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Vital Weekly 776 + 777

img  Tobias Fischer

PITZ - MOTETY I JUTRZNIA (CD by Pitz)
Pitz  is an ensemble from Poland consisting of seven musicians playing guitars, sax, vocals, electronics, drums, etc. 'Motety i Jutrznia' is their first (?) and self-released cd. In one word Pitz is a low profile garage outfit with a love for noisy soundscapes. The first ten pieces from this cd make up the work 'Motet'. 'Jutrznia' is the name of the closing piece on this cd. Like the cover of this cd, the music is dark and noisy. Heavy and multi-layered sounds and noise roll into your room. The name 'Motet' refers to a medieval musical form of religious music, vocal if I'm not mistaken. Pitz choose this title for their wish "to reveal the sacredness of music, going beyond the entertainment canons to the higher stratum of reception, understanding of the sound, rhythm, murmurs, rustles and all of the components of the composition, directing the emotions released by the art, similarly to the ways man was achieving that through the different forms of religious cults." How do you reveal the sacredness of Music? What qualities, emotions etc. one has to put into the music in order to let sacredness surface? Interesting questions. Even more I would like to know why is it that Pitz focuses on this aspect of music? The fact that I have a background in theology may explain that I raise these questions here. Questions that remain questions here. Pitz crew is most convincing in the parts where they construct abstract soundscapes, like in the droney closing piece 'Jutrznia'. Excellent. In other pieces where they built upon a rhythmical base, the music has not not that much to offer. Also I have the impression that improvisation plays an important role. In the closing piece of the 'Motet' everything comes very wonderful together in a fine blend of soundscaping, improvisation, etc. Interesting band! (Dolf Mulder) Address: http://www.myspace.com/pitzpkp

 

ALEXANDER SCHUBERT - SINEBAG (CD by Ahornfelder)
With music like this, I always have to think of Biota and Mnemonists. They recorded improvisations on acoustical instruments that underwent a complete metamorphosis, by manipulating processes. This way they constructed music that transcended the musical parameters where the original sounds came from.  Schubert shows  a similar interest in bringing acoustical and electronic music and sounds together. Also in his case we hear evident acoustic instruments and sounds that were manipulated and synthesized in one universe. The creator of this universe, Alexander Schubert was born in 1979 in Bremen and studied computer science and biology in Leipzig focusing on neuroinformatics and cognitive science. In relation to his other output, 'Sinebag' shows the more pop orientated side of Schubert. Although everyone in my hometown will in no way relate it to popmusic at all. So I ask myself how his other works sound like. For sure this work makes me curious for his other creations. 'Sinebag' gives room to three compositions. The first one 'Semaphores' is a very dreamy and elegant piece. This is electro-acoustic music  that is very rich and has depth. All pieces have aspects of ambient music. Slowly progressing and changing patterns define the music. Also the comparison with a pointillistic painting style comes to my mind. The musical structures are built from a wide variety of dots of sounds and Music. At some moments however I lose contact  with these ingenious structures, and it becomes a bit too much. So to be enjoyed best in parts I would say. (Dolf Mulder) Address: http://www.ahornfelder.de

 

[HAVEN] - AMITY (CD by Zoharum)
DIFFERENT STATE - YIELD (CD by Zoharum)
ARKONA - ACID LANDSCAPES (CD by Zoharum)
Zoharum is a Polish label that focus on a wide range of electronic music styles from IDM across ambient to Industrial-related styles. Three new albums has seen the light of the day. First album comes from the Polish trio consisting of Magda Glocka, Marcin Jarmulski and Michat Brychy. They called their project [Haven] and their first album was launched back in 2005 on the War Office Propaganda-label under the title "The last breath of the lonely buildings". Since then their albums has been released on various label such as Tympanik Audio and Rage In Eden. This latest album title "Amity" is the first release on the Zoharum-label. Never the less this a very nice release combining downbeat IDM with acoustic expressions of various instruments counting cello and guitar. Another important part of the musical textures is the nice vocals of Magda Glocka that reminds a little of Dead Can Dance's Lisa Gerrard in the chanting vocal style. Very nice album that balances between downbeat IDM and vocal-based electropop.
Next album is quite a different gem from the label. This time we move into industrial-grounds with the project calling itself Different State. Brain-man behind the project Different State is Polish artist Marek Marchoff who on this latest release is joined by a number of fellow artists on among others acoustic instruments such as bass and guitar. Musically the album titled "Yield" blends drone-rock, post-punk and industrial-rock into quite harsh textures leaded by a growling vocals reminiscent of early Godflesh with utter slow drum textures. The sound production is dark and unpolished to create atmospheres of filthiness and it works quite well. Last album comes from the artist Karol Su-Ka who has been active in many fields of creativity for many years. He has been working with music for 20+ years and one of his projects is this present project as Arkona. Musically present album titled "Acid landscapes" circulates in spheres of ambient with textures of IDM and dubstep in-between. The album is very much built on atmospheres and is based on materials from a long time archive of Arkona. A very interesting album. (Niels Mark) Address: http://www.zoharum.com/


