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Vital Weekly 655

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TOOT - TWO (CD by Another Timbre)
Last week I wrote about Evil Madness, a supergroup from Iceland with various musicians from various bands. Come to think of it, in improvisation music, a lot of the ad-hoc projects are also supergroups. Take this one for instance: we have Axel Dörner on trumpet, Thomas Lehn on analogue synthesizer and Phil Minton doing voice. Is that a supergroup, a meeting of giants or what? There are two pieces here, from recorded in 2005 and one from 2008 - meaning this supergroup has been around for some time, hence the idea of choosing a band name: Toot. What happens here, in two pieces that last around twenty-seven minutes each, is some excellent improvisation - the top shelf in the world of improvisation. Everything seems to be melting together here, with voice, synth and trumpet playing music that easily can go on as composed music. They feel exactly what the others are doing and how to interact with eachother. Sometimes they drift apart, and let their own instrument sound, but, maybe save for Lehn, whose synthesizer may sound like a synthesizer, how does a trumpet or a voice sound when its used by Minton or Dörner? Like anything but a trumpet or a voice. And sometimes the voice sounds like a trumpet and vice versa. The three of them playing together is a wonderful excursion into improvised music, of course music that requires full attention but which has so much beauty captured in. After 54.29 minutes you are left breathless. (FdW) Address: http://www.anothertimbre.com

 

JUNE11 - MATTER IS ALIVE (CD by EE Tapes)
From a label that is mucho symphatico, and around or ages (first with cassettes, then CDRs and CDs) is Belgium's EE Tapes. In the past they brought us the old men of Y Create, Human Flesh, M.A.L. and some gorgeous compilations, now its time for June11, a project I never heard of, but apparently its masterminded by one Jan van den Broeke, who we could know as a member of The Misz and Absent Music, names that vaguely ring bells. Van Den Broeke himself plays vocals, keyboards, guitars, percussion and samples and gets help on a lot of instruments by people I never heard of, except Nadine Ball, the singer of Bene Gesserit. Its all well-done melancholic pop music, but I guess I am not the person whom this was made for. It vaguely reminds me of some of melodramatic pop music on Les Disques Du Crepuscule, which was a favorite label at one time, reminding me of Richard Jobson in 'Lahore'. Strings (from the sampler) bring majestical sounds to the foreground, there is pseudo ethnic drums, and lots of chords in minor. This is perhaps as unVital as Knitting By Twilight reviewed elsewhere, but it still makes a very well-considered and well-made impression on me. (FdW) Address: http://www.eetapes.be

 

THE NIGHTINGALES - INSULT TO INJURY (CD by Klangbad/Broken Silence)
More unVital and more from the past. I think I first The Nightingales on that ever classic compilation LP 'Pillows & Prayers' with their 'Don't Blink'. They started in 1976 and split up a few times and reformed (for good?) in 2004 and recorded this album in March of this year with Jochen Irmler of Faust fame. The Nightingales are a rock band that much is sure, but they are not a strict punk or new wave band. Take 'Brownhills United's Tattooed Southpark' which owes to Captain Beafheart, but there are more straight forward rock tunes here too. None of the twelve tracks really belong to what Vital Weekly writes about, even when this has enough raw untamed energy, lots of variation and wit ('Former Florist To The Queen'!) to make this one pleasant trip. Weird but very enjoyable. Not just for the retro-mind that I sometimes am. (FdW) Address: http://www.klangbad.de

 

DOKKEMAND - HONS! (CD by Other Electricities)
One Marius Grøtterud Egenes from Oslo, Norway is behind Dokkemand, and as such he has been at the controls since 2005. Although perhaps out of the controls. This not y'r classical nor-noise, but a man armed with a keyboard, vocals, a loads of rhythms going at various times and seemingly at various speeds. Rhythms derived from electro-pop, hip-hop and techno all melted together into a slightly chaotic amalgam of noise pop. To that Dokkemand adds various female vocalists and crafts thus an album together that if anything is highly demanding to the listener. Music that I think is quite nice, but perhaps it would even work better when you would hear this played live. Think Patrick Catani or Mark Boombastik or even Felix Kubin, I wouldn't be too surprised if Dokkemand would be the next star on the scene. I know I would love to see him play live. This debut release is certainly promising. (FdW)
Address: http://www.other-electricities.com

 

