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Vital Weekly 701 + 702

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ROSS HAMMOND - AN EFFECTIVE USE OF SPACE (CD by Prescott Recordings)
ALEX JENKINS' SOUND IMMERSION - GENEROSITY (CD by Prescott Recordings)
TONY PASSARELL 5TET - THE PATH (CD by Prescott Recordings)
BYRON BLACKBURN - THINGS TURN BLACK WHEN THEY TURN (CD by Prescott Recordings)
These four releases offer view into the jazzscene of Sacramento. Prescott Recordings is an outlet for local jazz and improvised music. The label is run by Ross Hammond who engineered, produced or recorded all of these four releases. As a guitarist he is present on two of these releases.
From what I understand Hammonds divides his time
between his improvising projects, his work as a sideman for singers and songwriters, and teaching an curating local new music events. But before we continue first the sad news. Bass-player Byron Blackburn died from cancer last september. Blackburn decided to record this album after he heard from his doctor that the cancer returned. So I do not have to tell you these recordings have a special meaning for all those involved. Except for 'Getting Ready to Escalate into a Whole Other Level (or Conflict)' (Hammond), all other pieces are composed by Byron Blackburn. The music is very laid back. Blackburn and his mates enjoy to have time and space together for what became their last session. The guitarstyle of Ross is very special. Sometimes I had to think of Henry Kaiser, at other moments I detect african - echoing - influences. Most of the solo work is done by him. Drummer (Alex Jenkins or Tom Monson) and bassplayer roll out a grooving carpet.
On 'An effective use of Space' we hear more of Hammonds guitarwork. A solo album with the assistance of Lisa Mezzacappa (bass) and John Hanes (drums). This is the most experimental of all four releases, opening with drones and ambient moods in 'Immigration', a solo piece on lap steel. With two other solo tracks these are recorded in the studio. The other ones are recorded by Myles Boisen, catching Hammond and his trio live in several jazzy jams. Not mindblowing stuff, not as adventurous as it started, but worthwhile. Alex Jenkins' Sound Immersion is a quartet of Tony Passarell (soprano and tenor sax, flute), Randy McKean (alto sax, bass clarinet), Mike Turgeon (upright bass) and Alex Jenkins himself (percussion). The compositions were not what me surprised on this one. Just plain timeless jazz music. However the drums by Alex Jenkins are another story. Especially in tracks like 'Jump Cut' his drumming has an atractive ethno-feel reminding me of Sun Ra. 'Next Generation' is a nice grooving tune. 'Power Outage' has inspired solowork by both sax players. In 'All Them Cows' we come across an unexpected appearance of a banjo played by McKean in a very free piece of music. Jenkins and Passarell we meet again on the CD by the Tony Passarell 4tet: Tony Passarell (saxophone, piano), Alex Jenkins (drums), Scott Anderson (tenor sax), Clark Goodloe (saxophone, piano) and Harley White jr. (bass). This quartet moves along similar lines as the quartet by Jenkins. Again the characteristic drumwork by Jenkins. But of course there differences. There is more to be enjoyed here from the saxplaying by Passarell. Also there are some nice duets between by the sax players. Plus that the improvisations are richer and musiccally spoken more interesting then on the other albums. (Dolf Mulder)
Address: http://www.rosshammond.com/

 

VERTONEN - WE HAD A FEW SPRINKLES TODAY, BUT NOT ENOUGH TO HELP OUT IN THE GARDEN (CD by C.I.P.)
The source material for this CD was recorded in 1978, so we read on the cover of Vertonen's latest CD 'We Had A Few Sprinkles Today, But Not Enough To Help out In The Garden'. I met Blake Edwards, the man who is Vertonen, and I am not sure how old he is, but me thinks he was quite young when he taped this source material. That's the first observation. Then, when I was listening to these six tracks, I had absolutely no idea what those source recording are. Edwards spent two years of 'extracting and modifying' these recordings. He writes that 'the concept behind this CD stemmed from my interest in reassessing the idea of 'brainwashing' and how misperceptions that are easier to accept can easily and dangerously corrode - and, worse, override - the realities of the original event', which made me altogether more curious about the original event at the source of this music. The six pieces here are all drone like pieces. Low humming sounds, as this CD seems to be quite soft, but if you turn up the volume, you will notice all sorts of small events happening in each piece. Its pretty solid and closed, this music, and easily is one of his best works. Very much like The Hafler Trio's drone phase, this is simply great music. The only downside I imagine to some people might be that its not a new direction and some could see this as more of the same. However its better of the same, I'd say. (FdW)
Address: http://www.cipsite.net


