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Vital Weekly 692

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With all his playing in the areas of improvised music one could easily forget that Andy Moor started his career with the Dog Faced Hermans and later on in my favorite punk band The Ex. Its through that connection that he learned to improvise with the best in their field, like Han Bennink, Tom Cora or John Butcher, and these days he's one of the more energetic free players of the guitar. This CD brings the circle to a close, as he teams up with his old band made Colin McLean, also also played with the Dog Faced Hermans, but turned to do sound for The Ex as well as organizing event for Amsterdam's OT301, in which music and dance are combined. Here he plays computer and Moor guitar and cassette machine. Nine of the eleven pieces were recorded at OT301 and the booklet shows some images of dances, but this music stands well by itself. Its hard to say wether McLean picks up and processes the sound by Moor, or he plays some motifs of his own. I somehow suspect the first. The beginning is cut of, where Moor starts feeding the computer with sound (hence the title of the CD), and as soon they are in some form of interaction the tape starts rolling. Only in a few instances, Moor goes wild out with free play, but in most cases he plays quite strict. Strumming a few sounds and continuing to do that, while McLean adds all sorts of processed sounds thereof to it. In 'Mingiede' this even leads to a dance (pun intended) rhythm, at least for a while, and its one of the strongest pieces of this CD. Its, come to think of it, hardly sounding like a CD of improvisation, save for a few places, but more of compositions made out of elements from improvisation. One of the best CDs I heard which involved Moor - apart from the much loved The Ex of course - as an improvisor. (FdW) Address:


Over the years Pan Sonic's Mika Vainio delivers with certainty new work. Either with Pan Sonic, or as ø or under his own name. The latter is used when things are not rhythmic, but beyond that anything is possible. I saw various solo concerts by him in which he used relatively sound sources and some sound effects, but offered quite a bunch of noise with that. On his fourth solo CD for Touch, he goes however in an opposite direction. Not that there isn't any loud music on this, but it isn't the orgy of noise that we sometimes hear live, but in these seven pieces there are moments of silence. Vianio uses the methods of collage in each of them. Sounds fade in, fade out, cut in or cut out from a variety of electronic and acoustic sources. The latter are hard to trace back to their origins, although there is some metallic rumble to be spotted, but the electronic part is no doubt all analogue, Vainio's big love. Like the form of collage is used and makes a pretty intense listening. Long, monolithic blocks are cut off with a few, sparse sounds here and there, loud versus silence, high frequencies and low frequencies. If you don't watch the CD player, like I normally don't do, then there might be one objection against the CD. This approach that seems to go on for almost the entire CD (perhaps not in the last piece 'Hengitytaja/The Breather'), then one could easily believe this is just one long piece. That however I thought was not really a problem. The material is strong enough to keep the interest going for the entire disc. Strong compositions, a great selection of sound material, and effectively a fine disc of modern musique concrete. One of his best solo works so far, I reckon. (FdW) Address:


A few years ago I was pleasantly surprised by the CD "Bagdad Music Journal" by someone called Wativ. A release from the sympathetic High Mayhem label. Behind the name of Wativ Will Thompson was hided, a musician from New Orleans, doing his military duty in Iraq. Impressive how he managed to record a CD during his four year stay in Iraq. It was a remarkable and musically interesting if not innovative document. Now Thompson is back in the US, and circumstances are now easier for him I suppose now for devoting himself again to music. With this self-released CD Thompson presents his quartet that is made up of Tommy Sciple (bass), Chris Alford (guitar), Simon Lott (drums, electronics) and Thompson himself on Rhodes and piano. All recordings were done on one day in march this year and found their way to this CD without overdubbing. I expected and hoped Thompson would further develop his unique mixture of jazz and experimental music as he did on his first one. However everything is more straightforward here and also a bit retrospective. Spun out themes that are gradually developed in lengthy pieces in a style we know from the old Canterbury-groups and fusion in general. These pieces are interrupted by two totally free improvisations. The strength of Thompson are the deep pastoral atmospheres he evokes through his compositions, like in "Rach B". Also I like his personal and recognizable style of playing the rhodes-piano. (Dolf Mulder)


From the norwegian label CCAP KNIRK comes this release by the british-norwegian trio EGG3. Vidar Schanche wrote all the compositions and plays guitar. Simon Kaylor plays baritone sax, Stale Birkeland drums. As a member of the Leeds_based music collective LIMA, Schanche got an idea for a trio that he now realized with Egg3. It is a powertrio with an explosive mixture of jazz and rock that has similarities with bands like Mr.Bungle, Fantomas, Naked City, a.o. All three players participate and engage on the same high energy level. In the opening title track "Butcher Red" however they seem not really awake, as the piece moves forward in a plumb and sluggish way. But with the second piece "Revenge of the Chicken" they pick up speed and the music becomes more aggressive and powerful. But this speed metal jazz is only one face of the trio. In "Easteregg" they show themselves from their lyrical and friendly side with what sounds almost as an traditional folkdance. A very surprising combination. And it works. Another contrast is reached with the closing piece "The Chickens are not what they seem", a short but superfluous Tom Waits-like ballad. Egg3 do a well crafted job with some very convincing tunes ("Dr Bucket") and an original concept. (Dolf Mulder)


