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Vital Weekly 634

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NURSE WITH WOUND - IMAGES/ZERO MIX (2CD/Book by Beta-lactam Ring Records)
Luxury comes to town with the new NWW-release: a sturdy black box containing two CD's and a book, numbered and hand-signed by Steve Stapleton. A few years ago Stapleton put a lot of time and energy in his Angry Electric Finger project. Original NWW-recordings were remixed and reworked by Irr. App. Ext, Cyclobe and Jim O'Rourke and released on three vinyl albums. I remember the Jim O'Rourke LP being particularly effective. This boxset celebrates the original AEF-music as created by NWW. The book features images of the 100 discs that were handpainted by Stapleton for the AEF-project. They were put on display at the Burren School of Art in November 2004 and later auctioned off. The small-sized book is brilliant in its gorgeous colors and deluxe paper quality. The Zero Mix is a NWW-album featuring three tracks that make up its 40+ minutes of music. Zero Mix features stereophonic rattles, strings being wound up and down, saxophones and various other sounds all treated with effects. Stapleton is here aided by Colin Potter. Ranging from dynamic to more drone-like, this is the kind of album that NWW-fans will love. Requiem For Ladies Day (also with Potter), is the bonus album (another 40+ minutes of music, here divided into two tracks). This is more in the tradition of the slow and brooding ambient albums Salt Marie Celeste and Soliloqui For Lilith (though, admittedly, not as brilliant). For those with smaller pockets, BLRR have got a cheaper edition available, but as this lacks the luxurious box, the signed certificate and the bonus CD, it might be worth to invest in one of the 400 deluxe copies. (Freek Kinkelaar) Address: http://www.blrrecords.com

PRISM QUARTET - PITCH BLACK BY JAKOB TV (CD by Innova)
Founded in 1984, the PRISM Quartet has premiered over 100 works, most of them by american composers. For their new CD they concentrate on a european composer, but an america-orientated one, namely the dutch composer Jacob ter Veldhuis (Jacob TV).
The saxophone quartet performs six different compositions from this composer.
In five of them a ghettoblaster plays a role. Let's go into the first composition to illustrate how this works. Ter Veldhuis used the last interview given by Chet Baker. We hear short fragments of this interview, chosen for the melodic qualities that are hidden in Baker's speaking. These 'melodies' Ter Veldhuis uses as a base for his composition. 'Billie' is constructed in a similar way. Here Ter Veldhuis choose parts of an interview with Billie Holliday. Again he creates music around a voice, using musical qualities that are hidden in that voice. 'Postnuclear Winterscenario no.10' has no voice and that is no coincidence. After the Gulf Ware broke out, Ter Veldhuis found himself speechless. Later on he decided to express this feeling in a composition using very simple musical material. During the years he rearranged this work for choir, two electric guitars, etc, and now for saxophone quartet.
Although it deals with war, the music sounds very peaceful and restful. Next pieces like 'Grab it' work again with vocal samples. Again Ter Veldhuis works with consequence and discipline from the same concept. Personally I don't need five works following this same procedure. The repetitious use of vocal samples, work on my nerves in the end. The human voice sounds enchained by the technical and musical decisions made by the composer. But apart from this minor point - in my view - this is very pleasant and accessible chamber music played by an excellent quartet. (Dolf Mulder) Address: http://www.innova.com

RJF - GREATER SUCCESS IN APPREHENSION & CONVICTIONS (CD by Segerhuva)
When you think about the early Industrial-related experimental-scene, the first thing that crosses the mind is probably the British scene around Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire and the pioneers of power electronics, Whitehouse. Apparently Sweden had some interesting things going on in the same period. The music of RJF (shortage of "Rein Judische Fett") is based on menacing and mechanical noises and grating rhythms meanwhile voices of the two artists, Tryggve Persson and Leif Thurreson, operate in the background behind the layers of icy industrial sounds. Screeching high-frequency noise sounds occurring in the sound picture reminds of the early power electronics of Whitehouse. Not a coincidence since RJF is regarded as being the forefront of the Swedish power electronics movement. There are also associations towards Australian Industrial pioneers of SPK and early Lustmord (project of SPK-member Brian Williams). The atmosphere of the music suits well to the brutal cover sleeve packaged in a 12-page booklet, containing liner notes and original art by Leif Thurreson. Measured in sonic extremities, the album titled "Greater success in apprehension & Convictions" might stand the test of time competing with the ultra-brutal power electronics from later compatriot project Brighter Death Now as well as the brutal expressions of Noise-scene of the presence. Never the less this is an interesting introduction to an important act of the Swedish industrial/power electronics scene long time before the birth of main swedish acts such as aforementioned Brighter Death Now, Deutsch Nepal and the entire Cold Meat Industry label. (Niels Mark) Address: http://www.segerhuva.se

