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Vital Weekly 739 + 740

img  Tobias Fischer

MYO - MEMORY GOSPEL (CD by Zeromoon)
Corey O'Brien, working as Myo, has had a couple of releases before, mostly on CDR (for instance 'Process', reviewed in Vital Weekly 562), and here he presents what I think is his first real CD. O'Brien calls himself a 'self-taught hacker, computer musician and electro-acoustic improviser'. To his end he uses 'pure date, Dave Smith Evolver, 1/4" Lezen Sheet and Soundhack plugins, which I am sure those who love all things computer based will know what it is - not me. Also he uses, as input 'prepared piano and guitar work', but that's something that is simply not easy to hear. Like before Myo operates in what I called macrosound in the previous review. Its that combination of microsound, noise, feedback, distortion, ambient and drones, all put together in what should be called I.N.: intelligent noise. Along the lines of Joe Colley, Phroq and Andy Orthmann. Things that can be loud and obnoxious, or soft and gentle, with swift changes, although that is a terrain that is not just the idea of Myo. Here the music comes in concentrated blocks of sounds, raw data flying about, in a minimalist fashion, like one-color monochrome paintings. The other difference with those mentioned is that the work of Myo is entirely computer based, all the musique concrete elements went into the computer, gets processed inside and then put out. But its some highly effective piece of noise music. Wish there was more like this. (FdW) Address: http://zeromoon.com


CHRISTINE ABDELNOUR SEHNAOUI & MAGDA MAYAS - TEEMING (CD by Olof Bright)
In Vital Weekly 717 Magda Mayas surprised us with a great release of solo improvised music for piano. I thought her name was new to me, but she was also part of Phono Phono, a trio from Berlin, who self-titled album was reviewed in Vital Weekly 604. Here she has on offer a recording of her piano playing with alto saxophone of Christine Abdelnour Sehnaoui, whom we know from various other releases from the world of improvisation. Mayas continues her exciting approach to the piano. She plays the keys, the inside, with her fingers, with a bow, maybe with other objects and creates a very vibrant hotbed for Sehnaoui to lay down her alto saxophone with some fine sounds. I am told, on the cover of this release, that this is a work acoustic music, which is hard to believe. Both players manage to make their instruments sound like a refined combination acoustic and electronic sounds: hard to believe there are no electronic sounds here. These two ladies move between extreme points: loud music versus very silent music, delicate and raw meet up in this what seems almost like a battle. Its a breathtaking fifty-five minute ride which leaves the listener not only highly impressed with a sheer, great variety of music, but also slightly exhausted of this roller coaster ride. Wow. (FdW) Address: http://www.olofbright.com

 

CHRIS ABRAHAMS - PLAY SCAR (CD by Room40)
Various works of Chris Abrahams have been reviewed before, but as far as I could judge they were recordings with other people. According to the press sheet this is his fourth solo release, but the first to be reviewed then by Vital Weekly. Abrahams is, as a musician part of the Necks, which are described as an avant-jazz trio, but that's not shown in his solo release. Abrahams plays piano, hammond, rhodes, church organ, guitar, tambourine, bells, Yamaha DX7, Nord Waldorf Q+, prophet vs kurzweil, auto harp and field recordings. Mostly things with keys that is. Its not an album that is easy to pin down. The electronics are mostly atmospheric, but there are some interesting variations to be noted. For once, this is not an album of droney ambient music. A track like 'Twig Blown' for instance revolves around samples drum sounds, and owes much more to musique concrete than ambient music, while 'Running Out' has sudden bursts of guitar like sounds, amidst a bed of low humming electronics and piano sounds. The (too) lengthy 'Birds And Wasps' is a piece of more loudly sounds than quietness. The fairground sounds of 'Jellycrown', while the opening 'There He Reclined' reminded of the obscure A-Tent release on Cherry Red (still not on CD, damn it!). See: a curious hybrid of electronic music which offers a great deal of variation, but then also a great sense of unified approach. A very refined album. (FdW) Address: http://www.room40.org

 


LASSE-MARC RIEK - HARBOUR (CD by Herbal International)

