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Vital Weekly 819 + 820

img  Tobias Fischer

Z'EV & DAVID MARANHA - OBSIDIANA (CD by Sonoris)
A meeting of minimalists, I'd say, but minimalists with a maximum output. I saw David Maranha once in concert at his organ, loud and long, and minimal, like Terry Riley on speed. Z'EV is a man to play percussion on stainless steel discs, bass drum and maracas and most his playing is minimal, letting tones do the work in the space it is played in, leading to heavy bouncing sounds. These two heavy weights plays a concert at ZDB in Lisbon on June 24 2010 and the result is this thirty-five some piece. It starts out moody and slow, silent with Z'EV playing the stainless steel discs, waving the listeners into some kind of obscure magic ritual which is about to take place. Tones bend in various directions and slowly the hammond organ on Maranha comes in and from then on things evolve in quite a natural way, but once everything is in place it no longer carries that ritualist tag, but unfolds itself as a great psychedelic piece of music. Terry Riley meets the Velvet Underground. When Z'EV picks up the maracas to play the bass drum, Maranha starts adding some fine clusters in the lower region, and both knit a very dense pattern of closely linked tones. Maybe just a bit short with a bit too abrupt ending, and next to being at the real concert, I can imagine the CD is best substitute. (FdW) Address: http://www.sonoris.org

 

THE EBERTBROTHERS – SUSTEN PASS (CD by Mindwaves Music)
Not surprisingly, The Ebertbrothers is a collaboration between two brothers carrying the second name being Ebert. Axel and Michael Ebert resides in Berlin, having collaborated since 2006, in the first place working with video art and then later with more focus on a combination between visual and sound performances.  A number of self-released live recordings plus one full-length and an EP is the result of the sound explorations up until this present album released on German label Mindwaves Music. The cover of “Susten pass” shows a circus artist standing on top of a strange creature looking like a mixture between an elephant and a sea lion. The circus culture associates with something nostalgic from the childhood. With the strange creature added to the cover, the aesthetical front picture gives a good sign of what to expect from the inside of “Susten pass”. The music from the two brothers is an interesting combination of modern contemporary electronics and sounds from earlier sound cultures. Ambient textures have been added complex idm-based rhythm structures in the main part of the works of the album, giving an excellent chill out atmosphere with quite some compositional edge. There is a pleasant cinematic feel on the album that also uses sounds, reminiscent of an earlier era of electronic music absorbed into the sounds of the contemporary scene. A very interesting  and catchy experimental album from The Ebertbrothers. (Niels Mark) Address: http://www.mindwaves-music.com

 

CHRISTY & EMILY - TIC-TAC-TOE (CD by Klangbad)
This is one of those those in which you hear too much of one kind of music and you start longing for something else. In my case it was improvised music for most of the day, so by the end of the day it was time for something else. Christy & Emily are surely part of the band of the same name: Christy Edwards is a guitarist and Emily Manzo is a trained pianist, and the rest of the band is made up by Kristen Mueller on drums and Peter Kerlin on bass. Recorded in the studio of Faust, that might be the only true Vital reference, as nothing on these pieces shows any weirdness. Which is, given the workload of improvised doodling, actually something I needed. This CD has twelve songs of indie rock like tunes, with great vocals, speedy music (yet not 'fast') sometimes if you know what I mean, but most of the time a more ballad type of song structure is applied = the sort of mid tempo paced stuff. Is this music for Vital Weekly? I wouldn't think so. Even if the Faust studio may have room for pop tunes, it's nothing 'new'. But unlike so much other music which also lands here which is definitely out of place, this is something I thoroughly liked a lot, as someone who likes 'honest' 'real' 'pop music' of some kind of alternative kind. Christy & Emily is great band, elegant tune-smiths as they say in the real rock press. Very out of place and very welcome. (FdW) Address: http://www.klangbad.de

 

