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Vital Weekly 794

img  Tobias Fischer

THE SILVERMAN - TIME ON THIN ICE (CD by Beta Lactam-ring Records)
This might actually a bit older than the usual very fresh and very recent releases Vital Weekly usually deals with, but upon his recent visit to the VWHQ The Silverman left me this, along with a copy of the latest CD by The Legendary Pink Dots, which I thought saw them back in fine form. Sometimes I tend to think of Silverman releases as blue prints for future Pink Dots releases, but I guess that's not true, as they stand very much by their own. The four long pieces here show a side to The Silverman which we hardly see in the work he does with the Pink Dots. Spacey, atmospheric music, build from synthesizers. That made me think about something: when do we classify something as drone music and when is something cosmic music? With the current interest in the latter, I think The Silverman could the master of the scene. Should be. His love of analogue synthesizers, textured sounds and slow arpeggio's, along with sparse percussion make up some excellent cosmic trip, which also finds its roots in drone music (say Eliane Radigue) and modern electronics. Now why isn't this guy on a hip young label playing is electronic spacey music? If ever I would find out… Here The Silverman gets vocal contributions on two pieces, but the best is 'Ocean Calling', which is all by himself: a meditative piece of music, reflecting tidal waves, slowly moving back and forward. Four excellent pieces of the greatest mood music. (FdW) Address:


'Originally released by Banned Productions, USA, 1992' its says on the cover of this CD, and I remember this well. Maurizio Bianchi had completely disappeared by 1992, his early 80s records became incredibly rare and expensive and then out of the blue this 'new' record appeared. Not exactly new, but for the first time there was one that was affordable (although almost at the same time 'Aktivitat' on Zabriski Point also came out, so that made two more easily available records - I forgot which one I heard first). I heard the older ones since I had them on cassette (or in the case of 'The Plain Truth' and 'Weltanschauung' on vinyl), but this was real. I still have both LPs somewhere I guess. Now, in 2011, there have been tons and tons of Bianchi releases, re-issues and new ones, so that thrill is not there I guess, but somehow this record has a special place for me in the works on Bianchi. This is, and especially on CD it sounds great, an early industrial work of Bianchi, with the rhythm box on full distortion through the analogue synthesizer, while using bits of sound effects to add a bit more distortion. Quite loud, quite rhythmic here, reminding me at times of Esplendor Geometrico in 'Industrial Murder' (like the opening of their first cassette). Two powerful pieces of the early Bianchi catalogue resurrected in full glory. This sounds like it always had to sound: loud, powerful, just a bit too long, a bit unfocussed, but simply great. Great cover too. (FdW) Address:

Whenever I have nothing to review - which happens - and I can finally play some music without obviously thinking about it, I always go for a CD or record of more pop like nature. Perhaps for that necessary antidote, I guess. Sometimes this blurs a bit and I might go for something that is both pop but I still have to think about the review. That perhaps is never easy, as my mind starts wandering off, or I start doing other things, the household for instance. This happens with Warm Digits, a duo of Andrew Hodson (drums, programming, visuals) and Steve Jefferis (guitar, synthesizer, video) from the northern parts of the UK. Although vocals are mentioned, its hard to hear them on this release, as its mainly instrumental music. Music with a high, motorik, energetic drive to it. Ah, motorik! Cosmic anyone? Well, why not? Especially on the rhythm side there is a strong influence from Neu! to be spotted, some of the synthesizers have that great Kraftwerk feeling (especially in 'A Warm Front, Coming From The North'), but Warm Digits expand that with elements of disco, ambient, psychedelica and hypnotic melodies. Maybe ten instrumental tracks is a bit much, I thought, and it could do with some vocals/lyrics, to make it even more pop like. But if this is something: its a great start. One to reload the listener with new energy. (FdW)