FRANCISCO LOPEZ & RICHARD FRANCIS - BROMBRON 14 : IN DE BLAAUWE HAND (CD by Korm Plastics)
On this fourteenth issue in the Brombron-series, one of contemporary sound art scene's most prolific artists, Francisco Lopez join forces with another interesting artist from the contemporary scene: Richard Francis. For more than two decades Spanish sound artist Francisco Lopez has exploited the connections between field recordings and "acousmatic listening" - the latter term was originally founded by the father of "Musique concrete", Pierre Schaeffer, with inspirations back to the the Greek philosopher Pythagoras and his "blind" teaching sessions. The idea behind "acousmatic listening" is that the listener must experience the sound independent from its source. The strength of Lopez is the ability to utilize natural sounds that most people barely notice and transform these sounds into sonic art. New Zealand-based sound artist Richard Francis has a similar approach to his explorations using field recordings of acoustic and electronic sounds combined with tone generators to compose textural and tonal sound works. "In de blaauwe hand" is one lengthy piece running 66 minutes. Conceptually the work reminds me of Francisco Lopez's excellent "Untitled #89" released on the Or-label in 1999. With a barely perceptible crawl in from silence, softly mechanical drones begin to appear, rippling with a radiant, ever-building hum. As the piece progress the hum gets thicker and the drone texture strengthens. Despite the growing intensity in expression the piece never gets harsh. As we reach the 45 minute mark, clicking pulses are overtaken by thick drones of buzzing noises that despite its ongoing abrasiveness also seems hypnotic and comfortable. The sound of a tone generator slowly mixes up with the buzzing drones, giving a nice depth and complexity to the sound texture. As is the usual case with releases in the Brombron-series, "In de blaauwe hand" are neatly packed in a tasteful card-slip-sleeve. Highly recommended! (Niels Mark)
Address: http://www.kormplastics.nl/

 

ANDREA BELFI & MACHINEFABRIEK - BROMBRON 15 : PULSES AND PLACES (CD by Korm Plastics)
The Brombron project itself is work a true work of art and a good reason to the fact that the Netherlands is one of the world's leading countries in field of sound art. The conceptual idea behind Brombron was originally established as a co-production between legendary Dutch label Staalplaat and the venue for experimental music, Extrapool. Two or more musicians become artists in the residence of Extrapool. Equipped with the recording studio of Extrapool, the artists can work on a collaborative project that will be released in the Brombron-series. Fourteen excellent releases from year 2000 forward is the result of the Brombron project, this present album being the fifteenth release. Behind the album titled "Pulses and places", you find the two composers Andreas Belfi and Rutger Zuydervelt alias Machinefabriek. Andrea Belfi is an electro-acoustic musician from Italy who has been involved in quite a number of sound art projects for the last decade. Rutger Zuydervelt started his Machinefabriek project five years ago, and has since then become a prolific artist of the Dutch sound art scene. To accomplish this new chapter of the Brombron series, the two artists utilize drums, small percussions, guitar and organ. The result is a real beauty. Drifting somewhere between gentle drone-based ambient and modern psychedelia/postrock, the four pieces of "Pulses and places" consists of waving organ sounds, chilling guitar drones with downbeat hand percussions. The expression of the overall album sounds like a mixture between early Pink Floyd as they sounded in their most trippy psychedelic moments and 80's rock/pop-giants Talk Talk in their more experimental postrock-based period around the "Spirit of Eden"-album (1990). As is the usual case with releases in the Brombron-series, "Pulses and places" are neatly packed in a tasteful card-slip-sleeve. Highly recommended! (Niels Mark)
Address: http://www.kormplastics.nl/

 

