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Vital Weekly 662

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LUC FERRARI - ARCHIVES GENETIQUEMENT MODIFIEES/SOCIETE II (CD by Robot Records)
Since passing away in 2007, there have been various releases by Luc Ferrari, and mostly on labels that are covered in the Vital territory, which is great. When alive he seemed to belong to the world of serious academic composers. The work of Ferrari falls apart, roughly speaking here of course, in electronic works with field recordings and orchestral works. Two pieces are presented here. The first is 'Archives Genetiquement Modifiees', 'for memorized sounds, solo', which if I understood the liner notes correctly, is a piece for two DJs, one playing vinyl and one playing CDs. Also, again if understood correctly, they play music by Ferrari. The six parts of this work make a very strong collage of sound, most, it seems, electronic, along the lines of the french acousmatic music, but with a lot more humor, although its hard to specify that. Simply a great piece. The piano is the body of a woman, Ferrari says about the second piece, 'Societe II' and this is a modern classical piece. Although I like the eruptions of it, I must also say I usually find it hard to hear. Perhaps I prefer Ferrari's field recording pieces better. Its a nice piece, but not something I would play a lot. However both pieces show the excellent craftsmanship of Ferrari. Not easily forgotten this great composer. (FdW) Address: http://www.robotrecords.com

ANNE JAMES CHATON & ANDY MOOR - LE JOURNALISTE (CD by Unsounds)
The music on this one comes from Andy Moor who plays guitars and electronics. The voice is that of Anne James Chaton who is responsible for all the texts. Of both Moor probably is the most known artist. He comes from Scotland, but lives and works in Holland since the early 90s, making fame as a member of Dog Faced Hermans, The Ex, a.o. Anne James Chaton is a sound-poet from France. You can buy six books of his poetry if you want. He worked with The Ex and recently he released a CD together with german musician Alva Noto. Presently he lives in Japan working on a project with local artists.
'Le Journaliste' consists of 8 pieces. It is part of a project, initiated by Chaton, that will lead to a series of 100 portraits. 'Le journaliste' confronts us with the work by a single journalist through his texts and columns. Chaton choose texts with a very trivial content. For some pieces he uses a long sequence of sentences with minimal informative differences. All this makes clear that Chaton is not much focused on meaning. He clearly points at the emptiness of journalism, questioning this way the meaning of this kind of journalism.
In the titletrack, 'Dans le monde' and other tracks we hear the voice of Chaton working himself with great discipline through these texts. In other tracks his voice is electronically manipulated.
Most pieces carry fine repetitive guitar work by Andy Moor. He succeeds in building stripped down and effective musical structures. Besides Moor has a beautiful sound and his playing is very to the point. He paints fantastic abstract musical textures that go very well together with the voicework by Chaton. In a piece like 'Frequencies' with extreme manipulations, it becomes hard to distinguish who is doing what. A very satisfying work of conceptual art, impressive by the consequence they worked out their vision. Well done. (Dolf Mulder) Address: http://www.unsounds.com

KERNEL - THE DEEP (CD by Zora Records)
Despite his long career music by Kasper T. Toeplitz hasn't been reviewed a lot, perhaps that's because he's mainly performing live and composing on paper. I saw him performing his own work as well as Eliane Radigue's work, which was great, even when a bit heavy weighted. Toeplitz also performs with others, such as Zbigniew Karkowski, here he works with a group, Kernel. A laptop trio of himself, Eryck Abecassis and Wilfred Wendling. They are however not an improvising laptop trio. They play scores, and here they perform 'The Deep', as composed by Toeplitz. How the composition looks like is shown here http://www.sleazeart.com/KERNEL_docs/TheDeep_score.pdf. Fascinating that is, I think, even when, despite my name, my French is limited. I therefore can't say wether they perform the piece as written, but I'm bound to believe so: why would Toeplitz release it? A work of an hour long, which starts out for a fair portion of good loud digital noise, but when it takes gear back something a lot more interesting starts to happen, with sizzling electricity, burning sounds, short circuit like sounds and more such like. Kernel uses the entire sound spectrum, from the very deep bass end to the ultimate high end. Still a heavy work by any means. Very serious, but perhaps my judgment here is clouded by looking at score and the pictures of them at their website. How I would have felt when I didn't know this? Hard to tell of course, since I know this. Still a heavy weight work, full of seriousness, but one also with a lot of beauty inside. Not easily given out, but one that requires attention (of course a rare thing these days, but try it!) (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/zorarecords

