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Vital Weekly 755

img  Tobias Fischer

PAS stands for Post Abortion Stress and started in 1995 in Brooklyn, New York by the musician and videoartist Robert L. Pepper. PAS stands for all people how have been aborted by the society, because of that this people doesn't behave of think as is usual in the so called normal society. Pas does also mean No in French. The idea of PAS is create an own world of beauty and the group interpretate their music as sonic sculptures in the mode of pure art. Pure Energy Output Sessions is the sixth release of PAS. The musicians are Amber Brien, Robert L. Pepper, Jon "Vomit" Worthley and Michael Durek. They cooperated with musicians like ZEV, Philippe Petit and more and did concerts all over the world.  The music has a wide swing of moods, it is like a kaleidoscope of all kinds of dreams which takes the listener to all kinds of rooms and spaces. Sometimes the music is minimalistic, melancholic, religious, noisy, psychedelic or ambient. Mostly there is a layer of a loop or delayed sounds and the musicians add other musical patterns on it with piano, synthesizer, voice, self-built instruments and i do not know what. Sometimes the music refers to oldschool tape- and experimental music like in the eighties, but I guess it has to do with the use of loops and delayed sounds and no use of computer. I really like this album with the open creative mind with the aim to create a good piece of music. Lovely album presented in a beautiful colorful cover.
Robert L. Pepper is also a videoartist and the DVD consists a lot of short movies with a highly experimental character. The music is of PAS and more drony than the music in Pure Energy Output Sessions. I cannot say nothing about the music, it is great and I love it a lot. But the video's are more experiments with all kinds of filters. The DVD starts really well with a black and white movie in a surrealistic setting on the street. I like the repetition of the walking actor and the use of strange objects. But after this movie lots of different kinds of filters are passing by. Of course filters can make the image and (non)story stronger, but with a lot of movies the filter doesn't make it stronger. When Pepper focusses himself to one subject in combination with some objects the movie is much more interesting to watch. The DVD has also two live recordings of PAS. I liked to watch this very basic documentation of these concerts. Nothing really is happening, the musicians are concentrated making music and they do it in a good way. (Jan-Kees Helms) Address:


MIKE SHIFLET - LLANOS (CD by Editions Shiflet)
Its surely been a while since I last heard anything solo from Mike Shiflet, once upon a time the owner of Gameboy Records. I guess it must have been 'Hearing [Or Not]' back in Vital Weekly 529, so maybe four years. Upon inspecting his blog I noticed I missed out on some of his releases, but not always on his collaborative work (with Daniel Menche and Brendan Murray for instance). So, I wasn't blown away by 'Hearing [Or Not]', which seemed a pretty loud and noisy affair. But over the years something has changed, although I am not sure when it was, or if this new work is a new direction or something that has been going on for some more time. But Shiflet joins the ranks of the likes of Joe Colley, Francisco Meirino, Andy Orthmann and such alike. People will the roots in the world of noise, loud noise even, but whose work has drifted away from the distorted attacks of piercing sounds. Shiflet is a bit different from the others mentioned, it seems (I'm only assuming based upon this one release) that in these six pieces, his interest lies in the fact to produce 'ongoing' fields of sounds, and not one that is working with abrupt, cut-up/collage methods. To that end he's using electronics, although its not easy to say what these are. It might be electro-static sounds, magnetic waves, hiss from cassettes, motorized objects on surfaces. Only in 'Sunbathers', the loudest cut served here, I seem to recognize the guitar and lots of sound effects. A long piece - not the longest - and not the most effective one. For me it kinda destroyed the more gentle other five pieces in this release. Those pieces even have an ambient like quality to them, the most apparent in 'Web Over Glen Echo', but in others its more uptight and upright, working on a great dynamic level. Hissy in the top end, emotional and moving in the bass end. Where music and noise meet up in a great way. So, maybe its about time to find out what happened in between 'Hearing [Or Not]' and 'Llanos'. This is a great new work! (FdW)


