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Vital Weekly 749

img  Tobias Fischer

A birthday that surely I all forgot about was that of ninety years of Dada, but luckily Column One didn't, or rather the birthday of a poem by Raoul Hausmann, 'Prasident Der Sonne'. I am not sure how it is translated to the music, but the music is what we know Column One best. Mysterious, electronic, field recordings, spoken word and plunderphonics. Spread over the entire length of the disc, this is quite a pleasantly (if not somewhat long) trip into their somewhat obscured sound world. The crackles of records, field recordings, chirping low electronic hum and such like is what makes it up. Maybe with some fantasy we could say that these are found sound snippets put together, perhaps in similar fashion as the Dada artists did all those moons ago. But maybe that's looking too far, and Column One uses the Dada vehicle to create some mighty fine electronic music. Its hard to say. A band like Column One were always easier in creating mystery than handing out answers. That's ok, I don't mind. As long as there is great music, I am happy. (FdW) Address: <>

DAVID FIRST - PRIVACY ISSUES (DRONEWORKS 1996-2009) (3CD by Experimental Intermedia)
Although I didn't keep up with the entire out-put of Phill Niblock's Experimental Intermedia label, the releases I did hear usually a very good, and also usually bring me composers I never heard off. Like David First. I never heard of him as a composer of drone works, nor of his band the Notekillers. In 1995 he finished an opera 'The Manhattan Book Of The Dead' and decided to play something that was more personal and intimate and thus a phase of composing drone music started. Although First is primarily a guitarist he explored various instruments in this drone phase. This three CD starts out with a thirty-five minute piece for Theremin, the longest piece here for a solo instrument. Other pieces are for slide whistle, computer, e-bowed guitar and even an odd one for transistor radios (the shortest actually, at just one minute). Two pieces, under which the CD long 'Pipeline Witness Apologies To Dennis', are pieces for a small ensemble. In the 'Pipeline' for four trombones, tuned keyboards, e-bow guitar and computer, whereas violin, clarinet, guitar, bass and e-bow appear in 'My Veil Evades Detection'. All of this shows, I think, a wide interest in how to approach drone music, and First does an excellent job. In 'Pipeline' we could recognize some influence of Phill Niblock, whereas in the other pieces First keeps a great balance between material that is partly very loud and present, piercing almost, like in 'Zen Guilt/Zen Blame' or 'Belt', to hectic nervous pieces such as 'Aw!' or very much computer based as in'The Softening Door'. Altogether a great release, quite long of course, spanning more than three hours of music, but with this diversity I must say this is all great. An excellent introduction. (FdW)


Since 2003 violist Amy Cimini and bassoonist Katherine Young perform as Archeuthis Walks on Land, a duo concentrating on improvisation. Both emerged from the Chicago music scene. They are excellent players with interests in classical music, rock and improvised music. Both cooperate in others groups and projects as well: the folk-pop band The William Young, trio Civil War (with Adam Sonderberg) and the new music collective Till by Turning. Bassoon is not often heard in the context of improvised music. I have to go back to Lindsay Cooper of Henry Cow in order to find another (female) musician on this instrument. When one listens to Young‚s playing in the track ŒSurgeon of Fades‚one wonders why not more musicians chose this instrument in the context of improvisation. She opens with loud and dissonant screaming that are channelled perfectly by her bassoon. Cimini has also a very intense way of playing, it comes very close to your skin. Because of these qualities these improvisations stay very close to life, and are full of emotion. This makes it a great artistic work. In the seven improvisations they unfold their ideas in many different ways. Drone-oriented, or very hectic like in the opening of "The Field‚, but also more spaced out and calm on other moments. Whatever happens their improvisations have a strong soul and concept, due to the fact that both musicians play together already for some time and make a very good team. (Dolf Mulder)