AUS - AFTER ALL (CD by Flau)
Behind Aus is Tasuhiko Fukuzono and 'After All' is his sixth CD, but I believe the first one I heard. The fact that it is released by Flau, his label now, might give you can indication of what to expect. Music that I don't know a word for, which of course is always fine. Popmusic? Sure. Ambient? Why not? Technoish? Also. Dreampop? Also. Soft, not too outspoken, with bells tinkling, sweet female voices, backwards piano, a guitar. Music for a modern living room. Played with great skill, but at the same time also with the naivety of children. Partly reminding of some of the music of say Expanding Records, but without much less rhythm. Some of the vocals of course hark back to say Portishead or Antenna, but they too are a minority here. I think I could do without the remixes of Motoro Faam, Ametsub and The World On Higher Downs. They are all nice, bring the material in a slightly different perspective, but then also seem to break down the gentle flow of the album. The eight Aus tracks would have made a great pop record, with exactly the right length. If you liked The Boats release, previously on Flau, then Aus is also your man. (FdW)
Address: http://www.flau.jp

ASTRAL SOCIAL CLUB - OCTUPLEX (CD by VHF Records)
'I don't avoid the obvious'. Neil Campbell, in his words. That's what's written on a piece of paper that comes with the latest release of his latest moniker Astral Social Club. But the font size, 4 points, is so small that it would damage the eyes to even try and reading it. The first meeting with Astral Social Club was a CD 'Sieben Stax' on Bottrop-boy, which saw Neil breaking away from his drone work as Vibracthedral, Sunroof or Total. It seems as if Campbell as developed an interest in rhythmic music, maybe even techno, and now starts to incorporating it into his own brand of music, giving it his own twist. This of course doesn't lead to music you can dance to, not at all, but there is a strong rhythmic aspect to the music. On top he waves together a whole string of sounds from electronics, synthesizers and sound effects, occasionally with help from the guestplayers. They are listed with such instruments as loops (Philip Smith), beats (John Clyde-Evans), casios (Stewart Keith), tones (Richard Youngs) and reeds (Pogues member Spider Stacy). More than on the previous, the psychedelic rhythmic, mechanical Neu like rhythmics, work quite well and it seems to drift further apart from his old work. Only a piece like 'Radial Hermaphrodite' reminds the listener of Vibracathedral. Another highly enjoyable excursion from an ever wandering mind. (FdW)
Address: http://www.vhfrecords.com

MERZBOW - EUCALYPSE (CD by Soleilmoon Recordings)
Since some time Merzbow has adopted an environmental stance to his music, pro-animal, pro-nature and such, and highly commendable of course, but why? What does his music have to do with these issues? The flow of noise and feedback seems to me a more abstract thing than the concrete political issues. But of course its also a way of getting attention for issues that matter to the artist. Here its about the Australian eucalyptus trees, which in the nineteenth century were brought to India. The complete story is no doubt on the label's website. Musicwise Merzbow does exactly what he always does. Playing his EMS Synthi A, Roland Organ/Strings 09, handmade instruments, computer and effects, his umpteenth release is what he does since the early to mid 90s: an endless stream of sound, noise, feedback and distortion. And I must admit I still love it. Merzbow is a true master. I also admit right away I gave up on hearing everything by Merzbow. Just whatever comes my way, I will hear. I will like. But I gave up on the collection, since its too hard to have collect them all and, more important, to hear them all again and again. I doubt wether that is Merzbow's idea too, and that he's rather interested in the constant release scheme, but perhaps I am all wrong and is his intention to have his most dedicated fans to listen to solely Merzbow stuff. Great packaging here: a wooden box. I wonder if that's truly environmental friendly though (but then: what earth resources are used to produce a CD, let alone so many?). (FdW) Address: http://www.soleilmoon.com

ALEXANDR VATAGIN - SHARDS (CD by Valeot Records)
The first work by Alexandr Vatagin, called 'Valeot' was reviewed back in Vital Weekly 519. Since then we also heard his cello as part of the band Tupolev (Vital Weekly 626). The three years that have passed since saw his solo work progressing. Back then it was a kind of singer song writer material to the abstract glitch material of 'Shards'. Here he uses electronics, bass, cello, vibraphone and field recordings on a rather short CD, eighteen minutes only, with seven relatively short pieces, which shows that Vatagin listened closely the work of Fennesz and everything that came after that. Electronics, glitches and real instruments mingle quite nicely, partly creating flowing ambient textures and sometimes going into the noise end. The material works best if the real instruments get a somewhat bigger role, such as in the somewhat abrupt ending piece 'Sousier'. In the limitation the master is shown. In a world with so many long CDs with repeated ideas for too long, this is a small treasure. Not highly original, but damn fine executed. (FdW) Address: http://www.valeot.com

