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Vital Weekly 631

img  Tobias

D'Autres Cordes was a new label for me. But since I reviewed the The Story of Modern Farming CD and more recently the great album of Kolkhoze, I'm alarmed when a new release arrives. This time it is a cd by drummer, composer Michel Blanc that is attracting the attention. This rock and jazz drummer, wrote some very strange music for this cd, I must say. He is accompanied by Jean-Luc Capozzo (trumpet, bugle), Frank Vigroux (guitar, electronics) and six other musicians playing clarinet, cello, vibraphone, and voice. Also he makes extensive uses of prerecorded sounds. Blanc took inspiration from a diary of the 158th infantry regiment of the french army in the first world war and uses fragments from this diary. His grandfather was part of this regiment! In each piece he evokes an episode from the history of this regiment. Musically, Blancs pieces are open structures giving room to the aggressive power playing of Vigroux and the rich and imaginative playing of Capozzo. At first hearing one is impressed by the power and the strangeness of this music. But after repeated listening several pieces are a bit too fragmentary, and do not convince from start to end. Some tracks or parts of them are more about trying and exploring, but do not reach satisfying end But this may be due to the fact that this cd at times is more like a radioplay with an important role for the (french-) spoken text, and 'music' being just one of the constituting parts. From what I understand from the texts, the dramatic impact will be increased if you can understand them. Musically spoken Blanc builds and develops moments with great dramatic power from time to time. Maybe we should compare Blanc with a composer like Heiner Goebbels who also combines sound art, radio play and music and fuses these ingredients into one whole. Anyway, what makes this cd very interesting for me, is that each track shows that Blanc is very eager to break new ground. We meet unique structures, strange arrangements and some very expressive and engaging musical moments. Not all his ideas work, but he surely is a composer with a vision. Therefore a name to watch! (Dolf Mulder) Address:

NEON RAIN - WE ARE MEAT / THE VULTURES (CD by Steelwork Maschine)
Neon Rain is a French project that has been operating in the underground since the early nineties, though their officially first release came out a decade ago. Since the debut-release in 1998, "Early works 1992/1997", Neon Rain has been releasing five albums, present album out on interesting compatriot label Steelwork Maschine. The first album on Steelwork Maschine came out in 2003 and was titled "Dirtier than the dirt". It combined rhythmic industrial with dark ambient. On this latest effort titled "We are meat / the vultures", Neon Rain still works in the spheres of industrial and dark ambient, though with a much wider approach. Expressionally the album stretches from experimental rock of an almost musical kind to an extreme contrast of anti-music in the shape of ultra-brutal power electronics. The cold and cynic expression of the final moment of the lengthy opening piece "We are meat" turn the memories back to power electronics-pioneers Whitehouse though even more shockingly brutal and effective with crushing electronics interfered with evil human screams being manipulated and processed into hypnotic sound loops. An astonishing exploration in sonic extremity. Neon Rain deals with end of the world, survivalist, and mankind evil side, with this album dedicated to all the people around the world who lead our societies to more chaos and destruction. And the dark expressions, from dark ambient to harsh noise, certainly reveals the fact this is an album dedicated to the dark forces of human nature. This is black art at its best. (Niels Mark)

There is an interesting shift going on in the work of Francisco Lopez. For many years his pieces were all called 'Untitled' and the minimum of information on the cover, with a few exceptions, such as 'La Selva' or 'Buildings [New York]'. Black cover, sparse info. But slowly it seems as more and more the titles and info come in, maybe he feels the necessity to be more prolific as a composer? I'll ask him next time, as he's moving close by in, I believe. According to the cover the field recordings were made in locations in Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Greece, Japan and the USA. Remarkable, since when you play this it sounds like one ongoing piece. It moves through different parts, with lots and lots of insect sounds, chirping, singing, moving. Only the final movement seems to be made of rain sounds. Unlike many older Lopez albums, this one is entirely 'present', no threshold of inaudibility, but present from the very first second until the very last. I am a big fan of his work, and 'Conops' is another great work. (FdW)

