RSS feed RSS Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook 15 Questions 15 Questions

Vital Weekly 620

img  Tobias

COTI - DUNUNG (CD by Antifrost)
Antifrost's catalogue is in general filled with music that is sometimes best described as 'difficult', even 'noise', 'conceptual', but hardly ever as 'easy listening'. Coti, who before was one half of Textu Rizer with Nikos Veliotis, just releases 'Dunung' which is one hell of a break with that. Coti, real name Costantino Luca Rolando Kiriakos, born in Milan 1966, but living in Greece, was active since the mid 80s with bands as Ricochet, Dada Data, Raw, Spiders' Web, In Trance 95 and worked with Tuxedomoon, Stereo Nova, Blaine Reininger, The Raining Pleasure, Nikos Veliotis and ILIOS to but a few. On his fifth solo CD he offers music for the piano. Simple as that. No concept, well not other than playing the 86 keys and a bit of electronic treatment, like a bit of reverb, processing but it's kept a strict minimum. Playing the piano is what counts here. Coti plays minimalist patterns, not unlike old Steve Reich, not always with a similar clarity, but a bit muffled through the use sparse of sound effects. It entirely fits the current wave of people playing the piano that were so dominant in 2007. If you like your Sakamoto, Harold Budd, Steve Reich or Erik Satie like than this is right your alley. I thought it was a bit much for the similarity the work had to offer, but as 'music while you work' this did a pretty fine job. (FdW) Address: http://www.antifrost.gr

LOUIS DUFORT - MATERIAUX COMPOSES (DVD by Empreintes Digitales)
Sometimes, afterwards, I think I was a bit too harsh. When I recently reviewed a couple of DVD (but with music only) releases by Empreintes Digitales, the final review was a re-run of the previous reviews - as to outline the repeat character of the music. That was, perhaps, not entirely fair. But it make want to listen with much anticipation to the release by Louis Dufort. That was, again, all wrong, as this one, I must admit (and never afraid of admitting when I'm wrong), I quite liked. The differences between this, and some of the precedent releases by the label, are to me clear. Dufort's interest doesn't lie in the ways sounds are processed by similar pieces of software which seem to be applying to the other composers, but he rather uses a more roughly shaped compositional method. His sounds are more direct, more in your face, not processed beyond belief as some of the sounds what they are. In, for instance, 'Materio _***', there are farm sounds, scraping the surface, cooking sounds and clusters of instruments. They all make perfect sense, a fine, balanced audio picture. Sounds do not bounce up and down, back and forth, stumbling and tumbling, but are placed with great care in the right spot. Of course Dufort uses all sorts of computer techniques but as a means, not an end. O.k. so I was perhaps wrong in writing off this label. It doesn't mean I will necessary straight away applaud everything they do, but this release made up things in an excellent way. (FdW) Address: http://www.electrocd.com

SMALL TOWN BOREDOM - AUTUMN MIGHT HAVE HOPE (LP by Trome Records)
This is one of those albums where the title says it all really. Autumn Might Have Hope is the debut album of Fraser McGowan (who also writes the lyrics) and Colin Morrison. Here they are aided by a bunch of friends and local musicians and together they have created this album, which can probably best be described as 'would-be low-fi singer/songwriter shoe-gazing' music. You know what I mean. This is not to say this is a bad record, for a debut this is well-recorded (and not as low-fi as the band wants us to believe) and contains decent enough tunes. The problem is however, that this (in the words of Kevin Rowland) 'all sounds the same'. All songs are based on guitar and vocals with hardly any rhythm section in sight. All songs are below mid-pace 4/4 tempo. All lyrics revolve around the 'I'm pitiful because you left me' theme. You want proof? Check out Apologies For Apathy "I came round to the sound of quiet backwoods rain, static on the TV and you were gone again" or "We're here again with promises lost in this bed" (on Afternoons At Thornhill Road) or "Its all the same but you're not around" (on Enjoy The Fireworks). You get the idea. Maybe it would be a good idea if McGowan would allow his bandmates some input on the lyrics next time. There are those who will lap this stuff up and there are those who will hate this. I fall in neither category; however, as much as I enjoyed playing this (and I don't want to sound too negative about this album) I know I will never play it again. Still, the packaging is nice with a lovely color sleeve and an insert with all the lyrics. When you find yourself on a lonely Sunday morning with your lover gone, the rain pelting against your window, an empty fridge, lying in bed not able to move your limbs because of an over-powering grief, this is the album to play. (Freek Kinkelaar)
Address: http://www.tromerecords.com

