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Vital Weekly 658

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MECHANIQUE(S) - LIVE AT LOGOS, GHENT (CD by Acheulian Handaxe)
Back in Vital Weekly 627, when reviewing a CD by Die Schrauber, I mentioned that I never heard of the band, the people behind it and the label, but I was wrong. 'Endangered guitarplayer' Hans Tammen was reviewed before in Vital Weekly, on three occasions, but surely sometime something slips my mind. All four reviews deal with one important notion: improvised music and this new one is no different. Again a trio disc, this time with one Dafna Naphtali (voice, live sound processing) and Martin Speicher (altosax, bassclarinet), under the banner of Mechanique(s). A recording from 2001 at Logos in Ghent, Belgium. Like the previous release by Die Schrauber, this is certainly quite a stretch to hear. The improvisations are fully loaded - there is always something happening and more often than not, there is a lot of things to pay attention. When the three freak out into free jazz land, I am not interested in joining them. Too hectic, too much jazz, too many notes. When they find peace and tranquility, such as in the opening of 'Precipice' I am, however, all ears. Intense, evocative, powerful. However I must admit that this is a rarity among the craziness of this record. This time I can't blame the sun, as I did before, but some more rigorous editing seemed to be in place, I think. Nice throughout, yet a bit heavy dinner, this one. (FdW)

This is the second release by a new label called Invisible Birds. Their first release was M. Swizynski's 'Films 2007' we reviewed in Vital Weekly 625, although it didn't mention this as a label. The label focuses itself on releasing 'limited edition CDs and DVDs evocative of birds and the landscapes they inhabit', which I think is a very nice selection method for incoming demo's. Colin Andrew Sheffield might better known from the releases on his own label, Elevator Bath, for which he released CDRs and a CD. His 'Signatures' CD has its official release December 10th 2008, the 100th birthday of Olivier Messiaen, another lover of birds and music (probably in that order). Sheffield uses a turntable, old sampler and a 'portable 64-track digital workstation' and no computer on these recordings. On the turntable lies records of nature sounds, birds and water, of which Sheffield carefully selects fragments to sample and layer on his ancient workstation. If you staple enough sounds on top of eachother, then have them slightly out of sync, one can create beautiful drone music, and that's exactly what Sheffield does here. The first three tracks are nice, but it will turn out they are exercises for what is to come: 'Breath Of Day', the fourth and final epic of this, with gramophone hiss and organ like sounds, being stretched out over the course of the twenty-seven minutes this lasts. A true beauty, in all its simplicity. Sometimes the simplest things is enough to get things done. The previous tracks, which lay out what Sheffield wants, eventually, are great too, but aren't of the same beauty as the last one. If it would have been just the first three i would have been equally enthusiastic about this, now I'm probably ecstatic. Great CD. (FdW) Address:

Its not cool to say so, but sometimes I just fail to understand things. For instance the release by Rich Johnson, which I spun twice in a row and then still didn't understand it. Johnson is a trumpet player, who also touches the acoustic guitar, piano, laptop and mixes it with glitch, sampling, musique concrete. His inspiration comes from Bob Dylan, Don Cherry, Low, Kenneth Galburo, Fugazi and Jimmy Giuffre. What gives me a hard time, is what to think of this? The eleven pieces are a mixed bag of goodies. There are gentle glitches, there are heavy guitars and computer distortions (in the title piece), there are traces of improvisation. That's all clear. What I don't seem to get right is this: do I like this? Is it good? Or is the variety of the material in its way? I don't know. With some of these pieces, like the title piece, I think its all too plain and simple, but then its not bad either. Then I play it again, listen more closely and think: yeah, no, this is great. Nicely atmospheric, put together in a nice way, good moves, nice pieces. I read in the press text that 'this is a grower' and I think, you're damn right, this album is a grower. An odd bunch of pieces, more like a compilation, but then one in which all the pieces seem to fit in neatly. A grower indeed. (FdW) Address:

TIBETAN RED - RITUAL BREATHING (CD by Antahkarana Records)
Since many years there is Tibetan Red, but only in the recent years he has been releasing more and more music. I must admit I am a keen follower of his work. Some of it is great, while other is good, but never bad, and 'Ritual Breathing' is no exception. The central theme of 'Ritual Breathing' is 'air': sounds from the air, sounds produced with air and instruments dealing with air, such as the shakuhachi and didgeridoo. Tibetan Red is the master of layering, 'massed sounds' as he calls it. He mounts a seemingly endless pile of similar sounds on his computer and then starts to mix them. They fade in and out, making a dense sound field of drone music. Its hardly a wonder that this work is dedicated to Eliane Radigue, with whom Tibetan Red seems to be sharing a fascination for all things buddhist. On the cover he says he wanted to avoid a narrative and that seems to be working well. This is pure drone music, but with enough variation within each of three lengthy pieces to make things once again a fascinating journey. It easily matches the best work I heard of him so far, 'Fouta Djalon' (see Vital Weekly 566) - this new one is equally great. (FdW) Address:

VIC MARS - KANRANSHA (CD by Symbolic Interaction)
OBA MASAHIRO - PROT (CD by Symbolic Interaction)
Some weeks ago I was completely blown away by an album released on the Japanese label Symbolic Interaction. It was the album titled "The black and white album" from two of Holland's most prolific artists Frans de Waard and Roel Meelkop under the project Zebra. The album was an interesting mixture of avantgarde electronics and clubbish electropop. Now the time has come for another three releases from the Symbolic Interaction label. All three discs have been housed in slick ejector case with cover-art covering half the size of front, a quite original package in itself. The containment of all three albums belongs to the gentle downbeat areas of electronic music. First album comes from Matthew Davies composing under the name Vic Mars. Vic Mars combines classical elements of orchestral soundscapes with gentle electronica. The rhythm textures on the album titled "Kanransha" change between breakbeat-patterns and acoustic sounding percussion. Overall the acoustic expressions have quite an impact on this first album and it certainly is a satisfying experience all way through. The album closes with four remixes by different acts that gives their own personal interpretation of the sound of Vic Mars, though all four interpretations sticks to the gentle style of the original album-tracks. The same thing can not be said about the next album reviewed here from the artist called Oba Masahiro: On this album the final remixes of the original works takes the listener far away from the easy gentle tones of Oba Masahiro, never the less very interesting indeed! Oba Masahiro works in beautiful sound-spheres with his mixture between ambient and downbeat IDM. Clicking beat pulses gently follows the ethereal soundscapes of electronic ambience and acoustic sounds of piano. Momentarily the atmospheres are strengthened by some excellent female vocals. The aforementioned remixes on this disc comes from among others Dutch sound artist Frans De Waard acting under the interesting style of his Freiband-project. Frans de Waard pulls the gentle tone of Oba Masahiro into much more demanding sound worlds. The melody has disappeared and what is left is clicking abstract pulses accompanied by subtle noise drones. The piano sounds of the original works have been changed to short high frequency inputs adding a dark and threatening atmosphere; thus a sharp contrast to the mild atmosphere of the original works. Very interesting interpretation! The same can be said about the remix from Motorofaam. This time the original sounds are sucked into club-friendly territories with repetitive samples giving a trance-inducing effect meanwhile technoid rhythms adds to the physical style of the remix. Excellent. Last album comes from the composer Hakobune. As the title "We left the window open sometimes" suggests, there is a dream-like melancholy on this album. Of the three albums this is the most classic ambient album drawing associations towards classic releases from Brian Eno. The atmosphere is deep and lush with the electronic soundscapes assisted by gentle guitar strums. The remixes from Jason Sloan, Capricornus and David Tagg keeps the style of the original five pieces resulting in an awesome soothing ambient piece recommended for everyone longing for deep and isolated listening. Three high quality ambient/downbeat albums from Symbolic Interaction. Do keep an eye on this label! (Niels Mark)