DAWID SZCZESNY - LUXATED SYMMETRY (CD by Porter)
DAWID SZCZESNY - IN BETWEEN (CD by Porter)
VALERIO COSI - COLLECTED WORKS (CD by Porter)
DAVID HURLEY - OUTER NEBULA INNER NEBULA (CD by Porter)
Four releases by Florida-based Porter Records. A label run by music enthusiasts with an open ear for inventive music, be it jazz, hip hop, electronic, experimental or whatever. And no matter were it comes from we can add. Szczesny is from Poland, Cosi from Italy, Hurley from San Diego. To start with Dawid Szczesny, he is a soundartist living in Wroclaw. He has already a few solo-albums out ('Drafts' and 'Unheard Treats') and collaborations with Ignaz Schick ('The View Underneath') and with Nongenetic of Shadowhuntaz ('Earpeace').
Of the two releases by Porter 'Luxated Symmetry' is the most interesting. Using the sampled sounds of mainly percussive instruments Dawid builds open structures that are well composed along cyclic patterns. Subtle rhythms dominate in each track, but not in a way that makes this music suited for dance parties. In general this 'ballet mecanique' is more close to ambient-atmospheres. Dawid choses his sounds very careful and finds tasty combinations and proportions. Sometimes the music has a Harry Partch-like strangeness like in 'Contiguity of Yours'. At other moments it is as if we are in the inside of some eccentric clockwork. A convincing project. 'In Between' is a four track ep and released separately for some reason, although the music moves along similar lines.
'Collected Works' is a funny title when you realize that Valerio Cosi is just in his twenties. But not so strange if you take a look at the discography of this saxplayer from southern Italy. Its a lengthy list of cdr-releases. Some of the best moments recorded solo since 2005 are brought together now for a CD release by Porter. All recordings that are chosen for this release are recorded at Cosi's house. He plays sax and saxoloop but also percussion, drums, bass, rattles, korg synth, guitar, bells, gong, processed sitar, tabla, voice, congas, manipulated tapes, electronics, etc. His music is a very unusual blend of influences. On the one hand we have his saxplaying that is very much in the tradition of free jazz. Besides he makes use of processed and looped sounds. All ingredients brought together, this results in a free-ethno-psychedelic mixture. A very uncommon environment, I must say, that would not be possible without multitracking. Cosi finds his inspiration in the recordcollection of his parents if I have to guess. For instance the influence of Neu and Harmonia is obvious if you listen to the beats in the tracks 'Harmonia Raag' and 'Hoboland'. Also we hear influences of Terry Riley-like minimal music. In a piece like 'Lovely Blue Cream' Cosi's trademark really works for me: energetic free saxplaying, backed with an environment of looped drums and sounds. Not that I liked all of it. Not everything is worked out satisfyingly. But I met enough unusual twists and ideas, played with freshness and dare, to be curious what will be recorded more in that room of Valerio Cosi. With David Hurley we are on the american continent. Hurley is a percussionist playing on a very extended set of bells and percussion. And also flutes and even the Moog appears in a few tracks. The CDs contains several solotracks, accompanied by pieces of duo- up to quintet-format. In 'The Anti Venom' we have Hurley screaming wildly over thick layers of percussion played by Leonard Mack II, Ousmane Traore and Hurley himself. In this and other tracks ('Metamorphosis') we travel the spaceways in a Sun Ra-like manner. In other tracks the playing is more close to free jazz like in 'Inner Nebula' with Zuri Waters on sax. Also this release shows that Porter Records has a good nose for new original talents. (Dolf Mulder) Address: http://www.porterrecords.com/

 

HYPERAKUSIS (Compilation CD by Audiophob)
ZERO DEGREE - THE INNER REALM (CD by Audiophob)
MANDELBROT - THORNS (CD by Audiophob)
Audiophob is a German label established in 2004. Originally the label gathered a number of friends and artist networks to compile the first release - the compilation album titled "Minus infinity dB". Now four years later the label is ready to launch the 10th album, being a compilation of artists of the label who each contribute with two pieces for the album carrying the title "Hyperakusis". The overall style of the album operates downbeat spheres from chilling IDM to ambient. The show is opened by German artist Carsten Stiller a.k.a Alarmen who delivers two classic idm-tracks putting a nice atmosphere to the album from start. Then comes the sound artist Nerthus delivering a slightly darker and more downbeat contribution of dreamlike quality. Next in line is Mandelbrot operated by Philip Munch also known for his power noise project Synapscape as well as his electropop-project "Rorschach garden". Mandelbrot takes the full step into dark ambient-spheres - no rhythms or shiny light here, just darkness and noise drones. The drone-based expression continues with the contributions from next artist. Spherical Disrupted delivers the best moment on the compilation with his opening track that hypnotizes with echoed drones waving back and forth meanwhile discreet melodies give a beautiful atmosphere on the piece. His second contribution is a quite different beast that floats in classic IDM-spheres reminiscent of early Warp Records. The compilation closes in the most beautiful way with a trippy ambient piece from Zero Degree that recalls the heydays of early ambient from the German krautrock-pioneers such as Edgar Froese and Klaus Schulze. A beautiful soothing piece that is everything but dark and thus closes the album in a pleasant manner. Nice compilation. Zero Degree is also the brain behind the next album reviewed here. The album titled "Inner realm" is second full-length from the German composer. In contrast to his contribution to the aforementioned "Hyperakusis"-compilation, Zero Degree on "Inner realm" includes technoid rhythm textures in ambient worlds. Compared to the "Frozen sunlight"-piece from the "Hyperakusis"-compilation, the expression on present album is much darker in expression. The atmosphere is grandiose on the album. A few tracks have a quite old-school feeling to the electronic sounds, i.e. the track titled "Surface" with sounds that recalls the 80's of Vangelis. A quite interesting and varied album from Zero Degree. Last album reviewed here is aforementioned Mandelbrot a.k.a Philip Munch, probably better known for his power noise-project Synapscape and his electropop-project "Rorschach garden". In comparison to his alternative projects, Philip Munch on this album titled "Thorns" under the Mandelbrot-flag, focus on a much more introvert sound nature of dark ambient-noise. As Mandelbrot Philip Munch collaborate with B. Teichner. Buzzing drones create the foundation of the album, sometimes added atmospheric and melodic passages. Nice one. (Niels Mark) Address: http://www.audiophob.de

