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Vital Weekly 664

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GILLES AUBREY - BERLIN BACKYARDS (CD by Cronica Electronica)
PURE - IFICATION (CD by Cronica Electronica)
One of the things I like Berlin (and some other German cities), is the backyards which houses. A small entrance and then you are surrounded by four sides of houses and apartments, and which are excellent for parties, concerts and such like. A form of social control also, that might be the downside, but I don't know: I never lived in Berlin. The backyard is also the place were all the technic stuff from buildings come together, like ventilation, trash, recycling containers and electrical wiring. A noisy place by itself, and sometimes allowing street noise to come in. I never made any recording in there, but Gilles Aubrey, who lives in Berlin since 2002, did, perhaps with the same fascination for these places. Its not easy to say what, if anything at all, Aubrey did to the sounds he recorded. In these eight pieces there are moments when I think these are pretty straight forward field recordings, and in other cases I seem to think that uses loops of the material. My best guess is however that's a combination of both. There is however very little other 'processing' going here, save for a bit of panning and equalization. I thought that was a pity, since eight of these pieces is pretty much. The street sounds, electric power station, the rolling of containers: after about six pieces you know the drill of it.
Something entirely different is the latest album by Pure, from Vienna. He works under various guises, and this is fourth Pure CD, following 'Noonbugs' on Mego for four years ago. Seven pieces of electronic music, six of them recorded with the help of others, like Christoph de Babalon on guitar samples, Martin Brandlmayr on drums, the screams of Alexandra von Bolzn and Anke Eckardt on bass guitar. What Aubrey lacks in variation is made up here by Pure. The heavy start of 'Fire', into to post nuclear war zone with no survivors of 'After The Bomb' (an appropriate title), Pure takes the listener on a ride that ranges from subtleness to the utter crude, which ends with the nightmares of 'Iron Sky'. Excellent music for b-movies that deserve a-music. Certainly not always 'pleasant' in terms of nice background music for your living room, but unpleasant music to make your life a bit easier and less painful. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cronicaelectronica.org

MERZBOW - HODOSAN (CD by Vivo Records)
Yesterday I received this latest Merzbow CD, which I didn't play right away. Late last night I found myself in a small disco, watching youngsters dance to hip hop, techno and even Johnny Cash' 'Ring Of Fire'. I saw people checking their mobile phones, taking pictures and enjoying the beer. Meanwhile I was thinking about the Merzbow CD on my desk. Perhaps I would have wanted it to be played right there and then to this small crowd of people. How would they respond? Would there ever be a time when we would hear hip hop, techno, Cash and Merzbow? I think such times may come, one day, but perhaps in a time when I less frequently visit small disco places. Perhaps they don't play 'Hodosan' by Merzbow then, simply because there will loads of other Merzbow releases by then. Here Masami Akita plays 'noise and drums', and knowing Akita started out playing the drums this hardly strikes me as odd. Or maybe its odd that he doesn't do this as much as he should. Akita bangs the drums like a maniac, three endless solos on drums, completely washing them away with a similar endless barrage of true noise. Feedback, distortion, distortion and feedback. Its as simple as that. Another massive example of his extraordinary talent in producing the best noise, perhaps twice in real time - first to record the drums and then the electronics over it, rather than the other way round. Its good, obviously as this is Merzbow, but its also good because its different from say the 'usual' Merzbow. It breaks away, a bit, with the usual onslaughts of Merzbow, replacing it with the 'onslaught plus instrument' approach. Another small alley opened. I can imagine 'The Joy of Soy' in a form that is dance floor material that young, tattooed hipsters will enjoy. (FdW)
Address: http://www.vivo.pl