IDEA FIRE COMPANY - THE ISLAND OF TASTE (LP by Swill Radio)
I've been waiting for this album to arrive for quite a while. IFCO's previous album Stranded made it to my 'Top Something' of the year and is played regularly with great pleasure. With such high hopes the chances that The Island Of Taste would disappoint are, admittedly, quite high. But The Island Of Taste does not disappoint. Far from it. More than ever IFCO (consisting of mainman/women Scott Foust, Meara O,Reilly, Jessi Leigh Swenson and Karla Borecky, this time aided by Dr. Timothy Shortell, Graham Lambkin and Frans de Waard) have created their own little safe haven. Like all IFCO releases this albums sounds out of any place or date, much like a journey rather than one static location. This is probably why IFCOs music works much better on LP (where the music benefits from space and length) than on a single format. Inside the colorful cover (a painting of an island with huge plants, which seems to be floating above a sea) you will find an envelope with various cards featuring photos of the band (Karla Borecky looking especially cute - I can't help it, I have a weak spot for pony tails) and essays on the phenomenon that is taste ('Taste is the fundamental quality that sums up all other qualities' - a quote by the Count of Lautreamont - a man who knew everything about taste). In short, the concept behind IFCO's music is that taste has been reduced to a static commonplace. However, true taste (true beauty) is something which needs to be re-discovered by each individual. The Island Of Taste offers a possible journey for such a re-discovery. The album starts off with Land Ho!, featuring sounds of walking/scraping combined with sparse electronics and bells. The title track, Lost Victories and Like Old Days all consist of sparse piano playing, bird and rain sounds, singing (on Heroes Of The Last Barricade), remote feedback and tape hiss. But, as always, I find the music of IFCO hard to put into words. Somehow the words (also those in this review) tend to remove the beauty from the sound, which is not what IFCO is about. There is so much to discover in this record. To paraphrase Scott Foust: "I think of my work as a timebomb set for a mythical future. I would like to see it explode during my lifetime, but if that does not obtain, I will die knowing it is still there. Ticking". That sums up the output of IFCO perfectly. Beauty waiting to be discovered by those willing to shake off convention. This is a beautiful record. (Freek Kinkelaar) Address: http://www.anti-naturals.org

FESTIVAL DER GENIALEN DISSIDENTEN (LP compilation by Enfant Terrible)
The first time I heard of the Dutch label Enfant Terrible was when they released, very much to my surprise, a compilation LP of the also Dutch cassette label Trumpett Tapes, not surprisingly one of my favorite labels of the early 80s. Little did I know, never willing to keep up with what is hot and what not, that the electronic pop inspired music by Trumpett Tapes was still hot, 'in certain musical circles'. Since then I receive their mailing and, even when I don't get everything they release, there is both love of the past (releasing a 7" by Störung) and the present followers of fashion. It's a whole international scene. On the new compilation 'Festival der Genialen Dissidenten' (which sounds very Neue Deutsche Welle, had it not for the festival der Geniale Dillitanten in 1984 in Berlin) only has artists from this day and age. Many of them manage to sound like the very early 80s, but much to my regret I also hear the influence of EBM, a musical style I associate with black suits and marching rhythms. Music history is like a double helix, when one movement is in the ascendent, the other is in the descendent, like a criss cross. Someone was said by the guy who played him, and this very true for this kind of retro music. Some of the music on this compilation sounds fresh because it's very old and thus very new, and some of the music sounds naff because the style is something that was cool once, but not anymore. My favorites are those that simply reminded me of twenty-five years ago, dabbling about, all day and all night with cassettes. Included are Agent Side Grinder, Dolina, Vincent K, Nosztalgia Direktiva, Adolf Filter (great name, me thinks), :Codes, Le Traingle De L'Androgyne, Pierre Normal, Yseult Descieux, Jongbloed and Coeurvert. Nice record! (FdW)
Address: http://www.enfant-terrible.nl

