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Vital Weekly 801

img  Tobias Fischer

The previous record by Keith Kenniff, also known as Goldmund was 'Famous Places' (see Vital Weekly 741) and delt with piano music. Now he expands with that: still using an acoustic piano but also using an acoustic guitar to play fifteen songs, of which fourteen are from the Civil War time folk songs and one contemporary song. Of these I just knew 'Amazing Grace' and 'When Johnny Comes Marching Home'. Goldmund's technique is to capture the whole of an instrument, so from the piano also the mechanics of the thing, the pedals and keys. He very much plays his own interpretation of the pieces: mellow and full of hope, rather than despair it seems. Hard to see them as songs coming from a war time era - even when that war is some considerable time ago. Reflective music, again, and I must say that combining guitar and piano gives this album more depth than before. An album that can make the listener sad and full of melancholy, but its filled with some great, sad beauty. (FdW) Address:


A voice reciting a text: that's something rather unheard of in the world of 12K. I can't recall something like that happening before. What's next, somebody singing? Illuha is a Portuguese word, meaning 'Island' and is a duo of Corey Fuller and Tomoyoshi Date, who had a bunch of pieces on the Fat Cat and Mille Plateaux websites and formed with Opitope with Chihei Hatakeyama and has released two solo albums; oddly enough he is also a physician. Fuller also lives in Tokyo these days and is known for his various releases on Dragon's Eye and besides Illuha, he also has been collaborating with Mathieu Ruhlmann and Tyler Wilcox and Chihei Hatakeyama, and with the latter and Date also a trio called Kuukoka. That poem piece, recited by Tadahito Ichoneseki, is the only odd ball on this CD, the other pieces, six in total, have the 'usual' 12K touch, the 12K touch of these days that is. Lots of acoustic instruments, like dulcimer, accordion, piano vibraphone, cello, but also analog synthesizer, rhodes and bits of field recordings, all played in a 100 year old church, picked up by quad-microphone techniques and apparently with a little bit of computer processing. The natural ambience of the space works quite well for this music, which is very melodic and rich. No doubt this is due to the use of acoustic instruments and sees 12K once again moving out of the strict realms of computer music, into a finely woven world of acoustic ambient music. Beautiful, rich and at times sad music. Emotional music and simply great. Excellent. (FdW) Address:


QUATOR BOZZINI - SENS(E) ABSENCE (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
Founded in 1999 this string quartet has built a reputation in interpreting all kinds of modern Music in well-defined projects. Earlier releases concentrated on respectively on Steve Reich, James Tenney, etc. This year two new releases saw the light. 'Sens(e) Absence'  has two lengthy and otherwise related works  by Ernststalbrecht Stiebler ('Sehr langsam') and Daniel Rothman ('Sense Absence'). 'Sehr langsam' from veteran german composer Stiebler, describes perfectly how this piece progresses. It moves very slowly forward, through a constant fading in and fading out of the strings, who play long extended notes. The piece breaths a deep sonority and ask for an exercise in patience, in just listening without expecting much to happen. Rothman is an american composer of a younger age, who composed a piece that is closely related to 'Sehr langsam'. Also his composition is about drones and moves on very slowly, again through the playing of long extended notes. In both pieces little intervals, harmonies and other details are discovered when listening attentively. On 'Le mensonge et l'identitÈ' the Bozzini Quartet shows a different face. It is a work by Hetu and Derome for string quartet, "who members speak, move about, improvise, and accompany themselves with a prerecorded tape." The work is divided in three sections. In the first part we see the classical quartet. In the second part the musicians start to move on stage from their original positions. In the third section the musicians operate individually. Over the pieces the music moves from composed to improvised, from constructed to deconstructed. But whatever happens, throughout the musicians play together, cooperating in one work. The music is also meant as a metaphor for what happens in our society. Institutions disappear, leaving the individual alone and homeless. However music is a force that create community as well spiritually as physically. That is the philosophy of this piece, and that can be picked up from the spoken parts. Sometimes the music is interrupted by spoken words, and other places they move along unisono. Personally I'm not a fan of music where spoken words are part of the concept, to communicate some message. But that is a matter of taste. Not an easy work this suite. Life isn't an easy matter either. (Dolf Mulder)