DICK  WOOD – NOT FAR FROM HERE (CD by PFmentum)
BONNIE BARNETT GROUP – IN BETWEEN DREAMS (CD by PFmentum)
What a joy! The vibrant jazz on Wood’s ‘Not far from here’  is just delicious. Dick Wood is a musician from Los Angeles, founding  member of The And Now Ensemble. For this project he is assisted by Dan Clucas (cornet, flute, octokoto, other sounds) , Hal Onserud (bass), Mark Trayle (live electronics) and Marty Mansour (drums, percussion), plus guest appearances by Dan Ostermann and Chuck Manning. Wood himself plays alto sax, flute, whistle and boom box. Also he composed all six titles. But it is in all aspects a jazz recording, so improvisation plays a big role of course. The music immediately struck me because it is so fresh and alive,  energetic, musical and inspired. Seemingly nonchalant it moves on. But is very together and focussed.  Wood is inspired by blues, Bach, Sun Ra, Ornette, Partch, to name a few. But he is very far from any cliche or copying. Special attention deseve the electronic intervals provided by Trayle like in the closing piece ‘And Now’. Throughout he delivers to the point bleeps and blops. Wood and  Onserud return on the album of Bonnie Barnett.  Added by Garth Powell (percussion) and Bonnie Barnett (vocals).  Barnett  is a vocalist, composer, improvisor from Los Angeles. She has some work out on Nine Winds, including a duo with bassist Ken  Filiano. She has been exploring texts of Gertrude Stein and Jean-Paul Sartre and other writers. Of both writers she reads a text on this new release. I miss the point concerning these two pieces that have the musicians improvising and Barnett reading. But I don’t know how both activities are supposed to be interconnected. This is different for the pieces where Barnett changes for non-verbal vocal exercises like in ‘In between Dreams’ and ‘Primordial’. Again the fine work by Wood is to be enjoyed ont his one, like in the inspired opening track ‘Badinage’. (Dolf Mulder) Address: http://www.pfmentum.com

 

MIRT - ARTIFICIAL FIELD RECORDINGS (CD by Catsun)
The otherwise highly organized Catsun label, a division of Monototype, has a Polish text as a pdf on the website, which is a pity since it doesn't say much to me. Mirt, I believe, also has had a few releases before on this label and is a member Brasil And The Gallowbrothers, a more rock like band with a strong 80s feel. The instruments used by his band are also the ones listed here Yamaha CS5, modular synthesizer, trumpet, guitar, wurzlitzer piano, wavedrum, slit drum, ude drum, shakers and field recordings. The latter leads us obviously to the title of the release, which is a most curious one: just what are 'artificial field recordings'? Maybe its that sort of pseudo tribal quality that this music has, which is the sixth (untitled) track reminded me of O Yuki Conjugate. With Mirt too, like his band, there is a great sense of of the past around it. But whereas Mirt goes back to the rock of post-punk experimentalism, Mirt himself takes ambient from Brian Eno as a starting point and puts all the various incarnations of ambient together. The quiet Eno like playing, the tribalism of Steve Roach and O Yuki Conjugate and some of the more recent microsound work - the glitch ambient. I think this is a great CD. Not because its so highly original, but its put together in a great way, with great bass end depth to it, but also very melodic and musical. Mirt knows exactly what he's doing and created an absolutely fine disc of ambient music. Maybe a bit too early for a revival of ambient and ethno yet, but when its that far, this Mirt release will be a great one from the space between. (FdW)
Address: http://catsun.monotyperecords.com/

 