One Jay Scott from South Africa was my only contact in South Africa in the 80s. He send me his weird electronic music, as Sphinx, on cassettes which have been long gone. But I do remember one particular more rock band like band called Kalahari Surfers and in particular a song called 'Plan For Peace', if I remember correctly. That may be here somewhere, covered in dust. Jay Scott now returns with a new label called Microdot Records and oddly enough a release by Kalahari Surfers. Now in my mind they were a sort of alternative rock band that fitted along the lines of Recommended Records, but perhaps it was because they were exotic and made into the Rec Rec catalogue? If you would have played this to me as part of a quiz - guess, who's this? - than I would never have guessed its the Kalahari Surfers. Simply because its so far away from anything rock like. They traded their guitars for synthesizers, drum machines and samplers. These samples have voices and sometimes there are real vocals. The whole thing is of course highly political, against one party states, against terror, against war, against children being soldiers and so on. Set to tones which are laidback, groovy tunes stemming from the rhythm machines and synthesizers. At times I was thinking of the Orb, which is good, since I like that kind of ambient techno music. All in all an excellent CD, very entertaining. (FdW)


From down under Gail Priest hails and she works
since 2001 in electronic music. She has a background in performance, but also did sound installations and has had releases on her own Metal Bitch label. This is the first time I hear her work, despite her appearance on compilations for Cajid and Room40. Her music is quite interesting, rooted firmly in the world of microsound. Priest uses a lot of heavily processed field recordings, but also her own voice - which seems to be a female thing. Easy to link to the work of AGF of course, but in the work of Priest rhythm is almost absent. Spacious music this is, based on the poem of Rainer Maria Rilke, old esoteric texts on Araneology and spiders (which comes to use in pieces like 'Spider Spins', 'Spider Dreams' and 'Spider Dances'). The album walks a fine line of abstract electronic sounds, field recordings and occasional small melodies. Perhaps nothing much new as such. I saw some links with the current incarnation of Cindytalk, which I guess is not bad at all. Well balanced between real instruments (cello, piano), field recordings, microsound and improvisation. Quite a varied bunch this album, not every moment being spot on, but throughout quite a nice one. (FdW)

The work of Asmus Tietchens becomes more and more radical. I have no idea how things work on 'Abraum', but its most likely one of the more stranger Tietchens works. Apparently somewhere in Hamburg, where Tietchens lives, there is a tunnel being made in the harbor. As far as I understand Tietchens went there to do some recording, which he brought in the studio. So far nothing new, but the 'problem' is that we don't know what he did in the studio. His usual kind of processing only seems to be appearing in 'Abraum 4', the final piece on 'Abraum'. The microscopic, detailed splatter of sound, being fed through oscillators make a connection of Tietchens's imminent past. But in the first three pieces this seems to be not the case. They seem (but no doubt I am wrong) be cut straight from a bunch of field recordings, and hardly sound processed at all. But it is a composition (three of them) in as far that Tietchens collects the very silent bits with a minimum of sound information and collates these together into some very intense music. One needs his full attention to pick up what this is about. No sit back and lie down music, but some seriously intense form of soundscaping. Highly - neh utterly - reduced in its form but with an absolute great musical quality. I am biassed, I know - I just happen to like Tietchens a great and this new CD is one of the most radical and pure releases by him. (FdW)


THE DISTRACTIONS - COME HOME (12" by Occultation)
Only a few moments ago we reviewed 'Black Velvet', a MP3 release by The Distractions, one of the lost bands from the post punk era, being the proud owner of a 7" on Factory Records. Their story is perhaps known: following Factory came Island Records and then nothing. Followed by 'Black Velvet'  which had three songs from the quiet mid 90s period, but 'Come Home' (which comes as a 12", although copies exist on real CD - which is what I have in front of me) is the true resurrection of the group, as this contains the very fresh 2010 recordings. You could wonder what this lot does in Vital Weekly - even I have no clue. Three rock songs, pop even (I never know the difference I guess), passionate songs with Mike Finney's voice burning like a soul singer. 'Lost' is a great rocking song with a catchy as hell tune, 'Nicole' is a true ballad and the perfect sentimental Distractions song. But is to say until 'Oil Painting', another ballad of great gestures. I like to be distracted from the world of microsound, ambient, improvisation and all such like, when it comes to The Distractions. The perfect anti-dote to any regular listening and yes, sometimes I do play something entirely different than what you read about here. And yes, The Distractions are just what I sometimes want. Excellent and more to come. (FdW)