FRACTIONAL - COME MIERDA (CD by Brume Records)
If the monsters in the classic arcade video game of the 70's "Space Invaders" had created music it would probably sound like this. Take the soundtrack of Ed Wood's "Plan 9 from outer space" and blend it with futuristic electronic experiments, add a few doses of horrific choirs' atmospheres from eastern fright flicks and you might have an idea what to expect on this interesting album Pierre Remy titled "Come Mierda". Under the project name Fractional, Pierre Remy creates a fascinating blend of semi-melodic IDM, upfront industrial and furious breakbeats once in a while approaching the harsh level of breakcore other times resting in tranquilizing downbeat IDM-moments reminiscent of early Warp Records. Fractional manage to combine emotional ambient-like expressions with dramatic semi-harsh breakbeat electronics. And it definitely works well! (Niels Mark) Address: http://www.brumerecords.com

THE SILVERMAN - BLANK FOR YOUR OWN MESSAGE (CD by Beta-lactam Ring Records)
The Silverman aka Phil Knight is one of my favorite musicians in the experimental ambient/drone scene. Over the past decennium he has been responsible for some of the most beautiful ambient/meditative music I've ever heard. His previous LP/CD for BLRR Nature Of Illusion is one of the best albums in this genre I have heard in many-a-year. The Silverman's solo albums have always been slightly overshadowed by his work for the Legendary Pink Dots. This is a shame, as his solo work deserves a place of its own. Perhaps this new CD Blank For Your Own Message will do the trick. Starting off life as a "zen-opera" in seven parts, the music here is more varied than Nature Of Illusion. BLRR drops the term "bio-melodics". For once I have to agree. This actually fits the music and the world of The Silverman. Although the music has seven parts, the 43 minutes that make up this album are programmed into one track. It is hard to tell the origin of some of the sounds; there are traffic tapes and acoustic sounds (percussion, cow bells) of a more ethnical nature, all mixed up with synthetic sounds. These combined make up a very strong album. Packed in one of those typical BLRR deluxe hard-carton sleeves, this is a great addition to the already great discography of The Silverman. (Freek Kinkelaar) Address: http://www.blrrecords.com

KEPLERS ODD - STRENA SEU DE NIVE SEXANGULA (CD by Fractured Spaces Records)
A trio from Sweden is Keplers Odd: Daniel Jansson, Magnus Moilala and Kristina Persson. There are no instruments listed on the cover, but judging by the music, they all play guitar and a big bunch of sound effects. The title of their third album translates as 'a new year's gift of hexagonal snow' and is best described in terms of ambient drones meet noise drones. Imagine a guitar on fire and the sound being fed through some distortion pedals. But keep in mind this is not over the top noise, but highly dense and utter minimal patterns of deep drone sound, just a little louder than many other riders on this storm. Mean music rather than music that lulls you to sleep. Maybe the tracks are a bit long, and maybe a bit too many (clocking in just under a hour), but throughout this dark trip is a nice one. A long dark road. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/fracturedspacesrecords

UW HYPOTHEEKADVIES - NATURE OR NURTURE (CD by Beta-lactam Ring Records)
Behind this confusing name hides a trio from Nijmegen, Netherlands. With just bass, drums and guitar they produce some interesting noisy free rock. Its a surprisingly good demo with recordings made in september-october 2004, offering a very dynamic answer of an old philosophical question. The CD opens with a very loud piece. Fast and furious. Followed by a track where they make effective use of some undefinable cut-up treatment, playing tapes backwards, and things like that. Beefheartesque moments prevail in track '(D.Turpin/B.Rogers)'. 'De Kandidaten' is an exercise in postrock noisy soundscaping. 'Helmut Wagner' opens with a long and slowly developing intro of soundscaping culminating gradually in a very hectic noisy hell with some real hot boiling moments. If you want a ballad go to track 'Rennen Ruud'. It shows Uw Hypotheekadvies from their most friendly and pleasing side. When listening to it for the first time I was constantly waiting for the moment it would derange in some cacophony, but it didn't. We catch them here in a serious romantic mood. The short piece '8 Doublures (part one)' impresses because so much happens in 1:44 minute. The track is composed with the help of some nice tape treatments afterwards. And so they chose for a different angle in each piece. To conclude, Dries (drums), Rob (bass) and Martin (guitar) make instrumental noise rock of a considerable level. They make good use of their technical skills and make a coherent and thoroughly constructed rock with a total involvement of all three players. Whether their qualities are innate (nature) or acquired through intense learning (nurture) makes no difference to me. What counts is that this is an adventurous and varied cd! I really had fun with this one! (Dolf Mulder) Address: http://www.blrrecords.com