VITAL GUERULA¦TIS (CD by Cheap Satanism Records)
Cheap Satanism - will this be a label with dark music full of worshipping the devil? Will the music be oppressive and massive. The seventh release of this Belgian label has nothing to do with 666 stuff. Lucky me, because it cannot catch me at all this black gospel music. No, the music of Vital GuerulaÔtis is wild, without any compromise and full of breaks, staccato guitar play and up tempo jazzy punk rhythms. Celia Jankowski knows how to use her voice in an experimental and melodic way and plays the keyboard as a strong pumping bass-player and/or with short catchy melodies. IsmaÎl Colombani is the guitarist of this trio and he knows how to use his guitar in many ways. From staccato guitarlicks to noisy riffs and back again. David Costenaro is responsible for the beats, counterbeats and everything in between. The debut album of this trio from Bruxelles contains eight tracks which takes the listener to a free musical world where different styles meet each other in a muggy atmosphere. (Jan-Kees Helms) Address:


Awesome debut from a project, I had never heard of before. Behind the name Mobthrow, you find the greek sound explorist Angelos Liaros, who is also know for being one of the brains behind Athens-Based underground label Spectraliquid. His self-titled album takes its starting point in the drum'n'bass-scene, but it moves far beyond the breakbeat-style. Throughout the 48 minutes run-time Mobthrow takes us into territories of slow dub, cool dubstep and IDM-like textures. There is an alluring dreamlike atmosphere upon the album with the use of distant and processed voices and melodic beauty penetrating the album. Heavy bass lines is a frequent element creating dark moods around. Expressively the album moves from uptempo aggression to downbeat beauty. From the upfront "Street breakz" featuring riff-samples from Van Halen to the otherworldly closing piece of trippy ambience added some truly awesome female vocals. An absolutely astonishing debut from Mobthrow. Next album comes from one of the well-established names of the electronic scene. However the expression on this present album from French electronic experimentalist Raoul Sinier surprises me. Where his previous releases on Ad Noiseam, "Brain kitchen" (2008) and "Tremens industry" (2009), were quite demanding and complex in nature his latest album titled "Guilty cloaks" moves into very different territories. In fact the album takes a slight step towards more acoustic expressions with use of guitars and vocals. The electronic meets acoustic rock-style is reminiscent of early british electro-rock such as New Order, A Flock Of Seagulls and Tubeway Army, especially with tracks like "Summer days" and "Over The Table". But still there are plenty of experiments upon the album to keep the more experimental listeners well entertained. A very interesting step from Raoul Sinier and my favorite release from the talented French artist. Where the two previous releases were first of all appealing to the mind thanks to the atmospheric approach next album certainly appeals to some kind of physical performance. Teknoist is a well-acclaimed breakcore-wizz known for his combination of hyperfast breakbeat textures with deep buzzing bass lines of techstep/darkside, added loads of furious thrash metal-based guitar-riffs. Latest call from the Manchunian based artist is present album "Trainwreck magnetism" consisting of remixes of other electronic music artists. The remixes have been created over a period of time and now assembled into this upfront tribute-album. There are remixes of among others legends such as Mike Paradinas' Mu-Ziq-project as well as fellow artists from the Ad Noiseam-label such as Hecq, Exillon and Drumcorps. The expression is brutal with hordes of aggressive thrash metal-riffs blasting hyper beats and furious powernoise bass lines. In-your-face-breakcore at its very best! Last album reviewed here is another brutal beast. This time we are confronted by Bong-Ra members Jason Kohnen (the brain behind Bong-Ra) and Mike Redman (MC of Bong Ra) as they present their new project Wormskull in company with the artist Balazs Pandi. Listeners of the Bong-Ra-project will know what to expect - hyper energetic breakbeats. On this album album titled "Sound of hell" the breakbeats are combined with thrash metal-riffs spiced up with various samples adding some great atmosphere. Despite the fact that the album takes its starting point in the breakcore-textures there are plenty of moments where the tempo slows down to heavy doom-like textures meanwhile the guitar works also moves into industrial-spheres reminiscent of Godflesh. Very interesting indeed! (Niels Mark) Address:


The artists' association MUU from Finland releases since 2009 compilation CD?s, mostly orientated by music from Northern Europe. The lack of most compilation CD?s is a huge diversity of styles and names. Of course it is a great opportunity to discover a lot of new names in a musical area or style. For now MUU decided to give four musicians the chance to present themselves. Unidentified Sound Objects is a project of Sami Pennanen. He  is a Helsinki-based artist working with sound and visual media. Since 1996 he has produced music with his one-man band Unidentified Sound Objects. The music is a mix between experimental dance music and electro. The short tracks are built up with humor and a great sense of composition and construction. Complete different is the work of Marja-Leena Sillanp””, born in Finland, lives and works in Sweden. Marja-Leena Sillanp”” works mainly with text. The texts can take different forms, such as books (of course), but also sound, video, performance or installations. The music is built up with some sounds, like voice, one chord and scratch and she repeats en edits it in several ways. The simplicity makes the minimal sound pieces very strong. Lau Nau is the artist name of Laura Naukkarinen. Some tracks are just recorded with dictaphone or walkman, what makes the music very intimate and pure. One track is like an old blues song, as it is recorded in the twenties. Beautiful music. The last three tracks are delivered by Tsembla. Tsembla  is the one-woman band of the Turku-based Swedish-born artist Marja Johansson (Finland/Sweden). Johansson started to record under the moniker in 2008, arranging found sounds, modified samples, reeds, strings, percussions and other sound sources into compositions. The music is complex, because of the multi-layered structure and disharmonic sounds, tones and melodies. Some structures can be found, it is no chaos at all, but the music will not catch me. Anyhow? this compilation of MUU is the best I ever heard and I really appreciate it that the Association is economical with the presence of their musicians. (Jan-Kees Helms) Address:

TIERCE - CAISSON (CD by Another Timbre)
Its not often that we see salt or an 'amplified dopleta 180 knitting device' credited as instruments, but here they are. Tierce is a trio of Jez Riley French (field recordings, zither, salt, paper, camera, contact microphones, internal electronics), Ivan Palacky who plays that knitting machine and Daniel Jones (turntable, electronics). Their 'Caisson' is one track, lasting almost an hour, and recorded in November of last year, in a gallery, according to the cover and that's good to know, since if one would have said it was recorded on a platform or pavement, I would have probably also believed it. Just like last week's releases on Another Timbre this one is inspired by the 'quiet gang', not a group but a posse of like minded people who take their inspiration from all things quiet, but Tierce is occasionally louder than that. The best part of this lie in the first half of this recording, when things are louder, but also more intense, with obscured crackling, mechanical devices and sounds that are hard to place. It reminded me of Kapotte Muziek of a few years back, especially with the crackling of objects. Following the twenty-five minute there is a long section with lots of outdoor sounds, where Tierce loses a bit of its focus, until at forty-five minutes things start picking up again. Its quite a nice disc altogether, but it could have been edited a bit more (which I don't think is the case at all now). There is nothing wrong with some editing, I'd say. It would have brought us forty-three (or so) minutes that would have been really great.
The other new release on Another Timbre is on CDR, by one Anett Nemeth, and is somewhat curiously titled 'A Pauper's Guide To John Cage', and has two pieces. The title piece and 'Early Morning Melancholia'. She plays piano, clarinet, household object, field recordings and domestic electronics on the first and manipulated recordings and domestic electronics on the second. She says to be inspired by Cage, using a variety of his concepts, both in using compositional methods - time based - and the use of non musical objects. The title piece is almost like modern classical music, which sounds really good. Small isolated pieces, a fine merging of instruments and acoustic sounds, which all have a lot of tension and played with great care for detail. The second piece is a more electronic music, again layered, but without the sparseness of the previous one. Here too we are treated to fine piece of music, with nice overtones from all sorts of recordings and some meditative scrapings. This release is easily the best of the recent Another Timbre releases. (FdW) Address:


R/S - USA (LP by Pan)
Following last week's collaborative release, here is another one for Marcus Schmickler. In 2009 he toured with Peter Rehberg in the USA as R/S. As such they already did a CD together in 2007, which I haven't heard, for Erstwhile Records. Its an incestuous little world, sometimes. Last week's Schmickler/Lehn record was released by Rehberg's Editions Mego label, and the three of them are also a member of Mimeo. This record documents that 2009 tour with two recordings: one from the much applauded (at least by me) Lampo organization in Chicago and one from the No Fun Fest in New York, the first throughout on side A and a bit on Side B, the latter just on side B. At one point in his career, Rehberg was the digital noise terrorist, which he isn't anymore, but occasionally this comes back, and I think the three pieces here show that. It doesn't have the elegance of Schmickler/Lehn of last week, but here we have rather a much more grittier and noisy affair. Two laptops going bonkers I guess.
Of an entirely different nature is the new record by Ghedalia Tazartes. Since a few years he is active again, with his last CD 'Ante-mortem' being reviewed in Vital Weekly 754. That was a recent work, an almost one-man orchestra. "Repas Froid" is an old work, which was 'previously released on CD as brief tracks of source material' and contains music from the late 70s and early 80s, which are now put together into two side long pieces of music. Its a most strange record, seemingly without head nor tail. Side A has a great deal of tape manipulations, spoken word cut-ups, ending in Tazartes more trademark singing, whereas on the other side singing is the main feature. Like much of his work this is pretty raw stuff, music with an edge, unpolished and absolutely great. Outsider music of the true kind. Taking musique concrete's techniques of working with reel-to-reel machines, but then completely for his own fascinating sound world, this is a great form of private sound poetry. Excellent record. (FdW) Address:


JIM O'ROURKE - OLD NEWS #6 (2LP by Editions Mego)
Back in Vital Weekly 785 I was so happy to see 'Old News #5', a double LP of older works by Jim O'Rourke, so its hard to hide the fact that again I'm happy with 'Old News #6', again on double LP. Ever since his days with Illusion Of Safety I am a big fan of his music, I guess in all its aspects. 'Old News #6' has less information than the previous one, just that cryptic 'All that's cold is new again' and 'recorded at Steamroom, Tokyo, 2009-2011' - so just exactly is 'old news' then? What is the old-aspect of this? I am not sure what to think, but my best guess would be that this piece (let's say it is, as such, one piece) is perhaps created from older snippets of sound put together in good use to make this new (?) piece. That's at least what I am thinking based on what I hear. This is a composition in the best tradition of electro-acoustic/musique concrete tradition. Acoustic sounds from bowing strings (guitar, piano), sound synthesis, field recordings and all in between make up almost symphonic piece, with a grand finale in the fourth part. Here is where the master it at work. Moving around from quiet, introspective moments to wild movements of processed metallic bangs. An excellent record. Can't wait for number 7, or perhaps 1-4 to be released on vinyl too. Please? (FdW) Address:


A double bill here, twice Michael Esposito working on one side with John Duncan and on the other with Z'EV. How exactly on the side with Duncan is a bit unclear, as all the credits are to Duncan. Maybe Esposito supplied him with some of his EVP recordings. Duncan uses voice, feedback and shortwave radio. Part of it was used in a performance. A spooky haunting piece here. The voice has a ghostly sound, like unclear mumblings, occasionally leaping into feedback, while the shortwave isn't barely noticeable. I haven't heard much from Duncan in recent years but this is a great piece, not to be played in the dark if you are afraid of such things. On the other side Z'EV uses 18 'EVP invocations', totaling thirty seconds, stretching them out over eight tracks, which I guess is these days a more common technique for Z'EV when it comes to solo studio work. These 'EVP invocations' were recorded by Esposito in John Duncan's childhood home (to tie matters together, conceptually) and make up a likewise haunting piece of time stretched vocal sounds. Haunting but as haunting as the other side. This is more common ground in the work of dark atmospheric music. Common but likewise a great piece of music. A fine ghostly, disturbing nature is behind both of these pieces. Excellent and pleasantly spooky. (FdW)