They did it again, the duo Diatribes (d'incise and Cyril Bondi) from Austria created a anarchistic free-jazz piece of music with Phonotopy. No melodic moments, just sounds, rhythm, atmosphere and especially a lot of abstraction, as far as I can say, that is one of the marks of Diatribes. Phonotopy is a project of Yann Leguay from France who experiments a lot of with sound, space and self-built instruments and has the same free mind as the musicians of Diatribes. The piece starts slow, but as soon as possible the musicians starts to communicate and act as maniacs and produce sounds without interruption and they differ the speed and intensity of sounds. The combination between a traditional drumset, objects, laptop selfbuilt-instruments, like an electric racket and a tennis sitar is well-chosen. The piece ends in a quiet and meditative mood, but gets disturbed by high feed -backtones and other noisy sounds. Partielle d'Averse  is an explosion of short sounds, incalculable and as free as possible. The music is released as a free download under Creative Common license and released as a cd3 in a beautiful self=created hard-board cover with a nice painting of Sandra Plantiveau. Great music for free-minded people. (Jan-Kees Helms)


Its been a while since I heard music by Collin Thomas (see also Vital Weekly 655 and 681) but he's back with a nicely designed, limited CDR release (which, when sold out, will be available as a download from his website). The stones and 'still' mentioned in the title of this new release refer to headstones found on graveyards. Its here that Thomas did the field recordings for this album. Very silent stuff of course but in fact it could be any sort of field recording from a quiet place, let's say a big empty forest. It doesn't really matter, as part of the deal of music is suggestion, I'd think. To these field recordings Thomas adds sparse instrumentation, which he keeps, in true spirit with the quiet, tranquil character of the field recordings, also very quiet and non directional. Its not easy to say what he uses in that department, but a synthesizer to generate a few drones here and there, and very sparse piano playing, with perhaps a teeny weeny bit of processing. Other instruments might be there too, but then they are well covered with bird sounds. As said, it may all be a bit heavyweight with the location of the recordings, but throughout its nice stuff. (FdW)


The work of Philip Sulidae came us via some releases on his own label and Ripples Recordings and expands now into the world of Mystery Sea. The previous release, 'A High Land' (see Vital Weekly 724), seems a bit more roughly edged, but on this new one, Sulidae seeks out the opposite and it all seems a bit more 'reduced'. The input is hard to define here. My best guess is that its something to do with motorized objects - maybe boats in the water? - which are then fed through some radical equalization to bring out hidden sonic qualities. There is only a mild aquatic theme to this, lesser it seems that on some of the other releases on this label. The water sounds collide with the ship that this is recorded in. A modest release in terms of sound, but with a great refined quality to it. (FdW) Address:


Frank 4 is the fourth edition in a serial of five CD-r's created by Kasper van Hoek. He studies at the Interactive Media and Environments course of the Frank Mohr Institute in Groningen - The Netherlands. Frank is a documentation of  the music he made and will make with his own hand made instruments. The recordings have been made between 2008  and 2010. Frank 4 consists of two live improvised performances recorded at the NP3 Gallery on 3 July 2010. The first session is played by Jan Klug and Kasper van Hoek. The music has a closed quiet and abstract atmosphere. The dark tones of the self-build string instrument and laptop get an more open mood caused by the clarinet tones. The piece is well improvised and although both musicians didn't do any preparation beforehand, it has not the mood of an improvised piece of music. The second part of this evening is played by Hideki Kanno from Japan and a group consisting of Michael Dotolo from the USA, Sahal Merchant from India, Jan Klug, Corneel Canters and Thijs Jansen. This music has really the context of a improvisation. The group of musicians is seaching for the palette of tones and rhythms and the find it in a good manner. Quiet tones, becomes more noisy and slow down in meditative moments, which are disturbed by high pitched tones greeted by strings and electronic sounds. The third part which was played during this evening was a very quiet piece of music, because the audience was in a quiet mood during this evening. Unfortunately there were too much background noise so the quality of the recording was not good enough to release it. Although this makes me very curious, because the compositions have a great intensity. (Jan-Kees Helms) Address:


There is some kind of thematic approach to this work, it seems, about the Greek goddess Eris (called Discordia in Latin), goddess of twist and strife. It was the driving force to compose this music for Christopher McFall. Unlike much of his previous work, McFall doesn't rely just on the use of field recordings, but also on a piano and sampled material from a broken phonograph. In that respect one could say that McFall does something new. When I started to play this, I double checked on the first piece that I was really dealing with a McFall release, since its a very musical piece. Shimmering piano tones, a broken loop and that's about it. A simple yet very effective piece of music. The piano will return later, played as a piano (not the inside, unless it appears somewhere in some sort of processed manner, which makes it hard to recognize), but also the more usual McFall sounds appear in here: dark atmospheric humming, micro-bass-sounds and such like, sometimes, like in the fourth untitled piece, working along the piano sound. Yet overall, the music seems more sparse then before - emptier if you want. Hardly a work of discord and strife, to keep Eris in mind. But throughout a wonderful disc, a break away from his previous work, through the incorporation of a real instruments and reduction of processing. Excellent stuff. (FdW)


ALEX BARNETT - SECTION 3 (cassette by Nihilist Records)
GAY BOMB - TAPED UP (cassette by Nihilist Records)
NEW DIRECTIONS IN EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC (three cassettes by Nihilist Records)
Nihilist Records, Andy Orthmann's label gears up with a bunch of cassette releases, some by people I never heard of. First up is Alex Barnett, with a short twenty minute cassette of music I would not easily expect on Nihilist. Armed with a bunch analogue synthesizers and a drum machine, he wanders into the world of cosmic music, like so many others, but Barnett even more taps into the vaults of Tangerine Dream. Fat synth lines and minimalist drum patterns. Very retro, more than his peers in Emeralds or Onetrix, but with some great arpeggio's or sequencers. The b-side shows a more introspective side of the music. Very nice, although for the full cosmic effect things could have been longer.
If you decide to call yourself Gay Bomb, then you probably play noise. The website says "Both sides executed by Gaybomb with two magnetic card strip readers used live. From noisy blasts to percussive patterns to meditative loops of spoken word. Andrew Barranca's first solo full length is made up of 4 second samples of raw, dirty, found, and altered source material." The music is hardly there. Is this a mistake of the copying process or intended? If you try really hard you hear that this might be noise based, but its all so far away. Distorted probably, but never there is any real danger. The b-side is called 'What's Going To Happen'. I was wondering about that too.
Vital Weekly writes a lot about noise. The really loud ones are discussed by Jliat in his usual noisy and thus less understood manner, and the ones with some lesser noise (or more thought, whatever you want) by me, always interested in 'New Directions In Experimental Music', so I am delighted by this compilation: a box with three cassettes, and six bands. The real surprise here is the presence of Mixed Band Philanthropist, which we may loosely describe a side project of The New Blockaders. They had a LP in 1987 and a 7" in 2003 and now this piece, which still sounds like the Mixed Band: a quick montage of sounds and lots of spoken word. A piece that is both tiring and funny. The other side has a like wise collage type piece of music by Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock, but with more silent parts built in than with the Philanthropists. Irr.App. (ext) also has a piece that is alike some of his previous work, although emphasis lies more on the use of improvisation - the use and abuse of an acoustic guitar through various effects. Here on the other side we find The Haters, who have a piece which is not entirely like their omnious back catalogue. While heavily based on loops of sound, it has more depth then before. Surely there are blasts of white noise too, shrieks of feedback, but it stays on the mild side and makes a very fine piece. The final cassette has Mhlest, who have been quiet again, after a series of come-back releases. They/he performs a great, subdued piece of shortwave like sounds that are fed through a bunch of sound effects. A slowly moving beast. An excellent piece of music. Label man Andy Ortmann is the final musician and his work did already shift in recent years towards more indepth electronics and leanings towards the traditional musique concrete. Here he assembles a piece of synth based sounds which sound like a swarm of insects, with a great (because its mild) use of sound effects and a fine use of acoustic sounds. The verdict then: I am not sure if these six pieces are 'THE' new directions in experimental music, or perhaps extensions of an already traditional movement, starting with the musique concrete of the early fifties. No doubt its more like that actually. That says nothing about the quality of these pieces: these are great. Every single piece has a great quality and brings his own character to the table. An excellent package. (FdW) Address:


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