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Vital Weekly 810

img  Tobias Fischer

'Field work' is the translation of this 'new' CD by Machinefabriek. It has pieces of music that deal, one way or another, with field recordings from various travels Machinefabriek made and I put the word new between '' because all but one of this pieces were released before, mostly by Rutger Zuydervelt himself as 3"CDRs but 'Slovensko' as a 7" by Champion Version. I am not sure, but I seem to have reviewed them all, so in the same spirit of this CD, I'll re-run my reviews.
(Vital Weekly 651): Recently Machinefabriek played in Russia four concerts as part of the Dutch Punch festival. Everything was duly recorded, but not released as such. The 3"CDR 'Rusland' is an extensive re-edit of all the concerts plus some additional home recording. The guitar plays the all important role here, like in more of Machinefabriek's recent work Soft tinkling, with slowly enveloping pedal work. On top there is a bit of cracks and pops and with sparsely orchestrated field recordings. A thoroughly relaxing piece of music, but one in which there is more sound than in 'Drawn'. Nice release and on the website there is another twenty-five minute piece waiting for you.
(Vital Weekly 714): For 'The Breathing Bridge' he uses sounds taped at the Erasmus Bridge and the river Nieuwe Maas, both in Rotterdam and creates two pieces of music with that, although it wasn't easy to see the distinction between both. As with many of his recent outings, Zuydervelt is all about atmospheric music, but arrives there from different ends. Sometimes with musical instruments and sometimes with field recordings, such as in this case. For the most part the music humms at a low, bass end level, until it bursts out somewhere halfway through the second piece, after which things die out again.
(Vital Weekly 709): Despite a plethora of releases, Rutger Zuydervelt never ceases to surprise. Not always I must admit, as there is a distinct style of his own, but sometimes he does something out of the ordinary. 'Slovensko' is such a thing. In September 2010 he went on holiday to Slovakia, armed with his camera (he is a designer after all) and these days also with a digital recorder. He collected a bunch of field recordings which he, back home, edited into the two parts of 'Slovensko'. No guitars this time here, but pure field recordings, edited, cut, mixed together into two lovely collages of sound. Motor sounds, dogs, voices, fences and metal gates and some more obscured sounds are put together in quite a cinematic manner. Not just a continuing ambient sound but a wonderful play of various sounds. This may very well be the first time that Zuydervelt worked so solely with field recordings. And with some fine result.
(Vital Weekly 756): This work contains excerpts of an audio-visual installation which you can actually still visit, up to December 5th at the Galerie Vayhinger, Radolfzeil, Germany. The work is a collaborative effort of Rutger Zuydervelt and Steve Roden, both responsible for the music an Sabina Burger, who did the visual component for this work. The later shows reflection of trees in water, or rain drops falling in water. The music is a duet between Roden and Zuydervelt and seems to be combining the best of both ends: the acoustic sounds of Roden (chimes, bells, cups) and Zuydervelt's careful electronic manipulation thereof. The music and film go together really well, I'd say. Poetic, silent and light. An excellent three way combination. (FdW)
(Vital Weekly 768): When I opened this up in Itunes it gave the correct title and as 'genre' it read 'soundtrack', which is quite funny. Apollo and soundtrack: how can be not avoid thinking of Brian Eno? Rutger Zuydervelt is not Brian Eno, simply because the theory side of things lack in his work (so far!), but music wise he is probably quite close to the work of the master of ambient. In this case he presents an 'alternate' edit of the soundtrack for Makino Takashi's film 'In Your Star', which I haven't seen, but its based on the Nasa flight control samples at the beginning and some highly atmospheric music, but with a slight edge to it. There are at times some piercing sounds, a glitch like rhythm here and there and it is strong atmospheric music of great stellar quality. Spacious, to stick with the theme of space travel, like the processed sound of a rocket flying over low. A particular strong work with a slight change of sound, which proofs that Zuydervelt is on the move again. Great package too.
For all of you who missed out on these limited releases or who think CDRs suck (or vinyl for that matter) now in glorious 'ever-lasting' CD format. An excellent choice of pieces that really fit together very well. (FdW)


