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Vital Weekly 626

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Over the years the name Brendan Murray popped up in Vital Weekly on various occasions but despite that it's not a household name for those who love all things drone and microsound. But slowly he's getting to some fame, and rightly so! This new work, with took fifteen different versions before it was completed, sees him again working in the field of drones, but unlike many others in this field, Murray doesn't like the 'go with the flow' approach, but rather meticulously composes his work. Apparently he uses a guitar, analog synthesis and digital manipulation he plays a single, forty-nine minute piece of music. It starts out quite forceful and stays there from the start, only to increase in intensity. Slowly Murray builds and builds his piece, adding in a subtle way new layers to music, all in a mighty ringing drone fashion. Much louder and less subtle, this is loud drone music, one of the kind that Niblock plays live. Although playing music on headphones is not something I usually recommend, this piece sounds pretty fine on headphones, pressing air against your ears, making a thunderous storm, which shoots right in your brain. Towards the end the volume drops a bit in favor of more heavy weight bass sounds, forming the natural ending to a heavy work. Murray delivers, once again, a mighty fine album that will be another step forward in recognizing him as a true master of the genre. Fans of classical drone music be aware - this is the classic of the future. (FdW) Address:

It's good to see a label committed to a work, and that the trust to explore certain roads further. 'Passing Out' is the third album recorded by BJ Nilsen and Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson and Helgi Thorsson, the later two also known as Stillupsteypa. 'Passing Out' of course refers to drinking, just like the previous albums. Not the drinking as a social habit, but fierce drinking as only the scandinavians can do really good. Or so it seems. For a moment I considered to buy a good bottle of this or that, and wait for the evening, drink the bottle, with pen and paper within reach and listen to this album. But it's monday afternoon and I know I have to get up early tomorrow, so it'll has to do completely sober, sunshine all round and soft spring breeze - all the wrong conditions I guess. Perhaps this contrast of good condition (all around) makes the album even stronger, I was thinking. The complete and total isolation of the music, the long passages of seemingly no action (there is just one piece, clocking it at 68 minutes), with then a sudden break, a melody filters in, the radio starts humming and field recordings - that backbone of so much in Vital Weekly and certainly here - make this an album of not just pure drones or just processed field recordings, but the strange elements thrown in, give this album a stranger, almost alien feel to it. If it's the equivalent of passing out is a bit hard to say: the act of passing out on alcohol prevents you from remembering anything. This is however their best album to date and makes a strong trilogy. (FdW)

AHNST ANDERS - DIALOG (CD by Pflichtkauf)
Four new albums from German label Pflichtkauf, the label established by one of the brains behind experimental electronic festival Maschinenfest. First album comes from the project with the bizarre name CATHOLIC BOYS IN HEAVY LEATHER. The album titled "Nobody urged you to get canonised" opens with sexual orgasms soon fading over to the bass-riff of Boney M's legendary hit "Daddy Cool". The first thought crossing the mind is the fact that this must be a kind of Kitch-Art-project, but as your thoughts drift in these directions, the music suddenly turns into seriously harsh territories combining blasting power noise-rhythms with crushing harsh noise-sound textures. Catholic Boys In Heavy Leather is the project of Joke Stryker and Roto Siffredi from Italy. Conceptually the two guys take their aesthetic approach in fetish leather-suits, making this album even more interesting thanks to the extremely harsh expression. The album operate in a balance between a quite humorous approach to electronic music with a number of samples of voices and old classic songs and harsh expression sometimes of pure harsh noise and other times with rhythmic interventions in-between. Other times club-based technoid rhythms is combined with harsh noise. A quite interesting album from Catholic Boys In Heavy Leather, and hell, I'd be interesting watching these two guys on live stage! The artwork on next album reviewed here contains a cardboard photography created for every piece on the album titled "Dialog". The man behind is called Henrik Erichsen, operating under the artist name is "Ahnst Anders". Present album is the debut of the German composer. The music is quite dark and mysterious, circulating on the borderlands between drones-based ambient and downbeat Industrial. There is a frequent use of concrete sounds giving an organic and quite authentic atmosphere. An interesting album that would be a perfect soundtrack for some Arthouse horror flick! Next album comes from another German composer operating under the name Dazzling Malicious. And once more we're talking about explorations into sheer darkness. The album titled "Psychoanalyse" is the follow-up album to the debut from 2004, "Don't like". Circulating somewhere in-between the first two reviewed albums, "Psychoanalyse" changes between up-tempo power noise and downbeat ambient based on icy low-frequent drones, with an overall minimalist approach to expression. Best moment on the album comes with the second piece on the album titled "Verschleppte psykosen", an atmospheric piece with long stretching and dramatic drones running a couple of minutes on its own before threatening evil noise-passages washes over, creating an alluring contrast between beauty and ugliness spiced with samples of crying women and shouting man. Very intense piece and a great album. Last album reviewed here is by Config.Sys, a project consisting of Sebastian Hüttl and Stefan Komnick. Config.Sys take their starting point in classic harsh Industrial with integrations of a number of different music styles from EBM to house. And it does work well. (Niels Mark) Address:

THE BEST OF POLISH SMOOTH JAZZ...EVER! (Compilation CD by Recycling Records)
It is always exciting to explore albums that put focus on the music scene of a certain country, especially in cases where we're dealing with less known countries of electronic music, as is the case with this compilation from Recycling Records concentrating on e-music from Poland. The concept of the album is top hits of Polish music industry being transformed into new modern and experimental forms. The result is quite fascinating since the re-processes are quite different to the origins. Contributions range from Harsh Noise-related abrasive electronics to downbeat Chillout, from Breakcore to experimental Ambient. Only sign to the fact that the works on the album is derived from more commercially based music is that quite a number of the tracks have acoustic elements included. Especially guitar-based interventions occur: From psychedelic and trippy Pink Floyd-reminiscent interpretations across atmospheric and beautiful to harsh digital pieces. Thus the album is both interesting in its conceptually approach but also the musical end result is very pleasant indeed. (Niels Mark) Address:

CARTERTUTTI - FERAL VAPOURS OF THE SILVER ETHER (CD by Divine Frequency) This is a review full of confessions. One: to be honest, I had to check the dictionary to find out what "feral" actually means (it means "wild" in case you're wondering too). Two: I have lost track of Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti's output since their excellent early 80s albums Songs Of Love And Lust and Trance. Three: to be even more honest, I have had to listen to this disc 3-4 times before I actually fully appreciated the music. The fourth confession is that I think both the album's title as cover art lean a bit towards Harry Potter-imagery. Nothing wrong with that, but it all looks a bit "ambient soundscape". Over the years a plethora of Chris and Cosey albums have been released and there is bound to be a plethora of Carter Tutti (interesting how they first recorded under their first names and now under their last names) albums to follow. What remains the same however, is the construction of their music. Here, as before, Carter lays down the rhythms (very subdued), sequencers, keyboards and patterns whereas Tutti adds her breathy (and reverbed) vocals, guitar and cornet. This combination could well fall flat on its face, but on Feral Vapours Of The Silver Ether this actually works. The songs are soft, almost like a vapour (get it?) hanging in your cranium. This works wonderfully on a reflective, dare I say ethereal level. In a sense, all tracks merge into one long composition/work. As such I feel this album is better reviewed as one whole, rather than divide it into various tracks. And the final confession is that I actually love this album. It just gets better with every play. (Freek Kinkelaar) Address:

This is the second release by Japanese Satanicpornocultshop for Polish label Vivo Records, following the lengthy EP '.aiff Skull' (see Vital Weekly 554). I have just finished my supper and the last thing of day will be this CD. Not a great CD for a food coma. That's not because this is a bad CD, not at all actually. This is a great CD, but loaded with information. Packed to the top with sound. Satanicpornocultshop are a Japanese group of samplemaniacs. They take everything from the hundred years of popular music and effectively messes things up in a totally wild mixture of sound, rhythm and electronics. I switch it off and start hearing something else, until the food has come down, make a new coffee and then start, afresh again. Hip hop, easy tune, rap, break beat, everything runs rampant in this mix. Sweet female, french vocalists, cliche pop, cheesy easy tune, loud rhythm, deep bass, this is party music bar none. The dancing was last night, but in the after party of tonight Satanicpornocultshop play a bunch of great tunes, providing a big smile on this face. I mean, 'Heineken - fuck that shit' is shouted somewhere, and I couldn't agree any less, that beer is piss. I must admit the tracklisting doesn't make any sense at all. There are many names, but it says produced by Satanicpornocultshop, so we may come to the conclusion that these are remixes? But do we care? Hardly. A long list of tracks, twenty-six in total, with confusing credits, but making a strong CD. That's what matters. Satanicpornocultshop will leave you breathless with the highly curious but gorgeous great take on popmusic. Plunderphonics gone music - at last! (FdW) Address:

Again packed in a beautiful hand-sewn package comes another album by Emanuele Errante, of whom we reviewed 'Migrations' in Vital Weekly 553. Still we know nothing about this man, but he continues his path in ambient music. I'm not sure for 'Humus', wether it was also created using guitars but it surely has lots of things with keys to it, in real life or as a piece of software. The opening piece 'Fecunda' is a nice, flowing piece with a slow bass sound. It forecasts a change in the music of Errante, that of the incorporation of rhythm. In many of the pieces to follow (there are eleven on this disc, which seems to me a good number, and their length is always kept within limits) there are 'faint' traces of dub like rhythms. Going back to the Chain Reaction school, this is however much more subdued and relaxed than the more dance floor oriented black pieces of vinyl. If one has to compare this with something else, than I'd say Marsen Jules' lush music comes to mind. It has that same calm, relaxing feeling, but with steady pulses - however slow they might be. The rhythm is merely an ornament to the music, not the foundation. Sometimes ethnic in approach, sometimes more owing to the dance floor, but it's never the objective for Errante. His music is after party music, the chill out zone, or, if you prefer weak up call music. You can still hear, perhaps feel, the beat, but it's gone and replaced by sunlight and an autumn breeze. Relax and flow down stream. Great stuff. (FdW) Address:

It might be a 4CD box, but that's just Sissy being generous, as all four albums also have titles of their own and seem to have no direct connection to each other, not even concerning who's playing (the only constants being John Wiese and Corydon Ronnau). So no idea what these albums are doing together in one plastic box, but hey, I won't complain about Sissy overload, especially when it's as diverse as this. Of course, 'diverse' is relative, as all of this is clearly right at home under that misnomer called Noise. So, a runthrough then: Album one is called "Tinsel Dripping Ink" and collects 26 short tracks, of which a couple are remixes by like-minded such as Gerritt, Oblivia (from Smegma) and Tom Recchion. I actually don't think there's a better introduction to the either the band or even the genre as this album, it sounds like a dictionary of noise music, with elements of basically every other experimental music style thrown in for reference. It's quite something. Album two ("Police") has less tracks , and they're marginally longer, and apart from that they sound more like coming from an actual band playing. It has quite a jazzy/improvy feeling to it, maybe like a more quiet John Olson project. It gets more & more quiet with every track, until at the end you think you're listening to some Japanese reductionist workout. Album three, which goes under the mystical title "Abreq Ad Habra" is two long pieces recorded for radio shows. All I can say is that I worry about the people listening to these radio stations without knowing what they got themselves into. "13-Tet Los Angeles" finally is two live sets by a larger ensemble and returns in sound a little to the second disc, albeit more lively. Everything is being scratched and scraped in good improv fashion. For a band not so known for it's diversity, this 4CD breaks open that completely by showing only four possibilities of what could maybe be many more transformations for this unit.
And as if that's not enough, there's also the separate album "French Record", released around the same time. On it, they get help from Kevin Drumm and C. Spencer Yeh as well as some others. As an album, it might be slightly more interesting then any single album from the box set (except for maybe the first CD), as it jumps all over the place like a hyperactive child, but it also has a element of humor which I can't really explain, but it gives the whole record a sort of breeziness that is quite alluring. It's always nice to hear a record that in every way sounds ,extreme' but ends up being a very pleasurable and easy listen.
To top it all off, Mr Wiese has released another chapter in his ongoing road trip diaries with C. Spencer Yeh with shows from New York and Atlanta (after recently seeing an LP and a 7" with performances from a UK tour) on one CD. Yeh's violin destruction sounds as vital as ever, and the sound quality is supreme. Plus these two really seem to have good fun together. Really great.
This might be 6 Wiese CDs in 1 week, but if they sound like this, I can keep up this rhythm for many more weeks, if he could as well. So, keep 'em coming. (Robert Meijer)