Specula Records is a new label, started by Teho Teardo, a long term serving musician from Italy. In 2009 he played at the Santarcangelo dei Teatri festival in the town of Santarcangelo. Apparently a city with many caves. Also on the bill was JG Thirwell, also known as Foetus, of whom this might be the first time his name in Vital Weekly, despite a long career in alternative (pop?-) music. Both pieces were recorded in the caves. Teardo's piece is made of baritone guitar, electronics, cello and voice (the latter two played by others). It consists of a repeated bang on the guitar and the cello comes in much later. Lots of natural reverb here, obviously. I couldn't hear a voice though, but quite a lovely, consistent piece. Thirwell on the other side plays a piece that was built from his site specific installation using a variety of bass drums, bell sounds and water dripping. This is not a live recording, but an excellent piece of haunting deep bass drum and church bells, ending on a low note through samples. Great depth here - pun intended - on both sides. (FdW)


TROUM - SAIWS (7" by Equation Records)
Its not often that I have to get a towel first to dry off a record, but here it is. The nautical theme stretched to its limit, with a totally crazy package of sea and sand (imitation, silver), liquid gel and a picture disc to commemorate all things water: sea, rivers, oceans and it looks great. Only 179 copies were made and no digital download insight. Good old fashioned style all around here and who fit this better than the masters of analogue psychedelica, other than Troum? Right, Troum it is. This is the right kind of Troum music we can expect for such aquatic excursions. Two elegant slabs of dark atmospheric music, glacial like, flowing like snow from a mountain - oh, no that's the wrong reference, like a waterfall in slow motion, like a quiet sea washing ashore on a tropical island (although that may not work out with thing being a bit dark). Goddamnit. This is not easy, but the music keeps distracting me from writing. Highly psychedelic. That's it. One side is a bit more melodic, the other a bit drone/moody like. A great package, well made, a fine example of how these things should be done. (FdW) Address:


If I said there was a time when I great fan of the music of Jochen Gutsch, also known as Hinterlandt, then it might suggest I am not anymore. There was a time when I thought Hinterlandt had great possibilities of being a great independent rock/pop band, with Gutsch at the helmet. Now that won't happen, actually not quite some time, I think. I didn't hear all ten previous releases of Hinterlandt, but from the ones I heard, I think there was a specific time when Hinterlandt had the great momentum to become that great rock band. So what happened? I am not entirely sure, but shortly after that Gutsch wanted to create lengthier pieces of music, in which he could combine all sorts of elements, from rock to pop to jazz, ambient, avant-garde and on this new one, also dub. Now while he creates fine, lengthy pieces of music, its also no longer within the pop format. That is not bad, and takes his music to whole new level, but it leaves you wondering of what could have been. In each of the three tracks here - split the title of the album three ways and you have the track titles - Gutsch moves into a variety of moods and atmospheres, always within the space of one track. Actually you perhaps notice that these are just three tracks, save perhaps from a few cross fades when he moves into something else. This is all quite pleasant music, very entertaining and uplifting, even in its more moodier moments. Its roller coaster music, a perfect hybrid from the big song book of popmusic, melting together a wide variety of styles. Pop? Definitely not. Great? Absolutely. (FdW) Address:


This is quite a strange one. I see on the cover three musicians credited (all of whom I think didn't hear before): Mark O'Leary (guitar, laptop, processing, bowed guitar), Olavi Louhivuori (drums, processed drums) and Teppa Hauta-aho (double bass). Now that doesn't say necessarily something about the music, but I didn't expect such as ambient release as it is now. Four very spacious pieces, in which we just very, very occasionally recognize drums and bass, but if you would have said this to be a work involving some analogue synthesizers or laptop processing of field recordings than I would have believed that as well. Maybe there has been something done about the whole thing after it was recorded, like an overall processing, although no such thing is mentioned. The whole thing was recorded in 2008, and pays homage to the architect Alvar Aalto (pictures of his work are on the cover) and is a great work. Quite traditional ambient I'd say, made with some unusual instruments. Excellent all around. (FdW)


(D)(B)(H)/TINY MUSIC (split cassette by Faux Pas Recordings)
DICK LICKERER (cassette by Friends & Relatives Records)
Music by  (D)(B)(H) has been reviewed here before, some of which was well-liked and others… well just a bit less. Here they have a split cassette with Tiny Music, who no longer exist, 'purchasing 5 acres of land in the New Mexico desert, handbuilding a house of car tires and soil'. (D)(B)(H) is a trio of Matt Shuff Kray Fanny and Justin Rhody, who runs the  Friends & Relatives Records label and they use guitars, foot massager, trumpets, metal, radio, melodica, glass, music box, sine wave and microphone. Three lengthy pieces here of carefully playing together, searching for that right spot, but somehow not always finding it. They may need a lot more playing, recording and editing before getting there. No information on Tiny Music's line up or usage of instruments, and they too don't seem to have edited their improvisation(s), but throughout they are on a better course then (D)(B)(H) - here at least, as I heard them do better - with guitar, violin-scraping, bird calls and maybe obscured percussion. There could have been more than this, I thought.
The other release is more or less a one-off by a trio of Logan Durren ("a nationally celebrated absurdist DJ"), Mark Williams ("who works in pizza shop") and Justin Rhody, hence lumping these together in one review. There is an electric side, recorded straight to four track, and an acoustic side where all three are hovering over the microphone. Instruments used include plastic bags, guitars, mouth sounds, metal, dust brooms, packaging tape, silverware and a plastic ball. Its hard to say what is the electric side and which the acoustic. This short tape contains a mish mash of objects being recorded, apparently without a plan - or should that be: 'improvised'? - a sort of brutal (not in a noisy sense of the word) primitive musique concrete sort of thing, if you get my drift. It may need a few curves of playing together to be fully interesting, but surely it was a great night together. (FdW)
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SILVIA KASTEL - LOVE TAPE (cassette by Ultramarine Records)
Last week we reviewed Marcello Magliocchi's record with Ninni Morgia, now the same label also releases a solo tape by him. In a tower in Tuscany there are sculptures made by Andrea Dami, made out of various metals such as iron, brass, copper, steel, aluminum along with strings, stones and gongs. I don't know if their function is to play them as percussion, but Magliocchi did and the result is twenty-three short pieces of percussion music. He explores, I guess, per piece a certain segment of a sculpture or perhaps the whole sculpture before moving onto somewhere else. Its great music, as Magliocchi is quite a gifted player, working with a great sense of sounds and timbre. Very dynamic, fast, slow, high and low pitches. At times ethnical, at times industrial. A bit like the old Harry Bertoia records, but also like Z'EV. Which made me think: maybe Ultramarine could do a whole series of these releases with different percussion players playing the same sculptures? This Magliocchi release would be a fine start.
Love is the central theme on the cassette by Silvia Kastel, which has half the duration of the Magliocchi cassette - thirty minutes. She uses synthesizer, voice, bass, beats and tenori-on. Seven tracks in total of improvised electronic music, with quite a strong emphasis on the use of voice, whispering, howling, moaning - all, I guess, on the subject of love. It has that typical 80s approach to music, that in those days was also found on cassettes. Fine experimentation, sometimes a half baked idea, sometimes too long and just sometimes also spot on. I guess its more the nostalgia for me than the actual content of the release, but I think this release surely has some fine poetic moments. (FdW) Address:


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