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Vital Weekly 741

img  Tobias Fischer

PQ - YOU'LL NEVER FIND US HERE (CD by Expanding Records)
A trio of modern classical music, on three different labels. From Bruges, Belgium, a duo by the name of pq (no doubt without meaning, but its great to make a visual tag from it, although not on this cover), being Samir Bekaert and Maarten Vanderwalle. They had a 7" on Expanding Records before, and 'You'll Never Find Us Here' is their debut album. You should expect rhythms here, being on Expanding Records, but such is hardly the case here (until 'In Praise', the eleventh piece and in the closing 'Hold Me'). There is a nice small photograph inside the CD cover, where the two sit in a field with acoustic guitars and no doubt they use a fair bit of electronics, the whole album breathes acoustica. Guitars tinkle nicely away in their highly minimal mood. Composition wise I was at times reminded of Soft Verdict, in their earliest phase (like short versions of 'Maximizing The Audience'), but there is also post rock influences and folktronic, as well as say Durutti Column. Each of the thirteen pieces could easily serve as a soundtrack to a short film with lots of wide, open shots from nature scenes. Excellent mood music here. Relaxing, cinematic and throughout excellent music.
Although I hate to do so, thinking that each release should get its own space, the release by Quentin Sirjacq, which I played right after pq, fits to be reviewed along with pq. Sirjacq started to learn classical piano, was a devotee of Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and John Coltrane and therefore studied jazz and improvisation. One could expect a jazz release, but his debut album 'La Chambre Claire' has little to do with jazz music. Its an album where the piano is the dominant instrument. A few tracks have some other instruments, like violin, violincello, vibraphone, guitar and sparse electronic treatments, the piano is the leading instrument. Here too, the influence of Soft Verdict is to be noted, except here a little bit later, when Soft Verdict became Wim Mertens. Also other known piano players drop by, such as Robert Haigh (although Sirjacq plays usually a bit faster), Micheal Nyman or Harold Budd, all with that Satie-like touch. Music that is full of melody and melancholy, this is highly romantic music. Not like the more strict minimalism of Glass, Reich or Palestine, but very European, full of meaning, symbols and, who knows, even a romantic touch. Perfect sunday afternoon music, with a glass of white wine and fine poetry. Sirjacq sometimes comes close to the edge of kitschy music, but avoids the trap.
And from Sirjacq to Goldmund is a small step, smaller than with pq to Sirjacq, since its all about the piano. He has made a couple of releases and this is his second release on Western Vinyl. Keith Kenniff is behind that moniker and his previous release on Western Vinyl was 'Two Point Discrimination' in which he recorded the piano with various microphones, close to hammers, pedals and the keys. An interesting approach, I'd say, but that seems to be gone on this new release. Maybe there is a bit of electronics at work here, but Kenniff plays some highly reflective piano music. Moody, atmospheric, silent and usually slow. Very much like Sirjacq but then just piano. Again the names of Haigh, Budd, Eno and Satie spring to mind here, more than Nyman and Reich. Goldmund too borders closely on the edge of new age, but firmly stays away from such notions. An excellent CD, neh an excellent modern trio. If you used to like such music on Les Disques Du Crepuscule, then these should appeal to you too.

Four releases on the Another Timbre label and as a series its called Duos With Brass, as all four releases deal with brass instruments in combination with another instruments. On the first two wind instruments even. Robin Hayward plays microtonal tuba (which has a microtonal valve system) and, the apparently well-known Roberto Fabbruciani plays bass flutes - bass, contrabass and hyerbass - the latter being over twelve meters of tubing. As you can imagine with such instruments things go pretty low here. I wasn't looking at the CD player when playing this, but it seems, oddly enough more like one track than five separate ones. A work of immense deepness, with just a bare minimum of sound information and a maximum of empty space. That seems like easy going music, but it isn't. This is one for your absolute full attention, but then it will be to your full satisfaction. This is a great start of the series.
The trumpet always sounds well in the hands of Axel Dörner, who teams up with Angharad Davies, who plays violin. This is a more 'traditional' improvisation disc, if such a thing exists in the world of Another Timbre. Probably not. But here, at times, we recognize the instruments. The soft scraping of the violin, the trumpet sounds like one, but then, that's only on a few instances. By and large however, these instruments sounds like anything but a violin and trumpet. Especially Dörner is a key player in this corner of the improvisation world and knows how to create the most unlikely sounds from his trumpet - white static noise at times. And all of that without any type of electronic processing. This is also a great disc, also one that requires ones full attention, as at times things move beyond the threshold of hearing. Excellent, concentrated music.
The press blurb writes that Carl-Ludwig Hubsch and Christoph Schiller are relatively unknown players in the field of improvised music, but Hubsch I saw a couple of times in Extrapool. Like Hayward he plays the tuba and Schiller plays the spinet. Now that's an unlikely instrument in the world of improvisation. A delicate instrument meeting the elephant of the brass section (in Hubsch's own words). The spinet here is used as a box that generates sounds, many sounds. The strings, the box, the keys, it all makes sound. The tuba too, of course, blowing the lower range of sounds. Again two instruments that are used as objects, but what's interesting here is that, while it sounds like improvised music, it also sounds like electronic music, or perhaps even more closely like musique concrete, and that also without the aid of any electronics. Here too, silence plays an important role, making another play of silence versus non-silence, but its also the one that has the widest possibilities: improvisation, both old and new, electro-acoustic and composed music meet up. A free release, in several ways.
I don't think I heard of Mathias Forge before, but he plays trombone here on this release. He teams up with Olivier Toulemonde, who plays a variety of acoustic objects. This is the one where we probably regret there is no video registration, since it would be great to see what this would look like. Toulemonde skipped the electronics of his earlier work, and just uses amplification in what is a great, refined work of silent music. At times its difficult to recognize who is doing what here, but throughout the trombone is to be spotted well. A fine blend of the electro-acoustic music and improvisation, again with some emphasis on 'silence as an instrument'. Maybe its the fatigue after three of those releases (such is the bad luck of a reviewer), that this one may seem a bit lesser than the other three. No doubt that would have been different when played in another order. Four fine duos! (FdW)