T. GADOMSKI & T. MIRT - SI SI (CD by Monotype)
A few questions can be raised about the disc by Lionel Marchetti and Jean-Baptiste Favory. They each have their own music on a separate disc in this package; why is that? A cunning marketing trick perhaps, to sell music of the unknown Favory through the relatively more known Marchetti. Otherwise there seems to be no link between the two artists and their solo works. This brings me to my second question: why are almost all the liner notes in French? It seems that the Marchetti work was already recorded in the early 90s and released by Metamkine in 1995 and its a long collage of plunderphonic source material. Music, snippets from records, tapes, TV, radio and some electronic music are mixed together. Certainly a nice work indeed but perhaps at seventy-two minutes also a bit long. The liner notes on Favory's work are in English and his electronic piece is 'inspired by the movement of the seven celestial bodies closest to Earth with the sun as a central axis. Each planet is represented by one synthetic sound, modulated by an inaudible concrete sound to obtain an effect of constant and partly random evolution'. Its an entirely different kind of work than Marchetti's. Shimmering electronics that seem to cook and boil in a frying pan, with geiger counter, seismographic sounds and radio sounds lurking underneath. Quite an interesting work in the field of ambient meets musique concrete and evocative, powerful (not in the harsh sense) drone music.
Much more information, in English, can be found on the release by Inscape, the duo of Eric LaCasa and Jean-Luc Guionnet. As Inscape they deal with 'site-specific listening installations', 'principally on the notion of 'background noise'. The review of their CD can never really deal with all the implications of their project (otherwise I'd be retyping the entire booklet), but they more or less scan the environment where a project is by means of audio and video, which are used in a live concert or an installation piece. 'Lille-Flanders' was made in 2004 at a disused postal sorting office, now a cultural space and a list of sounds is in the booklet. Best is to sit back and let the music just roll about. Cars passing, trains, water meter, the rain falling, incidental music from the nearby train station etc. Its all there. Other than LaCasa's solo work, this is more a collage like approach on sounds, with a bit more rapid mixing than in his solo work. It makes a small, but significant difference and it makes a beautiful piece of music. A very fine and solid work of field recordings.
I never heard of T. Gadomski nor of T. Mirt. Judging by their names I assume they are from Poland. They use a variety of instruments, such as harmonium, gongs, trumpet, Korg MS 10, Yamaha DX9, wind whistle, shaker, train whistle, voice, and more such like. Although the music is quite nice, its not easy to pin it down to any genre, as its crossing various genres. The main thing is fourth world music, especially through the use of the trumpet (think Jon Hassell), in combination with Brian Eno like ambience and some current day microsound like computer sounds (or perhaps these are the numerous synthesizers used on the album). There is also an element of improvisation in these pieces and the result is great. Relaxing music, but not in a new age sense of the word, but maintaining an experimental edge that keeps things interesting throughout. Now here's an example of ambient music that moves outside the strict dead end alley and does something that isn't new either (see the various Eno collaborations with Hassell, Budd and Laraaji), but its a voice seldom heard, and that's great. (FdW) Address:

Everything on the cover of this release is a bit hard to read: you know I love those (not really). I figured out the title 'I See Beyond The Black Sun' and its by one Arrington De Dionyso, who combines throat singing with bass clarinet, which is of course a strange combination and perhaps not easy to combine at the same time. Otherwise there is no information on the website, which describes this album as 'a raga influenced anthropological meditation'. Its indeed a highly minimal affair of sustaining tones, both from the bass clarinet as well as throat, and I believe the pieces use multi-track recording to create various phasing layers of sound. Its quite alright, although the first few pieces sound alike. Two of these lengthy ones would be OK, and then the title piece, with its loud drumming, which makes surely a difference already quite a positive impression. Nine tracks at almost an hour, including a fifteen minute bonus piece, is a bit too much to digest all at once, certainly when some pieces sound too much alike. But as said, half of this at one time, is absolutely great. (FdW) Address:

I've had this 12inch around for about a week before playing - I was hoping not to be disappointed- but it lives up to both its promise and its PR. 3 tracks of sheer walls of noise -fairly continuous low roar- like escaping stream, jet engine, Apollo lift off kind of thing, with shards of feedback. H.F. is Anthony Shaw - he makes harsh noise. Ergo HF = HN . And that might be sufficient - but just two small points- technically this is excellent- it takes both some skill- but much more the bravery not to glam up or add to the totalizing noise, and the confidence to release a work into a genre which is in some areas is imploding back into musicological and/or political sterility AKA pussyfication. To those who assert noise is just another musical genre this LP offers the lie. Noise is not music but the sound of the end of the world. Best release of 2008. (Jliat) Address:

BERTIN - VIDEORECORDER (7" by Ole Records)
NUMUW - NANIOU MOUGNE (7" by Ole Records)
The best track, in my humble opinion, of Bertin's 'Joyeux' (see Vital Weekly 542) is 'Videorecorder' and I am not really surprised that someone thinks the same, and wanted to put it out on a 7" record. I don't think that when Daniel Miller put out his The Normal 7" 'TV OD', could have imagined this to be the classic track which can be found on so many compilations. Or 'Being Boiled'. Likewise I think 'Videorecorder' is of the same classic nature. I heard it back in 2006 and now, I know its only two years, it still sounds great, and I am sure it will sound great in twenty-five years when its hailed as an early twenty-first century classic. Up tempo rhythm, casio's running amok and the simple lyrics, singing the joy of a videorecorder. To be found on many compilations in twenty-five years and graced with remix CD version thereof. If not, I'll eat a hat. The b-side is a new track of stomping casio tunes, loud, vicious and weird. No vocals here. Copies (well, not mine) come with a DVD-R with the excellent home video clip Bertin made for this piece - which I think is also on YouTube.
I have never heard of Numuw, who did a mix of 'Naniou Mougne' by one Ndiaga Mbaye. I am aware of the love of some of the Ole personnel for ethnic music, and this is what I think: they found the original somewhere on a record and had one Mumuw remixing this piece, adding some more beats, some breaks, more bass in order to make a curious cross-over of ethnic music and electronic music, which would certainly raise an eye-brow if you spin this at a party (where Bertin's 'Videorecorder' would have a bigger impact on the dance floor). Here too a videoclip is added of naval activity, which I fail to see the relation with - although I could think of some. One side only, also a small tradition for Ole, this is a very fine 7" too. Also with a DVD-R of various vague video's which I fail to understand, but it looks good. (FdW)

In a handwritten comes the release by Wand And Princess, being one Isabelle and George, who are probably from Greece and 'Blossoming Wounds' is their fourth release, following a self-titled debut in 2007, and 'Fatigue' (2007) and 'Yellow Ship' (2007). Their label name Hashish may indicate something about the circumstances under which the music is recorded. Seven tracks, over more than hour of music. It might well be that the substances inhaled during the recording and perhaps it leads to a less rigorous selection when it comes to finishing a disc. They are a duo of lo-fi drone music. Overtones are conceived by guitars and their effect boxes, with amplification maintaining the sustain and the polite form of feedback. Their music meanders about, is never loud and dirty, but kind and nice. If I wouldn't know, I could easily suspect this music to be recorded and released in New Zealand. It shares the similar quality of lo-fi-ness, both in music and in cover art. Neo hippie drone music but that would perhaps sound a bit cruel. This is quite nice and I think they should step out of their private world and seek to release their music on like minded labels. I am sure they would pick on it. (FdW)