LOIC BLAIRON - X/O (CD by W.M.o/r)
There is an extensive text on the cover of this CD, which I'd like to quote in full, but its not online yet, and I am too lazy to retype the whole thing, so I'll get you the drift of this: One Loic Blairon writes that he listen and responds, but the way I read his text, he's not interested in doing music: 'In doing so, I say no to music, but this 'no' is the unilateral relation which I attempt to stabilize in and through sound, but in accordance with the real, as negative and foreclosed; what I attempt to superimpose onto the latter acts as so many unknowns which would at once escape the whole even as they constitute it, beneath but also above all things'. Etc etc etc. Perhaps Blairon plays double bass as it says on the cover, but perhaps not. His CD lasts thirty minutes and consists mostly of silence. Real silence (whatever that is), and some dry, high pitch click coming every now and then, at what seems to be irregular intervals. I guess all this time we can contemplate about the text and how that relates to this bare minimum of music. Alternatively you could decide to play a nice CD. (FdW)
Address: www.mattin.org/recordings.html

 

ALPHATRONIC - SONIC LANDSCAPES (CD by Everest Records)
This release doesn't quite offer a lot of information, nor does the label's website. Alphatronic is one Daniel Wihler and he plays here twelve pieces of electronic music. The cover offers a seventies logo of the band name and something that looks like a transformed synthesizer, in dots and figures. There is something utterly retro about this release, and that's great. Inspired by techno, film soundtracks, spiced up with a bit of experiment, but essentially this is some damn fine armchair electronic music. Rhythmic yet I don't see the masses dancing to this. But this is perfect sunday afternoon music, waking up, drinking coffee, but not yet entirely out of the clubbing from the night before. Your legs are tired, but your feet may want to tap along the rhythm. Purely listening to the music I'd say that twelve tracks is a bit long, and that eight pieces, say the length of this of on a piece of vinyl, would have made more sense. But pleasant it is for sure. (FdW) Address: http://everestrecords.ch

 

CHRISTOPHER ROBERTS - LAST CICADA SINGING (CD by Cold Blue Music)
CHRISTOPHER HOBBS - SUDOKU 82 (CD by Cold Blue Music)
Two new releases on Cold Blue Music, and both of them are relatively short: Hobbs' lasts 19 minutes and Roberts' CD is about twenty-eight. Cold Blue refers to these as CD singles. Christopher Roberts plays the qin on his release, which is a zither like Chinese instrument. Unlike many (if not all) releases on Cold Blue Music, this actually doesn't composed (composer jotting notes on a piece and then get it performed by somebody), but more improvised. Silent, slow and sparse, envisage big vast empty desert space. Americana music, slide like, blues like - all of which seem odd if you realize its not played on a six string apparatus we call the guitar but some Chinese instrument. Actually you could make this into a quiz I guess: 'tell me what instrument we hear?", and I wouldn't be surprised if many would answer 'guitar'. Not that it really matters I guess. What counts is the true beauty of this music. Peaceful music. Think Loren Connors playing Morton Feldman. And the strange thing is, perhaps, that it doesn't sound at all improvised. A very refined release.
A while ago there was a power cut in the block were in, at night. Having no juice is a nightmare at night: you can't use internet, no phone, no TV, no light to read a book, so I picked up my ipod and looked for a bit of music to play. I picked 'La Nouvelle Serenite', an older CD compilation on Sub Rosa with Jon Hassell and Harold Budd, among others. It seemed appropriate for a dark house. I was reminded of that evening when I was listening to the 'Sudoku 82' CD by Christopher Hobbs. Composed using Garageband, but played by a real life pianist, Bryan Pezzone, on eight pianos. Although you may Hobbs for his involvement with the Scratch Orchestra, his record for Obscure Records, his work with early AMM, he also performed Satie's 'Vexations' with Gavin Bryars. In that respect you should hear this piece, number 82 from a series that he started in 2005, and already mounts up to 125 pieces. Its Satie like music, light, sparse, spacious and seemingly doesn't go anywhere, simply because there is no need to go anywhere. A great work. One to play on dark night, when the power is cut, and you can use your computer's battery for a short time: I'd say play Hobbs, followed by that old Sub Rosa CD or anything else by Harold Budd or Erik Satie's piano music and that Roberts CD on Cold Blue Music. The best night of silent music. (FdW) Address: http://www.coldbluemusic.com

 

