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Vital Weekly 723

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JOHN BUTCHER - WEIGHT OF WAX (CD by Weight Of Wax)
If you stick around long enough, everything will return. Quite rightfully a lot of times. Forgotten classics from yesteryear, re-released. John Butcher re-releases his own 'Invisible Ear', which was released by the no longer active label Fringes in 2003 on his own Weight Of Wax label. I listened to this re-issue and then re-read the original 2003 review: "First of all I need to correct something on John Butcher: in Vital Weekly 374 a CD was reviewed by John Butcher, Thomas Lehn and Andy Moor, and it said that John Butcher "is associated with musicians such as Fred Frith, Misha Mengelberg, and Derek Bailey." That is not true, Butcher worked with Phil Minton, Derek Bailey and Gerry Hemingway. Butcher plays soprano and tenor saxophone. In general I am not particularly fond of saxophones, and always say that Borbetomagus is the only saxophone I can stand. I'd like to add Butcher's CD. He uses close miking and feedback in addition to his saxophone playing that makes it hardly possible to recognize any of it. Of the twelve pieces, only three are multi-tracks, the rest is recorded in one go. Somewhere, somehow you may recognize the wind sounds but can you in 'The Importance Of Gossip'? Vague rumbling, almost percussive with some beeps going on. Nothing like a saxophone. Blowing sounds can be recognized in some of the solo pieces, but here too it's hard. Taking the common playing of a saxophone a bit further is of course something that is much welcomed by me. The most regular saxophone piece here is 'atelier' and this nice short piece is actually quite alright. Maybe for the more regular lovers a relief after the crazy experimentation, maybe the die-hard improv lovers will see confirmation that this guy can really play, but for me it's just a ice addition to a great CD." Although I heard lots of similar playing afterwards, I think I still share the view of the previous review: a timeless classic, which is excellent to see in print again. (FdW) Address: http://www.johnbutcher.com


ASMUS TIETCHENS & RICHARD CHARTIER - FABRICATION 2 (2CD by Auf Abwegen)
The first collaborative result between Richard Chartier and Asmus Tietchens was called 'Fabrication' and released together with the rough sound material on a bonus CD. Apparently that was a way of working which both artists like, so its now continued on 'Fabrication 2'. The first 'Fabrication' was an exchange, back and forth, of sound material between the two, on this new one things are a bit different. One disc is the rough sound material composed by Chartier and on the second we find the reworks as carried out by Tietchens based on the Chartier piece. That piece, lasting thirty-nine minutes, is an odd one by Chartier. It is called 'an unusual improvisation' by him, and perhaps its so indeed. It has that, perhaps by now, 'classic' Chartier approach in sound: low, minimalist, drone like, with a minimum of clicks but its all indeed a bit more roughly put together, like more by accident than design. That adds a rather nice perspective to the piece and with those odd changes also perhaps the right source material for Tietchens. He knows his ways with material like this, and created eight different treatments of the material in a classic Tietchens manner. Classic by now, as it continues the sort of interest Tietchens developed in the 21st century, his 'Menge' series. Very sparse electronics, with an emphasis on drone like sounds and treatments in some click like sound. Simply great music, but perhaps I'm not the most objective person about Asmus Tietchens. I don't think I ever heard a bad thing from him. 'Fabrication 2' is a damn fine work among other damn fine works, and nothing that leaps out of that catalogue, but ranks with the best. (FdW)
Address: http://www.aufabwegen.com

 

