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Vital Weekly 715

img  Tobias

Following stints in bands like Boutros Bubba, De Reizende Verkoper, Gone Bald, Quarles van Ufford en CSMD, Spoelstra finally he decided to leave the rock area and to leave any other names, other than his own. He switches on the synthesizer, a sampler and sounds effects and created 'The Almighty Internet' an 'study into the necessity of information technology of our current society' - do we need all this technology that invades our privacy - hey, which we all use to share out privacy even. I already played this album three times before I wrote this, simply because I thought it was an enjoyable album, and I still haven't found the answer to his question (actually the Dutch queen already gave it in her christmas speech). I know the answer already - shut down Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and go that nice bar around the corner, and have some of this great music, preferably played by Spoelstra, sweating over his equipment. Loud is best, cold beer in your hand (a cigarette would be nice, but Vital Weekly shouldn't advocate smoking in the current time, right?), and Spoelstra's quirky electro beats, chopped up synth lines, bits of noise will do the rest. Afterwards you hand the man a beer too, and be friendly to him. You really, really, really don't need to share your privacy online, if something like this would go on around the corner. And if it doesn't, get this CD, phone (not text-messaging, or facebook invitation) all your friends for a private party. The almighty internet is just useful to get the word out about such nice music. And a great cover too, it might actually have words on it. (FdW) Address:


No doubt this label is in a lucky situation: the only mail arriving today where these two CDs, which included the 2008 release by Michel F. Cote and A Dontigny, which is well beyond the six months that I usually have for accepting promo's. This to avoid labels sending me complete back catalogues, and not because of being lazy. We know Et Records as a label from Canada with improvised music, but these two stretch the idea thereof. A. Dontigny we know as someone from the No Type Records label with some highly charged musique concrete cut up music, whereas Cote is a known as an improviser on drums. That's what he is playing here too, along with percussion, micros, tapes and electronics, and Dontigny gets credit for cut-ups, drum machines and dsp. A bunch of (un-)invited guests also appear: Bernard Falaise, Alexandre St. Onge, Alexander Macsween and Jean Rene. I am not entirely sure how this was conceived, but I think this is the result of recording together some long night on drums and electronics, and then taking the recordings to the computer to effectively and extending mixing, chopping up, editing to create some wicked, crazy music. Hardly to be recognized as improvised music as such, this owes much more electronic music on one side and free rock on the other. Say Moha! or Rock Out but then a bit softer, a bit more structured and perhaps more electronic in their approach. Its however not an album that we can apply such words as 'careful' or 'gentle', as the music is a bit too mean for that. A high energy trip all around. Each track is in full speed mode, with tons of small sounds happening all around. One that doesn't leave you untouched. One crazy fucked up form of improvised music.
The second release is by Philippe Lauzier on saxophones, bass clarinet, tubes and melodica together with Pierre-Yves Martel on prepared viola da gamba, two inch speakers, radios and contact mics. I assume, seeing this was recorded over a two day period, that this is a studio recording, which was later mixed by the two musicians, along with Dave Bignell. Improvised music of course, but quite an odd one. The nine pieces are relatively short and in a strange sort of way quite noisy. Strange because the bigger part the music is acoustically made, but with that bit of amplification that makes all the scraping sounds wandering off every now and then in the realms of feedback like sustained sounds, this is certainly not an easy work to access. Its however one, I think, that is quite beautiful. The sustaining sounds produced by what seem to be the main instruments (saxophone and viola) are already quite nasty, but in addition to whatever they are doing, this is a great work, totally demanding full concentration of the listener, but also totally rewarding. Excellent discs, both of them. (FdW) Address:

NDE is a Belgian project that belongs to the darkest spheres of electronic music. The artwork of the cover is pure grey-tone colors without any warmth or happiness. There are no sign of contact details or reference to information sources on the cover to the band. Furthermore the band has no myspace or website, leaving the band in the deep underground. In that sense the surroundings nicely fit the musical containment of present release titled "Krieg blut ehre asche" (In English: War blood honour ashes). The album is the debut from NDE and a very nice one indeed! Eight pieces of sonic brutality is what you get here. Deep rumbling drones of power electronics moves along screeching harsh noise and martial percussions meanwhile the vocal side consists of evil screams and guttural expressions with much reference to the black metal-scene. To strengthen the dark atmosphere samples of distant voices and subtle orchestration leaves the listener cold and isolated. A very interesting work appealing to listeners of darkest electronics. Pure evil!
Next album from Cold Spring also belongs to the harsh side of electronic expressions. As was the case with aforementioned NDE, anger and extreme aggression saturates the compositions of the album. In comparison to NDE, Wicked King Wicker moves in more abstract spheres with no sign of rhythm texture and almost non-existing vocals though signs of human roar seems to be somewhere in the tick fog of sheer brutality. Last album in the line comes from British power electronics artist Iron Fist Of The Sun. Present album titled "Behavioural decline" separates from the aforementioned albums with its old school oriented approach to the noise scene recalling the early days of Industrial pioneering. As you listen to the eight tracks of the album associations towards compatriot legends in Whitehouse shines through, though there are plenty of moments with high-tech violence to prove its existence in the presence of contemporary harsh noise scene. Again the vocals are a dominating parameter to create the brutality, but the vocal sound on this one is more human in expression with some pure shouting without the witchery hellish black metal screams of first reviewed album from NDE. Three great new exercises in extreme aggression from British essential label Cold Spring. (Niels Mark) Address:


ILLUSION OF SAFETY - PROBE (CD by Perdition Plastics)
This is not a review but merely a historical, personal ramble. In 1992 I started working for Staalplaat, buying and selling stuff, and helping out getting those strange packages done. One of the bands that already had a great package, before my time, was Illusion Of Safety, whose 'Historical' was packed in a leather pouch with a real bullet. Both Staalplaat and Korm Plastics, my own small venture, were in contact with Illusion Of Safety's main man Dan Burke and Jim O'Rourke, who was then a main collaborator with Burke. This resulted in 'Disengage', still one of the top 10 releases by Staalplaat, along with 'Probe' by Illusion Of Safety. The first 500 were packed in a wooden box with a real Italian coin and toy money from former Eastern Germany (an additional 500 were sold in the same wooden box, but without the monies). Illusion Of Safety were on a peak with that CD, or perhaps a watershed mark (otherwise you may think they never reached another peak again) is a better word. Before that Illusion Of Safety was, perhaps, 'another' fine band of harsh and less harsh industrial music as a bigger outfit with a varying line up. Towards the end of the era of releasing cassettes, which culminated in the fine but highly obscure 'RVE' tape, Jim O'Rourke became a member, bringing a love of composed music to the table, not just musique concrete but also the like of Scelsi. The music of Illusion Of Safety changed and on 'Probe', as said being here just Dan Burke & Jim O'Rourke, this culminated in that first highlight. All of the influences from before and new ones, melted together in this great disc of musique concrete. Many field recordings are used, along with piercing electronics at times, bowed guitars at others. Sometimes stretching out seemingly ad infinitum, but then sometimes abruptly changing color, speed, intensity, mood, texture and/or atmospherics. An absolute great work of sound collage, bridging musique concrete, electro-acoustics, improvisation, industrial music and ambient. Still a highlight of a career, and great to see back in print - even when the cover is not on par with the original. (FdW)


Laura Andel comes from Argentina, but lives and works in New York nowadays. It is here that she formed here orchestra that has the following eclectic line up: Taylor Ho Bynum (Cornet), Stephanie Griffin (Viola), Matt Bauder Clarinets), Raul Jaurena (Bandoneon), Carl Maguire (Fender Rhodes), Ursel Schlicht (Piano), Ken Filiano (Double Bass), Danny Tunick (Vibraphone & Gamelan Instruments), David Simons (Gamelan Instruments), Laura Andel (Composition & Conducting). She did already two other recordings with her orchestra, making 'Doble Mano' the third one. The recording dates from 2007 and was done at The Kitchen. In Argentina she was a woodwind player and made her degree in tango performance. In the US she studied jazz composition and music for film. As a composer she is interested in the concept of identity linked to the search for ambiguity." I feel very strong the question of my own identity, perhaps in part because I am an immigrant myself" she tells. Different identities are reflected in the curious combination of instruments we find on 'Doble Mano' (= a two-way street, or anything with opposite directions on the road). For example, 'Part 1' starts with gamelan, joined later on by the bandoneon. The bandoneon again appears in the first part of 'Part 2'. Often the bandoneon is played very much in a tango vein. Like in 'Part 4' where bandoneon and cornet are involved in a beautiful duet. 'Part 6' opens with free improvisation. Andel blends not only instruments from different musical backgrounds, but also the typical playing style that belongs to these instruments, especially in the case of the bandoneon. The overall perspective is that of modern classical composed music making use of different ingredients like free improvisation, and ethnical musical identities. In another way 'Doble Mano' is a stripped down composition. All useless details are skipped. What remains are the simple, concentrated melodies, harmonies, etc that tell the story. She makes good use of the instrumentation, making different combinations of the instruments. We never hear all players at once. In my case this music started to work after repeated listening. I was not charmed immediately by her compositions, but the music began more and more to talk to me. It is very non-aggressive, modest music. And at the same time there is something mysterious here that attracts one's attention to this music.
'Teshuvah' reflects a first meeting between of two experienced veteran improvisors: Tim Hodgkinson (Henry Cow, Konk Pack, etc.) and Milo Fine. The career of Fine goes back to 1969 when he started The Milo Fine Free Jazz Ensemble. Throughout his career he was dedicated to free improvised music. I guess both gentlemen are more or less of the same age. Also Hodgkinson has a longlasting relation with free improvisation, as it was already part of the Henry Cow. They combined rock and free improvisation. In the last few years Hodgskinson tours regularly with his trio Konk Pack (Roger Turner, Thomas Lehn). During a concert in Minnesota he met Fine and the idea for a duo-session came up. It was realized in Fine's home, on a day in march 2008. Two long extended and one short improvisation made it to the CD that has Fine playing piano, drums, b flat clarinet and voice and Hodgkinson on b flat clarinet. While listening one feels the joy they had in their fabulous interactions. Never a dull moment during these sparkling, catch-me-while-you-can improvisations (Dolf Mulder). Address:

CARLOS GIFFONI - SEVERANCE (CD by Hospital Productions)
COD CAVE - CREMATIONS (CD by Hospital Productions)
One look at Hospital Productions website will tell you this is a noise label - right from the design to the various artists they release. First we have C. Spenser Yeh, also known as Burning Star Core, who by now has gained quite some fame (or so I believe). Hospital releases 'Inside The Shadow', which was originally released as tour item in 2005. Yeh plays his usual violin, but also chimes and bells and electronics, to create a fine tapestry of noise base improvisations in drone land - if you get my drift. Its neither just improvisation, nor full on noise and perhaps quite drone based indeed, but then of a more violent nature. That adds a great spicy character to the music, which actually is not as noisy as I assumed it would be.
And that might also apply to the work of Carlos Giffoni, who probably releases much more than what is reviewed in these pages, so who am I to say something about his work and the development thereof? It seems to me that over the years in his own work, as well as in the releases he put on his own label No Fun Productions, the tone is more towards edgy, experimental and electronics, away from the pure noise onslaughts. Which of course is something I more than welcome. The whole pure noise is perhaps fun to create for a while but not an everlasting career. As such Giffoni delivers with 'Severance' a release that is more than pleasant. He found a great balance between the real noise - more towards the end of the CD - and minimalist, sequencer like pieces at the beginning - 'Knife' being almost a wicked piece of dance music. Blocks of sine wave like drone material is somewhere in between. Still not easy listening, which is perfectly fine of course. Giffoni is all over the place with what I think - again, with my limited knowledge of the entire catalogue of his work - his best work to date.
I never heard of Cold Cave, and on the website it says that 'Cremations' is a
"collection of early demo/live/and unreleased tracks" but the cover lists all tracks save two as being released as a EP, cassette and LP. Likewise 'genre defying electronic music', which also is said on the website, is something that might not be entirely true either. They play songs rather than pieces, I think, which are heavy on subjects as pornography, religion and such fine subjects of all good things industrial. The backdrop is made of synthesizers, sound effects and rhythm machines. More the USA version of industrial than the UK one - more rhythm than feedback. Here too its not the noise that prevails but the song structure. Dark synth based songs, which on the tracks of the cassette sound a bit thin, compared to the pieces from vinyl. Not entirely my cup of tea, and certainly when this lengthy, but a small dose of this was highly enjoyable. I must admit I didn't notice the lyrics that much, but the music was nice enough. (FdW) Address:


WYNDEL HUNT - SUNSHINE NOIR (CDR by Dragon's Eye Recordings)
A new work by Wyndel Hunt, who has previously released on this label, both solo and in collaboration with Thom Heileson. Unlike before we now get to know what he uses: Ableton live, Reason 2.5, Casio MT-520 and a guitar. When I called this 'computerized blissful drones' in Vital Weekly 577, I wasn't off the mark. This is what he did, and still does. In the eight pieces here he creates a form of drone music that is 'louder', more 'present' than many of his peers. Sounds swell and decay like all good drone music, but it seems he needs less time to do so than many others. The music is fuzzy, like a shoegazing form of laptop music. In such cases I am supposed to say that its a pity there hasn't been much progress since the previous release, but its also not a matter of over-production I guess, which is also a nice thing. Its fine to have music that is away the typical ambient glitch sound (that is sometimes also loudly present in this label's catalogue) and is something of his own. Again the pieces that are more collage like are a bit stronger, but I must say that throughout this is a highly pleasant work. (FdW) Address:


The new kid on the block Terje Paulsen, from Kristiansand in Norway, proofs to be as active as his country man Sindre Bjerga and Jan-M. Iversen. Following releases on netlabels like Homophoni, TecnoNucleo, Q-tone, Resting Bell, Rain Music, Con-V and some compilation appearances, its now time to move to the next level, that of releasing CDRs. What sets him apart from many of the other artists on Mystery Sea is that he's not just interested in using water field recordings, but he also adds real instruments to the picture. Although I'm not sure what those might be, it seems to include bells, or gongs even, is about the only thing I recognized. Otherwise there are of course the dripping sounds of rain and running water, all set against the wall of sustaining sounds. Maybe they are the real instruments mentioned, but then heavily processed - I am not sure. This one piece work is however a fine work in the crowded fields of sea wave recordings - it has some fine minimal changes and never bounces into boredom. All the right moves at the right time. (FdW)


TOY BIZARRE - KDI DCTB 216 [DATA #7] (3"CDR by Kaon)
The seventh installment already, twelve more minutes by Cedric Peyronnet. After the fifth and sixth being surprises of a kind, the sixth being a drone piece of some kind. This is now continued on this new release - again built from wether conditions in Athwerthon Gardens in Australia (Thursday September 24th 2009 to be precise for once) - except that the drone is broken somewhere half way through. It dies out slowly and then abruptly starts building again. Even more obscured than the previous one, this hardly gives any clue as the sound sources used. A sizzling sound being effectively and dramatically built up until it reaches its peak, and this repeated one more time, in what seems to be more a more 'louder' territory, with crackling sounds (rain?) and ending on a sustained tone. Nice toned storm and thunder. Excellent drone material. (FdW) Address:


Three new releases from Dutch "My Own Little Label" - a label that aimed to present works by interesting sound artists first of all from the Netherlands. Two of the three present releases comes from Dutch project Freiband. First album is the 31st release from M.O.L.L. As is the case with a good part of the MO.L.L.-catalogue, the expression of the album titled "Martin seven [new] aspects" is abstract in the most alluring sense of the word. It is a re-issue of a 3" CDR originally released on the Tib Prod-label, and now released on the occasion of the Freiband-concert held in Brussels a bit more than a month ago - on the 11th december 2009. Opening track is a pure percussive work consisting of concrete percussive sounds bouncing from right to left speaker. Next track is a minimalist high-pitched long-stretching tone, that slowly is overtaken by subtle percussive sounds. After that, follows a non-percussive track of pure ambient built on a thick buzzing noise drone, until another rhythm-based minimal track penetrates. After that comes an almost inaudible ambient piece of distant shortly after giving way to sixth piece - an interesting ambient piece that thanks to its distant melodic drone assisted by cow-bell reminiscent percussions recalls moments of Biosphere's masterwork "Substrata". If the album should ever be used to satisfy clubbers, seventh and final track is the one to go for. A catchy yet very abstract rhythm texture moves along echoed concrete sounds. Very interesting! Where aforementioned release was originally recorded back in 2004, present release is a live recording from the aforementioned concert of Freiband, held at The Public School in Brussels on the 11th December 2009. The album consists of one long piece running 17 minutes. It is a pure ambient piece that slowly develops from inaudible to slightly higher volume without ever getting loud - Alluring work! Last album, the 33rd release of M.O.L.L. is a mini compilation consisting of five tracks from three different projects. As the title suggests all five pieces circulates around Christmas as a subject, but do not expect any sweet tunes for Christmas eve on this one. Despite the great nostalgic photograph of a family in front of a Christmas tree, decorating the cover artwork, this is a demanding work! First track "Bell phase" is piece by concrete noise-project Kapotte Muziek composed in 1989, a short piece of electro acoustic noise drones probably derived from bells as sound sources. Next piece Stph (2001) is from Freiband and expressively it belongs to the opposite camp of first track being a more tranquilizing piece - a very nice atmospheric work indeed. Kapotte Muziek returns on third track titled "Audio plagio 7" this time with a less loud work never the less just as interesting a piece. Fifth track is the most Christmas-like tune with a small gentle melody of a musical box opening the piece. After that come the distant sounds of field recordings assisted by a Dutch-spoken voice. Last track is the short but quite effective track from Kapotte Muziek with the rather saying title "The normal x-mas records destruction". Three very interesting new titles from "My Own Little Label". (Niels Mark) Address:

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