Somewhere between 1999 and 2007 Lasse-Marc Riek recorded sounds in harbors: Finland's Bjorkoby and Ostero and in Germany in Wismar and Hamburg. Presented here as seven individual pieces of sound. Unprocessed field recordings. Thirty-two minutes in total. As much as I dislike sailing, I like the sound of harbors, the smell of the sea, the wind. With today's summer rain and wind I could close my eyes and imagine to be in a harbour - at least for thirty two minutes. Riek, also the owner of the Gruenrekorder label, recorded some excellent sounds in these various harbors. Rusty metal, moved by the irregularities of the sea, seagulls, and objects moved by water (like rubber objects, tires or some such) and curiously also a steam engine. Each piece is kept short and to the point, a precise edit out of a larger reality. Almost song like in structure. If pure, unprocessed field recordings are your cup of tea, then this release by Lasse-Marc Riek is an excellent example of what it is. If you are new to the genre, this is a great way to step inside. (FdW)
Address: http://www.herbalinternational.tk


MACHINEFABRIEK - DUOTOON (3"CD by Machinefabriek)
Following a long line of self-released CDRs, mostly on 3" format, Machinefabriek now enters the stage where he starts to release pressed 3"CDRs. And given his popularity: why not? On the cover we read: 'sine waves generated and edited in SoundEdit', which is a rather ancient piece of software (running on OS 9.2). A simple piece of editing software, but with some great potential. It can generate sine waves and has some relatively easy means to process that sound. Maybe as a goodbye to that piece of software, Rutger Zuydervelt decided to use to 'simple' generated sine waves and do a nineteen minute piece of music with it. Its interesting to hear that he manages it to sound like a piece of music by Machinefabriek. Long sustaining sounds, which are always on the move. Piercing at times, high ends and low ends, but then always covered with that ambient like sound that we know Machinefabriek for. A moody piece of music that evolves slowly. A nice, gentle beast. Not his best release (which in his vast catalogue is not an easy thing to spot), but surely one of his better. (FdW)
Address: http://www.machinefabriek.nu

 

DAVID MARANHA - ANTARTICA (LP by Roaratorio)
A limited LP of which I sadly only got a digital version of, but by exception I am accepting this. Partly because I know David Maranha for a long time, having reviewed a lot of his work, which I like a lot, and partly to tell about the great solo performance he gave a while back in Extrapool, here in Nijmegen. Sitting behind his organ he played power chords at full volume, for maybe, forty minutes. It could have easily been an hour, and wasn't easily digested by some, save me and a few others. Here he assembled a group, with himself on organ and violin, Riccardo Dillon Wanke on electric guitar, Patricia Machas on tambourine, Afonso Simoes on drums, Joao Milagre and Stefano Pilia (each on one side with the bass). I heard this one extensively yesterday, but today I started with some ancient popmusic and when that record was over, I simply thought some other popmusic would come in. Oh yes, was that Nico? Or perhaps Velvet Underground's 'Venus In Furs'? But hold on, I never had that in my playlist. Oh its Maranha and his crew. The start is very much the same, but then what ever comes next is more like Faust's early drone rock. Pounding drums, glissandi on the guitar, tambourine and bass pinning the lines down. Its a great record, especially if you were too young for the early Faust, or even going back further down the road: LaMonte Young's Theatre Of Eternal Music, Tony Conrad or even Glass's early electric violin piece. Two slabs of excellent minimal music that breathe sixties all over. (FdW)
Address: http://www.roaratorio.com

 

SUNSLIDE - MECHANISME (CDR by Dying For Bad Music)
More music by Sunslide, the project of Nigel Simpson, who brought us 'Field Piano' (see Vital Weekly 630), which was a nice release of field recordings mixed with piano music, or perhaps, dragging his piano outside and record in the field. There was a noise track present which I didn't like. On 'Mechanisme' (a very Dutch title I'd say), the instrument changed and it becomes the accordion, which is played outside in the 'field'. If I understand right, this work is one of improvisation on the accordion, mostly, but not exclusively. There are also bits on the piano, guitar and even electronics and tape-hiss. Ten tracks in total of what Sunslide calls ragas, but perhaps I just have a different idea of ragas. There is a certain lazyness about these recordings, which I appreciate. I imagine Simpson outside, on a chair, playing this instrument(s), while birds chirp away in the background, wind blows down the microphone. Accidental most likely, but left in with intention. It adds a nice detail to the music. Relying heavily on the notion of ambient music of course, which pushes the improvised music towards the background, this is a matter of playing the CDR (on repeat), don't get out of that lazy chair and read a book, drink a cold drink and pass the time in a gentle way. (FdW) Address: http://dyingforbadmusic.com

