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Vital Weekly 690

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BURKHARD BEINS - STRUCTURAL DRIFT (CD by Kunstlerhauser Worpswede)
Music by improviser Burkhard Beins has been reviewed before, mostly of course when it dealt with improvising with others, but there have been a small number of solo releases too. 'Structural Drift' is a three piece suite which he recorded at the Kunstlerhauser Worpswede, where he did an arts residency in April and June of 2009. He brought along with e-bowed and propelled zither, analogue synthesizer, E.T., looper, igniters, chimes, wood block, steel band, fire and stones. Apparently no drum kit, or perhaps he considers that too much of commonplace that he chooses not to mention it. Well, perhaps he just didn't have it with him, if I listen to these three pieces. Beins, the trained percussion player, uses in his work on the kit a lot of sustaining and resonating materials, and they appear here too. The drones that arrive from the zither, in combination with the analogue synthesizer waves form long tone sounds and on top Beins adds charming little bells, chimes and wood blocks. Perhaps just as he would do when playing the drumkit in a combo of improvisers. He does this with much elegance here, especially in 'drift 2', this works out very well. A very well made CD, that has nothing, or not much at least, to do with improvised music, but all with composed music of a highly meditative nature. If you like Jason Kahn sonic explorations in this area, then this 'Structural Drift' is no doubt one to have as well. (FdW) Address: http://www.burkhardbeins.de

 

NOVELLER - RED RAINBOWS (CD by No Fun Productions)
There was a time when a parcel by No Fun could be redirected to Jliat, unopened. It would be harsh noise. Not that I did: I would always open it and look what it was (thus finding the Dan Burke/Thomas Dimuzio release) out of sheer curiosity. But things have changed, perhaps since the arrival of Emeralds and their take on 'cosmic music'. Behind Noveller we find one Sarah Lipstate, who starts out with 'Rainbows' and 'Brilliant Colors' in quite a heavy mood, but even here the noise is well controlled. I think Noveller uses some kind of organ and electronics, rather then a bunch of analogue synthesizers. Its in the other three tracks that her talent comes out in producing some excellent drone music, that partly owes to the world of noise, and partly to the world of ambient. It ends with 'Bends', a somewhat more violent tone poem, but 'St. Powers' and 'Tunnels' are soft yet outspoken. The organ and the effects are pushed to the background, and get company from guitar, effects and maybe a horn. This is the most ambient piece piece, 'St. Powers' in the middle of the album and the somewhat more creepy 'Tunnels' right after that. A highly varied CD of five great pieces and as an added extra also a short film 'Interior Variations' which seems like based on x-ray scans with a powerful soundtrack of loud drones. Captivating stuff, all around. (FdW) Address: http://www.nofunproductions.com

 

ANGINA P - SENSITIVE FILES (CD by Hands Productions)
SAVERIO EVANGELISTA & FREDERICO SPINI - WORKS II (CD by Hands Productions)
INCITE - MINDPIERCING (CD by Hands Productions)
XABEC - JUST A GRAIN OF SAND (DVD by Hands Productions)
If you had to mention some of the most important Industrial-related electronic music-labels of Germany, Dortmund-based label Hands Productions should be among them. Parallel to Ant-Zen Recordings, the Hands Productions-label has a strong focus on the harsher territories of electronic music counting styles such as power noise, industrial, experimental ambient, breakbeats and so forth. Four new releases from the label has seen the light of the day. Expressively it is four quite different styles represented on each of them. First album comes from the Vienna-based artist Angina P. Originally established in 2001, present album titled "Sensitive files" is the second full length from the composer, who already impressed with her previous releases. As the title suggests, the expression on the album is emotional with excellent atmospheric soundscapes waving upon drum'n'bass / IDM-based rhythm-textures. The strength of the composer is her ability to combine clubbish e-textures with reflectional moments of vocals and ambient-like spheres. A strong mixture of melodic IDM and hypnotic rhythm textures on this one. Next album comes from legendary composer Saverio Evangelista (a.k.a. Esplendor Geometrico) in joint venture with Frederico Spini. In comparison to the more upfront and clubbish style of aforementioned "Sensitive files" by Angina P, present album titled "Works II" is a more sound art-inspired and abstract album that circulates in-between spheres of experimental ambient and noise-related buzz-drones. As is the case with most albums from Esplendor Geometrico, "Works II" is an album that demands some listenings to capture but certainly rewards! Next album is titled "Mindpiercing" and comes from a project known as Incite. Behind the project you find Kera Nagel and André Aspelmeier who is well-known for their audio visual performances on a number of festivals throughout the last decade. Despite their live activity present album is the first from the duo. As was the case with Angina P, Incite has a foot in the breakbeat-related sound expression, but compared to the more listen-friendly textures of Angina, Incite concentrates in more noise-related and drone-based territories. Expressively the album lies somewhere in-between the abstract artistic work of Saverio Evangelista (a.k.a. Esplendor Geometrico) & Frederico Spini and the danceable grooves of Angina P. Last release reviewed here is a dvd release from the ambient-based Industrial artist calling himself Xabec. The title "Just a grain of sand" probably refers to the German sound artist's interest in applying field recordings for his electronic compositions. The dvd contains an english subtitled 25-minutes portrait of the artist, and live footage of Xabec shot during 2008's edition of German electronic music festival Maschinenfest. Finally there are music videos of the artist plus one music video to a remix of Xabex as executed by aforementioned project Incite. Four excellent and quite different releases from the Hands Productions, all of them presented in beautiful cardboard cover-packages. Very nice! (Niels Mark)
Address: http://handsproductions.com/

