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Vital Weekly 818

img  Tobias Fischer

KUTIN - IVORY (CD by Valeot)
Before starting to use his own name, Attilo Novellino used Un Vortice Di Bassa Pressione, which is not an easy name to remember, so perhaps he choose his birth name to go by. Novellino is also a member of Sentimental Machines. He has had a release on Inglorious Ocean and will have one soon on Small Doses. His 'Through Glass' album has ten tracks, which use extensively guitars, bass, field recordings and piano. Ambient might be the right word, but its not always that soft, such as in the shoegazing opening of 'A Footpath For Night Dancers', which is quite loud and mildly distorted. Not so much my cup, but I enjoyed occasional distortion like that since its a bit different than many others working in this crowded field of drones. Novellino plays with various cards on the table, going from softer moods to grittier ones and that's quite nice. He has obviously thought about the whole notion of ambient and drone music, and seems to me interested in finding his own voice in that. I must say that he succeeded as such. The whole noisiness of distortion pedals full on, is perhaps less interesting for me, but I certainly can see connections to Tim Hecker or Andreas Tilliander. Promising newcomer, I'd say.
Peter Kutin is also new, in as far that i didn't hear his solo music before, but I did hear two of the releases he did with the band Dirac (see Vital Weekly 708 and 729), a band that plays everything in one way, and which uses guitars, laptop and percussion. That's a method that Kutin also applies in his solo work, and 'Ivory' is his third solo album. The guitar is the primary instrument, 'real time transformed on Peter Kutin's laptop', with the exception of some tracks that have a violin, a korg synthesizer and a double bass. Much of this music was made while working on soundtracks for old silent music from the Austrian film archive. That wasn't easy to hear in these seven pieces, but its surely nice enough. Unlike Novellino, Kutin stays closer to home with his ambient/drone music, taking no consideration for a new development. Also literally he stays closer to home as a strong Fennesz influence can be detected in his music. That perhaps makes the music a bit too much like a copy of what we already know, but Kutin's music is surely fine enough to be fully interesting. Moody, atmospheric yet also with enough sense of experiment and a fine ear for experiment and thoughtful composition. Not entirely new, but quite nice. (FdW) Address:


The starting point of this is quite interesting. Before electricity arrived there we were other forms of technology to communicate. Look at the architecture of churches or amphitheaters, and you can see how clever they are to resonate a message. This sound work deals with that notion: the travel of air waves through space. In the St. Pierre Cathedral in Poitiers the church organ is used, as well as white noise generator opposite (some 75 meters away) of it and microphones are used to pick those sounds moving through the cathedral. Each piece here, four in total, deals with a specific quality of the relation sound and architecture. Although I am not sure if I can fully understand the exact nature of this process, I think this is a wonderful work. It opens with 'SAA1: Air Volume', which sounds like shifting heavy objects through a heavy reverberant space, some close by and some far away. Like testing the space. In the other pieces the mood is less heavy, or better in 'SAA2: For Standing Waves' is sheer quietness, occasionally interrupted by louder sounds and occasional long form sine wave like sounds. Here 'far away' comes more in play. In 'SAA3: For Standing Waves, Disturbances', organ and sine waves move about, indeed in a somewhat more disturbing way, pleasantly forceful, which continues in the final piece. I am not sure if I learned more about the spatial quality of this particular cathedral, but I do know I heard a more than excellent CD. (FdW) Address:


ANLA COURTIS – THE TORRID (CD by Porter Records)
Two very different releases by Porter Records. Argentinian Courtis (Reynols) worked with a diversity of artists in the past. ‘The Torrid’ is an illustration of this, as it contains varied recordings – live and studio – of very different collaborations.  Joseph Hammer, Rick Potts, WL, Bill Horist, MSBR, KK Null, v?VM, ARMPIT, Daniel Menche and Campbell Kneale are his partners in crime here. In eight duo and trio line ups Courtis  creates interesting soundscapes.  Some tend more to pure noise, other pieces are near to ambient.  ‘A-Garden’ the closing piece with Campbell Kneale is close to ambient drones with their cicadas-like noises.  Ambient-like is a lso ‘Harmfull Rainstorm’, in a duo with Daniel Menche. It  is made up of remixes of recorded sound of rain. It starts more or less with natural rain, but remix procedures let it grow into a multilayered and noisy monster. With Bill Horist Courtis builds a guitar-dominated ambiance. At the other side of the spectrum we find Courtis in company with MSBR and KK Null in an exercise of power electronics. Together with ‘LA Noodles’ with Hammer and Potts, ‘Stone Runs’ with RLW is one of the most satisfying pieces from this collection. Here we meet more subtle and multidimensional sound work that is not moving in just one direction like in many of the other pieces. Altogether a nice souvenir from the past.
Maroney is a New York-based pianist and composer inspired by Cage, Coleman, Cowell a.o. He plays what he calls ‘hyperpiano’, a piano with extended tools like the prepared piano of John Cage.  Maroney plays on about 27 CDs. I don’t know any of them, but I’m sure ‘Double Zero’ offers a  very good introduction to his music. It is a solo performance of nine uninterrupted  movements. And a  what  trip it is! The first part is rhythm-based, and easily associated with the piano. However, further on, like in part 8 the piano would not come in my mind, if I did not know it. In the second part a melody passes by, played more or less conventional on the piano. But at the same Maroney generates never heard  textures from his prepared piano. The third section has strange glissandi. And so we go from one to another surprise. The strange sounds coming from the piano dominate and make a strong contrast with the normal piano sounds. Equally different  are the ways of playing (with) the piano. The traditional way opposed to a diversity of other techniques to generate  unheard sounds. Often one has the impression more musicians are at work, as if he has a small ensemble at his disposal. But that is not the case. It is all done by Maroney in a performance at the Roulette in 2008. But that is not what makes this one special in the end. It is the enormous depth in the sounds and textures he is able to evoke, the rich timbres, the range of dynamics, all embodied in a inspired musical vision, that made a strong impression  on me. Beautifully recorded. So absolutely an extraordinary release. (Dolf Mulder) Address:

L (CD compilation by Zelphabet)
After a somewhat long hiatus, the alphabet of noise of continues with the letter 'L', and as before we have people whose name start with that letter, so Lasse Marhaug, Lee Gamble, Leticia Castaneda and Lionel Marchetti are here, along with Leather Bath and The Legendary Pink Dots. It might also be the first one with six pieces. The CD opens with a pretty interesting piece by Marhaug of electro-acoustic sounds at the start, but getting quite noisy as the piece progresses, but is not as noisy as Leather Bath, with its metallic rumble and distorted electronics. Quite classic in their approach of noise, but I prefer the more thought out mayhem of Marhaug. Lee Gamble's piece is one of analogue electronics, modular synthesizer bubbling away, until they get locked in some sort of rhythm, but the end is getting derailed with a bit of noise. The odd ball is of course the presence of The Legendary Pink Dots, which might be an odd thing for this series dealing with the extended idea of noise, but their piece is an excellent different take of noise. More electronic than in the usual studio work, but as always with Edward Ka-spel's poetry firmly on top. No presence, it seems, of extended guitar sounds. Leticia Castaneda also has a piece of analogue synthesizers, which is constructed in a rather odd way, breaking down at times, moving swiftly to something else. Like Lee Gamble's piece this all sounds a bit improvised to tape, with minor edits. In Castaneda's piece it seems to be various pieces from a similar improvisation on modular synthesizers stuck together. Marchetti delivers the longest piece here, clocking at fifteen minutes. His approach here is to work with sounds from instruments, piano mostly, treated in an electronic way. There is also the crackling of fire creeping in, like the piano is on fire and a the sound of a dog. No rapid montage techniques here, but an eerie and moody piece. An excellent piece by all accounts. Five great pieces, one that I thought was of lesser interest - great compilation. (FdW)

