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Vital Weekly 779

img  Tobias Fischer

COCK E.S.P. - HISTORIA DE LA MUSICA COCK (CD by Breathmint/Little Mafia, Sunship Records/E.F. Tapes)
The outskirts of music, the field of noise, is what I usually leave with Jliat, but occasionally I like to make an exception. Say with something like Merzbow or something like Cock ESP. Its the work of pure noise, let there be no mistake about that, but it has some fine quality which I like. Apparently 'Historia De La Musica Cock' is their seventeenth album since their inception in 1993. Emil Hagstrom is the founder but also includes Matt Bacon, Jason Wade, Nicole Rode, heterosexual hair stylist Scott Burns and Jamaican dominatrix Paige Flash, as well as a whole bunch of guest musicians. On this album they have 99 tracks on offer, the shortest are 8 seconds (three of them), the longest 47 seconds - so its about thirty-eight minutes in total. Its not thirty-eight minutes of pure noise, but more or less delves in a history of all things weird and strange in the world of extreme music. Merzbow styled noise, plunderphonics, free jazz, noise rock, performance art music, fluxus: a true manifesto of the 'art of noise'. All of these tracks are cut to CD without any pause between them, so one might as easily think this is one long work of chopped up noise and collage. Vinyl skipping, rock playing, distortion, screaming vocals: all those ingredients are well and present on this disc, and makes up a crazy barrage of 'music' (??). Other than the 'intelligent noise' which I these days welcome this is pure noise and one that I like very much. Thirty-eight minutes is exactly the right length. You need a similar time to recover from that. See: I do like noise. (FdW) Address:


The Polish Audio Tong label released the new cd by Michel Banabila in a limited edition of 300. Banabila is a Dutch artist who is already around for more then 25 years around I guess. His records and collaborations are numerous . Remember Chi and East Meets West, the triphop of Flying Dutchman, his collaborations with Bahia El Idrissi, Omar Ka and Yasar Saka. For his 'Voiz Noiz'-project he worked with jazz trumpetplayer Eric Vloeimans. Besides Banabila composed a lot for film, dance and theatre productions. Some of the music on this new release was originally made for the dance performance ZOUT, by Conny Janssen Danst & Anne Soldaat. After so many years his work is not that surprising anymore, but of a consistent high level. In contrast with many of his earlier work, influences of world music can hardly be detected here. This time Banabila choses for a pure electronic work, in line with his soloworks  'Spherics'  and  'Spherics II', showing however a more noisy face like in the opening  of 'Voltage Voltage' and 'A Cold Wind Over Europe'. 'Guerilla Tactics' is of a hypnotizing simplicity. The most lengthy piece 'More Signals from Krakrot' starts with dots of little and fine sounds plus treated voice. Gradually a beat sets in moving towards a finale. 'Monochrome Pictures' breaths a contemplative mood with choir-like sounds in the background. Also the closing 'New Energy Forms' continues a quiet meditative atmosphere. (Dolf Mulder)

HANNIS BROWN - SEVERE INSOMNIA (CD by Lumberton Trading Company)
'Severe Insomnia' is the second release by New York-based composer Hannis Brown, being the follow up of Brown's self-released debut 'Oh Ah Ee', an experimental rock album. His new album has nothing to do with rock and everything with composed music. For this release 11 compositions are brought together , taken from various performances. At first listening it is the diversity that is remarkable. The compositions are of a very different nature and instrumentation, but  all come from the same - eclectic - mind. And also from a romantic soul if you asked me. As a composer Brown is not interested in making a statement on the forefront of new music. Most of his works here, have a link with some musical past, and dwell somewhere between the present and the past. 'Dismemberment' is for a small ensemble and starts from minimalistic procedures, to end somewhere else. 'Furies' is written for an orchestra. 'Alice's Attic' makes use of electro-acoustic procedures, combined with an ensemble. 'Final Arguments with Maximillian' seems to have a prominent role for a pianola. Etc, etc. There is a lot to discover here. Brown choses very different ways and procedures for structuring a piece of music. At the same time the music is full of emotion and very sensitive. An unique statement. (Dolf Mulder) Address:


Tour de Bras is initiated in 2004. They organize concerts, invite musicians for one off projects and releases some of the results on CD.  Here we have two excellent examples of this. Denley, Lauzier, Martel, Myhr and Normand participated on the Victo Festival 2010. Tour de Bras invited them for a session just after the festival was closed.  Kim Myhr is from Norway,  Jim Denley from Australia. The other three artist come from Quebec where it all took place. All five of them participated on the Victo Festival 2010. Jim Denley is the veteran improvisor in this combination known for his extended techniques on wind instruments. But on this recording it is not only Denley who makes use of extended techniques. All of them do. This makes it difficult to detect what comes from what instrument. One may experience this as an disadvantage, but it also has an advantage. It puts the music on its own feet. It is purely the music and sounds one experiences. For sure a very satisfying experience in this case.
A fine example of very concentrated and inspired improvisations, full of subtleties. On invitation by Tour de Bras Jean Derome and le Quan Ninh did an entirely improvised set. This worked out so well it is released here on CD. French-based LÍ Quan Ninh is classically trained percussionist who worked with contemporary music ensembles and is a founder member of Quatuor HÍlios. As an improvisor, he participates at numerous meetings in Europe and in North America. I remember an intriguing duo concert with Cor Fuhler. Jean Derome needs no further introduction. As a duo they give way to some very adventurous improvisations. They had a lot to share. Absolutely a very successful meeting, showing many sides of their improvisational skills. The improvisations are full of many colors, energy and surprises. A very rich album. (Dolf Mulder) Address:


TUMBLE - FOR TUMBLING (CD by Die Schachtel)
Its way past the deadline I gave myself for finishing up Vital Weekly but I am still looking, and playing in fact, at those two CDs I got handed sunday night. Tumble was in town, the duo of Attila Faravelli and Andrea Belfi, drums and electronics. I had with my daughter (now celebrating her 12th birthday) a lengthy discussion about the artistic merits of the entire night, but it struck her that Belfi and Faravelli weren't playing together, or at least that's what she perceived. She detected a whole bunch of rhythms, from the electronics as well as from the drums, but they were hardly synchronized. I explained that might be the intention, since while listening your attention shifts back and forth and there are no obvious point of reference, i.e. a straight forward rhythm. The CD they produced together is part of a series of releases on Die Schachtel with the current Italian improvised scene. Belfi gets the credit for 'drums, percussion, electronics' and Faravelli 'computer and turntable through prepared speakers'. In stead of one piece, as the concert was, this is divided into seven tracks, in which the drums play an important role. Belfi's motorik drumming may stem from the world of krautrock, but even sounds like a technoid rhythm in 'To A Metal Frame'. The various unsynchronized rhythms play an important role on the CD as well (although I have right no daughter around to discuss it further). Even when things are shorter, rockier at times even, this CD is an excellent souvenir to a great evening.
The other CD is a 2009 solo CD by Attila Faravelli. During Tumble's concert he uses a laptop and various speakers that he moves around or uses with objects to alter what comes out of the laptop. I assume a similar approach is made on 'Underneath The Surface'. Faravelli uses electronic sounds played through his laptop and that these are picked up with various speaker systems. Perhaps bits of field recordings are also used and/or treatments of acoustic objects. The end result is surprisingly mellow, a friendly form of click and cut music. Small sparkling melodies arise from the more amorphous background, small blocks of rhythm emerge out of nowhere and make up throughout some mild, pleasant electronic music. Its not something we haven't heard before but these six untitled pieces work very fine on a sunny day. Almost pop music in approach, but then in a much more abstract background.  Very delicate. (FdW) Address:


RICK REED - THE WAY THINGS GO (2LP by Elevator Bath)
Over the years Rick Reed has played with Keith Rowe, Jgrzinich (as Frequency Curtain), Abrasion Ensemble and Sirsit but also explored the world of drone music as a solo artist. Hard to say what he does to create his drone moves. One could easily think of a bunch of analogue synthesizers, or perhaps heavily treated field recordings. Maybe its all computer work? One look at the cover though and its revealed: moog and EMS synthesizers, sine wave generators, shortwave radio, found radio sounds and voices. The pieces on this double album are from anywhere between 2001 and 2010 - the title piece. Its both an excellent overview of his work and a very coherent body of work. One could easily argue that in those ten years Reed didn't progress at all, and that his approach to composing stayed rather the same. That's one way of looking at it. One could as easily argue that it all makes up for a very consistent approach that reveals a fine craftsmanship in creating dense electronic landscapes. In those ten years Reed never released much work, so its hard to say that he is overproductive and that 'it is always the same'. I thought this was all excellent music, a fine cross road of musique concrete and electronic music.Taking the best out of cosmic music, drone and experiment and put that into all immersive music. Music that sucks you totally into in it, like a hot bath, especially when you play it loud. Very refined. (FdW)