NURSE WITH WOUND - FLAWED EXISTENCE (BOXSET by Vinyl On Demand)
Christmas comes early this year; the velvet, the gold foil, the pleasure and surprise of opening the supra-de-luxe 600 copies only box and taking out album after album and surprise little gadgets. Sometimes, reviewing records can be such fun! So what do we have; nearly 5 hours of early to mid 80's Nurse With Wound music taken from cassette releases on one 10 inch, one LP, one double LP, one 5 inch single and a soundcard. All these are packed in sturdy carton sleeves featuring red velvet with golden foil covers. The whole thing looks great. Unfortunately this doesn't feel great; somehow the material doesn't suit my fingertips, sending shivers down my spine, but maybe that suits the music as well. Add to the box a numbered insert, a poster and a T-shirt and you have a bonanza of goodies. There can be no discussion about the fact that this ranks high as the most luxurious release of this year. With such abundance, it would be easy to forget about the music, which is, in the end, what it's all about. Let's start by saying that this sounds great; you wouldn't know this was taken from ancient cassettes at all. This box contains the original cassettes Scrag (a C30 from 1981), Mi-Mort (a tape with Current 93 from 1983), N.L. Centrum, Amsterdam, 8.12.1984 (a live recording, withdrawn immediately after release when NWW was spelt Nurse With Wount), Nylon Coverin' Body Smotherin' (another tape with Current 93 from 1984), a 10 inch album featuring (and sounding like) destroyed piano music (unreleased material from 1984), and a 5 inch single Big Muff And Hawtrey (also on the soundcard). As said, the music dates from when NWW were in their collage-period (as opposed to their later ambient period), so we get lots of squeeks, screetches, noise, weird surrealistic bloops and bleep with gorgeous titles such as Pleasant Banjo Intro With Irritating Squeak (exactly what it says, a personal favorite of mine), Dream Of A Butterfly Inside A Skull Of A Horse, Sinan Sings For Her Chums (another favorite - incidentally much of the Scrag material incidentally was also re-released as the A Sucked Orange LP), Fashioned To A Device Behind A Tree and, perhaps my favorite of all, The Cockroach Of Del Monte. Needless to say that if you enjoy NWW's music in the mid 80's you need this in your collection. If you are curious what the fuss about NWW in those days was all about; you need this perhaps even more. I spent a most wonderful weekend with this box, discovering so much new material and reliving the music I already knew. To add a surrealistic footnote to the proceedings: when I opened this box a centipede crawled out of the box onto my hand! It is now living a happy centipede life in our back garden. Stranger things have happened, but not a lot. (Freek Kinkelaar) Address: http://www.vinyl-on-demand.com

 

OLEKRANON - IDENTI (CDR by Inam Records)
SUJO - MORTE E DESCIDA (3"CDR by Inam Records)
Back in Vital Weekly 687 I reviewed 'Recycle Human Lung' by Ryan Huber, also known as Olekranon and said it was his third and final release for 2009. That is not true, as it turns out, although it is said that 'Identi' was to come out in 2010. Huber plays guitar, drum machine and sound effects and creates a heavy type of music. Even more heavy it seems that on his previous three releases. At least when things get heavy, they are more nastier than before. But Olekranon knows how to pull back gear and create some introspective moments too, and that's where his power lies. The sheer variety in his music here makes this for me his best release yet. There is some fierce noise, some nice 'soft' bits, all which create a fine album that is pleasant to hear throughout. It comes with a design for a cover (velum sheet and sturdy stock in full color), so it me wonder why it wasn't released as a proper CD. If there is one who would fit that, it would be this one.
I still didn't find out who is behind Sujo, but I suspect this is another name for Ryan Huber. The music is somehow related to Olekranon, but altogether of a more heavy type. One piece, nineteen minutes, of very slow rhythms, bounced off, drenched in actually, in sound effects, with guitar(s) grinding away. Slow grindcore perhaps (I am not too familiar with these sort of things), which sinks away into a large pool of noise, fuzz and distortion. Top heavy music at work here. No fun, but essential. (FdW)
Address: <inamrecs@yahoo.com>

 

CINDYTALK - THE CRACKLE OF MY SOUL (CD by Editions Mego)
While opening this CD, I mumble: 'Cindytalk in Vital Weekly. Things must not become weirder than that'. I open the jewel case and mumble 'Cindytalk on Editions Mego. Things must not become weirder than that'. I learn from the press text that there have been three sort of incarnations of Cindytalk, the first one starting in 1982 (and which I remember not liking, but now it sort of eludes me why), the nineties version of 'broken down rock structures and abstract piano ambience' and since 2001, the computerized version, and essentially being Gordon Sharp's solo band. 'The Crackle Of My Soul' is the first album since 'Wappinschaw' from 1995 and has ten pieces of music that seem to rely heavily on the computer, with perhaps a bit of layered guitar drones and contact microphone stuff. Not bad, not too refined, this seems to me a rather early millennium version of microsound, than the 2009 version could sound like. Like said, not bad at all, but this is what wonders me: if this would have been mister Nobody's demo to Editions Mego, would it then have been released? I must admit I have some doubts there. Quite a decent laptop album, that doesn't sound weird, odd or strange. Quite beautiful and perhaps the biggest surprise is such an ambient work on Editions Mego. (FdW) Address: http://www.editionsmego.com

