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Vital Weekly 737

img  Tobias Fischer

From Chicago, both of them: Olivia Block (field recordings, piano, reed organ, editing & mixing) and Kyle Bruckmann (oboe, English horn, suona, accordion, field recordings, editing & mixing) - the meeting of a serious composer (Block) and an improviser (Bruckmann being part of EGK, among other things). Its a combination that works well. Both ends are covered well. We hear Bruckmann's wind instruments playing strange figures, while along we have the more rigid organization of Block's field recordings and organ parts, as well as the rumble and tumble of acoustic objects. They bump and collide into eachother, attract eachother, and then move away from eachother. Four parts were recorded over a period of five years, from nervous hectic of part three to the quiet, introspective fourth part. Demanding music here, which requires your full attention. This is not music which allows you to go and do other things, but in these thirty seven something minutes you need to stay with it, and focus. Its only then when it unfolds its beauty. After that you may tired, but perhaps also, like me, utterly pleased. An excellent collaboration. (FdW) Address:


So far I reviewed three releases by James Taylor, better known as one half of Swayzak (a tech house duo whose music I don't know), but in his new, solo, guise Lugano Fell. I really liked his first two releases, but then the 3" (reviewed in Vital Weekly 670) didn't do much for me. I noted then that I hoped his Baskaru CD would be better. Still it some water has passed under the bridge before that one was released but here it is. The good thing is: its a great release. But that's hardly a surprise since it was compiled from his two previous CDR releases. And perhaps is the downside, well, at least for me, since I knew these already. Imagine shoegaze music and imagine glitch music. Combine those two, quite odd, ends and there you'll find Lugano Fell. He uses a whole bunch of software and instruments, all listed on the cover, and creates some great music. Lots of acoustic guitar, all heavily chopped up, with lots of plug ins flying about. Its however not a soft album, with careful doodling, but most of the time quite loud and present. Very much along the lines of his first release, rather than his second, me thinks. Like said, this is not the real big surprise, for me that is but let's hope Lugano Fell now reaches a bigger audience, and that it something he deserves. (FdW) Address:


Three new releases from the established label artists on Palace Of Light. The first is Marc Barreca, which is perhaps the one who had the longest gap in releases. His previous releases, at least the ones I remember, are all from the early 80s. I am not sure if there were any later on, but here he returns with new work. This sees him working with computer rather than 'old fashioned' synthesizers. He uses large chunks of field recordings, as well as accordion and electronic instruments, which are all processed on the computer and transformed into some great, refined ambient music. The fourth world ambient music which I seem to recall as an overall interest of Barreca, seems no longer present here. Its replaced in favor of more abstract ambient music, with its long stretched sounds, vague rumbling of percussive sounds and such like. Oddly enough it seems both fresh and new, while yet also a natural progression of his older work. An excellent come back album. Let's hope his older work will be re-issued on CD also.
Labelowner K. Leimer already made his return some time ago (see Vital Weekly 533) and here has his fourth album since then and his ninth since he started in the late seventies. For his new album, Leimer takes credit for 'digital synthesis and signal processing', while receiving help from Gregory Taylor on 'additional processing' and Taylor Deupree on 'additional voices, post production, edit, mix and mastering' (which he also did for the Barecca album). This is an album of ambient music in capital ambient letters, AMBIENT. Unlike Barreca whose multi layered ambient music is the result of many different sounds, Leimer seeks things in a multitude of similar sound sources, with minor differences among them and makes various layers incorporating these sounds. Six tracks, all around eleven/twelve minutes in length, which might be a bit much if you take it all in like a normal person. However, I think, this is music that is best enjoyed if you put it on repeat for a day or two (I readily admit that I didn't do this, if only I had the time!) at a considerable low volume. Then I assume the ambient music will really start to penetrate your environment in a really nice way. That's what ambient music should do. This is classical ambient music, in the most purest sense of the word.
At the other side of the ambient spectrum we find Gregory Taylor, with his second album for Palace Of Light (see also Vital Weekly 573). He works with pieces of software as developed by Cycling74. The title is Indonesian for 'The Twelve', and somehow I think there is some connecting thematic approach to this, using Indonesian instruments, but that's not entirely clear from the press text, the cover or the music (unlike that previous release on Palace Of Light). As said this is the experimental end of ambient music, an electro-acoustic approach that is woven throughout these pieces. The weather conditions are exactly the same as when I wrote about 'Amalgan: Aluminium/Hydrogen': nice sunny weather, doors open, early evening, bird calls, the occasional car passing and the whole thing does remind me of being in an exotic place. Related to his previous work, I can't say that there is a lot of difference to be spotted, it has the same overall beauty and is more linked to the current state of microsound, with small, repeating glitches, deep bass hum, and gentle lightness. A nice one, again, and, also again, nothing new under the evening sun. (FdW) Address:

If you don't know Konrad Becker, you should be ashamed of yourself. Well, no, perhaps, not, but his Monoton records from the early 80s are simply the best in the minimalist electronics. In recent years they have all been re-issued by Canada's Oral label, and, as far as I know, still in print. If you want Pan Sonic but then fifteen years earlier, this is the place to be. I didn't know that Becker also recorded piano music, let alone released any, but this omission is now taken care of by Austria's Klanggalerie label. These pieces were recorded for various performance pieces in 1982-1984 and are for four pianos, along with three unpublished pieces from 2002, for digital grand pianos. Its hard to believe wether these old pieces are played in real time, or through some form of tapeloops - although the press text reads about eight hands, so let's assume they were played in real time. It would be too easy to make that very obvious reference to the work of Charlemagne Palestine or early Steve Reich. Although Becker's work is very minimal, with repeating phrases at different intervals all the time, there is one difference: the sustain pedal is hardly used. Especially the two long pieces, 'Parzival Overture' and 'Danse Diable', remind me of the work of Simeon Ten Holt, the Dutch composer of piano works which are long (compared to his work, these Becker pieces are ultra short). Especially 'Parzival Overture' is a great piece, which comes across more clearer and more refined than 'Danse Diable', which is clearly a spooky, haunted piece of music. Then there are two shorter pieces from the 80s, of which 'Noctariations' sounds very spooky. In the lower region various clusters are played, very fast, but very soft. Here Becker reaches a bit of unique way of approaching the piano, me thinks. In 'Etude' (1982), its hard to believe there are no electronics used, but its a fine piece, along the lines of 'Noctariations'. The digital pieces I don't get. He adds a rhythm machine to the digital grand pianos, and they sound outright boring. As a bonus they are nice, perhaps. You might be inclined to think, oh that's possible too, but it doesn't necessarily lead to great music. So, in short, there is about ten minutes here which can be ignored (I don't understand why they aren't all on the second disc at the end), but the works from 1982-1984 are great, perhaps just as great as his Monoton records, although in an entirely different modus operandi. (FdW) Address:


UBEBOET - ARCHIVAL (LP by Moving Furniture Records)
At first I thought Moving Furniture Records changed their presentation for their CDR releases, but it turns out they switched format, for the first time, but submitted a CDR for review. A brave decision to go to LP, which I hope pays for them, in the form of a limited LP release, 200 copies of M.A. Tolosa's Ubeboet project. Tolosa, also known as the man behind the Con-V label and a lover of all things field recordings and electronics. Three from his archive (I assume at least). I can't read the titles on the cover, but the long piece on side is mostly a dark affair, in which it is hard to recognize any sort of field recording, but things are quite dark and very drone based. Maybe some heavily processed wind and rain sounds at work here? A highly minimal piece of music that uses the longitude to fully unfold itself. On side B we find two pieces. The first seems to me a musical piece, or a piece that uses some musical instruments, maybe guitars and voices? Moving Furniture refers to the influence of Popol Vuh and it might be that they had this track in mind when thinking of that reference. The ghostly, whispering, layered voices move weightlessly through space. Rain is what we recognize in the third piece, again embedded in some choir of heavenly voices. Here too things are relatively more musical than on your average release with field recordings, and that's great, since it sets Ubeboet apart from his peers, and he does something really beautiful on this release. (FdW)

Regular Rules is a duo of Gilles Mortiaux from Brussels, Belgium and Ilan Manouach from Athens, Greece. The are a free-jazz hardcore unit, assisted on stage by numerous others. Loud and noisy improvisations is their business. Mortiaux provides thick layers of guitar noise and Manouach plays saxophones. Both add effects and samples. Their thick and massive sound improvisations worked well for me. Their agressive playing on guitar and saxes is combined very effectively with extreme noisy sound effects or contrasting samples like in the beginning of the opening track (pieces have no titles).Both musicians give all of their unbound power and creativity in these six improvisations. In track 5 both players take their own route in the first part of the improvisation. Later on they start to built something together. The highlight of the album for me is track 4. It is almost a song. But very bizarre. Yes, Mortiaux and Manouach make a strong statement of maniacal over the top soundsculpting. Resulting in some very powerful collages. 'Impermanence' is the second release of Mike Johnston (double bass, inanga, sho, shakuhachi, wood flutes, african bells, shenhai), Mike Gilmore (vibraphone, cheng, saz, bone guitar, kalimba, bowed percussion, steel drums, marimba), Mike Khoury (violin, percussion) and Kirk Lucas (violoncello, guitar, banjo, zither, tamboura, gong, kalimba). In 2007 Triple Bath released the debut of this quartet 'The Hidden'. The instruments these musicians play may give you a hint of what to expect here. Improvised music first all, but very eastern-flavoured. Not only because of the exotic instruments. But also because of the lines along which the music develops. They even do their best to play them an eastern touch. The closing piece 'Still Life' for example, sounds very chinese in the beginning. Gradually it turns into free impovised music, still using however chinese motives. 'Maghrebi' by Ahmed Abdul Malik has a nice 'swinging' arabic groove. With 'When there is no sun', composed by Sun Ra, this are the only two pieces not composed by themselves. All in all, this quartet makes a very thoughtful and respectful blend of world music and western improvisation. In a very pure and authentic way. The music dwells and meanders like a majestic river through a diversity of landscape. It definitely fills your mind and body with good spirits. (Dolf Mulder) Address:


$. 99 DREAMS - 2010 (DOWNLOAD by Ninetyninecentdreams)
$. 99 DREAMS- $. 99 DREAMS (LP by  Ninetyninecentdreams)
Some time ago we discussed on earlier work of this remarkable duo, 'Winning on all fronts'. They are in business since 2007. Formed in Brooklyn by drummer Matt Crane and saxophonist and synth player Adam Diller. They created there own little musical corner by combining hip hop, free jazz and electronics, as they explain in their bio. But there is happening more if you ask me. Just listen to their new releases. '99 Dreams' is released on vinyl. '2010' is available as a download. The opening track of '2010', 'W2xxic' is a dark, brewing sound work. Other pieces like 'int/aadfg' are jazzy pieces of saxophone and electronics. 'Wpint' belongs to another category of pieces. It is dominated by Sun Ra-like percussion supplemented by sparse electronics. 'Qn/ot' has a strong melodic line that is repeated endlessly, spreading around an archaic and exotic feel. All pieces carry strange titles that seem nothing more then random combinations of vocals. The 16 tracks on '2010' were recorded on several occasions in the last three years, in studios, bedrooms, etc. With minimal means they realize a maximum of possibilities. There is some strange magic in this music. This because of the carefully designed sounds from analog synths, saxes, etc. Maybe it is because of the analog synths that the music often recalls new wave music from the 80s. Remember Jeff and Jane Hudson? Also there is an element that binds Silver Apples, Suicide and this duo together. The music has a certain roughness. They use no unnecessary make up. The drum style remains very simple and stripped down. This self-conscious duo excels in a fascinating 'primitivism'. (Dolf Mulder)


WIREWALL< - TERMINAL MAN (CDR by Cohort Records)
One of the project of John Gore, head cohort of Cohort Records, is >wirewall<, which was mentioned in Vital Weekly when discussing some of his other work, as Kirchenkampf or The Oratory Of Divine Love. I think we should regard >wirewall< as his noise project, although on the other hand we could also see this as the extended, extra part of his other work. It seems to me that here too Gore works with radio waves, also feeds them through a bunch of synthesizers, adds a few sound effects, but whereas in his other works the outcome would be droney, atmospheric music, the outcome for >wirewall< is noise. Piercing sounds, but not in an unpleasant way and Gore allows the listener to hear details and mixes together several layers in a clever way. It has a sort of vibrant, improvised feel to it. Maybe as a whole, its all a bit much, but throughout I thought this was quite alright, when served in a smaller dose. (FdW) Address:


O. MELBY - MARSIPAN (CDR by Amboltue Records)
Old fresh music of an unknown musician. I have never heard about O. Melby and at the world wide web I couldn't find any information about this interesting musician. Two old concerts are released  at the Norwegian label Ambolthue Records. The first concert is called "Sinus Input" is recorded in 2005 and concert is a long slowly developing composition of electronic sounds. Dark sounds in an ambient sphere are the beginning. High pitched soundwaves crack the quiet drones alternating with more similar sounds. He leads the listener in different moods with his music. I think the track is too long or more variety in deeper breaks is needed to keep the attention. Completely different is the second concert on this CD-R. " LA3 (#1-4) is recorded live at Lavfidelisk Aften 3 in 2001 and is previously released at Brumm as a limited edition of 14. The track starts with electronic industrial-like rhythms and stops suddenly with a sound of a toy. O. Melby adds samples to this break and continues with funny breaks, sounds, noises and I guess live played beats. After a while the industrial beats starts again and the crowd can get loose in his pulsing beats, noises and breaks. Great track! (Jan-Kees Helms) Address:


Just what 'prises de sons' means I don't know, but my best guess would be that that it means gathering of sounds, which was done by Cedric Peyronnet and Marc Namblard. He has a CD 'Chants Of Frozen Lakes' (reviewed in Vital Weekly 624), and then was never heard of again, by me that is. Here the two men recorded sounds from Vallee du Taurion, and Namblard is responsible for editing the sounds into a piece of music. He does that with great care and lots of help from the computer. The frequencies are all pushed up to the limit, and all sorts of plug-ins are used to make a lively piece of soundscaping. Namblard uses the tactic of collage, which is means there are sudden shifts and changes in the material, which add a great vibrant thing to the music. At times we recognize the field recordings, water, insects, rain, and at other times there is a lot to guess about it. A great, refined piece of music, highly dramatic and very lively. Excellent. (FdW) Address:

More music by Carlos Villena (see also Vital Weekly 730 and 733), who works under his own name and runs the Mantricum label. This is the first time we hear his music solo. The field recordings he has captured have a solar origin, although I'm not sure how they were captured. But they are fed into the audio mixer and mixed together. Its all pretty noise oriented but in a sort of fine way. Villena uses the collage form, rather than the endless noise attack, to create various sections that fade into eachother. For all we know this could be any sort of field recording, even street sounds. An effective work however of drone/noise/collage sound which stays away from the careful crackling work of microsound. Nature is noise enough, as someone once remarked, and Villena knows how to twist that into a fine piece of noise of nature. (FdW) Address:


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