WE BRING YOU A KING WITH A HEAD OF GOLD : DARK BRITANNICA II (CD by Cold Spring)
MERZBOW / Z'EV - SPIRAL RIGHT / SPIRAL LEFT (CD by Cold Spring)
British label Cold Spring is the kind of label that shines in its ability to release a wide range of musical styles, from droning ambient textures across harsh noise territories and martial into with this astonishing compilation album focus on: Folk music. Four years ago Cold Spring released the excellent and award-winning British folk compilation "John Barleycorn Reborn". Present compilation with the title "We bring you a king with a head of gold : Dark Brittanica II" continues the style of the "John Barleycorn Reborn"-release. The compilation offers 146 minutes of atmospheric from 34 of the best artists from the current British music scene. If you are unaware of the beauty of folk music, this double disc will invite you into a sonic world of ancient beauty based on acoustic instruments and deep felt vocals of truth. An alluring experience. From the beauty of early British folk music based on traditional instrumental artistry, next album pulls the listener into extremely
different contrasts of sonic expression.
Two of present world's most border searching sound experimentalists join forces on this one. The result is nothing short of mindblowing! Japanese king of harsh noise, Masami Akita alias Merzbow manipulates and (mis)treats modern machinery into a sick but hypnotic world of aural machismo. The ear shattering noise-expressions from Merzbow is combined by one of the true legends of early pioneering industrial Z'EV. The album sounds like a blend between contemporary sound art of the extreme kind and electronic psychedelia circa early Pink Floyd. The combination of concrete steel percussions and ultra-aggressive drones of noise extremity works very well and pulls the listener into an opposite kind of listening trance in comparison to the folk world of "We bring you a king with a head of gold : Dark Brittanica II". Two excellent albums from Cold Spring. (Niels Mark) Address: http://www.coldspring.co.uk/

 

PHILIPP MÐNCH - INTO THE ABSURD (CD by Ant-Zen)
German artist Philipp M¸nch has been an extremely productive artist since he began his first explorations back in the early 90's under a number of different flags such as Ars Moriendi, Monokrom and probably most well-known projects such as Synapscape and The Rorschach Garden. The two last mentioned projects was first of all rhythm-driven with two different approaches to expression, Synapscape working in the powernoise-style and The Rorschach Garden focusing on electropop-expressions. Under his own name Mr. M¸nch moves into more experimental and abstract spheres with both elements of rhythm-texture and pure ambience. His album "Into the absurd" draws attention towards the early scene of British industrial with the mixture between semi-harsh textures and minimalist electronics. Especially early Throbbing Gristle crosses my mind thanks to drone-based minimalist industrial-noise reminiscent of earliest efforts from the industrial pioneers. There is a great cinematic feeling upon the album with frequent use of ambient textures and distant samples of voices. Awesome album that deserves close attention with headphones. (Niels Mark)
Address: http://www.ant-zen.com/

 

MICHAEL GARDINER - COURSE OF THE SYMPTOM (CD by Visceral Media Records)
Rarely is someone with a formal and recognized institutional academic background able to both use this and reject it in relation to composition. Bernard Shaw is not the only amateur to throw doubt on the academics ability to compose freely, and I'm well aware of such institutions and their priorities and hierarchies which require careful negotiation. Yet Gardiner, here using as a source 'discarded piano variations'  processed, synthesized and distorted by a wave editor into what is at most times unrecognizable sounds, noise, has achieved something quite remarkable. Though Gardiner might regard this work as more an iconoclastic 'blast' at the past, I'm more inclined to see it as a deconstruction, which is a positive trope, something long long overdue in music, to render it like others plastic arts 'real' for the first time in centuries.  And to take a big risk I'm saying that this is a deconstruction which both puts into question, suspends, and animates the Hegelianism which all music was hitherto attached. Very remarkable. (jliat) Address http://www.visceralmediarecords.com

 

OUT OF SILENCE (2CD by Podalida/Modisti)
In Vital Weekly 772 Zsolt Sores Ahad had a music piece based on Samuel Beckett's 'Endgame', a week later a three piece compilation around the works of this writer and now a double CD compilation. I have no idea where this sudden interest comes from. The big piece on this double CD is the thirty minute piece by John Duncan, who already did 'Home, Unspeakable' (reviewed all the way back in Vital Weekly 57). Among the participating artists he is the best known. Lots of the artists here work with the idea of 'silence' and 'repetition'. Silence from empty spaces and repeating small voice blocks, alike 'Krapp's Last Tape'. Some of the finer moments is the voice loop of Antanas Kucinskas, the drone like emptiness of Philip Julian (to some also known as Cheapmachines), Duncan's stretched sounds (although perhaps a bit long), the crackles of Ola Stahl and the breath piece of Seth Guy (which lasts only a handful of seconds). Throughout a nice compilation with no really weak pieces anyway. (FdW)
Address: http://www.podalida.com

 

