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Vital Weekly 764

img  Tobias Fischer

Usually press texts say lots of things which is just the sort of thing record label use to exaggerate to drum up interest for their artist. But when Pogus writes about Alvin Lucier 'an unique and individual artist: no one sounds quite like Alvin Lucier', I can only agree. I sang praise for the work of Lucier before. His ongoing investigation into sound phenomena, with or without the use of instruments has been going on for more than forty years now, and brought him the status of a well-known composer. And when you are well-known, people will ask you for pieces, for them to perform. On 'Almost New York' we find four of those pieces, three on disc one and one on disc two. We have hear instruments we came across before in Lucier's work, such as piano, cello and flute. In 'Twonings' for cello (performed by Charles Curtis, who himself performed more work by Lucier, and released a 2CD by Antiopic - see Vital Weekly 498) and piano, we don't have any sweeping oscillations to be followed, but two closely tuned instruments, but with enough variation in pitches to clearly distinguish differences. In the title piece we have one player and five flutes, who follows two pure wave oscillators and moves between playing five flutes, not simultaneously of course. 'Broken Line' is, then again, more alike the first piece, but then staged for three instruments, flute, vibraphone and piano. The most radical work here is the piece 'Coda Variations', which takes up the entire second disc. Robin Hayward performs it on tuba. Based on eight notes from a Feldman piece, Lucier subjected them to seven sets of permutations of sixty-three notes each. No sine waves to play along, just the sound of single notes played at one time each, for almost fifty minutes. An intriguing work. Of these four pieces, there is only one which we could label as 'traditional Lucier' work, but the three others display probably just as well what Lucier, less the pure waves and all four are simply four more great pieces. Indeed: no one sounds quite like Alvin Lucier. (FdW) Address:


At last we have another re-issue from Asmus Tietchens, number thirteen, but the first since 2008's 'Abfleischung' (see Vital Weekly 657). Its also the one other album that was granted a re-issue before, on Multimood. Then it came with 'Zwinburgen des Hedonismus', another Multimood record (one side only), but that was already part of the re-issue series (see Vital Weekly 555). So far the technical side of this. I could talk, and I will, about the main piece of this CD which is "Gr¸nschattiger Nachmittag", but first the 'other' one, "Linea 5". Simply because that is another dear piece, having been responsible for the release of two others from this series. The "Linea" compositions is what it says: a strictly linear composition of a rhythm box and synthesizer. But whereas the first and third Linea were clear cut, Tietchens looses himself half way this piece with too many echo and reverb on the music. It just doesn't derail, but its indeed the logical conclusion of that particular short series. The other side is inhibited by "Gr¸nschattiger Nachmittag", one of the strangest pieces recorded by Tietchens. Its an orchestral piece, recorded using a whole bunch samplers (Fairlight for instance), and probably very much kitsch, but as Tietchens says, "if it has to be kitsch then do it full-on", and quite rightly so. This piece is always heralded by those who think the music of Tietchens is too cold, which is usually followed by 'oh but then there is of course that great piece of orchestral music'. My dear old father, who didn't think much of any of the music I would play (and, as Tietchens knows, in 1989, when this first came out, I was still living with my parents), would frown, as I tried to impress him with this record: 'see, these people with horrible music can do some beautiful music', but he was not impressed, and probably rightly so. Its not classical music, but it works with all the cliche's of classical music, the dramatic built-up, the choir, the pounding, marching percussion, its all a mighty cliche of classical music. Like a Hollywood score, even (Tietchens missed a nice career there, we should think, but somehow I am sure that's not where his ambition is, I guess). So what do I think of "Gr¸nschattiger Nachmittag" after all these years. I think my view has changed over the years. Twenty years ago I loved this piece for its nice classical touch, whereas now I love the kitsch aspect of it. I think the music is actually very, very funny. The big surprise is of course is the bonus piece, which is the 1979 raw version of "Gr¸nschattiger Nachmittag", recorded with a rhythm machine and mini-moog. We hear the same melody, but of course clinically and electronically, but the elements, melody and rhythm are in place. Let's contemplate for a while what Tietchens could do if he would re-create more of his pieces in a similar fashion. Probably the next Graeme Revell? (FdW) Address:


The subtitle for this release could have been 'music for tape and percussion', in a good modern classical sense and of course its the player who asks the composer to prepare a tape, in this case Seijiro Murayama asking Eric Cordier for a tape to be used in a live performance. It's not just percussion sounds to be used, but also voice, breathing, moving around in space and Cordier moving around with a microphone and painting with fire. Cordier's tape is made of field recordings, mainly from Japan, but also France - both the home countries from the artists involved. It takes a while before realizing that it actually involves percussion in this piece (which consists of five parts). Now of course Murayama is the kind of player who easily extends beyond the ordinary playing of percussion, so it might very well be that his sounds are there from the beginning. By the time we come to the fifth part the role of the percussion becomes much clearer, and even seems to be part of the tape - or perhaps not? That's the kind of illusions that I like. What is what here? Where ends the field recording, what makes up the sound of percussion. That's the sort of questions raised by this fascinating disc. An excellent interplay of both ends meeting up. Sometimes the sounds stand firmly by themselves - the chirping of insects, the rolling of a snare drum - but they also grow towards eachother and then seems to melt together - the audio illusion in full force. Moving from introspective moments at the start towards heavily treated material towards the end - a journey no doubt. An excellent disc of electro-acoustic music, improvised music and field recordings presented as one finished unity. Excellent. Oops, I said that already. (FdW) Address:

The Brombron project itself is work a true work of art and a good reason to the fact that the Netherlands is one of the world's leading countries in field of sound art. The conceptual idea behind Brombron was originally established as a co-production between legendary Dutch label Staalplaat and the venue for experimental music, Extrapool. Two or more musicians become artists in the residence of Extrapool. Equipped with the recording studio of Extrapool, the artists can work on a collaborative project that will be released in the Brombron-series. Fifteen releases from year 2000 forward is the result of the Brombron project, and now the time has come for the 16th and 17th edition in the series. 16th release is the result of the joint venture between U.S artist Jason Zeh and U.K. artist Ben Gwilliam. Jason Zeh is a magnetic cassette tape specialist from Bowling Green Ohio, who creates music in a combination between drone, electro-accoustics and noise. Ben Gwilliam (b. 1980) is a sound artist active in the fields of sound installation and also working as a curator with a number of interesting art exhibitions around the U.K. During their days in at the Extrapool, the two artists developed the materials for present album titled "Dots". The materials are built of sounds derived from prepared tape, related machinery, and other magnetic sourcing including posting, heating, freezing, and puncturing tape. The expression is first of all subdued approaching the almost inaudible level. Subtle high frequency sound drones winds meanwhile discreet noise patterns buzzes from underneath. The result is quite elegant and very intense. Ambient music pushed to the extremes.
Next and 17th album in the Brombron-series is an interesting collaboration between two legends of the noise and industrial-scene. Z'EV (aka Stefan Joel Weisser) has been around in the experimental music scene for a long time already. His brand of scrap-metal and found object percussion originates back to the early seventies. Creating his own instruments from various metals and plastics, he has placed himself at the forefront of the movement that became known as "industrial". He was among others one of the described forefront industrial pioneers in the legendary "Industrial Culture Handbook" (1983). In the more recent years, he has returned to working with electro-acoustic manipulations. Fellow artist at the extrapool studios is one of the top composer's of Japanese noise scene. Starting his career in the early 80's by performing guitar improvisations in the clubs and streets of Tokyo, Kazuyuki Kishino a.k.a. K.K. Null continued by collaborating with among others Merzbow and others from the extreme noise scene of Tokyo. The two quite different noise artists has come out with a very interesting album as the result of their studio-days at the Extrapool. The expression on the album "Extra space, extra time" seems like a very nice combination of the style of both artists. Percussion patterns derived from metal materials and other sorts of acoustic banging circulates hand in hand with rumbling noises changing between full throttle and subtle. What makes this release certainly interesting is the way that the twosome manage to blend noisy textures with handmade percussive patterns. Hordes of noise drones and pulses moves alongside the intense tribal drum patterns of Z'EV. The main parts of the six works of the album carrying the title "Extra space, extra time", opens slowly with distant sounds that builds over time until powerful drum patterns set in to create a trancelike atmosphere. Thus despite the abrasive nature of the album, the works has a great appeal thanks to the excellent rhythm textures created by one of Industrial music most steady-going percussion artists, Z'EV. A masterful collaboration on this one! (Niels Mark)