ASPIDISTRAFLY - I HOLD A WISH FOR YOU (CD by Kitchen)
Alike Merzbow 'Eucalypse' packaging, this is probably the prize winning package of the week: two heavy stock pieces hold together a full color printed accordion booklet with the CD somewhere in an envelop. Aspidistrafly is a duo of April Lee (voice, computer, acoustic guitar, harmonium, glockenspiel, music box) and Ricks Ang (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, computer, piano, percussion and melodica). Its not easy to pin down Aspidistrafly's music into a specific genre, which of course is a good thing. Can you imagine Taylor Deupree or Richard Chartier playing dreamy popmusic? With some female vocalist? Well, there you go. That is Aspidistrafly is about, I think. The wordless singing of Lee is at times too heavenly for my taste, but when words are used its much nicer, even when the words are mere textures and not there to be understood. Underneath the laptop boils the kettle, cracks the hum, in order to make this album definitely aside from the world of real popmusic. At times I was reminded of Beequeen's latest CD 'Sandancing', which holds for me a similar combination of pop and microsound, but whereas the Dutch boys produce pop and microsound, I'd say Aspidistrafly is microsound and pop. A small but important distinction, but also the variation between the tracks of Aspidistrafly is a little less than with the bees. Its more a homogenous record, which is just long enough not too repeated all the ideas again, as that a danger this music has. A well made release, both the music and the package, very refined. (FdW)
Address: http://www.kitchen-label.com

HUGHES & SCHERZBERG & WIESE - DISCARD HIDDEN LAYERS? (CD by Schraum)
The small German label Schraum releases with large intervals improvised music, usually of a more traditional kind. The players are most of the times a mystery to me, but on this one we recognize the name Nicolas Wiese, whom we otherwise know as [-hyph-] and his releases on AIC, his own label. He plays here computer and sampler and he teams up with John Hughes on bass and Lars Scherzberg on alto and sopranino saxophone. They are not an adhoc ensemble, but having playing together since three years. Wiese picks up the sound played by the other two and feeds back into the group sound - a common practice if you have someone in your ranks with a laptop. On 'Discard Hidden Layers?' we get five pieces which were recorded live in concert and four short treatments of the material by Wiese, based on the material. The live material shows as distinctive for more traditional improvised music, with hectic nervous playing on the saxophone and bass, whilst the computer throws in the abstract element, which makes this a little bit more than another free improvisation disc. Nice enough, but I must admit that I liked the Wiese reworking better. Here composition comes in and perhaps that's something I just like better. Well thought out balance between the improvised material and the composed result. Throughout a very nice CD, simply because its more than 'just improvisation'. (FdW) Address: http://www.schraum.de

LEGENDARY PINK DOTS - ALCHEMICAL PLAYSCHOOL (CD by Caciocavallo)
This this third time we review this, and now its released in a normal digipack, following two long sold out limited editions crazily packed. As for the music, not different than before, we return to Vital Weekly 529, when Freek Kinkelaar wrote (wrongly credited to me actually): "Alchemical Playschool is an altogether different beast. It comes packed in a beautiful trident-carved soapstone box that weighs a ton. Here the Dots-core of Edward Kaspel and Phil Knight rework environmental sound-material recorded in India (by Charles Powne of Soleilmoon records, the original recordings are available on CD as Indian Soundscapes). In doing so the Dots create a beautiful dreamscape. The four long tracks (parts one to four) evoke scenes of the East with street sounds, crowd noises, voices and field recordings drifting in and out. At times the results are pastoral and on other occasions downright hectic - just as you'd imagine India to sound like. Part Four, with its beautiful voice sample and washes of sound, forms the highlight of this fascinating album. Alchemical Playschool is welcome proof that the Dots are still willing and able to create exiting experimental music." Quite right there. (FdW) Address: http://www.soleilmoon.com