NICOLA RATTI - 220 TONES (CD by Die Schachtel)
In what I call the world of small opinions, the fact that someone cares to review every week some music, and doesn't remember all that is written, is not by any stand a journalist. I foolishy said that the name Nicola Ratti was a new one for me, but then someone of course dug out all the previous reviews of Ratti's work, and put in the subject 'this is how FdW is a well aware journalist': which in fact is not true. I don't call myself a journalist, let alone 'aware'. And apparently one is no longer allowed to make mistakes, or the small opinion brigade is out there to correct you. I really am not the biggest lover of internet, in case someone thought any differently. So I know Ratti's music pretty well, and thanks for the small opinion brigade, I can tell you to look for reviews in in the following issues 591, 623, 683 and 397. He is from the same scene musical scenery as Giuseppe Ielasi, but more the old Ielasi then also a little bit of the new one. Armed with a guitar, farfisa organ, record player, reel-to-reel recorder - all things that can't do without voltage, hence the title of '220 Tones'. Unlike Ielasi who splices his material together, these days that is, to create a strange hybrid form of techno music, Ratti combines the old ways of carefully improvised music with small blocks of repeating sound, which Die Scachtel calls a 'wander between techno and electro-acoustic music'. Well, hardly techno I should think. The skipping vinyl (a techno record no doubt) doesn't make a techno per se (at least I don't get visions of a dance crazy crowd), but it does make some nice music. A bit like Gas mixed with some nice guitar sounds, bumpy road sounds and some amount of improvisation. Not a clicky-cut as Ielasi, but Ratti found his own way in new musical field. (FdW) Address: http://www.dieschachtel.com

 

IGOR BARDO - MY SWEET NIGHTMARE (CD by Some Place Else)
Some Place Else is a label based in Finland. My Sweet Nightmare is the debutalbum of the Russian soundartist and musician Igor Bardo. He is member of Bardoseneticube, an experimental/post-industrial group from Russia and is formed in 1998. This band released a lot of albums all over the world and they are wellknown as a powerful audiovisual live-performance act. The band ended in 2010. Bardo describes his album "My Sweet Nightmare" as a surrealistic album.  The album is well composed and most compositions have a mix of recognizable sounds of musical structures like jazzy drums, religions chants or militaristic marches. He combines lots of different elements of music and sounds. Some tracks have an ambient noise style. The mixing between highly electronic sounds and fresh field-recordings and natural sound is well chosen. Old recordings of folk songs are mixed with ongoing electronic soundwaves and he creates a new old world. ?The end of the end? is a track with the shouting voice of Adolf Hitler. He samples his terrifying voice who evokes to destroy all Jews in the great German Reich with bombastic beats and chords. The song becomes more and more abstract and personal. But for me this song has nothing to do with a sweet nightmare. The track grabs my by the throat and my stomach starts turning. Real physical music, no more, no less. Highly recommended and real surprise for experimental ears and people with a strong stomach. (Jan-Kees Helms) Address: http://www.someplaceelse.net

 

FACTORY STAR - ENTER CASTLE PERILOUS (CD by Occultation)
Listening to music all day is of course a great thing, and obviously something I like to do. But of course playing experimental music of a serious nature all day is not always the most easy task, but thank god for labels like Static Caravan or Occultation, which deliver pop music on my doorstep. Martin Bramah, erstwhile of The Fall and The Blue Orchids, formed in 2008 a new band, Factory Star. A simple line up of Bramah on vocals and guitar, along with bass, drums and keyboards. It sounds like a live recording actually and according to the press release it was more or less recorded without many overdubs. A great record it is of what the biz calls 'urgent' music. Demanding music, uplifting and dark. Especially I like the addition of the organ here. Partly because I like organs in popmusic, and here it reminds me of some of The Doors or The Stranglers, although less persistent with Factory Star, but it gives the music a great drive. Slightly psychedelic but with the urgency of a garage rock band. Excellent counter-point of this week. (FdW) Address: http://www.occultation.co.uk

 

JOSEF NOVOTNY - TRAVEL ALERT (CD/DVD by Loewenhertz)
BURKHARD STANGL - HOMMAGE A MOI (3CD by Loewenhertz)
A DVD like presented here gives the listener of fine idea of how improvised music is made. We see Josef Novotny busy at the piano, working with objects which he places on the strings, plays the keys and such like, sometimes with shots from made by video artists from scenes out doors. Its not the only instrument he plays, as 'Scheduled Organ' uses organ sounds in a rather melancholic improvised way, building large blocks of sound. Of the two long pieces, I liked 'Scheduled Organ' more than I did 'Erratic Piano', as a piece of music. Instruction wise, if at least we are allowed to look from such perspectives then the piano film was more interesting, and the organ piece more poetic, and not clarifying at all. There is also a film for 'Die Novotnyorgan V.1.0.1' which uses stop-motion and which is really nice. Here Novotny plays organ and perhaps additional field recordings were used. Its all a bit much, since the music on the DVD is the same on the CD, with the exception of 'Die Novotnyorgan V.1.0.1'. Its not included since the other two pieces make up the entire length of a CD. Novotny has a great relaxed way of playing his music, but perhaps also doesn't know when to stop.
Even more music can be found on the triple CD set by Burkhard Stangl, who is perhaps best known, at least in Weekly circles as a guitarist with great improvisational skills from Vienna. I must admit I didn't know he was also a composer of serious modern music, but after almost three hours I know. Here we have pieces for small ensembles, large ones, single instruments with or without electronic sounds on tape, an electro-acoustic piece etc. Its of course interesting to see, especially with the large works, or the pure 'orchestral' pieces if Stangl is still the composer of quiet music, with lots of silence. That is not always the case, and perhaps also not always possible, or wanted. But in a piece for 'Posaune' (which is a trombone, played by Radu Malfatti) and orchestra, he proofs this is possible. Its from 1994 and has lots of silence, and sudden outbursts. That seems to me quite a traditional modern classical piece. For those who love Stangl's more 'Vital' like work, the second CD has a wide range of pieces, some of which have been previously released, such as a TV Pow remix. This CD is closest at it gets to the world of Vital Weekly. To me this CD was an eye-opener: I didn't know Stangl had so many tricks up his sleeve. A lot of music to discover here, but almost all of it of great beauty. (FdW) Address: http://www.loewenhertz.at

