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Vital Weekly 615

img  Tobias

Of these two Jean-Luc Guionnet might be the busiest of the two, exploring a wide range of musical activities. He plays alto-saxophone and organ, plays free improvisation with Hubbub, saxophone quartet and Pheromone, free jazz with Return Of The New Swing and The Fish but also composes electronic music and builds sound installations. Here he teams up with Toshimaru Nakamura, the well-known improviser on the no-input mixer. In July of last year they played together two concerts of which the result can be found on 'Map'. The cover mentions 'editing' (by Toshimaru), but I wonder what he did edit. There are four tracks on this release, spanning in total some seventy minutes, which deems to me that there is hardly any edit. Very much what I wrote last week, I believe, I don't think it's necessary to document the entirety of a recording - perhaps it's part of the world of improvisation to do so, but perhaps they should consider then too that a concert is not the same as a release. So I have some reservations against this CD, which don't lie in the content of the individual pieces, which I do believe all to be great, but listened to in one, uninterrupted session is a bit too much. After two pieces it's best to take a rest and then return to it, as Guionnet and Nakamura play demanding music. Lots of free saxophone blowing, in which the saxophone is to be recognized as a saxophone and high end sounds from the no input mixer (which we might also call feedback). Demanding music, with some great beauty in it. (FdW) Address:

The Emanuel Swedenborg mentioned as one of the three performers on this CD lived in the 18th century. He claimed to have contact with angels and spirits on a daily basis, and he noted all his dreams. The scandinavian people love those kind of stories. Leif Elggren and Micheal Esposito went to the summerhouse of Swedenborg (some how I believe all people in Sweden have a summer house by the lake) and recorded sounds there. They are present on this CD along with recordings on an installation at Färgfabriken in Stockholm. They used thirty two iron plates (2x1,3 m), placed over loudspeakers with a contact microphone on top making a low frequency feedback, like a choir. It was called 'Reception'. As with all of Elggren's work it is covered with mystery. One sound piece of fifty three minutes and eighteen seconds of ongoing noise, every now and then interrupted by 'field recordings'. The noise is like a rattle, somehow covered or muffled, like the engine that doesn't get started. It's actually quite a nice CD, quite conceptual, but in all it's minimalism it's also quite enjoyable as a stand alone piece of music. (FdW)

At the southern gateway of entering the Lake District in the Cumbria district stands the Sprint Mill, the studio and workspace of one Edward Acland. I have never been there, but Colin Potter, Phil Mouldycliff and Chris Atkins (APM in short) have been. They have been recording the mill and the area surrounding it. Water running, rusty objects, stones and such like is what makes up the fifteen tracks on this CD. Rather than a drone like piece one would expect from these masters of the genre, they opt now for a more picture like scenery. Rusty metal objects, crackle of stones. Then a piece based on more water like sounds and in between small spoken bits. The electronic processing is surely present in these recordings but they are rather there to perhaps sweeten a bit of the sound and do not take the sound over - it stays a photographic reproduction of the field and not the starting point for something entirely different. Like I said, I never visited this area, but one can sense the quietness of the area, even when this work never drops below a low hearing point. Atmospheric music once again, but the great power of the work lies in the fact that it moves away from the traditional drone and ambient music, but also on the other hand it's not the usual set of field recordings either. That makes this, I think, not just a remarkable but also a beautiful CD. (FdW) Address:

The name Nils Henrik Asheim popped up in Vital Weekly 574 when we reviewed his CD with Lasse Marhaug. Asheim is, besides an excellent player of the church organ also a well-known composer in Norway. In 2007 he released a CD, unheard here however, called 'Broken Line', with four compositions 'interspersed with short close-miked concrete improvisations. On the night the CD was presented, in beautiful Tou Scene in likewise beautiful Stavanger, Asheim invited six local electronic musicians to create a remix of whatever part they preferred from 'Broken Line'. rom the active underground scene of Stavanger we et Sindre Bjerga, QRT, Jan-M Iversen, Anders Gjerde, HOH and Pal Asle Pettersen - who work solo and in various combinations together. Of course it's a great pity that the original 'Broken Line' release wasn't heard, which makes it a bit harder to judge the remixes. To what extend are there samples, and to what extend are things added, for instance? The end result, six solo tracks and an all group improvisation (trimmed down to seven minutes) are affairs of loops, samples and gritty electronics. Some wander into the field of rhythm like QRT and HOH, but mostly it stays in moody, atmospheric fields of music, like Iversen, but some noise is there too, by Gjerde. A nice compilation for sure that perhaps acts now as just another fine compilation, and less as a remix CD. (FdW) Address:

ASS/BLOOD MUSIC (7" by Static Caravan)
A lovely Static Caravan comes around with a nice red marbled piece of vinyl with two bands on it. Ass from Sweden (and who made it to these pages before) and Blood Music. The later released before on Static Caravan, and they are no doubt nice boys. Both bands have two pieces. 'Problematique' by Blood Music is based upon guitar and vocals and is traditional singer songwriter though nothing bad about it. It's however their other song 'Don Quite' which is gorgeous: piano, organ and horns in a sorrowful tune, but with a nice down beat to it. Ass' 'It's In The Galley' is for two guitars, one being strummed, and one slide, with soft tinkle on the glockenspiel - also highly meditative. The second piece is alike that, but has sweet creepy strings in it. Great 7", of course and of course, once again. (FdW) Address:

A lot of music that was once released on cassettes will never be released on a real CD, but someone once said to me recently that the CD market is rapidly disappearing anyway, so why bother about some old music? He suggested re-releasing on cassettes since that was the hype of the day. Some of the old stuff find its way to blogs sharing this kind of music, which is great but it's a MP3. Its like taking a xerox of a full color image. Luckily there are people like Lunhare, erstwhile known as b/b, an Italian cassette label in the early nineties. They relaunch their activities with the release of some of the previous cassette releases on CDR, in a cute plastic bag with excellent printed covers. Now if you don't have money that's the way to do it. Two of these three were actually released before, while Crawling With Tarts arrived too late to be released on a cassette.
Blowhole, I think, no longer exist. It was the band of Jeph Jerman (these days known as Jeph Jerman, but in the 80s as Hands To and member of City Of Worms) who played improvised music, solo, but more likely with others. Blowhole had a sound that was quite loud and percussive. Or rather, using rhythm in a non rhythm way. In the early nineties Blowhole released a whole bunch of cassettes, LPs and even a CD (or two?) which displayed the various sides very well. On 'Reassembled' we find some examples of that: objects being scraped in one track, blowing into pipes, but there is also a bigger group with a wild free jazz improvisation on guitar, concussion (which I believe is metal), violin, vocals, trumpet and drums. It's perhaps this Blowhole sound that is most well-known, but their true was in the combination of various styles of improvisation. It's been a while since I last heard anything by them, but I must say it still has some raw energy. Perhaps a bit dated, but it surely could win new fans.
I may have heard the Blowhole release back then, but I don't think I remember the release by Pangolin Orchestra, a quartet of Felice Pesavento (casiotone, Gem Rodeo 49), Stefano Noro (drums), Gio Lago (percussion) and Gi Gasparin (bass, keyboards, vocals). They too play music through improvisation, I think, but sound much more traditional. A bit rock like, a bit jazz like, naive, child-like approach. Although not bad, I must say it's also not entirely my kind of music. One way or the other it sounds quite 'Italian', like La 1919, if my recollection is serving me well. Perhaps, I don't remember it that well at all. Anyway Pangolin Orchestra may appeal to more traditional free music lovers.
Crawling With Tarts came up with the master of their release some two years after B/b stopped it's activities. 'Ludiques Manifestes' is a collection of ten tracks recorded live in concert in Oakland, and sees the line up of Micheal Gendreau (now working under his own name), Suzanne Dycus and Cliff Neighbours. They too play music through means of improvisation, and like Blowhole they have wide pattern of tunes on their plate. The first two pieces, by a street length the longest, and a free percussive/object banging affairs. In the next three tracks, Crawling With Tarts use more stringed like objects, besides the percussive rumble and things are more under 'control' here, more calm if you wish. But here it also it also forecasts a bandlike approach, which later on will return in an almost punky 'Lug Music: Lug 5' (with the right length for such a piece). A mixed bag this, but a bag full of surprises. Quite a nice document of a band that unfortunately sinked into obscurity. (FdW) Address:

DICK RAAYMAKERS - MONOGRAFIE (book by V2 publishers)
When Dutch institute NEAR announced the release of a Dick Raaymakers anthology in the form of 3 CDs, I was delighted. When Basta announced a 5CD set of Raaymakers (and others) "entertainment" music I was excited. So can you imagine what happened when I learned V2 was about to publish a book on the theatrical works of the most important composer/artist/conceptualist of the Netherlands? So I ordered my copy right away and spend some time since receiving it to read and look through it. It's not a book to read from beginning to end, but rather something to flip through, read about a work and look at the various images and then put it aside for a while. I must say I am quite disappointed by this book. It's very dry material and it never becomes alive. Many, if not all, work by Raaymakers in theatre (and some installation pieces) are comments on events from the past. Mao, Mussolini, Laurel & Hardy, Etienne-Jules Marey but also Glenn Gould or Pierre Boulez. Falling is one important theme in his work. The fall of Mussolini, the fall in the films of Laurel & Hardy. Scientific matters. Highly thought out work, very conceptual. Without a concept, no piece of art. Much of his work is a comment on that, an enlargement of events, a detailed look. It's his line of work, but I wish it was something more of his own. His 'Intona' piece for the destruction of twelve microphones is one such thing of his own. I saw this being performed in V2 and it sounded great. Sadly it wasn't on the three CD set and the description is nice, but, and here we come to another objection against the book: it's book, the most stabile of all media, presented by V2, once the propagator of Unstable Media. Why no DVD so we could see the action moving? I am sure some of this must have been filmed. Or a website? Why the form of a book? One thing that struck me also was this: since their start in the early part of the 80s, V2 presented concerts by Laibach, Sonic Youth, Test Dept, SBOTHI, P16.D4, Etant Donnes, The Hafler Trio, Kapotte Muziek, THU20 (some of these not pure as musical events but part of bigger multi-media events as was the tone of the day) and such like, but it seems that over the years music has been moved out of the world of V2. They stopped their shop/mailorder and closed the label. Music these days for V2 is either the demonstration of yet another new technological aspect of working with computers or internet or the after thought after hard day of talking and developing new technologies (for whatever application in art), music that is no longer 'experimental'. At the end of the day when we all want to relax and talk we want some more pleasant 4/4 techno beat with an exotic touch of experimentalism. The world of visual art in general never cares much for experimental music, which is usually to be found irritating noise on a volume level that is too loud - all in my private and humble experience as such. So why a book on Raaymakers? With nothing to see moving before your eyes, or anything to hear? Is it perhaps because V2 has become too much a part of the real art world, they are now the institute which their instability should or could have prevented them from ever becoming one? And if this review stirred some interest to you, but you don't read Dutch: too bad, this book is only in Dutch. The good thing is the fairly traditional design, which makes this a delight for the eyes. (FdW)

The complete Vital Weekly is available at: Vital Weekly

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