 

MICHEAL RODGERS - TWILIGHT, BIRDS (3"CDR by Lost Lights)
A nice package here: a brown envelope with seven color photographs and a 3"CDR, in an edition of 150 copies. Micheal Rodgers we know best as a guitarist, acoustic be it, from the world of improvisation. He has worked a lot with Anthony Guerra and ran the TwoThousandAnd label. Here he did some music, but also the design. That's where this new release comes in. I didn't know that Rodgers was also a photographer, which is the reason for starting this new enterprise. Lost Lights, Rodgers' new label wants to present music and visuals on an equal level in one package, thus making it impossible to download the entire thing and for the sheer fun of limited sales, limited audiences and limited time. Great! A man with vision (pun intended). This particular release deals with birds at twilight, when they sign their calls. I envisage Rodgers on his balcony, in a London suburb playing the acoustic guitar, carefully. Picking the strings in a beautiful way, without playing any chords, but rather series of notes, never far away from his roots in improvisation, but with great care and love for darker tones. Just like the seven darkened photographs that accompany this set. A great, personal document. And with such standards, so much different than regular labels, all the more reason to explore. (FdW) Address: http://www.lostlights.org

 

 DRAKH - BETHLEHEM (CD by Essence Music)
No doubt entirely my mistake, but I never heard of Drakh. Its one Jonas Aneheim, who is also a member of MZ.412, Beyond Sensory Experience and Nordvagr, but also active on the solo front. I only vaguely remember MZ.412, but couldn't possibly say what it is about, let alone the others. This is an entirely different cup of tea than Nadja, and after that explosion, a most welcome come down kind of music. This is much more drone based than Nadja, this is more 'the real thing'. If I understand this right, this is a work of field recordings. Each track lists a country or place and some activity. Like the title track which says 'religion and steel: school bus going south on freeway 412' (that should be no coincidence, me thinks). Maybe he played some instruments while en route, or perhaps they were added later on. Slow drone music, crackles, glitches, waving piano tones, layered synth pieces, but it all remains quite open. Unlike say Phaenon reviewed elsewhere. Drakh keeps his reverb to a minimum, but yet knows how to create a similar sense of space. Quite dark altogether, with vast glaciers moving into hot deserts and back. Suppressed noise and decaying ambience. Now that's what I call drone music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.essence-music.com

 

NOSTALGIA - ECHOES FROM THE BORDERLAND (CD by Databloem)
Its been quiet for Matthias Grassow, at least from the corner I am in. But he's back here with an album with his 'band' Nostalgia. It started in 2000 with Grassow and R¸diger Gleisberg and later on Carsten Agthe became the third member. He plays percussion and didgeridoo. 'Echoes From The Borderland' is their fourth album. If you know Grassow's music, then you know where to place him: a long time voice in the world of ambient music, in more specific that area where it meets up with tribal influences, orchestral settings and even psychedelics and post rock. At least on this new one, as I must admit I don't think I heard the previous three records. Slow moving, immensely layered ambient music build around heavily processed guitars and a barrage of analogue synthesizers. Percussion is kept to a minimum, and has a more or less serving function. The didgeridoo is far away, if anywhere at all. Its not easy to say if it is present at all. Slow, meditative music, but also with a great darkness to it. An album of sad music me thinks. More autumn/winter music than for the bright summer, but perhaps also an album that works well when the hot day is over and dawn sets in. It ends with the Nadja inspired (although less 'metal') bang of 'Dartmoor' - an unsettling night is ahead. Scary spaciousness. (FdW)
Address: http://www.databloem.com

 