 

B*TONG - THE SOUL EATER (CDR by Gears Of Sand)
 Its been a while since I last heard music by Chris Sigdell from Basel, Switzerland, but  his work is always welcome on my desk. Music that is based on soundscapes from electronic sources as well as field recordings. Apparently in his concerts he uses a microphone, metal, springs and kitchen stuff, which he transforms into music, using effect pedals to create his drone like material. I assume this is what he also uses when recording at home, just expanding more on the sounds. Whatever he uses, his end-result is firmly fixed in the field of very dark ambient music, of what was once called Isolationism. Sounds get locked into some circuit and stay there to live a life of their own. A cavernous sound of metallic rumble, spooky voices, animal cries and transmissions intercepted. I think I made the reference to Lustmord before and it still applies to this new release. Utter dark, highly atmospheric and simply very good music. It has a certain menace about it, like waiting for some mass destruction that, thank god, never arrives. Intense music, that doesn't come with a warning: don't play this in the dark on your own. (FdW) Address: http://www.gearsofsand.net

 

ENNIO MAZZON - AZURE ALLOCHIRIA (CDR by Triple Bath)
Best known, perhaps, from his work released on his own Ripples Recordings, Ennio Mazzon also released music on Time Theory, Impulsive Habitat, Q-tone, Audiotalaia and Resting Bell. Up until now his music was based field recordings, but 'Azure Allochiria' (the Greek words 'allo' and 'chira' meaning 'other' and 'hand') is his first work that deals entirely with electronic sound. Its not easy to say where these sounds come from; at times I thought they were alarm clocks, warning sounds or randomly spliced together sine waves. Mazzon puts these together in a somewhat chaotic pattern, of which one is not always sure its a pattern, or a random clattering of sounds. But this chaos somehow makes sense. Its the density of it all, that makes it quite nice. A vibrant mass of crawling insects, moving and working. Obscured processings take place - in the sounds rather than the insects of course. Maybe some of the material is a bit long, but perhaps its also this longitude that makes this is into quite a nice work. The best work so far I heard from him. (FdW) Address: http://www.triplebath.gr


BAD SECTOR - RAW DATA (3"CDR by Taalem)
D'INCISE - ARPENTER (3"CDR by Taalem)
FINAL CUT - BALLADES DE BRUITS (3"CDR by Taalem)
Bad Sector has been going for some twenty years now and had a lot of releases on labels as Old Europa Cafe, Waystyx and Drone. Although sometimes placed among the industrialists of a darker kind, I always thought the music of Bad Sector (the brainchild of Massimo Magrini) was quite interesting. The pieces here, eleven in total, were first released on an interactive website, but remastered for this release. It seems to be entirely made from computer data, and have a cold clinical feel, with a great dynamics in sound. Deep bass sounds, high end frequencies, looped around, seemingly without much story. Cold but fascinating stuff. Things bump and collide, and then disappear as black holes.
D'Incise from Geneva is quite active these days, following his AudioTong CD and LP on Ini.Itu. Here he offers two pieces based on field recordings. The first piece has sound recorded in an abandoned hospital in Chrzanow, Poland and the second in Lisbon, Portugal. Two pieces of deep end rumbling from the world of electro-acoustic music. High and mighty in the world of soundscaping these two pieces. Not presented in the form of cut-up sounds, but long form drone-like affairs. Excellently produced with lots depth and imagination. Hard to say what was actually captured on tape, I must say, although in the title piece we may or may not recognize some sort of respirator.
Behind Final Cut is a frenchman (no name) who lives in Belgium, where he runs the 3pattes label, as well as the earsheltering netlabel. Two pieces here, which we may see as noise ballads, I guess, looking at the title. Of the three recent Taalem releases, this is the one that is most noise based. Not entirely loud or something like that, but nevertheless a bit less subtle in the processing of field recordings. Final Cut transforms them into drone like music, which sound a bit like stringed instruments, ringing around in overtones. Quite gritty and angular, but quite nice also. Very upright and present. (FdW) Address: http://www.taalem.com

 