DAVE PHILLIPS - ? (CD by Heart & Crossbone)
Noise. There are people out there, mainly youngsters devoted to noise, who think that I don't like noise. They are mistaken, and should check their history lessons. But these days, noise doesn't have my full attention anymore. I just heard too much of that, I guess, in those grey forgotten days. However sometimes I see something that is maybe 'noise' live and sometimes it blows me away. Sudden Infant for instance, very recently, and last year Dave Phillips. The former member of Fear Of God, a grindcore band, is connected to the Schimpfluch gang these days and his concert was a carefully constructed set of noise and silence. I may not have cared for the political overtones of his work, his noise went down pretty well. Its therefore with some anticipation that I played his new CD '?'. It was recorded 'during a period dominated by severe disturbances of loss, mental abysses and despair' and yes, we are not in for some fun for the next eighty minutes. Normally I would complain about the length of such a release, but somehow it all seems to make sense here. The shortest piece is just over one minute, the longest just under sixteen. And it seems to be without the sort of noise those earlier mentioned youngsters care about: Phillips uses loops, piano, concrete sounds, very little sound effects, so all the sounds are as a dry as possible, cello, accordion and voice material (sighing, moaning, crying) and the sounds of torture the human body. Like I said, nothing conservative noise here, but quite a depressing album altogether. Low bass sound here and there, obscured field recordings and such like make up the backbone, and top these repeating sound fragments of instruments and voices. Bleak, dark stuff. Not much information on the cover to go by, but depression has not be made that clear in quite some time. A creepy record, not for the weak of heart and mind. That's true noise for you. (FdW)
Address: http://www.HCBrecords.com


MATHIAS DELPLANQUE - PASSEPORTS (CD by Bruit Clair/Cronica Electronica)
The ever so active, but perhaps these days even more active Mathias Delplanque delivers another album here, co-released on his own Bruit Clair label and Cronica Electronica. This is a sort of thematic album, in which Delplanque uses field recordings from transport related areas, such as train stations, harbors, parking lots, transit areas all over France (Nantes, Lille and Dieppe to be precise). These sounds were played at home in various rooms, and then recorded along with sounds from outside. A working method that reminded me a bit of his empty room exploration of 'Ma Chambre Quand Je N'Y Suis Pas' (see Vital Weekly 560). There are no doubt all sorts of sound effects at work here, although perhaps mainly in the equalization part of this, this is ambient music pur sang. Music to fill an ambience with music to transform an ambience and to be transformed by an ambience. If you get my drift? Its not easy to say wether this was made when the field recordings were processed, or wether this is the actual result of some live-at-home mixing situation, but the music is quite good. Warm, glitch like drones swim around with all sorts of outdoor sounds leaking through in the mix. A refined combination of field recordings, microsound and electronic music, culminating in 'Passeport 7 (Nantes)', a most spacious piece of swarming drones and warm fields. Great one. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bruitclair.com


OJRA & ANDREY KIRITCHENKO - A TANGLE OF MOKOSHA (CD by Nexsound)
My predicament of Eastern European electronic musicians combining with folk songs to be the next big thing never set through, which was a pity since it could have been a really interesting thing, but perhaps its a slow wave: now there is a CD by Andrey Kiritchenko, the electronic hero from the Ukraine, who recorded a work with Ojra, a four piece band from the world of folk music. The opening piece 'Svity Misyachenko' reminded me of Dead Can Dance circa 'Aion' (a private favorite for whatever reason). It sets the tone for this release. Folky singing is of course what is at work here, but the instruments added make up a fine blend of music. On one hand there is the kazoo, violin, guitar, bass, dulcimer, kalimba, sopilka, dvoyanka, drymba, bayan and buhay (and I admit for some of those I have no idea what they look like) and on the other hand there are the electronics and field recordings of Kiritchenko. An odd combination perhaps, but the music is wonderful. Ancient perhaps, but also very modern. I am not sure if the instruments are 'processed' in any way - I think so, as sometimes there are loops and such like of those sounds - whereas the real instruments keep on playing in real time. The modern version of an old folk dance? Sometimes even augmented with almost techno music. This is exactly the combination of styles I thought would be the next big thing a few years ago, and hopefully now it will be pushed. This is an absolutely great disc which show the way out for laptop musicians wanting to do something radically different. Hardly folktronics, I'd say, but something entirely new altogether. (FdW)
Address: http://www.nexsound.org

 