DEAD KNIGHTS - SOLAR SKELETONS (CDR/ Lathe cut by produck)
This makes for an interesting release - for those of no technical savvy CDs play from the middle out - whereas of course the old vinyl plays from the outside in.. (everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey.) soooo here the Cd has one track and on the same surface is a lathe cut track. The noise is fairly slow evolving layered distortion probably of found sounds and reversed vocal detritus- that was at least the CDr - moving the polar bear and elephants to let me use the deck (I'm serious but wont
explain) the lathe cut at around a minute @ 45 rpm - which seemed right was far far better. The quality - and surface media noise enhanced the fairly bland and typical low/sloo noise into a much more organically interesting piece - which not having a run out groove ends with the stylus crashing into the centre spindle. Great stuff. Worth getting if only for the novelty - but here could I say is an opportunity for someone - hopefully the Dead Knights (awful name - change it!) to use old CDrs as lathe cuts and so bring Rons
(of RRR) re-cycled cassettes up to date. The CD surface gives a remarkable low fi sound. an interesting and promising potential - (jliat) Address

Two new bands here, both from New Mexico. "Father of the Flood is a relatively new project in the desert noise scene and is one of the loudest" it says on the website but I think this is not that loud at all. Not soft either, but it works through methods of collage, going from noise to introspective piano motifs, which seems to last much longer than the noise, so there you go. All captured in one long track, but me thinks it should have chopped to various pieces. Quite nice actually. The other is a band, The Late Severa Wires, with drums, guitars, bass and a turntablist. Their tracks, seven in total, were recorded at the KFJC studios in California and they show the bands love of improvisation in the rock band format, but the electronic aspect is never forgotten here. It plays a quite important role, either when recording the material or in the post production. Their second track (no titles) sounds like it has been cut-up, removing tiny seconds of sound. The Late Severa Wires are probably more noisy than Father Of The Flood, but they are also the rock band, with refined love for all things improvised and experimental. Quite a nice release. Lo-fi but great. (FdW) Address:

VERNON & BURNS - SING IT SOFTLY TO THE PEBBLES (CDR by Meagre Resource Productions)
Every time in the last week I had this on, I was thinking 'ok, this time we'll hear the story', but every time I am too distracted to actually hear the story. Vernon & Burns are creators of radio plays - among a lot of other things, such as their band Hassle Hound. But mostly known from radio plays, in which a story is important, as well as the sound that comes with it. 'Sing It Softly To The Pebbles' was recorded for an exhibition in Glasgow and has 'spontaneous stories, improvised music and field recordings'. The music is played by a variety of people, Vernon & Burns of course, but also Katy Dove, Belinda Gilbert Scott and Sarah Kechington. The stories are told by Wendy Woolfson with a great intonation. Every time the music, which comes plenty here, distracts me from the stories, so I still have no clue what they are about, but it makes a damn combination with the music, which seems to be recorded in a rather naive fashion, a bit like Sack & Blumm (see elsewhere), direct in front of the microphone, on what seems at times toy instruments. In the final stage, the mixing, Vernon & Burns show their greatest quality, that of melting the various input sources together into a truly fascinating play. The voice, the story may no longer seem the central point of attention, but its the whole thing, the total package of sound and words that make this once again a highly wonderful and fascinating journey. Better than anything you'll ever hear on a radio. (FdW) Address:

Still Textured Bird Transmission remains a mystery. They have had a bunch of CDR releases, on Gold Sounds and Dirty Demos, and several for Dead Sea Liner. This is from a world in which 'progression' or 'new ideas' play hardly a role and things remain as they are. Which of course is a valid choice too, but one that puts the reviewer in difficulty. Textured Bird Transmission play cosmic, psychedelic drone music on a bunch of old analogue synths, tape-delay and some low level distortion pedals, I wrote before and its valid. Six lengthy pieces of music, almost an hour worth of music, created along the previous lines: they seem to me outtakes from longer parts, jams that lasted hours and hours. Just one candle was lit, some incense burned (yuk), illegal substances at hand and jam along in good spirit. Also written before, and also still valid. No progress was made here either. Nice one, again. Again. Quite nice, once again.
Although a different website, in the same parcel came a release on Dead Pilot Records, and I believe Adam of Dead Sea Liner is the man behind Phanton Heron Seas. He does the equal numbered tracks on this release. Dead Wood (being a different one that NM reviewed last week, namely Adam Baker (of Dirty Demos fame)) with the unequal numbered tracks. Its interesting that both projects make music that is quite similar. I play this from my computer to my home stereo, and the play list is hidden, but over the course of these forty minutes, things stay on similar ground. Highly processed field recordings, mingled with electronic data streams from various computer plug ins. It makes music that is highly microsound in approach, much along the lines of Marc Behrens and Roel Meelkop, but with enough style of their own. Nice one indeed. (FdW)

