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Vital Weekly 683 + 684

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BIOSPHERE - WIRELESS - LIVE AT THE ARNOLFINI, BRISTOL (CD by Touch)
No matter how hard I tried, but I can't remember seeing the last Biosphere studio record, it must have been a while. Come to think of it, we didn't review 'Dropsonde'. What we do know is that 'Wireless' is the first live album by Biosphere, one of the master minds of ambient music. Starting out in ambient techno (releasing a classic with 'Patashnik' in 1994), and then moving out of the techno, deeper into the land of ambient music, leaving off any pulses at some point. On 'Wireless' he returns to use pulses and rhythms: minimal but not in a click n cut sense. Warm, fourth world alike.
which guide the soft synths, field recordings and, for the first time around the trumpet of Anders Karlskas. As such this live album is not a distinct break with the 'old' Biosphere, the one calm sound tapestries on 'Substrata' for instance, but it seems to have come to a full circle now. The more simple, rhythmic samples refer to what I can call Biosphere 'mark 1', but not as dance oriented, more trance inducing, lay down, sit back music, whereas the deep atmospheric textures of before are still part of it, that has become a trademark of Biosphere. Changes in the sound of Biosphere are small, but crucial. 'Wireless' is once again a refined ambient from one of the true masters of the genre. (FdW) Address: http://www.touchmusic.org.uk

NATE YOUNG - REGRESSION (CD by Ideal Recordings)
Its always fun to see a picture on CD of the musician at work. Nate Young. Best known as the founding father of Wolf Eyes, starting it out as a solo project, but occasionally doing solo under his own name these days. We see him sit in a room, with a huge amplifier, some keyboards, one tom, a bass guitar and that's about it (as far as I can tell of course). Then you play the music and think 'oh he's using the bass guitar here, or some keyboard effects' - but perhaps that is not the case at all. Much of what I hear is built around loops of sound material. If you expect something noise based then you are knocking on the wrong door here. Things are noisy - that's
for sure - loud perhaps, even, but he's not aiming for the feedback 'n distortion pedal thing. The seven tracks are hark as easy back to musique concrete (loops of various objects banging together), seventies synth music (hip these days) and slow industrial rhythms in 'Untitled', but Young wants to construct music that is listenable, enjoyable as well as experimental. Whereas the noise of Wolf Eyes never attracted me very much, I think his solo work is very, very good. This is the kind of noise that a
former noise head likes. (FdW) Address: http://www.idealrecordings.com

MATT SCHOEMAKER - EROSION OF THE ANALOGOUS EYE (CD by The Helen Scarsdale
Agency)
As said in the review of the new CD by Jim Haynes there is a small school of drone musicians, mainly from the USA who deliver some of the more darker outing in the scene. There are of course minor differences to be spotted. According to the cover of Schoemaker's new CD 'environmental phenomena' where recorded in Indonesia, Cambodia and USA, but its hard to spot these on the actual music, as he feeds them through a whole bunch of analogue synthesizers, guitar stomp boxes, reverb and such like. Only in the last piece 'The Analogous Eye' bird calls and wind sounds rise out of the mass, but even here things seems electrified. This makes that Schoemaker's music is altogether more 'electronic' in nature than that of Haynes or Irr.App.(ext.) and also a bit more 'louder', industrial perhaps. In his music he depicts empty industrial sites of long sustaining, rusty sounds of rusty object on even more rusty surfaces. The two parts of 'Erosion' are highly minimalist affairs of long sustained sounds. Not to be confused with the current wave of 'cosmic' sound artists, this goes further and deeper. An excellent work, sadly perhaps limited to 300 copies
only. (FdW) Address: http://www.helenscarsdale.com

NICOLA RATTI - ODE (CD by Preservation)
The name Nicola Ratti is a new one for me. He used to be in a 'math-jazz-rock trio' called Pin Pin Sugar (which I also never heard of but then math, jazz and rock is not my cup I guess), but since that band no longer exists, he started to work on his own. He plays guitar (his primary instrument), piano, double bass, percussion, field recording and sometimes voice, which are all combined into music that defies description. Its surely improvised when it was recorded, but in the mix he composes with the material. That makes that this music doesn't sound too improvised. Its not jazz like, nor rock, nor noise. Maybe the closest it gets is towards popmusic. Singer songwriter like stuff, but without the emphasis on singing, although it happens here and there. Quiet, easy, soft, harmonic, yet also experimental enough to fit these pages. A curious release that could have easily fitted on a label like Staubgold, as it
seems to have resemblances to the work of Dean Roberts. Personal music, beyond genres and styles. A great work of melancholic moods and textures, played with real instruments. (FdW) Address: http://www.preservation.com.au