LUZ AZUL - I TRENI INERTI (CD by Flexion Records)
Originally Luz Azul started in 2001 as a trio with Ruth Barberan, Alfredo Costa Monteiro and Matt Davis, but the latter left in 2003. 'I Treni Inerti proposes a music without ornaments, where silence is essential, as part of an ongoing process of bringing vacuum necessary in order to achieve both minimal and ephemeral sound worlds, in an approach that focuses on harmony, vibration and acoustic resonance', they say about their new CD. There is only one track, which is, oddly enough, called 'Ser Res' and recorded on the night of the 29th September 2010, in an olive orchard near Dant Vicens de Calders station, where two train lines meet. They played from 3 to 5 am, and freight trains pass. With microphones set up in the orchard, they also capture occasionally these trains passing. Ruth Barberan is playing trumpet and objects and Alfredo Costa Monteiro plays accordion and objects. From the description they gave us it not difficult to see that they are a duo of improvised music. In these forty-eight minutes they play a work that indeed deals heavily with silence, although its not silent per se, but it deals vastly with playing their instruments as objects, with objects and sometimes as they are. When trains pass, there is of course no more silence, but improvisation and field recordings meet up in a great way. There is a totally acoustic feel to this and the two deliver some very strong improvisations. Packed in flint paper, which may damage the CD. That's a pity and already done before. Other wise: great work. (FdW) Address: http://www.flexionrecords.net


YANNICK DAUBY - TAI-PAK THIA (CD by Kalerne)
Its not easy to write something about a disc like this. Yannick Dauby lives since four years in Taipei, which he both loves and hates. Like any good composer would do is to tame the noise of the city by recording it and that's what he does here. In these years he received three commissions dealing with the environment of Taipei, from Belgium, the UK and France. These three commissions are now collected on this CD. Taipei is not a city I have been too, or in fact any far East city, except for some Japanese cities, which are perhaps more western oriented - I am merely assuming here. So without ever sensing the noisiness of Taipei, I think these three compositions give me a very accurate impression of what that city is like. Lots of traffic noise, public transport system, people talking on the market and the electricity that sometimes comes with it. Towards the end of 'Taipei 2030' there is also quietness and tranquility with just a few sparse sounds. Maybe Dauby envisages himself as the mayor of Taipei banning all noise? Maybe not. The final piece 'Ketagalan' is also not very noisy and loud but seems to be concentrating on the more ethnic sounds of the city, like a search for some original Eastern ethnicity in the country. It deals less with the modern city bursting with noise than with background of the country itself. This makes that these three pieces differ quite a lot from eachother, each bringing out a certain aspect of city sounds and make this a highly varied work. Excellent work of composed field recordings. (FdW) Address: http://kalerne.net/joomla/

 

SEWER ELECTION - VITTRA SONDER (LP by Throne Heap)
Back in Vital Weekly I reviewed Sewer Election's 'Kassettmusik'. I thought I was going to deal with noise on that one, but it wasn't, or at least not the kind of noise I don't like - which is the heavy 'let's put all distortion boxes together type of noise and let that run for an hour'. Sewer Election created a work of density using electronics captured on cassettes, letting hiss and scratches be on an equal level with the rest of the music. Now there is another work, my second encounter with Sewer Election, on LP, packed in a black/white 80s like noise cover. 'Att Falla' on side A starts out with a 'mellow' kind of low humming organ tones, while the second part of the piece is an amalgam of percussive sounds falling and tumbling down the stairs. I imagine many loops of similar sounds of metallic percussion. Quite loud, highly minimal and seemingly with no distortion box in clear sight. 'Bilder Av Dig' on the other side also has two parts. In the first half we have more organ like tones, now even playing a crippled melody along with sparse metal loops, while the second part seems to be made of loops of voice material. Slowly there seems to be something like field recordings coming about, which sounds like water sounds. This is of the two sides the better one, I think. While the noise half of the other side is nice, the overall moody texture of this side is much nicer. A kind of grainy analogue, lo-fi textured noise, like the demented nephew of musique concrete. That is indeed the kind of musique concrete disguised as noise (or should that be vice versa?) I like. Excellent record. (FdW) Address: http://www.throneheap.com/

 