ILLUSION OF SAFETY - SEDATION/QUELL (10" by C.I.P.)
There was a time when Illusion Of Safety was one of the most active forces in the US experimental music scene. With a varying line up the nucleas was and is Dan Burke. He and his band members played lots of concerts, of which I happened to see quite a few, in varying line ups. They could be a total miss, but most of the time they were great. Combining real instruments with electronics, acoustic objects, tapes and later on computers, they carved out music that was on the crossroad of industrial, ambient and musique concrete. On CD it was the same, absolute master pieces like 'Probe', 'Cancer' or 'Historical' outnumber the weaker brothers, of which I only remember 'Inside Agitator'. These days Illusion Of Safety celebrate their twenty-fifth anniversary and it's mainly Dan Burke solo. Still on the road, still on top of things, but music is no longer his main thing, diversing with other activities in life and away from the endless pressure of having to deliver music. So the releases have become sparse, but are still great. Two pieces on this 10" 'Sedation' and 'Quell'. Both pieces are concentrated works of densely knitted web of sounds. Apparently Burke uses an old typewriter, turntable pops/crackles, shortwave and oscillations. The two pieces could be brothers in arms. Slow development, taking time to take shape. Dense but not blurred. This is the Illusion Of Safety side of ambient - not comforting quiet, but discomforting beautiful. 'Sedation' is a humming low end piece with tension lurking underneath. Two great pieces of someone who should have his name writing large in the annals of music history (but of course won't, since there is no such thing as justification). (FdW) Address: http://www.cipsite.net

VED - TAYGETOS (CDR by Psychic Malmo)
Not being any sort of design freak, I too am sometimes attracted to covers of releases, and sometimes not at all. So Ved's 'Teygetos' most definitely falls in the latter kind. Clumsy folded, badly designed sleeve, totally uninviting to hear it. And then the label name, Psychic Malmo, what. is that all about it? So, this is one of those releases I put aside and get until the very end of the day. The start of the release isn't very promising either. Some jazz like loops with some high end scraping noise. I am prepared for an hour of bullshit. But I'm wrong. Dead wrong. To spoil the end of this story: there is one more stinker on this release, a slow piece that could be pass off as magickal music. But then: eight absolutely great tracks. Ved plays or samples guitars, rhythm machines and electronics and blends it together into some crazy form of popmusic. I must have played it four times or more by now, and I still find it very hard to make up my mind what to think. It sounds great, but what is it. Lounge? Electropop, instrumental? A worn out cliche? Psychedelic? Reggae tunes then? I don't know. What I do know is that these eight pieces are very pleasant easy pieces of music, which I enjoyed very much for what it is. Whatever it is. Great popmusic. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/psychmalmo

METEK VS N.STRAHL.N - ANCIENT MACHINERIES (CDR by Dim Records)
Recently we came across the name Metek for the first time (although has been around since the early 90s), when he made a collaborative release with Jliat. Here he returns for another collaboration, with Germany's N.Strahl.N. Metek is from Sweden and has some thirty-five releases to his name and twenty collaborations. They supplied eachother with 'field recordings, unfinished compositions and loops' to work on. Metek has two pieces, and N.Strahl.N four. That be the statistics from this release. I am not sure what the ancient machineries are that are mentioned on the cover. Maybe old and rusty machines that were recorded? Or perhaps it refers to the old school industrial music to which certainly has its ties. Both artists love the mechanical movements of such machines, which they recorded and then, in all sorts of manners transform using their computers (o.k. that might be a break with the old school). Looping things around to make it even more mechanical, bringing out certain frequencies. The result is a soundtrack of alienation, the empty factory space. Certainly one we heard before, quite as good as this one, which on an average level ranks 6 out of 10. For the lovers of the darker side of industrial ambient. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/dimrec

SERAFINA STEER - PUBLIC SPIRITED (3"CDR by Static Caravan)
Head down in the world of field recordings, computer processing, hiss, crack, noise one tends to forget there is a whole world of normal music, and luckily there is Serafina Steer to remind us. Back in Vital Weekly 577 we already reviewed her CD, which she cited such influences as The Cure, Kate Bush, Fleetwood Mac (all three also my favorites), Leafcutter John and Leonard Cohen. Here she returns with four new songs, why oh why on a 3"CDR and not a nice 10", Static Caravans? Steer's voice is more sweeter than that of Björk, to which she reminded me initially. Now the music, played on harp, synthesizer and vocals (with additional drums and clarinet by others) sounds even more folky than before and have a great charming quality which stick right in your brain. Great sweet music. The great counterpart after a day of field recordings, computer processing, hiss, crack, noise. (FdW) Address: http://www.staticcaravan.org

