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Vital Weekly 611

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JUNKBOY - THREE (CD by Enraptured Records)
From the department of music that is not strictly for Vital Weekly comes Junkboy, a name that sounds like noise, but it's not. Junkboy are two brothers, Mik and Rich Hanscomb with a handful of friends to help them out. References mentioned are Brian Wilson, Elliot Smith, Tortoise, Krautrock. Recording their intimate music at home, this is a heavy folk record or a soft rock record. When they sing it's not so much thing, like the recent Little Wings release (see Vital Weekly 608), with whom they share a similar sound. But Junkboy play longer passages of instrumental music than the aforementioned Little Wings (just to mention a recent reference), which perhaps counts for the Tortoise influence here, which makes this album a bit more enjoyable - in Vitals' more experimental terms - and more experimental. Bells tinkling, horns, flute and lapsteel add a warmth to the music. Even the wordless vocals of 'Held Inside' and the retro guitar/flute solo in there may date back thirty-five years, it makes a wonderful nice tune. A fine combination of post rock, krautrock, folk and singer songwriter material, with enough to love for even the more experimental heads at the Vital HQ. (FdW) Address:

The wonder of modern German pop, Felix Kubin that is, hardly makes it into these pages, which of course is a great shame. Armed with his organ and korg he plays popmusic, but ever throughout his career as Kubin, he has been playing music that he was asked to compose for film, theatre and radio. They form an equally important feature in his work. However it's not the music we/you might know him best for. From three of these pieces, the best parts (why not the complete work?) are now released as 'Music For Theatre And Radio Play'. Five pieces for 'Zufall', a theatre piece , six pieces for 'Hollywood Elegien', also a theatre play and eleven pieces for the radio play 'The Raft'. Twenty two pieces in total with a total playing time of thirty nine minutes, makes twenty two short pieces. No doubt dictated by the rules of the theatreplay, but separated from that, it's a bit hard to figure out what these plays are about. There is no extra information on their content and pieces stand by their self. From uptempo party like music (including guestmusicians on guitar, saxophone, violin and percussion - the Mineralorchester) to moody, sketch like pieces and semi orchestral pieces like 'Drifting'. The sketch like character of the pieces doesn't make a coherent listening affair and it's hard to tell the difference between the various plays they were composed for. However if you see them a bunch of songs, separated from their original context, this is wild gang of pieces, joyful, sorrowful, funny and hilarious. It shows us a more experimental Kubin who hasn't lost his wit and wisdom. (FdW) Address:

Music by Antye Greie, also known as AGF, didn't make it in Vital Weekly for reasons that will never be known. AGF was once a member of Laub, an electronic pop duo and released solo work on Orthlong Musork, Asphodel, Mixer and since some time on her own AGF Producktion. I lost count what she released so it's a bit hard for me to place her new CD (her fourth solo) 'Words Are Missing' in the larger context of her work. Poetry, vocals, language play an important role in her work, but for this new one words are missing - she uses the voice to create sound and the computer to transform those sounds. In the booklet every track gets a picture - sometimes a photo, but it can also be words, letters or something that could something like that. The music by AGF is highly personal music, in which she puts together personal emotions, feelings and experiences. Yet this is no an entirely closed work, the title of the pieces in combination with the visual aspect give the listener an idea what they are about. 'KZ' (short in German for concentration camp) is based on a visit to Buchenwald when she was sixteen. From her voice she constructs beats, drones, cut up voices are looped and it might be best easy to say her work is click n cuts. Not abstract as with many of her male counterparts, not danceable as related to the dancefloor, yet strong on rhythm, moods and atmospheres. Perhaps sixteen tracks is a bit long, but it's certainly a varied work, sometimes heavy on rhythm, sometimes as quiet as poetry can be. Very nice. I should check out what else I missed from her. (FdW) Address:

Somewhere over the years Dean Roberts moved out of my sight. After his releases for Mille Plateaux, his work as White Winged Moth and other explorations of guitar and electronics, he started to play 'real' songs. It wasn't a conscious decision to loose him out of eye-sight, but it happened. I must have missed the first release by Autistic Daughters, perhaps because it was vinyl only, also on Staubgold in 2004. As Austic Daughters, Roberts (guitar, vocals) teams up with Martin Brandlymayr on percussion and computer and Werner Dafeldecker on guitar and bass, plus a whole bunch of guests, such as Chris Abrahams (The Necks), Martin Siewert and Valerio Tricoli. This is singer-songwriter music, stripped to the very essence of music. Not a note or sound too many and lots of silence. Not real silence, but just a few sounds that go on. Imagine some of the more subdued moments of say Kapital Band 1 or Trapist but then with lyrics, which are likewise sparse. The music is played in what seems an improvised manner, but also carefully planned when it came to mixing the music. It's simply great stuff. I know I rant against the speaksinging, singer songwriters and such like, but here it sounds lovely. Maybe it's the grey rainy day that has put me in a melancholic state. Also on Staubgold is a mix CD by one Peter Grummich, a DJ from Berlin who is a party animal and records for Shitkatapult and Kompakt, but here takes hold of the Staubgold catalogue to create a mix CD that can be played before going to a party or after - chill out music. Which is the perfect thing on a sunday afternoon - in my case - waking up, drinking coffee and get last night's party - ending 5 o'clock this morning - out of my system. I have no idea in what way the pieces are edited or changed. I put it on, drink more coffee and relax reading a book - 'Who Killed Martin Hannett' - in my case. Once the CD is done, I feel more relaxed, hop back to the computer and write these lines. All the usual Staubgold suspects are here: To Rococo Rot, Sack Und Blumm, Rafael Toral, Reuber, No Neck Blues Band, Alejandro Franov, Kammerflimmer Kollektief and such like. A post party pill that you can't swallow, but makes you feel good. (FdW) Address:

The underscore in the name Novi_sad marks the difference with the other Novisad in the field of music. This is the work of a Greek guy that goes by the name Thanasis Kaproulias, I believe his debut. It's not a recent release, but due to some mix up it finally landed on my desk. Three long pieces of what can be best (well, easily) be described as computer drone music, made with field recordings. Thickly layered drones open up in 'Everything Looks Better Beside Water', that also carries some sampled percussive sound. Somewhere towards the end a violin like sound is added with irregular intervals. This is continued in the other two tracks, although in the final piece there is also a female voice telling a story. Perhaps some of the pieces are a bit too long and a bit more roughly shaped than say Roel Meelkop or Marc Behrens, this is a missing link between the current microsound trend and some of the 80s ambient industrial music. A very promising start! (FdW) Address:

Music by Victor Nubla has been around for a long time, in my case ever since I bought 'El Secreto Metro' cassette in the mid 80s and which I no longer have. With long irregular intervals, Nubla still releases his music, sometimes alone or with bands. One of them is Dedo, of whom 'Avatar' was reviewed in Vital Weekly 483. The line up of Dedo has changed from Nubla and Pau Torres to Nubla (sampler, electric clarinet), Angelica Sanchez (vocals), Ignacio Lois (keyboards) and Txema Gonzales (ancient flutes and percussion). More than on 'Avatar' there is now a unified sound for Dedo, incorporating what seems to me (no expert here) ancient spanish music (mostly through the singing, wind instruments and percussion) with electronic music, but unlike Zavoloka and Akkord-I-On, the electronics is not updated to the world of glitch and microsound, but stayed close to the world of dark electronic music of the 80s - say Lustmord, Rapoon, Zoviet France. That's a bit of a pity I think, since it could
have sounded a lot fresher if they would have looked for more new means to create the music. Also the mix could have been more surprising: it stays too much on one dynamic level now. A pity since there is more in here than what is explored now.On Nubla's latest solo offering, 'Cataleg D'Usos Simbolics', Nubla just plays the clarinets (four different ones, not all at the same time) and various multi-effects machinery (the ART multiverb EXT and Zoom 1204 and 7010, if you insist on knowing). Fifteen pieces, divided in five groups with each three pieces. The sound of clarinet is an acquired taste, I think. It's not always easy to tell what the effects do to change the sound, which at times give the clarinet a rather dry effect. I must admit that I liked those tracks best which had a lot of transformations to the sound, and less the 'dry' tracks (perhaps it's because a former neighbor of mine practiced this instrument too much and I sort of a natural resentment against the instrument), but when transformed Nubla plays quite interesting, abstract pieces of clarinet and electronics - almost in a modern classical vein. (FdW) Address:

DOT TAPE DOT - TOMAVISTAS (CD by Other Electricities)
BAJA - WOLFHOUR (CD by Other Electricities)
FESSENDEN - V1.1 (CD by Other Electricities)
My first encounter with the label Other Electricities is a most pleasant one. It's the welcome of the first CD by Fessenden and the first encounter with Baja and Dot Tape Dot. The latter to start with is a project of Daniel Romero from Asturias Spain (and not to be confused with Damien Romero) who wanted to create music and found he didn't have much money, so he decided to use toy instruments and field recordings, which are all recorded in a lo-fi manner. I am quoting the press text here, since I find this hard to believe, as the CD doesn't sound at all lo-fi. "Tomavistas" collects pieces from the years 2002 to 2007 and is a very nice release of naive, childlike electronic music, much along the lines of Sack & Blumm or other German counterparts. It has a great sense of popmusic, glitch and sounds lovely. Some of the pieces could have been a shorter, but the somewhat crude composing methods give this release quite a nice edge, that makes it a little bit different the others in lullaby land.
Baja is also an one-man project by one Daniel Vujanic and Wolfhour is his third album. In some ways there is a link to Dot Tape Dot, but Baja is more tighter, less naive, less abstract/chaotic and more straight forward in composing. His music is held together by drums that are partly broken jazz rhythms, poppy and techno. On top he layers the cake with guitar, organs and electronics. Eclectic music this is, swinging - literally - all over the place. Jazz, pop, rock, free improv even it all passes with great ease by the listener. My reference book is a bit low here - although I don't see This Heat and Faust fitting in, like the label tells us - but Sea And Cake or Kammerflimmer Kollecktief: why not? Fun, feel good music in which a lot of small surprises are hidden, but if listened to superficially, this can make the listener quite happy.
Fessenden is last. This trio of Joshua Convey (bass, electronics), Stephen Fiehn (guitar, electronics) and Steven Hess (drums, percussion, vibraphone, electronics) do something different than Baja and Dot Tape Dot. Improvisation is at the core of their music, but not at the end of the road. They record everything they do and play around with the recordings before we hear them. Composed from improvisation. So far they had a couple of releases on Entr'acte, Chat Blanc (which they recorded with Keith Berry) and Stasisfield, but 'v1.1' is their first full length CD release. Overall, their music is highly atmospheric, even when there are outbursts in sound, such as in 'Peak V/Z*sin', the final track of the CD, but that is a rarity. Usually their sound is more like a continuos stream, in which things rise up, take shape and move away, like watching the sea. On the whole it looks the same, but close by it has all sorts of different looks. In a piece like 'Mid-Swing' they give new meaning to the world minimal techno, in a slow but moving shaker of a piece. Fessenden has succeeded in making a great debut album with their original blend of improvisation, composition, musique concrete and rock music. Very nice one. (FdW)