 

SOMATIC RESPONSES - REFORMATION (CD by Ad Noiseam)
One of my favorite albums of the mid-90's was a compilation titled "Origin unknown" (Ram Records, 1996). It was released at a time when drum'n'bass had its peak in popularity. The compiled tracks of "Origin Unknown", didn't follow the path of the melody-focused part of the jungle/drum'n'bass-scene. More likely the compilation had a strong emphasis on heavy bass thus producing a very dark edge to the popular drum'n'bass style of that time, and was stylishly termed as darkside or techstep. Present album from the two Welsh brothers, John and Paul Healy, behind the well-respected project Somatic Responses reminds me of the aforementioned "Origin unknown"-compilation: It takes its starting point in a popular style of the present, dubstep, and brings it into more confrontative and experimental territories. By definition "dubstep" is a dark take on the famous UK garage scene of the early 2000s, but John and Paul Healy push the boundaries even further on the album titled "Reformation". As the title of the album suggest there is stylish change on "Reformation" in comparison to the earlier releases of Somatic Responses. The heavy and synthetic sound that has been the trademark of Somatic Responses is intact, but the rhythms has been slowed very much down from the technoid and upbeat approach. Where earlier releases of Somatic Responses was generally fast moving, "Reformation" is the opposite with strong emphasis on slow and heavy dub-like rhythmic textures drawing associations back to the dub-style of Jamaican pioneer King Tubby, but not surprisingly in a far more aggressive style. Similar to the aforementioned "Origin uknown"-compilation, Somatic Responses utilizes otherworldly and sci-fi-oriented sounds giving the listener an impression of being trapped somewhere on a distant planet. Momentarily, soundscapes of grandiose yet subtle ambient penetrate, adding some warmth to the otherwise icy electronic sound world that characterizes the style of Somatic Responses. A very addictive new effort from the Irish brothers of synthetic brutality! (Niels Mark) Address: http://www.adnoiseam.net

 

DELICATE NOISE - FILMEZZA (CD by Lens Records)
Lens Records is a Chicago-based label established around the end of previous millennium. The label concentrates on ambient, modern classical and electroacoustic sounds. Present album from the label comes from US-artist Mark Andrushko composing under the name Delicate Noise. As the name might suggest, the expression from the artist stand as a sharp contrast to harsh noise: The album contains a gentle and dreamlike quality. The album titled "Filmezza" is the follow-up to the debut of Delicate Noise titled "Diversion" released on Lens Records in 2006, and as referred to, by the title there is a nice cinematic feeling on the album. If it had to be used in a movie it would probably be best suited for an art house flick of some kind. The music is tranquillized downbeat-based IDM. Distant spoken words makes the listener feel like being in the state of unconsciousness. This feeling together with the spacey sounds and gentle electronic sounds draws associations towards Warp-legends Boards Of Canada. Very interesting indeed! (Niels Mark)
Address: http://www.lensrecords.com/