ERCKLENTZ NEUMANN - LALIENATION (CD by Herbal International)
Quite a deceiving cover here which looks like the poster of a b-movie. Yet the music is nothing like that. Sabine Ercklentz plays trumpet and electronics and Andrea Neumann plays inside piano and mixing desk. Especially music by the latter we came across in the field of improvisation, and this disc is surely another fine work in that direction. But its also an expansion of their territory. Somewhere in the second piece, the title piece there is all of a sudden a rhythm coming in, which must be like heresy in the world of improvisation. The whole work is pretty vibrant with the trumpet being the sole fighter on the side of all things acoustic. It seems to me that the electronics play the main role here. Things are punched in and out and adds a certain roughness to the recording. Its a wild affair this one, with that trumpet in the middle of that battle of electronics, which are played as a collage like patterns. Sometimes Neumann plays rhythms on her piano, and even there is a bit of spoken word on 'Twin Quartet'. An excellent, most daring release of improvised music. Also included is a film for the title track, which is hard to believe - but a b-movie in itself. A most confusing ending to a great CD. (FdW) Address: http://www.herbalinternational.tk


DEAD VOICES ON AIR - THE SILENT WING (LP by Tourette Records)
Mark Spybey, also known as Dead Voices On Air, just slowly builds on his never ending discography. Here he adds a particular coherent record to the list 'The Silent Wing'. His previous releases, as far as I heard them I must admit, always seem to limp on various ideas: partly rhythmical, even kraut-like if you wish, partly atmospherical. Not a bad combination, but indeed well spotted to go for a record that would focus on one of these. As the title implies the ambient side of Dead Voices On Air prevails here. It seems to me that Mark locked himself in with a bunch of analogue synthesizers, some sound effects and taps into the same barrel as a lot of others who recently (re-)discovered cosmic music. Sustained sounds, bits of very light weight rhythm, some organ like/light sounds. Perhaps it seems all made with great ease, but that's ok: the result is great. Highly atmospheric in approach, quite dark most of the times, but also with small stripes of sunlight. Spring is coming, ladies and gentlemen (at least on this side of the equator). A delicate record, some excellent late night mood music. (FdW) Address: http://www.touretterecords.com

 

GW SOK & OLI HEFFERNAN - 2-2-3 FRIDGES/RID (7" EP at Sick Room Records)
GW Sok was singer of The Ex for many, many years. He stopped in January 2009 with this experimental post-punk band after 29 years with more than 1300 gigs all over the world, a great amount of albums and lots of collaborations with other musicians and bands all over the world. Just when he stopped Oli Hefferman requested GW Sok to participate in a new project. Oli played in the band Shrug from Middlesbrough and The Ex knows this band since the end of the eighties. Although the musicians haven't met each other alive they started a online cooperation.
Oli Hefferman had a lot of old tapes four track recordings, loops and fieldrecordings. At his opinion the compositions are this good that he decided to release them in a renewed version. Although he could not sing, he invited several singers like The Champagne, Mike Watt (Minutemen/Sonic Youth/The Stooges), Jimmy Mc Gee (The_Bobby_McGee's) and GW Sok. He send to GW Sok two compositions made by bells, piano, (distorted) guitar and more. Inspired by the music GW Sok wrote two lyrics in his typical way. Critical, rhythmical and with a dose of black humor and recorded the vocals in Amsterdam and send them by email to Oli Heffernan.
Oli Heffernan uploaded the several collaborations on his My Space website and the label Sick Room Records asked Oli to release them at this label. So they serial Detective Instinct started and the label released already four limited 7 inch EP,s. The project continues and I am curious to the other results. The lay-out is beautiful aswell. Old woodcuts of animals from an old book are used for the cover and gives a nostalgic atmosphere. This EP is nice intermezzo in the musical career of GW Sok and I really hope he will continue with this kind of small projects, because the EP sounds good and fresh. (Jan-Kees Helms) Address: http://www.sickroomrecords.com


