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Vital Weekly 610

img  Tobias

ANGEL - KALMUKIA (CD by Editions Mego)
The word 'hobby project' is a word I don't particularly like. It sounds like something is not serious or for plain fun, without too much effort. With various releases as Angel, it's probably safe to say that Angel is no longer the hobby project of Ilpo Vaisanen (from Pan Sonic), Dirk Dresselhaus (Schneider TM) and since their last CD also Hildur Gudnadottir (Lost In Hildurness, she also plays on the latest Pan Sonic release) - it's as much a real thing as their 'main' occupations. Four lengthy cuts here of guitar, cello and loads of electronics - loads as in many, but they are not used all the time and to the same extent. The pieces are rather empty, like a dessert can be empty, yet full of sand, if you look at the detail. 'Kalmukia' seems like a concept album, with the four pieces linked together. It moves away from the previous, much louder and fuller releases. More is less it seems. The empty music is not always bright, or rather: hardly bright. This is not black but grey music - an area in between the sun doing down, or autumn changing for winter. In between space music. The music howls about like cold wind over the tundra - perhaps a better reference than a hot dessert. Cello and guitar strum about, while the electronics shiver in the background. A bit of raw and a bit quiet. Very nice, this grey and cold winter music. (FdW) Address:

Twenty years of silence is made up in a few years via an endless stream of releases from our beloved Maurizio Bianchi, also known as M.B. who teams up here with his twenty year colleague Emanuela de Angelis, who was the lead singer and guitarist of Joyce Whore Not and who founded later Mou, Lips!. Since 2004 she works solo. Like with a lot of collaborations that Bianchi undertook in recent times, it's pretty unclear how things were made, who did what. Bianchi gets credit for 'rulelectronics', loops and waves and De Angelis for drones, re-echoings and also 'rulelectronics'. 'Electronic rules for reflecting disciples' it says on the cover. The four pieces are pretty minimal affairs of shifting layers of drones of similar yet detailed differences. The whole things hums, vibrates and shakes on all sides. Ambient industrial at it's very best, steady moving, slowly changing. Very cleverly things get stretched throughout a piece, to make more space, which works best in the opening piece 'Earthly Principle'. This is a pretty strong collaborative disc, of highly unsettling ambient drone music. (FdW) ddress:

This obscure french label is new to me. It is, in their own words, a "post-radiophonic, avant-jazz, electronic, pop rock label. So be it. Their small catalogue concentrates on french musicians, but with The Story of Modern Farming this is not the case. It is a duo of two young female talents. rom Denmark comes Loise Dam Eckardt Jensen, laying alto-saxophone, xylophone a.o., Jessica Sligter is from Holland (but living and working in Oslo). We hear her on keyboards, electronics, guitar, and above all vocals. On their debut they present a collection of 10 songs, most of them built around the vocals of Sligter. Most compositions were composed, improvised together. Sligter wrote the vocals. It is obvious she listened a lot to jazz and soul vocalists, and in a way she stays close to this tradition. The difference however is that her singing is not accompanied by a swinging jazz band. In stead electronics dominate, together with the subtile saxplaying by Jensen. They create an minimalistic and ambient-like background, with, from time to time, loud eruptions produced by the free-jazz playing Jensen, or freaky playing on the keyboards. Altogether it is strange slow music, open and poetic in nature, evoking dreamy atmospheres, meditating on themes that come from daily life. 'Kenny Gsus' is the exception, and has a nice instrumental battle between the ladies. Throughout the album Sligter and Jensen give an emotional and inspired interpretation of their songs. An unusual and interesting release it is. (Dolf Mulder) ddress:

It's been a while since we heard first about Kapital Band 1 (Vital Weekly 404), but no doubt Micolas Bussmann and Martin Brandlmayr have not been lazy in the past five years. There seems to have a second album, which I missed out upon. On this new album, the two extend beyond their usual instruments (bass and drum) and add cello, guitar, vibraphone, marimba, voice and flute, all but the latter played by them. Their background in other bands, such as Beige Oscillator, Ich Schwitze Nie, Radian and Trapist can be heard in their playing. The partly improvised music has, certainly in the title track, a strong jazzy feel to it, mainly through the use of drums and the cello. The long 'Playing The Night In Vienna' is based on a street recording to which they add sparse instrumentation, but which give a very nice environmental nocturnal feel to it. That feel is continued 'Counting The Waves' which has more 'musical' information, including a voice reciting the title. Highly comfortable, easy music, with strong melodic music that works best sipping a glass of red wine in the evening. (FdW) ddress:

MERZBOW - HIGANBANA (CD by Vivo Records)
KK NULL - BARYO GENESIS (CD by Vivo Records)
One undisputed king of noise, and one that could be king if there wasn't one already. Merzbow, the unstoppable, is the undisputed king of noise. This is release number 'I long forgot' and harks back to so many of his recent computerized noise releases. Playing 'noise, computer and EMS synthi A' this is all known territory. At times it seems like there is no progress in Merzbow's sound, and this one is one of those 'more of the same'. Its great of course, and I really like it. I have been collecting Merzbow for twenty years until a few years ago, when I found myself playing a lot of them only once, which I believe should not be the point of collection music. Collecting music by a certain artist means you have to play it. If you can't find the time anymore to hear things more than once, one should stop collecting. Since then I only hear new Merzbow when it lands on my doorstep and all the others are missed out upon. No problem, because since then the occasional Merzbow is much better than the one time only Merzbow. 'Higanbana' is fine disc, but a stand still. i don't believe the fans would care about that.
KK Null would have been king of noise if Merzbow wouldn't be on the throne. Ever since his work with ANP and Zeni Geva he loves to work with the raw end of music and sound, which has become increasingly more abstract and less rock based than say in his Zeni Geva days. Unlike Merzbow there is a stronger rhythmic component in his music which forms the backbone of his music. It's however not a rhythm of stomping kind, techno like or any such like, but more the repeated action of highly splintered sound fragments, which are looped. On top KK Null plays a brand of harsher noise textures of freaked out psychedelic electronics. Other than Merzbow - again - KK Null's sound is much more detailed and clearer, even in the endless stream of information that his music is. Four strong heavy blasts of noise, and the tracks are pretty long, but in order to get this music working right, it only seems natural to give it such a length. Here too we can wonder about the progress of the music, since it's certainly not Null's first CD, but with a discography that is considerable smaller than Merzbow's that is hardly a problem. (FdW)

Now that Die Stadt is half way through re-releasing all the LPs by Asmus Tietchens on CD, which I believe is a format that fits his music much better, the anti-naturals of Swill Radio come with a new LP by him. Although it seems, we are not entirely certain here, Asmus' music works in a sort of digital environment these days, which makes it more delicate than before, this LP is crisp and clear. Still derived from his 'Menge' series, resulting in a whole bunch of CDs and some off shoot to vinyl (called 'Teilmenge'), here are three more examples, plus a piece that is called 'Ein Weiteres Leben Geht Zu Ende', which refers to a title on 'Notturno' if I'm not mistaken. 'Teilmenge 20' is on the entire first side, and has a crackle rhythm throughout, and underneath there are various blocks of sound which are moved around, softly. It's like objects being pushed around through the room and it makes a pretty unsettling atmosphere. Quite mathematical in a way, but it has great warmth. On the other side there are three tracks of which are two more pieces of 'Teilmenge', which have the same high pitched sound as we know from the other pieces, the ring modulator working over time. In the middle there is the 'Ein Weiteres Leben Geht Zu Ende' which could be a heavily treated piano piece (if it is at all linked to 'Notturno'), slow and peaceful. Excellent pressing this record, great minimal cover, fine music. What more do you want? Something special. And be sure to turn up the volume for this LP! (FdW) ddress:

Two active members of Italy's microsound scene, each with a long discography to their names, mainly in the areas of MP3 and CDR. Logoplasm is the duo of Laura Lovreglio and Paolo Ippoliti and Punck is Adriano Zanni and the three of them love to record the field and feed it to their laptops. Here things are processed, treated, mixed and constructed into one long track, which falls apart in various distinct different sections. The drones they built something reminded me of The Hafler Trio in the early nineties, while they use extended techniques to change the field recordings: cow bells, rain, voices, sea gulls and such like. Together that makes a lot of sense and they created a most interesting piece of music, compelling and intense as well as relaxing at times. Perhaps not the most innovative things around, but surely their most refined work to date. It's about time for a real CD or real piece of vinyl. (FdW)

PLAYING SOUND (3"CDR compilation by CLaudia)
HEARING MUSIC (3"CDR compilation by CLaudia)
Three new releases on CLaudia, one of New Zealand's finer CDR labels. The big one is by Spit, also known as Ryan Cockburn, who moved from Dunedin to Melbourne, where he recorded this album. Cockburn has been turntable and was a member of EYE, but for this album he picks up a wide variety of instruments. On the CLaudia website you can find detailed notes on all instruments used, which include anything from cheap toy guitars, mixers, microphones and computer. The result is, despite the use of a computer, a pretty lo-fi affair, but also a pretty varied affair. From strumming the guitar, feeding the boxes on the floor, to pieces that include drums, such as the rock like opening 'Etude Pour Un Derive'. The pieces are pretty long and one could wonder if they aren't too long at times. It could have been better if Spit would have trimmed things down a bit. But when he bumps in some variety inside a track, like in 'Cheesegrater For The Knuckles' things are pretty nice. One geographically very well defined product.
The other two releases by CLaudia are compilations. 'Playing Sound' has four pieces of each five minutes of guitar music. That is to say: music that is made with guitars but do not necessarily sound like guitars. Un Ciego, Ben Spiers, CJA & Jani Hellen and Pumice do the job well. There is the wall of noise approach by Un Ciego in a deep down mood, while with Spiers the guitar still sounds like a guitar, albeit on fire with the blues. Something similar, a guitar to be recognized, is the piece by CJA and Jani Hellen, but with a lot more effects to create a semi-psychedelic mood. Pumice's guitar is highly distorted through use of some very crude computer processing. Four approaches with four times a fine result.
The other compilation deals with field recordings and is a re-issue of four individually released business card CDRs, compiled here so 'all the better to collect their similarities and compare their differences'. It starts out with Jane Austen playing the piano in a room with sleepy animals (or so it seems), but it's not the best piece around. C. Cotrell has five short pieces (here as one piece) of field recordings and computer processing, which is quite nice. Yek-Koo also has field recordings, which he recorded "onto home-made audio loopers. Then performed and mixed live with the addition of two digital effects pedals." Automated music that works nicely in a raw but ambient music way. Mark Sadgrove has 'Supoutso No Koe', a.k.a. sport songs, recorded in the tennis court. Pretty much unprocessed, this is not exactly music to sweat by, but provides a nice ambience and some Japanese intensity. Nice compilations! (FdW)

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