RSS feed RSS Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook 15 Questions 15 Questions

Vital Weekly 654

img  Tobias

In Vital Weekly 447 I wrote this: "Less enjoyable I thought was the double 3"CDR by Sindre Bjerga and Jan M. Iversen. On these two discs they layer a very thick pattern of sounds over which they perform mutations, adding more sound effects or plug ins, but somehow the material fails to grab me very much. It drags on and there is not an interesting point in sight. I heard much better material from these two." What I couldn't know back then was that this would be the start of a fruitful collaboration. Four years later they have over 50 releases to their name - eat that Merzbow! I am pretty sure I haven't reviewed them all, but quite some. Now it's time for an anthology of those releases. Of course I should compare the tracklisting with the reviews and see if they made the 'right' choice, but probably they are right when they say that 'in a way it's all the same song, the song that never ends'. A fine introduction into four years of hyper activity from two minds from the Nor-scene. Lots of guitars, lo-fi electronics, mild distortion, waving minimalism and lengthy drones, this is what their world is made off. Their selection is very fine, I'm pretty I would have picked similar pieces from their catalogue - the more quite lengthy drone pieces of buzzing electronics and fine guitars. I can imagine you can't collect all fifty previous releases, but if you need one, then why not this one? (FdW) Address:


The Italian label Presto!? was founded by Lorenzo Senni, and his next two releases, following a disc by John Hudak are two collaborations. The first one comes from a land down under and both Lawrence English and Tom Hall have been reviewed before here, English probably more than Hall, but he is the more busy bee. They play here a variety of unnamed instruments, analogue and electronic, which they recorded in the studio and some of it re-recorded using spatial qualities of other places and together makes a very warm release of ambient music. Brian Eno is mentioned (think the ambience, think the locations in the vein of 'On Land') of course, but the world of ambient glitch should not be forgotten as well. Beautiful slow transforming sounds, spacious and spatial, sometimes with a touch of darkness, but very nice throughout. Nothing new under the sun of course, but that's nothing new either in the world of ambient music. Strong beauty.
First: congratulations to Greg Davis. Earlier this year he mailed he would be supporting Barack Obama and would be stopping to do some music for this time. We e-mailed about, his hope versus me being cynical towards all things politic, but congratulations. No cynism here. I doubt wether this release with Steven Hess has anything to do with this stop, as its a recording from 2005. Hess is a renowned drummer, having played with Pan American and Main, to mention just two, and here leads his percussive playing to the laptop of Greg Davis for a thorough transformation. Recorded live on June 4th, 2005 at 3030 in Chicago, this is an excellent disc of real time percussion and real time computer processing. At the times you wonder what the hell the laptop is doing, if anything at all, and at other occasions you might think the very same of the drums (around the thirty seven minute mark) and then sometimes they keep perfect balance on the scale. An excellent disc of improvisation from the world of acoustics and electronics.
Oddly enough Senni, who is a musician himself, his own debut CD appears on Keshhhhh which lists an address in the UK, but the CD was released in association with Presto!?. Senni plays solo, as well as with Juglandacee, an electro-acoustic impro trio) and drums with Le Harmacy, a free noise trio. However here its all electronic music. You might wonder why this is called 'Early Works' and yet you may never heard of him. Senni (1983) started recording this kind of music very recently so the 'early works' are from 2007. Music wise he deals with all the know structures from the world of glitch, but divides his attention between the ambient side of things, such as in 'Untitled Three' and the more noisy based outings such as in 'Spckrft'. There is nothing Senni does that we haven't heard before, and some of his peers and examples are simply better, but especially in the more ambient pieces he shows himself as someone who still has a keen ear to make things a bit more with a bite. So, that makes this quite an enjoyable disc. (FdW)