 

PHILL NIBLOCK - TOUCH STRINGS (2CD by Touch)
Age doesn't seem to bother Phill Niblock. The older he gets the more active he seems, seemingly constant on the road to play concerts and recording new music. This is already his fourth release on Touch, another double CD. Perhaps with someone else I would moan that a double CD is too much, but in my world there can never be 'too much Niblock' music - not that he is that actively involved with releasing music, so perhaps this 'steady stream' is just perfect. And just perfect is what we can say about the music. Three pieces here: 'Stosspeng', 'Poure' and 'One Large Rose', between twenty-three and fifty nine minutes in duration. For me Niblock is simply the best composer of minimal music. He works from the serious background in minimal music, writing scores and such like, but works closely with the musicians when it comes to finishing the piece. 'Poure' for instance was created with the cellist Arne Deforce, who plays a all A and D notes, from several octaves on his cello, along with an oscillator and from that he crafts a archetypical Niblock piece of music. Majestic, densely layered, endless sustaining piece of music. 'One Large Rose' is an ensemble piece for cello, piano strummed with nylon strings, violin and acoustic bass guitar strummed with nylon strings or e-bow. Here the piece is scored, in ten parts, but what Niblock did, is he had the four players play the piece four times and then put these four recordings on the computer and then did a mix of it. 'Stosspeng' is played by Susan Stenger and Robert Poss for two guitars and two bass guitars, all of which are again overlaid ('superimposed') in the process of mixing. Three different angles to the same process that brings out some wonderfully long sustaining music of 'One Large Rose' is perhaps the most 'live' sounding piece, with some nice shifts along with it. Three great pieces of music. I now, I am biased here and much of what I normally use to review music - originality for one, a new direction for the composer - is not applied here. The one and only reason is because I am biased here. Great beauty! (FdW) Address: http://www.touchmusic.org.uk

 

JASON KAHN & ASHER - PLANES (CD by Mikroton Recordings)
DAFELDECKER/KURZMANN/TILBURY/WISHART (CD by Mikroton Recordings)
The ever busy bee Jason Kahn - how much can he put out? I guess he just records everything he does and sometimes things lie around, but ultimately it sees a release, somehow, somewhere. Here he teams up with Asher, who is likewise busy, mainly in the realm of CDR and MP3 releases. On September 26 2008 they meet up at the Axiom Gallery in Boston and Kahn has his analogue synthesizer and percussion, whilst Asher brings 'recording and playback devices' to the table. I assume, but I am not sure, that Asher picks up whatever signal Kahn plays and process that through an array of analogue machinery: cassettes or reel to reel tapes. Or perhaps its about the addition of recorded (field-) sounds? I don't know. This is a highly 'warm' live recording, I guess (again) done with microphones, perhaps overlaid with the line recordings. Contemplative, slow moving, endless on the sustain, but never real drone based, since there is enough variation in the piece.
Maybe you remember that CD by Dafeldecker, Kurzmann, Fennesz, O'Rourke, Drumm and Siewert, on Charhizma, released a decade ago? Today the brother of that album arrived: the same cover, but then in purple, in stead of orange. Four players here: Werner Dafeldecker (electronics, bass), Christof Kurzmann (lloop, clarinet), John Tilbury (piano) and Stevie Wishart (hurdy gurdy). The recordings were made in concert in 2007 and provides the listener with some great improvised music. Slow music that is. This quartet plays slow curves, bending the notes and tones with great care, emphasizing the beauty of a single note, a small phrase, a sustained tone. The hurdy gurdy seems to be the odd ball in this collection of instruments, but it provides a fine counter point to the other three instruments. Highly delicate music, which floats by with great ease. A great brother to the previous release (and a fine reminded to play that one again too). (FdW) Address: http://www.mikroton.net

 