EN/Q./AHAD - PAW MUSIC (CD by Ronda)
A trio of improvisers. One is France, Quentin Rollet, a.k.a. Q., on alto saxophone, microphone, feedback and voice, and the other two from Budapest: Pal Toth, a.k.a. En on electronic devices, objects, contact microphones and voice and Zsolt Sores, a.k.a. Ahad, on viola, analogue synthesizer, objects, contact microphones, feedback and voice. All three have an extensive background in the world of improvised music, especially Q. and Ahad, but they manage to capture here something that is pretty interesting and side stepping the various genres inside the field of improvisation. The contribution of Q. on the alto saxophone is throughout the most 'standard' thing around here, which is not bad as it adds a certain curious free improvisation to it. But at other times he is on par with the other two, who play a great electronic set of sounds. En's solo work came close to microsound, an interest he brings on board here too. Stretched out field of drone like sounds, piercing sine waves and feedback along with the scraping of violins and pre-taped sounds (field recordings maybe?) make a great set of improvised pieces. A wild combination of pure improvisation and what seems to me composed layers in the background. The closest it comes to resembling something else, I think, is Morphogenesis, although this trio have a more lively dynamics. From the extreme soft to the brutal loud, they move more freely around in abusing their instruments. A highly dynamic force, this trio. Excellent stuff and I'm told there is more to come. (FdW) Address:


OCCHIO QUARTET - MOMENTE 2 (CD by Seven Legged Spiders & co)
A few years ago the Seven Legged Spiders & Co-label surprised with the release of a solo record by Limpe Fuchs, called "Pianobody 2002". Limpe Fuchs is one of those veterans of the krautrock scene (Anima), who are still in business. The label returns now with its second release, featuring once again Limpe Fuchs. "Momente 2' is a live recording dating from 2008 by the Occhio Quartet, being: Zoro Babel (drums), Limpe Fuchs (percussion, violine), Elmar Guantes (bass) and Hans Wolf (piano). We are offered three pieces, all about 15 minutes. The players treat us on some very free and inspired improvisations. Can't tell you much about this group. Zoro Babel grew up with the music of his parents Paul and Limpe Fuchs. No wonder you can find him on some releases of Anima. I know also of a record by Markus Stockhausen he participated on. But I don't know much of his other musical whereabouts. Even less I know of Guantes and Wolf. As a quartet I suppose they spent already some time together, as their improvisations speak with a clear and distinguished voice. All members take equally part in their explorations, especially the three gentlemen. Very fresh and pronounced improvisations. The first one "11.02 bis 11.17" comes most close to jazz idiom, with exuberant playing by Babel. The second one "12.04 bis 12.28" starts with a great percussive intro by Babel and Fuchs and bass player Guantes. The piano of Wolf is dominant throughout, with classical touches especially near the end. In the third improvisation they calm down, and concentrate on small motives and simple sounds, leaving room for silence. All pieces prove that this quartet is able to really communicate through a musically interesting process. (Dolf Mulder) Address:


KINETIX/PYLONE - SONOLOGY (CD by Sound On Probation)
A split CD here with two lengthy pieces by Gianluca Becuzzi, also known Kinetix and Laurent Perrier, known as Pylone (for his more composed electronic music, absent of rhythm, unlike various other incarnations by him). For their split album they choose the common theme of Sonology, which Wikipedia calls "a neologism used to describe the study of sound". That is exactly what is happening here: a study of sounds. Acoustic sounds, electronic sounds, digital sounds and those three words also can also be followed by the word 'processing'. Becuzzi has two pieces, each exactly twenty minutes, which are absolutely fine explorations of all things electronic: ambient, microsound, electro-acoustic sounds. A fine collage of sound and at times reminding me of the older works of Jos Smolders, especially when voices were used.
Pylone has four tracks, a bit shorter in total, and his pieces seem throughout a bit more straight forward electronic pieces, and some employ also a sequence of sounds, which may go down as 'rhythm' to some. Pylone works in many respects a lot more simpler than Kinetix, with repeating loops of sounds, but by and large within the same musical field of microsound and electronic music. Both use extended laptop techniques in their search for sounds and use the machine to create music out of these sounds. To be honest I don't think that either does something that I never heard before, not in the traditional acousmatic world, but also not in the world of Vital Weekly, which seems to be their natural background, but then that's probably a difficult task and not their primary concern. They do play however some rather nice music, and that's all that counts. (FdW) Address:


It was hard to find an address for the label Headlights, but I learned on my journey to netland that Marcia Bassett was a memberDouble Leopards, GHQ, Hototogisu, The Purple Haze, Shackamaxon, Un and Zaika. I have no idea who Margarida Garcia is is. She plays double bass and guitar, while Bassett plays guitar and keyboards. The pieces on this limited vinyl (200 copies) were recorded to a four track cassette in 2009 and consist of some fine free noise rock improvisation. No drums, but a pretty strong interplay of sounds. Loud and forceful, these ladies play some heavy type of improvised music, in which the instruments are recognized as such. Psychedelic music in a way. The A-side starts out raw, but comes down to a more introspective playing after a while, exploring their instruments and their various qualities, while always recognizable as guitar, bass and keyboards. Sounds are bend in gentle brutal way. The B-side stays 'loud' and 'present' through and goes straight into your brain. Excellent, raw and lo-fi. (FdW) Address:


This new album by mister Kuntz is subtitled "Trans-Temporal Trans-Spatial Multi-track Creations". It clearly points at what is happening here. For Kuntz multi tracking is not some necessary evil. On the contrary, for him it is an essential way of composing music. In all compositions on "Iinfiiniity" Kuntz uses old recordings from his archive, and combines them with new presently added playing. There is a time gap of about eight in most pieces. And maybe recordings were done at different places as well as the subtitle suggests. This procedure is like a dialogue with oneself. Kuntz the improvisor in 2001 or 1995 is not Kuntz the improvisor in 2009. Another combination that is relevant for Kuntz is shown by his use of asian and african wind and percussion instruments on the one hand, and western ones on the other. But it is not only the use of exotic instruments that give his improvisation an exotic flavor. It is also because of the way Kuntz structures his improvisations that his music has similarities with ethnic and tribal music. Again an inspiring and original work from this veteran improvisor. (Dolf Mulder) Address:


On the band website of Tainted Corrosive Mist it says under the header 'about', that they are a 'drone'n' noise project from Saarbruecken/Germany' followed by a list of equipment they use. That is no doubt of interest to technophiles (who can also glance a picture of the set-up, in case you don't know what it looks like), but essentially not much is revealed. Their pieces are numbered, and here we have four pieces '#54', '#63', '#61' and '#52', all within the range of fourteen to twenty minutes. Each piece is a set of drone sounds which form the backbone of a piece. On top, sound effects are used, to change the sound - perhaps what they would call 'create a melody'. Push pedal, release pedal. It sounds easy and perhaps its easy (despite the equipment used). Its true what the band says: they play drone music with a noise edge, or noise music pushed away by drones - its whatever way you are looking at this. Not bad at all, but then perhaps also not the greatest thing I came across recently. Its a pleasant dark beast without real danger, nor real surprises.
Even a bit long, almost eighty minutes, is the release which I understand is some sort of collaboration between Mirko Uhlig's Aalfang Mit Pferdekopf and Marcus Obst's Droneament, both representatives of Germany's more 'softer' drone scene and often incorporating field recordings. Each mixed three tracks and are placed on the equal and unequal numbers here. In Uhlig's opening piece already a lot is happening. In these twenty-four minutes more than on the entire Tainted Corrosive Mist release. Field recordings, accordion, cello playing and electronics. These are also used in the rest of the pieces, which form an excellent example of 'extended drone music', for the lack of a better word, and both artists are setting out excellent examples of that kind of music. This is simply one of the best pieces of drone music I encountered in some time. Acoustic, electronic, musique concrete, improvisation: its all mixed here together, crafting some excellent music together. (FdW)

The second of a series of four 3"CDR releases by Blake Edward's Vertonen project, who more and more confuses us with his intentions. Originally started out as a noise based, turntable project, it became, in a more interesting phase, a heavy drone based project, but since the recent explosion of releases, Vertonen can be any or all of what he did in previous years. The second release in his series translates as 'Turn The Sun Upside Down' and as 'devices' it lists shortwave, turntable, cassette players, microcassette players and voice. Vertonen is only vaguely doing his drone act here - which I think is a pity - but a more a collage like sound of treated voices from pre-recorded media, picking up voices. Its dedicated to Eric Lunde and Z'EV - both transformers of voice material and masters of abstract sound poetry. When it comes to real noise, it gets off the rails unfortunately, but luckily it doesn't last long. Throughout an enjoyable release, I think, luckily far away from the real harsh noise (which he also sometimes does) and hopefully with a bit more drones next time around. (FdW) Address:


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