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Vital Weekly 782

img  Tobias Fischer

Its interesting to note that whenever some music by Lethe, nom de plume for Japanese Kuwayama Kiyoharu, is released it is always years old, or so it seems. I have no idea why that is, but surely its like whiskey: it gets better when its older. This particular recording is made at the No. 20 warehouse, Nagoya Port, Japan on September 11th 2003. The cover tells us that the sound materials are steel tables, dry ice and candles. I saw Lethe doing this, not this concert, but at a visit at his studio, but that was before 2003, so I am no longer able to tell you how that works, soundwise. The backside of the cover shows us also sixteen small photographs of the concert: a small table in the middle, surrounded by three other small tables with the candles. It looks like a ritual being performed. No doubt the warehouse space was empty and the large hall is used to reverb the music. Its like scraping metal sheets, like Organum did in his early days, but then much, much more slower, with more time between each attack of the sheets, making the piece more 'silent', although each scrape of metal is quite intense. Both as an attack and intensified. Probably a DVD of the concert would have been more appropriate, so you could see the action, and judge for yourself if this a performed ritual, but instead, by putting it on CD, one is forced to consider this in pure musical terms, which I guess is the whole notion of it. It has an odd orchestral feel to it, like a Xenakis piece, scraping, reverberating and intense. An excellent piece of music. (FdW) Address:


A neat box, containing a CD, a book of 160 pages on thin paper and five metal balls (3,96 mm). The booklet has a text in English and a translation in French and deals with 'Hecker's sonic practice and and psychoacoustic experimentation with philosopher Quentin Meillassoux's concept of 'hyperchaos' - the absolute contingency of the laws of nature' and the booklet state that Hecker's music 'participates in a circuit in which it, the accompanying texts, and diverse other objects, enter into a perpetual catalysis that must annihilate all priority, representation, reference, and even entity'. Hecker proposes 'that the concepts of absolute contingency and hyperchaos offer a rigorous new alternative to the empolyment of chance and randomness in avant-garde composition'. I am quoting from the press releases, as my intellectual ability to understand the text in the booklet is somewhat limited. I really tried, but reading philosophical texts is perhaps something I am no longer used to, since leaving the university. Perhaps that makes it hard(er) to understand the music also, but I'll try (and hopefully not fail). Hecker fans (and they are many!) will not be disappointed by the music, as this is the Hecker we know, perhaps in a somewhat more random mode. The crystal clear computer sounds are still there, piercing at times, rhythmic at other, even when it seems to derail and makes a strong clear presence. Play loud is being recommended. Its all highly chaotic, but it certainly knew how to capture me: not by playing this as just any other CD, but by sitting down and paying attention. Reading the enclosed booklet is not an option as one might by highly distracted by the chaotic nature of the music. Do nothing, listen and marvel by the apparent chaos. Read the booklet - try to and play again. Total entertainment package - of some kind. (FdW)

HUBBUB - WHOBUB (2CD by Matchless Recordings)
UK's Matchless Recordings is perhaps best known for the releases they out out by AMM, or solo projects by the various members. This double CD by French Hubbub is not the first on Matchless Recordings, so perhaps its save to say that Hubbub is the French version of AMM. Hubbub consists five members: Frederic Blondy, Bertrand Denzler, Jean-Luc Guionnet, Jean Sebastien Mariage and Edward Perraud. No instruments are mentioned on the cover, or the label's website. Two discs, with eighty-six minutes of music, obviously from the world of improvised music of a highly careful nature. Two recordings from two different concerts, both of the same careful nature. Maybe the first piece on the second disc 'Bub 1' works a bit more with overtones/feedback like sounds (saxophones no doubt), but by and large these are the same sides of the coin. Bowed guitars, sparse percussion, a note on the piano, saxophones… Indeed very much like AMM in a somewhat larger setting. Thoughtful, meditative improvisation, that no doubt works better in an auditorium than on CD. Which is not say that I didn't like this: as much as I every now and then play AMM, I think Hubbub are on an equally great level. One thing though: when I finished CD one, I wasn't up for playing CD two straight away.
Very much along similar lines is the CD by Wozzeck, a duo of Ilia Belorukov (alto and baritone saxophones) and Mikhail Ershov (bass guitar) with the help of four others on electric guitar, trombone, voice and violin. Apparently it has forty-seven small tracks cut together as one track, and one remix by Piotr Kurek and Arturas Bumsteinas. Most of the time Wozzeck also careful styled improvisations, with a strong focus on instrument use, sometimes sounding as objects. There is more happening here in twenty-three minutes than in the same amount of time of Hubbub, but it all comes from the very same source: AMM. playing rather moody, thoughtful improvisation music. Wozzeck seem younger and less focussed on a long duration. Instead they opt for quicker, small events, without losing their focus on 'mood' and 'texture'. Nice, entirely different package: a comic! The remix is a more concentrated effort of loop based sounds from the original, adding a like drone like character to the original. Bits and pieces from the original seem to leak through, which makes it all the more orchestral. Very nice remix. (FdW)


