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Vital Weekly 722

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KLINGT.ORG - 10JAHRE BESSERE FARBEN (2CD compilation by Mikroton Recordings)
Among the mass of e-mails I get, there is always some from, which I shamefully admit, never bother to read. Its never clear wether I should put this into Vital Weekly. Maybe it seems like a world of its own. Perhaps it is. If I understand the booklet here right, its a sort of digital community of people working together, started by dieb13 and it resembles a cafe from his home-town Vienna. You can sit down and talk, in all quietness. Musicians can exchange ideas or sounds. Once year the leave digispace and there is a concert. I believe this double CD is a collection of both live recordings of various concert recordings and perhaps some other solo pieces (I am not entirely sure here), and some are made with digital means of exchange. A soundpool of some kind. Some 140 minutes, which is not easy to digest I should think, but the sequencing of the pieces is done in a great way. My suggestion would be to not look at the tracklist, the names of the players but have this playing from begin to end. Then it will sound like an electro-acoustic concert, partly in pure electronic areas, then a few real instruments, cut-up of sound material and the crackles of contact microphones. (Perhaps even then this might all be a bit long, I admit that, but then I played the first one yesterday and the second today). There is a bit of everybody in there, at least if you are open-minded towards a lot of what Vital Weekly stands (and that's why you are here, right?). Some of the names here then: Christof Kurzmann, The Magic I.D., Goh Lee Kwang, dieb13, erikM, Billy Roisz, Siewert, Jez Riley, Toshimaru Nakamura, K&K, Boris Hauf, Hose... and that's about one third of all the names included here. An excellent compilation/overview of a movement. (FdW) Address:


VEX'D - CLOUD SEED (CD by Planet Mu)
Two new and very different releases from Planet Mu - the label of drill'n'bass artist Mike Paradinas alias mu-Ziq. Originally started by Virgin Records in the mid-90's. When it turned out that Virgin didn't do well in marketing this kind of music, Mike Paradinas set up the label independently in 1998. Since then a great number of albums have been launched from the label. Over the years the span of releases seems progressively wider. One of the latest releases comes from the british duo Vex'd consisting of Jamie Teasdale and Roly Porter. The project takes its starting point in the dubstep-scene and regarded as being part of the pioneering wave of dubstepper's with their first release in 2004. That the first release titled "Function" was released from the label "Drum + breaks" with roots in the city of Bristol doesn't come as a surprise as you listen to this new album titled "Cloud seed". A number of tracks, first of all "Heart space" has some clear fingerprints of the Bristol-born trip hop-style with associations pointed towards Portishead, with the addition of vocalist Anneka reminiscent of Björk or Norwegian Stinna Nordenstamm. Other tracks like "Disposition" features some excellent rapping from Jest adding an excellent aggressive edge to the dubstep-beats. There is nice contrast between the hardcore dubstep-pieces featuring samples and darkside-basslines and then other tracks where the rhythm-textures has been added great atmospheric ambient-scapes. Excellent album. As said, there is a great contrast between the "Cloud seed"-album of Vex'd and the other new shot from Planet Mu: The Internal Tulips is an American project consisting of Brad Lamer and Alex Graham. Both artists have a background in the rock-based soundworld; a fact the seems obvious as you listen to the album carrying the odd title "Mislead into a field by a deformed deer". The band balances between electronica and acoustic music carried by vocals that draws associations towards John Lennon and Jonathan Donahue (vocalist of Mercury Rev). There is a nice melancholic feel to the music reminiscent of the aforementioned bands, Beatles and Mercury Rev. Also the style of David Sylvian drifts somewhere in the music. An excellent album that despite its great distance from the usually cutting edge sounds from the Planet Mu-label, is a gem in the catalogue and definitely an album worth checking out! (Niels Mark) Address:

Kyriakides (1969) comes from Cyprus, moved to Britain and settled down later in Amsterdam. Here he studied with Louis Andriessen and collaborated with Dick Raaymakers. Although I know him by name I did not encounter earlier any his works . This will change now. With "Antichamber" I have two CDs in my hands filled with 10 of his works composed between 1995 and 2007.150 minutes in total! It will take some time to learn all these works well. They are released by Unsounds, a label that he runs with Andy Moor (The Ex). No wonder in the past already several other CDs carrying his works saw the light. By the way, with Andy Moor Kyriakides also has a performing duo of improvised music. But above all Kyriakides is a very productive composer who wrote for many ensembles and orchestras. It is always a surprise to enter the musical universe of a composer at a first meeting. In the case of Kyriakides it sure is a complete and unique universe that I discovered. All works on "Antichamber" have in common that they are written for a limited group of instrumentalists, varying from piece to piece. In most works also electronic technology is involved. This has a widening effect, making the music much 'broader' then just a combination of a few acoustic instruments. Kyriakides has his special method of bringing acoustic and electronic sound sources together. Along both ways Kyriakides builds music of great nuance and detail, and rich sound scapes. Dramatically spoken none of the works direct to climaxes. Instead they meander peacefully and with grace through unknown landscapes. The opening piece "Telegraphic" plays in a wonderful way with telegraphic codes. "Zeimbebiko 1918" is for violin an guitar, plus surface noises of old vinyl and short cuts from an old rembetika recording. Kyriakides turns to his roots here I suppose. These and all other pieces are instrumental ones, except "U" that is for eight part choir and sinewaves. Of course not all compositions worked for me. "Chaoids" has boring minimal-music like passages that irritated me enormously. The closing piece "Atopia" is again a beautiful piece, this time made up of lengthy drones. No idea to what extent we have explored Kyriakides musical universe with this double CD, as he wrote also for greater ensembles and orchestras. But no doubt Kyriakides is on the map now in my musical universe. Great music! (Dolf Mulder) Address:


My first response while listening to this new CD by Creshevsky is a big smile. This is fabulous and intelligent music that opens ones heart. Creshevsky is active in electronic composition since 1971 after studying with Nadia Boulanger in Paris and Luciano Berio. That's some time ago. So I think it is quite exceptional for a modern composer of this generation still to be so musically active, plus having the opportunity of works released on a label like Tzadik. With "Twilight of the Gods" he has his second album out on this label. Without judging on Creshevsky's colleagues, I think this attention is fully deserved. Creshevsky is into electro-acoustical metamusic. Music that is constructed out of already existing music, without leaning on their compositional structures. Creshevsky himself describes his music as 'hyperrealist' as a name for the electroacoustic language that he developed over the years. One of its characteristics is that Creshevsky builds his compositions from natural ingredients. Sounds, mostly from traditional instruments, found in our environment. Creshevsky does not treat the sound material as such, what makes his compositions sound very natural. Instruments, voices and natural sounds can easily be identified. However Creshevsky has caught them in structures that are beyond human capacities if it comes to performing them. Especially for the opening and closing pieces on this album, Creshevsky recruited several musicians. This raises the question whether he in these cases first wrote playable acoustic music for several musicians with the intention to use the recording for his hyperrealist procedures. Listening to 'Happy Ending' that has rock elements as well jazzy guitar playing by Rodney Jones, I suppose this is the case. And also 'Gotterdammerung' the opening piece is prove of this. Surely this is the most exuberant composition on the album. In the first part jazz dominates. With a female singer that changes to a jewish singing style from time to time. This is continued in the second part of very up tempo klezmer. I have a special weakness for the piece "Brother Tom", where Creshevsky uses vocal samples of Thomas Buckner. It is a beautiful 'simple song', evidencing that Creshevsky does not get lost in an aimless complexity of possible worlds. "Estancia" built from acoustic guitar samples, breathes spanish atmospheres. As a composition it stays close - in a way - to the idiom of the classical spanish guitar music on the samples. Each work on this CD is an example of the same paradoxical game Creshevsky plays. Staying close as much as possible to traditional sounds and idioms, and at the same moving away from it as far as you can. With very enjoying and powerful results. (Dolf Mulder)


