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Vital Weekly 751

img  Tobias Fischer

REUBER - RING (CD by Staubgold)
The fifth solo album by Timo Reuber, who is also one half of Klangwart. For him cosmic is not just a hip word that sounds good in the current revival but its a natural way of composing music for him. He uses a limited bunch of synthesizers for his 'Ring' series. The five pieces on this CD are all variations that we find often incorporated in his live set. Largely rhythmic music, built from a bunch of sequencers or, as in 'Ring Frei', a rhythm machine. Around the sequenced loops we find a bunch of sounds floating about, short samples of sound, flying about like a bunch of flies. There is a motorik drive to this music, like that of the band Neu (in fact the titles seem also Neu inspired: 'Ring Ring', 'Ring', 'Ringer', 'Ring Frei' and 'Ringfest'. It doesn't have much to do with the world of techno, but there is certainly a great trance like element to be found in all of these pieces. Its beautifully crafted music that bears little similarity to that of say Emeralds and that's especially thanks of the rhythmic sequencers that run around on end. Reuber's output over the years may have been small, but its of consistent great quality.
Of an entirely different nature is the music by Armchair Traveller, a band founded in 1999 by Hella von Ploetz (glassharp), Silvia Ocougne (prepared and traditional guitars), Werner Duran (self-made wind instruments) and Sebastian Hilken (percussion and cello). 'File under: Cabbage Skirt, Bastrock, Otherworldly, Psychedelic Samba, Out Of School', Staubgold proclaims, which of course is all, erm, bullshit. But the music is actually great (too). A most curious hybrid of ethnic sounding instruments, minimal along the Theatre Of Eternal Music and with a lo-fi approach from the world of outsiders. Over the whole thing there is a sense of something 'old' about it, which in this case equals actually something very good. Armchair Traveller improvise their textured music in a great and direct way, perhaps due to the fact that they use a lot of self-built instruments. Quite mysterious in a way, but also open and totally fresh sounding. Beyond any normal qualifications, this might be indeed Cabbage Skirt or such like. Whereas Reuber delivers something good as we expect, Armchair Traveller deliver something great and surprising. (FdW)


Daryl Groetsch's project Pulse Emitter has been silent for a while. If I looked right, the last thing was a CDR for 8mm Records back in Vital Weekly 575. He had a whole bunch of releases before that, but I believe this new one, 'Cosmic Images', is his first real CD. Groetsch plays a modular synthesizer and like before 'space is the place' for his music. Unlike Reuber, reviewed elsewhere, Pulse Emitter's music is that long, sustaining sounds, while slowly changing color and shape. This music doesn't rely on sequencers, hectic samples but on long, slow forms of sound. I have the impression that the five pieces on this new work are softer than his work before, and leaves out any traces of noise or harshness. It fits the current trend of cosmic very well, and without accusing Pulse Emitter to jump the bandwagon (how could I do such a thing, knowing his older releases along similar, if somewhat harsher lines), this kind of music should go down well with those who like Emeralds or such like. Pulse Emitter did the right choice of moving towards a real CD, with perhaps his most refined release to date. (FdW) Address:


FLIM - ORANGE (CD by Plinkity Plonk)
Flim is Enrico Wuttke from Germany. He studied fine arts and is recording since 1993. In 2002 he recorded "Given You Nothing" and "Helio", for the Tomlab label. Both received good reviews as did "Holiday Diary" that was released on Plinkity Plonk in 2003, to be followed by "Ohne Titel, 1916". After a silence of considerable length, Flim now returns with a new release for Plinkity Plonk. The CD "Orange" carries four tracks that take 28 minutes of your time. They were created for the dance piece 'Refugium', based on the novel 'The Wall' by Marlen Haushofer.
All four tracks underline that Flim makes ambient music with classical touches. All pieces have Eno-esque structures evoking static constructions of music, creating an experience of space in which one can endlessly dwell. For his compositions Flim makes use of a limited set of sounds. Sampled acoustic instruments and electronic sounds are combined. In "Lament" however we have Flim playing piano, an instrument he learned to play when he was seven, in a long improvisation that seems not to be electronically treated. All pieces are composed in a very disciplined style what makes this music really work and effective. For example, the opening track, "That's All", fascinates not despite but because of its simplicity. Well done. (Dolf Mulder) Address:


25 YEARS OF KAPOTTE MUZIEK (CD compilation by Kom Plastics)
This year Frans de Waard celebrated his 25 years existence as Kapotte Muziek. I think the time I know Frans is about the same extension. I remember many of my early visits to him, when he was living under the same roof as his parents. His father working on a book on Dvorak in one room, and Frans working on his own Brave New World in another. Kapotte muziek or "defect music" is the qualification he received one day from his father for his experiments, and Frans understood immediately that this would become his most important moniker. One of many as we know nowadays. On two evenings, one in Nijmegen (Extrapool) and one in Amsterdam (Occii), Frans celebrated his jubilee with an evening of concerts by artists that are close to him. The CD brings together some excerpts and pieces that were produced for this occasion. The CD opens with "Music for Three Sinewave Driven Guitars" by Radboud Mens. An installation of three guitars on standards produce sounds through feedback without any touching of the snares. This produces a deep and warm meandering of sounds, a fine piece of drone music. Dmdn is responsible for Kapotte Mix, taking from his live mixing in Extrapool. A dark pulsating piece that works very well and that made me think sometimes of Suicide. Howard Stelzer builds his piece purely from old tapes by Kapotte Muziek. Asmus Tietchens contributes with "Serenading KM". He transforms the noise and sounds of Kapotte Muziek into a piece that is very illustrative for Tietchens way of doing things. Asra (Timo van Luijk & Raymond Dijkstra) builds his soundscape around a whirling dreamy flute that moves through time as a butterfly through space. Jos Smolders closes the CD with an energetic journey, flirting with dance music, that is ironically called "Concert for KapMuchea", an obvious reference to "Concert for Kampuchea"‚ (1979, Wings, Clash, etc.). Of course Kapotte Muziek concerted also on both evenings. Over the years Kapotte Muziek moved from a pure noise-oriented approach to an electro-acoustic trio of Peter Duimelinks, Roel Meelkop and Frans. In this formation they performed a set on both locations. The three sitting at one table that is filled with junkyard objects and electronics. Fully concentrated, no signs of fatigue. Ready for a new excursion, still expecting to uncover new ground. That's the spirit I like. (Dolf Mulder) Address:

Greg Taw is The Ghost Of 29 Megacycles, and as such he has a previous work on Hellosquare Recordings, a CD for Sound & Fury and various CDRs. 'The Hummingbird Dream', his second CD, has two pieces, a part one and a part two. Taw plays guitar, organ and field recordings on both and for the second part (which last just under seven minutes, whereas part one is twenty-four minutes), he receives help from two female vocalists and someone who plays organ. If you would have told me its just an organ and some effects, I would have probably believed that also. The twenty-four minutes of part one is a beautiful drone piece of organ sounds that wash about. Seemingly, endlessly sustaining, this meanders about, light weighted, and spacious, with a somewhat sad undercurrent. Maybe it has guitars too, but I find them hard to hear, but no doubt they mingle together somewhere captured in effect land. The bird calls towards the end mark the end and moves forward to the second part, in which voices can be heard. This is more a song-like piece, from the world of dream-pop and shoegazing, of old Ochre Records. Maybe the two pieces don't go very well together, but the second complements the first and could have been perhaps a bit longer, to balance a bit better with the first part, but throughout this is a very fine release. Nothing new, but definitely something great. Relaxing drone music. (FdW)


HAMMERIVER (CD by Mikroton)
A big band, this Hammeriver: we have Clare Cooper (harp), Chris Abrahams (piano), Christoph Kurzmann (lloopp), Tobias Delius (clarinet, tenor saxophone), Clayton Thomas (double bass), Werner Dafeldecker (double bass) and Tony Buck (drums). They met up in the former East-Berlin Radio Station Saal 3 in 2007, to record this music which is dedicated to Alice Coltrane Swamini Turiyasangitanada. Perhaps this is indeed jazz music and perhaps I should leave this with Dolf Mulder, but as usual I play these things first and if I like them, I should perhaps discuss them myself. Its not easy to say why I liked this, since I normally don't like jazz very much. Perhaps because this is hardly regular, modern jazz. Various instruments play more along the jazz lines then others, the drums, one double bass, piano mostly, and the saxophone at times mildly blearing away (and providing the most jazz like tunes), whereas its not easy to spot what Lloopp does, the harp or at times, the piano and the double bass. Its that odd combination of jazz like outings and free improvised sound that makes this for me an attractive album. Partly because I rarely play such music, I guess, and there is a great flowing sense in this music. Very much a free fall of sounds, like a mild rainy day, especially in the opening piece 'Second Stabbing'. A most curious, not average every day release. Very relaxed music. (FdW)