THE SULPHUR YETI & FEVER SPOOR : TOY HORSES IN INTERZONE (CDR by Anima Mal Nata)
Marcel Herms is very active artist for many years. He makes drawings, paintings and music. His work is simple and direct and is coming direct from the heart. He works with the concept of William Burroughs : "in painting I see with my hands and I don't know what my hands have done until I look at it afterwards. It's when I look at the completed canvas that I know what the painting is about". He created his own fanzines, exhibitions and was active in mail-art. His DIY Amina Mal Nata label has released the 93th CDR. Mostly it are split-releases with his own musical projects and a guest musician. For now it is a split with for me the unknown band/musician The Sulpher Yeti from the U.K. The music of The Sulphur Yeti is experimental, acoustic-electronic and has an open and naive character. The sounds are built up with different layers where rhythm and a-rhythm are important ingredients of the musical palette. Many sound-sources has been used, like piano, plastic, synthesizer, guitar, found objects and many more. The music fits really good to the title of the CDR. Playing with all kinds of musical sources and make your own atmosphere. The strength of the music is that it will not result in chaos, but that it is still a controlled childish style. I am curious how The Sulphur Yeti will grow in making music, but it has great potency. Fever Spoor builds further on the concept of The Sulphur Yeti and uses electro-acoustic sounds, but less experimental and open. The sounds are more repeated in a droney way instead of the rhythmical manner. A nice follow-up of The Sulphur Yeti and makes the album more complete and variable. (Jan-Kees Helms)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/animamalnata


STIRNER - AFGESCHREVEN (CDR by Sum Rex)
STIRNER - VREDE EN WELVAART (CDR by Scum Rex)
DOODSHOOFD - GEENHEIDSWORST (CDR by Doodshoofd)
DOODSHOOFD (CDR by Doodshoofd)
OBSOLETE OFFICE EQUIPMENT - MADFUCK STIRNER COMP (CDR by Scum Rex)
The genre of noise whose origins are debated has given rise to the subgenre of HNW, Harsh Noise Wall, whose origins begin with the work of The Rita - (Sam McKinlay) and have associated artists such as The Cherry Point and Richard Ramirez which has provoked and divided many, given associations with and opposed minimalism, Dadaism et al. At times pointless descriptions of just what HNW is, and more interestingly if it can go anywhere - if not backwards. Its worth reiterating, something which HNW does all the time! Just what it represents, especially in the work above which seems to revolve around a Dutch collective focused @ a bland neat & suburban row of modern terraced houses which have the feel of the council estates I'm familiar with in England, but here its very neat and leafy with no graffiti to see - google street view is a wonderful toy. As the proliferation of releases and low fi packaging with what even in HNW is extreme in that little or no change occurs in the distorted white noise - there are no "events", ideas of theme progress or even time- marks the point of HNW which is opposite to everything that western culture was and is at its most popular and at its most cultured, at its most radical and conservative. Its quite amazing and quite obvious that these works - some of the best HNW that I've heard are from such an architecture which denies arche -" 'beginning', 'origin' or 'first cause' and 'power', 'sovereignty', 'domination'"- is a reversal of that- i.e. "'ending' 'destination' 'last event' 'weakness' 'uniformity' 'freedom'. "best" HNW as it marks such a non-arche point, whatever happens next these works mark a critical paradigm. Excellent! (jliat) Address c/o Tony Mulder Hoornbladstraat 194 7601 SR, Almelo The Netherlands


ROEL MEELKOP - GREY MASS/GREY MATTER (double 3"CDR by 1000Fussler)
The press text by Meelkop himself is pretty sketchy. He tells us that the tracks on this release have come 'together in a very satisfying way', although he doesn't give a reason for it. What is clear though is that all the sounds were taped in his environment (at home or when traveling) and that no electronic sounds were used. We have to believe him of course, but some of the sounds do seem electronically generated. No doubt he throws his sound material into the computer and then starts transforming each one beyond recognition. He uses all the tricks in the book to change those sounds. Then, in the next stage, he starts to compose with those sounds. Unlike so many other who don't get beyond the point of transformation and who are merely interested in showing their transformations, without presenting an actual composition. In that respect Meelkop is much closer to the original musique concrete composers than many of his peers (and those of the next generation). Relying both heavily on field recordings and computer treatments, Meelkop is more a traditional composer than a modern one. For him the beauty doesn't lie in the fact of being experimental or not, but in the beauty of everyday sound, which is so perfectly well suited for composing. The six pieces on this double release are just another perfect example of that. It made me wonder: why didn't he rise to the same fame as others have? Curious. He deserves it. (FdW) Address: http://www.1000fussler.com

 

 

The complete "Vital Weekly" is available at: Vital Weekly

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