STEFANIE RESSIN/ASMUS TIETCHENS - 3 WISHES (7" by Meeuw)
Its been a while since we last heard from Meeuw Muzak, having not released another Christmas 7inch last year. I have never heard of Stefanie Ressin, who sings her song '3 Wishes' here, although it says '(Dalglish, Elliot, Sierra)' on the cover, so they are the composers, right? Quite nice, a bit pathetic singing opera voice over an electro inspired rhythm from the sequencer. Almost like an obscure 80s synth pop record, which is no doubt the quality that attracted mister Meeuw. On the other side we find a remix treatment of the song by Asmus Tietchens, who reverses the vocals, feeds
the rhythm through a gated reverb and in the finest style of one hit wonders produces a superfluous b-side, but one that is quite nice. A fine pop 7"! Meeuw always amazes me. (FdW) Address: http://www.meeuw.net

MIRAK TWELVE (Compilation CD by Hymen Records)
Teknoir - the anniversary compilation from German label Hymen Records from 1999, still stands as one of my all time favorite electronic music compilations. The span of expressions on that particular compilation was remarkable and made the whole trip through the 2+ hours of playing time a true pleasure. Now ten years later, the time has come to celebrate the twelfth anniversary of Hymen Records. And then, what has happened in the meantime? Stylishly there is a change from the dark and overall harsh expression on Teknoir to this new double disc-compilation titled "Miwak Twelve". As the long slowly soundscapes of opening track on "Miwak twelve" titled "At the heart of it all" from artist calling himself The_Empath sets in, the listener soon gets the idea that there is quite a change in comparison to the early years of the label, circa Teknoir. The tone on the opening track is tranquilizing and dreamful in its nature with downbeat rhythms and beautiful guitar strums weaved into otherworldly soundscapes. Many other great moments are found on the "Miwak Twelve"-compilation: Post-rock-inspired electronica from Nebulo on "Sunurb", Ambient-oriented contributions from artists such as Dryft, Hecq and the slightly more glitch-oriented Access To Arasaka. Chillout electronics from Combustion and Jerome Chassagnard to the more upfront and harsh moments from projects such as artists like HPC and Mad EP Vs. Bryce Beverlyn II. Othercool moments comes from Lowfish with his minimalist technoism and my favorite moment on the entire compilation, being Christen Plum and his excellent darkside-oriented breakbeat-track Capstone Switch. So many styles on the compilation, though quite a few contributions floats in the breakbeat-oriented spheres. Miwak Twelve is a superb and highly entertaining compilation ranking on the same quality level as the Teknoir-compilation. Unquestionably this will end up as one of this year's greatest compilations of electronic music, if you ask me! (Niels Mark) Address: http://www.hymen-records.com/

JOY VON SPAIN - LADY LAZARUS (CD by The Scatological Liberation Front)
Present album from the Washington-based composer Joy Spainhower offers a truely unique and unheard sound experience with its combination of classical music and contemporary noise. Musically the compositions of the album titled "Lady lazarus" moves in stylistic sound spheres of opera, orchestral music and acoustic noise and digital noise. What differs the composer from similar projects is the talented and strong female vocals sometimes sung in opera-styles and other times in hostile expressions reminiscent of Diamanda Galas. A good example of the originality of the album is the seventh piece titled "Entrance of duga" opening with cinematic orchestral music but slowly and discreetly, via the sound of horn instruments, transformed into harsh expressions of crushing power electronics. "Lady lazarus" is the second album from the artist, but with this original approach to "classical avantgarde meets noise music", there are certainly foundations for a proper CD-release from Joy Von Spain. Hope it will come! (Niels Mark) Address: http://www.scatologicalliberationfront.org/

FRANZ HAUTZINGER & BERTRAND GAUGUET & THOMAS LEHN - CLOSE UP (CD by Monotype Records)
If you want, you can book this trio. It says on the cover. It means that this is an ongoing affair for these solid improvisers. Thomas Lehn, the well-known player of analogue synthesizer, teams up with Franz Hautzinger (quartertone trumpet, electronic devices) and the person whom I think is new to me: Bertrand Gauguet on alto and soprano saxophones. The recordings were made in concert, one early 2007, one early 2008. As you can imagine this is a work of total improvisation, but its in capable hands. The three play very good, sometimes heavily controlled, such as a major section in 'Close Up 2', with long sustaining tones, but also more chaotic and uncontrolled - relying on the free jazz approach - in the two pieces around it. Hautzinger and Gauguet play the instruments as objects, producing all sorts of tones and notes and not in the regular way as these instruments should be played. That's nice enough but my personal favorite is that second piece. Slow, minimal, changing, moving and intense, with what seems to be a leading part for Lehn's synthesizer. In the third part this is continued but with outbursts of free play. That's a fine mixture too. The opening piece didn't do that for me. Quite nice indeed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.monotyperecords.com