RICHARD LAINHART - CRANES FLY WEST - LIMITED SCHIPHORST 2010 (CD by Ex Ovo)
Earlier this month the Avant-Garde festival near Hamburg was held and among the performing acts was Richard Lainhart, who, for the occasion had a CD release of two works that will be released later this year on Ex Ovo, and two previous unreleased pieces, but yet a pro-pressed CD. There is believe in this composer from Ex Ovo, and why not? Lainhart is a master of drone music from the end of modern classical music. Playing a Steinway grand piano with nine e-bows, or the Kyma System on the electric guitar: these are the two principle ideas behind the four pieces on this CD. Lainhart works extensively with the overtones generated by these 'simple' actions. In 'A Sense Of Loss' he plays the keys of the grandpiano as well as with the e-bows. The latter provide a warm bed for those sparse notes to meander about in a soft and contemplative manner. The two piano pieces work best for me. The two guitar pieces are nice, but perhaps also a bit more standard in their ambient approach. These could be find on say a fine record by Hypnos or in the hands of Dirk Serries. In his piano pieces, Lainhart effectively bridges the world of ambient and drone with that of modern classical and serious minimal music. An excellent release for those who love the Experimental Intermedia label and especially Phill Niblock's work. (FdW)
Address: http://www.exovo.org

 

MAAAA - SAMPO DISTORTION (CD by 24919 Records)
Noise as much before, but superb packaging, check out the web site, but then about 4 minutes in there's a punk track, followed by scrap metal working and a dog howling, general reverb and echoey space lasers. etc. etc.  MAAAA seem to be appropriating HN?.google translation "Maaaa produced a totally ruthless thing and in fact and by the sound. Mythical grinder Kalevala as a grand annihilator rises from the sea floor and grinds all of this ugly world of evil and progress. - Everything is falling apart, all in the house collapses and the here and now and then - once remarked to me a strange citizen. "Sampo Distortion" And she was right - "Sampo Distortion" comes to you. Almost by accident a few days crossed with Rombiksom, and he - has issued a new album Maaaa, which is 10 minutes earlier freshest came to him from the factory. That evening, listened attentively to his friends and still love it!  This a great noise in the right spirit of K2! And at the end of a good bus left us on board, but not gone - took off . Once again, convinced that Maaaa - a great group." Great they might be but it's the Wall, the wall is where its at man. (jliat) Address: http://wingzz.livejournal.com/

 

Z'EV - AS/IF (LP by Sub Rosa)
AN ANTHOLOGY OF NOISE & ELECTRONIC MUSIC: A CHRONOLOGY 1957-2010 (2CD by Sub Rosa)
Its must be hardly a surprise, but I am a big fan of Z'EV, both the man and his work. Almost sixty years old now, and still going strong with his percussion and taped based music. He plays a variety of percussion based objects, but is perhaps best known as a man who plays metal and PVC objects. On this particular album, Z'EV dives in his archives and found two recordings, 'As' and 'If' from 1978 and 1982 respectively. He explores his objects in a musical a musical context. Its not that Z'EV bangs out a rhythm, like Neubauten or (the dreadful) Stomp, but explores the sonic qualities of his objects in a rhythmic context. Especially on 'If', things are pretty hypnotizing. The stainless steel and titanium rattle about, create immense overtones and make simply a great piece of music. 'As' is a more contemplative piece, working with spatial qualities of the sound and with silence in between. An excellent historical document.
Z'EV is also on the sixth volume of Sub Rosa's anthology of noise and electronic music. I don't think we reviewed them all, but its surely growing to be one of the best series of this kind. If you are a starter in this kind of music, then all six volumes are a must have, both to introduce you to well-known names as well as some that even the initiated- your humble reviewer - has never of. Like Israel Martinez, Ata Ebtekar, Rico Schwantes, Tzvi Avni, Julie Rousse, Else Marie Pade, Olivier Strummer & Liesl Ujvary or Manual Rocha Iturbide. Cleverly divided into various areas of interest, such as section of Japanese noise (Tetsuo Furudate, Kohei Gomi/Pain Jerk, Hijokaidan, Incapacitants, Torturing Nurse, Sachico M), musique concrete from the early days (Cowell, Raaymakers, Iturbide), rhythm 'n noise (Z'EV, Menche, Wiese, Schwantes, Rousse, Bird Palace/Christian Vogel) and noise related drone music (Piotrowicz, Avni, Pade, Duncan, O'Malley and Ilios). Again: an excellent overview. May this series last for a couple of more volumes! (FdW) Address: http://www.subrosa.net