SIKHARA - ANDUNI (CD by URCK Records)
Back in Vital Weekly we reviewed 'Bardos State' by Scott Nydegger, also known as Sikhara, which was the result of a tour in 26 different countries. Right after that he started working on the new release, 'Anduni', which was recorded in various places, such as Nashville, Porto and Brussels and its still an all percussion based ensemble. The music is inspired here from Armenia and Georgia, and 'Anduni' means homeless in Armenian. The name that popped up before and that pops up again, which is Crash Worship, and much of what I thought of 'Bardos State' applies here too. There is chanting voices, looped around, but the rhythm is still all important for them, and there is little room for melody, although 'Anduni' has some fine moments, such as in 'Tuhano Volta', in which the voices seem to forming some form of melody. But throughout I must admit I am not that impressed with their mixture of ethnic and industrial banging. I think it has progressed from the previous release, having more depth and more loops of voices. But its all just not enough to make an engaging release on CD, but I think that their live sound must be impressive. This is certainly a band I would want to see play live one day. (FdW) Address: http://www.urckrecords.com

SACRAL SYMPHONY (Compilation CD by EE Tapes)
You don't have to be a religious fanatic to hear the quality in this latest effort from Belgium label EE Tapes. The album titled "Sacral symphony" presents five grandiose pieces of drone-based electronics from five well-known and acclaimed composers of drifting ambience. The compilation is compiled by Russian composer Eugeny Voronovski who also contributes under his artist alias Cisfinitum. German composer 1000Schøen opens the symphonic extravaganza with a hypnotic piece titled "Dageraad" that includes acoustic sounds of guitars and flutes to create lush piece of ambience. Next artist is also German. Troum
contributes with the piece titled "Palas tyn" consisting of church bell-sounding drone accompanied by warm drones moving in deeper sound levels. Eugeny Voronovski alias Cisfinitum contributes with the beautiful piece "Autumn ritual" based on ochestral ambience reminding me of works from Angelo Badalamenti. Things get even more grandiose with the otherworldly piece from Rapoon, "One last breath", a dark and beautiful piece of processed choir samples. Final piece comes from the artist titled First Human Ferro, a remarkable piece of spacey ambient based on church organ samples with echoed acoustic sound like in a
church. An excellent piece to end this otherworldy ambient compilation from EE Tapes. (Niels Mark)
Address: http://www.eetapes.be

ATA EBTEKAR & THE IRANIAN ORCHESTRA FOR NEW MUSIC (2LP by Isounderscore)
MALEFICIA (LP by Isounderscore)
The artists 'Ata Ebtekar & The Iranian Orchestra For New Music' sound a bit strange, well, at least to me it did. My false pre-conception was that this would be some ethnic music - well, maybe I missed the word 'new' in the artist names? Ebtekar was born in Hamburg, but lives now in America. But recently he stayed for three years in Iran where he recorded these pieces with classically trained musicians. In these years he worked with Alireza Mashayekhi, a 'legendary composer' according to the press sheet (he is present on the Sub Rosa compilation 'Persian Electronic Music (Yesterday and Today 1966-2006), which I don't know. The ten works on this double LP are all by Mashayekhi, as performed by Ata Ebtekar and The Iranian Orchestra For New Music. This is electro-acoustic music for sure. Sometimes we recognize a piano, a bunch of string instruments, but they are heavily treated by electronic means, all in the traditions of musique concrete. It doesn't work always as well though. 'Meta XY' for instance is a piece with many strings, hardly any processing going on. But somehow the quality of the recording is not that well, so its not the best piece of the set. Also the pieces on the fourth side are a bit so so. The best pieces are to be found on the first LP, in which the mixture of the acoustic and the electronic work quite well. Brutal and folk, modern and classical, electronic and acoustic - a fine marriage of strange and familiar sounds. A fine record from an odd corner of the world.
More like what you expect from a label like Isounderscore is the album by Maleficia, which is Ilysea Viles Sunderman on vocals and viola and Andy Way on electronics. Way is also of French Radio, NF Orchest, Carrion and Riqis. I believe both sides - one piece per side - are connected. 'Making' and 'Remaking'. 'Making' is a piece that blurs together all the sound that can be produced by voice, viola and electronics, in a swirling mass of sound that it in the end is a bit muddy, but in 'Remaking' things are opened up, with looped viola and voice being clearly presented and the electronics pushed a bit to the background. They form a perfect aural wallpaper for the viola and voice to develop. A haunting and scary piece of music, excellent nightmare music. Perhaps I wished both sides were alike this, and 'Making' is certainly not bad, but it could have been better, I think. (FdW) Address: http://www.isounderscore.com

