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Vital Weekly 769

img  Tobias Fischer

JASON KAHN - BEAUTIFUL GHOST WAVE (CD by Herbal International)
Now here's a change. Over the years we have learned to appreciate the music of Jason Kahn as something that is minimal, slowly moving music composed using percussion and analogue synthesizer. Drone like, introspective, derived from slowly unfolding improvisations - alone or in combination with others. This is not the case on 'Beautiful Ghost Wave'. Still at his disposal is the analog synthesizer but also a mixing board, contact microphones, short wave radio and electromagnetic coils. Kahn goes noise here. This thirty seven some minute work is divided into various movements (as one track), separated with acoustic rumbling - Kahn recorded this work through a microphone in front of his speakers and from the room directly behind - I assume the latter is when he uses only those. Feedback like, noise based sounds, static hiss and such like rule this work, which has a much more dramatic play than much of his previous work, if not all of his previous work. Kahn fans will be alarmed I guess. Its not the kind of blast of noise that say someone like Merzbow would do - maybe that would have been the work if it was directly taped from the mixing board - but it has a distinct different quality that makes it quite good and also different from the other trouble makers. I guess it has to do with the amount of variations Kahn employs in this work and the somewhat curious way of recording it, bringing in a certain amount of acoustic noise. An excellent work and a brave move for Kahn. Hopefully to be followed by more such work. (FdW) Address:


If I would have to make a Frankie-says styled t-shirt for Andrew Liles, it would probably read "Danger - (re)Productive!". Now responsible for dozens and dozens of releases, Liles is certainly one of the most productive men in music. It says (re)Productive, because somehow a Liles album can be recognized from miles away. The sounds are new, but sound like you've heard them before on previous albums. The (re)Productive is also hinting at Liles' interest for the sexual deviant. There is little of that theme on this album though, which is another chapter in his monster-book. This doesn't exactly makes life easier for his fans. You probably need a British Telecom CEO's income to be able to keep track of all things Liles. For those less fortunate, however, this new album, his umpteenth in the "Monster"-series (that also includes t-shirts and badges - clearly lessons have been learned from Frankie goes to Hollywood merchandise man -), is well worth the purchase. Not that there is much news or a specific development on this one, if you've heard the previous albums by Liles, you know what to expect; sinister voices in various languanges telling sinister fragmented stories, children's toys, looping, sampling, strange not-quite-in-synch rhythms, ambient bits and general mayhem. But, it is all so well done, so carefully produced it's hard to fault the man. Muldjewangk, Morgawr and Other Monsters has nine tracks indexed, allowing Liles some fun making up titles, but the album sounds like one big aural adventure, best consumed and enjoyed in one straight listen. So, nothing new, nothing shocking, but a well-crafted, good-quality CD. (Freek Kinkelaar) Address:


In 2001 Johannes Helden released his debut CD on Trente Oiseaux, called 'Sketch Book', which was never reviewed in Vital Weekly (like so many titles on Trente Oiseaux actually). Helden is also a writer and art film maker. 'Title Sequence' is his second album. Its not mentioned what his sound sources are or his instruments, so we have to guess here. Which is not an easy task. Heavily processed field recordings? Perhaps. Grainy loops of instrumental passages lifted from records? Might also be possible. And most likely, a combination of the two? I should think so. The ambient music from Helden is pretty much based on loops of those unidentifiable sounds/instruments, embedded in a warm of bed of drone like sounds. Ideal makes references to Talk Talk (mainly because the album is mastered by Denis Blackham, who also mastered some Talk Talk's music) and William Basinski, but I must admit I fail to see the connection of both. Its not as pop-like as Talk Talk sometimes didn't want to be, and its more upfront than much of Basinski's music. A piece like 'And They Multiply' reminded me more of something like Gas, perhaps a little less static. Its a nice CD, but not a masterpiece. It does borrow a bit too much from the Gas songbook I think to be very original. Some of these pieces, or parts of it, could easily go onto 'Popambient'. The music has cinematic quality to it, but in films where the image carries the story and the music is moved to the background. It surely makes a fine background home listening thing, but not necessarily moves beyond that. Nice enough. (FdW) Address:


HANNA HARTMAN - H^2 (CD by Komplott)
'H^2' is, curiously perhaps, the third CD release by Hanna Hartman for Swedish Complete label, following 'Longitude/Cratere' (see Vital Weekly 498) and 'Ailanthus' (see Vital Weekly 575). Her instrument is the microphone, used to tape sounds in various locations, which are then put together into a sound collage. Hartman, apparently, doesn't use any sort of processing, but takes the world of sounds as they are and by using the microphone close by/far away, the treatments of sound come by themselves, as it were. There might be quite a gap in between this and the previous release, but Hartman worked hard in those years, won prizes, traveled and worked for commissioned pieces. Maybe we should see these five new pieces as a compilation of those pieces. What's perhaps different from her previous releases is that she incorporates also recordings she made of people playing instruments, such as percussion, violin, trumpet, voice and amplified objects. This she mixes with the everyday sounds of water, insects but also those that are very hard to name. There is a funny collision of an opera voice and car racing. It all works very well. Hartman knows how to splice (digitally no doubt) sounds together and put them together is exciting pieces of musique concrete. Dramatic pieces of musique concrete, which sudden changes and moves, such as a car alarm setting off new events in 'Shanghai Fireflies'. This new CD is again a distinct work of great quality. Hartman's work in the field of musique concrete and field recordings is simply one of the best. (FdW)


CONURE - STRINGS, LOCATIONS (CD by Edgetone Records)
DANIEL STEFFEY - CHLOROS (CD by Edgetone Records)
Edgetone Records released two CDs in the noisy part of the soundworld. Conure is a project of Mark Wilson who lives in San Francisco. In May 2000 he started this project after a period of being a music consumer.  He released a lot of CDRs at different labels. "Strings, Locations" is the third CD at Edge Tone Records. In the beginning he used more Electronics and software to create noise. For now he uses guitars, field-recordings, pedals, mic'ed sounds and objects and keyboard. The CD has four compositions which are recorded and mixed from February to August 2010. The CD is full of noise, but in an slow way. Not as a smash in the face, but as a constant tone and as a pressure to make an ambiance of filthy sounds. The music is intense and ends with some repeating dark tones in a drony way.  The first track is my favorite, cause of the mix of recognizable field-recordings and added electronic sounds. The artwork is great, with beautiful pictures of the city. Especially the inner-sleeve is great, by sixties-alike black and white photography of nightlife. Great release of the noise-maker from the States. Daniel Steffey lives also in San Francisco and is composer and percussionist. "Chloros" is the second album of Steffey was written in 2009-2010 and explores the audio qualities of radio and sine waves and how they interact with each other and with other mechanisms as feedback, digital manipulation and analogue distortion. This exploration is not new, but I am always very interested how musicians deals with radio-waves, because this medium is worldwide and free to use for anyone. The Radio Pieces Movements 1-7 are seven short compositions with radio-waves and in this short moments Daniel Steffey he really make statements about his exploration. Collapse is pleasant outsider of the electronic pieces. It starts with a recording of a violin-composition and nasty electronics were added. Great track. Chloros is a track of almost 20 minutes and it's really old-school noise and feed-back. I think it is too long, the strongest compositions are the short ones. Edgetone Records released two interesting CDs of musicians who are devoted to create harsh sounds in an experimental way. (Jan-Kees Helms) Address:


ENRICO CONIGLIO - SALICORNIE (CD by Psychonavigation Records)
Over christmas I was zapping away at the idiot box called TV, and I fell into a live concert of Andre Rieu, The Netherlands best selling music export product, who conducted Maurice Ravel's 'Bolero', rendering it just below five minutes. What a shame. It was almost as bad as Eric Random half-hearted attempt on his 'Earthbound Ghost Need'. The 'Bolero' also pops up in the title track of this new CD  by Enrico Coniglio, who is a 'guitarist, environmental sound recordist and sound artist' and his album is dedicated to the city of Venice. It uses sounds from the carnival of that city, as well as music by Coniglio, who also plays synthesizers, bells, breathes, radio, toy glockenspiel, mini gong, glasses, farfisa mircorgan, clavietta, harmonica psalterium and 'a plenty of other little stuff', and gets help of trumpeter Arve Henriksen, pianist Gigi Masin, cellist Patrik Monticelli and field recordings by Nigel Samways. Its been forty or so years since I visited Venice (as a little boy of five years old), so I don't recall any of that, and all I know from Venice is what I read or heard about it. Coniglio, recently getting more and more active, is a man of ambient music, with a strong sense of both ends of the musical spectrum: on one hand the pop end, and on the other the classical end, especially when he uses his guestplayers. Over the weekend I was reading a book on Brian Eno, meanwhile playing some of his records and this morning I thought I was still listening to Eno, when in fact I had moved on to Enrico Coniglio. A similar interest in using real instruments playing melodic tunes, the addition of field recordings of sea sounds, from the Laguna of Venice obviously, and sometimes more abstract electronic soundscapes and sounds from an acoustic source. It's all quite pleasant music, and Coniglio keeps his music concise and to the point. I am not sure where Ravel's 'Bolero' fits into an album about Venice, but its nice to hear it in this new context. As you may have guessed, the music is not alarmingly new in the world of ambient music, but Coniglio does a great job. Relaxing, easy music, but with enough bite to be noticed - not as disposable as Eno would have thought ambient to be… (FdW) Address:


A trio of improvisers here: Peter Evans (trumpet), Sam Pluta (laptop) and Jim Altieri (violin). They have been playing together for some time, in various combinations, and under various guises, such as Mostly Other People Do The Killing, Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, Glissando Bin Laden, Pearl And The Beard, Tatters and Rags and so on. 'Sum And Difference' is their second album, following the not-reviewed 'Drone Level Orange'. Its an interesting racket of music. It seems that Sam Pluta's laptop plays the major role in these six pieces of music. He sets the tone for a piece and Evans and Altieri follow duly. Their instruments are used to play sounds that come close to that of what Pluta does with his laptop: grainy oscillations, almost in a noise scene. Nervous and hectic playing is the result for all three players. Perhaps Pluta picks up the sounds produced by Evans and Altieri in order to feed them back into the mix, and have the players respond in turn to their own processed playing. Certainly not 'easy' music as this left me quite tired - but then I played it three times in a row; that may not have helped I guess. But there was certainly something fascinating things going on that helped to put this on repeat. Improvised music, a meeting of a laptop and two instruments, don't always come this loud and full of aggression. Excellent! (FdW) Address:


UNDERWATER - NOISES (CDR by Ephre Imprint)
I swim two times a week in a swimming pool and I am always surprised by the sound of the water, my breathing and the bubbles. Sounds under water have a strange effect, it is stronger, disformed and smooth. I was happily surprised when I had to review this compilation CDR, because of my fascination of water. Attilio Novellino and Enrico Coniglio invited 15 Italian artists to submit a track inspired somehow by the notion of water. Most of these musicians are working in the drone and ambient scene and use electroacoustics, microsounds and droned sounds to create their compositions. The compilers are Paolo Veneziani, Cop Killin' Beat, LLA04, Ennio Mazzon, Enrico Coniglio, Un Vortice Di Bssa Pressione, Christian di Vito, Leastupperbound, Allesio Ballerini, Francesco Giannico, Obsil, Ornitology, elisa Luu, Gigi Masin and Pierpaolo Leo. The sphere of the CDR is calm and relaxing. Some artists use synthesizers or guitar and add the sound of rain or water  to their floating tones. Others use more the sound of water or interpretations of this theme. The music is available as limited CD-R or as free download via Lost Children Net Label. Of course, the theme water is used many many times in musical history, but this well curated compilation is a nice addition to this history and how Italian composers deal with these theme. (Jan-Kees Helms)


Anki Toner is the man behind Hazard Records and File Under Toner. In 2008 he released the album "This is The End, Beautiful Friend". He released the album as a limited edition of 60 CDR's and uploaded it to the Internet Archive. The album was made by recorded run-out grooves of 36 records and these recordings are manipulated by analogue and digital effects, like delay, echo and reverb. After two years the compositions were banned from the Internet Archive. For now Anki Toner uploaded it again at  ?And now, the end is here? is the sequel to the above mentioned album. He made three copies of the CD and added some extra delays, reverbs and some filtering. He has two shows, one solo and the second one with Anton Ignorant (no, no family of Steve Ignorant of Crass) from Barcelona. I like how these guys are playing with the turntables and effects. The light crushing, cracking, hissing and repeating sounds make me calm and relaxed. The is no emotion in the music, just these everlasting sounds without any pretension. Off course these music is not without pretension, cause it is about copyright, artistic reinterpretation, sounds and lot?s more? Great CDR!
Javier PiÒango is born in Madrid and has been working in the experimental music scene is his birth-town for more than twenty years. He is co-director of the artistic exchange project EXPerimentaclub festival.  He was playing with Anki Toner in Antitoner Metamars. They stopped the band and started to play solo. He played in many bands and projects like Destroy Mercedes, Cerdos, Druhb and Klang! And now it is time for the First solo CDR. The music is created by Electronics, played in a fine way. The CDR consists of four composition and are recorded in October 2010. Elements of the compositions come back as another substance in other compositions. Open cracking sounds are overwhelmed by noise layers. A repeat fine tone-structure is the beginning of a complex barrier which will be slightly opened by the recurrent structure. Again a nice product of experimental electronic artists from Spain. (Jan-Kees Helms)