ATHANA & SCHANCHE - IN:PULSE (LP by West Audio Productions)
The previous work of Athana could not always interest me, dwelling too much on a mixture of techno, ambient, psychedelics and ethnic music. On this new record, we find guitarists Alf Tjere Hana and Vidar K. Schanche working together, and basically reduces Athana to an one man band. The music here is a duet for two guitars and lots of effects. They decided to capture the music as a performance, so microphones are placed not only to pick up the music, but also the 'action': the switching on the pedals, the acoustic sound of the strings. Some of this was recorded live in concert, but these recordings are melted into the studio context. This is a clear break with the previous work Athana, now only dealing with the subject of ambient music, but in an extended context. It has an improvised feel, these duets, which sets a bit about of say Dirk Serries guitar pieces; its not that kind of ambient music here. They also play the guitar in more melodic way, such as in 'Alaska Beach', which is almost a dueling acoustic guitar piece. They explore noise a bit in the title piece, but that's rather short. Its quite a varied album of atmospheres and textures, packed together in shorter pieces than is usual in this kind of music and makes up the best work I heard so far from Athana. (FdW) Address: http://www.westaudio.no

 

STANGL/ZARADNY (12" by Bocian Records)
Ah, a classic 12". Now all LPs are 12"s but not all 12"s are LPs. You obviously know this. This 12" spins at 45 rpm, which, incidentally was something I saw after the first time I played it on 33rpm. A split record that coincides with a concert (see announcement section), each displaying what they do. Anna Zaradny's piece is 'Octopus' and continues her search for sine wave like sounds from modular synthesizers. Divided in long sustaining ones and shorter ones that form a kind of phasing rhythm pattern, going in and out phase, until they seem to be falling into a phase and make up an analogue version of Alva Noto and Ryoji Ikeda. Sturdy music, solid as a rock, sustaining and piercing. Refined piece. Burkhard Stangl on the other side is a man to play various things, from guitars to laptops, which seems to be exactly what he is doing here. Static hiss from the laptop (well, perhaps) with him playing guitar on top, with bits of field recording. A totally different piece, not like Zaradny at all. Whereas her piece is mildly piercing the ear drums, Stangl plays a much more moody tune, with open ended guitar strumming in a sparse setting of electronics. Full of excellent tension between the cracks - great music for an as yet to be made film. This all sounds promising for that concert. I wish I could attend. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bocianrecords.com

 

BLUEFACED PEOPLE & KJETIL HANSSEN (cassette by Conrad Sound)
Bluefaced People is a duo from Norway the bassist played Moe and The Skaset on guitar. Both musicians are also playing in Moe. Bluefaced People is less structured as Moe and is experimental noisy. The duo is playing fast, loud and vary harsh distorted guitar crashes with fast playing bass tones. No easy listening at all, but short explosions of maniacal playing musicians without any borders or limits. The duo plays together with Kjetil Hanssen, also living and working in Oslo, Norway. He starts to make music in 2004 and plays in many projects and bands and starts several labels like Kjetil Productions, Ambolthue Records and Tape Rape Records. Anyway... The other side is filled with more long tracks with electronics, bass and guitar. Of course it is noisy, but also experimental search for a good combination of these three ingredients. The listener will be taken into their search and sometimes there are beautiful combinations and than it will change immediately to another atmosphere. And that's the goal of the musicians to seek the imperfect, the broken and the barbaric and for sure I can guarantee you… they have found what they are looking for. (Jan-Kees Helms) Address: http://www.conradsound.com

 