 

GIUSEPPE IELASI - AIX (LP by Minority Records)
Earlier, in Vital Weekly 662, we reviewed the CD version of 'Aix', which is now released on Minority Records on vinyl and back then we wrote: "Back in Vital Weekly 632 we reviewed 'Stunt', the first 12" in a series of three by Giuseppe Ielasi. The next two 12"s we didn't see, so I don't know wether they were released. It might very well be the case that they weren't released, and that Ielasi uses the material here, as 'Aix' seems to be a continuation of the 'Stunt' 12". Again he uses small blocks of sound material, sampled from whatever source (acoustic objects, instruments, vinyl) and plays around with them. Nothing ever works out in a real groovy way, but that is exactly his point I think. But what he does works so wonderfully well. This sounds like the missing link between musique concrete and techno. Where the whole clicks 'n cuts movement tried to make beat oriented music with the residual sound material, 'Aix' is the true link. No residue material, but great warm sampled sounds, that make a groovy, even jazz like sound. Around that Ielasi waves warm small melodies. Nine pieces, all around three to four minutes (thus making the record the usual Ielasi length of around thirty minutes). A record that due time will be as important and ground breaking as the first SND releases, with whom Ielasi shares a similar interest: redefining dance music. Another highlight of the new year!" The LP version is not the highlight of this year, but surely a most welcome thing for object fetishists. (FdW)
Address: http://www.minorityrecords.com

 

OFFSTRINGS: INVENTIONS FOR GUITAR (LP compilation by Complacency Records)
Its been a while since we last had a new release on Complacency Records, primarily the label of Illusion Of Safety, but here is a compilation that deals with guitarists from the Chicago area. Five artists, of which two form a duo, Travis Bird and Daniel Burke (of Illusion Of Safety), while the other three are new to me: David Daniell, Mark Shippy and Michael Vallera. The guitar is still a machine to play music on, which can be basically anything, from nicely played string to abstract drone patterns. This album seems to be dealing with the latter. The three pieces on side, Bird/Burke (who have two pieces) and Vallera are both great examples of the guitar as a resonating box of sounds, and no doubt sound effects. The second of the two Bird/Burke pieces is a more improvised one and works a bit less but all together they are great pieces though. David Daniell opens up on side B and here it starts with the tinkling of guitars, which are gradually being pick up by various loop devices and the result is a desolate piece of music. Mark Shippy's piece uses also the same idea of tinkling guitars, but are drenched in reverb and is the weakest link on an otherwise fine compilation. (FdW) Address: http://www.complacencyrecords.com/

 

ORGANUM - VALENTIN (7" by Equation)
Active for over 25 years in, it seems, a world of his own, this single marks David Jackman's first vinyl release in quite a few years. And what a release this is; pressed on super thick vinyl in a thick carton cover with an insert (marked "Unbekannte" - no idea what this is supposed to imply), this has the weight of a tank. There are two editions; one on black vinyl and one as a picture disc. The press statement announces that "David wishes the music to speak for itself and therefore prefers not to attempt the contents of the release". Fair point. We do grow tired of silly press statements with platitudes as "sounding like Superman grilled with Ozzy Ozbourne backwards on a gorgeous summer day". Even though it is tempting NOT to describe the sound on this single, I think I will give it a shot anyways as it is quite simple; the two sides are of equal length and share the same title. They also share the same sounds; breaking glass (?) and piano chords on a reverbed background. That's it. And quite good it is too and, when you play this at 33 rpm instead of the recommended 45 rpm, the music not only lasts longer, it also sounds even better! (Freek Kinkelaar) Address: http://www.chronoglide.com/equation.html

 