FLUTWACHT - SECONDFACE (CD by Tourette Tapes/Apocalyptic Radio)
XEDH - TRUMMER (3"CDR by Loghorn/Apocalyptic Radio)
From the house of Apocalyptic Radio two new eleases. The first one is a real CD on Tourette Tapes by Flutwacht, by now a constant factor in the catalogue of the label. If you want to search for older reviews, try also typing 'Fluchtwacht', as I made some errors in spelling their name right. But it's Flutwacht and 'Second Face' is a re-issue of a CDR in an edition of 50. I don't think I reviewed that one, misspelling or not. It's an album of eleven tracks which were recorded in collaboration with various people from the noise underground, such as Xedh (with whom an ultra low volume deep bass rumble is produced), Contagious Orgasm (a nice samplemania piece), Objekt/Uria, Vincenzo Bossi, Antracot, TZII, Bonemachine, Synomorph, Terg and Hyeno. Some of these names are also new to me. I think I expected something to be more noise based than what it is, and that is so much better. The element of noise, shock and heavy rhythm is never far away but throughout this collection what prevails is a more dark ambient sound - deep and dark atmospheric synthesizers, obscured samples from machinery at work and perhaps even field recordings. The noise pieces are placed cleverly around this disc and, as said, don't take up too much space. A nice album, if a bit long. Some of the pieces could have been a bit shorter for my taste, while it would still hold the same power.
In the Loghorn series (a series of 3"CDR in plain white, stamped envelopes) we greet Miguel A. Garcia, a.k.a. Xedh. Recently his music moved from the loud and rhythmic to the quiet and non rhythmic, and this new, with five shorter pieces, is no exception. I already stated that this is the side of Xedh which I like much better than the previous work, and in the dark, subdued clouds of sounds that he produces here, he moves again: the dark, earthy rumble is a new feature bringing together microsound and dark ambient, until it reaches a more noise based climax in 'Utlope'. Quite nice this one, offering many more road to explore. (FdW) Address:

HINSIDAN - NIGHTSHIFT (10" Ep by Phisteria)
In the fall of 2007, I had much pleasure listening to three albums from Danish drone-project Hinsidan. It was three quite different albums with the common denominator of laying much emphasis on sonic drones. "Hinsidan" meaning "Beyond" in English, is a quite suitable title to sound expressions that are first of all introvert, with atmospheres that demand for some deep listening without any interruptions of human activity. Now it is time for another dose of soundscapes from this very active project. The album titled "Nightshift" comes as a 10" vinyl Ep divided into four cuts. Opening very slowly, the first piece titled "The first time we met the blues" (no worries, not any sign of Blues on this track!) builds steadily from inaudible drones to smoothing vibrant drones building a great atmosphere from early start, not too far away from British legends Zoviet France. As the first piece fades out, another swarm of drones build with the opening of following piece "Labyrinths of obsession", this time with a more abrasive approach. Soon after subtle acoustic drum-patterns penetrates to create a rhythm structure in the abstract composition. Side B of the vinyl opens with a remix of "The first time we me the blues" executed by Ant-Zen legend L'Ombre. The result is a completely different work based on repetitive downbeat rhythm textures assisted by discreet ambient melody in the background. Final piece on the album is a live recording from legendary Danish underground club "Ungdomshuset" (R.I.P.). Despite the fact that it has been recorded live the sound of the work is still nice and clean. The title-track "Nightshift" consists of vibrant drones and distant male vocals adding to the strange nocturnal atmospheres of the track. As was the case with the earlier efforts of Hinsidan the guitar plays an important role in the spheres of work, and the result again is utterly beautiful. (Niels Mark) Address:

More and more the 7"s released by Meeuw Muzak are cryptic affairs. Partly because the label doesn't provide any information, nor there is any relevant information on the cover. 'Möslang Wehowsky', 'Einschlagskrater', 'MM036' is all that is said on the, as ever cheap printed, cover. Thank god we know Norbert Möslang and Ralf Wehowsky as crafts man of cracked everyday electronics (which I saw before, but where?) and computer manipulation of the deviates of cracking those electronics. Who did what, is not said, and perhaps not relevant. One side is like a continuos piece of falling sounds set against a dark drone like backdrop. The other side is more a musical piece in which we may, or may not, detect an upright bass, but that also may, or may not, have similar sounds of things falling and lots of processed variations thereof. Quite an 'art' record this one. Good or bad are simply irrelevant questions. Meeuw does it again, and does it best. Leaving the listener in full confusion and thinking 'was that all?'. I quite enjoyed these two little, conceptual, affairs. (FdW) Address:

Suddenly it all came together. Preliminary Saturation was hard to avoid this week. This duo of Wouter Jaspers (sometimes known as Franz Fjodor) and Steffan de Turck (otherwise Staplerfahrer), both from the active forces of the Dutch city of Tilburg, were playing at Extrapool this week, and on returning home I found two of their releases. On stage I noticed a wide range of effect boxes, mixing console, acoustic objects (including tin cans, jar lid and what appeared to be sand) and mechanical devices. Their concert started out with high pitched feedback but fared better when they started to explore the objects with contact microphones and treated the sounds with their sound effects. Both releases are alike the concert, but worked out better, even when they too seem to be live recordings. All of the pieces last around twenty to thirty minutes. 'Staring At Empty Eyes' is slightly under thirty minutes and is more alike the concert I heard, less a noisy beginning. Here things are 'mildly' noisy at the beginning with rotating sounds (mechanical objects on surfaces?) which gradually goes down in volume but cranks up in frequency. Once arrived in the area of a few crackles they built up their sound and end up with much noise.
The second release is a MP3 by Zeromoon is a more subdued one. Over the course some twenty three minutes they play around with objects which are fed through an array of sound transformers, of which they mainly use the echo machine, a bit of reverb. Mainly their sound is fed through the lower lines of the sound spectrum making this quite a dark piece of music. As said the noise element is here absent, and there is a subtle, gentle flow to the sound. As a composition it may not work, as an improvisation it does however. The best out of three, this week. I wouldn't be too surprised if Preliminary Saturation would be as active with releases as Bjerga/Iversen, with whom they also share musical similarities.
Also a duo, also on Zeromoon and also improvising is the duo of Bryan Rhodes and Layne Garrett, and as The Cutest Puppy In The World, they already released two CDRs before. Together they use "prepared/de-tuned guitar, various keyboards/synthesizers, found objects, and voice". 'A Warm Winter' was recorded in two 'winter' months, December and January. Two long pieces of improvised is what these warm winter months gave us. 'December' starts out with some heavy church organ (preset on a keyboard, not the real thing) for quite some time, before landing in the land of free play: plucking strings, silence, more plucking, some piano and some sound effects. 'January' is even longer, but also less focussed. The Cutest Puppy goes through various phases in this piece, some of which lack coherency. It's scattered all over the place this music, which is a pity. With some more rigorous editing things could have been saved. 'December' is also long, but it's ambient, flowing character saves the piece. (FdW)

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