KABELBRAND: SOUNDS FROM THE MAX BRANDY SYNTHESIZER (CD by Moozak)
The Austrian composer Max Brandt (1896-1980) was trained as a composer, but in 1937 fled Austria (he was a jew) and ended up in the USA. Here he got in touch with electronic music in the fifties and tried to built his own studio. Later on he got help from the young Bob Moog. Brandt's synthesizer was a like reconstructed Trautonium, and basically one of Moog's early work in that area. This CD is supposed to be a compilation, but it can also be seen as a collaboration. The few names return, Hausch, Guschlbauer, Kuhn, Krist, either solo or in one combination or another. They all play the synthesizer of Brandt, in twelve compositions, which sound like a pretty rough affair. No computer editing or post processing took place as all of the material was played live. Clustered blocks of sound, oscillating about, this is finely raw synthesizer stuff. Quite alright, in all its primitive form and shape of these compositions. But perhaps the best gem in this collection are the two pieces by Brandt himself, which are more closer to the original electronic music of the sixties and seventies (both of these pieces are from 1970 and 1974). Bleeps and blops, glissandi, swift changes and various notes being played. This too might be seen as a rough version of say early Stockhausen or 'Planet Of The Apes', but as a forgotten treasure this is quite nice. Its interesting to hear the contemporary players of this instrument, playing this in a more monophonic play and Brandt himself in a much more free form. (FdW) Address: http://www.moozak.org

 

I8U & TOMAS PHILLIPS - LIGNE (CD by Atak)
Things have been quiet for Japanese Atak, due the sad loss of one of the owners, the admirable Maria. Now they make a return with an album by Canada's I8U and Tomas Philips. Both are perhaps known for their work in the field of microsound and together they have been working since 2005. They work out of improvisation while being inspired by one thing or another. A film by Sergio Leone or a piano for instance. These improvisations have been revised, reworked, added or subtracted. Perhaps that might be hard to believe, since if you hear this CD, you'll be listening to some very minimal music. A few static lines, some click like sound, deep bass, sine waves and such like. Like the vague images on the cover, this music is more like an environment, surrounding you. The flickering of shadow on the wall, this music is also altering your perception. Carefully, slow, meditative, delicate and precious. All of these words are appropriate for this album. Labelboss Keiichiro Shibuya's remix of the title track at the end brings the material in a slightly different terrain: its more present than the other three pieces and more firmly rooted in somewhat louder laptop music, but it fits well in this release, providing a nice counterpoint. (FdW)
Address: http://atak.jp

 

LETHE - CATASTROPHE POINT #5 (CD by Intransitive Recordings)
NMPERIGN - OMMATIDIA (CD by Intransitive Recordings)
Two recurring artists present new work on Intransitive Recordings. Kuwayama Kiyoharu is better known as Lethe and his 'Catastrophe Point #5' was recorded in an empty warehouse. Inside Lethe plays metal chains, rusty metals and old wheels that were found on the site, and using the resonant space in which these objects lie around. The concrete floor is an instrument too. To this Lethe adds his playing of a cello and some horn like sounds. Drone music in optima forma, and one that is not heard a lot. Made by acoustic instruments being played throughout the duration (I am thinking here of Jos Smolder's recent CDR on drone music, which he thought was 'easy' to make - I guess Lethe here proofs him wrong). Art music, that only vaguely resembles the work of other scrap metal artists, such as Organum, Z'EV or The New Blockaders. Lethe however stretches out his playing in his own unique manner. This is a truly gorgeous CD.
To spoil the end of the review: that also goes for this CD by Greg Kelley (trumpet) and Bhob Rainey (soprano sax), better known as Nmperign. I don't exactly understand what the label honcho means when he states "Yet surprisingly, more than a decade after their debut, have never recorded a studio album as an unaccompanied duo... until now!" - but my best guess is that Kelley and Rainey are locked in the studio with just their instruments, a few microphones and nothing else. Like with their previous work however Nmperign show they are true masters of playing their instruments with great care, and making them almost never sound like a trumpet or a soprano saxophone. The instrument is a mere vehicle to produce sounds with. Sounds that not necessarily sound like a trumpet or a saxophone. False air, sustained sounds, sometimes even percussive short sounds. I never like the sound of a saxophone - no mystery there, as I wrote this before - but when it comes to Rainey and his method of playing it, I am all ears. The six pieces on this CD are great. Very refined playing, highly free and improvised, but very open, fresh and spacious, but never 'silent' for the sake of being silent. Excellent. (FdW)
Address: http://www.intransitiverecordings.com