EHCOES OF POLYRHYMNIA (CD compilation by Hypnos)
It sort of beats me why after a mere three months we get another compilation by Hypnos. Of course with many new names, but if a compilation is to promote the artists on your label, then why not release those artists? The two CDR releases also received are by people who I haven't seen on either of these compilations. The only name I recognized was Gydja and no doubt Lena Griffin is connected to labelboss M. Griffin. What ties these ten tracks together is the fact that all of this are by female composers. Some of them operate in the strict Hypnos field of ambient music, such as Kristin Miltner, Margaret Noble, Sara Ayers, Gydja, Amanda Volta (though quite dark there), K. Cornelius (with too much reverb). The exceptions here are made by Stelleria Fennica, whose pieces has some ethereal singing (think Hyperium' 'Heavenly Voices' series), the marimba and glockenspiel minimalism of Clarissa Barba and the treated piano of Rose Bolton. Lena Griffin's piece for heavily treated viola might pass on as true Hypnos music too, but its so dark that it falls outside the well-known paths too. These four tracks make the difference here, but throughout it was a most enjoyable compilation, with many interesting names to watch out for.
On the sub division Secret Sounds we find Ben Fleury-Steiner, an active musician in the field of atmospheric and electronic music, as well as being a label boss himself, for Gears Of Sand. His 'Drifts' release is a bit long and seems to working around the similar idea: rhythms are used, light weight instead of heavy bouncing dance pieces. Rhythms almost without bass end that guide the tapestries laid out on the bed of synthesizers (analogue or digital. I don't know but I think the latter). It's not always an easy marriage of the two ends, but at least, and that I think is the great thing about this release, he tries to move out the closed circle of ambient music. The rhythms don't add up to being ambient house, since they are not smooth enough, but have a wider sense of experimentalism, which at least tries to shed new lights on the subject of ambient music. That alone is worth your attention, me thinks.
If Discogs is anything to go by (which I must admit I doubt), Birds Of Tin is the one man project of Brooke Oates and there has been no new release since 2004. That perhaps might be right, since the recordings here on 'Rinpoche' were improvised in 2002. Birds Of Tin had releases on Manifold, Solipsism, Mystery Sea and XZF. What Oates does here is pretty much outside the lines of Hypnos: no finely woven tapestries of synthesizers, but a likewise finely woven pattern of all sorts of heavily treated sound objects. Lots of echo and reverb on the tea cups that is. Two pieces, together spanning some seventy-five minutes, whereas one would have been enough. Another difference is the improvisational aspect of the music, also not unlike Hypnos. Birds Of Tin seems to me a man who loves his record collection - don't we all - and particularly records by zoviet*france and to a lesser extent Rapoon. Sometimes things are a bit too haphazard in the way its put together, but then in other moments he proofs to be capable of producing a nice tune. A pair of scissors to splice the tape would be handy though. (FdW) Address:


He released at least three other CDs 'Rashaya', 'Resistant Cruisers' and 'Holler/Do you hear me?' All of them have been reviewed in Vital Weekly. "Not te be taken away' is the newest and most lengthy CD to date by his american drummer and composer. In seven tracks Weston gives insight in his ongoing art brut. Like in his previous work we are confronted with a going together of drums, percussion and noisy treatments that is difficult to unravel. Information on how and when recorded is not included. Tracks like 'Yeah to slang' and 'Transistor Radio' seem to be purely acoustic and recorded live. The other tracks don't make the impression of being recorded live, but who knows. 'That's what I want' is a superb track showing how the world of sound sounds when its totally drunk. There is much variation between the tracks. But a highly dynamic energy is common to them all. Although the music is loud, it is full of subtleties at the same and produced by a sensitive soul. Somehow there is always a narrative line in the way Weston organizes his material. Yes, this is music of a fascinating power. It is impressive how Weston succeeds in letting loud noise obey to musical laws. (Dolf Mulder) Address:


I may have a different connotation with the German word 'Blasen', and I'm not sure if Sebastian Lexer (piano+) and Seymour Wright (alto sax) know the sexual meaning of that. They both learned their skills at improvising with Eddie Prevost and they have released on Matchless, W.M.o.r. and TwoThousandAnd - although I don't seem to be remember any of the latter. Two pieces spanning little over an hour. Those are the basics of this release. Lexer knows how to make this piano sound like anything but a piano (although he sometimes does), but foremost he seems to be interested in the percussive aspects of the piano. Wright saxophone playing is also anything but. Feedback like sounds, pops and such like. I read the liner notes and it seems that 'piano+' stands for some extended piano and computer processing and in the second piece there is more computer processing, but then applied to the alto sax. I must admit I found it hard to understand what they were on about here. Its not easy music, and after the first piece, which lasted thirty-seven minutes, I was pretty tired, and I still had twenty-five to go. I don't think this is a disc one should play in one go, but take a piece, listen and then play something else. Otherwise its all a bit too much. Great, yet extensive dish.
Alfredo Costa Monteiro is quite well-known in the Vital world, for he has had many releases, solo and otherwise. Here on 'Centre Of Mass' he works with a cymbal and resonant objects and its a bit outside the usual releases of Another Timbre. The label is primarily concerned with improvised music, this one is more along the lines of a composed work. One thirty-some minute work of overtones generated through the use of motorized objects on a large object - the cymbal I assume. The recording however seems to be focussing itself more on the motorized objects than on the cymbal itself, or so it seems. Divided in various parts, each emphasizing the various possibilities of scraping and scratching the surface. A highly concentrated set of sounds on a highly condensed disc. Great stuff. (FdW)