EZDANITOFF – WE BRING LIGHT (CD on Silentes Minimal Editions)
Gianluca Becuzzi already established himself as the man behind Kinetix, before leaving that name behind and started again under his own name. Its not easy to note the differences between the two projects. Maybe the name change was just to establish himself as a more serious composer, without wanting to change his music very much. A lot of what Becuzzi does is from the world of computers, electronics and, perhaps, analogue synthesizers, along with a bit of field recordings and electro-acoustics. If a change took place then its most likely in that his recent work is less cold and
clinical, perhaps also less calculated and more musical, explanatory in a way. If we take the title in mind, are we then sure about those train sounds in 'Portraits Of Indifference'? Maybe its not? That might be more or less the narrative aspect of this release - nothing is what it seems and somehow it might be that this is explained track by track (a leftover from the more conceptual days?): to have a few sounds which may transport the listener to a particular setting which he can relate to (actually train stations is the one I was thinking of in various pieces, but also the zoo), but you never know if it is really sounds from trains (or any such like, whatever the listener imagines, I guess). Becuzzi cleverly processed his sounds to sound like something which may or may not be related. Quite drone like obviously, and the effect of a drum machine in 'In A Filthy Nursery' may destroy that (and also seems a bit out of place, I think), but through this is quite an interesting release of imaginary soundtracks for the ears.
Maribor is not really a group, I think, but rather a concept. Remember 'Distruct' by P16.D4? In which musicians sent in 'raw materials' to be mixed by P16.D4? We can view Maribor as something similar, but here only Italian musicians in the pool: Maurizio Bianchi, Gianluca Favaron, Stefano Gentile, Andrea Marutti, Pierpaolo Zoppo and Giuseppe Vericchio - the latter also responsible for assemblage and mixing of the pieces. Many, if not all, of these musicians have one or more releases on Silentes. The first release by Maribor was “Atrocity Exhibition” and only available as part of a box set released by Silentes. That CD was dedicated to the figure of Girolamo Savonarola, the new one deals with Giordano Bruno (1548-1600), who was a priest believing in the infinity of the cosmos, ultimately sentenced to die on the stake. A free spirit, and so is the music. A pretty long release of cosmic outing, but not exclusively so. It moves, like a space ship through the infinite cosmos, meeting other space ships, colliding with them, bursting into industrial passages on other planets. I hear a plethora of instruments in the sky - lots of synthesizers of course, electronics, but also field recordings of a hard to define nature, guitars being strummed or played with e-bows, slow rhythms from arpeggios driving by. Maybe its easy to say that this sounds like a mix tape of larger sections woven into each other, with the exception of the last, thirty minute piece '1600' which sounds very coherent 'together', but its also quite a journey that is going on here. Like the Becuzzi release a narration is going on here - the journey to the end of the universe with that final track as the soundtrack for a black hole. Dim your light, sit back, close your eyes and just listen.
He (or she) who has guessed the origin of the band name, shares at least one major obsession with Ezdanitoff: the works of the legendary Belgian comic artist Hergé. While probably everybody knows Hergé’s creation Tin Tin, the same perhaps cannot (yet) be said of Ezdanitoff. Apart from a character in the Tin Tin comic Flight 747, Ezdanitoff is also the name Frans de Waard and Wouter Jaspers have chosen for their collaboration of which We Bring Light is the first full length album. The fun part is, that the name is actually a contraction of the words “is dat niet tof” or, for those not capable of understanding the Flemish language, “isn’t that fun”. We Bring Light features 7 tracks recorded in September 2010. Opening with random keyboard played notes over a children’s playground, the open character and almost hesitant playing sets the tone for most of this album. At times reluctant chords and even a melody line is introduced and then all of a sudden a song almost emerges from the cracks and spittle. A sequence starts, but almost as sudden as it starts it stops again. It is almost like the songs that are trying to break out are also to shy to set the first step. It’s quite a fascinating listen. By 'Our Russia' the sound becomes harsher and radio sounds are introduced, somewhat breaking the delicate magic so carefully built up with the first four tracks. It is not a bad track by any means, it just feels oddly out of place, though perhaps other listeners will consider it a welcome break. The final track 'Oak Wheels' re-addresses the balance with a fuller sound and breathing sounds of someone sleeping. In all, We Bring Light is a very good album, in fact I think it’s one of the better albums that involve De Waard. Jasper’s input certainly helped to create a nice balance, even though he dozes off at the end. Described by Ezdanitoff themselves as “synthimental love songs” I think that sums the album up perfectly. (FdW) (Freek Kinkelaar)