ENDLESS TIME (cassette by Throne Heap Devotional Music)
L.R. PADGETT - EMBOSSED EARTH (cassette by Throne Heap Devotional Music)
INDIGNANT SENILITY - LABIRINTHINE INCOGNATION (cassette by Throne Heap Devotional Music)
BILL NACE - MUSIC FOR UNFINISHED FILM (cassette by Throne Heap Devotional Music)
Four new releases on Throne Heap Devotional Music, lovely packed as always and all four have names I never heard of.
Behind Endless time is one Kevin McEleney (known from Droughter/Heavy Psych - not by me) who plays drone music, using a bunch of ancient oscillators. His work doesn't fit the cosmic scenery that much as this more grainy and even a bit noise based. Drone music of a more experimental nature. Quite raw and intense, certainly when played loud. Heavily loop based, but within these twenty five minutes he creates a small number of tracks, never staying too long in one thing, but swiftly moving on to the next texture. That too makes it hardly cosmic, but quite psychedelic indeed. Nice one.
Also on analogue electronics, but of his own making is one L.R. Padgett (also known as Loyd Padgett of Defenestrated Records). He also uses 'marantz tape manipulation and microphoned turntable experiments'. This too might be put to the word 'drone', but it is cleverly combined with more electro-acoustic elements, although Padgett doesn't use any sort of cut-up collage techniques. The electro-acoustics are picked up into the world drones, perhaps due to the use of reverb, but its done in such a way that the reverb doesn't take control of the end-result. Here we deal with 'a track per side' but again at twenty-five minutes, so you can hardly go wrong. Excellent dark and isolationist music.
Pat Maherr took two years to create a follow-up to his 'Plays Wagner' cassette, and now no longer uses just classical music as his source material, but 'here expands upon the Ind/Sen sound', whatever that might be. Here I must admit I am a bit disappointed. There is a whole bunch of loops, which still sound pretty classical to me, but which keep looping around, without telling too much of a story or creating a fine composition. It stays a bit too much in the world of sound file playing, and perhaps some call this ambient music, but as the master said: you don't have to call it ambient music if the term shocks you.
The loudest release in this quartet is by Bill Nace who took, in the heatwave of summer 2010, inspiration from Aaron Dilloway's 'Modern Jester' cassette, picked up his electric guitar and a reel to reel machine to create solo guitar music. Its not over the top blowing loud noise, but more angular than the other three. This guitar sticks right into your brain, when it plays some loud noise parts but also when things are 'softer' and Nace keeps playing repeating blows on the guitar. Distorted, vicious, but somehow, strangely enough also covered with the elegance of roughly shaped diamond. Not the highlight favorite out of four, but not to be missed. (FdW) Address: http://www.throneheap.com

 

MAURIZIO BIANCHI - APOKALYPSIS XXIII (CD by Nitkie)
TOMAS PHILLIPS & LUIGI TURRA - VIGNETTES AMPLIFIE (CD by Nitkie)
BARDOSENETICCUBE/LIEUTENANT CARAMEL - SILENCE SUBMARINE (CD by Studio Forum)
All three of these releases come from the home of Monochrome Vision, one of Russia's finer homes for electronic and experimental music. Nitkie is a new sub-division that breaks with the black/white covers of the mothership, but has musicians that can also be found over there. The difference might be that some of this is actually new music, whereas the main label also deals with 'old' music, re-issues etc. Maurizio Bianchi hardly needs an introduction I should think. The old master of industrial music is back after a hiatus - although recently I heard rumors of him going back in hibernation - but 'Apokalypsis XXIII' seems to be a new work.  Four quotes from the book of Apocalypse is all the cover reveals for this. Bianchi is apparently still a devoted man, but this time the apocalypse doesn't get a loud soundtrack, like it would have sounded thirty years ago, but a rather gentle work. Four long parts - a trademark for Bianchi is that he doesn't always knows when to stop a piece of music, which might be his true power, but sometimes also his weakest side - of noncommittal synthesizer playing. Using loops of synthesizers, along with real-time playing, the apocalypse is depicted here as a chaotic but mild place, although I doubt its a pleasant place to stay around. The music is however quite nice, even for firm non-believers as I like to think of myself. A powerful work by Bianchi, even when the power is the actual mildness of the music, although not as new agey as his earlier come-back albums.
New age might also be the word that one could apply to an album that involves shakuhachi and prayer bowls, as on the disc by Tomas Phillips and Luigi Turra. They are both also credited for the use of laptop. And obviously this is not a work of new age. The music is simply not 'easy' enough, but it surely hints at a more zen-like experience of listening. Things are stretched out, quiet and peaceful. There are some highly obscured sounds from the world of electro-acoustics, long sustaining sounds on the bowl and the flute, the more than obvious crackles, which seem to belong to this micro-world. A release that could have as easily fitted on Line, I would think. Three pieces, all around eleven to fourteen minutes, which all need their time to peacefully and calmly enroll their story. A fine work of microsound, that not necessarily is anything new, but quite well crafted.
Last week we reviewed in these pages a CD by Igor Potsukaylo, who is otherwise known as Bardoseneticcube. His works can be easily classified as drone music, so its quite a surprise to find a CD of him together with Philippe Blanchard, otherwise known as Lieutenant Caramel. Perhaps not the most active composer in the field of musique concrete, but with a distinct style of his own. Long sustaining sounds versus cut-up: how does that work out? Actually quite nice. I had my doubts about it, despite liking what both do in their own field, but these nine compositions tie both ends together in a nice way. Its hard to say who does what here, which I guess is a compliment. There are lots of electro-acoustic sounds, from either field recordings as well as objects, which are chopped up, but also looped around to retain that sustaining drone like character. I must admit that my attention faded a bit after a while. I thought that seventy-two minutes of this kind of demanding musique concrete was all a bit too much to take in at once. The whole second piece, track nine on the CD, lasting twenty-four minutes is were I dropped out. Otherwise, in smaller doses, a great CD. (FdW) Address: http://www.nitkie.ru