JULIEN DEMOULIN & IA - THE BAY (CD by Basses Frequences)
WASTELANDERS - COSMIC DESPAIR (CD by Basses Frequences)
These two new releases on Basses Frequences see further exploration of the theme of ambient music, but are worked out differently. On the soft(er) edge we have a collaboration between Julien Demoulin and IA, recorded in Brussels and Oakland. The thematic approach here is about the Bay Area of California, but it could have been anything else really. Demoulin and IA use, apparently, guitars, voices, environmental recordings and flute in these two pieces which exactly last twenty minutes. Perhaps they intended this to do be a LP? Compared to other CDs I was listening to, around this, this is very soft music. I am not sure why that is, but I'm glad its not on vinyl; who knows what would have been left? Maybe its an artist statement to do it this soft, but it could have been easily a bit louder and still sounding great - I know someone who can a great mastering job, guys. Its not easy to spot those water recordings, or chimes, and certainly in the first part things move away below the surface of audibility. Its music you hear from a distance, maybe just like overlooking the bay area (a view to a kill?) from some distance. The music acts like fog horns in the night, far away, shining through the mist and haze of the night. The second piece is a bit 'louder', and comes across like boats passing in the night. Its also the somewhat more abstract piece of the two, dwelling more on sustaining tones, whereas the first part has nicely shimmering melodies. Excellent stuff.
'The Beginning' by Wastelanders starts with a bang, but that was perhaps because I forgot to turn down the volume again after 'The Bay'. Wastelanders is Dean Costello (who is also of Harpoon and Diatribes) who has five pieces here. The first three are very nice, melodic meanderings on the subject of of mood music, not too dark, not too bright and seemingly working around a set of analogue synthesizer like sounds, and it works indeed in a cosmic way - not in despair I need to add. Quite fine pieces. 'Expanding Mental Universe', the fourth track is a bit of an oddball in here, which sees him going all out on guitar and sound effects, gazing his shoes. I understand the need for a change, but it break with the gentle tone of the three preceding tracks, and also with the fifth track 'The Crossing', which exceeds the forth by five minutes and clocks in at almost twenty minutes. Here Costello takes us back to the cosmic land, but with a slightly more expanded sound. All instruments he uses, some what solo on the other, are combined here. I didn't like the segment with the tabla playing, but maybe it has to do with the fact I don't like tablas. So throughout I thought this was a fine CD, with just one weaker big brother. Two sides of the ambient coin.
Address: http://www.bassesfrequences.org

 

LYSANDER LE COULTE & ALBERT VAN VEENENDAAL – A COOL TREE (CD by Evil Rabbitt)
This one is a tribute to Lysander Le Coultre, one of the founders of Evil Rabbit Records and responsible for the beautiful  artwork. He died unexpectedly in 2009. He was also a musician and played cello. This release captures spontaneous improvisations that keep the memory of him alive.  I’m not sure this is the only release that has Le Coultre as a performer. These improvisations were recorded one year before his death in Amsterdam on a sunday afternoon in the autumn. The cd contains duo- improvisations of Le Coultre and Albert van Veenendaal (piano). In these miniatures different moods and tempers pass by. They play a fine and varied set of thoughtful and vivid improvisations, full of ideas. Very accessible and in a way close to chamber  music. The improvisations develop in a pronounced way from start to finish. No doubt we would have heard and seen more from Le Coulte, but fate had other plans. (Dolf Mulder) Address: http://www.evilrabbittrecords.eu

 