YASUSHI MIURA – STATELESSNESS (CD by Consequently Records)
If you search for Japanese artist Yasushi Miura, you might find him termed as an IDM artist, however this terminology must be considered quite relatively. Don’t expect any kind dance-friendly IDM-spheres on his second album titled ”statelessness”. Despite the fact that you might find a few catchy rhythmic structures around the album, this is abstract expressions to the extreme. A collage of chaotic rhythm chaos added abrasive expressions from thick drones to samples counting harsh jap-noise from Masonna to concrete electro-acoustic sounds. Despite the harsh atmospheres, Yasushi Miura manages to create cinematic atmospheres on the background of abstract sound expressions. Quite interesting album. (Niels Mark)


FABRIKSAMPLER VOL. 4 (Compilation CD by Pharmafabrik)
Various sound-art has been expressed over the years on Russian label Pharmafabrik. The span of experimental expressions is beautifully expressed on this fourth sampler from the label titled “Fabriksampler Vol. 4” - a double disc consisting of twenty different artists from the label. Taking a glance across the track list you find contributions from harsh noise legend KK Null and Italian drone-ambient composer Fabio Orsi. The expressions first of all falls between drone-based ambient and noise. In that aspect I find similarities with the legendary label compilation “Release your mind 2” from Relapse/Release Entertainment. Favorite moments comes with Polish artist Cezary Gapik revealing his close collaborative background with dark ambient artist Lull. His contribution is a long stretched minimalist dark drone work of subdued buzz drones – a quite sinister piece. Ambient moments of deep listening comes with contributions from aforementioned Italian composer Fabio Orsi plus another Italian artist Prodvkt delivering a 4 minutes of sheer beauty. Ex-death metal drummer Mike Browning known for his membership in essential death bands such as Morbid Angel and techno-deathsters in Nocturnus, takes the grandiose electronic soundscapes from Nocturnus into pure hypnotic atmospheres with his awesome piece. Everyone interested in cutting edge ambience and harsh expressions of sheer darkness will have to check out this stunning fourth compilation chapter from Pharmafabrik. (Niels Mark)


NÄO - NÄO (CD by Ant-Zen)
Exocet is the project of Polish sound artist Klimaczewski. Stylishly Exocet operates in-between harsh power noise, atmospheric synth layers and intricate rhythmic patterns. Many great moments on the album. From the quite brutal track “Terrifying consequence” to hypnotic pieces like “Drugs and balance” and “Break away” built on mid-tempo rhythm patterns. Also the awesome club-oriented track “I can feel it” is outstanding. Next album reviewed here is quite a contrast to the power noise-based album from Exocet, despite the fact that the artists behind the project called Oureboros has backgrounds in harsh projects such as Orphx. Oureboros consists of Canadian artists Rich Oddie, Aaron west and Christina Sealey. The trio focus on dark audio environments consisting of melancholic soundscapes based on electro-acoustic expressions. Dominating part is the atmospheric shoegaze guitar-passages reminiscent of Robin Guthrie’s of Cocteau Twins, but rather than being part of straight forward melodies, the musical foundation here is abstract textures operating in-between ambient and trippy industrial textures. Very intense. Next album moves into other stylish directions. French artist Pierre-André Pernin composes music under the alias Näo. He started back in 2002 as a solo-project but now he has extended the project with drummer Thibault Fellman and guitarist Jordan Daverio. Thus the musical texture balances between postrock, progrock and electronic textures reminiscent sounding like a mixture between Amon Tobin and Nine Inch Nails. The result is quite interesting built on instrumental pieces dominated by guitar-passages that ranges from postrock textures to more thrash-like riffs. Interesting album. Last album reviewed here, comes from German project Thorofon. Thorofon is a project consisting of David Hormann, Sebastian Schwarz and Isabelle Wörner. The sonic approach is old school industrial with clear impressions of old school cyberpunk. The music is built on the vocals of David Hormann and synthlines with electrobeat-textures. The music is atmospheric and recalls memories of SPK and Cabaret Voltaire. Towards the end of the album the expression turns harsher with crushing power electronics reminiscent of early pioneers Whitehouse. Four interesting albums released on Germany’s industrial label number one – Ant-Zen. (Niels Mark) Address:


PHIL MAGGI – GHOST LOVE (CD by Idiosyncratic Records)
Yannick Franck is a sound and visual artist based in Gent. Apart from being founder the electroacoustic project Y.E.R.M.O. he also works as a composer and sound designer for the National Theater of the French Community in Brussels and with companies Artara and Trotz Ensemble. Present album titled “Memorabilia” is the first album released under his personal alias. The album is a deep and hypnotic work divided into seven intersections. The expression is trippy and floating ambience of long chilling sound drones slowly drifting and causing a gentle feeling of drowsiness for the listener. The only human intervention comes as distant voices penetrate in the fifth intersection being an eight minutes piece of deep beauty. An awesome ambient work that will make even insomniacs drift into a hypnotic state of sleeping. Next album stays in the atmospheres of hypnotism however with quite another expressional style than the aforementioned release. In contrast to the deep and minimalist expression of Yannick Franck’s album “Memorabilia”, the album titled “Ghost love” from American composer Phil Maggi works with a wider pallet of style and expressions. The album consists of trippy drones, however the drones circulate in spheres of world music, sometimes built on ritual percussions and other times on ritual tribal choirs. Imagine british composer Muslimgauze (r.i.p) pulled into ambient spheres. A haunting ritual experience. (Niels Mark)


C. SPENCER YEH - 1975 (CD by Intransitive Recordings)
Odd to see this announced as the debut CD of C. Spencer Yeh, who has released a great number of works, mostly as Burning Star Core, but also with others, such as John Wiese, Tony Conrad, New Humans w/ Vito Aconcci, Aaron Dilloway, Okkyung Lee, Evan Parker, Yellow Swans, Greg Kelley, Paul Flaherty, Don Dietrich (of Borbetomagus) and Chris Corsano. He is best known as someone who plays the violin and using his voice, this new CD is somewhat something of a new start. With this work he wants to put himself forward as a composer of electro-acoustic music. The titles may give away what it sounds like, three are called 'Drone', two are called 'Voice', but there is also 'Shrinkwrap From A Solo Saxophone CD', twice 'Two Guitars', 'Drips', 'Au Revoir..' and '…Bonne Nuit', the latter of course not referring to anything musical. In those pieces like 'Drone', 'Voice' or 'Shrinkwrap' we hear exactly just that - a drone or a voice, albeit through extensive computer manipulation, or the crackling of shrinkwrap. With 'Two Guitars' is already a bit more difficult. This could have been called drone also, I think. It seems to me some acoustic guitar and amplifier is used here. All of these pieces are actually pretty straight forward, but their beauty lie in the fact that this is all very plain, simple and forward. No beating around the bush, no poetic titles or some such, but a fine exploration in sound. Maybe the three drone pieces and two voices are a bit too much alike for my taste, and one of each could have been left off to make a slightly stronger CD, but throughout this is a strong work. And in case you are wondering what those French titled pieces are about: the cover depicts a broken down piano, and those pieces are fine treatments of piano sounds - like electro-acoustic studies of broken piano wires and keys. No mystery, just a great CD. (FdW)


More music by composer Duane Pitre (see also Vital Weekly 581, 605, 687 and 768). 'ED09' is a work in progress as they call it, and the score is now for 12 or more performers, all on violin, viola, cello and contrabass. About half the score has fixed instructions but the conductor, Pitre himself in this case, can adjust the playing of all the varying pitches as he sees fit, or as the players see fit, thus creating a very cohesive sound. This new (?) work is not entirely different from the sound world we already heard in his previous works: long sustaining sounds, drone like, but not static. This is not the tape manipulated sound of Niblock but a live work, in which hear a good number of instruments, each playing their own part, swelling, decaying and changing pitches in a very slow way. While I was playing this, I was enjoying this. That much is sure, but all along I kept thinking: it may sound also a bit like what I already know from Pitre, and it sounds perhaps too similar to those previous releases. And when I start contemplating such notions, its perhaps never a good sign. Like with so many other composers of basically any type of music, I think there is only so much one can explore in a certain field, before moving on to the next level. Now I know there are many reasons not to, but its always something I keep thinking about. Pitre's record here is absolutely great, a vibrant recording of a fine piece, but perhaps, just perhaps, its time for the next move. (FdW) Address:


TOM FAZZINI - STATS/THE PROGRAMME (7" by Loophamystery Records)
Erm who? Tom Fazzini? Who he? It wasn't a name that very familiar to me either, but already in 1984 he made a record called 'Neck To Neck' on A-Mission Records (which we also know from O Yuki Conjugate and Asmus Tietchens), being re-released by Locust Music and in the mid 90s he was a member of A Small Good Thing, one of the few off-shoots from O Yuki Conjugate. Ah, now we are talking. This 7" is his the first sign of life in 5 years, following another release on Locust in 2006. On 'Stats' he uses an acoustic guitar, whispering voices and bagpipes/organ sounds washing in and out. Quite intimate music with an odd alien character. Something similar goes on the other side: spoken word moving over to a bit of singing, a cosmic like sine wave sound, and again a introspective guitar. Odd music indeed, and with merely six minutes a bit hard to judge what Fazzini is all about, but this is certainly a record that made me curious to hear more. Next time a full mini CD perhaps? (FdW) Address:

SUJO - EILAT (CDR by Quiet World)
The Umbrella man mentioned in the title of the release by Susan Matthews is Erik Satie. There is no sense in denying that: right from the start this is clear. It starts out with Gymnopedies No. 1, perhaps Satie's best known piece, but in quite a fast mode - is this a joke? As it turns out, not really (at least that's what I think). I never heard of Matthews although, according to Quiet World she has an extensive discography, and that she is also a performer, or even interpreter here, as apparently she plays all those pieces by herself. She also plays the first of Pieces Froids and Gnossiennes number two and four. I am not entirely sure what she does with that, except playing them a bit faster than usual, as the common opinion is to play them quite slow. There seems also to be a small amount of electronic processing going on, and it transforms these six (!) pieces into wholly something else. Satie is still recognizable, but there is something else going on, something that is not easy to define, but certainly something that is quite interesting. A very radical re-interpretation of the original Satie works maintaining a great sensibility. This is a work that should be heard by a greater audience then just those who still cherish CDR only releases.
The other two releases are on diametrical opposite sides. On the noise side we find Ryan Huber. Sometimes known as Olekranon with releases on his own Inam Records. As Sujo he plays loud drone music, absent of any rhythm at times, or very slow at its best. Slow and deep. I must say I am mildly surprised to find a Sujo release on Quiet World, as this is a place where one wouldn't expect it. A label with quite a status of quiet music, ambient and field recordings, and this is not were we will place with his Sujo music. A massive wall of sound, with lots of distorted guitars, those far away drum beats, which in title piece made me think of Skullflower. Four pieces of sheer noise rock which was nice, as such can be nice: in a small doses every now and then.
Of course Ian Holloway doesn't do noise music, but ambient. Usually one track per release but here six no less, and less dealing with the world of computers and time stretching it seems than much of his previous work, and stronger emphasis on the use of field recordings and acoustic instruments, although none such is present in the opening 'Simple Times'. But otherwise, in the remaining five tracks, we hear the coastal recordings from the Swansea area, thunder, rain, sea along with the tinkling of a guitar, the 88 strings of a piano or the keys thereof and such like. Of course all of it in quite a mellow mood. Only in the final piece, the almost twenty-five minute piece 'Firelight' we hear some of the older Holloway sound, with stretching out sounds. It seems like a small step back. I rather had him see explore the whole new path here, but who knows: somewhere in the future? This is a small but important step forward. (FdW) Address:


HILTER – EN TERGO (CDR by Hikikomori Records)
Danish project Hilter is trio consisting of Peter C. Mueller, Rob Perzika and Rhalv Følling. "En tergo" is the bands first release and their first one released on Danish label Hikikomori Records a small CDR-label exclusive based in Copenhagen. “En tergo” is the type of album not easy to pigeonhole. Many styles has been included to create a quite intense soundtrack for the inner cinema. Hilter picks elements from various styles such as industrial, ambient and musique concrete to create their very own expression. Stylishly it reminds me of how Einstüerzende Neubauten would have sounded like if they had focused on expressively subtlety and ambient atmospheres. Elements of industrial noises and voice-samples of both whispering and sinister screaming circulate in tunnels of dark drones. A very intense sound experience dedicated for deep listening in dark rooms. (Niels Mark)


Tosom Records is a small label from Germany. Tosom released about more than 50 CDRs with well-known musicians like Noctural Emissions,  Aidan Baker en Jan-M Iversen. This duo box contains a DVD of Mädchen June and a CDR of The Neverland Stars. Five Photo-collages completed this artistic release. Mädchen June is a musician and videoartist. Three short movies fill the DVD. The soundtracks have the same atmosphere as the music of The Neverland Stars. The images of the video are mostly double layered and edited with a lot of color filters and other filters, which gives an eighties feeling to these movies. Most of the images are recordings of architecture, landscape or just the street and broken walls and ceilings. Sometimes the images catch me when there is a lot of repetition in the images. From Boston to Dresden is musically very interesting. The music is moody, melancholic and well played. Droney layers are completed with minimal melodies or beats. Sometimes the music develops in poppy composition, but develops fast into drum 'n bass to some noisy electronics. Great album of a unknown band, of which almost no information can be found on the internet. But does that make any sense? The music takes you to several conditions of consciousness in a beautiful way. This trip from Boston to Dresden is highly recommended! (Jan-Kees Helms) Address:


Second Family directs us for more information about one Zac Nelson to his website at same name dot com, and we see a bunch of one of a kind t-shirts. Surely this is the same man, I thought, when I was listening to his music. Nelson is from Portland and apparently plays all the instruments himself. He is also involved in other bands, of which I never heard, such as Hexlove, Chll Pll and Trawler Bycatch. These ten pieces were recorded in a matter of days, or so we are led to believe and its weird stuff. The first four pieces are quite short, then get longer and the last track lasts ten minutes. Music-wise Zac Nelson operates in a style that shares a love of synthesizer music - like in 'He Will Not Sleep In The Shade Of The Plane Trees', that final long piece of atmospheric electronics, almost in a glitchy way, but also rock like drums, crazy organs from the world of psychedelic music, even vocals drop by. Especially in the five short pieces this is most notable: crazy alien pop music, in a rather free style, drum/vocal heavy. The four pieces that are a bit longer are more sample heavy, with the ethnic percussion never far away in 'The Walls Stood Back To Let Her Pass', or the market place of 'Pass Over My Scalp'. As said a strange bag of music here, but I must say also quite captivating. Strangely bewildering, and probably very funny. Very nice. (FdW)


EARZUMBA - SPACE 4 RENT (CDR by Dialsinfin)
Christian Dergarabedian's history with Reynols is by now long forgotten, I guess, and since long he has established himself as Earzumba. Originally heavily into sampling and plunderphonics, but now also more into radio play like material. These days people find him to compose pieces of music such as the two on this release. Both of these pieces deal with 'space and observation of the universe'. The first piece is commissioned by Gracia Territori Sonor, following a nine day period of watching the sky above at some observatory, also in Barcelona. Here we have deep end bass rumble in the first section, a cosmic rumble in the short second, but the main gem is the last section, which lasts almost twenty four minutes. Here we have an interesting piece of almost modern classic music, with a melodic piano tune, which evolves into a more abstract level of synthesizer music, with loops and such like, and lifted spoken word material. Spacious, floating in air, this is more abstract cosmic music than what is commonly sold as such. Very nice. In the eighteen minute 'Supernova' (commissioned by Daniel Zimmermann), Earzumba uses flight control talk along with bouncing rhythms of synthesizers and arpeggio's. Its nearly impossible not to think of that great LP by Space, which was the KLF in disguise. The same elegance, the same atmosphere and, although almost twenty years apart, Earzumba almost plays like the unknown third side of that LP here. Excellent piece. Again. Throughout one of the best Earzumba releases I heard so far. (FdW) Address:


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