LES FRAGMENTS DE LA NUIT - MUSIQUE DE CREPUSCULE (CD by Equilibirium Music)
There was a time when I played the music by Wim Mertens a lot, especially the early works when he was called Soft Verdict. In recent years this has become a lot less, for no particular reason I guess. I was reminded of Soft Verdict when I played 'Musique de Crepuscule' by Les Fragments de la Nuit. Not just because of the word 'crepuscule', which happens to be also the name of the label that Mertens founded and released his first works on, but of course the music itself. Les Fragments de la Nuit is an ensemble of five people, Ombeline, Cendrine, Aurore, Ian-Ellfin and Michel. Michel (piano) and Chendrine (violin) are the composers of the music, played on four string instruments and piano (the absence of wind instruments is a big difference with the music of Mertens). Much of this music has been composed for soundtracks, independent cinema, animation and documentaries. I must say I quite enjoyed the music, even when I thought some of the pieces were a bit too brief - more sketch like than entirely worked out, but such might be the limitations of the assignment. But the sometimes joyful and sometimes sad tunes are nice, owing as much to modern classical music (the instruments) than to popmusic (the length of the pieces). A pleasant sunday afternoon disc. (FdW) Address: http://www.equilibriummusic.com

IRM - INDICATIONS OF NIGREDO (12" by Segerhuva)
Twelfth release from IRM could in the first seconds mistakenly be heard as another effort from the Chemikal Underground-label thanks to the opening gentle guitar strums lulling the listener towards sleep state, but that's just where the nightmare begins... Let's make it clear: Swedish project IRM is certainly not for the squeamish! Mixing drones of buzzing ambient-noise with crushing power electronics of the most destructive kind and distorted voices of desperation, the trio makes sure that the listener will not leave this mini-album titled "Indications of nigredo" unattended. Divided into two intersections titled "Indicator: 1" and "Indicator: 2", the two 10+ minutes long works steadily build from mellow downbeat to satanic heights of sonic extremity. What fascinates with IRM's approach to power electronics is the intelligent construction of the works. Apparently it is not the question of shocking the listener with the sounds of collapsing electronics. More likely the trio invites you into dark territories of electronic sound, - territories that in the first moments seems harmless, but soon after turns out to be a true noise monster. A noise monster, where the emotional impact remains and thus makes the storm of crushing electronics even more overwhelming as they attack the listener. A true masterpiece of apocalyptic art. (Niels Mark)
Address: http://www.segerhuva.se

GUILLAUME GARGAUD - LE LIEU (CDR by Dirty Demos)
Upon first glance it seems that Guillaume Gargaud is a new name to me, but I vaguely remembered seeing his name before. He's one half of Aarde, who already had a CDR on Dirty Demos before (see Vital Weekly 601). That release I thought was pretty good, in terms of 12K like music and solo Gargaud is not far away either. According to the cover he plays prepared guitar and computer. In this music he stays close by the original ideas of microsound. Glitchy patterns, click-i-click rhythms hidden in background and occasionally the 'real' thing pops out of the mass of computerized drones. Like Aarde, Gargaud does a pretty decent job here. One never has the idea that one is listening to something unique or original, but Gargaud does a fine job at creating some nice moody textured music. Sit back and relax, it's worth it. (FdW) Address: http://www.dirtydemos.co.uk

DROUIN & NOVAK - AUDITORIUM MUTEK (CDR by Infrequency)
The Canadian festival Mutek was once a highly promising marriage of experimental music and dance music, but these days is more interested in programming floor filling techno music, with just a bit of experiment on the side. One of the spaces they use is the Societe des Arts Technologiques, a.k.a. SAT and it was in this space where Yann Novak and Jamie Drouin made their recordings for an eight channel sound installation. That is to say when SAT was empty. That is what we are told, and no doubt it's true. But nothing in this piece reminds us of empty spaces. For all we know this could be anything: field recordings from Mars, software synthesizers, or guitars being pushed around: the original sources have entirely disappeared from the scene and have been transformed into something that is ultimately, perhaps, more interesting to hear. In about forty-five minutes they move through various stages, from quiet ambient drones to more present and louder material, that comes across somewhat distorted. What seems to be less present, much to my surprise is the microsound component of the music. Nowhere things get very quiet, with a few plug ins. Contrary: most of the time this piece stays alive and moving. That is quite a nice step. I wonder how it would have sounded on more than a stereo playback, but this reduced version is quite nice. Not always the biggest surprise, but nevertheless quite alright. (FdW)
Address: http://www.frequency.org