This polish quartet has the following line-up: Robert Kusiolek (accordion, electronics), Anton Sjarov (vioin, voice), Ksawery Wojcinksi (double-bass), Klaus Kugel (drums, percussion, sound-objects). Klaus Kugel is from Munich, where he studied at the School of Jazz. Since the end of the 80s he worked with musicians like Petras Vysniauskas and numerous other often European musicians. Sjarov did his classical studies in Bulgaria and Belgium. He did intense studies in ethnic music and prefers to play in a chambermusic-format. Ksawery Wojcinski is a young multisided player from Poland playing all over Europe. One of the talents that emerge from the polish free jazz scene in the last few years. Composer and accordionist Kusiolek did his studies in Poland and Germany and count Dino Saluzzi, Tomasz Stanko and John Coltrane as his main influences. In July 2010 this quartet recorded this excellent album called 'Nuntium' in Germany. It is the first project led by the young talent Kusiolek to be released on cd. Kusiolek is responsible for the concept of this album that is divided into 7 chapters, implying that he did not wrote down every note. At first hearing this music has a vagueness and indeterminateness that I find more often the case in modern music from eastern Europe. It is music that blends folk, avant garde and improvisation in an accessible and emotional moving way, comparable to many ECM releases. The music plays with silence, absence of tempo, so that one cannot immediately find a grip on this music.  'Chapter 1' comes most close to (eastern Europe) folk with a beautiful violin solo and  singing by bulgarian Sjarov. 'Chapter II' is far more abstract. A minimalistic improvisation that is good friends with silence. 'Chapter IV' has an intense duel between accordion and violin. Even in a piece like this that has much more dynamic, the music remains close to silence. 'Chapter V' is the most deranged and dynamic chapter. A lot is happening here and everybody is fully awake. 'Chapter VII' consist of waves of percussive sounds, that  lead the improvisations by Sjarov and Kusiolek to a climax.This album also shows that the accordion fits wonderfully in the context of modern chamber music. In a way referring to Piazzola, in a way in the company of bands like Claudia Quintet. (Dolf Mulder) Address:


ARKTIS - AIR - (CD by Zach Records)
An enthusiastic austrian combo with an unusual line up of 6 musicians: Philipp Harnisch (sax), Bernhard H–chtel (keyboards), Bernhard Geigl (keyboards), Robert Pockfuþ (guitar), Benedikt Treimer (guitar) and Nikolaus Dolp (drums). ‚Air' is their debut, and it is a good one. They sound very together and focussed. Convincing through the energy and drive they invest in their playing. Also some of the pieces are okay. Others however are not very original. Their sound is fully packed. They move between free jazz and artrock. In 'Morphology'  they sound like a jazz combo where as in pieces like 'Abraxas' and 'Namazzu' they turn out to be a rockgroup. Remarkable is also the differences in dynamics. In contrast to most pieces on this cd, the closing piece 'When snow falls down and no one cares' is a very slow and intimate. What unifies their different approaches is that the collective is more important then the individual players. (Dolf Mulder) Address:

So, elsewhere I say something about musicians who release a lot and who have quite a following, but not necessarily change their tune often; the name of Francisco Lopez is mentioned. Now, to be honest, he does change his tune from time to time. In his early work on CD things were incredible soft, but there were more audible releases with field recordings, such as 'La Selva' and 'Buildings [New York]'. A short time Lopez used short sound samples of heavy metal music, which didn't entirely convince me. In recent years he seems to be using some kind of computer processing more and his work is more audible, employing deep end bass sounds. By now there have been quite a few of those releases and 'Titans' is not different. One piece by Lopez and one by Novi_sad, the upcoming star of the same scene, but both use the same 'environmental sound matter recorded in the Ancient Olympia region (Greece)', hence the title. In the Lopez piece this is all used to create a very very low humming bass sound - like inside  an airplane engine and some higher/mid ranged processed sounds. Quite a nice piece, but perhaps also a bit too regular for Lopez: it doesn't particular stand out. Novi_sad's piece is a like in approach towards the sound, but seems to have a more narrative character, with some abrupt changes and slow build ups and break downs, whereas Lopez goes for a more minimal approach towards the composition. Novi_sad's piece I thought was a bit nicer than, especially because of this narrative, dramatic character. A radioplay like piece without any words. (FdW)


There is, like with most releases by Kiyoharu Kuwayama not a lot of information on the cover (or websites) with details about the recording, but more than some other times. Kiyoharu Kuwayama plays "handmade electronics, contact mic & mix" and Kiyoshi Mizutani just gets credit for feedback. Mizutani was in the 80s a member of Merzbow, and after leaving Merzbow he did a couple of releases, ranging from the heavy noise field to field recordings, including collaborations with Daniel Menche and Hideaki Shimada. Kuwayama is perhaps best known as Lethe and has created a bunch of releases that deal with large spaces in which he plays cello, metal objects and electronics. This release with Mizutani is one that was generated through mail, which I think is a rarity in his catalogue. Mizutani recorded feedback using a suspended microphone, mixer and effects, influencing the sound with drum sticks, steel and wooden chair. Kuwayama then processed this material and did further editing. The result is excellent. The feedback produced by Mizutani is never 'loud and dirty' as one could easily think these things would be (think harsh noise walls), but refined and varied. The sustained sounds move through your home space in an excellent way, and Kuwayama treats them with great care. The ten pieces flow into each other and form a great unified wholeness, which reminded me of the best of Arcane Device. A highly varied disc of music, excellent treatments and fine composition. (FdW)


The name Michel Guillet popped on a compilation back in Vital Weekly 459, but with his third album 'Behind Nothing', I get my first proper introduction. The information that came along consists of a list of concerts he played, various collaborations, installations and the previous releases. He describes his music to be with an 'electroacoustic spirit and a noisy touch' - which is not far from the truth. Like so many composers, especially from France, Guillet is a man to use computer treatments as his primary source/instruments. What goes into that, we don't know. These might very well be field recordings or pure electronic sounds, but whatever it is, they are indeed heavily treated. The output - the music released on CD - is quite dynamic, all over the sound spectrum, with great care for details, but its also quite loud, in a noisy sense of the word. And normally I am not a big lover of noise anymore, but such works as those by Guillet are quite nice: you can hear that it is made with great care and thought, which is something that lacks in the world of true noise. Composition is something that seems of interest to Guillet, and not 'let the machines run by themselves'. Loops of sound, abstract blocks and tiny segments are placed alongside each other. A rare thing to see musique concrete using such volume (which is not even close to say Merzbow), but still with great sensitivity towards composition. Excellent discovery. (FdW) Address:


Primarily this is a download release, but Seetyca gave it to me on a double CDR assuring me that copies can be had as such for those who want it on a better quality. The music is from a two hour live performance, on the internet from last August and sees a continuation of the release I reviewed from him last week: deep atmospheric music of a darker nature, through long pieces of slow moving synthetic ambiences. I assume, but I forgot to ask when I bumped into Seetyca earlier this week when he was working on an audio walk as part of an exhibition called 'Verortungen/Entortungen: Urbane Klangraume' in Leipzig, to ask how he creates his music, but surely this is mostly done through digital processing of sounds, and/or the use of digital synthesizers. Quite spacious music, but more in a traditional sense of ambient music, than harking to the cosmic revival currently going on. An excellent excursion into the dark lands of music, perfectly for a late night play. For the fans of Robert Rich like lengths! (FdW) Address:


The fourth in a series of fifteen releases by Violence And The Sacred dealing with live recordings from the period 1986-1993 (see also Vital Weekly 786 for the first three in this series), which were sometimes released on a cassette, such as in this case, a release for Al Margolis' Sound Of Pig label, as well as a lengthy cut found on a compilation by John Doe Recordings. Nicely presented in a printed digipack, Violence And The Sacred are here (recordings from March (live) and summer 1987 (studio) again a quartet (voice, beatbox, synth, tapes, cello, guitar). Improvisation is their main tune, but they also fit in nicely with the tune of the day, all things being harsh, chaotic and noisy, although Violence was never considered, by me at least, as a noise band. Snippets of sound are cued in, found sound, radio, collage and occasionally the guitars wails a rock god. The six pieces that make up 'Arkinoid' are pretty chaotic, but at times also funny, like when readings from a children is used. The music bounces all over the improvised plate here and is not always easy to follow around, but its surely nice enough. 'Sturmisch Bewegt' is a studio piece and while using improvised elements its much more composed, starting out in mellow places, with St. Deborah's voice reciting a text (which I didn't quite capture), before slowly unfolding in layered guitar sounds, adding mayhem to the piece. Quite a storm indeed. A fine document of a kind of music that one just hear these days anymore: rock like, experimental and electronic. (FdW) Address:


FRANS DE WAARD - TRANSPORT (3" CDR by My Own Little Label)
WANDER - WANDER (3" CDR by My Own Little Label)
Two new releases from Dutch "My Own Little Label" has seen the light of the day. M.O.L.L. is the experimental cdr-label of Frans De Waard, carrying the mission of presenting works by interesting sound artists first of all from the Netherlands. First album reviewed here, is launched from the owner himself, Frans De Waard. For this present work titled "Transport", mr. Waard has placed a microphone by a busy street in the German city Leipzig. Not surprisingly, the input of the microphone is noisy drones of vehicles passing by. The album reminds me of one my favourite drone works: "Steady state music" (Imbalance, 1993) by Wieland Samolak. As was the case with the "Steady state music"-album, field recordings of transport machines represents the whole sound pallet of the 21 minutes running single piece on "Transport". Some sounds are concrete with no manipulation where others are reprocessions of industrial sounds. Despite the minimalist approach of being exclusively based on traffic noise, the album is a rather varied and very intense work.
Next album is a collaboration between Frans de Waard and compatriot composer Freek Kinkelaar. Under the name Wander the twosome has earlier released materials. Up until now the works has been based on a single source-materials however on this new release self-titled album "Wander", the two sound artists has expanded the expression with guitar, effects, field recordings, electronics and acoustic sounds. In opposition to the aforementioned icy work "Transport", present album is a warm and delicate sound experience. The atmosphere is trippy and quite reminiscent of early krautrock-releases from NEU!, especially as NEU! sounded on the "75"-album thanks to the gentle guitar-strums. Other times the album moves into darker places of subtle drones assisted by sound impulses from both electronic and acoustic sounds counting piano tunes and various string instruments. A very intense album that both will appeal to listeners of krautrock and neo-psychedelia as well as drone- and space-rock circa Flying Saucer Attack and Subarachnoid Space. (Niels Mark)


No information yet on the website for this release, other than that is a "collaboration between Dog Hallucination and Headless Ballerinas Underwater's Bob." The recordings were already made in 2006-2007 and listed are keyboards, sampler, percussion, field recordings, editing. Four tracks in total and despite the relative low information level, I thought it was all rather nice music. Electronic (obviously), with dashes of mild rhythm, reminding me of the more experimental edges of ambient house, melancholic passages and largely reverbed guitar bits. Psychedelic ambient music. As said, I thought of this to be very nice, but the sad side was that it lasted only twenty-three: for me it could have lasted twice that, since I was quite curious after this to hear what else they are capable of. (FdW) Address:


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