The name Arsenije Jovanovic I heard before and perhaps even his music - vaguely I remember a CD for La Legende Des Voix - but somehow, somewhere it didn't really stick in my mind. He creates music, film and writes books. I have no idea which is his most well-known side, but the four pieces on this CD might serve as an introduction to his work with music, through pieces composed for radio. That previous La Legende Des Voix CD is no longer available, so this may bring new interested to his work, like me, I guess. Two old works from 1967, one from 1990 and one from 2000. There is of course a slight problem with this, which is that the texts are sung or spoken in Serbian or Croatian (is there a difference?), which makes it hard to follow what it is about, and that seems to be a bit of a problem with pieces of music in which texts are important. I thought that 'Tombstones Along The Roadside' sounded like a religious work, with the chanting of monks, but then I read in the booklet that its about the tombstones of soldiers who died in the Balkan wars in the 19th century (this is a 1967 piece). However listening to this I'd say it's hardly a problem, since sound wise this is all great stuff. Jovanovic creates very imaginative pieces of sound - that transports the listener to another world - using field recordings and lots of voices in the older pieces. The later pieces are instrumental and have still a great power. Here the mind wanders out further and can freely make associations with the music on offer. Like I said, I heard of this composer before, but never could pin him down to something - now I can think and I think its great. (FdW)

TSE - LA RALENTIE (CD by Optical Sound)
Sometimes I regret I didn't pay much attention in high school learning French. Now it's quite rudimentary, if present at all. But Optical Sound doesn't provide any press information in English and the cover text is all en Francais. 'Le Livre Des Vacances' are the holiday books, I think. The holiday books of two children, Adele and Hadrien, who are followed by Lionel Marchetti and his microphone, taping their activities, among the two, but also with other friends. 'Deux Livres Et Dix Cahiers' are two books with ten chapters - that is the double CD with ten pieces to which this has expanded. Say the holiday diary of two children, built into pieces of electro-acoustic music, them talking, sobbing, giggling, but also the campfire or a river stream, vague music somewhere in the background, horses. Some of it sounds 'staged' but no doubt lots of this is culled from 'real life'. It sounds like a holiday (as far as I remember them, as these days holidays are no longer my kind of fun) with children, and I love children. Their total spontaneous action, honest response and imaginative talking make this is into something I can very much relate to. Although I couldn't understand anything of the talking, the total picture of field recordings and Marchetti's sound collage, made from slightest processing of sound (merely editing, it seems, however I may insult his work here) and the voices, make this into a highly evocative sound picture. However, two discs is a bit much if you don't understand much of it.
On the same label, who also deal with true art installations and release DVDs as well, the work of one Tse. 'composed and built with a laptop and a microphone during March-April, 2007, in a noisy room in Berlin, Germany'. I have no idea why the noisy room is relevant, as it doesn't seem to be a live recording of any kind, or the live recording be influenced by a 'noisy room' of any kind. Tse seems to be one Guillaume Ollendorff, who uses his laptop to create music with beats, rhythms, and repeating blocks of noise, but which never seems to be very 'danceable' and to which tse sings. The beat is usually 4/4 one, with bass, but the sounds he adds to it will not make it on the dance floor - too dark, too noisy and too alienated. Here too the lyrics are party in French and it's hard to understand what he sings about - but it seems to me all a bit dark. I found it hard to be very enthusiastic about this lot. Some of it was alright, some was a bit tedious, but throughout it didn't really grab me. (FdW) Address:

According to the label David Lacey and Paul Vogel played with the likes of Mark Wastell, Keith Rowe, Annette Krebs, Martin Küchen and Erik Carlsson and that this is their first duo release, but both info and cover do not mention any instruments used and I must admit I never heard of them. But upon hearing this, I think they play saxophones and perhaps use electronics and/or field recordings. Certainly in 'The Matter Of England' this seems to be the case as to where things are saxophones. Perhaps that's why I didn't like that track very much. As opposed to the other three, which work around overtones and spatial routes of whatever space they recorded this in. 'Soft Houses' is in that respect the best of the four: very intense working the different qualities of the space, like waiting for some gigantic explosion - or feedback to arrive. That doesn't happen, and the track moves into some metal scraping sound and more highly amplified emptiness. The saxophone returns in 'Just Like America At Home' along with a densely shaped sample (thereof). Quite an intelligent release of improvisation meeting electro-acoustic music. More please! (FdW) Address:

XEDH - KATABOLE (CDR by Krakilsk)
The ever so strange and rather uninformative label Krakilsk from Norway releases another CDR by Fisk Pa Disc, the duo Willy Koperud and Roar Borge, who are both responsible for the vocals and instruments. Again they improvise their music, singing, chanting, speaking and playing all sorts of instruments, like drums, flutes, guitars and without noting things that could essential music like time or structure. Taken from probably even longer excerpts, things start, things stop and that's it. The novelty of the first release has worn out I think, and therefore this could not fascinate me as much as the first. I still think it's nice, complete outsider music, but to sit through the entire release is a bit too much I thought.
New names are Search Click & Destroy and Whale Plate. The first has seven tracks on their split release of computerized noise music. Highly distorted, loud recorded, but it has something that made me keep listening. Reminding me a bit of Farmers Manual, and whatever side project came off that, things are also ever changing, hissy, moving and quickly edited. Maybe a bit long, but a 3"CD edited out of this could have been a masterpiece. Whale Plate at the end offers eleven minutes of more 'pure' noise and has everything that I don't like about this kind of music. Loud, distortion, no ideas, just keep on banging. I don't see why this had to be included, as Search Click & Destroy was long enough and could easily stand by themselves.
The most interesting one is by Miguel A. Garcia, also better known as Xedh. By now he has an extensive discography of net releases and some CDRs, which in recent times get better and better. This is surely one up again. In the early days he played less interesting noise, then turned to microsound, and works towards a synthesis of both ends on this release. At times things are calm, deep and glitchy whereas things can easily explode into noise. But Xedh composes (!) with the elements at hand. He makes decisions what to do, how to do it, what works and what doesn't and that's what makes him quite a promising artist in the world of CDRs. Not a free run of sound, to fill another disc, but thinking what is needed to shape the music. The meeting of noise and microsound works well here, culminating into a highly varied disc of music. Keep a close ear to this name - you'll be hearing more from him soon, and perhaps someone should think of a real CD for him. (FdW) Address:

SUJO DORA (CDr by Inam Records)
"four new tracks of lo-fi noise, drone and distant shoegaze" Yep!
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (jliat) This does an injustice to this release, the music is finely balanced and crafted, as is the mix, depth is created by skillful use of reverb and what sounds like carefully controlled guitar feedback and distortion - rhythmic drones and slowly evolving abstractions - with this Sujo manages to create a work of merit and anyone interested in this kind of thing should try to get to listen if not actually buy a copy. (jliat)

AKIFUMI NAKAJIMA - WATER 1991 (2CDR by Kokeshidisk)
OPIUM - ETERE (3"CDR by Taalem)
Before Aube, Akifumi Nakajima was just Akifumi Nakajima, a designer with a strong interest in music. He didn't release that much under his own name, and they were not on his G.R.O.S.S. label. Kokeshidisk already released 'Water 1990' (see Vital Weekly 486) and of course 'Water 1991' is the follow-up and again of course uses just water sounds as its sound source. The difference here is that there were two tapes, which the listener could decide to play simultaneously or separate. I have no DJ set up, so I have to play them one by one. Other similarities are that the music is much softer than the early Aube releases. I think the sound is fed through an analogue synth and some delay pedals, but throughout things are very ambient like on the first disc and things get a bit louder on the second disc, which also seems to be the more musical one of the two. I can imagine that they would go well together. Still in a more free fall these four pieces, but nevertheless good to hear again, after all these years.
On the sub-division for 3"CDR releases, Taalem, three new releases, and two by people whom we already know from much of their previous work. Mathias Josefson's Moljebka Pvlse has had many releases on various labels, displaying his sense for all things dark and ambient. Taalem says it's a 'field recording' and who are we to disbelieve, but it sounds like an orchestral pieces of many strings, playing overtones in a cave while Josefson stands outside. Throughout the course of this piece, things fall back in volume and the night sets in. Nice one.
I don't think I ever heard of Opium from Italy, also known as Teo Zini, who has had releases on Hic Sunt Leones and Silentes. Here too I have not much idea how things were made, but my best guess is a bunch of analogue synthesizers and some machine to imitate ethnic percussion. More synthetic than Moljebka Pvlse, and more from the world where they spell magic as magick. A bit of a cliche world, but Opium knows how to avoid the various traps and makes quite a nice piece.
Brian Lavelle recently surprised us 'Supernaturalist', and the two pieces here were recorded just before that and show the best side of his: manipulating field recordings and very much altering them into microscopic detailed pieces of ambient drones. Slowly changing patterns of what seems to be rain fall, deep bass sounds in 'The Wood Turned Dark And Silent' and more synthetic in 'This Twisting Glade', which sounds like a church organ being dissected. Very nice. (FdW)

Frank Rowenta's musical history goes back to the 80s when he recorded various albums with one Kahn and with Grillhaus. In more recent years he's more concerned with field recordings and has had a release on Gruenrekorder. Here he teams with C.J. Larsgarden, who sometimes works as Ondo, A Perfect Friend and Pacta. Together they recorded a bunch of pieces since 2006, of which five found there way to this 3" on Larsgarden's own Tuguska label. It's an interesting, intimate piece of work where field recordings and acoustic guitars meet half way through - in a garden (see title) perhaps - where each of them holds a small sampler to give some very basic sound treatments to the events at hand. Intimate, like recorded in a garden, or in bar, minimal and cleverly mixing microsound and outsider music. Nice one. (FdW)

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