THE GRANITE SHORE - FLOOD FOR FORTUNE (7" by Occultation)
From The Granite Shore I reviewed a 10" before, also on Occultation, along with one with by The Wild Swans. Two bands from Liverpool and both distinctly 'rock' bands. The Granite Shore has here two new tracks, which were written and produced Nick Halliwell, the leader of this gang, with some nice string and brass arrangement (by Vaughan Jones and Probyb Gregory (of Brian Wilson fame). Their previous record was nice, but a bit perhaps too normally rock based. 'Flood For Fortune' is also a rock piece, but what a great song it is. More seventies like with a grand orchestral string behind a suited singer - that's how I imagine this. Maybe even late sixties. Not quite the ol' blue eyes voice, but an excellent dramatic piece. The b-side, 'Highway Code' is even more dramatic, ballad like pop song, but not entirely slow. Here the instruments are more like a rock band playing, but the voice croons melancholically about something lost - I imagine. Reviewing lyrics is never something I was good at. Two absolutely great songs. What a single. (FdW) Address: http://www.occultation.co.uk

 

MUU FOR EARS 3 (CDR by MUU)
Hot on the heels of 'Muu For Ears 2' (see Vital Weekly 734) there is now the third volume in this series. As before the aim of Muu is "to develop the collaboration and interchange of artists working within different fields" and number three in the series is 'a colorful collection of different approaches to sounds and compositions, using varying rhythmic and repetitive elements'. Some of the names included are, happily as it is, recognized here, like Incite/, Helena Gough and Disinformation (of whom I didn't hear in a long time) and the rest seem all new to me. Disinformation has a nice piece, along the lines of Steve Reich's 'Come Out', but then on Osama and Obama, Incite/ have their dance oriented cut up madness, Gaia B's synthi doodling eludes me. Gough has a great piece of current day musique concrete, Jean-Marc Savic explores the noise end of guitar improvisation. Charlie Morrow reinterpretes the 'Turkish Rondo' by Mozart, which is funny and mostly not easy to recognize. Sinebag has a moody piece of cracks 'n guitars, Alice Evermore and Eavesdropper also moody electronics with spoken word and Sami Klemola a cut-up piece along the line of historical electronic music. Indeed a different approach for this compilation, maybe not all fitting together, but a nice introduction of new and established names. (FdW)
Address: http://muu.fi/sound

 

STRONGLY IMPLODED - FREEFALL (CDR by Gruenrekorder)
CRAIG VEAR - AUD RALPH ROAS'LE (CDR by Gruenrekorder)
Although the label Gruenrekorder is mostly known for their releases dealing with field recordings, here they also present another side of the coin. Strongly Imploded is a four piece improvisation group from Italy and has members from One Starving Day, Weltraum and A Spirale: F. Gregoretti (drums), M. Gabola (reeds), M. Argenziano (guitar) and SEC_ (synth and electronics). With their background in improvised music from a louder edge, its no surprise to know that also Strongly Imploded sees a similar combination of noise, improvised music and free jazz. They have seven tracks here, no doubt the result of a direct to tape playing, but perhaps with some edits. The reeds of Gabola add a sort of strange jazz feel to some of the pieces, while the others seem more interested in playing a loud as possible, banging away on their instruments. Its music that leaves the listener quite tired after forty one minutes, and although I thought this was on of the better releases I heard from this particular circle of collaborators, I also think this is definitely the kind of music that is best enjoyed when heard live.
But there is also field recordings, as represented by Craig Vear, of whom I never heard, who worked for the Centre for Environmental and Marine Sciences in Hull. The purpose of his fellowship was twofold "to explore new technology and field recordings as the sound source for composition; and to interpret the research areas/communities of CEMS through music and acoustic ecology". Six pieces of these aquatic recordings, and although the website of Gruenrekorder says Vear works with computer technology, I think that these six pieces simply work with pure and untreated sounds from nature. Washes of sound and wind, blowing straight into the microphone, but they are quite different pieces. 'Spurn Head' is almost like a noise piece - that loud - but 'River Esk Frozen' is, on the hand, a water piece and some branches near the shore. A plane comes over in 'Filey Brigg' and bird calls in 'Grosmont'. Cut from reality, but presented as a composition and I must say this works quite well. (FdW) Address: http://www.gruenrekorder.de