TOSHIMARU NAKAMURA & JOHN BUTCHER - DUSTED MACHINERY (CD by Monotype Records)
ERIKM & MICHEL DONEDA - RAZINE (CD by Monotype Records)
WERNER DAFELDECKER & AXEL DORNER & SVEN-AKE JOHANSSON - DER KREIS DES GEGENSTANDES (LP by Monotype Records)
EUGEN CHADBOURNE & THE DROPOUTS - ZUPA DUPA KUPA (LP by Monotype Records)
Two main stays from the world of improvised music first played together in 2002 and both are quite extreme musicians, each in their own way. There is John Butcher who plays the saxophone (tenor and soprano) but in an extraordinary way, exploring the very boundaries of the instrument, and sometimes sounds like pure sine waves or feedback. He also plays in unusual places, such as shown on his 'Resonant Spaces' release (see Vital Weekly 672) and of course with many people from the world of improvised music (AMM, Radu Malfatti, Derek Bailey, Andy Moor, Phil Minton, to name but very few). Toshimaru Nakamura uses the no-input mixing board - which is mainly the use of no external inputs in the mixer, but in stead creating feedback from the machine itself. 'Dusted Machinery' was recorded when they were both in London to work with David Sylvian and the four pieces are indeed pretty radical. This is the noise edge of improvised music, with Nakamura's vicious tones from the mixer producing high and low end clusters of distorted sound, and Butcher's playing ranging from likewise sine wave sounds to more recognizable saxophone playing. Intense music, all around, even when things get more quiet. It always remains to have that intensity. A work that doesn't leave the listener unattached. This is extreme improvised music. Loud and clear. But with some great beauty.
On a similar kind of improvisation we find erikM and Michel Doneda, a combination of an instrument, again the saxophone (soprano and sopranino and radio) by Doneda, and the electronics of erikM, being turntable, electronic and live sampling. There are some differences also. This release is the work of a live recording, instead of the studio one from Nakamura and Butcher, and, more important, less extreme. Although perhaps for regular listeners to 'normal' improvisation (whatever that might be) this might already be extreme. The electronic backbone that erikM provides here is what makes it less extreme, as his sound sources offer more variety, I should think. The crackling of vinyl, hand spinning and electronic sounds, picking up Doneda's playing on the spot and feeding it back into the overall view makes up a more musical work. Doneda's playing ranges from wild outbursts to introspective playing, from full on nerves to mellowness. The presence of many saxophone sounds - through sampling I guess - makes this quite a 'full' release, but it seems that both players are aware of that and try to avoid that, and build in moments of silence. Less loud and equally clear.
I have no idea what makes Monotype decide to release things on vinyl and on CD. Why not all on vinyl, or all on CD? The music played by Axel Dorner (trumpet), Werner Dafeldecker (double bass) and Sven-Ake Johansson (percussion) is just the CDs and the ones from last week from the world of improvised music and one should not think this could have been on CD. It would be a bit shorter than most of the other CDs, but who cares? The music was recorded in Gotheburg in 2010 and is unlike the two previous Monotype releases here all about acoustic works. How exactly this works is not very clear. Each player gets the credit for a track, Dafeldecker for two, the shorter ones. Maybe the player laid out the idea for the improvisation? I am not sure. All I know is what I hear and we are dealing here with some excellent improvised music of an acoustic nature. The instruments are well explored for the tonal possibilities, but they never let go of the fact what these instruments were made for in the first place. I thought this was a fine record, but as mind blowing as the previous two. Maybe I played them in the wrong order? Maybe I was a bit fed up with improvisation. Its a thoroughly fine record however.
Years and years I was sitting behind my desk, selling music. An endless parade of people would come in all day trying to sell me something. A demo usually, a new CD, an idea. The best memories of all those visitors go out to Eugene Chadbourne, who would come by every few months, since he seemed always on tour. He would browse the shop for his own releases, and tell me which ones were sold, so I could stock more copies or simply sell me some new releases. With cash in hand he would swiftly leave to enjoy Amsterdam's other side of fun. Many years before that I saw him play an electric rake at a sunday afternoon concert. A great talker, a genuine character, yet I must admit - now perhaps for the first time - that I didn't hear so much of his music. Doc Chad, as he is sometimes lovingly called, started a long, long time ago and his music is 'free', improvised maybe, but its also with strong connections to blues, rock and blue grass. Chadbourne plays guitar, banjo and sings, while a band provides bass, drums, keyboards, sousaphone. The pieces are easily be classified as 'songs', but not always with a traditional structure. All of these pieces are driven by lyrics, which are funny at times, political at other times. After three records of improvised music, this is, at least for me, the perfect chill out music. Not ambient chill out, but great, funny, hilarious rock music, with some catchy tunes, as in 'The Devil On The Radio'. It ends the day with a big smile on my face. I definitely should hear more Doctor Chadbourne! (FdW) Address: http://www.monotyperecords.com

 