XVI REFLECTIONS ON CLASSICAL MUSIC (compilation CD by Universal Music)
Its not a daily event to receive a CD that is released on a major label, Universal in this case. But I got it from Me Raabenstein, also known as Slowcream (who have a new MP3 release at, and also the man behind this compilation. He spotted the disappearance of boundaries between various musical genres, especially between classical music and electronic music. Its of course always a bit hard to define the word classical music. What is that makes something classical? A question I can't answer, nor perhaps anyone else. So this compilation then deals with how these musicians regard classical music from whatever era, from Baroque to Cage. The notable thing is the presence of lots of strings and piano's, not many wild Varese like percussion or wind-instruments. Strings and piano's seem to add up to melancholiac music. No wild polka dance in Bartok tradition. A large, loud orchestral piece like Bruckner. The common thread to these sixteen pieces however is melancholy and atmospheric tunes. Tunes to fit a good quality television drama. Tunes with a clicky rhythm like with Alva Noto or Murcof to make that perfect cross-over between techno and classical music that goes so well with a more upmarket stage for new music (I must admit I am a bit cynical here). I believe from the sixteen tracks only three are exclusive to this compilation (Lawrence, Hauschka and Slowcream), but we also have tracks here from Gas, Alva Noto & Ryyuichi Sakamoto, Philip Glass, Akira Rabelais, Sylvain Chauvenua, Gavin Bryars, Greg Haines, Murcof and such like. Perhaps a nice introduction to a wider audience? (FdW)


E.M.M. (LP/CDR by Motok)
For O.R.D.U.C. everything started in 1980 when they bought time on a 7" record by Plurex to present their first composition 'Crazy Computer'. Then the One-O-Seventh Royal Dutch Underground Company started their own label, New Bulwark Records & Tapes to release various cassettes and one LP 'Pink & Purple', which is still available (and which I still recommend as a great example of home-made electronic music). Towards the end of the 80s, the label sparked as IF Records releasing a bunch of compilation LPs along the original Plurex principle (for a certain amount of money you get one or minutes to fill on the LP or CD) and the very first LP by Kapotte Muziek. After that things went quiet and Nico Selen went doing whatever day job he had, taking care of the kids and such like, only to find out a couple of years ago that he still liked doing music, had all his equipment (and probably some more) and started again. He still uses a variety of names, like The Bearcage, O.R.D.U.C., Ilo Istatov, NoNotes and Electronic Minimal Music (short E.M.M.) and with that latter moniker he produced a LP in an edition of twenty-nine copies, lathe cut by Peter King, while at the same time producing a CDR version of it. Great, I love lathe cut vinyl, and the music doesn't let me down either (which is not always the case with lathe cut). The band name is the program of the music. 'Inspired by Silent E, a composition consisting of only one-note- an E' it says for the track that bears the band name. 'Cubism' is a piece for the 'C', banged on a piano, and follows the same structure as an earlier piece by O.R.D.U.C. That's another nice thing about this record: things hark back to older work, like a fully updated version of 'Crazy Computer', which sounds much better than the slightly naive 1980 version. E.M.M. plays really nice mood music. 'Pearl' has nice ambient synth, swirling percussion with a bass synth playing a note every now and then and the result is a gorgeous piece of atmospheric music. Piano and synths plays the major tune on this album, all in a very minimal style. Music seems to be hardly progressing but that's only deceiving: it does change, but very gentle, very slowly and this music takes it time. Only 'Cubism' seems to me a bit too long but otherwise a great album. All of this great music is soon to be followed by a new single by O.R.D.U.C., a new LP by them a little later, an EP of older work by them and perhaps a LP by Enfant Terrible. No doubt some of this is also limited, so those who love the old heroes to re-surface I recommend keeping an eye and two ears open. (FdW) Address:


Following the two picture disc LPs from last year by Jim Haynes and Rick Reed, Elevator Bath now follows this up with two new albums, with very limited information but looking just as great again. First in rotation is Adam Pacione, of whom we reviewed music before. He's a fine master of very ambient-like sound environments. Here he presents two new pieces of likewise drone beauty. Two austere, monolithic blocks of sound. The press message talks about the use of field recordings, guitars, shortwave radio, analog keyboards and moog filters - which made me wonder: where on earth do I hear all this? Is that all here in this these two pieces? Wow, that is amazing. I would have never guessed that. I would have thought this would be just say a guitar and a bunch of analogue or digital effects. There is one side that is pretty much out there and one that is somewhat more 'reduced'. Two sides of the drone sun. Nothing new under that drone sun, but this is quite good.
Dale Lloyd has always been known for his ongoing work in the area of field recordings. It has been quiet for some time now, his last release was three years ago. Here no instruments are mentioned, just the notion that it was especially recorded for vinyl. Over the years your copy will gather dust and that will change the way it sounds. Which will be different from the way my copy will sound in a few years. The music is very stretched out and uses a lot of silent passages - of course I guess with the intention of gathering dust. If these are field recordings, and I expect so, then they are heavily processed into warm lush textured soundscapes on one side and rumbling, dark and drone based at the start of side two. That side is of the two the more experimental one in approach. Lloyd's record sees more different passages than the more uniform approach of Pacione, which doesn't make it better or worse, just different. The Pacione record is perhaps the one to play at night, and in the earlier parts of the evening the record by Lloyd, who has a more subtle, horror movie approach - a ghostly voice pops up! Scary but beautiful material. Be sure to put the right album back in the right plastic sleeve! No information on the platter itself. (FdW)

The letter that came along with this 7" said there would be two copies of this 7", though there was one, which is alright of course but also two Lesson Lesson Lessen Relearn CDRs. They weren't included, so my apologizes to the label and band which is actually one and the same person for not reviewing them. Behind both bands there is one person only, and they know each other for quite some time, working under a variety of aliases (none which are mentioned here). Russian Tsarlag offers a track that is quite hollow in terms of recording, guitar chords and a monotone voice. It sounds like a rehearsal space song and perhaps that is an esthetic quality, but for me that's not necessary. A bit muffled this recording, but it has that no wave quality of the early 80s. Which I guess is not bad.
Nelson Hallonquist's Lesson Lesson Lessen Relearn is on the other side of this record and his piece is more interesting. A bunch of analogue synthesizers and some creepy voices (which is a found cassette of 'two men discussing the body transcending effects of sports via metaphysics'). Here too I am reminded of the early 80s but more in the direction of Throbbing Gristle or Cabaret Voltaire. Actually quite a nice piece. A pity that those CDRs weren't enclosed to check out some more music by Lesson Lesson Lessen Relearn. (FdW) Address: <>


POLLEN TRIO - 230509 (CDR by HelloSquare Recordings)
By now HelloSquare Recordings is a full on label for improvised music. Gone are the days of microsound and glitch, welcome improvisation, preferable played by trios. Pollen is no different. Its a trio of Austin Buckett on piano and preparations, Chris Pound on double bass and objects and Evan Dorrian on drums and percussion. They released before a very limited release with Seaworthy, but this is their first major release. Recorded during a three hour session, using multi-track with label boss Shoeb Ahmad at the controls, who mixed this and proved to be a new way of working for the band. Mystery guest C.S.K.A. adds some 'electronic interventions', but they are kept to a minimum. The album is quite good, just like 3millions or Spartak, all from the same house. Sometimes a bit (free-) jazz like, or totally free in approach, with the six pieces (lasting twenty-seven minutes) precise and to the point. Funky and groove, with an excellent production, displaying much depth. An excellent work. I wish there would be more like this, but then on this side of the earth. Is this the new jazz way from Australia? (FdW) Address:


It seems that Herbal started a new side label to replace their old series of live recordings in paper sleeves, called Theme Park. The paper sleeve stayed. I am not sure what Oliver Hochherz's release 'Ornithology' has got to do with birds, but I do recall that the only time I built something from an electronic kit was a mechanical bird. It sounded like the sounds I hear on this release. However it might be so that these are real birds: I am no ornithologist. The tracks have 'round' lengths, 1:00, 2:00 or 19:00, which might be something conceptual I may not understand. There is anyway something conceptual about this release which I may not understand either. A 3"CDR would have been sufficient.
Marc Baron plays saxophone and the recording and mastering of his 'Une Fois, Chaque Fois' release. Here too some conceptual is done with the lengths of the pieces, as all eight pieces last seven minutes (why not seven pieces, I then wonder). I have no idea who reads the Russian text at the beginning, with some sparse saxophone sounds, but its a nice track. That can also be said of the other tracks. Baron plays saxophone, edits the material along with some field recordings (restaurant?, streets), which suggest the saxophone is played there too. Track seven seems to me a case of plunderphonics of baroque music. That might not be the case, although that's hardly relevant I would think. Quite rudimentary in compositional approach I would think, but at least the whole things is more musical than the Hochherz release. A very strange release indeed but nevertheless quite nice. Radical some would say. (FdW) Address:


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