KAEBA - IANUREK 5.0 X 100 (CD by Farmacia 901)
In the Egyptian language 'Ka' and 'Ba' represent the union point between life and death, the moment where we are all and nothing. Its also the name used by Gianclaudio Hashem Moniri from Italy. He studied sound engineering and midi programming and forms the duo Plaster with Giuseppe Carlini. His album "represents a metaphysical world made for interact with the listener. Shapes and colors fill the mind, bringing the listener in a condition where the contours are outlined by the various points of union between the tracks. The record born from a subject/form focused in the foreground, characterized by a plasma contortion. This movement becomes the pulsating heart of the tracks, and the concept need to be found between the interaction of the sounds, exactly like the final coordinate 5.0 x 100 that if is associated to the eternal passage of time, shows how the imperfection of the machines makes the duration of this record highly subjective and relative." Sorry about that long quote, but its not easy to summarize, I guess. Given his background, its not difficult to see Kaeba as a laptop artist. All the usual suspects of crackles, hiss, bass rumble and high pitched sounds are present and walk in line through the wall of plug ins. Kaeba however also uses a bit field recordings (nothing new there), but also at times, far away, voice material from a classical nature. That sets his work somewhat apart from the usual pack of microsound artists. Not in a big way, but just a little bit. Kaeba seems to me influenced mainly by Alva Noto, but without the crisp clear transparency. He likes his sound to be repetitive, based on loops, but also a bit muddy. Now that is not a negative thing, since it sort of adds a mysterious feel to the music. The odd ball track is the last one, with a melodic piano line and chirping insects towards the end. Not earth shattering new, but very decent music all along. (FdW) Address:

Magnet Resonance Imaging is what MRI stands for and the scanner is used to examine the inside of a human being without having to open it up. I never saw one, perhaps luckily (the sound of knocking on wood is heard), so I was unaware, or never gave it a thought really, that these machines do make sound. These are used on the CD 'MRI' by Patricia Bosshard and Simon Grab - of whom I never heard. In a concert situation they have various speakers placed around the audience as to re-create that MRI like situation. On CD that is harder to capture (and a surround sound DVD perhaps more expensive), but they composed ten pieces using sounds from a MRI scanner. It reminded me of Aube (whatever happened to him?) and his sole use of a single sound source to create music, but also in execution of the music itself. Bosshard and Grab use a variety of ideas in approach to the sound material. It can be loud and noisy, rhythmic in the best tradition of clicks and cuts or downright ambient in approach. Say all those fields that Aube also used to cover in his music. There is a clinical approach throughout all these tracks: its never really warm and tender, but it stays a bit remote. That is however not a real big problem, since this is actually all quite good. A very fine approach to an unusual sound source. The vinyl version of this contains ten endless loops, but the CD has 80 original samples. No doubt, at least I hope, without copyright so anyone can use this. (FdW)

WYRM - DIVINATION BONES (7" by Drone Records)
SPIRACLE - EVESTRUM (7" by Drone Records)
All things end, even all things good (even Vital Weekly I am sure, one day), so its with some great that I am reviewing these two 7"s, which are DR 99 and DR 100, also known as the final two 7" releases by Drone Records. Drone Records started in 1993 with the release of a 7" by their own band Maeror Tri and since then released usually a pair of three 7"s with drone music, some by well-known acts (or in some cases later on) and by totally obscure ones. Always with some form of hand made packaging. I'm sure someone will have them all, and it would make a great exhibition (let alone a great multiple CD set collecting them all). The latter is not likely to happen, I think, which is a pity, since it would make a great anthology of drone music. The label name is programmatic for the music it released. The one by last is by Wyrm, the USA duo of Allan Zane and Liz Lang, of whom we reviewed a CDR release in Vital Weekly 709. Their music is based on the use of loops of sound. Hard to say what that those loops are made of, but Wyrm has a nicely rough edge to their drone music. Maybe some synthesizers, ancient samplers and electronics, plus a guitar (somebody is thanked for that). The drones are not perfectly round, but have rough edges, like a hasty cut piece of paper. A nice release (and the second picture disc of those 100).
The final one is by Hitoshi Kojo, also known as Spiracle. He's from Japan, but currently lives in Switzerland and who has had various releases before. For this 7" (his first vinyl actually) he uses a variety of acoustic objects, such as a glass harp, resonating trumpets and metal sheets, as well as electronics. The sound here reminded me of the very first Organum record, 'In Extremis'. Slowed down metal scraping, which occasionally folds into electronic overtones and makes a very beautiful vibrating and resonating sound. Like the Wyrm 7", this is not exactly the type of drone music that lulls the listener into a deep sleep, but has a great unsettling character. An excellent work, topped with a great handmade, cloth cover. And apparently this is also the final record by Spiracle. That's two very sad occasions, I should think. (FdW) Address:


The name sounds familiar, White Noise Carousel, and indeed back in Vital Weekly 552 I reviewed their debut work by this duo of Nadav Rayman and Boyd Korab, but couldn't quite remember what it sounded like. Here two recent releases, on two different labels. There walk similar ground but there are differences. The first one, 'Plastic Things' is a short work of six tracks of thirty-seven minutes and seems to be continuing the 'Iaminthedirectory' of before. A mixture of dance related beats techno, trip hop, house) with nicely laidback synthetic sounds, some vocal/samples and such like. Like before there is some jazzy inspiration in these pieces, but also some sounds that keep things on the experimental edge. White Noise Carousel walk a fine balance between these odd ends. I am not saying I am blown away by this, but this was surely quite entertaining home listening dance music, which you could as easily transport into a trendy bar.

