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Vital Weekly 729

img  Tobias Fischer

DIRAC - PHON (CD by Valeot)
The first release by Dirac was a self-titled album for U-Cover, which I missed out upon, but the second 'Emphasis' was reviewed in Vital Weekly 708. Here is their third album. Dirac is a trio of Peter Kutin, Daniel Lerchner and Florian Kindlinger, and among them they use laptops and acoustic instruments. The press text says that this CD consists of 'one track, an uncut first take recording', yet the cover of the CD says it was 'performed & arranged by Dirac 2007-2010'. That seems to be some sort of contradiction. Unless of course they have been rehearsing for three years to record this version (or perhaps recording it for three years to arrive what they see as the ultimate version. That's also possible). The one piece has four parts as outlined on a drawing on the cover, which perhaps shows how the volume evolves on this recording. Dirac say they play 21st century chamber music. The music here seems a bit 'louder', or perhaps 'more present' than on the previous release, but all along deal with the same approach. Dirac plays some excellent mood music. Highly drone based most of the times, with some oil installation like percussive sounds in the third part. Whatever those laptops do around here is not easy to say and instrument wise I can merely say that I am bound think its a lot of guitars and effects at work here. But everything blurs in a nice way together and it doesn't seem to matter what is what here. An excellent release, that should appeal to those who like their drones to be both ambient and a bit (post-) rock inspired. (FdW)


ATLATL - DRAWS THE ATLANTIC (CD by Mimeomeme Recordings)
14 tracks of various length from a minute and a half through to 20, all a very eclectic mix of abstract electronica ranging from near sub harmonic hum through to top end whistle and crunch, a kind of electronic sounds of the rain forest in parts, though swathes of silence and near silence in others (if you can have a swathe of silence). I can imagine some will find this flora and fauna of silicon life forms fascinating, something to explore and catalogue, I've mentioned before with similar work that I can get visual metaphors with the graphic work of Paul Klee, these "creatures" of a carefully woven cyber imagination cavort and gamble for 70 odd minutes within their own virtual world. (jliat) Address

Not much information on this new release by Christopher McFall. 'composed in Kansas City, MO 2008-9', 'untitled i-vii' and the title. Not even the website of Asher's label Sourdine is mentioned on the package. Let the music speak for itself. McFall has had already a bunch of releases on Gears Of Sand and Entr'acte, and also in the digital domain his work can be found. Up until now I believed his work was mainly based around the extensive use of field recordings and processing thereof. The empty land around Kansas City, the empty warehouses and silos, but here, perhaps for the first time, it seems that McFall also uses musical instruments, primarily, I think, piano sounds. These too are processed, and mingled with the field recordings and voice material. Its an interesting new phase McFall enters here. The overall musical touch brought to the table is gentle, quiet and altogether alters the music of McFall quite a bit. The sound is deepened, without losing its original focus. The musical elements are a great supplement to the field recordings, but perhaps that could also be said vice versa. An excellent work. This music indeed speaks for itself. (FdW)

The press text doesn't say much about the background of Bernard Loibner, but a little search reveals we already a work from him as early as Vital Weekly 338, 'Trans/mute' on All Quiet. He was the co founder of the band All Quiet On The Western Front and works as a composer and computer musician in Vienna. Yet his work is far away from the computernoise of the Mego posse. Loibner takes a few sounds, or perhaps even a single sound and starts playing around with it, using all sorts of computer treatments. To a certain degree his work is pretty abstract, but it stays rather playful. Popmusic isn't the word I'm looking for, but he keeps his compositions relatively short and to the point. Musique concrete might be the right word too, but his work sounds different. Sampling the hell out of his material, its above highly vibrating stuff. Ranging from quiet to loud, his music is all over the dynamic spectrum. At times it seems like all of this is made through improvisation, but then it certainly has been edited with great care. Included are the playing of the quarter-tone trumpet of Franz Hautzinger, the guitar of Berni Hammer and the voice of Melita Jurisic. Quite an exciting release of... well for the lack of better word electronic, experimental popmusic. Just that long silence in 'Follow' is a bit tedious. (FdW)