WERKBUND - NEUE RUNGHOLTER TANZE (LP by Walter Ulbricht Schallfolien)
Every now and then I meet Asmus Tietchens, usually in a situation with other people. Almost always he gets the question: 'are you Werkbund?', and, polite as he is, he always says no. It must drive him mad, to get the same question for so long.  There is a connection between Werkbund and one Mechtild von Leusch (1923-1989), who was a member and who was responsible for uncovering tunes from the Middle Ages called the 'Rungholter Tanze'. Some of them were released on CD in the early 90s, and now there are ten new dances. I am not sure I understand the German text that comes with it. The music of Werkbund is electronic, based on rhythm, reverb and synthesizers. Its not difficult to see the Tietchens connection, as productionwise it comes close to his sound - say a mixture of his Sky Records and his later work on The Bog and a very dark atmospheric Hematic Sunsets. The mood of this record is, as before, dark and melodic. I haven't got a clue whether this whole thing about the Middle Ages is true, or the fact that its recorded on Von Leusch' old equipment, or perhaps that's a group of people that may or may not include Asmus Tietchens. Should we really care about all of that? I don't think so. This is simply a great record, along the earlier releases by the group and after a long silence, a most welcome return. Maybe Werkbund goes into hibernation again, maybe there is a new record soon. With all such mystery surrounding the project, we should just sit back and enjoy what we have. A great record. Address: <>

Some weeks ago I was writing about artists changing from band name to their own name to release their music, and I was thinking about Joe Colley, who was, very early on, Crawl Unit. I realized I didn't hear much from him lately, but this new 3LP set makes it all up for waiting. One of my current topics is 'good noise'. By this I mean noise that is loud at times/most of the times, but also at needed times soft, and where the artist has thought about 'composing' with the material at hand. Quite often I use Joe Colley as a reference for that. This 3LP set shows the many approaches Colley has towards 'noise'. At times vicious and loud, with piercing drones, built from analogue synthesizers and a few sound effects, but also from slowly dying equipment, faulty cables and such like. Sometimes the music consists of a few sine waves buzzing about for a while, abruptly changing then into a heavy insect chorus. Colley uses all the techniques available, from computer editing to humming micro cassette recorders to achieve what he wants. Perhaps I should state that three LPs is a lot, but it isn't. I listened throughout, from start to finish to Colley's world of sound. I am not a lover of noise. The noise of long distortion pedal pushing, but I am a lover of noise when its intelligently made and Colley just does that: crafting intelligent pieces of noise. Raw, intense, loud, soft, delicate. Working with lowest means of sound production, creating a top line of compositions. This is exactly the kind of noise I like very much and that's why I think Colley is the undisputed master of it. (FdW) Address:


SAWAKO - BRAND NEW FOSSIL (7" by Winds Measure Recordings)
Before Sawako had a CD on 12K, but here comes up with a four track 7". On the first side she uses 'a handmade crystal radio' and on the other side 'field recordings around astroland, coney island, ny'. 'Radio Stone' is a dark piece, drone like piece, moving around like a slow animal. Actually at three minutes rather short. 'Dot' seem to consist of a few mere sounds, with some radio hum. Now if 'Radio Stone' would be twice as a long, it could make up a great side. The two pieces that make up the b-side seem to flow right into eachother and sound like being cut from a larger piece of field recordings, with some metallic rumbling at the beginning (keys? a waste bin pushed over), but by and large is a curious piece of wind blowing down a microphone. I think its a great 7" for the music it contains, but I think I preferred a 3"CD with lengthier versions of all four pieces. Now its somewhat clouded in mystery. Blue vinyl. (FdW) Address:


'On this album you will Rebecca (Joy Sharp) and the wildlife of Sefton Park were conversing with one another - a truly beautiful experience - one I will always be thankful I was witness to, and able to record', writes Simon Wetham on the cover of this release. So just what did Whetham do here? Setting up a bunch of microphones (or perhaps even one?) and watch Sharp play the lever, which is a Celtic harp. It was recorded at the International Dawn Chorus day - 3rd of May 2009 of which I never heard, but the dawn chorus is captured beautifully here. The birds sing great and Sharp's harp sings nicely in the morning light. I heard this release already a few days ago, but now that I am hearing it again its indeed more 'morning' like, although not really dawn anymore, and sunlight bursts in (but its too cold to open the window) and the music is the gentle harp and singing of birds. It almost feels like spring time, my favorite season of all (although this cold October morning looks good too). And Whetham? What did he do? He captured the whole thing in a beautiful way. A great achievement. (FdW) Address:

DREAM STATE - A DECADE DREAMING (CDR by Dream State/The Ambient Ping)
A duo from Canada, this Dream State, of Scott M2 and Jamie Todd, and since 1999 they have played regularly at a club called Ping (which was to be found in various places) and also with various guestplayers, contributing keyboards, synthesizers, metal, trumpet, or cello. M2 and Todd play synthesizers and field recordings and the whole thing is ambient with the very big A. Very cosmic (one piece is called 'Laika's Last Orbit', another 'Universe City Line') kind of ambient, with lots of digital synthesizers washing about. The first five pieces are by the two and nice, but perhaps also a bit too easy. With tracks we get something in connection with Pholde and his metal percussion adds something new to the Dream State sound, and there is an immediate form of tension arriving in the music. It shows that Dream State are also capable improvisers, within the frame of ambient music. That also happens with 'The Storm Within', in which we hear cello and cello treatments. Those two pieces may be odd balls among these twelve cuts from eleven years of playing concerts, but they also show that for Dream State there is more than just sustaining synthesizers with bending tones. Perhaps altogether a fairly traditional release, connecting seventies cosmic music with new millennium technology, and a bit of beat-less ambient house, but the raw edge of the live sound makes up well for that. A nice release thought indeed, for spacious late evenings. (FdW) Address:


I've reviewed this label before, once again surprising, original and creative stuff. Circular is given its origin in feedback system, drums and objects, is a beautiful restrained work,  the feedback is delicate controlled - "musically" that is, which is shared by the other disk - a musicality of improvisation, though not in anyway thematic, are  Tony Dryer: double bass, electronics, Jacob Felix Heule: drum set, electronics. A live recording made in Liege - Improv - and not bad. they use both electronics and 'conventional' instruments here in one long improvised piece - a strangely compulsive piece at that. it does fall into a rhythm at one point but this is not in anyway unexpected. At my most critical these disk can both be "listened to". Which makes them in present climate strange oddities.. A good thing. Maybe 'just' listened to. surely not a bad thing? (jliat)


JON MUELLER - HALVES (cassette by Notice Recordings)
Percussion player Jon Mueller was a regular guest in Vital Weekly, but since the bulk of his more recent work was released by Table Of The Elements, we lost a bit of contact. Quite surprised to see him do a cassette, in an edition of merely 60 copies. Recorded in the basement, Mueller has a limited set-up. Not being a drummer, I don't know what this is, but perhaps its just snare drum being rolled in a highly minimalist manner. There seems not to be happening a lot on both pieces - which seem to me extensions of eachother - but I thought this a kind of minimalist playing that was great, totally captivating. Hard to say how this was achieved, but I don't think it was a straight forward recording, nor that it involves electronics, but that the whole thing thing was picked up with a variety of microphones, mixed together in a very close way, but with all the necessary minimal changes. An excellent work of great unfolding minimal percussive music. (FdW) Address:


UNHOLY TRIFORCE - SANDIN YR VAGINA (cassette by Auris Apothecary)
While listening to Black Mountain Transmitter, I have to time to write about Unholy Triforce's 'Sandin' Yr Vagina'. Its an anti-cassette, c13 filled with sand. 'A maelstrom of wood, glass, and metal material noise covered in an unrelenting wall of power electronics'. I have no idea if that is true, but seeing the entire cassette shel filled with salt, I must admit that a) I don't want to do any manual work on removing screws and cleaning up the salt, while b) it may still harm my cassette player. But thumbs up for this: its good to see that the 'anti' thing is still alive, following that great series of 'anti-records' on RRRecords - I still play all of them every now and then (on a battered old turntable). Forget music, buy art? No doubt the best release of this week, that I didn't hear.
Black Mountain Transmitter is J.R. Moore (sounds) and C. Mitchell (additional percussion) and this work was previously released as a CDR on Lysergic Farwax and then as a CD on Aurora Borealis, but this is the cassette version. Pitch black music for a bunch of analogue synths, sounds effects, humming restlessly away in a swamp that seems to be sucking up the music further and further. Occasionally a small melody comes up and cries for help, but gets pulled down again. Music without an immediate start and without a necessary stop signal, it goes on and on. Post nuclear attack music. Think of them as the grandsons of Maurizio Bianchi and think of his 'Plain Truth' and you are getting close. Death ambient music which works quite well. Great package on both releases! (FdW) Address:

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