.RORO & PQ - !ACTION STEREO! (CDR by Toztizok)
A split stereo release is not something new. My first experience with such was the 7" by John Duncan and Chris & Cosey. In one channel you have one and in the other channel the other. By applying your stereo imagine you can create your own mixes. Here we have a duo of a drummer (left channel) called .RORO, who played in various punk bands and worked with Zea (Arnold de Boer, now also singer in The Ex) and PQ is Peter Quistgaard, also known Puh Quh and a player of all things electronic. Together they are also a member of the improvising group Dagora. Their joint release was recorded in the rehearsal space, using headphones, so that the electronics wouldn't be captured using the microphones to record the drums. Quite a furious work of free jazz noise. The drums of .RORO sound like drums and are played as drums, while PQ on the other side delivers one of the more furious blends of analogue synthesizers. Very few occasions when they allow some silence in here. I was reminded of the Merzbow live in Russia LP from 1987 (I believe): a similar fury of free jazz. Perhaps a link can also be made to MoHa!, but then with the guitar being replaced by synthesizers. An excellent ride. Something to witness in concert also, but that takes away the idea of 'mixing it yourself'. (FdW) Address:


SPARTAK - VERSION ROOM (cassette by HellosQuarerecordings)
In 2008 Spartak released their debut "Tales from the Colony Room" at HellosQuarerecordings. Spartak is a duo from Australia featuring Shoeb Ahmad and Evan Dorrian. The seven track album is a great mix between free melted-jazz, experimental music, The duo invited seven some of their favorite musicians to rework and abstract their first CD. Each song has his own interpretation don by Pillowdiver, Cleptoclectics, Tomasz Bednarczyk, Freiband, Lawrence English, Lim Klumpes and Jasper TX. Pillowdriver makes a beautiful guitar-composition of the track " 5:44" with a looped parts in an drony way. Cleptoclectics creates a free-jazz track of "Sunstrokes" and completely different than the original. Tomasz Bednarczyk picks just one part out of "The Blootletting" and looped that many times, but the atmosphere of the song continues. Freiband transformed "Flanders 1914" to an ambient track with micro-acoustic elements. And I can continue this story, but I had to say it is worthwhile to buy or download as well the original music as the interpretated music, because it is very interesting to listen to both and to compare them. Great tape! (Jan-Kees Helms)


MAURIZIO BIANCHI - TECHNOLOGY X (cassette by Mirror Tapes)
The musical vault of Maurizio Bianchi seem endless, with Mirror Tapes unearthing another unreleased album from 1981. You could wonder how much there is, but probably a few/lots. Bianchi is an early master of industrial music, and probably one of the first outside the UK/USA to do a violent, synthesizer based sound, especially here on 'Technology X'. A typical Bianchi record this is, with a few (probably just two) synthesizers set to oscillating tones, and feeding through a probably delay units, set to a short decay to generate a metallic sound on side A and on side B it seems that the sound is even muffled a bit more. Bianchi's music works best, I think, in its longitude of the piece. Each of these two pieces last twenty-three minutes - no doubt like many of his pieces, Bianchi thought of this in terms of LP releases - over which the music only slowly expands and changes: quite a psychedelic tour de force going on here. 'Technology X' is a crude electronic tape, essential for all MB fans. (FdW)

Since we have Jliat on board to this the great walls of noise, I am happy to leave all of Chefkirk's work to his hands, but this one is different. Last year Roger Smith, the Chefkirk, toured Europe and played also in Tilburg, where he met up with Steffan de Turck, also known as Staplerfahrer. They played a joint concert at Perron 58. Now to some extend this is a noisy piece of music (split in two), but because of the type of recording (microphone from a walkman), the sound remains a bit a far, which enhances the pleasure of hearing this. But its also because both men don't restrict to playing just harsh noise for forty minutes. Instead they offer a more collage like approach, which even leaves gaps for moments of silence, certainly on side A of this tape. On the b-side things get a bit louder and more together, with the silent bits being phased out. But throughout its actually a nice work involving no input mixer, sampler, credit card reader, contact microphones and four track. Now these are roads Chefkirk should explore more, me thinks. (FdW) Address:


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