MARC BEHRENS - 20 ZONEN (CD by Auf Abwegen)
REPLACE (CD by Auf Abwegen/Degem)
FRANCISCO LOPEZ - UNTITLED #205 (10" by Auf Abwegen)
Having played on six continents, recording fields in China and the Amazon rainforest, Marc Behrens keeps things close to home on his '20 Zonen' release. By invitation of Germany's hr2-kultur radio show he pays homage here to the city where he was born, Darmstadt (in Germany obviously) and especially in the area called Kranichstein. The forty minute work is divided in twenty zones (hence the title), not equally but what is needed. These zones are put behind one and other with small cross fades and as one piece on this CD. The cover lists, luckily, every single bit which is nice. So we have anything from a brass band to churches, parks, a local pond, aircraft noise, train announcements, which may seem like this is a demonstration record by the local tourist office, but the recording, selection and chronology of these sounds, can stand very well as an electro-acoustic composition - if perhaps somewhat loosely organized at times and a bit sparse. If you don't know Darmstadt, just as I don't, this will perhaps a very much the audio portrait of any civilized city with perhaps not a lot of human activity, but it sounds great with lots of detail. Behrens must have some fine microphones at his disposal.
Auf Abwegen now also hosts Degem, a label which annually releases compilations of the German Association For Electroacoustic Music, and every year along a topic. This year (more like last year actually) the theme was 'Replace' and here we have fourteen German composers delivering music around that theme. 'Replace' is one of the few English words on the CD, as the booklet is all (except for the general introduction) in German, making it less appealing to foreign customers, I should think who would like to know. Curated by Marc Behrens, we come across some people we know like Nicolas Wiese, Sam Auginer and Sciss, but many of the names are new to me: Denise Ritter, Matthias Ockert, Marcus Beuter, Nikolaus Heyduck, Sam Auinger, Bernd Leukert, Jacob Hofmann, Frank Niehusmann, Michael Harenberg, Kirsten Reese, Ludger Kisters and <SA/JO>. It deals with replacing from a political point of view, with sounds from Arab Spring in Wiese's pieces, but also the transition of birds (Heyduck) and water (Auinger) or on altogether on a more abstract level with samples replacing the original, which goes for various of the pieces herein enclosed. Its a fine sampler in which you may discover some new names, all producing work of fine quality, but without many standout pieces.
The 10" format is not a rare thing, although we don't see them as often as 12" or 7", but of course they resemble the old 78 rpm records, and since those are usually very old it means that they also produce a lot of crackles and static hiss, and those are like wax (pun intended) in the hands of Francisco Lopez. He has of course lots of CD releases, but his vinyl records (I counted five 7"s, and 2 LPs, but surely there is more) deal usually with the sound of vinyl itself. Here on this 78 rpm shaped piece of vinyl he has quite a loud manifestation of hiss crackle and bop, exploring old vinyl. Lopez himself is the first to admit that its 'more a tool than a final product, noise and rhythm with a hopeful perspective'. This wax is also a toy for DJs, not just the loud 18 minutes of the a-side but also the twenty lock grooves on the b-side, which, technically speaking you could use to re-create the a-side. 'Tool' records like this, not just for DJs, but also for other (lazy?) people who don't like to record their own material is not something new (think RRR-100, RRR-500, the various ERS records with lock grooves), but this fine tool allows you to be your own Lopez for a while. (FdW)


Anne-James Chaton is a poet from France and his cooperation with Andy Moor goes back to 2005. Chaton and The Ex, in which Andy Moor is one of the guitarists, created the book and CD 'In the event.' I was directly fallen in love of the beautiful voice and staccato rhythms of Chaton. Transfer/3 is the third release in a serial of seven inch singles about traveling. The first two singles deal about departure and cars. This single is about airplanes. Side A is a sinister piece of music full of voices of pilots and air traffic controllers which are recorded in the black box of crashed airplanes. Chaton reads dates of fatal plane crashes and Moor added some minimal guitar tones to make the soundscape complete. Side B opens with a open almost happy sound and leads to a rhythmic guitar composition with looped abstract guitar sounds. Sometimes it sounds like drums, but it is just strings and guitar what creates the sound. Chaton declaims the arranged text 'Carnet sul volo' of Leonardo Da Vinci. 'Carnet sul volo' describes different types of aerodynamic movements. This release about traveling by plane is brilliant, the excitement about being in the air and flying as a bird and the nervousness when everything goes wrong and fear becomes reality. Highly recommended! (Jan-Kees Helms) Address:


Erik Kessel is the man behind Caaldruun, and I am sure I haven't heard from him him before. His discography only lists a few releases, and information is sparse: "CAALDRUUN: hypnotic Ambient/Industrial compositions utilizing concrete sonic residue sourced from field recordings, oscillators and other electronic devices." No question in arguing that. It is what it is. Eight pieces here on 'Headstone' and I think it sounds indeed like a cross-over between ambient music and something is perhaps not entirely industrial, but at least has a raw edge to it, spliced out over field recordings and electronics alike. Some tracks are more alike field recording piece, such as 'Longwalks', and other more electronics, which crackling transmissions from dying radio receivers, deep bass hum oscillators and high end frequencies, but, as said, never leaping in downright harsh walls of noise. While I didn't hear something that I haven't before, I thought it was a great release. Excellent selection of sounds, minimal yet never boring, dynamic production and a fine ear for composition, always to spot, never too long. The presentation looks good, but could be better. This guy deserves to get heard. (FdW) Address:


ZBEEN - K-FRAME (CDR by Ripples Recordings)
A duo of Ripples label boss Ennio Mazzon (programming, signal processing, field recordings) and Gianluca Favaron (microphones, field recordings, loops, electronics), who work with a continuously rotating sounds based on loops culled from static sounds, acoustic sounds and electronics. Five pieces in total, just over twenty three minutes, which doesn't make it too easy to pin this down. There is a certain density about these recordings which I liked. Sounds keep popping up, play around for a while and then disappear, but pieces never collapse when things are removed. It has some fine textures here, moody and microscopic, filling out my space quite nicely. Maybe it has to do with the mastering of the CD (by Giuseppe Ielasi) that brought out more of the music, but it has a great vibrancy and liveliness to it. I wish it was all a bit longer with two or three more tracks. Very nice one, one of the best which involves Mazzon. (FdW)


Willie B is the drummer for Johnny Dowd and Jamie Lidell, but in Tzar he has his own group, a duo in fact of B playing bass pedals, drums and electronics and Michael Stark on organs and synths. A strange release indeed, certainly for Vital's standards. Drum and synth duo's are not a rare thing, think Suicide, Sogar & Swing, Silver Apples and if Tzar is anything to be compared with than it would be Suicide sans vocals. Quite loud, with a direct in your face recording, this duo takes also their inspiration from the world of psychedelic music, improvisations and dub. I can imagine some of these tracks being reworked by dub producers. Sometimes they plays a more moody song ('The Mooring' or 'Men In White Aprons'), but the other five are heavy upbeat affairs, with loud banging drums and lots of nonconsecutive sounds on the organ. Very free play at work here, no-wave like, and something that I liked a lot. Strange perhaps to the world of Vital Weekly, but perhaps it also fits in perfectly. Having an open mind about music is all that matters in these pages. (FdW) Address:


A label from Spain which I never heard of, all with artists I never heard of. The first disc is a collaboration between Leo Alves Vieira and Pangea. The first is from Brazil and plays clarinet, flute, acoustic guitar and electroacoustic. Pangea is Juan Antonio Nieto from Madrid and he plays 'sounds, treatments'. Improvised music, but it makes also use of a pre-recorded string quartet by Vieira in 'Sleep Deprivation', ultimately taking over the piece. The music has more of this pre-recorded classical music, which, at least or so I think, is being transformed by Pangea. Over these textures, Vieira plays his instruments and does that in a way that its not plink-plonk like, but actually fills in when and where needed. It delivers some interesting tense pieces of music, which is sort of half way through improvisation, modern classical music and cinema like pieces. Very nice and with some thirty-five minutes the right length to leave the listener curious for me.
Stranger is the release by Sebastian Wesman, who is originally from Argentina but now based in Tallinn and who works as Isableasnacho. He sings in a language of his own invention to which he adds music lifted from a variety of sound sources, vinyl and radio mainly. I wouldn't have believed that, since it sounds very coherent, more like him actually playing guitar, percussion and occasional violin. Actually he does that. This all sounds more like folk music of a foreign, as yet to be discovered land and occasional sounds mediaeval. Its not the kind of music I hear a lot, and likewise I am not able to say much about it. But there is surely something very fascinating about it. The whole 'is it real or is it fake, and just what the hell is it?' axis comes in play here, and I guess that's a good thing. Music should sometimes raise questions like that. Although it doesn't sound like it, I was reminded of Domnique Petitgand.
Whereas with some thought you could think the previous are linked, Sonorefiction from Lille is something different. They already had some releases on net labels and 'Mirages' is their first physical release. Its total electronic music and the first few pieces here reminded me of the classic Chain Reaction sound. Bouncing rhythms from machines, feeding through echo and delay machines with not strict dance music but its never far away. That's not the tone for the entire release however, since there is also pieces that are more ambient like including spacious synthesizers and field recordings of running water. Then is that curious piece of lounge music in 'Silver Lagoon' (their titles give away something, there is also 'Silent Watering'…). I thought this was a great release, highly varied (and that is what makes it original) electronic music of great quality. Whereas the other two were good, but perhaps not easily finding their way to the player again, I played this three times in a row while doing the accounting for last year. I wonder why nobody's ever heard of them? Surely there are adventurous labels out there who like a new name to dance-like tunes?
An odd label, three nice releases, fine presentation. A label to keep an eye out for. (FdW) Address:


ERIC CORDIER - LA CITE DU BRUIT (3"CDR by Universinternational)
Already around for twenty years, Eric Cordier deals with a lot of things: electro-acoustic music,improvised music, instrumental music and field recordings. On 'La Cite Du Bruit' its the latter. It has sounds from fighter-bomber planes confronting with  'the regular nature of of iterative sound phenomenons, such as the charging/discharging of electrons inside the condensers of a microphone, or the steady or quickening of aquatic insects'. Cordier made recordings at an air show in Bourget and insects in the Bois de Vincennes. As I writing this - true story - planes head over my house too. Strange. In this almost twenty minute piece we hear those planes too flying over in what seems to me irregular intervals, with those little chirping insects in quite a more regular fashion. Quite an interesting piece, certainly when you play this loud - and certainly you need to in the first few minutes, but then it will bring out these massive loud qualities of airplane sounds in the second half of the piece. An excellent piece, and one with, at least I assume, a political dimension. (FdW)


Basically a duo work, I'd say, but also a work in two parts, cut together into one piece. Both of them last around 9-10 minutes and both start out 'loud' and move away over the course of the section. Both of these guys are renown for their work in electronics in combination with field recordings, or vice versa of course. The title translates as 'underground drainage', and it seems like the microphone was stuck firmly under ground to obscure whatever sonic information could be retrieved. When things get quiet here, they are use quiet, that is of course, until the second piece start. Then the dirt is flying around, debris everywhere and slowly this is getting lower and lower. Various electronic treatments have been applied, mainly (I think) in the area of equalization. Its quite an intense piece of listening, as a lot of it is not easy to detect. Like with many of this kind of music a thoroughly fine piece, but nothing new etc. You know the drill. (FdW) Address:


FREIBAND - AT HOME AT LAST (cassette by Beam Ends)
Beam Ends is a label of Freek Kinkelaar, the Beequeen partner of Frans de Waard. Freek asked his partner to release a cassette and gave him unreleased Freiband pieces. Freek choose six pieces and the cassette "At home at last" is born. The pieces have been composed for several occasions like compilation projects, radio-broadcasts or remixes of old Kapotte Muziek music. The pieces last a period from 2001 - 2008. The tape starts with a never published one minute track with re-edited Kapotte Muziek recordings. A lot of music changes are happening in just one minute. "Well" is the second recording which was created for Brunnen a project of Freek Kinkelaar. Great ambient track, almost silence. "BCN" stands for bacon and means spek in Dutch and was created for "Spekk's Small Melodies" compilation. Songs of baking are used as well. The last track on side A is called Unter den Linden, created in 2001. The music is a remix project by a band of the same. The project is never completed, but the track is a dark thrilling sound with some fine melodies at the background.  Tilos is a very interesting composition and has been recorded live at radio station Tilos in Budapest. The piece includes some Joy Division and New Order samples, but they are hardly to discover. The atmosphere of these bands is what you can recognized, but in a abstract manner. The dark gloomy atmosphere has been interrupted by a Asian string music atmosphere, but it is just a short moment and the introspective music goes on, with more open and repeating sounds. This small collection of unreleased tracks of Freiband is a beauty… There a just 30 copies… and I think that it not enough, because this music is worth listening to more people! (Jan-Kees Helms)

LE PARFUM DE JEAN (2 cassettes by 3Patttes)
Not really a film buff, and certainly not of the b-movie genre, I had never heard of Jean Rollin (1938-2010), who is best known for vampire films and naked girl films. But the musicians invited to this old fashioned thematic compilation surely did, although I assume many of them are from France and Belgium. Among the names I recognized very few. I Scream, one of Alain Neffe's oldest incarnations, was one, and Yannick Franck was the other. So with twenty-six tracks in total not a great score, which could either mean I am highly out of touch with the current cassette scene, or that the world of experimental music is so infinitely bigger than I can imagine. Music wise this compilation is a bit all over the place. It ranges from synth like pieces to cinematographic pieces of music, which include film dialogues (Rollin films I should assume), but there is also noise (vampire teeth grinding I think), heavy guitar music and easy pop music. Its compilation wise a great work. Not because all of the pieces were really good, although most were, but because of the diversity of the tape. As I don't have a radio, but do know what I would like of a radio - being a varied bunch of experimental music from all corners of the musical spectrum rather than a limited set of styles, this is all highly enjoyable. Includes also Laag, Androvius, Planetaladol, Trublion 23, Annccil, MZ-N710, Eksul Rumor, Final Cut, Nevroz, MPHM, Tzii, Larv-R, Scott Serpent, Parrheia Sound System, Willy Marleen, Cosmo Helectra, Red City Noise, Electric Press kit,  Kack S. Sander, Finaldoll, Bruit Fanthome, Giscard le Survivant and Noise Club Paralelica. All mentioning their website, so a whole universe opens up. (FdW) Address:


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