Right along the lines of Merzbow and Machinefabriek, we have Muller, Gunter, another one of those busy bees who releases CDs on end. Here with Jason Kahn (same story) and Christian Wolfarth. A trio of analog synthesizer (Kahn), Ipods and electronics (Muller) and percussion (Wolfarth) with a recording they made in Zurich last year. Sometimes I wonder if there is a concert recording that is not released by them? Sometimes I also wonder if there is someone who has all of these CDs by say Kahn or Muller? No matter how much I like these releases, and this new one is not different, there is a flood of releases like this by them, and perhaps they should be more critical as to what they release. Like said, this new releases is another fine example of what they do: playing stretched out, improvised music, with a lot of precision for the smallest details. Especially Kahn and Muller play such things with great care. Due to the electronic of their set-up, it doesn't sound like improvised music. Buzzing, drone like sounds, with electronics crackles on top. Wolfarth keeps his percussive sounds to a minimum too, gentle using only a small set up and he plays his percussion as it were an acoustic drone thing; rotating sounds on the cymbal, or on the bass drum. An excellent work indeed of highly dense music. But, and that's the downside perhaps, nothing that we haven't heard before by either of them. If you joined Vital Weekly say in the last month and you are clueless as who these people, 'Limmat' is a great place to discover them. (FdW)


Though he's active in the musical field since twenty-five years, his name doesn't appear very often in Vital Weekly: Philippe Petit. Mainly known as the boss of Bip-Hop, but also a DJ and composer and a frequent collaborator, with Lydia Lunch, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Leafcutter John, Simon Fischer Turner and such celebrities, here he teams up with someone I never heard of, K11, also known as Pietro Riparbelli. He's a man to use short wave signals and art/sound installations. He also adds voice and field recordings to this collaborative work, while Petit himself gets credit for processed acoustics/field recordings, electronics, turntables and glass manipulations. He's also the one who 'arranged, edited and mixed' it. The three tracks, obviously in a triptych I'd say, are indeed haunting, as also mentioned in title. Each of the pieces is a multi-layered beast of sound information. Feedback like, high tones, distorted guitars, a deep end bass sound, everything is there to create a creepy sound. I believe its Petit's interest to create cinema/soundtrack like pieces of music, and here he, with Riparbelli succeed well in their job. Slow moving, endless on the sustain, dark and menacing. The references they make go out to Nurse With Wound, Eno, Lynch and Lustmord. Now, I'm not sure about the first two, but certainly about the latter two. Think, say, 'The Monstrous Soul' or 'Paradise Disowned' to be the soundtrack of Lynch film and you might awfully be close to what K11 and Petit create here. Dark, haunting, drone-like and hermetically closed. Not to be played in the dark by the weak of hearth. (FdW) Address:


Some months ago I saw at Extrapool a great concert of two drummers/percussion players, Micheal Vorfeld and Christian Wolfarth. Totally acoustic but with some electricity charged to it. It was great to see people actually play the music, rather than just hearing it, which might be one of those little problems of reviewing CDs. But with that concert in mind, its not difficult to listen to Wolfarth's latest collaboration, with Enrico Malatesta, who is 25 years younger than he is. He has played with Manuel Mota, Eli Keszler, Tristan Honsinger, Julian Reiss and Stefano Pilia, whereas Wolfarth has played with virtually anyone on the improvised music field. A year ago, the two recorded their seven pieces and it sounds like a great meeting of two alike minds. They too operate in that very field of sound exploration of an instrument, or, as in this case, two of the same instruments. The drum kits are to be recognized as such, but the playing is extended: scraping, hitting, cuddling, and all of this with a wide combination of objects to create a wide variety of sounds. Some highly refined playing going on here. Improvisation of a somewhat lighter kind - you can focus on it, but you can also sit back and let it flow immensely. (FdW)


KUCHEN & ROWE & SEYMOUR (CD by Another Timbre)
AP'STROPHE - CORGROC (CD by Another Timbre)
Three new releases on Another Timbre, with its quickly growing catalogue of improvised music. The first release is a recording on June 14 2009 at the church of St. James the lesser near Sheffield by Martin Kuchen (alto saxophone), Seymour Wright (alto saxophone) and the 'famous' Keith Rowe (electric guitar). This is quite some intense playing here. These thirty-five minutes contain some extreme material - not extreme as overtly loud (save for the last few minutes, with some piercing tone material), but an extreme exploration of the sounds that one can produce with such instruments. Its hard to recognize the instruments - especially the saxophones, but also Rowe's guitar treatments is excellent. Through they explore their instruments for all those qualities which one never thought they would have, but also these three keep an open ear as to what the others are doing and respond to that. Certainly not easy music, but one that needs attention. If you do that, it will reveal some great beauty.
Another new name for me is Havard Volden, who plays 12-string guitar and objects. He played two concerts in Norway in 2008 with Toshimaru Nakamura and his no-input mixing board. I am not sure if these were edited, or if these twenty-two minutes are the complete recordings. Not that it matters that much of course. There is some great powerful playing going on here. Nakamaru is a drift here with his no input mixer, layering a firm foundation of buzzing, ringing and crackling sounds. Volden plays his guitar with the objects, subtracting an interesting range of odd tones from the 12 strings. Bowing, plucking and hitting become a steady stream here that goes along fine with the stream of consciousness sounds from Nakamaru. Or perhaps Volden leads and Nakamaru follows? I don't know, but its surely a great flow and fine interaction.
The final release is Ap'strophe, the only release here, which has a bandname attached to it. Its a duo of one Dimitra Lazaridou Chatzigoga on zither and the more known Ferran Fages on acoustic guitar. Its also the only one which was recorded in a studio, and probably mixed from various microphone recordings. I'm not sure, but there seems to be some form of amplification, as things buzz around at times. But its the acoustic playing that prevails here. Both the zither and the guitar are plucked, bowed, hit. Most of the time with loving care, but at some occasions also with brutal force, and things start ringing and buzzing around. A release that covers the whole territory of loud vs quiet, noise vs silent, carefulness and brute force. Quite a demanding release too, which requires ones full attention before giving its beauty. Three excellent releases. (FdW) Address:


HEU(S-K)ACH - UN (CDR at Mitenand)
Diatribes (d'incise: laptop & treatements, objects, percussions and Cyril Bondi: drums, percussions) from Swiss is always looking for collaborations with other musicians. For this CDR they played with Piero SK (saxophones, metal clarinet), Robert Rehnig (laptop and software instruments), Johannes Sienknecht (laptop & software instruments) and HKM+. HKM+ is a german trio consists of of Ludger Hennig (software instruments), Christof Knoche (bass clarinet / electronics) and Markus Markowski (prepared guitar/ software instruments). These eight people who are active in the field of electro-acoustic music and free-jazz stay for two days in an abandoned building in Leipzig and record what has happened during the improvisations of music without any borders. It could have been a mess without any structure and going wild into nothing. But that doesn't happen. The musicians listen very close to each other and they are building up fragile walls of sound and afterwards it is time for demolition of this wall. The atmosphere of the release is pure, calm, open, quick, silent, slow, harsh, wild and many more. Sometimes it is just free-jazz, sometimes it is just improvisation of sound, sometimes it is funny, sometimes it is melancholic. Anyhow it is organic.
Heu(s-K)Ach is another project with the very active musician d'incise, but it is more drony, slow and atmospheric than Diatribes. He plays with Marcel Chargin (guitar and bass-drum). In July 2009 the duo did an concert at Tivoli16 in Geneva and the four improvisation pieces are released as a netrelease at Test Tube and in a beautiful package at Mitenand. The album starts with sounds of crushing objects, cymbals and tones of an electric guitar. "Deux" is more quiet and the drony guitar sounds are supported by electronic sounds and bells or something like Tibitan singing bowls. The stringsounds roll closely with the ongoing sounds of these instruments. "Trois" builds up very slowly and the alternation of warm bellsounds and harsh electronics fits really well and moves into a restless noisy end. The last track "Quatre" ends also with a great diversity of sounds and atmospheres created by for example slide guitar, high bell tones. "Un" is the first CD of this new project of the free-minded d'incise. I like the calm atmosphere which he created with Marcel Chargin and the exploration of the most intense combination of soundwaves and rhythms. (Jan-Kees Helms)


This is the second release by Hiroki Sasajima we hear, following 'Monogenic' on Sentient Recognition Archive (see Vital Weekly 699). 'Nille' is a much different work than 'Monogenic'. That one was alike the works of Jonathan Coleclough and Paul Bradley, here in the first piece, its seems that the field recordings are largely unprocessed. I can imagine him on a boat on the 'Nile' (I don't know what 'Nille' means, but I keep reading 'Nile'), with contact microphones attached to it to capture some far away water sounds. In other tracks we learn that the boat is with a motor and the hum is being picked, albeit also far away to which he adds loops of concrete sounds. Its hard to say what those sounds are. At the very best I can see these are rumbles of some kind. Its all quite minimal with just a few sounds that are only altered in a minimal way, but the material is quite intense, spooky even. One could say that the third parts (2, 3 and 4) have a similar built up, drawing from quite a similar set of sounds, which is perhaps a pity. But overall this I thought was a great release. One that fits the Mystery Sea quite well: drone like, water like and mysterious. (FdW) Address:

These three new releases by Taalem are from the younger generation of drone artists. Mirko Uhlig we may see as the old one from this three, with his work as Aalfang Mit Pferdekopf and later on his solo work. In his recent work Uhlig seems to be interested in finding a musical component again. Some sort of strings are at the core of this piece, which are stretched out to some extent, layered and form a strange piece of music. Indeed a bit orchestral, as indicated in the title. Its cut into three parts (though remaining piece on the release), which comes and goes like a tidal wave. It has a great quiet texture to it, almost solemnly moving about. Away from the deeply dark drone world, and into a more ambient field. Excellent stuff.
Samways is the most recent newcomer on the scene and he has had already releases on Ephere, October Man and Hibernate. Unlike so many in the Taalem series he chooses to play four shorter pieces (instead of one or two long ones), which are built from field recordings and acoustic instruments, both of them heavily processed. The instruments are not to be recognized at all, unless of course its the voice material. His treatments aren't always very original I'd say, a bit of the obvious vocoder plug ins. Also the first two parts of 'Illumine' are too short to get a opinion, which is not always the best thing for a piece of drone music. Sometimes it just needs time to develop. The third and the fourth part of it are longer and better, but aren't the best compositions. I heard him do better than these.
James McDougall used to work as Entia Non and had releases on U-Cover, Dataobscura, Test Tube, Resting Bell and Sentient Recognition Archive but since some time he works under his own name. Here he has two lengthy pieces made from 'process bowed bass guitar and field recordings'. He moves out of the more collage like works of field recordings into more stretched out fields of mood music. Highly drone based - say the territory formerly inhabited by Uhlig - where the bass provides the drones - en masse - and where the field recordings seems to be a bit buried beneath and below. Slight crackles of leaves, that kind of work. Quite pleasant stuff really, if nothing really new under this particular drone sun. Crafted with some intelligence and with great care, that's for sure. (FdW)


ASHER - INTERFERENCE (cassette by Semata Productions)
BOWED METAL MUSIC (cassette by Semata Productions)
VIC RAWLINGS/LIZ TONNE - TRUCK KRONE (cassette by Semata Productions)
Its been quiet for Asher for a while, following a whole bunch of releases, mainly in the form of MP3s, but perhaps they are still there, but due to our policy since a year or so, not to review MP3s, it might have been missed here. Now that I hold a cassette release in my hand by Asher, I say to myself: well, now, that's an obvious choice for format for him. Asher's music is about decay, I think. Take a sound, any sound, record that on to a cassette and loop it around on a cassette player or two. The hiss that is always so apparently present with cassettes is the added extra instrument in the work of Asher. 'Interference' has one long piece that is divided over the two sides of the cassette. There is a plane pictured on the cover, and that might be it. Say a recording made in a plane, contactmicrophone attached to the body of an airplane, or perhaps Asher is outside an airport and picked up the hum of an airplane. Something like that, is my best guess. Its a highly minimal piece with hardly any changes. This is something you can put on auto-reverse for a day or so and play it a low volume. Its perfect ambient music, in the most strict sense of the word. Not easy to judge by musical standards per se, but I like it a lot.
Behind Bowed Metal Music we find Peter Warren and Matt Samalis who play 'custom modified bow chimes/configured Zildfian cymbals'. I have no idea where Semata dug this up, but the two live pieces were recorded in 1997 and 1998. I never heard of them before, but it sounds great. Think Robert Rutman if you can remember him, or very early Organum work, but then with more peace to it. The cymbals are played with bows which create those endless sustaining, ringing overtone sound. I assume no electronics were harmed in this recording, and we are dealing here with a strictly acoustic sound. There is some great playing going on here. The two strike their metal with patience, letting tones swell and rise, and the die out slowly. I didn't clock this, but both pieces easily last thirty or so minutes and with not much variation between the pieces, one might think its a bit too much, but its the same as with the Asher release: keep it running on auto reverse.
The last new release by Semata Productions is a split release of Vic Rawlings and Liz Tonne. Together they are part of the BSC and undr, both improvisation groups with various members. Apparently this is their first solo work, as each has work of its own on a side. Rawlings usually plays cello, I think, but here plays cracked electronics, or as some others would call it, circuit bending. Normally I am not the biggest fan of circuit bending. Its usually an excuse to produce some uncontrolled noise, but what Vic Rawlings does here is great. A very soft piece, very controlled and yet all highly improvised. There is a car passing somewhere on these recordings, which probably means the microphone was very much 'open' that night. An excellent piece of music. Liz Tonne's side is all about the voice. In 'B' she sings the letter 'B' and in 'Arsonist' she does... well, the same. I didn't notice it as two pieces actually, but perhaps I was a bit annoyed by the recording. This is simply not the kind of stuff I like. Never liked Diamanda Galas either. But after all the rest of these three cassettes, these seventeen minutes aren't too long either. (FdW)


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

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