 

WEAK SISTERS (cassette by Throne Heap Devotional Music)
HOLY FAMILY PARISH (cassette by Throne Heap Devotional Music)
The first of these two new Throne Heap tapes is by Weak Sisters, who are described by the label as 'contemporary style harsh noise', which for a moment, I assumed to be some sort harsh noise mixed musique concrete - the latter counting then as 'contemporary'. But perhaps the word 'contemporary' just means whatever is 'today', and I think Weak Sisters are nothing else than some good old fashioned harsh noise combo. Just as contemporary as Ramleh would be, if they do their 1983 music in these days. Since I compare it Ramleh, a particular favorite of mine from the old days, so that means I have sympathy for Weak Sisters as well. Although this type of harsh noise is no longer a regular favorite, from time to time I quite like it.
The description for Holy Family Parish also sounds pretty interesting: 'Americana Goth' from Matt Franco, also a member of Air Conditioning and American Band. The label website 'I can't quite put my finger on this... PERFECT', which is almost agreed on here. I am not sure if this is 'perfect', though it is pretty good, its indeed something that is not easy to pin down. I sense some improvised guitar doodling in all seven tracks, which only in 'Vocation' tends to be on the soft side, and one wished there would be more of that. The other six pieces are drenched in sound effects (reverb, delay and such like), and are a bit distorted in their recording. The desolation of Americana is certainly in there, but in an odd and twisted way. I am not sure about the goth part of it however and though 'perfect' is something not given lightly, this is actually quite a nice release indeed. Perfect for a cassette release on one of the nicer labels. (FdW) Address: http://www.throneheap.com

 

MUTANT APE - BLACK DOG'T NORTH (cassette by Obscurex)
In previous centuries the North of England was haunted by a ghost hound named Skriker, which inspired Mutant Ape to do a concept album about. The a-side of this tape shows the classic Mutant Ape sound as a noise band. Three lengthy slabs of harsh power noise, which somehow I always find better on tape than on CD - I have no idea why this is, other than perhaps it sounds so retro. Its however the b-side that is much more interesting. Here we find Mutant Ape in a more 'contemplative' mood, if such a word exists for a noise band. They don't tone down but everything is a bit milder and here we have more the impression of a ghost hound being haunted through the woods. The soundtrack of the search for a ghost, outside, with the rattling of chains, and the hound escaping. More a menace than the noise onslaught on the other side, me thinks. Quite a nice tape altogether. (FdW)
Address: http://www.obscurex.org


TARR - SHOULDER MOVEMENTS
(cassette by Notice Recordings)
THE NORTH SEA - RELINQUISHED SPARKS (cassette by Notice Recordings)
Two new releases on Notice Recordings from Chicago, of which Travis Bird is one half, and whom we just heard on the 'Offstrings' compilation. The first new release is by T”rr, also known as Philip Kruse, 'owner of OMS-B', whatever that is. His cassette is just over twenty minutes and its an odd electronic one. Some parts only seem exist on one channel, and then on the other. Its hard to say what it is that he uses here, instrument wise. It might be pure electronics, but also some sort of laptop doodling, which I don't know. The outcome, quite abstract electronics, which fail to be ambient, drone or noise, but rather cleverly seem to combine every aspect of those interests. Maybe a cruder form of Hafler Trio, I was thinking, but that's never a bad thing. Very nice.
Behind The North Sea is Brad Rose of Digitalis Industries, and we heard his music before. His drone music is of a more upright nature. Organ like drones, augmented by the extensive use of sound effects, that form a thick mass of sound. Maybe like a church organ being recorded from outside the church, amplified and blown up. The track on the b-side, 'Tiny, Perfect Tears' is a more silent piece, which I suspect is recorded using a guitar, sound effects and heavily controlled feedback. An entirely different piece of music than 'Breathing In Your Breathing Out', which is a nice thing, it makes a perfect pair of pieces. Both releases are fine examples that cassettes still hold some great lo-fi music. (FdW) Address: http://noticerecordings.blogspot.com

 

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