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Vital Weekly 613

img  Tobias

C.C.C.C. - CHAOS IS THE COSMOS (CD by Cold Spring)
A few weeks back, I had the pleasure of reviewing two folk-based albums from British label Cold Spring Records. It was Von Thronstahl's latest effort "Sacrificare" and the excellent compilation "John Barleycorn Reborn". Now it's time for a radical change in stylish expression from the impressively musically wide spanning Cold Spring label. As you probably know Japan is the place to be if you're searching for ear-shattering symphonies of noise. Two new albums from Cold Spring present some of the Japanese noise-legends. First album is by Mayuko Hino and husband Hiroshi Hasegawa operating under the project C.C.C.C. (shortage of "Cosmic Coincidence Control Center") with contributions from Fumio Kosakai (Hijokaidan & Incapacitants) and Ryuichi Nagakubo (Tangerine Dream Syndicate). Having been active since 1991, this album is their first release in more than ten years. Previous effort was the "Flash"-album released back in 1996. The C.C.C.C.-project is first of known (or rather notorious) by the shocking live performances that earlier included onstage striptease and the throwing of urine-filled plastic bags into the audience. "Chaos Is The Cosmos" consists of one single track running 40+ minutes. Despite its length there is a great development in the piece. Main part of the noise creation consists of guitar distortion and keyboard generated noise with the addition of vocals from Mayuko's peaking with some hellish screams of fright. A great album that definitely has been worth the long wait! Second album is one hell of a joint venture. Three of Japnoise-scene's true legends emerge under the name "South Saturn Delta" to crush the brain of the listener with an hour of ear-shattering harsh noise. Maso Yamazaki known as Masonna is the composer. He is assisted by Hiroshi Hasegawa (a.k.a. Astro) and C.C.C.C. both responsible for keyboard and voice inferno. The album titled "Experience the concreteness" consists of four live recordings from the period 2003-2005, recorded at various locations in Japan. That Masonna is the brainman behind "Saturn South Delta" becomes quite clear during this noise trip with quite a few elements turning the memories back to Masonna's album "Frequency LSD" (Alien8 Recordings, 1997) with the excellent trippy noise passages based on ongoing repetitive noise loops. The frequent use of drumwork and guitar-noise gives associations to early krautrock or Japanese psychedelia in the style of Acid Mothers Temple. Two excellent noise-albums that proves that there is plenty of explosives in the underground of Japanese culture to let Japan defend its title as the true kingdom of Harsh Noise. (Niels Mark) Address:

If the word 'crooning' means the same for you as it does for me, then the word 'crooner electronica' might be as alien for the both of us. Ankitoner Metamars is Anki Toner (of Superelvis) and Javier Pinango (of Cerdos, Mil Dolores Peguenos, Destroy Mercedes, Druhb), both of them and their other bands unknown to me. Seven songs of crooner electronica on their album. They play electronic keyboards, heavy loops of rhythm, in a noise rock vein, and the vocals do not always croon, but its sung rather flat. Loud but flat. Like crooning, I guess. I was thinking of Scott Walker, of Suicide, of Philip Quehenberger - but Ankitoner Metamars certainly have something of their own. The songs are rather long, but at the same time also something hypnotic in these lengthy songs. Take for instance the opening of 'My Name Is', with some scraped violin, fading into spooky organ sounds, and the voice crooning 'my name is not, my name was what your name will be', while a heavy rhythm bangs away. Is it strange that the cover Leonard Cohen's 'Hallellujah'? Not at all. It fits just perfect. Lydia Lunch is starred on one track. Perfect nightmare music on this strangely compelling album. (FdW) Address:

MACHINEFABRIEK - RANONKEL (CD by Burning World Records)
As a sort of (sick?) joke I was thinking one could open a music store called 'M' - obviously 'M' for 'music', but also for Merzbow, Muslimgauze and Machinefabriek - three acts that have been or still are very active on the release front. Just sell bands whose names start with a 'm'. Machinefabriek is the youngest of these three working musicians (although of course one of them is no longer making music) and after some searching, a search we all witnessed via his stream of 3"CDR releases, Rutger has found his sound, also already for some time. The six pieces on 'Ranonkel' (which seems like a Dutch word, and probably is, but I have no idea what it means) could all be pieces that we heard before on the 3"CDR format, but they have reached a more matured form in the versions presented here. Using guitar, effects, vinyl and laptop, Rutger Zuydervelt creates highly atmospheric pieces of music, like he always does. His previous effort, the soundtracks to films for the Rotterdam Film Festival, wasn't so much of my liking but on 'Ranonkel' he more than makes up. These are strong pieces again, varied in approach, although all centered around the notion of dark atmospheric music, each of them has their own approach. I wasn't too pleased with the use of reverb in the opening 'Trouringh' but in the following 'Stofstuktoon', hints of melody arise from the mass of sound and is a great piece. A very fine work, again! (FdW) Address:

OSSO EXOTICO & Z'EV (CD by Crouton Music)
Curious. Just curious. A collaboration between Z'EV, legendary player of percussion and tape-manipulator (among many qualities) and the Portuguese trio of Osso Exotico (Andre Maranha, David Maranha and Patricia Machas), the little chamber orchestra of all things minimalist? Maybe it's less of a mystery than it seems. This release lacks any information besides artist names and label's website (unless some insert is missing), so we have to be guessing (again). Unlike some of his previous collaborations I think it's not the result of some postal exchange of sound material, but the actual playing together of these four musicians. When you hear it than the unlikeliness of the recording seems to vanish - this is music that actually sounds like it belongs together. The drones of Osso Exotico, tight, layered, minimalist fits actually very well with Z'EV tribalesque percussion work here. It's a jam, that seems a sure thing. No editing or overdubbing has been used here, which is a pity, since as a whole thing it is somewhat too loosely played. Certainly when the four players are 'searching' for a sound. Once the ball gets rolling, it rolls, it makes ripples becoming waves, waves becoming thunder storm. It's in these moments when the true power of the music comes alive. A tribal version of LaMonte Young, the grittiness of Tony Conrad on a multiple instruments and the psychedelic power that is found in more of the recent Osso Exotico recordings. Despite a few flaws in the recording, and the fact that it sounds a bit muffled, this is a very nice work. Get them in a proper studio and let them work on it more extensively. (FdW) Address:

DAVOR MIKAN - TAUSCHUNG (CD by Cronica Electronica)
From Vienna comes one Davor Mikan, of whom I
never heard, 'where he creates music about failure, beauty, lust and delusion in the context of psychoacoustic effects and in a personal sense (self-delusion)', as it is said on the blurb. He is using generative graphic tools together with granular synthesis to transform sound. Whatever that may mean, even when I think he uses sound software to transform work generated with software that is in general used for design. Which is not a new thing, as some programs do allow you to open a text or image file and then it will 'read' as music. Judging by the same what harsh, crude and loud music Mikan produces on 'Täuschung' this is the case here (unless he uses the 'pencil' in the audio software program to re-draw sound curves, which might give a similar effect). Thirty one tracks, spanning just over thirty seven minutes means that we are dealing with short pieces here. Very short but partly loud pieces. I don't recall such a noise based release on Cronica, which I think is a good move. Noise, certainly when it's done well, is the new main thing. Be it the crude, Merzbowian blasts of noise, the lo-fi noise of New America, the end of soft glitch seems imminent. See last week's Josh Russell's release and this week it's Mikan. Maybe the pieces could move away from the sketch like character and grow into something more composed like, but otherwise this is a most promising start. (FdW) Address:

I/O - POLYTONE (CD by Fratto9)
TANAKE - 3REE (CD by Fratto9)
Two Italian groups are presented here on the Fratto9 label, a small independent also from Italy. I/O, formed in 2002, make no secret of it that they are followers of Can. So no surprise that they have performed with Damo Suzuki. It is a quartet made up by Luca Mauri (guitar), Paolo Romano (double bass), Paolo Benzoni (drums) and Andrea Reali (voice and electronics), presenting with 'Polytone' their second release. The guitarstyle reminds of the playing of Michael Karoli. The non-verbal singing is another similarity with Can. By repeating rhythmic patterns they create a hypnotizing atmosphere, the guitar playing simple riffs above it, and the drummer trying to keep it going and together. In each track they fulfill this same ritual of minimalistic rock. In some of the tracks the magic happens, like in the second track. Because of this stripped down approach it is important that during the piece gradually a tension is built up that leaves you no escapade as a listener. But that didn't happen with me while listening to I/O. Although it must be said that this is a good band with potential. Like Can they used no overdubs. Everything was recorded live in the studio in order to capture as much as possible of the created atmosphere. By the way, the mastering was done by Giuseppe Ielasi. Tanake is about something else. It is as trio: Martino Acciaro (drums, typewriter, noise), Maurizio Bosa (bass, Am Fm waves), Roberto Acciaro (guitar, trombone, Am Fm waves). In 11 tracks they try to visualize their version of free rock. Their music arises from endless improvisation I suppose. As they are experienced in this, they choose to record their CD live, using no overdubs. In several pieces they worked out there ideas satisfactory, like in 'Dustin soup'. Other pieces however remain on an experimental level and fail to impress. Acciaro plays some great trombone in 'Ingredienti per 3 persone'. And I would love to hear more of it. But in most tracks however we hear him on guitar. Throughout it is the drummer where most ideas come from. In a piece like 'Utilita...', they prove that also in introvert pieces they can built interesting structures. No doubt that I/O and Tanake are two interesting bands of good musicians, not convincing in all aspects, but I hope they will find more of a own voice. (Dolf Mulder) Address: http://www.fratto9/

TROUM - SEN (2LP by Equation Records)
To grasp some of the success of Troum, or their predecessors Maeror Tri, one only needs to realize that by now they have the opportunity to pick out anything from their backcatalogue and re-issue in what ever format they prefer. The limited edition live recording Troum made at VPRO Radio 'De Avonden' was released as 'Mort Aux Vaches' by Staalplaat, so hey why not re-issue it on vinyl (which I expect to be the preferred format by these boys)? In three versions: a double picture disc, on white and black vinyl and one edition on clear vinyl. A collectors nightmare, but as said, these boys have fans. Remastered of course to send better (or perhaps, sound right on vinyl). Of course the one piece that was the CD (and thus the live recording) had to be cut into four parts to fit on vinyl, which is a pity, since the continuous playing works better. 'Sen' was a piece Troum had been playing right before this recording in Poland and is among the first works they ever played when arising from the ashes of Maeror Tri. Now, almost a decade later, it still sounds as fresh as back then. Slow drones, hypnotic rhythms, swirling organ like sounds, all in mesmerizing colors. Their means were and still are relatively simple, but they know how to play their instruments (accordion, gas tanks, sound effects, guitar, gong, melodica, to mention a few) to full effect. Their ambient is always full on present, the 'industrial' version of ambient (even when the word industrial is entirely inappropiate here). Dream music for those who are awake. The four sides are cleverly cut and one has the idea there are four pieces. Nice. It's easy to see why they are still one of the best around and why their previous output will be in print for years to come. Textbook stuff. Listen and learn. (FdW)

THE YELLOW MOON BAND - MAYBACH (7" by Static Caravan)
SMILE DOWN UPON US (3"CDR by Static Caravan)
The three faces of Static Caravan here. They are a great pop label, most likely the best pop label around, I think. Lots of cute 7"s, great design and some great music. The first one is a 7" by The Yellow Moon Band. For a moment I thought I died and was shipped back to the past (who said we can't reincarnate to the past?). I woke up in the mid-seventies. Fleetwood Mac are on the radio, and all those bands which names would elude me in 2008 (but I always liked the Mac), and The Yellow Moon Band offer nothing but a great west coast rock imitation. Great solo on 'Focussed'. If you like solo's, that is. 'Maybach' hammers nicely away in a nice prog-rock sense of the word. Great record to be filed under 'utter retro'.
But I'm not dead. And it's not 1975, but 2008, says Static Caravan with their second new release by The Accidental, the duo of Stephen Cracknell and Sam Genders. The latter also works as Tunng, and as such he is responsible for the mix of 'Brave New World', built around bouncing vocal sample, with nice bass lines and likewise bouncing beats. Benge remixed the other side has a down beat bass, great vocals, both male and female and tribal rhythms. Slow, moody, atmospheric. A great dark popsong. Great 7".
Not much information on Smile Down Upon Us, which is announced as a CD release on the website. Perhaps a 3"CDR, of which Static Caravan is also an advocate (all in a cunning ploy to annoy those who listen to music on their 'computer'). Smile Down Upon Us represent the folk element in the catalogue of Static Caravan. Sweet female vocals, flutes, percussion, acoustic guitar - the whole works are used here. In the third track the elph sounds a bit like Björk, which is perhaps an too obvious reference, but throughout this was highly enjoyable. (FdW) Address:

No instruments are mentioned on the cover of 'The Organ Of Corti' by Taus, the duo of Tim Blechmann and Klaus Filip. But me thinks that it's a duo of laptops, no input mixers and perhaps a turntable. That's about what I could detect on their release as sound sources. Things peep, scratch and hum for about fifty one minutes, but that may sound a bit unfair. Taus do a very fine job I'd say. They built up their pieces from just a few sounds, but let them develop in a natural manner, give them space and they grow. Then they take back sound, close in the space and it seems that the music is disappearing again. When almost silent, they start again. Taus easily takes minutes to let theme's explore, but then the result is a great one. Music that you should hear rather loud; loud in the loudest parts, but then the softest parts also become audible. The music will wash over the a warm flow of water. Rather than full concentration, it's best to enjoy this with eyes closed, headphone and on repeat. (FdW) Address:

SPOONO - SEA BREEZE (CDR by Dirty Demos)
Maybe there is a world wide alliance going on to call things 'Split Series'? Following last week's 'Split Series #5' on Tib prod, here is 'Split Series #3' on Dirty Demos, and although one can't be sure, I don't think they are related. Not in music that is. Whereas the two from last week played improvised music, here Deadwood and Red Needled Sea operate from the drone music end. Deadwood has a minimalist pattern that repeats itself with irregular intervals, in a sort of Oval manner when they turned more ambient and less rhythmic. Towards the end things get a bit distorted. Red Needled Sea hoovers nicely on the bottom of the sea with a low rumble bass sound.
From standing on the bottom we hear a hovercraft
passing. The piece stays on the same level throughout, but has quite an intense feel to it. Scary ambient.
The other new release on Dirty Demos is by Spoono, being on Jack Allett. He opens with 'Bagpipe Song', and, sure it may include bagpipes, but they are not easy to detect in the barrage of noise and drone. It's a heavy piece, but it flies about, sparkling, furious and it's nice. On 'Fuck It, It's Broken Again', I think he means the guitar that sounds about. It's also loud, but more improvised sounding. A bit incoherent this one. The noise of guitar and drums (courtesy of Ben Pruess) sound more better. A slow menacing piece of music. The final piece moves into feedback land again, and here, oddly enough, it could a bagpipe. The first and last piece were my favorites, as they sound the most coherent. (FdW)

MACHINIST - BLACKBLOCK (CDR by Heilskabaal Records)
The name Machinist may suggest something industrial, mechanical, something alien (as in 'not human') perhaps, and the three long pieces by Zeno van den Broek, the man behind Machinist is alike that, yet it has a certain quality that makes it very human. Machinist is inspired by the art of Richard Serra and Anselm Kiefer, the beauty of decay, rust, earth, brown and grey. In the opening piece Machinist plays a very dark ambient tune which is along the lines of Lustmord, in a very cinematographic way. The desolated and empty industrial park at night with strong suspense. Soundsources are hard to trace down. The second piece seems to be drums and guitars and is quite a rock like piece, not at all like the first or the third piece. More Skullflower inspired drones than anything ambient industrial. 'Blackblock' ends with a piece that is a combination of the two previous ones. Slow rumbling percussive bang on a can against a darkened wall of alien machines trying to conquer the world. The rhythm here is the most mechanical. Quite a strong release, and the length of the pieces might be considered long, but this music needs that kind of development, and Machinist makes all the right moves only a human make to create some interesting shapes and moves. Very nice indeed. The right noise!
It has ben quiet from the Norwegian shores, Bjerga/Iversen, for reasons I am not aware of. Maybe the ran out of labels to release their, after having explored every CDR label in the world? Heilskabaal Records is still a young label and they release a Bjerga/Iversen recording from January 2006, which is a most remarkable one. Much of the previous work, and no doubt this one too, has been recorded through improvisation, but whereas some of the earlier stuff could be a hit and miss affair, not unlikely to wander off in the realms of noise, this new one is throughout mostly a quieter affair, of carefully bundled electronics, in a rather soft mood. Things remain careful, but full of tension. Rather short with five pieces at twenty-six minutes, but no doubt one of the very best releases by them! (FdW)

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