OFTEN - ASLEEP (CDR by Outfall Channel)
REALICIDE - NARCISSISM IS THE ENEMY (CDR by Outfall Channel)
Releases on US Outfall Channel usually bridge the gap between noise and improvisation. Also they have nice hand made packaging which do not always have a lot of information. Take for instance the release by Often, according to the website a duo of Ryan Faris and Pamela Mogollon, who offer one track, according to the website called 'Asleep' - well, OK those words also appear on the disc's face, but what's what? Eightteen minutes of exactly what the label is about: noise meets improvisation, or rather, improvisation meets noise. Instruments are used, guitar, bass, bits of percussion, which are fed through somewhat crude electronics, which delivers the occasional feedback, which however is quite under control. The piece moves into various stages and scenery's and sounds actually very nice. Made by people who know what they are doing.
Realicide is somewhat different. This is the noise end of things. Vocals and rhythm machines, also a duo of Jonathan Prunty on 'hardware electronics' and Robert Inhuman, responsible for words and voice. Loud, vicious, distorted, with the rhythm machine banging at times 150 plus beats per minute, and that makes the whole thing quite enjoyable. I was reminded of Xbxrx and their various off-shoots. I think the recording quality needs some improvement and it sounds a bit too much like a bedroom recording of two guys having fun, whereas the voice recording could have been better. But then: the lyrics could be easily heard, which is a rare thing. Quite entertaining noise music! (FdW) http://www.outfallchannel.com

YOUR INTESTINES (CDR by Black Petal)
YOUR INTESTINES (CDR by Black Petal)
Maybe we can see Your Intestines as a sort of noise rock supergroup. It has in its ranks Matt Earle, who performs also with X-Wave, Stasis Duo, Muura, 2779. He plays guitar. Anthony Guerra, the label boss of Black Petal, and collaborator in the field of improvised music with Joel Stern, Antony Milton, Mark Sadgrove. Also on guitar. Adam Sussman, a bass player, of Stasis Duo, 2779 and improvising with Toshimaru Nakamura, Annette Krebs, Jim Denley, Tim Olive, Jason and last there is drummer Peter Blamey, who recorded an excellent work with Jim Denley. This quartet had a particular fruitful day on June 19th 2005 in Sydney. It was then when they recorded the material of these two untitled CDR releases. They can be recognized by their color, pink and green. About one hundred minutes of music of improvised free rock music with largely a noisy undercurrent. Feedback flies about, but the recording quality seems like rehearsal space area, so not over produced and smeared with lots of post sound effects. They play some nice tunes, but you may have guessed: one hundred minutes is quite a lot to digest at once. I think some of the pieces could certainly benefit from being cut down and edited a bit, although I certainly can see their point in making things this long. But times two? That's over done. Nice in a smaller dose. (FdW)
Address: http://www.blackpetal.com

THE EPICUREANS - A RIDDLE WITH A CONUNDRUM WITHIN A GAME (CDR by Eh?)
SEEDED PLAIN - LAND TRACTS (CDR by Featherspines)
SHELF LIFE - PROTECTION (CDR by The Counter Submarine)
Following their 'Introducing' release on Semata (see Vital Weekly 646), here is 'A Riddle Within A Conundrum Within A Game' by The Epicureans, the trio of Dave Gross (saxophone), Ricardo Donoso (drums) and Ryan McGuire (bass) from Boston. Very much along the lines of their previous release: all acoustic approach to their instruments, but this one seems to be more along the lines of less traditional improvisation and more playing their instruments as objects. Still with a great dynamic range, but without lesser surprises and outbursts. This material has a more natural flow to it. Again this is strong material, and as far as I'm concerned quite a step forward from the already fine 'Introducing' release.
Eh? labelboss Brian Day is responsible for the other two releases, on different labels. Seeded Plain is his duo with Jay Kreimer, and both get credit for 'objects, time', whatever 'time' might be here. Locked in a room with their 'objects' of an undefined nature and a microphone or two, they rummage about. Six pieces which span almost seventy minutes, which I deem to be a bit long for what is on offer. The rubbing of objects against eachother, on the floor, cords between them (I guess) is all nice, but after three pieces I pretty well knew what game is played. What they do, they do with great care though. Full on with concentration. Fluxus like music, but without the scandalous undercurrent or the willful concepts. When listened in smaller parts a fine release.
Shelf Life is a group of four persons improvising: Bryan Day, Joseph Jaros, Luke Polipnick and Anderson Reinkordt. Although no instruments are mentioned on the cover, I believe they have a rather regular rock band line up. Guitar, bass, drums and electronics. Their improvisations are slowly developing pieces, perhaps a bit too slow for what it is. More like a continuos stream of sound, which makes them more like a spacious rock band, playing long curves of music. Quite good stuff, but too long. Here the strong hand of would have been needed to shape things up a bit more. Exactly the sort of stuff people would expect on a CDR release however, the open playground for music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.publiceyesore.com/