 

BAD SECTOR - CHRONOLAND (CD by Loki Found)
BLOOD BOX - FUNERAL IN AN EMPTY ROOM (CD by Loki Found)
Its very well possible to have a couple of years of silence from a band, and then suddenly two new releases in two weeks. Last week I heard Bad Sector's 'Raw Data', this week it's 'Chronoland', a full CD release on Loki Found. Its not an in-between work like 'Raw Data' may came across, but a full work that explores the musical side of Massimo Magrini. Like last week, I think Magrini's music is interesting combination of various interests: dark ambient, computerized manipulations, field recordings, cosmic music and soundtrack like music. Among vast clouds of ambient hum, small melodies are incorporated, bursts of electric sparkles, and voices that seem to be coming from intercepted radio transmissions, as well as Magrini's own voice. This may count for what I call the 'dark gothic' element, and its the one thing that I don't necessarily like about his music. Luckily it doesn't play an all important role. The main focus, however, is on dark ambience. Science fiction like music, due to the elements of cosmic music. Hard to say wether this a story of friendly aliens, or killer bugs from Klendathu attacking the federation. It all makes up an intense CD of great music, which is quite varied, and makes up its own film.
A long, long time ago, Vital Weekly ran a review of 'A World Of Hurt' by Blood Box. That was in Vital Weekly 137. Seven years later, another Blood Box CD was released, but not reviewed, and again, seven years later the third CD arrives, 'Funeral In An Empty Room'. Behind Blood Box is Michael J.V. Hensley, member of Yen Pox (do they still exist, I wondered) and we take a trip out into the lands of true dark ambient music. No radio transmissions, cosmic doodling, field recordings and such like, but massive blocks of wailing synthesizers and lots of sound effects. Dark, haunting and haunted music with some great dynamics. It sometimes moves on top of the hills and then moves gently down towards the edge of a black hole, but it never falls in it: the music remains audible throughout. It moves up and down, like massive sea waves washing ashore, with great elegant majestic power. If you dig the releases on Malignant, then this dark journey will surely be something you like as well. Nothing new under the dark sky, but done with the absolute fine ear for a great production. (FdW)
Address: http://www.loki-found.de

 

JOHN LUTHER ADAMS - FOUR THOUSAND HOLES (CD by Cold Blue Music)
Ah what's got Adams to do with 'Four Thousand Holes in Blackburn Lancashire', I wondered. A day in the life of Adams? A fab four tribute? Oops, there is indeed a quote from one my most beloved Beatles songs on the cover. It says also that Adams 'limits himself to the most basic elements of Western music - major and minor triads and four-bar phrases - sculpting these sound objects into lush harmonies and rhythmically complex fields of sound'. Adams is a classical composer from the school of gentle minimalists, as I like to call those who work with the Cold Blue Music label. Two pieces are to be found here. One is for piano, vibraphone and orchestra bells, while Adams himself provides the 'electronic aura' and the second is for chimes, vibraphone, orchestra bells, bowed vibraphone and bowed crotales. I am not to well informed how it works with major and minor triads or four bar phrases, but the music has a great elegant quality. It sounds like two pieces for a small ensemble, but there seems also be some kind of electronic processing going on - perhaps the 'electronic aura' put in the exactly the right amount to make this wander of beyond pieces for a small ensemble, and instead creates wonderful sweet minimalist music. Slowly moving, with real instruments bouncing off and on with the electronics, merging fully together into an unified wholeness. Two excellent pieces of wonderful music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.coldbluemusic.com

 

M. OSTERMEIER - THE RULES OF ANOTHER SMALL WORLD (CD by Tench)
Quite hot on the heels of 'Chance Reconstruction' (see Vital Weekly 742), here is another album from Maryland based composer M. Ostermeier. With a title like that its not easy to avoid thinking of 'another green world' by Mister Eno, and even when the music of that album has not much to with Ostermeier, some of the other work of Eno certainly has. He plays short pieces, eleven in just thirty-seven minutes, using traditional instruments as guitar, piano (electric and acoustic), adds a bit of field recordings and a bit of electronics to create a finely woven pattern of highly melodic music. Its the kind of music that comes from the world of minimal music, computer based music, but at the same time is sweet and optimistic. Dark is not the keyword for once. I especially like the pop-like format of the songs (which word I rather use than 'pieces') which keeps things in a proper perspective. Ostermeier doesn't loose out on lengthy doodling on similar ideas, but instead opens up a world of his own of a simple, naive and beautiful emptiness. Partly modern classical, reminding the listener of Nils Frahm and some of Machinefabriek's work. (FdW) Address: http://www.tenchrec.com