BERLIN ELECTRONICS (4x3"CDR by Absinth Records)
Some pretty long time, Absinth Records from Berlin send us a release containing four 3"CDR releases, all dealing with strings - see Vital Weekly 410. Here they come up with a new edition, also in four different 3" CDRs under the banner of 'Berlin - Electronics'. Nothing is written on them, but the timing is on the cover, so one can see whose who here. Gilles Aubrey's 'Computer Programming' is probably the only solo computer pieces here. Maybe it's him programming his computer, with the attack on the keyboard being amplified and modified through real time software? That's at least the way it sounds like and I must admit I thought it was interesting on a conceptual level (if indeed true) and not as much as on a musical level. Of the three pieces, 'Volutes III' was the most minimal, but also the most interesting one. Annette Krebs could have been on the previous release of string music, because she plays electric guitar, next to mixing board, tape, objects and radios. Her piece sounds more improvised that Aubry, and has a strong dynamic outline, ranging from the subtle to the peak end of noise. Moving back and forth with great ease. I never heard of Andrea Ermke, who arrives just armed with a minidisc and a mixing desk. I think these minidiscs of Ermke are filled with field recordings of some kind - hard to define what it is - which are being mixed on the mixing desk. It's pretty raw stuff going on here, not really careful but quite raw. That rough quality makes it actually quite worthwhile. The last is Ignaz Schick who plays organ pipes, cymbals, objects, violin bows, turntable looper and electronic treatments. This is the most musical of the four. Strange flute like sounds working in the field of overtones make the four pieces very enjoyable. Here too a certain rawness give an additional power to the release, but the best is saved until the last in the lot. (FdW)
Address: http://www.absinthrecords.com

MUS****C (MP3 compilation by Cronica Electronica)
The older I get, the more melancholic I get, the faster time flies by like there is no yesterday, today or tomorrow. Is it tuesday again, am I doing yet another Vital Weekly. It seems so. So in my perception of things Cronica Electronica have been around for ages, but they celebrate their fifth birthday with an online present. No less than 192 minutes of music (which would have been three CDs in real life, but I assume they don't want to end up financially broke from such an affair) and I was wondering when ever they released some of these people. The older I get, the more I tend to forget. Surely I remember Janek Schaeffer, Ran Slavin, o.blaat or Marc Behrens but erm, Heitor Alvelos, James Eck Rippie, Cem Güney? I don't seem to remember. If you would be looking for a good compendium of todays electronica boys (and some girls - counting one here only), a bit like Mille Plateaux used to do with their compilations 'Clicks & Cuts' and 'Modulation & Tranformation', but then updated to today's standard, this is a very good place to go. None of the artists seem to have send it throw away pieces, 'since it's only an online compilation' and many take advantage of the medium to sen in long pieces. Güney has the longest with fourteen minutes, but also @C, Freiband (who sound like a microsound remix of Electric Light Orchestra), Pedro Tudela and Vitor Joaquim go well over ten minutes, while others go easily for six. Autodigest's merely one minute is pale. As said this is a pretty good compilation with music from the low end fields to the loud noise of Alvelos, from chirpy techno like music and the full on abstract. A great party bash this one. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cronicaelectronica.org

The complete Vital Weekly is available at: Vital Weekly

Related articles

flag
Vital Weekly 621
Frans de Waard presents the ...
2008-04-04
flag
Random Stabbings 32
March's interesting records, subjectively compiled ...
2008-03-28
flag
CD Feature/ Nils Henrik Asheim: "Broken Line Remixes"
Nice music: Tells us something ...
2008-03-25
flag
CD Feature/ Donald Bousted: "A Journey among Travellers"
Pleasantly unforseable serpentines: An imaginatively ...
2008-03-25
flag
Net Feature/ Cheslo: "Disko Melua EP"
Techno should be fun: Openly ...
2008-03-20
flag
Vital Weekly 619
Frans de Waard presents the ...
2008-03-20
flag
CD Feature/ Light of Shipwreck: "Through The Bilge Lies A Calm And Bloodless Sea"
A lively call-and-response scenario: The ...
2008-03-19
flag
CD Feature/ True Colour of Blood: "The Cave of Knowledge"
Uses elements of structure to ...
2008-03-19
flag
CD Feature/ Yoshio Machida: "Hypernatural #3"
A sentimental ending: Even decay ...
2008-03-17

Partner sites

ad