NIGEL WRIGHT & TIM COSTER - CATHEDRALS (CDR by Claudia)
From the islands down under hail Tim Coster and
Nigel Wright, both of whom have been active in the areas of field recordings and computer processing. The two pieces on 'Cathedrals' were recorded between July 2007 and May 2008 and showcase what these boys can do best: lengthy exercises of drone sounds, slow developments, minimal changes, all based on field recordings (perhaps in cathedrals?) which are processed to an extent that they are no longer recognizable. They do a very fine job, be it that there is hardly a surprise in this music. In that respect the music is stuck firmly in a well-fenced territory, which hardly allows anything odd or surprising to happen. Besides that, which is mere nagging on my part I guess, this is some wonderful dark atmospheric drone music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.halftheory.com/claudia/

ROBERT CURGENVEN - SILENT LANDSCAPES (CDR by Recorded Fields)
Back in Vital Weekly 612 we were first properly introduced to the work of Robert Curgenven. He works solely with field recordings. With this second release I got a lengthy explanation on each of the four pieces. Where the sounds were recorded, during which time of the year, climate conditions etc. It would have been nice, I thought, if the actual release would have all of this information. Essentially all the field recordings Curgenven makes are transferred to CDR and then live mixed with five CD players and a 12 channel mixing desk. Much like his previous release I found that hard to believe, since all of these pieces sound like they were recorded in real time, rather than the result of five different recordings being mixed together. Only in 'Silent Landscapes 1' there seems to be some electronic altering of the material, but it might very well be some sort of line hum or distortion from the recording. The rapid crescendo and loud, abrupt break reminded me of the work of Francisco Lopez, but here's in the middle of a piece. In terms of field recordings and it's history, Curgenven doesn't offer much news but the pieces he created are done with great care and style. (FdW) Address: http://www.recordedfields.net

MICHEL HENRITZI - NOTHING (CDR by Dyin' Ghost Records)
SHIN'ICHI ISOHATA & MICHEL HENRITZI & XAVIER CHARLES (CDR by O-Musubi)
Even when Michel Henritzi doesn't sing, his music is true blues music. Music of pain, loneliness, anxiety. He plays guitar, lapsteel and amplifier. Nothing more is required by him to play his tunes. Twelve pieces of lonesome cowboy music. He plays his pieces with great pace, beautiful style and seemingly with great ease. Music that showcases empty deserts, lonely roads, wind and storm over spacious grass fields. 'Nothing' is a more than appropriate title for such a release. Long, empty pieces. Not something you 'just' put on. But something to be totally immersed by, rather than easily play as a background tune. Even when its 'nothing' its totally demanding music. Music that requires one's full attention and music that won't make you 'happy'. You probably feel 'empty' afterwards. To feel 'nothing' is impossible. Long one, but a great release, and one that requires such a length.
Henritzi also shows up on a disc of two duo recordings. Both involve Shin'ichi Isohata on acoustic guitar and in one Henritzi on the electric guitar and Xavier Charles on the clarinet. With latter the longest piece is recorded - taking about three quarters of the entire disc space. Both of these pieces are fine examples of improvisation old and a new. Charles plays his clarinet they one would expect it to sound, while Isohata plays either overtone like sounds or isolated sound events. In his duet with Henritzi it seems that Isohata has picked the guitar up and plays like a blues duo here. Both pieces are very refined examples of great improvised music. The second could have been a bit longer. (FdW) Address: http://o-musubi.com/