87 CENTRAL- FEEDBACK (CDR by Less Label)
These two releases are on Jeff Carey's own Less Label, which will act more like a digital label, than an actual physical label, although they can be had on CDR as well (which I urge to get, since its the better sound quality to be preferred over good quality MP3, me thinks). The first release is an EP with a 'deconstruction of sounds taken from the studio sessions of the recent Office-R(6) release 'Recording The Grain' (see Vital Weekly 649). Carey is a member of Office-R(6) and has therefore access to the bands recordings and in good fashion that goes with projects like these, all material can always be remixed, reworked and recycled. Office-R(6) is a band of improvisation, the meeting of instruments and laptops and they play some intense music in that area. What Carey does here however is take various blocks of the sound and places them in a more chronological order, repeats some and adding some, making it perhaps more into songs, or perhaps more safely: into pieces of music. The improvisation aspect is removed in favor of a more composed sound. How much I like the original improvised sound of this band, I must say that these three pieces are excellent compositions. The traces are there, but it somehow all makes more sense. Very nice.
The second release is a re-issue of the self-titled LP which was released years ago on ERS Records, and apparently not reviewed in these pages. This new version has a different order of the pieces, as originally intended, but for technical reasons not possible on the LP format. This is entirely different music than the previous one. Carey deals here with feedback, along with some instruments such as 'cello system', 'kalimba cello system' and 'two pass'. All of these are fed into the mixing board and then doubled, trippled with the feedback generated by the infamous no-input mixer. Its been a while since I heard the original record, but listening to this again, on CDR, made me realize that this is a great ambient record. Gliding and sustaining tones fly low over the ground, occasionally hitting the surface and the bump may cause a new action to develop as slowly and majestically as the previous action. Even at the time when this was first released, in the early years of this millennium, this wasn't the newest thing in drone music, but Carey executes things with care and patience. This is still a true beauty - and I know people like vinyl but I think it sounds so much better on CD. A most welcome re-issue. (FdW)

Behind Wyntr Ravn are Jane Austen of Avanti Maria and Currer Bells and Gavin Prior of Toymonger and United Bible Studies. Fifteen tracks can be found on their debut release 'Daylight Raving' and its mayhem time. Samples of keyboards, a bit of voice, a bit of noise, feedback, pop again, electro-acoustic collage - all recorded with a charming lo-fi sensibility. Music that doesn't sound like coming from Ireland, but more a German thing. A melting pot of styles and ideas, some worked out, some not, but with a lot of energy and speed of its own. Its less from the world of improvised and noise music, if that is what you would expect based on their background and this label, but much more electronic. Mutant disco - had that not be reserved for something else.
Something entirely different is Wereju of whom it seems like only a few months that i reviewed 'Through The Depths Of Unknowing', but it was really in Vital Weekly 573. Cathal Rodgers is behind Wereju, and his 'A Strange Dark Place' is not unlike his previous 2CD release. Guitars play the all important role again, and they are spiked up with loads and lots of sound effects. Drone music is optima forma. Dark, deep and atmospheric are the keywords to this particular dead end alley of music, and it fits to the music of Wereju. This time it seems that Wereju has moved from say Colin Potter or Paul Bradley to a more Lull oriented sound, but these are the minor differences that comes with the territory. The best piece is 'Is This How It Should End', with its a little bit of sunlight allowed on the winter morning. Wereju does play some great dark mood music, that however holds nothing new under the sun, but throughout its well done. (FdW)