LORI FREEDMAN - BRIDGE ( CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
NOUS PERCONS LES OREILLES - SHAMAN ( CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
KLAXON GUEULE - INFININIMENT ( CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
QUASER - MIROIR DES VENTS ( CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
A solo-, a duo- , a trio-album and one by a quartet. That is one way of ordering these new releases by Ambiances Magnetiques. Musically however these four albums touch on very different grounds. Lori Freedman returns with a beautifully recorded solo album called 'Bridge'. All nuances and colors of her playing can be noticed and fully enjoyed on this crystal clear recording. Freedman leads us through ten works that have her playing bass clarinet, accompanied by Brigitte Poulin (piano) on 'Flicker' (Michel Galante). Some of them are improvisations. Others are compositions by well-known (Scelsi) and not so well-known composers like Monique Jean, Pascal Dusapin, Franco Donatini, etc. Improvising and playing composed music are equally important for Freedman at this stage of her career and that's why we find examples of both of them on this record. The contrasts I experienced do not exist between the improvised pieces on the one hand, and the composed ones on the other. Freedman choose very different works to interpret, offering a diverse richness and many contrasts. For instance, 'Clair' (1980) by Donatelli plays intelligently with jazz idiom and is a pleasantly light and positive work. Scelsi's 'Maknongen' (1976) remains in dark and low sections that are interrupted by almost screaming outbursts. Improvisation and composition are combined in 'Brief Candles' a work composed by Freedman. The closing piece 'Low Memory 3' by Monique Jean is the only electroacoustic work. The clarinet is surrounded here with sounds that range from ambient-like to very noisy eruptions.
Nous Perçons Les Oreilles is Jean Derome and Joane Hetu. They present their next step under this name after a silence of about eight years. 'Shaman' is their third work. We hear Hetu on sax and voice. Derome also on sax and voice plus flute and objects. Emotional and intense improvisations. With the title 'Shaman' they want to hint at their conviction that their work is "closer to the world of healing, supernatural communication, and ancestral memory than the world of entertainment."
I'm always especially curious after new releases by Michel F. Côté. He is a very interesting musician who deserves a much broader attention if you ask me. For instance for his fantastic Klaxon Gueule. This is Michel F Côté (drums, percussion), Bernard Falaise (guitar) and Alexandre St-Onge (bass). They started in 1995, and with 'Infininiment' they are ready for their fifth statement after a silence of 5-year silence. Helped out by Gordon Allen , Jean Derome and Philippe Lauzier. It is not necessary to introduce the three core members as they are very profiled artists, all of them involved in numerous other musical projects. Klaxon Gueule combines these extraordinary talents who are very equipped to interpret Cote's bizarre musical visions. In a very abstract manner his music stays linked with rock, and more explicit it shows relations with improvised music. It is very rewarding and enjoyable to listen to all short movements and actions by the different players, and to experience how they intertwine into a strong nucleus of linear moving music.
Quasar is a saxophone quartet. Marie-Chantal Leclair, Mathieu Leclair, Andre Leroux and Jean-Marc Bouchard, are the players. They play works from six canadian composers of whom only Claude Vivier who died in 1983 is known to me. No wonder 'Pulau Dewata' (1974) by Vivier is the oldest composition played by this quartet. The CD opens with 'Miroir des vents' by Luc Marcel, thoroughly composed piece. 'Geyser Ghetto' from Michel Frigon is an evocation of the powers of nature as met in the phenomenon of geysers. No wonder a very dynamic piece. One feels the pressures that geysers cause. "Iskra" by Wolf Edwards is a wild and anarchistic piece. Here the quartet comes most close to the phrasing, etc. that we know from improvisation and free jazz. Especially in the power play by one of players in the beginning of the piece. With 'Giuco Piano' by Frangis Nurulla-Khoja we come in calmer realms. And 'Pulau Dewata' by Vivier is the most friendly sounding piece. Often it is close to minimal music. No wonder as it is inspired on Balinese music. Concerning the closing piece by Jean-Franois Laporte, the title says it all: 'Le chant de l'inauduble'. Through long extended notes, the music moves very slowly staying very close to silence. The richness of the work is revealed if you listen very carefully and discover the diversity in sounds and textures. (Dolf Mulder) Address:


KOBI - EARPLUGGED (CD by End of Hum)
KOBI - LIVE IN JAPAN (CD by End of Hum)
Earplugged is Kai Mikalsen's solo (studio?) " death-ambient album the world has been waiting for.." consisting of very gentle scrapes and clicks... I could save space and time by a link or cut and paste to my thoughts on Spruit. (I won't) The consequences of accepting the greatness of Kant, none seem yet to knock him down, put so simply as I can, to the extent of making the ridiculous, is that we only see, hear, feel and know by virtue of what *we are* not by virtue of *what is*. That's probably good, at least evolutionarily, because otherwise the world would appear to us like the LSD trip magnified to infinity. We cope with the world because its our world, there is no point in waiting for godot, he wont come because he is already here, if not the actual saviour, not the actual infinite being of the second coming, i.e. the product of some grand experiment in art, the whole of metaphysics is nothing more than the feeling a child has on Christmas eve, assuming she/he is living in an affluent tolerant middle class western household, and so at the most transcendental he/she will only see Santa kissing mommy. There is a chapter in John Barrow's book on impossibility entitled "Does Gödel Stymie Physics", well does Godot stymie experimentalism - I guess so. (I should have said Kant but the symmetry wouldn't be the same.) On the second CD, Kai Mikalsen is joined by Petter Flaten, Eilertsen and Kelly Churko in a live piece of abstract improv which is much more interesting as its not a dead metaphysical monster, who never existed and who never will, but good ole humanity interacting, so from the above, replace Santa with Daddy, and kissing with what ever possibility turns you on. Its amusing, worrying, funny, serious .. Human work, one in which its possible to hear the breath of God, as "performance". (jliat)
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The second release by Heaven And, a quartet of musicians: Martin Siewert (guitar), Tony Buck (drums), Steve Heather (drums) and Zeitblom (bass, keyboards), and their second album is also named after Blind Wilie Johnson song. Like their first album, 'Sweeter As The Years Roll By' (see Vital Weekly 618), they continue to experiment with elements from jazz, post/free/whatever rock, slide guitars and bits of noise. Still there is a strong element of retro to this music, blues, jazz, improvisation to it, with all the various incarnations of guitar music from past hundred years, but throughout I enjoyed this album more than I did the previously. I am not sure why that is. Maybe the pieces are better in terms of compositions? Maybe less free form? Strongly melancholic this music, very krautrock at times, very old, but never the less also quite nice. Maybe its because the rain makes me sad and bluesy? (FdW)


HANNAH PEEL - RE-BOX (7" by Static Caravan)
Actually I should not be reviewing music by Static Caravan. Their releases are usually far away from the madding crowd called Vital Weekly. Its never improvised, noise, onkyo, field recordings, droning ambient and all such like, but Static Caravan deal with popmusic. And we don't, right? Wrong. Whenever a parcel from Static Caravan lands, a smile is to be found here: popmusic! And to be more precise, popmusic from the leftfield of the biz, and its usually great. Serafina Steer plays the harp and signs. She already released a CD and a 3"CDR and here gets help from Capital K and Benge in the form of production. The already great folky music of Steer benefits greatly from the added production skills. There are synth lines, synthetic and real drums, and even an up-tempo song like 'Margoton', which reminded me Nouvelle Vague. It pushes, from time to time, the folk aspect of Steer's music to the background and makes it even more (hurrah) pop-like. An excellent CD, the perfect anti-dote after a long day of 'difficult' music.
Hannah Peel plays music boxes (with those long strings of paper with holes in it) and sings. She does four covers here, all of which I happen to have in the original 7" and 12" form: 'Sugar Hiccup' (Cocteau Twins), 'Electricity' (OMD - an all time stand out classic par excellence), 'Tainted Love' (Gloria Jones - well, I have the Soft Cell version) and 'Blue Monday' (New Order). Peel plays them in a very unique private way. Quiet, almost folk like. She doesn't have the drama of Liz Frazer, or the coolness of Sumner, or the drive of OMD - but she does perform 'Electricity' with OMD's Andy Mclusky. She renders all four from the original form into something very much her own. Did I just mention Nouvelle Vague? Hannah Peel does something equally ground breaking I think. She might be a novelty act, but it should be a big one. I can't choose between 'Electricity' or 'Blue Monday' to my favorite here, but I love 'm all. And that's why Static Caravan makes me happy and that's why they fit in Vital Weekly - I can finally ramble about my favorite music. (FdW)

