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Vital Weekly 785

img  Tobias Fischer

Behind DMP we find Pawel Dziadur (electronics, being wave_attack improvisation software, laptop, synthesizer, controllers, feedback loop and miking), Slawomir Maler (tenor saxophone, alto saxophone) and Philip Palmer (alto saxophone, found objects). With such a line one easily thinks of Borbetomagus, except with electronics instead of a guitar. Nine improvised pieces that span thirty five minutes and its not (always) comparable to Borbetomagus. DMP like their noise bursts, but throughout they deal with a more dynamic sound. The two saxophones are at most of the times to be recognized as such and play in a rather free-jazz mode. The computer and electronics are set out to transform the saxophones and most of the times it is rendered beyond recognition. When things are free-jazz I was less impressed than when things were more in the veins of either noise and/or minimalism; when saxophones were layered into small chamber orchestras and hints towards minimal music, with those occasional noise outbursts. Its here where it worked best for me. Altogether a fine cross-over between the more regular outings of improvisation and radical off-shoots there of. (FdW) Address:


When I discussed 'Diktat' in Vital Weekly 767, I wrote about Chion: 'I believe, a devoted catholic', which caused some ripple of laughter. They never 'I believe', do they? And the fact that Chion did compose a 'Requiem' also didn't escape my attention. Here on another double CD, Chion composed a symphony, in the true, absolute form, as opposed to program music. There is no narrative in these pieces, but elements re-occur from time to time. Like with a classical symphony there are lots of sounds, culled from Chion's forty years of work as a composer. They pop up, disappear, stretch out, decay, and Chion uses rapid montage techniques to create a piece that is full of energy. Perhaps a little too much energy, even when the first movement, 'Le Chants Des Heures' is labelled as 'moderato' (parts of symphonies get such things as 'Andante', 'Moderator', 'Scherzo' which indicate how it is played, 'wild', 'quiet' etc.). As said, Chion's 'La Vie En Prose' is all about energy, and this rapid montage of sounds is also a bit tiresome - it left me at least quite breathless, after disc one, and then I still had another thirty-four minutes to go. Lots and lots of sounds, people talking, skipping records, field recordings, instruments (wether or not lifted from other's people work is hard to tell) drop in and out. It resembled in some ways Mixed Band Philanthropist or Nurse With Wound's 'Sylvie & Babs' record, without sounding too much like plunderphonics. I did take up Chion's suggestion and played the whole thing in one go, but deemed it was all a bit too much for me at once. Played with something in between, the four movements are however great. Excellent stuff, great musique concrete. (FdW) Address:


VIPCANCRO - TROPICO (CD by Lisca Records)
Although I suspect these aren't particular fresh releases - the website mentions 2010 for their release, while giving not much further information about the artists, which some mouse clicks there is some information on Andrea Borghi, and his website mentions April 2010 as the date of release for his 'Moltiplicazioni' CD. But tomorrow is a bank holiday, I might be in a good mood so why not give it a listen and write a few words - and bend my own rules, and not make this into an invitation for all of you to bend these rules. Borghi plays bass, and feeds the signal through max/msp patches. In that way he reminds me of Kasper Toeplitz, and so does his music. The end result is a bass heavy affair, obviously, of cascading tones, ripping your speakers in mild manner. Its not the 'real' kind of Merzbowian noise, but throughout more upfront and present than the usual microsound artist. I assume its all improvised, and it sounds pretty good. I must admit I didn't hear anything that I didn't hear before (think Toeplitz or Scianjo), but Borghi does a fine job. His pieces are short enough to be entertaining and long enough to fully explore a specific subject within the piece. Very nice.
Borghi is also a member of VipCancro, together with Filippo Ciavoli Cortelli (percussion, tapes), Alberto Picchi (electronics) and  Nicola Quiriconi (voice, metals). Here too noise prevails, and more from a rock like context, with feedback humming from the speakers and New Zealand like drones. Drums don't play a big role in this music, and it all has to do with grainy atmospheric textures, with noisy undercurrents. Just as their New Zealand counterparts would, even when VipCancro is even more from the world of improvisation. I must admit I was less convinced by VipCancro though. It seemed to lack that necessary tension that this kind of music requires. That is a pity, but it surely something that will grow due time. (FdW) Address:


Obviously we have to believe Geir Jenssen when he writes that in February he decided to make an album about Japanese post-war economic miracle, found a picture of a nuclear power plant, and wondered why so many are close to the sea, and what would happen if a tsunami would sweep the land? We know the answer by now. I assume Jenssen didn't make this story up as good line to sell a CD. Its been a while since we last heard Biosphere, a new work that is, as 'Patashnik' is still an ipod favorite here, and a work that breaks away, it seems, with the more recent ambient works. 'N-Plants' sees a return to the world of rhythm and that makes this quite a remarkable work. Biosphere going back to the world of dance music, although its hard to imagine people actually dancing to this. But if my crystal ball gazing is right, ambient house is soon to be on a revival trip, following the recent explosion in cosmic music, and then Biosphere can't do wrong. He plays here with the elements of cosmic music and adds nice minimalist beats to it. Loops of keyboard sounds, spiced with 4/4 minimal beats (more Cologne than Berlin) as well as layered drones of what might be more keyboards, or heavily processed field recordings, make up some great music, returning to his earlier music, but expanding it. Out are the voice samples, the beats are reduced to the bare minimum, the ambience is more to the foreground, making this another essential Biosphere record. (FdW) Address:


Z'EV - THE DEEP PATH (CD by Silentes/Seven Solar Metals)
The release by Z'EV seems to be the first in a series, or maybe a new sub division of Silentes, called Seven Solar Metals. There is not a lot of information to go by here, but since it doesn't mention anything such as 'recorded live at', I think this is Z'EV in electronic musicmode again, but based on treatments of his percussion playing. Maybe Z'EV received a bunch of CDs from Silentes first, as in the three pieces (which last 16:03, 16:04 and 16:00 minutes) he manages to create an ambient sound that is not unusual for this label. A slow percussive sound, with some kind of electronic treatments, although its hard to say what kind of treatment that is, but it adds a drone like texture to these pieces, whereas the percussion stays in the background. The whole thing sounds like recorded at a private ritual in an abandoned factory, but its a great release. It moves for the label away from the pure electronic ambient/drone music, while Z'EV continues his electronic work (such as on his Korm Plastics CDs), which is always great but doesn't come in large quantaties. Its good to have another one.
Deison has had a couple of releases on Silentes already and with this new one he moves again a bit further away from the world of noise. All of this music, thirteen tracks in total, were recorded at night. Many of those using the drones and electronics of Deison, but some of these in collaboration with others, such as US-improviser Jim Coleman, Robin Rimbaud (Scanner), Franck Vigroux, Teho Teardo, Testing Vault and Annen Berg. Although I love the night-life, its for me hardly a time to listen to 'difficult' music very loudly (maybe because I share house with other people), and of course its also not the time of the day for me to review CDs at night. The funny thing is that Deison associates 'night' with 'rest', which is of course a very valid thing, but it can also be the time of the day to fully live life and party. Or be all up and about and do a bit of noise. Any none of that on this release by Deison who opts for me carefully played textured ambient music, build from clicks and cuts, analogue and digital synthesizers and field recordings. Per track it is indicated when they (time-wise, not date wise) were created, so perhaps the idea  is to listen to them at equal time - although not in a chronological order. No real surprises here, music-wise, but throughout a fine album indeed. (FdW) Address:


It took six years for Minizza to come up with  a follow up to 'Music For Girls', surely a great, confusing album of pop music, with the help of likewise unlikely people as Erlend Oye, Edward Ka-spel and even Roel Meelkop. The band, originally a duo of Franck Marguin and Geoffroy Montel, expanded into a quartet, with Rainier Lericolais and David Sanson (That Summer). In May 2009 they were commissioned to do a soundtrack for the silent movie by Chantal Akerman, which I haven't seen. Its has been slightly reworked and remixed after the concert and it has nothing to do with the world of popmusic that was their world on the first album. This almost one hour soundscape is all about ambience, electronics and experimentalism, mostly from within a rock based context. We hear deformed guitars, bass doodling, sparse piano notes and lots and lots of electronics that set the atmosphere for this piece. I have no idea what the film looks like (not even looked it up on the internet, since it would leave me more to guess about, and my best guess is that this is all about isolation and I envisage an empty hotel in long, slow shots. The music however is not static at all, but is always on the move. From click-like rhythms to sparse piano bits, radio static, deformed rock music (but seemingly without drums) with strumming the guitar and such like. Brocoli makes references towards Christoph Heeman, Jim O'Rourke and Coil, but its especially the first two that I agree with, although not one particular work by either, but more a cross reference from their entire work, especially those made in the 90s. A very fine work.
Minizza member Rainier Lericolais is also responsible for a 7" with Sylvain Chauveau. The latter gets the credit for the vocals and Lericolais for the music. There are cello, piano, violins, drums/percussion and electronics in these pieces, and coupled with the singing this is almost like sound poetry of a highly melancholical nature. Hardly pop either here, but way more 'normal' than the Minizza release.  (FdW)