TELE S. THERION - THE CHAPEL (CD by Radical Matters)
Tele S Therion is group from Italy formed by P.Riparbelli/K11 (sounds and voice/chant) and Sandro Gronch (prepared bass with metal coils, samples and environmental feedback system). Gronch is also the founder and owner of the label Radical Matters. The label is focused on a transgressive design of ideas, objects and media communication. The releases have a limited edition and are designed and manufactured by hand. As you can say a real DIY label in traditional and that is what I like. The Chapel is a conceptual album and composed by seven stereophonic audio recordings and the meaning is to duplicate the album and to play two ore more tracks at the same time with different players and soundsystems. The duo call there music as acousmatic black metal. And indeed it is dark and black, but I do not hear the metal in it in it's "normal" way.  The seven tracks are very noisy with a lot of feed-back created by electric bass-guitar and distorted voices. The music is dark, oppressive and massive and some are more ambient. Some moments in the tracks will be repeated in other tracks but will than proceed in another way. I didn't had the possibility to create and space with different soundsystem, but I think the result will be overwhelming. HINTHV HITVVM is another conceptual album and contains two CD-R's. The intention is to play both CD-R's at the same time with the same volume with two the same soundsystems and to open yourself to a phono-medianic ritual and is based of ancient nercromantical mystery cults. Heavy stuff, I do not have nothing with these kind of dark ideas, but anyway.... The choirs are like Tibetan monks who chanting with the voices and is supported by electronics and bass-guitar. For this CD Lundumh/Astral Lufeur is responsible for the chants and voices and he uses old ritual occult texts.  There are also moments of silence in the compositions and that is based some rituals. The voices have their impact with the use of echo, delay and other sound-effects. Sometimes it is effective, sometimes it is too much. Nature Unveiled is based on same-called album of Current 93, the band of David Tibet. This album has not the massive impact of the other two albums. Of course… the sounds are harsh, noisy, but there are more subtile moments in it, created by the samples of the Current 93 album and other sounds which gives more variation. The album has also more different kind of atmospheres, of course still dark but it is less hermetic than the other conceptual albums. Radical Matters pays al lot of attention the the artwork of their releases and it is worth looking. Tele S. Therion is highly recommended if you want to swim in a dark pool in a winter night, to be surrounded by the coldness of life.(Jan-Kees Helms)


1000SCHOEN - MOUNE (CD by Niktie)
Troum came from Maeror Tri. A trio reduced to a duo, so what happened to the third person? Helge Siehl started his own project, 1000schoen, and has had a few releases as such. This might very well be his first real CD release. Its not easy to review this and not to think of Maeror Tri or Troum, simply because there is a similarity between all three. Now if Siehl would have picked up the acoustic guitar and sang songs, it would have been easy: it would be very different. But in the three pieces, two long one short, Siehl continues to explore his own version of his own legacy. He does that in a slightly different way than Troum. Whereas Troum offers a very dense sound of atmospheric sound, layering many sounds together, to put the icing on the cake, it seems to me that Siehl likes a less crowded palette of sounds, stripping and reducing until he is left with a handful of sounds to work. In the final short track it seems that he is using voice only and for me it broke with the natural flow of the two longer pieces. In those he chooses to work with guitars and synthesizers, along with a bit of sound effects, but throughout in a more minimal field. The opening piece 'Moune Rising' moves along those bass lines, field recordings and finds itself eventually taken over by some more synthetic sounds, whereas 'Moune' is more a piece of gentle processed guitar sounds and rusty field recordings of large, empty factories. Not entirely surprising in the world of drone music, but then perhaps so isn't Troum either, but its quite exciting to hear this album and if Maeror Tri and Troum are close to your heart, then you'd should be lending 1000schoen an ear too. Equally good, I'd say. (FdW) Address:


More music by Eric Lunde - did he struck on a pot of gold, or what? - and this time on CD and on limited LP. About the CD he says 'back in 2008 one if those lecture series CDs arrived in my mail, this one being about black holes'. Those lecture series CDs never arrive in my mail (but that sticker on the door that says I don't want any mail that is not especially addressed to me, perhaps helps), so I am not entirely sure what a lecture CD is, but I am imagine some one hour talk about black holes. Lunde takes the speech and transforms it using his well-known methods of eroding: tape it on simply device, play it back in some room, record that on the same simply device and repeat that process a lot of times. You end up with a bulk of recordings from all stages, which are then put together in a clever way, using small samples to create rhythms and longer parts to create heavy drone like material. The beat side of Lunde reminded me before of early Pan Sonic, and it still does. Minimalist beatings, piercing drones and feedback, low flying sound debris, and every now and then the lecture arises from the mass of sound - like poetic interjections, or perhaps matter released from a black hole. This work is a particularly fine one, with an excellent mixture of all ends explored by Lunde, from dark drone debris, rhythm and noise, along with some spoken word. Very nice and roughly refined.
On LP, limited to 100 copies, we find a 'vinyl re-release of select tracks from the Ootheka CDR. 7 Luxurious tracks from the not-very-human-friendly CDR 'Ootheka'. An opportunity to listen to said tracks, particularly the title track, in a new-old way'. I have no idea why Lunde does release that on LP. Back in Vital Weekly 730 I reviewed that CDR and wrote this: "For Ootheka Lunde  writes that he's not sure how to call it, which is a bit (sad - which word was missing in 730 - ed), seeing the quite nice presentation of it. He calls it a cross between power electronics, noise, and tape processing, so I was prepared for some ear damage. This is not the case. There are no less than forty-three tracks on this release, among which are various of six seconds only. Track seventeen to thirty-one has one title. I guess the music is best described as an update to his own previous sound approach. There is a analogue electronics, computer treatments, cheap tape techniques (memorecorder) and the voice of Lunde which is always easy to recognize. The analogue electronics, no doubt just one synthesizer, plays at times nasty, piercing stuff, but also pulse like material (like a very reduced Pan Sonic). At an hour its perhaps a bit long, but that might also be because the tracks are pretty short and sketch like. Maybe its a good to work some ideas out into somewhat longer pieces and make the whole thing forty or so minutes. There is indeed some great power in this release, but its not, thank god for that, the power electronics that is full hour of distortion." Now onto the vinyl version, there is not much change. I have no idea why the CD wasn't very human friendly, save perhaps for the fact it had forty-five tracks, but who cares when you are listening? The music still stands, not worse, not improved, but exactly what it is. Still quite nice. (FdW)


MGH - PLAY ULVER (10" by Kalinka Vichy )
Quite an obscure record here. One side of the record says 'MGH plays Ulver' and the other 'the eveningsongs are fully & completely dedicated to the Forces Of Darkness' - printed black on black. Plus the name of the label somewhere really small. Had I not spot some event page on Facebook (thank God for Facebook), I would have not figured out that MGH stands for Martiens Go Home, a Brussels based group, whose last release was a USB device with no less than ten complete albums on it. Up until now I thought of the band as a kind of Farmers Manual, laptops a gogo, but this 10" shows a bit of humor, if perhaps a bit buried. The idea was to do a kind of old black metal record, which by the look of it, certainly succeeded. The music is inspired by Ulver, whom I only know for doing something with Merzbow. This 10" however is a not case of showing off black metal to attract a new crowd, Martiens Go Home still stand for experimentation in music. They take whatever input (be it a black metal record, or something that they generated themselves) and create some highly dark sound matter. I seem to be recognizing some metal sound (as in iron not the music), pitched down and played around, along with glitchy high-end sounds, deep bass rumble, and a slow built up. Frightening stuff going on here. The other side start out in a crumbled noise land, with heavily distorted and compressed tones, delving into the world of feedback. Maybe its the pressing, maybe its the music, but what causes the distortion is not entirely clear. Its not an entirely satisfying side, unlike the other side of this. But perhaps this side will go down better with the metal-heads wanting something more experimental. All in all quite pleasing as well as haunting. (FdW)

Packed in a beautiful cover in the shape of a butterfly a new collaboration between Howard Stelzer from the USA and Frans de Waard from The Netherlands. Frans de Waard composed the composition "Gravity@Half Speed" with source material from Howard Stelzer, primarily on analogue four track between 2008 and 2010 at De Geluidwerkplaats of Extrapool, a centre for experimental arts in Nijmegen. The composition sounds noisy and clear. It is not a wall of sound, because there are moments of open space. Howard Stelzer composed the other side of the 7" with elements from Frans' "Gravity@Half Speed" and elements from all "torn tongue" iterations he did with Frans. His re-work is much more noisier and back to more grindy noise than the Frans' track before. Torn Tongue is the title of a series of collaborative compostions that Frans and Howard have been working since about 1997. It started with a tape of woman who was speaking. Frans treated this material etcetera etcetera. The material was released at Absurd, Sound Probe, Audiobot and MOLL. This 7" is the latest iteration, but more the duo intended to continue recycling and re-working the source material, and the release is a nice step in the long collaboration between these two ongoing musicians. Some older releases are not available anymore and that is a pity. It would be interesting to release a complete summary of this ongoing project. (Jan-Kees Helms) Address:


KLaNGuNDKRaCH is a small label from Prague - Czech Republic and they know how to make interesting releases. No Pavarotti recorded in February and July 2010 five songs and released it in a silver carton cover and has a limited edition of 99. I really do not know who are the musicians of No Pavarotti, but that makes no sense because the music had to speak. The five pieces of music are intense and meditative because of the use of repetitive elements. The first track "Behind the Red Curtains" is a slowly developing composition created by long-lasting synths and voice.and ends with a strumming guitar. Some kind of Trap is repetitive by the beautiful use of delays which take care for a base, in the background you will hear some sinister sounds and the composition is completed with a whispering voice. The next tracks continues in the same mood but more noisy and harsh in a subtile way. I'm Never Gonna Surf Again is a singer-song alike track, but lucky with strange background sounds, what make the song interesting. The last track has a more experimental mood, it starts slowly as if it will continue as the first three tracks before, but it develops with restless moments by a bass which is searching for structure. At the end the song ended in song-structure and No Pavarotti is back from the abstraction to the structure. Again a nice release at KLaNGuNDKRaCH.(Jan-Kees Helms) Address:


ZEBRA - DE LIMBABWE TAPE (cassette by Korm Plastics)
KORM PLASTIC'S NEW EAR (cassette by Korm Plastics)
Dutch project Zebra continues it's exploration into the borderlands between early funky music and experimental sound-art. This time Frans de Waard and Roel Meelkop has chosen to release their Zebra-materials on the tape cassette-media. A media that suits perfectly to the retro-spective touch in the music. The concept is quite simple: Re-processing and re-cycling old materials of the Limbabwe label into the usually catchy but rather complex style of Zebra. Many moments of the two lengthy pieces both running 12 minutes 47 seconds recalls the expressions of early psychedelia and the progressive style of German krautrock, where electronic music floats hand in hand with acoustic instrumental experimentation. Excellent rhythm textures appears throughtout the running time adding an excellent perspective to the music. Very nice!
Next album released on the cassette media from Korm Plastics is some rather untraditional new years greetings from various Dutch sound art projects. The result is this experimental tape compilation containing six different works from the projects Bertin, Slo-Fi, Freiband, Wouter Jaspers, The Tobacconists and Feek Kinkelaar. First track is from Bertin with a kitschy and instrumental electronic version of U2's "New year's day". On the next work by Slo-Fi, the tempo decreases from up-tempo to slow with some very cool subtle rhythm textures bouncing along noises coming in'n'out over the 5 minutes run time. After that comes Freiband with a more upfront track of crazy beat structures. Very stylish and cool track! First on second side of the tape is Wouter Jasper's and his track called "Wisdom", an alluringly strange track built on processed samples of acoustic instruments without any kind rhythmic intervention. Next up is The Tobacconists with the track "Alive at the party" being among the darkest and most ambient-like tracks thanks to wooshing dark drones moving underneath acoustic instrument samples of among others tuba instruments thus turning the mind towards dark ambient tuba-instrumentalist Tom Heasley. Final track comes from Freek Kinkelaar, a beautiful trippy piece of acoustic music featuring piano and electric guitar reminiscent of early Faust or Can. Very nice compilation from Korm Plastics. Both cassette releases are limited to 50 copies. (Niels Mark) Address:


The package is damaged, the plastic cover is melted at some parts, destroyed by his own hands. Pure DIY noise created by Stuart Chalmers and released at cassette without any information, just the name of the musician and the title of the cassette. That is it, No more, no less.The sounds are created by a portable cassette player and some guitar pedals. The sounds are pure, basic, funny, short etcetera. There are moments that there is no interaction between the sounds, like cut-ups, but then the structure starts with bleeps, bloops, feedbacktones, voice and more. He is also playing with different speeds of the tape in a nice manner. Great music for lovers of pure noise and musique concrete. Side b starts with high pitched and deformed voices and develops into a feedbacks and loops. Some unexpected moments interrupt the wall of sound and create again another and more open space. I like this little piece of music and art, because of his high standard of DIY. (Jan-Kees Helms)
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ABORTION EVE - 250 (cassette by Mrs Tapes)
250 is the second release of Abortion Eve, The compositions are recorded pedaless one track guitar into a dictaphone in Melbourne between April and September 2010.  The first cassette had some structures with tones and accords, but this cassette is more abstract and the musician experiments more with sounds, feedback and noises. The result is therefore more minimal than the first cassette and interesting to listen to. Abortion Eve is exploring the possibilities of the electric guitar and he (or she?) shares it with us. Some experiments are more melodic and have an open mood. Other experiments are more related too just unclean sounds and play around with these vague distorted sounds. Again Abortion Eve gives a minimum of information about the background of the music and who creates it. But nevertheless, this cassette is a great step forwards in the development of the experimental electronic music of the unknown Abortion Eve. (Jan-Kees Helms) Address:


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