 

THOMAS ANKERSMIT & VALERIO TRICOLI - FORMA II (CD by Pan)
Two exiles based in Berlin. From Italy Valerio Tricolo and from the Netherlands Thomas Ankersmit. Tricolo we know best from his work with 3/4Hadbeeneliminated and Ankersmit toured extensively with Phill Niblock. Over the course of two years they worked on this album using a Serge Analogue Modular Synthesizer, alto saxophone, guitar pickups, holosonic speakers, revox tape recorder, walkman and computer. This is what we call electro-acoustic music in optima Forma. Things buzz and crack like there is no end, in a vivid montage style at various point, or pleasantly sustaining in 'Plague #7'. Great sonic depth is to be discovered here, due to the fine combination of analogue and digital processing techniques. When the final piece arrives, 'Takht-e Tavus' we arrive in a different land: layered saxophone sounds reminds the listener of Niblock like majestic drones. It sounds like a total odd ball when you first heard the musique concrete montage of the first four tracks, but it provides also with something that is indeed entirely different, showing what else these two men are capable of. An excellent release. (FdW) Address: http://www.pan-act.com

 

LASSE MARHAUG & MARK WASTELL - KISS OF ACID STORY (CD by Monotype Records)
This may seem a highly unlikely pairing. Mark Wastell, know for playing the tam-tam and Lasse Marhaug, uncrowned king of norske noise. How on earth do they play together. They didn't. Wastell once hired a tam tam, a 36inch Paiste, for a concert in Paris, but didn't make it and instead thought to make the best out of the hired instrument and recorded sound material. That was passed onto Lasse Marhaug, who used his computer and electronics to create a forty some minute work out of it. Its not quite what I expected and perhaps that's the best thing about it. I expected a wall of noise generated from tam tam looping around in distortion, but its not. Not at all. Marhaug uses large chunks of raw sound material in two main parts of his piece, and just very gradually takes over with an excellent set of electronic sounds, dark, atmospheric, but which make effective use of the entire spectrum, also the high end part of it, and the tam tam is removed from the scene. Well, that, or processed to such an extent that no longer recognize them as a tam tam. This is certainly the case after the twenty minute break. Dark, haunting atmospheric music. No noise was harmed in this release. Excellent collaboration. (FdW) Address: http://www.monotyperecords.com

 

RETINA.IT - RANDOMICON (CD by FlatMate)
Flat Music is a new label with focus on experimental electronic music of a wider pallet. Present album is only the second launch from the label. The packing is very stylish with every single release from the label having a unique expression. This present album is a minimalist white digipack only released in a limited number of 500 copies. Retina.it is an Italian project consisting of the two artists Lino Monaco and Nicola Buono. Consisting of eleven tracks, the album Randomicon takes its starting point in experimental sessions with modular synth equipments. The result finds itself somewhere between minimalist electro, clicks'n'cuts and textures of noise drones. There is a nice balance between abstract and semi-demanding textures and catchy rhythm textures. Favorite moments of the album is the minimalist track "Particelle ultraleggere" built on clicking beat pulses and the very cool rhythm-based track "Moto armonico" built on long synth drones reminiscent of early Pan(a)Sonic. Great album from a label worth keeping an eye on. (Niels Mark) Address: http://www.flatmatemusic.com

 

MACHINEFABRIEK - VLOED (CD by Cold Spring)
Some time ago I had the pleasure of reviewing an album by Dutch sound artist Rutger Zuydervelt alias Machinefabriek. It was the album titled "Daas" that combined elements of ambient, modern classical, drone, noise and field recordings. Next album from Machinefabriek also released on Cold Spring is titled "Vloed" (Dutch word for "River") is a collection of slightly edited live performances from the period 2006-2008 recorded in the Dutch cities Den Haag and Amsterdam. The album consists of three live pieces and one bonus track titled "Vrijhaven" that was until now only available as a download-version. The album opens with the piece "Allengskens" recorded live in June 2006; a nice and atmospheric ambient track running 18 minutes. The track is repetitive, consisting of drones primarily based on guitars and pedals. Another important part of the piece is the electronic spheres creating some dreamy overall textures. Next piece titled "Drijfzand" running 13 minutes opens slowly with minimal high frequency sound drones that slowly builds up to halfway through the track where processed choir-samples penetrates and moves along in loop-based manners before it slowly fades out with high-pitched noises ending the track. "Vrijhaven" is a more cynic and cold track build on guitar-drones that whines and waves adding a great hypnotic experience throughout the 21 minutes runtime. Final piece is the titled track "Vloed" recorded live back in October 2007 at Bimhuis in Amsterdam. Another beautiful ambient-based piece built on guitar timbres waving and lulling the listener into deep trance for 22 minutes until it slowly fades away. Astonishing album from one of Holland's most interesting contemporary ambient artists. (Niels Mark) Address: http://www.coldspring.co.uk