MIMEO - WIGRY (2LP by Bolt)
One of the big bands from the world of improvised/electronic music is Mimeo, which at one point in the early days had up to twenty-four players. Obviously its not always possible to get everyone together for a concert, so the line up varies. In 'Wigry', named after the place it was recorded, Mimeo consisted of Phil Durrant (synthesizer / sampler), Christian Fennesz (computer), Cor Fuhler (piano),  Thomas Lehn (analogue synthesizer), Kaffe Matthews (computer), Gert-Jan Prins (electronics), Peter Rehberg (computer),  Keith Rowe (prepared guitar), Marcus Schmickler (computer), Rafael Toral (electronics). That is a lot of electronics/computer and not a lot of instruments. But each of these players, all belonging to the top end of their field, have their own unique approach. Noise to space jazz, microsound, pure improvisation, which makes up a guaranteed interesting line-up, and they do not disappoint here. These four sides show elegance in playing. Hardly plink-plonk-boink, but quite spacious playing. Apparently each of the players had their own speakers which probably adds to the spatial and spacious character of the music. The music is quite spaced out, with great tension among the musical material on hand, with stretched out, sustaining notes, a sparse piano here and there, a bit of crackles courtesy of Prins and b(l)ending laptops. I am not sure if I think vinyl is the right format for this kind of music (are that crackles of vinyl or Prins, I sometimes wondered), but with a likewise spacious package one can't be wrong. (FdW) Address:


JIM O'ROURKE - OLD NEWS #5 (2LP by Old News)
Originally, the previous volumes of 'Old News' were small run edition CDRs which Jim O'Rourke sold on his tours in Japan. If you know where to look for them, you can find them on the internet somewhere. He now continues this with 'Old News #5', a 2LP with four pieces, one per side, of works from 1992, 2003 and two from last year. One of them is live, the other three studio. So far the basics. O'Rourke is a musical chameleon. He played drone music, rock with Sonic Youth, improvisation, pop-rock in his solo work, noise with Merzbow and Giffoni and usually has his guitar, laptop and modular synth at hand. These four pieces are all, it seems to me, based on his usage of the laptop and synth. If we have to look for a place where this is in his work, then I'd say this is electronic and improvised. It has that signature O'Rourke sound: hectic, nervous but also minimal - odd as that may seem. Below there are repeated sequences of organ like sounds, while on top there are nervous patterns of sound, such as in 'Mother And Who', which is the best example of that. 'Pedal And Pedal', the live piece from last year, is a beautiful light piece of waving electronics, whereas the oldest piece is a more noisy affair of crushing electronics and field recordings. Four quite different sides which make a great record. No left-overs from the past to milk the fans, but essential O'Rourke works. Great stuff. (FdW) Address:


SEAN BAXTER - METAL/FLESH (7" by Bocian Records)
Best known, at least here, from his trio with Anthony Pateras and David Brown, Sean Baxter offers here two cuts of solo percussion. I assume that the title is indicative of what is played, 'Metal' and 'Flesh', in which perhaps we must understand 'Flesh' as the skin of drums. In 'Metal' things rattle on the metallic objects in the best tradition of someone like Z'EV, and is short and to the point. 'Flesh' is a more jazzy piece for various drum skins and a bit of cymbals. A moody piece of music actually with some great subdued playing. Very short altogether, which is a great pity. I would have loved to spend a few more minutes with this great improvised music. Next time a 10" please. (FdW) Address:


MARAX - FELO DE SE (CDR by Muchausen Sound)
MARAX - BENEATH (CDR by Muchausen Sound)
MARAX - LAZY (3"CDR by Muchausen Sound)
Odd. That would be the shortest description of these three releases. Odd. These three releases are all quite different, with 'Beneath' the total opposite of 'Lazy' and 'Felo De Se' somewhere in between. Marax is one Eric Crowe and he works as Marax since 1998 and according to his website "Over the years the transition of Marax's sound has been varied, ranging from Harsh Electronics to Dark Ambience; Power Electronics to Lo-Fi and continuing to flow between styles from release to release." That is, indeed, very true. I started with 'Beneath', which is one piece of almost forty-seven minutes build, it seems, from a single field recording, treated and/or mixed. It sounds like a recording under a bridge with cars passing, but then in very regular intervals, so who knows: this might not be the case, and this is an utter minimal treatment of some loop of something similar. Maybe its all a highly conceptual recording? Its surely all quite captivating!
I was thinking of the 'below the highway' concept because of the title of the release. Maybe Marax wants to tell us something with his choice of titles? Maybe 'Lazy' says something about the state of noise and its production. Its very easy to make noise, it doesn't require much effort or style: maybe music by lazy people? Maybe Marax isn't himself too serious about this? I hope so, since the pieces on this release, nine in total, don't show much originality in the world of noise (if that is at all possible). Not too well spend on me, so with some reluctance I went on to the third and I ended up with 'Felo De Se', which was less noise based than the 3", but much louder than 'Beneath'. Originally to be released as some kind of split with Never Presence Forever. Although noise based, it has a suppressed form of feedback, and an overload of sound effects on a minimum of sound sources. These being radio waves, it seems, and god knows what else. The title piece is too long, but the other  four pieces are much shorter and done in a great way: an excellent dynamic sound, which lacks the usual noise release, with a speaker crushing bass sound, and occasional high end outbursts. 'Beneath' was the best, followed by 'Felo De Se' and the true noise and me: that is probably no good relationship anymore. Address:


No doubt the current state of the Greek economy is partly responsible for the disappearance of the Absurd label, but not entirely. Maybe it was time to move forward and do something else. Old men do not fade away that easily. In line with their other farewell release, a 7" with butterfly package, this final/last release on Absurd has also a butterfly package for this extended EP/short album by Earzumba, who takes the credit for sampler, piano, bass, guitar, synths, maus (?, mouse, computer??), along with a bunch of guest musicians, on one track. Not that that track sounded particular different than the others, I thought. Earzumba proofs once again that he is a master on the sampler deconstructing all sorts of pop/jazz/rock music and cooking up something that is a hybrid form of things: plunderphonics without the satirical/political/sociological aspects that some of his peers have, especially in the anglo-saxon world. Twelve relatively short tracks, spanning just over twenty five minutes of great pop tunes. Earzumba didn't move yet into the world of radioplays, as I (wrongly) predicted, but alas, he delivers another fine release. (FdW) Address:


MPLD - LACUNAE (DVDR by Winds Measure Recordings)
ANDREW HAYLECK - WEEKEND (cassette by Winds Measure Recordings)
Behind mpld is Gill Arno, who plays on this release a complex set up of an amplified projector, connected with microphones to two projectors bringing the sound into the computer for further processing. Obviously, I'd say, this is released on a DVD-R rather than a CDR. These two recordings (four minutes and thirty-three minutes) were already made in 2006, and I have no idea why it took so long to find a home for them. The sound is rather noisy - not what I expect from a label like Winds Measure Recordings) - of rotating sounds, like a ventilator hitting an object. The movie works however well with this: a flickering image of landscapes. Maybe there is a ventilator in front of the lens? Although music-wise not the strongest thing I heard in some time, I thought that the whole thing - image and sound - worked quite well. One thing that could not be without the other.
I don't recall hearing from Andrew Hayleck before, but I might be wrong. His 'Weekend' release says that during the weekend of 13-14 november 2009 recordings were made, and that on side one we have 'friday evening to saturday evening' and on the flip we have 'saturday evening to sunday evening'. But just what and where this was recorded is very unclear. Maybe its has something to do with the set of windows on the cover? It might all be a curious blending of field recordings and real time electronics. Since I played this straight after the MPLD, I was contemplating that a video here would have been nice as well, but that the air of mystery surrounding this, was perhaps equally nice. I was reminded of the early Small Cruel Party sounds, which seemed to be dealing with a like-wise combination of field recordings, objects moving about in the wind and sparse electronics transforming that sound. Quite nice actually. (FdW) Address:


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