MARCUS MAEDER - SUBSEGMENTAL (CD by Domizil)
Subsegemental is "used in psychology and perception within the context of linguisitics and phonetics" - its about how the smallest units make the meaning. In music 'the acoustic information is perceived in a segmentary manner, i.e. through very small or short parts of a sound signal'. There is a lot more to it, which are in the liner notes, but essentially Maeder composes using the concept of subsegmental with the help of Mathias S. Oechslin, a neuroscientist. He wrote the liner notes and described 'the gestalts appearing in his imagination while he listened to the individual pieces and expressed the associations that they conjured up in his mind'. Not easy to relate of this scientific information to the actual music, and perhaps its OK to do what I did: listen to the music, while occasionally glancing at the liner notes. Eleven pieces of highly minimal music: each piece seems to consist of only a few sounds, that arrive with long intervals of silence. This all sounds very much like serious composed computer music, rather than say musique concrete or microsound. Quiet music and while I must admit it didn't relate for me personally on any sort of psycho level, I actually quite enjoyed the music. Because of its silenceness and apparently nothing going on level, the real beauty is revealed in hearing the material when listened to it close. Avoid dark rooms I'd suggest, as things can be haunting at times. Refined and delicate. (FdW) Address: http://www.domizil.ch

 

OBSIL - DISTANCES (CD by Disasters By Choice)
If there would be such a tag, I'd say one could call this 'pleasant glitch'. Obsil is one Giulio Aldinucci from Siena, where he still lives and where he did his field recordings. They are processed to quite an extent, so we no longer recognize anything, except perhaps the humming of some birds. To this he adds a digital synthesizers from the 80s, digital-analog "hybryd" instruments and Max/MSP. All of this results in quite sweet, melodic music, in which real instruments are reproduced by the digital sounds (which I guess not a lot of people use these days anymore). Tinkling bell like, cello, violin and piano imitations, and perhaps even a bit of real thing here and there. Sweet, harmless music. Quite ambient, sometimes even leaning towards new age, this is some nice music to relax by. Read a book, do your bit of day dreaming. Sit back and relax. Nice one for the dark days ahead. (FdW)
Address: http://www.obsil.com

 

IGNAZ SCHICK - BUTANIA METALLICA (LP by Kunstlerhaus Worpswede)
JAMES BECKETT - 14 YEARS IN THE FOND COMPANY OF THE FREDERYCK NUYEGEN SEASIDE MEMORIAL BAND (LP by Kunstlerhaus Worpswede)
An active force from the Berlin scene is our man Ignaz Schick, who is a turntablist and sound artist who has played with the best people around (Martin Tetrault, Charlemagne Palestine, Phil Durrant to name three), in various bands and many releases under his belt on as many labels. Here he presents a record in a black box, which nothing else in it then a paper with info and a record. In 2004 he changed his approach towards sound creation, and often uses one object at a time. On 'Butania Metallica' he uses a cymbal and a gong. He plays them on a turntable by rotating objects over the surface and picking those frequencies up with a microphone. Perhaps various recordings are overlaid, but not a lot. There is some great scraping going on here, a fine combination of electro-acoustic music (object based), drone music (the ever lasting sound) and improvisation (the playing of the objects, especially on 'Temple Gong'). Four pieces on this record, which reminded me of the early days of Organum, perhaps not as harsh, but certainly with the same great care. Very nice one, this one and its good to hear something solo from him every now and then.
I never heard of James Beckett, who was born in Harare, Zimbabwe, but now lives in The Netherlands. Along with the record I received his CV, which spans two and half page of solo and group exhibitions, and a short statement, that his work deals nowadays with 'research-based activity with output ranging from radio documentaries to mock ethnic bands, and museum displays documenting the cultural and physiological effects of noise'. But nothing about the actual record itself, the '14 Years In The Fond Company Of The Frederyck Nuyegen Seaside Memorial Band'. It says on the cover that he plays hurdy-gurdy and percussion. Maybe this is mock ethnic music too? A take on Vietnamese music? I don't know, as I am not an expert on ethnic music, mock or otherwise. A lot of bowing on the gurdy hurdy and some snap-crack percussive sounds in the background. Again something that definitely derived from the world of improvised music and actually quite nice too. Both this and the Schick record are pretty raw, direct in your face approach to recording music, but Schick's record seem to have some subtleness to it, whereas Beckett is even more direct, although none of these two constitute as 'true noise' of course. Fine stuff. (FdW)
Address: http://www.kuenstlerhaeuser-worpswede.de/