I thought the other release was more interesting. 'The Nobodies Of Radio Art' sees them expanding towards more ambient music on one side and adding spoken word/radio play elements in their music. The latter comes from Sam Sejavka, a theatre writer and also the guy who plays Micheal Hutchence in 'Dogs In Space', who reads some of his texts. The music is still a bit jazz influenced, but with richer ambient textures. Occasionally a beat leaps in, but not very often, and when so, a bit far away. The six pieces here are great, intense pieces of spoken word, cinematographic music. Its not easy to say what these stories are about (as I believe them to be a different, rather than one story as a whole), but they have a moody atmosphere, full of buried tension underneath. Entertaining as well, but it works on an entirely different level. Here you have to keep up your attention while listening as things might get easily lost. Great electronic music with an excellent touch of radio play. (FdW) Address:


LLOYD TURNER - HINTS (CDR by Face Like A Frog)
Not a person but a duo, this Lloyd Turner. A piano played Paolo Tornitore and a guitar by Donato Loia, who plays guitar in Lento, a 'ambient post hardcore band). Twelve pieces spanning twenty-five minutes, which means these have a sketch like character. Highly atmospheric music, very melodic, with a great emphasis on the piano, more than on the guitar. That instrument only seems to serve for a few strumming here and there, and in general adds a spacious background atmosphere. Very intimate music. Of course the name Erik Satie is someone who is hard to avoid when it comes to such music. Short perhaps but also the right length I'd say for such careful music. Very nice, a bit sweet and quite dark at the same time.


OCCII is a lot more but best known as a performance/concert space in Amsterdam. It comes from the squatting background and so its hardly a surprise that the profits from selling this CDR will go to a foundation to political awareness and social justice (see for more info, all in Dutch). The concerts OCCII put up are all from what is too loosely called alternative and the thirty-five snippets from concert they put on in 2009 and 2010 show what these are about. From hardcore punk, casio pop (Bertin!), fanfare punk, noise (Wolf Eyes, Fckn Bstrds), gabber electronics, electro-acoustics (Kapotte Muziek), hip hop, rap, electro, world music and singer songwriters. An eclectic choice of artists and musics, and it probably doesn't make much sense when put together in a few words like this, but picture this like a radio program of heavy type alternative music of every possible kind under the sun and you have some great eighty minutes of music. Better than radio, I'd say! (FdW)


Compilations based on a theme are for me more interesting than just a compilation. How do different musicians deal with words, sounds, colours or atmospheres and what will they create with these ideas? Marcel Herms? Fever Spoor starts with some high pitched sounds in combination with dark echoing sounds and fieldrecordings in the background. THF Drenching is based in Stockford - England and the music is based on free-jazz and experimental music. The sounds have an open character, takes the listener to all kinds of spheres and ends in discords what makes the composition interesting and worth-listening. Summer in Russia seems to be dark, according to Moloch. This doom music from the Ukrain creates a drony melancholic track created by a synthesizer. The track itself is not surprising, but why is this contribution called "Ein Winter weint bei meinen Trauer" added to these summer compilation is for me a big question. Golden Dead from The Netherlands starts with field-recordings with birds and edited water. A long-term soundwave increases slowly and ends subtile in silence.
Resonan creates the composition "Sunburn" and the title is well-chosen. The sounds are related to crickets mixed with white noises. The heat burns from this track! (Jan-Kees Helms) Address:


Reviewing MP3s, free or paid, is something Vital Weekly doesn't do anymore. Full stop. Oh, with the exception of something that I really like personally. Maybe something like Mirko Uhlig, whose LP 'VIVMMI' is an absolute favorite of mine, and also many of his other works I really 'dig'. Uhlig is one of the younger composers in the world of drone music. And he's one of the better ones in his field. His pieces (two very short, two very long) are delights for the ear. Using long sustaining sounds, like all good drone composers, he adds a few surprises: electro-acoustic rumbling, field recordings and an interesting love for start/stop editing. This makes this work somewhat different than the usual works in this field. It adds a menacing, intense atmosphere to these pieces. You never know what is going to happen to next. You get a crude wake up call, just when you least expect it. That's what makes this just very good music. Which made me wonder: why here and not as his next great LP? (FdW) Address:


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