A three piece suite is Heliotaxis: Mark Hadsell (on 'lows), Corey Bauer ('Shrills') and Myles Bisi (percussions). They are from Brooklyn, NY and the two pieces on 'From Being To Annihilation' (track titles are 'Being' and 'Annihilation') and its a pretty chaotic psychedelic rock affair which isn't too well recorded. I gather that comes part of the esthetic that is usual for bands like this. Free form stuff that is probably nicer to play or to witness live than to play on the CDR at home. It lacks the rawness that it surely has when heard loud in a small, smokey club (no doubt not many around anymore).
Following 'Lille Hus', his debut 3"CDR on Dirty Demos (see Vital Weekly 601), here is a full length (thirty minutes) by Hamish, a member of Rasmus Clausen. He has changed a little since we last heard of him. He still works from that popmusic angle, but is seems to me that he has changed his modus operandi. His music is still very rhythmic in approach, but more dark. Computerized, processed field recordings are added, but the joyous overtones have disappeared from the menu. That is a pity, I think, since he seemed to be on a such good course. Now only '3 Rolls' seems to get near to what he did before. This is not bad music either, and perhaps fits the season, but maybe I like things to be a bit more frivolous with this kind of music.
As I Before E labelboss Adam Baker (also known as Dead Wood) works together with Nick Davidson of Pinkeye/Orange Eye. Their 'Track And Field' was already recorded in 2006 but for whatever reason its now released. Its a strange and curious pastiche of dance music rhythms - glitch, techno, dub, drum & bass - mixed with a variety of field recordings and other curious sounds. More like an example of 'lets sample some high brow techno (et al) stuff' and see if we can do it as well. That usually doesn't work very well if you are trying to create music that is actual dance music, and as such I Before E fail a bit, but its throughout a brave attempt in creating 'different' music. The most coherent piece they get together is 'Misconception', with a raga like vocal, dubby rhythm and alien synthesizers. If they would try their hands more on that, they would actually make a coherent album. The right ideas are there, but a serious beat master would be of great help. (FdW) Address:

PACTA - FRAGMENTS (3"CDR by Tuguska Label)
In the past I reviewed various releases by C-J Larsgarden, but never (I believe) his side project Pacta. He also works as Ondo and has ongoing collaborations with Frank Rowenta, with Julien Louvet (as Yrsel) and A Perfect Friend (with Thomas Denver Jonsson). As Pacta he walks the melancholiac path, armed with a guitar and a laptop, filled with some field recordings. The seven pieces here are indeed 'fragments' as the title implies. Larsgarden tinkles away, there are sustaining sounds, bits of outdoor recordings, which never seem to be traced back to anything, and there is throughout a pleasant, atmospheric mood on this release. An easy, quick approach to music however its not a 'lazy' approach. What he does, he does with great care and style. Not a rushed job. Nice. (FdW) Address:

There was a time when Cheapmachines were to be found frequently in the reviews of Vital Weekly, but the last few years it has been a lot less. That's one break with the past, the other is the music. His old CDR releases dealt with a combination of noise and musique concrete, but his more recent work moved towards the more atmospheric music, drone based and gentle. Now the format has changed too, into cassette, the last sound carrier still standing (?, well perhaps a more romantic notion on my side) and was recorded in London, New York and Washington between September and November 2007. The ambient drone lines set out are continued here. Highly processed field recordings (I assume) are moulded into stretched out fields of sound that glide over each other in a most gentle way, almost like 'real' ambient which you can find on Hypnos or Gears Of Sand. A very distinctive break with the past, this one, but that's fine. Cheapmachines walks new paths and that's great, even when those paths aren't exactly new either. For him they are and that's fine. Excellent stuff. Perhaps a pity its on a cassette only. (FdW)

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