabic string instruments. To be honest the least impressive tracks were the guitar pieces. Quite distorted and fuzzy is what they sound like. Coh was in a metal band as a teenager, but don't tell the world. The piano pieces are soft and careful and 'andante facile'. All of the pieces on disc one have classical notions like this, which is quite funny, and reminded me of hearing classical music on the radio when my father tuned in to the classical station. A mysterious language, a bit like the music of Coh sometimes is. The fine line of where computer processing stops and the real instruments begins - or vice versa - is hard to draw. It's been a while since I last his music, or may not have heard everything he has done, but it seems to me that this work is set a bit outside the rest of his work, incorporating effectively real instruments and computer sound, say more like the 'SU-U' piece on the disc two (actually a mini CD), which had a great ambient opening, before bouncing apart in particles flying about. (FdW) Address: http://www.raster-noton-de

Despite being around for some many years inside the alternative music scene, both in the serious sort of academic way and the more alternative alternative electronic music, there hasn't been many releases by Steve Peters. Recently there was 'Three Rooms' on Sirr-ecords (see Vital Weekly 584), and that was perhaps a bit what his work was about: three long pieces of minimal pieces, partly based on field recordings, partly on real instruments. But like most composers, Peters has composed over the years also pieces for special occasions, like a film or a dance. Usually short and hard to release, although I doubt wether Peters thinks in terms of releasing when composing. Music for the occasion that is, so
'Occasional Music' fills in the hole with nine of these pieces, which are not really related, but perhaps make a nice introduction to the musical language of Peters. Music that sometimes consists of one instrument, like 'Paris, once' which is a solo piano piece, but also pieces with frame drum, suling, suling gambuh, processing, cornet and saxophone in the Gamelan like pieces of 'Courtship Rituals'. Going from Satie like piano playing to ethnic influenced music, this is hardly a big step, as things are usually mellow in approach. The minimalist aspect of Peters is carried throughout here, which ever route he chooses for his journey. So perhaps it's not the best introduction if you are unfamiliar with his music, but if ethnic influenced ambient like music has your interest, than you will surely find this of much liking. And if you are won-over fan, than you may find some pleasant surprises in here. (FdW) Address:

French label Baskaru is small but it has brought us already some nice music by ENT, Urkuma, Lawrence English and (etre), and if there is something such as line in these releases then it's probably the word glitch. Well, that and the word 'warm'. Gabriel Hernandez (1979 in Grenoble, France) works as Gogoo, and started to play the guitar but very quickly moved to the computer and with his cousin he formed Simagree. He has had a couple of CDR, MP3 and compilation appearances, but somehow I don't think I came across his name before. On his debut 'Long, Lointain', he offers ten short pieces of field recordings, found sounds and a whole bunch of instruments, like a guitar, a melodica, carillon, piano, organ and of course the never far away laptop. What he does here is actually quite nice, really pleasant to hear, but at the same time nothing much new under the sun. The processed rain falls, wind clapping the window, or whatever birds has flown, it's music that at least in the world of Vital Weekly is a common place. A bit folktronic like these days, I could add, this could be slightly rougher sketches for the likes of Tape or Stephan Mathieu. Not an entirely as refined, but still delicate, warm and glitch like enough. It's surely all quite nice, but it raises for me a question: what's next? (FdW) Address:

Only vaguely I remember the name Jane Dowe and her CDs for Mille Plateaux and Illegal Art, but I totally forgot what they were about. She is now married to Hank Hofler (who actually performed as Jane Dowe, to make life a bit more confusing) and together they are Oh Astro. Like with so many of the releases on Illegal Art, this too is an effective plunder of popmusic. Is that 'Hello Fuji Boy' sampled from that dreary piece of crap by Lionel Ritchie? Applaus for the 'Getting Away' version (?), cover (?) by Electronic, or a similar approach to 'Xanadu'. Chopped up, partly recognizable, rhythmic but experimental enough, this is plunderphonics as I like them. Not some speeches from radio and TV, set some lame lounge music, but effectively reworking big poptunes into something that as good and fresh as the original, or effectively making fun of it. But that's only half the story. There is also a lovely children song in the form of 40s music, sung by their own daughter Lucy. House music is never far away for Oh Astro, making this a most danceable release, which at the same time is funny, intelligent and downright a great release. (FdW) Address:

Following the three very limited releases on CDR by Milliseconde Topographie which I reviewed in Vital Weekly 559, there is now a full length DVD release, pressed and all. Milliseconde Topographie, a duo from Montreal, work here together on both the music and the visual aspects of the project. The DVD is divided in three parts, of which the final one is just audio. Like I am stating elsewhere, I am of course highly flattered to review stuff like this, but also video art is not my speciality. I have not enough (or none at all, whichever you prefer) knowledge of the what it is, the possibilities, the techniques and the history. This all makes it hard to say something about the visual part of it. The images are processed by computer means, over layered with other images and text. Seasides, trees, and abstract images. I can only say something in relation to the music, and that is a fine combination. Milliseconde Topographie work with processed musical instruments, electronics, and above all computers. Things hiss, crack, glitch like there is no tomorrow. Warm, glitchy music that fits the images well. No, let me rephrase that: the images fit the music well. Best watched in a darkened room, with the music connected to your amplifier, unless of course you have a nice DVD set up at home. Late night visual and musical poetry, and better than the crap on TV anyway. (FdW) Address:

TIGRICS - SYNKI (CDR by Highpoint Lowlife)
Things have been quiet for Highpoint Lowlife, for reasons unclear, but here they are again. I can't remember that this label ever released a CDR, but here it is. Maybe a sign of market collapsing or perhaps Tigrics is not so well-known? It's a name we heard before, as Robert Bereznyei hails from Budapest and has had releases before. Besides the format there is also another change for the label, but one we could have perhaps seen coming: the music is less uniform with a lot (not all, not all) music on this label. Tigrics uses field recordings which he feeds through his own software for the Nord Micro Modular synthesizer. The music turns out to be a nice combination of electronic, rhythmic music in combination with audible and recognizable field recordings. Some of the tracks may be a bit long for what they have to offer content wise, but a track like 'Jatzkin' bridges both ends quite nicely. Music wise this is quite far away from the usual melancholic minor keys cum break rhythms, the IDM of this label, so both artist and label deliver a nice job. (FdW) Address:

The work of Hiroshi Hasegawa, formerly of C.C.C.C. but these days working as Astro has been around quite a lot. I am pretty sure I only heard a small portion, tapping into the system every now and then. It's one of those things I can't remember when I heard the first time. It's a question I asked myself when I was listening to the new release 'Cosmic Mosque On The Magical Mountain Top' and the reason for this question lies in the fact that it seems that there hasn't been much progress in the concept of Astro. One piece, forty minutes, played on a single instrument, the EMS synthesizer (not live but layered in the studio and probably several lines of sound effects) and the music is the usual cross-over between the louder and industrial material in combination with psychedelic sounds, the cosmic connection between Conrad Schnitzler and Throbbing Gristle - if you catch my drift. It's actually a nice one, this one, top heavy drone music, with a touch of experimentalism, but as such I didn't see much difference with any of the previous releases, but then: I only heard a small portion of that.
Running in the contest for stupid band names is Pee In My Face With Surgery. I honestly tried to read the text that came with the CDR and tried to understand the press text, but I failed on both accounts, I think. It might (!) be that there is a bunch of real songs by the oddly named band and a bunch of covers by other of their work. But who does what? It beats me. Things are about vocals, voices, hummings, screamings and a whole array of lo-fi electronics (feedback, rhythm, noise, shortwave). I'd like to say that's all highly personal, different and above all great, but I fear that the message is a bit lost on me here. It's not bad actually, this lo-fi noise affair.
Behind Justice Yeldham & The Dynamic Ribbon Device is Lucas Abela, a kind man to help you when it comes to pressing CDs, but also a performing noise artist. These tracks were recorded in Seoul, in South Korea, and show Abela at his best. Screaming, noisy, loud, dirty. It's a pity that the performance element is sadly lacking here, since it's quite something to watch. There is an element of old tape music involved in this noise. Strong as ever, and it works well on a 7". (FdW)

It might be of course a matter of concentration, but sometimes there are these releases which I don't get around and the one by Acolytes Action Squad is one of those. They have been around since 1997 and released a cassette, a piece of vinyl and a piece of CD. Now there is a new release from this duo, consisting of The Essence and Ditchus from Sheffield. Now what about the music? I hear elements of improvised music, of drone music, of electronic sound manipulation. Noise, real songs, krautrock, totally fucked up hip hop. There is so much. But there's also female singing here, and everytime I hear that I kept thinking of Nurse With Wound. And that's perhaps the best thing to compare it with. The sheer combination of styles that still work as a whole, the collated elements of various kinds of music, be it a bit cruder that the wounded nurse, makes sense however. You'd be expecting an amalgam of music but it's a curious homogeneity that is presented here. Strong stuff that made curious about their earlier recordings. (FdW) Address:

An odd and curious little release this one. A compilation of six tracks by six different bands in the time span of twenty minutes. The perfect introduction to six bands. I think they are all from Canada, and they all dabble around in electronic music. Strong rhythms, vocals, deep synths, experimental sounds: all of these in combination with eachother or leaving out one item. Maggot Breeder concentrates just on the synths, Thee Virginal Brides play a track that is basically one long intro, while Cheerleader 69 has a short piece with strings. .cut Featuring Gibet an Pine Tree State Mind Control have the most experimental electronics of this lot, while the closing track by AntiGlück is the most 'poppy' one with a strong rhythm and female vocals. Electronic body music. A nice introduction card of a varied bunch of music. (FdW)

KAPOTTE MUZIEK - # 103: TILBURG (3" CD-R by Moll)
Frans de Waards started Moll (a.k.a. My Own Little Label) earlier this year to release his works, mostly archival pieces, concert recordings or material that just doesn't fit in anywhere else. Now, after some four or five months, Moll catalogue numbers 8 - 11 are out. For "Pantones" Frans de Waard - under his Freiband-moniker - worked together with Colin Tudor. His name might not immediately ring a bell, but he was one of the founding members of Zion Train, and this name could sound familiar after all. Colin Tudor provided the basic sound sources here, which were processed by Freiband and then mixed by Tudor again. Rhythmic structures play a central role here and the first track even has a driving pulse that would not seem totally out of place on a Goem-release, but soon things recede on a microscopic level, get more restrained and ambient-like - abstract digital clicks and drones as one might expect them from Freiband. However, getting what you would expect is not the worst thing, and "Pantones" makes for a pleasant addition to the Moll-catalogue.
"Garage Sales" documents a concert Frans de Waard and Radboud Mens played together at "Garage Festival" in Strahlsund, Germany in 2002. While this is still not material for the dancefloor, things are more energetic here than on "Pantones". Mens and de Waard are working with frequently shifting rhythmic arrangements of crystalline digital sounds, which step into noisy areas now and then, but never go over the top. The sound is warm, and occasional dub-like elements add an unusually organic quality to the music. Again Goem might spring to mind at times, but overall the tracks are built around more complex structures and lots of tiny sounds. Would be great to hear more than 20 minutes of this duo, so let's hope there is more in the archives or future collaborations coming soon.
While "Pantones" and "Garage Sales" were recorded in 2002, "Profieldeel Zes" is very recent - a recording of Frans' concert at Sonic Circuits in Washington DC on September 9th, 2007. It is a remix of his CD "Vijf Profielen" which was issued some months ago on Alluvial and reviewed in Vital Weekly 572. Some sounds are already familiar from that latter work, such as that of an elevator going up and down, but the palette of sounds is broadened by some additional shades, while keeping the same overall subdued quality. Above all, however, this track shows the same fine sense for the balance between original sound (unprocessed recording, that is) and abstraction, which also makes "Vijf Profielen" such a strong piece. This remix does not offer a radically different view of the material, yet it is not merely more of the same either, but presents a convincing variation that can also stand on its own.
Kapotte Muziek is a trio of Roel Meelkop, Peter Duimelinks and Frans de Waard, and they play what might be described as improvised acoustic musique concrete. In September 2007 they set up their tables with all kinds of small objects out in the streets in the Dutch town Tilburg and played an all-acoustic concert (their first one ever) in the middle of the day, with bikes passing and people talking around them, all of which is documented on this CD-R. With its soft clatter and rumble Kapotte Muziek's piece always risks appearing too amorphous and getting lost in the background noises. But then again its this confrontation of deliberately produced concrete sounds and the random sounds of the surrounding that make this recording a pretty interesting document after all. Although there are some videos of the event available online, I really wonder how it might have been to actually see this on location and how the different sounds mixed and interfered in the live setting. Frans is right by calling this a curious item on his website and even if it is not the most engaging work I've heard from Kapotte Muziek going all acoustic is an intriguing enough step for them. (MSS)

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

Related articles

CD Feature/ igOr OGOGO: "Solo View"
Charley Parker and Bach for ...
CD Feature/ Stick Man: "Mysterious Female"
An epiphany of music: A ...
CD Feature/ Michael Dessen: "Lineal"
An outburst of ingenuous creativity: ...
CD Feature/ Limpe Fuchs: "pianobody"
Her methods are rooted in ...
CD Feature/ William Basinski: "Variations for Piano & Tape"
A single, perpetually spinning, never-ending ...
CD Feature/ V.A.: "Cryosphere"
A shamelessly romantic piece of ...
CD Feature/ photophob: "Still Warm"
Imaginary landscapes of sometimes breathtaking ...
Her biggest wish
"Game & Errancy" by the ...
CD Feature/ Henschkeschlott: "Cafe Thiossane"
The “Kind of Blue” of ...

Partner sites