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Vital Weekly 738

img  Tobias Fischer

In past years Jeff Carey was best known as 87 Central, a drone like music outfit, which he kind of stopped when studying at Sonology in The Hague. Its back then when I met him, and he was a helping hand for Vital Weekly in sending out through the net with means of software. A gentle man. Its since then, as well as before, that I followed his work, which deals with computer music. Usually as part of some improvising ensemble, such as Skif++, Office-R(6) and N-Ensemble and now solo. On 'Impulse' he has five pieces and it starts out with something that I wouldn't expect him to do on a solo CD. Loud, distorted, heavily cut up type of sound. Speaker damaging stuff. It sounds like the analogue world of Gert-Jan Prins, but then through entirely digital means. It turns out this the modus operandi for the entire disc. Its probably more the style of noise for somebody like Jliat to review, but these twenty minutes have something truly captivating. The outbursts of seemingly random noise leave a buzzing ring to the ears. If you allow me to draw another analogy, I'd say it sounds like sounds Merzbow, but curiously enough the recent, 21st century Merzbow, but during his Scum period: the cutting up of sounds. Then analogue, but in the hands of Carey through constructed software of his own making. An excellent release, which lasts about long enough to be really breath- and energy taking! (FdW) Address:

Dutch label Narrominded, now celebrating ten years of activities with various concert series (check their website) slowly merges into a full label, where all sorts of music find their home. What seemed to start as an IDM label, now is also the home for (post-) rock and improvisation. Gijs Borstlap and Kruno Jost know eachother from bands as Impromondays, NoiseWall, LiveNoise Tupi, Kaisergrutva, In Process Of Reason, The KGB and Tom Kinski (not that I heard any of their music, I must admit). At their disposal we find a bass guitar, pedals, laptop, drum machine and a mixer. Their music is a curious hybrid of improvisation meeting noise meeting drone meeting rock. But its never one or the other. Although things tend to get pretty loud and noisy, its not a pure noise record, just like its not a pure improvisation record. These two men cleverly walk a variety of roads, in which the guitar sounds play an important role, along with those effects, but there are also more gentle ways to approach that, and that's what they do too. A delicate, demanding journey among the highs and lows of improvised noise music with rock background. A trip that pays off. (FdW) Address:


On a hot day like today I should be outside, trying to find some cool shade, but I have to stay inside and cool it with my old ventilator, which sometimes makes a funny noise. The first time I was playing this CD by Thomas Tilly I wasn't paying attention enough - hot weather and all that - I thought that it was the ventilator acting up again. Then I studied the liner notes and it turns out that Tilly recorded sounds under water, and although I am not entirely sure, I understand these are the sounds are perhaps from insects and plants and somehow react to the sun shining on the water. These are then recorded and nothing else was done with it, except that we hear it. Its a pretty amazing disc, I must say. The music sounds like electrical charges, decaying motorized objects and such things alike. If you wouldn't better you could easily think this some sort of conceptual thing about machines, maybe something by Paul Panhuysen. It shares the same minimalist approach of Panhuysen, but then entirely from field recordings. Click like sounds, with some odd changes, if any at all. It doesn't sound like field recordings at all, and that's the best thing about it. It stays away from that line of interest of rain and wind sounds but makes a fascinating world of itself. One of the most interesting pieces of work I heard in quite some time. Hard to explain, but you should definitely find our for yourself. (FdW)

K11 - METAPHONIC PORTRAIT 1230 A.D. (CD by Actual Noise)
If I'm not mistaken this is the third time, in a matter of a few months, that Pietro Ripabelli, also known as K11, pops up in Vital Weekly. First with his work with Philippe Petit, then solo (Vital Weekly 729 and 731 to be precise). The first was good, but the second didn't blow me away. 'This work has been realized with sound sources recorded within the Assisi lower Basilica in 2005. The concept of this work is related to personal research which 'm conducting about the sound, environment and esoteric dimensions with some interesting cathedrals', he writes on the cover. K11 uses field recordings, radio signals, organ and voice. I am not sure if I should understand this as a work in which he drags that stuff into the cathedral to make a recording, or wether he taped some sounds in the cathedral and at home adds the radio signals, organ and voice; I assume the latter actually. I thought this new work was more interesting than the previous solo work. The humming voices, the natural resonances of the big hall, and then the addition of heavy type of drones from the organ (no doubt plus a lot of sound effects) makes a pretty effective type of loud drone music with an angelic undertone. I am not sure if there is a religious, political or sociologic meaning to all of this, or wether its all just esthetically intended. The humming voices in a big space, which I can relate as being a beautiful thing, without the religious experience. Address:


It has been a long time since I last reviewed a release of Pax Recordings. So it is a good thing to see they are still in business, as is Ernesto-Diaz Infante who is featured on many of their releases. Recordings for this release came about in 2006 when Rodrigues and Mota - both from Portugal - where traveling the US. ŒOur Faceless Empire‚ documents their meeting with two musicians from California: Diaz-Infante and Robair. It all happened on february 19, in the 1510 Studio in Oakland with Scott R. Looney doing the recording. The line up is as follows: Ernesto Diaz-Infante (steel-string acoustic guitar), Manuel Mota (electric guitar), Gino Robair ( energized surfaces/voltage made audible) and Ernesto Rodrigues (viola). From, what I know from the work by Diaz-Infante this collaboration has a logic. This are improvisations in the style we know well from the Portuguese Creative Sources label, where textures, timbre and concrete sounds make up the aspects they work with. One could call this music highly abstract, in the sense of abstracted from melody, harmony, rhythm, etc. But at the same it is also very concrete, as it deals with concrete sounds and colors. The music is not very dramatic but if you really go into it, it is a very engaging and rewarding experience. With concentrated listening you will surely enjoy all all the movements, short runs and twists, and the interaction between the musicians. It is very delicate music, full of nuance and little motives. Pointillistic, if that makes sense. (Dolf Mulder) Address:

A first cd by these two long time friends. Brown is playing piano, live computer signal processing. And Pauline Oliveros accordion, conch, percussion, and ELS (Expanded Instrument System). On this first duo collaboration they present three works that were recorded live in the studio with no overdubbing. Oliveros started her career as a composer and musician way back in the 60s (!), and she is still on the scene as this release proves. A release by Deep Listening an institute she started in 1985 "to encourage others in the practice of Deep Listening for creativity and heightened awareness of sound and sounding". Got it? Chris Brown is educated as a classical pianist. Studies on Indonesian, Indian and other world music inspired him deeply. Later he began experimenting with building his own set of electronic instruments. In three tracks, "Nocturnal Clouds", "Gravity Waves" and "Troposphere", both musicians communicate with acoustical instruments combined with electronics. In all three works this takes form in stretched out patterns and improvisations that evoke multidimensional spaces. Swarms of sounds move through time, like a swarm of birds do in the air. The music is full of crawling and bristling sounds. Looking at the inside it is like a complex and seemingly disorder organism. But from the outset this organism is clearly involved in performing meditative gestures. (Dolf Mulder)

From the family of wind instruments, I must admit
that I like the clarinet the best. And here we have two of them: on the right channel Kai Fagaschinski and on the left channel Michael Thieke. They work as The International Nothing. I think we should see the title of this work as the program for this CD. The two play the clarinets with great slowness, with long sustains and decays, and action seems indeed not really apparent. Excitement, yes, that is something that is hard to escape when listening t this release. I think this very exciting music actually. Almost like sine waves humming slow and carefully, sometimes developing into a small melody, sometimes as quickly as that disappearing. Carefully playing with the silent notions. This is improvised music and the odd thing is it sounds on one hand very onkyo, but the more I think about it, I realize we hear the clarinets as they are: clarinets and not as some object with a mouthpiece. That's an interesting notion about this music. An excellent, solemn work of refined ascetic beauty. Sparse yet rich. (FdW) Address:


(CD by Zavod Sploh/L'innomable)
Two discs of improvised music here. On the first we find a duo, of Seijiro Murayama on percussion and one Tomaz Grom on doublebass. This is a live recording from December last year and we find them in an incredible relaxed mood. Its a recording that has a strange sort of jazz undercurrent, especially in the track 'Pet', where the bass is being slapped and the percussion rolls. But of course its not real jazz and its also the end of the release. The four pieces that preceded 'Pet' show them in a true love of their instruments partly as resonating boxes, partly as real instruments, in an excursion to examine the tonal qualities of the instruments. Lots of silence in between music and lots of music in between silence. A refined disc.
The quintet, with a base in Berlin and Buenos Aires came together in 2004 at the Goethe Institut, and consists of the Berlin connection of Andrea Neumann (inside piano) and  Robin Hayward (tuba), in the middle Lucio Capece (soprano saxophone and bass clarinet), who lives in Berlin but is from Buenos Aires, where he no doubt knew Sergio Merce (tenor saxophone and electronics) and Gabrial Paiuk (piano). One piece, forty three minutes. But it sounds like many pieces, by one man and lasting an entire lifetime. That last remark is not something negative. The music is filled with loads of silence and carefully placing of sounds. Its not always easy to recognize a single player in here (tuba? where?), but there are times of concentrated playing together, followed by gaps of silence or near silence. Just like the Grom/Murayama release a work that has a lot of silent beauty in it. Another disc of great refined music, with so many players and yet so much space. Excellent. (FdW)

Earlier today I was not at home, but in a friends house waiting for something. The weather was hot, and I lay down on his couch. In my bag was 'Annex' by Marcus Maeder, and I decided to play it. Around the house there was a lot of activity of people constructing a new house on one side (or perhaps putting an annex to it?) and on the other side motorized objects doing gardening work. Maeder's music wasn't very loud on, but it merged wonderful with the sounds coming from outside, even with all the windows closed. I fell asleep. Later on, now, I am at home again, listening again to 'Annex' in a more quiet surrounding of early evening (windows open). I am to understand that this work is an extension (for that is what an 'annex' is, in an architectural sense) of 'Subsegmental' (see Vital Weekly 702). I am not sure if Maeder draws from the same sounds as on 'Subsegmental', but he uses 'very short sound segments reproduced at such low speed as to stretch out and form vast soundscapes' - I couldn't have this any better myself. The four pieces (sixteen minutes in total) emerge on the near silence, especially 'Plateau' is very quiet, much alike the eleven pieces on 'Subsegmental'. Perhaps without many differences between this one and that one, but its simply beautiful stuff. Maybe its too early to play this music and I should wait until full darkness has set in, but its tranquility is simply great as it is. (FdW) Address:


ELYSEUM - BIPOLAR (CDR by Syndrom Records)
Behind Elyseum we find one Mark Angel, who says about his compositions that they are 'using a mixture of analog and computer based equipment' and that 'sOme of the rhythmic textures within the recordings were made using an analog modular synthesizer'. Those two lines mean not much, the music could be anything. Elyseum however looks for the alien nightmare music. Indeed lifted on the old ideas of cosmic music I'd say, but enlarged, empowered and blown up to gigantic proportions. Not in a noise sense, but dark, alienated music. Imagine an empty, rusty space ship in a sci-fi movie floating through space, unbeknownst of what lies ahead. In 'Reflection', with its angelic voices, sun light bursts in through the windows, but its a forebode of more evil. With titles as 'Despair', 'Suppression', 'Wrench' or 'Dead Inside', you simply know life in space isn't easy. Elyseum combines cosmic music with ambient and industrial music and does as such some great, yet not entirely 'new' kind of music. Maybe seventy minutes is a bit long, but then that's not the real length of a sci-fi movie anyway. A beautiful nightmare trip, earthlings beware. (FdW)


EZDANITOFF - KOMEET (3"CDR by My Own Little Label)
Frans de Waard found a new musician to create a new world of sounds. With Wouter Jaspers (also known as Franz Fjodor) Frans did a concert in Budapest, the major city of Hungary. But they did more when there and at their hotel room of Hotel Ventura they built a temporary studio. With all their sound-equipment, like magnetic wave fields, crackle box, sound effects, contact microphones they recorded a piece of music. The composition starts with psychedelic sounds, voices of the Hungary radio and cracking bits of sound. Slowly the waves flood into a dark (almost ambient) long lasting piece of soundlayer. Other cracking sounds and voices enter the darkness and faded away in more open range. The duo takes time to develop the compositions which is what makes this a strong 3"CDR. The releases of My Own Little Label are mostly little gifts of the musical adventures of Frans de Waard (and friends) and this gift is a beautiful one. (Jan-Kees Helms) Address:


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

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