FEEDING THE TRANSMITTER (CD by Amp Bit<if//go)
While listening to music I try to avoid doing too many other things, but then I am not looking at the cover all the time. So it happened that I was listening to this compilation while eating and thinking at one point: all the time this is playing this has been nice electronic music. Lots of crackling, micro techno ambient glitch or whatever you could call this lot of modern electronica, but then it also dawned on me that I never wanted to get because a particular track stirred my interest that much that I wanted to know the name of the creator. Is that odd? Perhaps not. Perhaps its not easy to surprise this listener that much anymore, and perhaps its a certain fatigue. On a track by one Mats Twunky sounded out of place, with its slightly distorted ambient drone, which sounded odd, not bad. Included otherwise are Micheal Santos, Ocp, Maps And Diagrams, Poborsk, Autistici, Pleq Ninestein, Dy, Sinusodial and others. Some of these names you may recognize from releases on 12K, Static Caravan, Audiobulb or Baskaru, which means this is not just a compilation of second rate copycats that didn't get anywhere. This is surely one fine compilation with no stand out pieces, but then also no pieces that let the listener down. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ampbitifgo.co.uk

BILLY GOMBERG & JAN KEES HELMS - ANYPARK (CDR by Lor Teeps)
Recently the name Jan-Kees Helms popped up in Vital Weekly a couple of times in the announcement section to announce exhibition in Amersfoort, the Dutch city were he hails from. But his own musical history goes back some twenty or so years, when he comes from a political end of music (punk and beyond), with his own project Little Seed and Lor Teeps. In the late 80s, early 90s an active force in the worldwide experimental music scene. I also remember seeing him playing a concert with waste materials from McDonalds. Then he moved out of the picture a bit and since some time, he's back, creating video's for which he asks others to compose music. For an event dealing with city parks, he wanted to create a piece of music using sounds from a park in New York City and from Amersfoort. The result is part of an installation. I never heard of Billy Gomberg, but he's from New York, where he recorded several parks. The two composed two pieces together, and each has a solo piece here. I hardly visit a park in Nijmegen, where I live, but perhaps because the forest is quite nearby, so I can avoid places were people are packed up to relax. We hear in these compositions people talk, kids cheer, a dog bark, and far away sounds from the city. In 'Anypark 1' it seems to me the American parks and in 'Anypark 2' the dutch ones. Gomberg and Helms both apply some processing - a loop here and there, some equalization - but the original sounds are always at the centre in the two collaborative pieces. In the solo pieces is the other way round and things deal with the processed environmental sounds almost exclusively. Maybe I would have chosen a different order of the pieces, but that's merely detail. Throughout its a very nice release, a major break from the old Lor Teeps releases, but a fresh start also. (FdW)
Address: http://www.antenna.nl/deeez/muziek.html

FOR KINGS AND QUEENS - ONE DAY I DISCOVERED A DREAMACHINE (CDR by Subterranean Sonic)
About a year ago I reviewed the first release of For Kings And Queens, also known as one Jens from Berlin. On 'Merz' (see Vital Weekly 629) he drew his inspiration from the likes of Nurse With Wound meeting Merzbow meeting The Hafler Trio, which might be an unlikely pairing and it didn't work very well. His music was played on guitar and effects, but without much refinement or detail. It seems that Jens took notice and for this new release, which is about transformation, awareness, time and changing, he indeed succeeds better in what he wants. The music, consisting of two pieces is lengthy and spacious, but not smeared together with all the sound effects or ideas he can find. It works best, at least for a while, in the longest piece 'After A While I Could Transform Myself - Water Remix', which keeps moving and changing throughout the piece. It moves in an area, stays there for a while, but then moves on. It never stays there for too long, and Jens keeps overall control of the structure of the piece. That makes this quite a nice release. The way up I guess. (FdW)
Address: http://subterraneansonic.blogspot.com

TOMAS KORBER & PHILIP JULIAN - HERBE ZEITEN (3"CDR by Con-V)
The title of this release is translated as 'Harsh Times' and maybe from the likes of Philip Julian, whom we also know as Cheapmachines, this might be a program title - even when these days he plays a softer tune too (and much better at that). Here he teams up, armed with his laptop, with Tomas Korber, the Swiss guitarist and electronics improviser who worked a lot with Jason Kahn and Gunter Muller, among many others. Its not mentioned on the cover, but I think this is a work of live improvisation. Some of the changes are rather crudely played and also sound wise this seems above anything else a live recording. Its however not a work of harsh noise. Below the surface there is the almighty drone (of, I think, Philip Julian) and Korber plays his guitar and electronic in a somewhat louder vein, with clang and bang here and there. A pretty nice work I think that holds the attention of the listener throughout the piece, also when it moves, towards the end to a somewhat more subdued area. (FdW) Address: http://www.con-v.org

The complete "Vital Weekly" is available at: Vital Weekly

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