NIHILIST SPASM BAND - NOTHING IS FOREVER (LP by Wintage Records & Tapes)
Hard to imagine but The Nihilist Spasm Band have been going since 1965 - that is when yours truly also arrived on this earth, and god, I feel old at times. They have never learned to play their instruments properly, nor the desire to do so. Since 1966 they play together almost every monday night at the Forest City Gallery in London, Ontario, Canada where the "atmosphere is informal. We play for our own enjoyment but an audience is welcome." Also, unbelievable actually, is that the line up is consistent: John Boyle (kazoo, things, drums), John Clement (bass), Bill Exley (vocals), Murray Favro (guitar), Art Pratten (pratt-a-various) and Aya Ohnishi (drums, kazoo) - the latter being a constant guest performer. With such consistencies one could think: some times seem to last forever. Look for pictures and see a bunch of nice grand daddies, which is not what they sound like. Technically, I suppose, they could record every monday night and release tons of records, but the discography is surprisingly small. I have no idea how its decided when something slips out on vinyl, and wether this new LP is one that is particularly good or bad. The Nihilist Spasm Band are the perfect non musicians, not having picked up any tricks in all those years, but yet remain firmly free in their playing. Free improvised rock music, distorted, chaotic, with feedback wailing about, strings being tortured, non sequential banging on percussion, occasional screaming/talking/singing. Everything is played with some nice power and raw, untamed energy (looks at the picture again and smiles). I can see why they don't release as much as recordings they probably have. It leaves you wanting more, but you could always go to the Forest City Gallery on monday night and hear it yourself. Be quick, nothing is forever. (FdW) Address: <wintagerecords@gmail.com>

 

ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE -  EMILIO (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions)
Diaz-Infante, of Mexican descent, lives and works in San Francisco as a composer and improviser. He studied composition at The California Institute of Arts. As a performer he settled down in the world low profile improvisation. Most of his output you’ll find on Pax Recordings, a label owned by him. Not his newest release however, a cd-r that is released in a very limited edition by Kendra Steiner Editions. It is a very personal document, dedicated to his uncle Emilio who passed away last year, spending most of his life in a mental institution. The records takes no more then 32 minutes and contains the same number of small miniatures, played mainly on the bayo sexto, a mexican 12-string guitar that plays a central role in texmex music. Besides Diaz-Infante plays electronic tanpura and singing bowl on this recording. From what I know of his work, Diaz-Infante choses always for a radical approach. First words that came in my mind when listening where ‘what do we have here? I just don’t know’. All pieces are of a startling simplicity. Most pieces move linear, others cyclic, and others chaotic. They never develop into something. Comparing his art with that of improvisors like Frith or Reichel doesn’t make sense. Diaz-Infante is more punk and dada.  His music is as unpretentious as music can be, but if ‘les extrèment se touchent’ the opposite might also be true. If we ask what it is that Diaz-Infante is looking for, intimacy may be a keyword. Diaz-Infante creates soulful atmospheres trying to near sound in it’s physical appearance as close as possible. The pieces are very close recorded,  almost from the inside. This made me think of  an older album of experimental songs, where he ‘sings’ very soft in a close microphone. Besides Diaz-Infante creates a wide range of sounds. A palette of very different colors,  all coming from the same instrument. Also many of the miniatures produce a meditative effect although Diaz-Infante is not aiming for it. All in all it was a rewarding exercise for me in trying to take something simply for what is it. Thank you Emilio. (Dolf Mulder) Address: http://www.kendrasteinereditions.wordpress.com

 