TABLE FOR SIX: ALL QUIET? #3 (Compilation CD by Eetapes)
EE Tapes was originally a tape-exclusive label established in Belgium back 1987, but during the years the media forms released from the label has changed, to the present state of being a CD-only label. Present release is another shot from the "Table For Six"-series, that celebrates different forms of ambient with contributions from interesting composers of the scene. On this third chapter contributions comes from newcomers as well as from more established artists. Despite the focus on ambient the approaches to the style is quite different with everything from concrete sounds to abstracts noise. Opening piece titled "Bulo omega" is twelve minute work of buzzing drones from Italian artist Neuestrasse. Washes of noise waves creates a quite organic edge to the expressions of noise. Organic is also the word to describe the following contribution from Danish artists Stormhat that specializes in ambient-scapes exclusively based on field recordings. His piece "Substanser" nicely mixes abstract concrete sounds with recognizable found sounds. German project Anemone Tube continues with a minimalist piece of beautiful ambient based on processed choir-samples and grandiose soundscapes. With its warm atmosphere, the work titled "Projected cataclysm" from Anemone Tube stand in extreme contrast to the following icy drone work from Dutch sound artist Frans De Waard. His piece titled "Wortel (root)" is another minimalist work based on buzzing drones operating in subconscious levels with a very interesting result. Once in a while the drones fades away giving space for swarms of high frequency noises and crackling electronics wiping out any sign of buzzing tranquility. Dutch artist (Ad)vance(d) closes the compilation with another great piece of ambience based on field recordings with subtle melodies moving in deeper layers. Excellent compilation that also presents some quite bizarre and beautiful jazz-like ambient-noise-spheres based on acoustic instruments such as horns and string instruments from Italian artist Bruno De Angelis. Thus a great span in the contributing expressions. Good work. (Niels Mark) Address:


A great number of tributes to Depeche Mode have already been released. Present compilation titled "Rush for black celebration : Russian industrial Depeche Mode tribute" must be one of the most bizarre tributes to the great masters of dark electro-pop, Depeche Mode. The album present seventeen interesting Industrial-related projects from Russia contributing with tracks, that are more or less loosely based on the original works of Depeche Mode. The result is fascinating! From Stpocold's harsh noise interpretation of the "Little 15" (from "Music from the masses", 1987) to the strangely beautiful ambient-version of "Blasphemous Rumours" ("Some great reward", 1983) the listeners are confronted with, in all aspects extreme versions of the early electro hits that some of us used to listen to from the early teen years forward. (Niels Mark) Address:


Behind Galerie Stratique is one Charles-Emile Beullac from Quebec, Canada, and has releases on Law & Auder and Worm Interface, but here creates music that he describes as 'strange semi-acoustic'. Together with a friend he recorded a whole bunch of percussion instruments, such as waterphones, ektaras, kalimbas, xylophones, tamboa, udus, tablas, darbouka, Chinese balls and guiro and from these recordings Beullac created a whole bunch of loops and then created the fifteen pieces on this CD. Its quite enjoyable what is presented here, though I must say, not great. The fact that you can always hear its a sample works a bit against the album - even when things are not really rhythmic, but more atmospherical. Vague ethnic percussion music comes to mind, but it's no doubt something that is more experimental. Its music that is nice to hear, but somehow doesn't stick into your mind. When things are over, its not that one thinks: oh I definitely I want to play this again. But if you play it again, you will find this pleasantly entertaining. (FdW) Address:


Maybe a release with the help of David Tibet, Clodagh Simonds, Fabrizio Palumbo and Julia Kent might not be the sort of thing I would want to sort out, but I only found that out after I heard Human Greed's third album 'Black Hill: Midnight At The Blighted Star'. Human Greed is a duo of Michael Begg and Deryk Thomas, and instruments are not given for them. The guests however contribute cello, voice, treatments and piano. I assume both Begg and Thomas are responsible for the electronics part of this project. The voices used are merely pushed to the background and seem to be reciting a small text every now and then. The piano and cello form nice counterparts in the ambient mass of sound, and warm interludes. This music, despite the occasional use of voices, is mainly instrumental music. Lots of sound effects, lots of atmospherics are captured here and as such resemble everything from Brian Eno to any and none in particular movement in the world of ambient music. Sometimes too forceful to be truly spacious, and sometimes with a sudden stop or change, but that adds, I think, to the quality of the album. Though not entirely new in approach, it takes the best from various directions in ambient music and makes a very nice hybrid form of it. (FdW) Address:


The releases under the banner of Angel so far have all been live recordings - something that I forgot, so 'Hedonism' is the first studio CD by Ilpo Vaisanen and Dirk Dresselhaus, Angel(s) since 1999. Recorded in a studio in Berlin and at Ilpo's cottage in Finland, this album is a continuation of their previous releases. Its far from the work with Pan Sonic or Schneider TM, and operates in the shimmering world where you can see the crossroad sign that says 'industrial', 'ambience', 'atmospheric' and 'noise' (although the smallest road available on this intersection), armed with a handful of effects, recorders (to tape the field), contact microphones, acoustic objects and maybe a synth or guitar - none of this is really clear from the music itself, or the cover, they craft together ten tracks of strong power. Their best release no doubt, because the pieces here are well worked out and make a coherent whole, which couldn't be said of the previous works. Very nice release, though maybe not as surprising if this crossroad in music is visited by you frequently. (FdW) Address:


A wet November morning in East Anglia, sleepily the CD goes into the player in the car stereo - and then BLAM! The noun "Noise" has been appropriated by all kinds of musics, experimental through to tinkling new wave nonsense - post Dada fluxus semi political bullshit performance of which even the God Merzbow has stepped into. This - read the title above again and weep - is - Noise, but I can't say this, limp, thoughtful, planned music uses the name these days, anything and everything is noise, is it then 'Harsh Noise'. 'Extreme noise'- 'wall noise?' I muse as I drive to work through the grey rain. (someone employs the guy!?) - each of the 11 tracks offers a differing definition of noise - in the same sense that Bruce Willis defines glazing in Die Hard, its 'Rape Music' - I like the image - what this evokes and the pun on Rap, (Rap on ecstasy) its Snuff Music, its not art or music but Stuff; I made up these titles whilst driving to deliberately exclude anything that puts forward an argument, and excludes all the sound collage/texture improv pussies.. (I've been watching 'Life on Mars' and the 'philosophy!' of Gene Hunt has got to me. Oh the days before PC was everywhere.) The term 'post-conceptual art'- more polite, dangerously so, but still has the irony that what now goes for conceptual - unmade beds et al. is in fact material, this sound is material, is stuff. Can we adopt then - us noiseniks, stuff, rape music to remove those who have pocket handkerchiefs from our genre. Here on some post Deleuze/Guattarian plateau - is all noise stuff- and its always perfect. Claus - you're the man. (jliat) Address


FIVE ELEMENTS MUSIC - KAPOTTE MUZIEK BY... (CDR by Moving Furniture Records)
Only a few week's back the album titled "The black and white album" by the project Zebra was reviewed in Vital Weekly (#649). Behind the project was Roel Meelkop and Frans De Waard. The album was a very crossover-based experience with a nice balance between catchy expressions and avantgarde electronics. Present CD find the the two sound explorers back in one of their legendary projects. Kapotte Muziek was established back in 1984. Since then, the trio consisting of Roel Meelkop and Frans De Waard together with Peter Duimelinks has specialized in electroacoustic music. Present CDR is a recording from a live show in St. Petersburg in May 26th 2008. It is one lengthy piece of electroacoustic music combining field recordings with processed and manipulated found sounds and its recycled/remixed by [s], the man behind Five Elements Music, also from Russia. Despite its starting point in found sounds the expression is quite often alienated and otherworldly, with buzzing drones and crackling noises resulting in an intriguing hypnotic piece of sound art. Five Elements Music manage to create soundscapes that function both as "music" and "abstract sound art". Thus the album will appeal to a wide range of listeners from ambient listeners across Noise-heads to listeners of conceptual sound art thanks to the atmospheric drones offered on this album. (Niels Mark) Address:


REFLECTIONS OV THEE TEMPLE (CDR by Autonomous Individuals Network)
Perhaps all too easily you would think that this review will be another bash of the world of magickal music, but let's start with positive matters: I think the first two records by Pscyhic TV are time less classics, a damn combination of popmusic, sound collages, industrial music and electronics. Pretty soon after that I must admit I lost Psychic TV. Their many live albums, their acid period, their hippie period and whatever else. No matter how much I liked the first two Psychic TV albums, I must also admit, I never really cared for the Temple Of Psychic Youth. Perhaps I never want to be part of something bigger than myself, perhaps I was too down to earth. But their endless stream of books, records, video's and certainly inspiration to many musicians (the heritage of all things magickal) was something one could only appreciate very well. Anything that get people going is good, I think. But as said, it went all over my head. Here is, and for me not to be placed in any corner or hindered by any background knowledge, a release by the Temple Of Psychic Youth, North American branch. These people refer to 'musick', which I always muck fun with, but no doubt its a serious matter. I never heard of any of these musicians, who call themselves Instagon, Stomach Pump Experience, pc93, Coyote 380, Coyote 412, Coyote 426, Coyote 179 (all separate artists it seems) and All Have Numbers None Have Names. I do think that in a way they all like to be Psychic TV and that they all take a certain aspect and do that. Coyote's 412 'Amazing Star' is, well wants to be, a popsong. 'Jazz For Satan', by Instagon, is freaky improvised guitar and drums piece, Stomach Pump Experience has a robotic voice and 'ambient' electronics - and so forth. None of this recorded with the same holophonic power as the originals. This all seems nice, but also a bit amateurish, home-brew music. But again, that's what I like about it. It has that same punk inspired feeling - the do it yourself ethic that I love so much about punk, without necessarily caring that much about the music itself. Sometimes the intentions are as good enough. (FdW) Address:


From Sheffield comes a brother and a sister known
as Bel and Jonny, who work as Black Serama. That's about all we know. They operate in a musical area which we could loosely define as electronic free folk (or free electronic folk whatever you prefer). Strumming on a guitar, wordless singing, sound effects, a harmonium setting the drone in the background, whereas the 'free' aspect of this music comes from the jamming on end idea. Tracks are pretty long and do have some variation throughout, but to my idea not enough. Things could have been much more concise and to the point I thought, and the whole release would have benefitted from that. Then it would have been a 3"CDR with the same six tracks. Now it looses some of its power through the endless play with sounds and voices. The best track here is 'Magic', also freeform but seemingly only evolving around synthesizers and tight enough to hold the attention. Perhaps the piece that least reflect what they are about, but perhaps a new path to explore. (FdW) Address:


On August 25th 2008 Anne Bakker (violin), Leo Fabriek (piano) and Rutger Zuydervelt (also known as Machinefabriek on guitar, effects, editing) recorded some improvised music as the Kruisherenklooster in Leiden, which were processed last month. It starts out in a melancholic mood, like some of the recent Machinefabriek releases, but after a while, the improvised elements take over, and things get a bit more wild, however never to be really loud or noise based. The piano, guitar and violin get a lot more processing it seems, until the three decide to move into a more mellow landscape. The total piece moves in between these parameters, from the strict melancholiac to the somewhat more adventurous side of things. A very delicate small release, just as we are used to from Machinefabriek these days. Alone or with friends, he produces a lot of music, and the majority of it is great. (FdW) Address:


After reading the press text that comes with this release, I must admit I still have not much idea what it is about. It was originally intended for a sound installation and uses field recordings from ancient indoor swimming pool in Brussels. The text also mentions something about the opening, a live performance and a soundtrack, but Gunter Adler lost me there. Adler is perhaps best known as a member of Groenland Orchester (together with G. Reznicek), and later with Augsburger Tafelconfect and solo as Adler (which is not his real name). The three pieces on this release are made of highly processed field recordings, of which we no longer recognize the origins. Gliding tones, sine wave like, objects that fall to the ground and sound effects working overtime. This is quite a nice, sweet, short and highly enjoyable release, for those who love their microsound to be much more free and not tied to the strict conventions of that scene. Nice indeed. (FdW) Address:


The complete Vital Weekly is available at: Vital Weekly

Related articles

Vital Weekly 660
Frans de Waard presents the ...
Vital Weekly 659
Frans de Waard presents the ...
Vital Weekly 658
Frans de Waard presents the ...
Vital Weekly 657
Frans de Waard presents the ...
Vital Weekly 656
Frans de Waard presents the ...
Vital Weekly 655
Frans de Waard presents the ...
Vital Weekly 653
Frans de Waard presents the ...
Vital Weekly 652
Frans de Waard presents the ...
Vital Weekly 651
Frans de Waard presents the ...
Vital Weekly 650
Frans de Waard presents the ...
Random Stabbings 37
October's round of interesting records, ...
Vital Weekly 649
Frans de Waard presents the ...
Vital Weekly 648
Frans de Waard presents the ...
Vital Weekly 647
Frans de Waard presents the ...

Partner sites