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Vital Weekly 767

img  Tobias Fischer

That's a pretty quick follow-up I'd say! It was in Vital Weekly 742 when I reviewed 'At Willie's Place', the first collaboration between Tony D'Oporto, also known as Gnome and Mark Spybey, also known as Spybey, and hyper active when it comes to releasing music. He seems to have a home at Tourette Records and is now 'Beyond Willie's Place', the second album with Gnome. Like noted before, Spybey is not the sort of man to change a lot when it comes to creating music. Anything that we can call atmospheric, psychedelic or krautrock is never away from his life. So 'Beyond Willie's Place' is not that 'difficult' second album - that record industry notion for great young bands. Gnome & Spybey simply continue where they left us. An endless stream of sounds playing on keyboards, laptops and sound effects, without much sense for composition, but rather like a free flow of music. With some voice samples here and there, I'm again reminded of ambient house (to which someone said to me last week, when contemplating its return: yeah, it might happen for a few weeks), so ultimately the verdict for this is the same all around: a very fine record, but perhaps if 'At Willie's Place' was already good enough for you, you may have second thoughts about this one. Its perhaps a bit too similar to the previous one. But no doubt there are plenty of fans of this kind of music (like most kinds of music actually) who don't want to change a winning team. Gnome & Spybey might be such a team, so why should they change? Let's wait for the 'return to form third album' - to stick with rock cliche's. (FdW) Address:


PLEQ - BALLET MECHANIC (CD by Basses Frequences)
PLEQ - GOOD NIGHT (CD single by Basses Frequences)
MESSEBASSE - AME (CD by Basses Frequences)
Apart from being on a compilation, I don't think I heard of Pleq before, being one Bartosz Dziadosz. His latest album is preceded by a CD single, which I also received. Quite curious I thought to have a CD single in this kind of music, which doesn't necessarily relies on chart success (and actually has the shape of CD single, as I understand its usually a download these days). As I don't have much previous knowledge of his music so far, I have to go by what I hear. Its an odd paradox here: I thoroughly enjoyed it, while thinking at the same time: I heard of all this before. Pleq uses crackles, hiss, static, ticks, clicks and cuts to create warm ambient glitch based music. Perhaps derived from lots of field recordings, being heavily processed through computer means, but for all I know it might also be very well instruments of whatever kind. Absolutely nothing new under the sun, as this is what so many did before Pleq, starting with Fennesz and everybody whoever copied his music. Having said all of that, I must admit that at the same time I quite enjoyed this. Perhaps interchangeable with all those other glitch works, but hey, the morning is grey, inside its warm, and coffee is hot. A perfect way to start a working day.
The CD single has the same version of 'Good Night' as on the album, as well as three 'remixes' of it. In the Pjusk remix ebowed guitars are added, while Jason Corder's Offthesky starts a bit more noise based, and adds more static field recordings to the proceedings as well as bringing up the piano in the mix. Philippe Lamy's mix is the most abstract one, applying all sorts of filters to the music. He moves into a different field with his music, and brings it into another place, something that Pjusk and Offthesky don't seem to do. Nice enough, but no number one position I guess.
A trio of Azusa (voice, drawings), Fabrice (effects, sampler, bass) and Vincent (barytone, visual, musical and computer engineering) and they are called MesseBasse. They already had two albums on the A-haeon label (which I don't know), and those were more 'experimental noise' but now they have grown into a more 'instrumental maturity'. One track of thirty something minutes. The music of MesseBasse is generated, I think, through improvisation, along spacious themes. They go for 'atmospheric' music, but its loosely organized. Sounds meander about, into the open, far away, spacious, desert-like. A voice comes in and moves away again, endless sustain on the guitar, effects locked into eachother. If anything I was reminded of the free psychedelic sound of Voice Of Eye. Surely high and mighty atmospheric music, but not composed along strict lines, but free as a bird. Excellent stuff, if, just like Pleq, not entirely new either. So who cares about originality anyway? (FdW)