MATTHIEU SALADIN - EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC (3"CDR by Editios Provisoires)
No doubt this is the shortest release ever reviewed in Vital Weekly. Seventeen tracks that last in total only 1 minute and 17 seconds. A voice recites letters, each letter one track. It reads the letters of the words 'Experimental Music', in a random order. You can shuffle this CD 'until the sequence 'Experimental Music' is properly broadcasted', as it says on the cover, and before that happens you are well ahead in playing this for a long time. This makes this a highly conceptual release, as well as a great piece of sound poetry, an excellent DJ tool and what more. For various reasons one of the best releases of this week. (FdW)
Address: http://editionsprovisoires.free.fr

NICHOLAS SZCZEPANIK - MI OTRA MITAD (3"CDR by Basses Frequences)
Normally, it seems Nicholas Szczepanik deals with 'concrete/experimental' works, but recently he started a 'serie of drone/ambient oriented' called the Nearest Serie, of which this one is the third. It can be captured with two words: ambient drone. Everything of a darker kind of course, as this flies low over the ground. Twenty minutes of deep bass drones, which, as the label states 'nothing that will change the face of drone, but [...] make you feel better', which in my case is not true. I felt alright before I started playing this, and still do afterwards. Quite a small pleasant dark atmospheric journey. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bassesfrequences.org

RUEZ - SHE COME FROM MONEY (3"CDR by Rar Sound)
RICHARD KAMERMAN - THE PASSING OF MR. GOOD (3"CDR by Rar Sound)
Two new names on a new label. Apparently the label sets out to release 'four solos' on 3"CDR and these are the first. Eric Laska is the man behind Ruez, and his sound input deals with 'corrupted MP3 files, scrambling synthesizers, urban field recordings, chirping feedback recordings', which may sound a lot more noise than it actually is. Ruez plays an interesting game of noise versus silence, with things sometimes dropping down in volume to the level of almost silence. Only to burst out in chirping electronics, which makes these fifteen minutes very enjoyable. Noise which is thought and cared about. A form of noise I like. If you like Gert-Jan Prins doing some more subdued music, than Ruez might be a fine place.
More conceptual it seems is the work of Richard Kamerman, who uses small fans, motors and other mechanical devices. When the voltage changes, the rhythm changes. Lots of small rhythms appear but the work remains very open. The rattling of objects remind the listener of trains, or vibrating objects on a table. It's mentioned on the press release, but if compared to anything, I'd say indeed Toshiya Tsunoda work comes close, but not just him, a lot of the work put out on WRK comes near. The twenty minutes of rattling sounds seems deceivingly simple, but the various objects and surfaces used make this a highly interesting release, which forced me to keep on listening: what's next? Which texture, which rhythm? Great release. (FdW) Address: http://rarsound.com

MACHINEFABRIEK - IJSPRET (businesscard CDR by Machinefabriek)
Recently The Netherlands had a period of ice and snow, for the first time in twelve years. A lot of my fellow country men went to skate - not the unbalanced me of course. I like the sound of ice though, it has a great texture to it. So did Rutger Zuydervelt think who rushed back in to get his recorder, contact microphone and skates. Later on he also recorded the microphone buried in defrosting ice and the poor ducks suffering from all this ice. Back home, he picked up his acoustic guitar and recorded the four pieces that are now on this limited (100 copies) release. The gentle guitar sounds mingle nicely with the ice sounds, the skating and the environment recordings. Delicate playing on all accounts. Sketch like, cosy, homemade. Perhaps a bit too short, but then it also fits the short winter season we had this year. (FdW)
Address: http://www.machinefabriek.nu

GAEOUDJIPARL - THE OFFICIAL MORT VACHES EKSTRA EXTRA WALKTHROUGH (cassette by Alku)
Without doubt there is a link between the economic recession and the miraculous come back of the cassette as a medium of music distribution. Perhaps unfortunately its hi-jacked by the world of noise, but cassettes do not equal noise. A fine example is this cassette by Goodiepal, or Gæoudjiparl as it is written on the cassette. Which actually has no cover, but the info printed on the shell, which looks highly professional (the shell is blue or red). Its a sort of a lecture on, funnily enough, computer music, which is not easy to follow, since mister Goodiepal speaks rather fast (perhaps speed up by the computer, which also repeats occasionally phrases, it seems) and adds highly rhythmic muzak to the talk. Its all quite funny, yet not easy to summarize. Perhaps its also better not to spoil the plot of this. It deals with a lot of issues in computer music, composing, time. Its moves along the lines of a lecture, a course and a radio play. The addition of 'walkthrough' also reminded me of the spoken word pieces by John Cage, where music and speech sometimes works on an equal level. 80 minutes of highly intelligent talk, fun and craziness - you can make it whatever you want. Great cassette.
Address: http://alkualkualkualkualkualkualkualkualkualku.org/

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