DROR FEILER & LASSE MARHAUG - NO MORE DRAMA (LP by No Fun Productions)
DYLAN NYOUKIS - INSIDE WINO LODGE (LP by No Fun Productions)
I can't critically agree with the descriptions on the NFP website that you might like to read, though in parts factually no doubt true, in others I'm very dubious. "The most brutal vinyl record you will hear this year" - is addressed no doubt at someone either about to go deaf, become a trapist monk or are listening to this on their ipod as they fall from the golden gate bridge. Dror Feiler's days as a paratrooper, and Lasses's 300 other great projects, does not account for the lo-fi gentleness- though the description of Nyoukis' "LP of strange sounds, vocal improvisations, tape manipulations mangled strings and hiss drones" is probably more relevant. As these are vinyl, and arrive with a pedigree they are no doubt entomological of significance. There is in what has become known as "the noise scene" a certain confidence reminiscent of the maiden voyage of the titanic, a feeling of camaraderie and adventure, but one destined to sink if not already doing so into murky depths (was once called industrial) to the applause of Gavin Bryars, rather than reach any destination, yet alone the opportunities afforded once one clears Ellis island. Brooklyn no longer holds the promise of the shock of the new - though once it certainly did. Noise should either be that, and release itself from political or even emotional silliness, or else take up philosophy or religiosity and metaphysics with some degree of seriousness. Spelling this out - though noise/dada mutated into the silliness of surrealism this did provide the philosophical aesthetic for the *abstract* expressionists. (jliat)
Address: http://www.nofunproductions.com/

CAALDRUN - CLOUDFACE MOUNTAINHEAD (CDR by Fox-den)
Caaldrun is one Eric Kessel from New York City who gets the credit for synthesizer, voice, drum machine, guitar and samples. He studied Cultural Anthropology, and works for Caaldrun 'are concerned with constructing compositions which are based on reconstructed memories from travels to and within other zones of experience'. The seven pieces here are based on recent travels in South America. Good to be informed, as I couldn't have told this from just hearing the music. A mixture of electronics sounds that is not very unpleasant to hear, a bit ambient, a bit experimental, based around loops of sounds. Its all fairly interesting, but not great. The pieces in general are a bit long for my taste, and remain a bit flat to me. You can sense there is more to it than just this, but it lacks depth to be fully engaging to the listener. The material remains a bit distant, it doesn't grab the listener by the ears and doesn't drag him into his soundworld. Kessel knows the genre, works around with his material in a pretty decent way, but forgets, I think, to put them into real compositions with depth and a vision of his own. None of these things that can't be overwon. I'd be curious to know what the future holds for him. (FdW)
Address: http://www.tothefoxden.com

B*TONG - HYSTERIA (CDR by Verato Project)
Slowly B*tong builds an interesting body of work that moves in various directions, at the same time. From dealings with ambient and isolationism on one hand and experimental music, ranging from the soft microsound end to the more engaging noise end, in a clever combination of ideas. Its a bit hard to say wether this is a concept album of sorts, but it could just be as well. B*tong works here with a variety of sounds and ideas, using electronic processing of (his?) voice, adding to the notion of hysteria. As said various interests are combined here and make solid impression on the listener. 'Damage Receive' and 'Fragile Package' are soft and meditative pieces, where 'Diaspora' has multiple layered voice treatments, embedded in a bit of computerized noise. These are the extreme boundaries of this work, but throughout they make a very coherent work which works very well. Well-made album, thought out, carefully constructed, rich in ideas and detail. That's the way to do these things. Bravo for B*tong. (FdW)
Address: http://www.verato-project.de