 

UR/HARSHCORE - A PLEASURE TRIP PART 1 (CDR by Sincope)
Sincope is a small label based in Italy. The first three releases are cassettes and the last four are CDR's. The CDR itself is painted by aerosol, to give it a personal touch. UR consists of Federico Esposito, Mauro Sciaccaluga and Andrea Ferraris and started in 2005. They experiment with contact microphones, samples, violin, electric bass, cymbals and a so called schizophrenic devotion. Harshcore is a duo and consists of Luca Sigurta and Tommase Clerico. Most of their releases they collaborate with other groups or individuals. The six tracks at this album are recorded in Genova in 2007. The two groups recorded four years ago in Genova ? Italy. The first track starts in silence and slowly some drony tones are coming up and harsh sounds disturb little by little the quietness and ends with lots of feedback. The second song has the same structure, starts with a rhythm as if someone is walking with very strong shoes and a fine ongoing melody supports this beat. A crackling noise takes over the noise and other electronics create a surreal soundscape. And this musical recipe has been used in all other compositions. Of course five musicians who are into experimental and harsh noise can create a huge wall of sound which is blasting your ears out of your body. But this five musicians choose for subtlety and carefully listen to each other to make a fine balanced noise with several layers of recognizable and I do not know what kinds of sounds. And I agree, this album is a pleasurable trip in Italian experimental noises. (Jan-Kees Helms) Address: http://sincoperec.altervista.org/


RONNY WAERNES -TENDENTIOUS D (CDR by Go to Gate Records)
Silence, just silence... A small tone appears and floats away into another. Softly and gentle growing to a painfull earblasting bleep which fades away into ambient drones where feed-back is waiting to attack. Ronny Waernes from Bod¯, in the nothern parts of Norway, created the album Tendentious D in the month Februar 2011 and it is his contribution tot the RPM challenge 2011 to create and record a complete album during this month. Eight tracks fill this album with ambient alike noises and drones, composed with contact mics, effect pedals, mixer, and a laptop. No other instruments were used and this suprises me a lot, cause sometimes it sounds like a string synhesizer or an organ. "Dr¯mmebaerget" is a track with sounds like electronic waterdrops which are falling. Other tracks are really noisy or filled with high pitched feed-backtones, like the track "Don't Listen." Ronny Waernes released since 2006 his industrial and noise music and moves from minimalistic ambient soundscapes to metal percussions and more. This album shows his diversity in styles and his aim to create intense music and for me it is a nice acquaintance. Highly recommended album... (Jan-Kees Helms) Address: http://www.gotogaterecords.com


CONRAD SCHNITZLER & WOLFGANG SEIDEL - CONSEQUENZ 0108 (cassette by Mirror Tapes)
THE NEW BLOCKADERS - LIVE AT MORDEN TOWER (cassette by Mirror Tapes)
Tempelhof Airport in Berlin is closed as an airport but friends tell me you can do nice walks there. Or drag in your equipment and record music, like long term friends Conrad Schnitzler and Wolfgang Seidel did. They have been working off and on together since 1980 on music. Here we have a recording made in an empty room at Tempelhof Airport from last year of their improvised keyboard playing. Now I am not entirely sure how these matters are divided among these players, but it seems to me that Schnitzler is the one responsible for the more clinical electronic sounds, the oscillations and non keyboard use of electronics, while Seidel may seem to add more sample based sounds. All out improvisation on all things with keys. Sometimes they wander off into a territory where not much interesting is happening and then it leaps back with some urgent need and strong movements. If it was me, I would have opted for a more rigorous edit of this material, but I guess in the world of Schnitzler that is a no-go. A perfect option for a cassette release therefore.
The other release has already travelled a lot. It was first released privately by The New Blockaders, then came as bootleg LP on RRRecords which were edited. Later on reworkings where released on CDR by Siren and finally found their way on the 4CD 'Gesamtnichtswerk' in 2003. In 2000 Colin Potter remastered the 1983 private release which is the one now released by Mirror Tapes. A truly legendary concert - actually two, one from July 1983 and one from October 1983 (their second and third concert actually). I never know what the New Blockaders are using to create their early sound - rusty bicycles was always my best guess. But perhaps any type of metallic sheets will do, fed through rough amplification, bursting with uncontrolled energy. A very raw and lo-fi work of noise music, and for me The New Blockaders at their best, along with their great debut LP 'Changez Les Blockeurs' and the various collaborations with Organum - the 'Pulp' 7" being an even more particular favorite. This is excellent anti-music, or perhaps anti-anti music - I never figured out how that worked with The New Blockaders. The a-side is performed by the brothers Rupenus and on the b-side performance they receive help from Sir Ashleigh Grove, making the a-side a bit more sparse and the b-side a bit more dense, and seems to have an additional layer of sound, which might be electronics or a synthesizer. An excellent historic document of one of the finer moments in the history of noise. (FdW) Address: http://mirrortapes.blogspot.com/

 

The complete "Vital Weekly" is available at: Vital Weekly

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