 

SEWER ELECTION - KASSETTMUSIK (CD by Ideal Recordings)
CHRISTINE ODLUND - PHENOMENA (CD by Ideal Recordings)
JOACHIM NORDWALL & MARK WASTELL - OCEANS OF SILVER & BLOOD (CDR by Ideal Recordings)
DEAD LETTERS SPELL OUT DEAD WORDS - LOST IN REFLECTION (LP + 7" by Ideal Recordings)
The first one of this lot I played was Sewer Election, mainly to check it out quickly before passing on to Jliat, as somewhere in the back of my head it said 'Sewer Election = noise'. The cover said 'moments captured and repeated in raw mono [...] contact mic, cassette loops and cassette amplifier', so I was prepared for the full noise blast, but it ain't so. Not at all. Of course this is noise, but one of a more kinder origin. The sound is real a low affair, not in the sense that it is on a low volume, but because the music is crudely recorded. No feedback, but loops of electronic stuff, loads of hiss, ticks and scratches. I kept on listening as I thought this was quite fascinating stuff. It very much reminded me of the old cassette days, when I worked with splicing cassette tape and recorded similar crude music (which in retrospect never sounded this good actually). Distortion is kept to a nice level and Sewer Election creates a composition full of tension and drama. I have nothing against noise, which some people seem to think, but it has to be good and not wearing out all the cliche's of the genre. As such I can easily say that 'Kassettmusik' by Sewer Election is exactly the kind of noise I like. I wish there was more like this!
I have no idea who Christine Odlund is, other than that she recorded this CD and did the drawings in the booklet. Her music was 'mixed' at EMS, but it doesn't say where it was recorded nor which instruments she used. I think it's a combination of analogue or digital synthesizers and field recordings. Spooky, dark music. Lots of moody atmospheric drones and insect sounds and bird calls. Minimalist music but with enough changes. 'Forest' reminded me of modern electronics from the mid 60s. It was all pretty much ok, but nothing special or really out of the ordinary. 'Meeting In Albertville', the final piece and the longest of the total of seven, was the highlight of the CD, for its dramatic built up and cyclist playing. Music that fits the sombre weather here today in the final month of the year.
More drones on the release by drone meister and label boss Joachim Nordwall, who plays here a Roland S100 Modular Synth and Mark Wastell who plays a 32" Paiste Tam Tam. Recorded live almost one year ago. There are two untitled pieces here which offer some very elegant styled drone works. The tam tam is played in a similar way as the synth or vice versa: the two melt together. I have no idea how Wastell generated this sound (by rubbing the mallet over and over I gather, but maybe its something else that is used to generate this thing to vibrate), but the two slow humming pieces are great. Nothing new under the drone sun (of course), but its a high and mighty work. At thirty-three minutes perhaps a bit short: I would have loved another one.
The next two releases were presented on a CDR to me, which actually makes perhaps more sense since it works well. The music is by Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words, the active force of Thomas Ekelund. He too is a master of all good things drone, but uses the guitar to that end. The guitar and lots of electronics and perhaps laptop processing. He plays a kind of ambient glitch drone music with lots of warmth covered with it. What can start out as some abstract doodling, over the course of time becomes a small melody, arriving seemingly out of nowhere. My least favorite track here was the side long (LP that is) 'Hummelschreibende Herzen', which starts out rather noise based, but then stays there too long, before turning to more richer ground. Things at their best when its kept shorter, like on the two excellent pieces on the 7", almost going into pop music territory. Excellent stuff here. (FdW)
Address: http://www.idealrecordings.com

 