PABLO RECHE - CONEXION (3"CDR by Con-V)
So far the work of Pablo Reche has extended mostly in the areas of noise music. Loud but always with a sense of field recordings. Here on his new 3"CDR 'Conexion' it seems that he makes a better balance between the noise and the sources, in this case field recordings. The noise still there, but its pushed back in favor of the fields. In 'Camp' the line hum of a broken cable is the source, and on top Ikeda/Alva Noto like signals make interferences. In 'Golu' things are turned down with static hiss being processed to a lower point. Mechanical, motorized objects seem to have his strong interest as shown in these tracks, but it seems to me, even when I don't picture his entire discography in front of me right away, the balance between the pure noise elements and making things more musical prevails here, and it marks, I think a big step ahead. (FdW) Address: http://www.con-v.org

BRB>VOICECOIL - OCCUPATION BY KILLERS (3"CDR by MuzzeDia Verhead)
BRB>VOICECOIL - SONAN (3"CDR by MuzzeDia Verhead)
Some things never seem to get any following. That was a thought that crossed my mind when I was playing these two 3"CDRs by the oddly named. Kev, the man behind it, had a small label named Muzamuza in the nineties and worked as Bigroadbreaker/brb and then was silent for a couple of years. So the name that sprang to mind was Small Cruel Party, when I heard this. On 'Occupation By Killers' Kev uses 'moulded plastic on wood using close microphones and crushed tin on concrete using condenser microphone', which is something that Small Cruel Party also have used, but it also sounds like a missing work by Key Ransone. It starts out in a rubbing, acoustic way and then slowly gets electronic treatment, in a highly compelling yet minimal manner. A great piece.
No sound sources are mentioned for 'Sonan' but it says 'sound source recorded on location within the south tower of the tyne bridge' and then a couple of locations and various years. A bit of a shorter piece, almost fourteen minutes, of an even more obscured event, but it seems to me that this also along the lines of Small Cruel Party, but then in a slightly more electronic vein. Here minimalism also plays an important, with likewise slowly shifting sounds, that always seems to open new doors and alleys, where something similar yet different seems to be going on. Perhaps not as good as the other one, both are promising re-starts. For all those who also miss Small Cruel Party. (FdW) Address: http://www.myspace.com/voicecoil

FRANS DE WAARD - PROFIEL DEEL ZEVEN (business card CDR by My Own Little Label)
FRANS DE WAARD - VERVAL (3"CDR by My Own Little Label)
"My Own Little Label" is a Dutch label launched in 2007. Since its birth the label has released 20+ cds in Mini-CDR-format from interesting projects such as Freiband, Bee Queen and solo projects of Dutch sound artists Peter Duimelinks, Roel Meelkop and Frans De Waard. Latest two albums on the label both comes from the owner of the label, Frans De Waard. First album is a soundtrack composed by Frans De Waard for the art video "Ijziig Vuur" which was created in a collaboration between Jan Kees Helms and the composer. "Ijziig vuur" in english means "ice cold fire", a title that makes sense as you watch the art video (i.e. on Youtube). The visual part of the video shows an ice block melting on a human body. The audio part of the video, and thus the music on present release titled "Profieldeel zeven" is a concrete sound collage of crackling noise drones reminiscent of the sound of burning fire. There is much vitality in the sound pallet of the piece meaning that this audio-only release works well. Interesting album. Next release titled "Verval" (in English: Decay) is a conceptual work of sound art which was created a few weeks ago at the "Tape Treff"-event at Extrapool. The event focused on sounds derived by the use of tapes. The piece on 'Verval' has been developed with the help of feedback on concrete sounds. A sound is played in a room and three cassette players record the sound and feed the sound back into the room. The result is a kind of sound fission where one sound continuously develops into a pulsating sound drone that changes over time. Compared to the work on first release "Profieldeel zeven" that was crackling digital noise drones, the drones on "Verval" has a more waving analogue sound character. Two interesting pieces of sound art from one of Holland's most prolific sound artists. (Niels Mark) Address: http://www.kormplastics.nl/moll.html

The complete Vital Weekly is available at: Vital Weekly

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