 

WILLIAM GARDINER - ONLIVING (CD, private)
Only twenty-one years old is our William Gardiner, who hails from Australia. He grew up with the music of Bach 'and others' and later on discovered the music of Astor Piazzolla, Peteris Vasks, George Crumb and Alfred Schnittke and now tries his hand in composing his own modern classical music. 'Onliving' is a four track CDEP with works for a small ensemble of clarinet, piano, cello, violin, flute and electronics, the latter being the department of Gardiner himself. I am not sure if I am the right man to discuss contemporary classical music, since its not my speciality. Having said that its absolutely a beautiful work, this release. It seems to be involving partly composed music, and partly improvised parts. Softly gliding and bending violin tones, mild flutes and piano accompanying this and the electronics sparse and effective. In 'Reverie' I thought of some light, joyous Arvo Part, in 'The Loving Bells' the minimalism of Steve Reich or Wim Mertens. This is music that we sometimes find on a label like Fat Cat. Very delicate and way too short. (FdW) Address: http://www.williamgardiner.com

 

VANESSA ROSSETTO - DOGS IN ENGLISH PORCELAIN (CDR by Music Appreciation)
The first encounter, I think, with Vanessa Rossetto, who is a composer, improviser and painter. She plays viola, violin, cello, acoustic turntable, electronics and field recordings. In the past she collaborated with Bright Duplex, Pulga, Wondrous Horse and 'Dogs In English Porcelain' is her fourth solo album. Its one piece, of about forty some minutes, and its probably exactly what you expect if you would combine the words 'improvisation' and 'composition', together with the list of instruments mentioned earlier. Music gathered from layers of improvised violin playing, careful, never to clear or too obvious, but scraping the strings most of the times, in combination with a set of a composed collage of field recordings and electronics, in which we hear bird calls, feedback and obscured contact microphone sound. In a strange I couldn't help thinking of Steve Roden's music, even when Rossetto's music is less 'loop based', but it shares that seem feeling of intimacy. Almost like its played for me, for me alone, and very close by. A strong sense of acoustic sounds flows through this piece, which makes it quite delicate and 'small', 'intimate'. Quite a nice release this one. (FdW) Address: http://www.pervertedlogic.com/niwi

 

HATI - KA (CDR by Beast Of Prey)
Hati is a Polish trio consisting of Rafal X-Navi Iwanski, Dariusz Brzostek and Rafal Sabon Kolacki. First release from them was the CDR-album "Music for metal idiophones" released in 2003. Last year the band released the follow-up to the debut, this time in a proper CD-format "Die mechanik, die!". Now the trio have released its third effort carrying the title "Ka". The expression of Hati is extremely minimalist and monotonous in its form. Primary sound source on the album is acoustic metal-percussions counting among others gongs of various kinds, steel barrels, metal discs and aluminum plates just to mention a few of the applied tools. The band itself terms their style as Trance-Gong - a quite hitting stylish term since the trio use the metallic percussive sounds to create this trance-inducing atmosphere that first of all draws associations towards the Gamelan-style of the Javanese territories. Apart from the sound pallets of metal percussion other important sound sources count bells of various kinds. Stylistic the music of the band are best termed as something in-between gamelan, ambient and ethnic minimalism. A quite fascinating and unusual album that probably won't find its fans on the dancefloor, but more likely demands for some horizontal listening. (Niels Mark)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/hatitah

 