The busy bee Lukas Simonis has tons and tons of projects going. Soon on Dutch stages with his Vril project (see announcements), he also plays in various combinations with various people. Not every project lasts a long time, but The Static Tics is different. Simonis started this duo with Henk Bakker in 2000. Bakker is, like Simonis, involved with Worm, Rotterdam's prime stage for good music and together they create Radio Worm, a radio series for various platforms, and they play live concerts. Armed with laptops, but also bass clarinet (Bakker) and guitar (Simonis). I don't believe they released anything in the past decade, save for pieces on Radio Worm, so this CD is their debut as well as an overview of their favorite moments of the last ten years. Its not easy to say what The Static Tics sound like. Probably like a lot of things. We come across elements of electronically improvised music, minimalist techno, plunderphonics, short punk like pieces, radiophonics and all of this cooked up in no less than nineteen short pieces of mayhem. Laptops on ADHD played by musicians on speed. Things never seem to stay static for a long time, which I guess is the ultimate power of this music. If it would, it be boring and tedious, but now it stays fresh and exciting. Not every moment is equally strong of course - their earliest moments together are also in here and are not always worked out great. But its never there too long and they move on, ever so quickly. Great speed and brutality all around.
Dutch composer Huib Emmer is a strange guy, not personally but as a composer. He comes from a classical background, but is also a guitarist and even dabbled in techno (without much success). Live-wise he is best known for using electronics, which by current standards is of course a laptop. The Desert in this title is not that made of a lot of sand and heat, but that of the desolated city. I don't think Emmer has a particular city in mind but rather uses it as a kind of template for desolated areas we all know are sometimes part of big cities. Highly computer based music going on here, which is kinda cold and distant. Crackles, hiss, noises and gliding scales are used, but, and that's were Emmer comes in as someone who looks further than usual trade of an electro-acoustic composer, also a strange organ sound that pops up every now and then, the human factor perhaps (?), and sometimes he uses sequenced sounds and loops, to add a rhythmic factor to the music. An odd collision of the cold computer versus the sole human, lost in the empty city, and who hears a faint voice every now and then, or some distant beat. The eleven tracks should be seen as a whole, I think and not as collection of separate pieces. Quite a nice CD as it doesn't walk the usual path of electro-acoustic music, but integrates various genres into a highly enjoyable piece of work. (FdW) Address:


Melmac exists 12 years and consists of the two French Brothers Reverter, but at the cover they presents themselves as Anaconda and LuckyR. "Le DÈsert avance" is the third release and is released at Label Ronda. Ronda is based in St. Denis in France was created in September 2002 by the members of Melmac to disseminate their own music, as well as that of like-minded souls. Anyway... "Le DÈsert avance" is full of heavy drones created by strong distorted guitars. The music develops slowly and is based in psychedelic krautrock, but in  industrial, minimalistic and instrumental way. Strong accords and feedback. The atmosphere is melancholic, but also with controlled anger. The last track called "Soldat" reminds me strong to Nadja. Soft sounds of guitar will grow and grow to a full spectrum noisy guitar and the drums, played by Jyves, complete this last track and grows to an explosion of sound. A great album for people who like bands as Nadja and Transmission. (Jan-Kees Helms)


With Mari Kimura we are at the forefront of violinists who search for ways of extending the technical and expressive capabilities of the instrument. Kimura is a Japanese violinist and composer who plays violin since the age of five. She completed her studies in the US. She has been composing for violin solo and violin with various media since 1991. In 1994 she introduced subharmonics "as a musical element to extend the range of the violin by a full octave below the open G without changing the tuning." In several of her compositions on this cd she uses this technique, like in the first two pieces 'Subharmonie Partita' and 'Gemini for solo violin'. Also 'Alt' is enclosed on this cd. In this composition she incorporated for the first time the subharmonics technique. It is very strange experience to hear such low notes on the violin, but is sounds at the same also very natural. For sure a technique she did not create just for the effect, or for creating a new possibility as an aim in itself. No the new techniques are part of the tools she needs for telling her stories. Remarkable is also the breathtaking performance by Kimura, making this cd in all aspects a very satisfying work. Another aspect of these and other compositions is that she uses elements from traditional classical repertoire. On the other hand also typical eastern or Japanese elements occur. Besides, since the early 90s Kimura also specialized in interactive computer music composition and performance. 'Vitessimo for Augmented Violin' is an example of this. And also the closing piece 'Bucknerian for voice, violin and computer', a piece written for Thomas Buckner. Also these compositions, that make use of the computer, are engaging. But I liked the pure violin works most. All together a very powerful, sensitive and musically satisfying work.
'Flutes and Voices' is the unpretentious descriptive title of a lovely collaboration between Dick and Buckner. Both veteran improvisers as both have a career of some thirty years behind them. So it is no question that these gentlemen developed their skills, vocabulary and techniques over the years. But what is more, these improvisations are very inspired and spirited. These improvisers still have a story to tell. Why not, one might say. But I think it is quite remarkable to be creative in the field of improvised music for such a long time. Although both gentlemen we are now talking of, have a long career, they started playing together only about four years ago. And in 2009 they decided time was ready to record some of their improvisations and they did so on june 18th at Systems Two. Dick plays flute in F, flute in C, flute with glissando and piccolo. Buckner sings. (Dolf Mulder) Address:


A quartet from Vienna that started in 2002, being Peter Holy (piano), Alexandr Vatagin (bass, cello) Lukas Scholler (electronics) and David Schweighart (drums). Several years ago they debuted with 'Memories of Bjorn Bolssen', to be followed now by their second one. I don't know their first one, but from what I understand they changed things considerably. Listening to their second release, I can say that Tupolev is a very interesting unit and certainly a name to watch. Intriguing music, that sounds accessible and familiar, but at the same time strange things happen. The thoroughly constructed pieces have piano as the dominant instrument. Around a strong nucleus, there music is intelligent and warm at the same time. Accelerating at one moment, calming down at another. Rhythmically complex. 'Towers of Sparks 1' has the most intriguing break I heard for a long time. After a piano-dominated melodic intro, the music crashes into silence, and abstract sounds emerge from this silence subsequently. Near the end the noisy intermezzo disappears and the piano sets in again. A very strange piece. Mysterious but it works. The music is somewhere in between jazz, classical, noise and rock but cannot be reduced to any of these styles or genres. But what is more important, this music has a clear identity of its own whatever label you want to put on it. Hot stuff. Keep alert (Dolf Mulder) Address:


Art as sound can engage thought in a struggle for survival of the human species, the impact of this in  Mattins's work -here- processed soliloquies, is becoming yet more transparent.  The materialism of thought and its relationship to capitalism is a response to something even more profound. Capitalism is a system, whether contingent or not and one even in the historicy of Marxism began with and is situated in agriculture. Agri culture here as agri, the beginning of culture and so a certain cultivation of the idea, its settling in a fixed point in both space and time, its finity, its fixation, psychosis, and its objectification of truth… objectification of thought, objectification of sound…  philosophy with is cultured thought is always at war with the nomadicism of life, or the real, just as music is a violence against noise, (non music) which here both the seeming nomadicity of thought, (only an hallucination!) as speech, is in confrontation with the real. Both protagonists, the farmer and the nomad can be as simplistic as the farmer and the cowman, such as the objectification of capitalism for Mattin, the object of thought deals with some difficult problematics, improvisation, and capitalization, the manipulation of thought, its attempt at the radical real and its comodification in the work ethic, one which is governed by synthetic time, material - mechanical time and not the real radical time. The non-time of improvisation is replaced by the abstract time of thought, of history and of course both the western dialectics and the wild west's de nomadification as successive waves of colonization of a land still called free, or of the free. The image of thought is attacked by the "Red"-Indians! i.e. Capitalism is attacked by the nomad.  This recording is of thoughts which like the well known wagon train is forced on a circular defense of the radical real. All ideas revolve defensibility against the nomad, and as this record revolves, in speed and time, of mechanical time its very physicality, its analoguality allows nomadic infringements. This is not so much an object, but a scene from the war of the farmer against the nomad, the next skirmish after territorialization in the end of both music and philosophy. (jliat) Address:


Mego continues to surprise me these days. Bill Orcutt's acoustic guitar, CoH's metal music and now Thymolphthalein's LP, recorded at the SWR2 New Jazz Meeting in Switzerland. Jazz? Sure, why not. Thymolphthalein is a quintet under the guidance of Anthony Pateras (prepared piano, analogue synthesizer) with Natasha Anderson (contrabass recorder and electronics), Will Guthrie (percussion, electronics), Jerome Noetinger (tape machine, electronics) and Clayton Thomas (double bass and preparations). Thirteen tracks on this 12" (45 RPM!), with about fifteen minutes of music per side. This is of course hardly regular jazz as you can imagine, but instead quite vivid, free jazz with lots of influences from the world of electro-acoustic manipulations - thank to the prepared piano, tape manipulations and other electro-acoustic devices attached to 'real' instruments. The name of the band comes from a key ingredient in disappearing ink, and perhaps that's something we hear in this music too: sounds sometimes seem to be disappearing, just as they seem to be appearing again out of nowhere. Side two seems to be a bit more jazz based than the a-side, but even a non-jazz head like me likes this a lot. Very vivid, energetic music. (FdW)


Vertonen concludes with these two releases his quartet of CDR releases from 2010. The first two, as well as the third, were 3"CDRs, but the fourth is a double set of normal CDRs in a nice carton box, but it doubles more or less the releases so far. Both releases are in an edition of 33 copies only, which is a pity. Especially the double release contains some great Vertonen music. Blake Edward's project has evolved over the years into what it is now: drone music, derived on analogue synthesizers and sound effects. On the double release he really takes his time to create the pieces he wants to do, with 'Izanami-no-Mikoto' as a somewhat louder counter piece amongst the eleven others which are more low humming affairs. Pieces are somewhere between seven and seventeen minutes and its quite meditating music, somewhere along the lines of Eliane Radigue. An excellent two hour drone ride, that moves along a lot of lines. (FdW) Address:


This is the first time ever I review a release from Iran. Autodidact Salim Ghazi Saeedi comes from Teheran where he started playing guitar in 1999 growing up in an environment where any new, western music was hardly available. Nevertheless Saeedi found his way in embracing rock music, as his new record exemplifies. Kurt Cobain was far a long time his musical hero. But in nothing his music now reminds of Nirvana or Cobain. He released three albums up till now albums "Abrahadabra" (2006), "Sovereign" (2007) and "Ustuqus-al-Uss" (2008) under the name of Arashk. For his new one, "Iconophobic", he is composer, guitarist, keyboard player, drums arranger, mixing engineer and producer all at once. So in all respects a true solo effort. And probably for this reason he released this one under his own name. Saeedi has a very intuitive way of composing music, and if you want to put a label on it, progressive music is the most suitable one, according to Saeedi himself. Personally I prefer terms as avant rock or chamber rock music. Anyway, this records woke up many memories of R.I.O.-oriented music. His compositions often have a classical influence that make this music related to the music of Art Zoyd and Univers Zero. The music has from time to time the same darkness as we know from Univers Zero. But in many aspects it is also very different. I think it is hard to pin this one down. Making this instrumental album even more exceptional. No wonder this music also has qualities that make it eastern like in '¡siyen'. I think we have an original talent here. His neo-classical compositions are well-structured and original. He is an interesting and skilled guitar player with a very own sound. The balance between guitar and computer generated drums, etc is okay. Well crafted I must say. Alas he has no band around him, as that would make his music more physical. One could not imagine this one comes from Teheran. But probably I have to correct my limited view on what is happening there. Chapeau! (Dolf Mulder) Address:


CEX - EVARGREAZ (cassette by Automation Records)
It must have been years since I heard the music of Cex, also known as Rjyan Kidwell, and perhaps I never reviewed it in Vital Weekly. Maybe I just came across it on compilations or in some record store I was locked in. The career of Kidwell has been from IDM to rap to 'experimental jam band', an album of Steely Dan samples and a return to IDM. That's where 'Evargreaz' comes in, released as a cassette. I am  not always the biggest lover of IDM, since the music seems a bit stale and is perhaps best enjoyed on drugs (say like drum & bass as I recently noted when on a party). But the four tracks Cex produced here are quite nice I thought. Maybe its because I didn't such music in some time or perhaps its just good - I am not sure. Slow beats, nice keyboards, lots of samples, vocoder vocals, arpeggio's, culminating in the bouncing closer 'Weedlessness'. At thirty minutes this is all perhaps a bit short, but nevertheless it seems a nice come-back album. No more rap or rock, stick at what you're good at. (FdW) Address:


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