Demux is a new DVD-label from Australia, devoted to "promoting live audio-visual performance events, documentation and experimental works for screen." The first two entries in their catalogue are from Australian filmmakers Peter Newman and Wade Marynowsky, respectively. Newman's "Paperhouse" presents highly atmospheric images, usually on the brink of being non-representational, however with enough suggestive potential to produce ever changing sets of haunting visual associations. From the nerve wrecking flicker of "Rosebud" to "The Waking Instant's" minimalist impressions of a tropical thunderstorm and the exploration of minimal textures in "Mesh - P.I.V. 7", "Paperhouse" blends an interest in abstraction and the material aspects of film with a romantic sensibility. In some aspects Newman's aesthetic brings to mind the visual experiments of the 1960s and in particular the work of artists such as Stan Brakhage, but he manages to add a digital characteristic to it, while maintaining the organic qualities that are so typical of many classics of experimental cinema. The soundtrack matches the visual part pretty well throughout. Mostly drone-based and minimal, with a dark grounding and occasional held back rhythms or noisy outbursts, it reflects both the images' psychedelic character and their digital quality. Maybe it wouldn't be that exciting on its own, but the images wouldn't be either, and that's how it should be, after all. In "The Waking Instant" the music gets somewhat pathetic in conjunction with the images, but that is still all right with me. The only real dropout is "The 5.19", which is based on found-footage from television. It doesn't go along well with the other films on a formal level, and above all it relies too much on the visual attractions generated by loads of plug-ins.
Marynowsky's "Interpretative Dance" collects mostly recordings from live AV-performances. The first clip I saw was "Geek from the swamp" a parody on people sitting behind their laptops and pretending to do something interesting while they actually just rearrange preset sounds and images. Aesthetically the other films continue in this vein, however it soon becomes apparent, that they are not at all as ironic as the aforementioned. The problem is that Marynowsky actually loves processing his images with lots of plug-ins, without being too critical about the results. This sounds like a hard verdict and maybe things aren't that bad if you aren't as prejudiced against the bulk of digital arts as I am, but seeing the flashy colors, 1990s-like animations and digitally blurred footage in these films didn't really convince me to watch them more than once. I did watch some of these films more than once nevertheless, just to make sure that my first impression was not all wrong. It turned out I shouldn't have been so rude in my initial judgment, but still I either don't get the point here, or showing a koala with multicolored rotating spirals in his eyes is really not funny, just as presenting highly abstracted images of quiet outdoor scenes, accompanied by soft ambient sounds is really not engaging. (Magnus Schaefer) Address:

It seems that St.Ride gets more and more active through releases. Also it seems that there is now a third member: Mongoholi Nasi on guitar, vocals and reeds, next to Maurizio Gusmerini on rhythms and effects and Edo Grandi on rhythms and effects. This expansion has certain repercusions for their music. Tracks are, here at least, very short, just somewhere between one and two minutes, and are clearly improvised - perhaps so far nothing new, but there is a stronger emphasis on using vocals and trying to play some sort of crazy, almost pop tune but all in the strict boundary of improvised music, which makes an odd combination, but actually one that also works. The vocals are without words, producing sounds along the lines of say Jaap Blonk or Phil Minton, but the chopped rhythms and effects make this less strict improvised and more pop-like. At only seventeen minutes this is a most curious little item. Quite a strong leap forward. (FdW) Address:

ROBE - TREPANATION (CDR by Outfall Channel)
Both of these releases don't have that much information. Nothing on Robe actually, except the tracktitles and the fact that is was recorded in 2006. Whatever it is that Robe uses is hard to tell. My best guess is that he uses radio waves fed through analogue synthesizers which are all tuned down to the lowest bass possible, perhaps with the addition of some sound effects. There isn't much difference in the six tracks on offer here. A slow sound that rattles, seems to break and rumbles along the depth of the earth. Ground sounds. Quite nice, but because of the lack of variety and the length of it all, perhaps a bit too much of a repetition. The lengthy 'After Three Weeks, Shiny Black 1' could have been skipped and saved the release. Nice cover actually.
Capital Hemmorrhage is a guitar and percussion player, Jonathan Prunty and Ryan Faris. It was recorded live to four track it says and it lists eight tracks but there is one on the CDR. Twenty four minutes in total of improvised music, crude, loud, quiet, soft. Capital Hemmorrhage move all over the place. Hard to see it as eight separate tracks but as one whole it is a concentrated outburst of energy. The guitar is scraped, goes out to feedback and explored for tonal qualities. The drums support that and seem to be less explored than the drums. It plays wild, free tunes. For those who loved wild free and sheer improvisation, this is a fine stop. (FdW) Address:

Following 'Delicatessen: A Taste Of [Walnut + Locust]' (see Vital Weekly 598, the label now produces another compilation 3"CDR from an altogether different angle. The seven pieces here are more from a 'serious' electro-acoustic music. Each of the seven artists takes a certain amount of sounds and then transform them inside the bits and bytes of the computer. The opening by Aidan Baker is quite strong, and also the piece by Alexandre St-onge. After that it's all a bit less great I think, ending the almost gothic approach of Seven Morgues, which reminded me of Ain Soph. Other artists are .cut & Friends, Famecia, Pine Tree State Mind Control and Whilst. Perhaps it's the brief character of the songs that makes it hard for the listener to get into. But it could always serve as an introduction for those on the lookout for new music. (FdW) Address:

The complete Vital Weekly is available at: Vital Weekly

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