Its been a while since we last heard a new 7" by Meeuw Muzak, busy with a private life these days and nights (congratulations from the entire VW team on that mister Meeuw) but then here a brand new 7" by Mark Boombastik, who already released 'I Hate Art Galleries' on the same label, as well as material for other labels, such Solotempo, Lou Records, Gagarin Records, Tomlab etc. His background is in the field of hip hop, so he's probably better known in other, non Vital areas. He has worked with Patric Catani (Candie Hank), Funkstoerung, Felix Kubin and such alike. The music is not really hip hop like (as far as I can judge, not being fully known with the genre), but Boombastik uses a stomping rhythm, deep bass sound, something that sounds like a theremin and German vocals, which sing about our love for plastic. Quite biting the a-side, maybe even a political edge to it. The b-side is a looped voice duet between 'where is my hope' and 'where is my fear', along with fucked up rhythm backing. Quite chilling this one. Great labels here too: based on the energy chocolate which keeps drivers awake - Meeuw should remember that from a shared experience with the writer! (FdW) Address:

Caves aren't exactly the things you find in The Netherlands, but Machinist make cave like music. Machinist is Zeno van den Broek from Rotterdam and since 2005 he has released a couple of CDRs and played a few selected concerts. On this new release he gets help from Sven Schlijper who recites a text and Elleke Bosma, who plays cello on two tracks. As said cave music, by which mean music that is very, very dark (as in no light), but also using the reverb of caves. I believe to be hearing - although not entirely sure - lots of heavily processed guitars, even more electronics, some field recordings and a fair amount of dark percussive sounds. Despite what it says on the press release '... opens up the auditory point of view of the listener at an open and wide panoramic vista of emotions with a sharp focus on the horizon', I hear perhaps something else. This is music from a claustrophobic point. Hermetically closed, grey/black landscape music. Having said that, its not a judgment or a negative qualification per se. It might not be entirely my cup of coffee, this kind of music (being too black, grim and hinting towards things I don't care about - maybe a bit too gothic?), I can see that Machinist plays his music with great care. Its excellently produced, the individual compositions are kept into a great time frame and calls the dark beast out its hole. Its about time he moved to doing real CDs, I'd say. (FdW)

Noise with a twist from this crafty Norwegian sound-smith, who has a distinct penchant for the dark and ominous. 'Jernvognen' itself is a reference to a 1909 mystery novel by Stein Riverton, which revolves around a "mysterious chariot which move[s] in the dead of night without leaving any track." Intriguing subject matter, no doubt, though for me this record's prime attribute is its stark evocation of the pitch-black arctic night. Nowhere is this more evident than on its sublimely atmospheric final composition, whose fragile, pensive drone ebbs in and out, accompanied by subtle guitar tomfoolery and a chilled, industrial ambiance. A delicious conclusion to the ordeal, it sends the listener skyward in a a whirl of Aurora Borealis and twinkling little stars. The rest of the record explores depraved, distorted guitar drone, as on evil part one (replete with sonic waves and shreds glistening above the noise) and steadily dissolute part two. Meanwhile, the record's menacing third part deserves special note, as it craftily weds a brooding melodic loop to all sorts of bass-heavy interference. (Michael Tau) Address:


I am not a lover of all harsh noise - in fact, I can be quite captious about the matter - but I really dig noise like this, which offers that deliciously odious sense of teetering just over the brink. 'Waste Not Want Not' is a rather riveting assault, and it conveys its intensity admirably - it's unabashedly abrasive and menacingly nihilistic, but carefully designed for maximum impact. Dig album-best "Bats in the Belfry," which attacks like a vicious steam engine barreling forward; it's all windy pedal abrasion and spasmodic hyper-drilling - a beautiful flower of a harsh noise assault that will drive noiseheads into ecstasy and roommates up the wall. The soundtrack to fucked up things happening, in short. On the other hand, "Fresh Grave, Well... Get In..." is somehow a more reasoned and musical affair (we're still talking about abrasive noise here, however), while brief "Well So Long Then" clatters randomly, employing far more negative space than its two discmates. Yes, 'Waste Not Want Not' peaks early, but that shouldn't discredit its blissful spectacle of chaos. (Michael Tau)

LEIF ELGGREN - ALL ANIMALS ARE SAINTS (cassette by The Tapeworm)
MELTAOT - FIRST AND SECOND RITES (cassette by The Tapeworm)
The cassette is back - there is little doubt about that. It was never away I guess. Over the years I used to play my favorites from twenty years ago, but added not many new favorites, simply because for years not many were released. But its back, and one of the more interesting new labels is The Tapeworm - loosely connected to Touch, in which online shop you can order them. The cassette also a playground for new names, ideas and small concepts. For instance Baraclough, the longest of these four releases. A group of Paul de Casparis, Eddie Nuttall and Dale Cornish, from London. Whatever instrument they play is not revealed (information on all covers is sparse), but there might be a synthesizer, maybe some bowed instrument, voices, a laptop filled with field recordings? Who knows. Three lengthy pieces (repeated on the b-side). Although I think the music is made through improvisation, it has very little do with improvised music. Quite loop based, with a kind of repressed noise in the background. A pretty obscure release I'd say, and perhaps tracks are bit too long, but it also has something quite captivating about it. Hard to say what exactly, but I surely liked it.
Leif Elggren was in London in November 2009 to present his DVD release 'Death Travels Backwards' (see Vital Weekly 710). The first night he read a story, followed by music of a highly strange kind. It sounds electronic, with all sorts of peeps with intervals of a varying length - it could be processed voice. It has that sort of minimalist sound that we know and love Elggren for. Then the story continues and more processed sounds. An odd piece. The b-side is entirely instrumental with some odd sound from a small organ, and what seems to be the squeaking of a door or some other object being rubbed. Perhaps not indeed the sort of thing to put on a CD release, but surely quite captivating. A great private document.
Behind Tongues Of Mount Meru we find one Jon Wesseltoft and the well-known Lasse Marhaug. One would perhaps expect some noise release, or cut-up collage like sounds, but these two pieces sound like these two found a bunch of cheap bontempi keyboards. Pressing a few chords down on all of them, they sit behind a mixing board mixing the sounds together. Welcome ye of drone music! Its the kind of drone music I like very much - lover all of organs. Hardcore minimalism at work here, with slow changes in the sound material, but piercing throughout. Not in a noise way, but in a more upfront manner. The new plasticity of drone music. Simply yet effective. Great release.
The final release is the shortest, by one SavX, who plays 'electric rooster guitar' and Sharon Gal on electric bass, voice, percussion and feedback, who work as Meltaot. Here we land in noise territory, but perhaps due to the quality which comes with medium, its not loud as such. Improvised noise, bending guitar, feedback in the background and distortion pedals used sparsely throughout, this is however my least favorite of the four. Maybe its because I am not that fond (anymore) of noise, or perhaps I heard too many of these noisy guitar improvisations. Not bad, but a little worn out. (FdW) Address:


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