 

BM - BM BY BM (LP by Static Caravan)
XELA - TRANSIT (10" by Static Caravan/Black Maps)
ST. JUST VIGILANTES - SWANS EVANGELIST (7" by Static Caravan/Black Maps)
Maybe the recession has gotten to the office of Static Caravan too, or perhaps its just a new thing, but two of these three new releases are on a new label (a subdivision perhaps) called Black Maps, which apparently have their office in Tokyo and London. But all three are limited lathe cut releases. I assume the one by BM is a LP (I got the CDR), while the other two are on 10" and 7". BM stands for Billy Mahonie, which is actually a band, not one person. Static Caravan calls them a post rock band and that's actually well spot on. They play eight instrumental pieces of the best post rock stuff. I must say that this is entirely not my cup of coffee, but while I was doing some other stuff around the desk here, I kept on spinning this. Jazzy, complex, math oriented, total post rock. If ever there was a need for a template of the music, I'd say play this and you know what it is all about.
The 10" is reserved for Xela, whose work we reviewed before. Here he has two pieces, one called 'Manhattan' and one is 'Brooklyn' and they are played with a Sequential Circuits Pro-One synthesizer, tapes and effects. With these lathe cut records you never know what side a or side b is, but listening to the music I guess it doesn't matter that much. Its two sides of the same coin here. A vaguely droning sound of what seems to be cymbals being played (which are not listed, I know), feeding through what seems to be a very crunchy synthesizer. On one side this end a nice sequenced chord play in a very nice minimal music fashion. Now this is definitely the sort of thing I like. Moody, atmospheric, not slick produced, but roughly edged. Nice one.
The 7" has writing on it, on one side and an image on the other, so we still don't know which track is what. St. Just Vigilantes take us back to the world of rock, not post, not instrumental. Banging drums, slides being played, maybe a violin and a far away voice topped with an odd abrupt ending. Velvet Underground like perhaps? The other side is a bit more folk like, with street recordings of children and again a sweet voice and guitar playing. Great music! Now I wished for some more - some format swapping in the future? BM on 7", St. Just Vigilantes on LP. (FdW)
Address: http://www.staticcaravan.org

 

NEDERNOISE (3CDR compilation by Stront)
A while ago Jliat wrote me personally that the best noise seemed to be coming out of The Netherlands. Obviously I should send him this 3CDR with just Dutch noise bands, but I played it and decided to do the honors myself. First of all I am amazed by the amount of bands and projects found by Peter Zincken of Stront (meaning shit in Dutch). Himself being somewhat of noise legend, starting in the mid 80s as Odal, which he still does, but also as Dr. Bibber and a member of the Fucking Bastards. Over three hours of noise, but with a nice variety running along. Many new names for me, and hoping of course they are not all pseudonyms for Zincken himself, we find here Krimpoos, Vernaggelkramp, Bitter, Dreka Dreka dreka, Kapotte Muziek, Teenage Arsonist, Industrial Passage, Ezra Jacobs, Infected Needles, Kasper van Hoek, Margriet, Neurobit, Noise Gekanker A Gogo, Obsolote Office Equipment, Alex, Terg, Belch, Chuck Curry, Darm Kwadraat, Dashabi, Doodseskader, Fckn Bstrds, Fever Spoor, Gaskroket, Het Evagelie, Infected Needles, Jack Jack En De Wandelende Feedback, Kamp Chaos, LSD Mossel, Mem Bus, Nimwegen Terrorfront, Doornen, Odal, Rinus van Alebeek, Roeben Swart, Stirner, Tiws, Vincent Koreman, Vulvax & Stiff Nipple Of Terror, Zyrtax, 850 and Exploding Cunts. By my count I know about fifteen of these bands. Wailing feedback, distortion, but also darker edges, even silence here and there to augment the noise of others. A well balanced release, presented in the usual no-fi esthetic of Stront. The definite overview I'd say of how loud a small country can be. Jliat was right. (FdW) Address: <p.zincken1@chello.nl>

 

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