Best known for a few collaborative work with Conrad Schnitzler is Michael Chocolak, who also worked with Rik Rue, Schreck Electroacoustic Ensemble but who also worked with poets and writers. He teams up here with Masato Ooyama, who is best known as a member of Kluster, since 2007 along with Schnitzler and Michael Thomas Roe. Both like to work with sound, any sound. This collaboration was already realized in 2008 and sees them working together through the use of the internet for the exchange of sound material. Six track by Chockolak, using sound material by Ooy and six vice versa. Source material that no doubt found its origin in electronics and field recordings and which is further processed, altered and shaped using more electronics. The twelve pieces, spanning close to seventy minutes of music can be best classified as horror movie/science fiction music; a post apocalyptic nightmare on Mars. Dark and atmospheric, yet not necessarily drone based. But also not always rooted too firmly in cosmic music, this sort of stays in between both ends: its indeed a bit droney but also a bit cosmic with its slowed down oscillations and arpeggio's generated from the most obscure kind of field recordings. This music here is very much along the lines of the double LP by Rick Reed, reviewed elsewhere, although the pieces here are somewhat shorter than on Reed's LP. But it covers a similar ground of cosmic music, drones and musique concrete, and its perhaps a bit more monochrome in approach. But Chocolak and Ooy created a fine set of mood music anyway. (FdW) Address:


GUY GELEM - TIDES (CDR by Quiet Design)
Originally from Israel, but now living in the Czech Republic, after spending some time in London. Its there that he created his first CD, aptly called 'Works' (see Vital Weekly 625). Since then he also released works on Summer Rain Recordings and Rural Colours, which were not reviewed. His music has changed since 'Works'. Whereas that album had a fair amount of synthesizers and linked to the world of IDM, while also creating tracks with cello and guitar, this new album sees him solely working in the field of the latter: duets for guitar and cello, with a small bit of laptop processing/editing. This embarks for something that is best called a cross-over of ambient, modern classic, post-rock and even new agey film music, although Gelem's work is much more interesting than that. Like I hoped for actually when reviewing 'Works', this I think is a more suitable direction for his music. On 'Second Tide' we find a beat oriented anomaly which is perhaps a bit out of place, but the other seven 'tides' are all quite nice and quiet in approach. Music that we know best from a label such as Western Vinyl or some of the Fat Cat releases. Highly atmospheric music of longitude in sustaining, meandering tones on the cello and the shimmering bells that makes up the guitar sound. Perhaps not very original but executed with great care. Fine mood music. (FdW) Address:


Bumsteinas comes from Vilnius, Lithuania, where he graduated in Osvaldas Balakauskas's class at the Vilnius Academy. He works as a composer of acoustic and electronic music, but also as a visual artist. He founded two ensembles, Works and Days, plus Quartet Twentytwentyone.  He was invited on several international festivals like the Holland Festival.  His newest work,  'Chipp off the old block',  is one continuos piece of some 40 minutes and written for archival violin, guitar, harmonica, accordion, bowed mandolin and shofar.  Bumsteinas  plays with repetitive and minimalistic patterns that slowly change. It is the well chosen instrumentation that makes this work special and so enjoyable.  A unusual combination of instruments. Some of them out of tune. But this adds a certain charm and a sympathetic primitivism to the music. Bumsteinas has a good sense for the soundqualities of the instruments  and makes a perfect use of them. No performers are named, so I suppose Bumsteinas played everything by himself.  This hypnotizing work  reminded me of Tony Conrad's  album with Faust  'Outside the Dream Syndicate' at several moments.  A look at Discogs learns that Bumsteinas released more then 10 cdr's on many different independents since 2009, indicating this composer is a in a very productive phase. Interesting work! (Dolf Mulder) Address:


MADRID ES RUIDO (cassette by For Noise's Sake)
"Madrid is hiss" is what the translation is of this compilation, which leads you straight into noise land. Now you know I like to leave noise bits to Jliat, but somehow I was attracted to playing this tape, perhaps because the design of it looked like an artifact from the 80s: barely readable and hard to figure out who does what on this compilation, or perhaps in some cases even to recognize how a name is written. The music is not always of the harshest variant possible, but as can be expected they are there, those true lovers of distortion. However throughout there is much more happening in the field of experimental music in Spain. This long compilation (perhaps as long as ninety minutes) is fine showcase of Spanish talent. Best band name is Tubular Balls. Xedh is perhaps the only one I recognized. Great if useless presentation. (FdW) Address: none given


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