SIRSIT - COLORBLIND CYCLE II (CDR by Con-V)
A band of four persons, of which we also heard in various other constellations and solo projects: Rick Reed, Brent Fariss, Cory Allen and Josh Russell, all from Austin, Texas. I have no idea what they use equipment wise here, but my very best guess would be a bunch of analogue synthesizers and perhaps one or more laptops to process the sound with and maybe there is a guitar in there as well. The piece here lasts thirty-six minutes and is made of lots and lots of buzzing, warm sounds. At times I was inclined to think it was all analogue synthesizers, but then some of the overlaying sounds came off a bit too digital to be just that. Elegant mood music with a bite. Music made from and for cosmic interferences. It bridges the world of cosmic music with microsound and experimental, but its neither nor. It doesn't have the same cheesy dayglow of the cosmic synthesizer music, but at the same time it's also too loud to be purely microsound. Quite a nice, fascinating sound journey. Simple, effective and illuminating. (FdW)
Address: http://www.con-v.org

 

PRELIMINARY SATURATION - DISCIPLES OF THE VATICAN (CDR by Vatican Analog)
Its not that these boys, who make up Preliminary Saturation haven't got anything else to do. Wouter Jaspers being Franz Fjodor and Steffan de Turck being Staplerfahrer, which is already 1 + 1 = 4, but then they are also the improvisation duo Preliminary Saturation. They jam, and they jam a lot. In their own houses, with wine and cigarettes at hand, with self-made instruments, microphones (some broken ones), a laptop, and they jam, but I might have said that. Pretty much what they do sounds a bit like Bjerga/Iversen, with whom they seem to share a similar esthetic. The totally free improvisation electronic music, the electro-acoustic guerilla, the drone end of sound, a bit of noise thrown in. All of that in pretty long pieces, but it sounds fairly o.k. I must admit I am not entirely blown away by it, but that's perhaps because I think its a bit too free form and because it could use some more sharper editing, and shape the very best moments. But just like Bjerga/Iversen I'm convinced truly great works will come eventually. This is a step ahead. (FdW) Address: http://www.vatican-analog.com

 

COLLIN THOMAS - FOR THE PAINTERS (CDR, private)
Surely Collin Thomas likes painters - and quite different ones too: from Margritte to Malevich, from Bacon to Rothko and there is a bunch I don't know, including one Larry Thomas, the final track here. It says that the 'visual artists always inspired me, and this is my way of giving back to them for all that these artists have given me. Especially that last one...'. Father or brother, I'd assume. Thomas plays drums as his main instrument, but there are also keyboards (piano among them) and lots of electronic processes to change these sounds. Thomas does a fine job here. Its not clear that percussion plays the main part of this, but its only after a while that you realize that there is indeed a lot of percussion going on here. Somehow I don't think one should regard this music as strict homages to the painters, i.e. the piece for Rothko isn't a monochrome one, or a constructivist piece for Malevich. Its rather 'sweet' music, part abstract in its use of electronics and then recognizable through the more straightforward drum sounds used. There is no loud bang, no just entirely 'soft' playing but rather kind, sweet microsound meeting improvised textured music. (FdW) Address: http://www.collinthomas.net

 

JU SEI - TAIGUN YUEI (CDR by Black Petal)
ANTHONY MAGEN - POURQUOI (3"CDR by Black Petal)
Something I didn't realize but Black Petal, the label run out of Japan by Anthony Guerra, didn't release any Japanese artists so far. But Ju Sei is the first. This is a duo of Junichiro Tanaka on guitar and vocals and Sei on vocals and 'andes 250' (I assume some keyboard). They started out as an acoustic duo in 2002, but now turned to electricity. This might be by far one of the more eccentric discs of this week. The music is alright. Minimalist pop and folk tunes on a guitar and some sparse keyboard here and there and the occasionally sweet voice of Sei. Occasionally as sometimes it's pretty mean, loud and even false, especially in the first track (track titles appear in Japanese). That makes this a pretty much of an outsider disc, and not one to get easy into, but as the disc progresses the other four tracks are much nicer, balancing on this fine line of folk, drone, experiment and jap-pop. Curious indeed, but fine one.
Even more on the outside is Anthony Magen. His 'Pourquoi' is his first release and has four versions of the title piece, in 'an abstract take on dub tactics'. The first one, the original (?), is a piece we hardly can hear, field recordings and then a man strumming his guitar, repeating the word 'Pourquoi', whereas in the second there is the same thing with a strange soft repeating sound. Of course volumes have been cranked up, so when the third, a totally distorted (normalize plus 12db) version, kicks in, you have to run to the remote (a spoiler here, right?). The fourth holds volume wise somewhere in the middle of the previous three and has water sounds. This is the version I liked best, but throughout I thought this was all a bit too much for me. Too much outside anything I guess. (FdW) Address: http://www.blackpetal.com

 

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