DE HAAN/SPRUIT - SCHOONHOVEN (CDR by Soul Shine Trough)
DE HAAN/SPRUIT - HOLLANDS LICHT (CDR by Soul Shine Trough)
Back in Vital Weekly 603 we reviewed 'Radical Improvisations' by Marc Spruit an Michiel de Haan, which was quite nice, although perhaps not as radical as the title suggested. It was the first and last encounter with Michiel de Haan, whereas Marc Spruit released a couple of ultra short releases, spanning a few minutes only. Since 2007 they have developed their style more and more and taken their guitar and turntable to the road and have played various experimental stages in the Netherlands. Information is a bit low on these, but perhaps they are the works of those concerts, perhaps edited to form. The music is still as radical as before. Cut short sound snippets of fast moving sounds, highly improvised. Think Yoshihide. Think Tetreault. Think noise. Think Marclay. Or all those improvisers on the turntable an guitars. 'Schoonhoven' found its inspiration in Jan Schoonhoven, one of the artists from the ZERO art movement, who used carton, paper and toilet rolls: similar materials being used by De Haan and Spruit to create sounds from their instruments. A pretty radical release indeed. Not easy to access, but in all its experimentation quite a nice one.
'Hollands Licht' translates as 'Dutch Light', another reference to the world of art, but more from the likes of Vermeer all the way down to Mondriaan. This release is from the autumn and winter of 2008 and of course its interesting to spot differences. They are there indeed, small as they are. I think the improvisations here are more concentrated, and less free form. It seems as if these two work around a set of ideas, ongoing sounds, loops or such like, which seem to form the basics of the music. On top are the outbursts of sounds, like on the other. But as said, things seem to be more condense, tighter or perhaps concentrated. Controlled outbursts of noise and silence. (FdW) Address: http://www.myspace.com.haanspruit

 

HANDS TO - ARTIMENT (2CDR by Impulsy Stetoskopu)
P.B.K./C. REIDER - DISCORPORATE (CDR by Impulsy Stetoskopu)
Polish label Impulsy Stetoskopu have carved out a niche of their own by releasing works that were originally released on cassette in the 80s, now presented on CDR, or, in the case of XX Comittee's LP on CD. The harsh noise of Knurl and Odal were left with Jliat, whereas these two noise boys (well three actually) are more spend on me. Behind Hands To is Jeph Jerman, who operates these days under his own name with some ultra soft music with natural objects and no amplification. Hands To may have used similar sound material, but back in the 80s when Jerman released an endless string of cassettes on his own Big Body Parts label, the small casio sampler was used to create crude loops of that. Also used were some sound effects, shortwave radio and straight field recordings. Its been a while since I last played any of the few Hands To cassettes I have but this set brings back many good memories. Like then, I am still quite pleased with this music. Its partly crude and raw, with a good healthy doses of experiment, but the experiment doesn't stand in the way of the end result. Its not noise for the sake of noise, but Jerman tries to create small sound environments using elements from the environment, treated electronically. Like in a good 80s tradition, the listener is urged to play these separately or in tandem, and create their own mix. Definitely one of the more interesting re-issues lately (and sadly I missed out on the re-issue of City Of Worms, a group that Jerman was involved in, also on the same label). Nice handmade cover too.
By comparison the cover of PBK's collaboration with C. Reider is a bit more dull, a slimline DVD case. This collaboration was made over the course of ten years when PBK send sound material to C. Reider, but it was until earlier this year when things were finally completed, much to PBK's surprise. He calls this '21st century psychedelic drone space music', which I may not agree with, entirely. Yes, its sure psychedelic, drone based space music, but its not music that was 'invented' in this century. This kind of spacious, long form drone ambient with post industrial elements existed as easily in the 80s when the likes of PBK (and Hands To, although usually much shorter) released works on cassette, the forerunner of the do it yourself medium that CDR and MP3 are these days. Having said, there is nothing wrong with the actual music. Some of the processes applied to the sounds of PBK operate in the realms of digitalia, without being microsound. Everything is placed together and it makes a thick, densely formed mass of sound, perhaps what PBK calls psychedelic. Not entirely 'new' music, but a fine, sturdy exercise in experimental sound. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/impulsystetoskopu

 

TOY BIZARRE - KDI DCTB 216 [DATA #2] (3"CDR by Ingeos)
This is the second part in a series of twelve releases (see also Vital Weekly 676), each with one piece of twelve minutes and all the data is based on weather conditions, as observed as before by Jude Anderson, about square 1 m of the Atherton Gardens, City of Yarra (Melbourne, Australia)" which Cedric Peyronnet translates into a piece of music. Here for the second volume, things built up in the first six minutes with what seems to be a lot of wind chimes being played simultaneously, which cut out quite abruptly. Then things are quiet and soft, and the second built up starts, but in a less dramatic manner. A good solid piece of microsound. I must say I find it hard to find the weather connection in this piece, as well as the previous release, but in itself this is quite a fine piece. Still for those who love their Meelkop, Chartier and Behrens and on the look out for something new. (FdW) Address: http://www.ingeos.org

 

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