This year Robert (Bob for friends) will be 80 years old, but still going strong. He build a stringed instrument of metal which he plays with bows. As such he supported Einsturzende Neubauten in the past. He's more into playing concerts than into releasing CDs, as there haven't been that many. He he teams up with three players: Hans Joachim Irmler, best known as the organ player of Faust, but here mainly on guitar, Kersten Ginsberg on drums and Mike Hentz on jew harp and voice. An odd choice of instruments, especially the jew harp, I'd say, but it works well. A full on sound, moving away from the strict drone like qualities of Rutman's own, older works, but which provides still a heavy tableau of sound here, over which the drums play the second role: lots of banging in krautrock manner. Guitar and jew harp are less easy to be noted in this volume heavy mix, but provide interesting counterpoints when needed. A great mixture of psychedelic, almost rock like structures, with the singing overtones of Rutman's steel cello and bow chime. When they pull back, such as in 'Oyo', they loose it a bit, but maybe I don't like the imitation of overtone singing. Best when driven fast, this music. (FdW) Address:


Now that CDs don't sell so well, DVD might be its savior - or so some people think. This might be interesting example indeed: violin player Barbara Luneburg invited a couple of composers and visual artists to work with her. They provide pieces for her to play and then to be interpreted for video. In its most simple form we have 'Fluid Calligraphy' in which the violin playing is depicted by some lines, going up and down, making apparently the same waves as the bending of the strings. An excellent piece of musical calligraphy. Other pieces are more complex, like Alexander Schubert who has a piece (the title piece of the release actually), in which we see Luneburg playing the violin with a motion sensor and the video behind her following  her movements along with sampler for processed sounds. A fine interaction. Something else is the more narrative piece by Yannis Kyriakides who not only composed the music, but also did the video, based on a film by Jean Rouch about a Hauka ritual from Ghana in the fifties, along with texts from the original documentary. In 'Alias', composed by Marko Ciciliani we see the violin player playing furiously, along with occasional sampled sounds. I am not sure what else I should see (except for lights flashing) or hear (samples from Japan). A fine piece of music though, which can also be said of 'Stream Machines and The Black Arts', which is a more contemplative piece. All five pieces have a distinct modern classical feel to it, some more than others, but throughout I liked it a lot. An excellent display of music and visuals. (FdW)


The press text is all in French. Maybe a mistake from this Dutch label, or perhaps the fun starts here? This is the second 7" in a series of four about 'transition and transportation' (see also Vital Weekly 773) and the princess in a car referred to here is of course Lady Di and Grace Kelly, both of them meeting death in a car crash, although under different circumstances. Poet Anne-James Chaton and guitarist Andy Moor have two songs about these princesses and their lives and their cars, a Mercedes Class S 280 and a Rover P6 3500S V8, in case you are a boy and interested. Both pieces are similar: the french voice, a bit of english from a woman's voice (the princess no doubt), looped guitar sounds and rhythms. Yet where the first might be a more click 'n cut rhythm in the style of Alva Noto (of gets a thank you on the cover), has the other side a more rock song like structure to it. Hardly a matter of improvised music, I'd say, but taking elements from that and build two great songs. The second great 7" from this series. (FdW) Address:


Not a split CDR which Cohort releases every now and then, but a collaborative effort between Cria Cuervos (Italy) and Moljebka Pvlse from Sweden. The work was already recorded in 2007 through lines that aren't clear, but I guess its save to say through file exchange and the use of internet. Both Cria Cuervos and Moljebka Pvlse are known masters of drone music and obviously this is their direction for the music on this disc. Two pieces of what seems to me field recordings, lots of sound effects (analogue? digital?) and even instruments: it seems like bass guitar in 'Pa Vandrande Fot (Traveling by foot)', all along with what seems a harmonium. This piece is slow builder, building to a great crescendo and slow dramatic fade out. In 'Det Ar Aldrig For Sent Att Vanda Om (It's never too late to turn back)', field recordings play a more dominant role (along with a big too much reverb) and guitars played with bows. No crescendo here, but slowly revolving piece with minimalist changes, gradually being locked into a web of sound effects, slowly alienating the music. I wonder which 'road's end' here: that of their personal development in drone music, or wether its just another poetic title. Maybe it would be good to change the scenery of the music, and develop something that extends beyond the traditional drone music. This release would be a great ending to that phase. (FdW) Address:


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

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