BEN SPIERS - AND THEN (CDR by Transient Recordings)
BLACK WINDOW - GUNWALES (3"CDR by Transient Recordings)
TIM COSTER & MARK SADGROVE - UNTITLED (CDR by Transient Recordings)
I don't think I ever heard music by Ben Spiers properly, save for one or two compilations. But 'And Then' makes up for this, loud and very clear. Spiers plays guitar, violin and amplifier and does so in nine different tracks. Lengthy tracks at that, which makes this not a very easy release to listen to. His improvisation are too widely spun but have not enough interesting moves to keep things interesting throughout the length of a piece. When they clock at somewhere between three and thirteen minutes, you may understand that I thought this release was way too long. Just a couple of these, shorter in length would have been nice, but now it's all a bit too much.
Together with Andrew Weeks, a US citizen in New Zealand, on the guitar, Spiers (also on guitar) teams up as Black Window. Their 'Gunwales' is a twenty-two minute opus of a battle of guitars and noise. Feedback flies about, kept low in tone. A loud work, very opposed to the Spiers solo work, which seemed to be about an instrument and its amplification, but here they go all the way out, with some loud noise piece. The brief character however makes that things are well digestible. Nice and long enough.
Music by Tim Coster is usually released on his own CLaudia label (see also elsewhere) and here he teams up with his more usual compadre Mark Sadgrove. They play acoustic and electric guitar, computer and mixer feedback. On 'Untitled', which was recorded already in 2006, they play two pieces of highly controlled feedback, probably derived from both a no-input channel and resonant qualities of the guitars, feeding, transforming the signals through the computer. Certainly not 'easy' music when you play this with quite some volume, but at a little bit lower volume this is absolutely a gorgeous release. Sine wave like tones will fill your space with gentle, subtle ease. Of these three releases, the most accomplished, refined one. (FdW) Address: http://www.darcy.co.nz/transient

PICK-UP - FROM HERE TO ANYWHERE (3" CDR by Moll)
FRANS DE WAARD - UNTITLED (LE POEME D'UNE VIE BIEN REMPLIE) (3" CDR by Moll)
BASS COMMUNION & FREIBAND (3" CDR by Moll)
This week, no less than three new releases from Frans de Waard's "My Own Little Label". Reaching number 22, this little label already presented us with a big and diverse palette of De Waard's various projects and connections (and that in little more than a year time).
Pick-Up is a collaboration between Frans de Waard and Martin Luiten and came forth out of the "Oahu" album/project the two did with Machinefabriek. The Oahu is an acoustic lapsteel guitar, named after one of the Islands of Hawaii. Martin Luiten owns one and can play it. After finishing the album, Luiten and De Waard continued to work on more new music: real time guitar playing mixed with real time laptop. Hawaii is something you surely don't hear on this album. Death Valley is what actually comes to mind: dry and dusty guitar picking scored with eerie and desolate soundscapes. An alternative soundtrack to scenes of Wenders' "Paris, Texas". Because it has that motion picture soundtrack feel to it. Nice and unexpected.
"Untitled", presented here as a Frans de Waard work, is a registration of a concert in Leeuwarden on invitation by Machinefabriek, who asked De Waard "If he could incorporate some text". The obligatory text is presented here by Monochrome Vision's label boss Dmitry Vasiljev (who released Freiband's "Replicas" - reviewed in Vital 633) and he, on his turn, recites a text by Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky. So far for the namedropping. High frequency transitions is what this piece starts off with; very pierce. When it abruptly stops we here Dmitry for the first time, which quickly transforms in voice mutations and added street life fieldrecordings (with more oscillating frequencies slowly rising to the surface). Eventually Dmitry returns to the scene and claims his spotlight position. A whirlwind of more megahertz-es eventually moves into pieces towards another movement, where there's also a time and place for silence. When we here 2 plops it is finished. A picturesque piece.
Bass Communion is Steven Wilson's experimental ambient project and somehow a new name to me. Apparently he's a member of Porcupine Tree and an active collaborator with the likes of Dirk Serries, Robert Fripp and Andrew Liles a.o. Never too old to learn I guess. Here he teams up (for the first time?) with Freiband. Haze Shrapnel is a well hazy slab of ambient made using guitar and laptop. The kind of soundscaping you just undergo while staring into oblivion. I don't mean that in a bad way, but in the way that it switches off your mind for a while. Freiband's remix of the track starts in a similar way, but seems to remain more static, i.e. not flowing in an organic nature like the original piece. But on closer listen some subtle shifts are to be heard. It sounds like the new flesh. (Steffan de Turck)
Address: http://www.kormplastics.nl/moll.html

A VIBRANT STRUGGLE - CRYSTAL SKULL MEDITATION (cassette by Dim Records)
Three boys locked inside a cottage somewhere in the Norwegian outback, armed with their musical toys. The boys are Bjerga and Iversen and Staplerfahrer and they did this for a weekend last september. No doubt no sleep and no doubt many releases to come. These are the sort of people to release almost everything they produce. The first results to be made available is this cassette release on Staplerfahrer's Dim Records. Its a twenty minute piece of drone music operating at the louder end of the soundspectrum. Dense and distorted, totally loaded with sound effects and with, as expected, free structure. These are not the sort of boys to care about a great composition - its the action that counts for them. Not a brilliant piece, but one that fits their sound concept pretty well. A fine start of no doubt something big. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/dimrec

The complete Vital Weekly is available at: Vital Weekly

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