JIM DENLEY - YOUR BREATH ON MY LIPS (CDR by Avant Whatever)
One of the major forces from the world of improvised from down under and for a long period of time is saxophone player Jim Denley. Usually he releases his own work on his own Split Records, but now also on Avant Whatever, in a strictly limited edition of 100 copies. I believe this is a work of recycling. Denley uses two recordings, both from installations. Apparently there is a recording from 100 snails from 2002 and a balloonsax from 2011. These two recordings are mixed together into a twenty-six minute with a great minimal quality. You can detect a variety of sound layers in here, which mainly seems to have the origins in the saxophone, using an even bigger variety of ways to play the instrument and all of the sounds that it can produce, some of which are not strictly related to the saxophone itself. The snails, you may wonder? I wondered about those too and to be honest: I don't have a clue. If it is about the living organism thing that this music has, I think its indeed quite right. This music has a fine living organism aspect to it. Like said, this is all quite minimal, but in a constant flux. Always on the move, never the same, like culled together from many hours of playing similar things but never quite the same. That makes this an excellent work of improvised and yet fully composed music. (FdW) Address: http://www.avantwhatever.com

 

STEPHEN CHRISTOPHER STAMPER - BEGIN ANYWHERE (CDR by Runningonair Music)
The first release by one Stephen Christopher Stamper, of whom I know nothing more than he likes VLF radio phenomena, algorithmic composition, Karplus-Strong string synthesis and open-source software. He is studying Sound Arts and Design. Much of this release contains long wave sounds being manipulated in free software such as Pure Date and Debia GNU/Linux and Audacity. Maybe those crackling long wave sounds come off as a bit dull by now, or maybe something of some time ago, but as always its the result that counts and that result is here quite nice. Stamper succeeds quite well to mould these crackling sounds into a variety of pieces which sound quite different. Sometimes a bit noisy with those static crackles, but then there are also pieces which are more ambient glitch like, and even small hints of melody can be traced here and there. Great stuff, especially because of this variety in approach and results. A varied album of great textured music, which doesn't just stay in one safe place but moves all over the spectrum of experimental music, and that's quite nice. Certainly a new name to remember. (FdW) Address: http://www.runningonair.com

 

IAN HOLLOWAY & RHODRI THOMAS & STEPHEN JONES - SIMPLE GHOSTS & LAZY OLD BONES (CDR by Quiet World)
With two new releases on Quiet World the labels moves away from the well-known drone ambient sound scapes into something else. Labelboss Ian Holloway teams up with the for me unknown players Rhodri Thomas and Stephan Jones, playing samples, melodica, percussion, ukulele, shells, welsh guitar, singing gate, kalimba, rain stick, theremin and sine wave generator - not all of these at once, but spread out over these five tracks, which are more less acoustic improvisations. Taped in a bathroom, a flat and woods. This trio worked together before on audio/visual projects. This is surely also 'ambient' but just not by regular standards. Spacious, quiet improvisations, which only in the final piece, 'Stumble Slightly Lower' is a bit more nasty, due to the sine wave generator. It a short epilogue. The other four tracks are just very fine slow meandering pieces, quite freely played, without, seemingly, much sense of direction, but this lack of composition is made up for with some nice careful playing of the instruments. Great stuff and a fine move for Holloway. (FdW)
Address: http://www.quietworld.co.uk


DALE LLOYD - TAURION, TROU DE LAPIN (3"CDR by Kaon)
With this release this series enter their third series, although I am not sure what that means. No doubt it has something to do with a subscription deal. The idea of the series didn't change. Its still a whole bunch of river recordings made by Cedric Peyronnet which are being treated by composers. Sometimes in a very electronic way, rendering the original into something new, but then also sometimes staying closer to the original field recordings, it seems, but then put together in a new sort of collage of sounds. I think Dale Lloyd - of the and/OAR label - is somebody who holds a balance between both ends. While we recognize water sounds, birds and branches, there is seems also to be some sort of sound processing going on. I am not exactly sure what that is, but my best guess is there is a fair amount of changing the sound color, along with, perhaps, minimal sound processing through digital means, especially in the second half of the piece, but perhaps also in the first half of the piece: its just not easy to tell. Its this fine balance that makes this a great piece. You keep wondering if what you hear is real or not. I played this a couple of times on repeat and usually I have a better picture then, but in this case I am less and less sure. Lloyd has created a fine piece of electro-acoustic music, based on field recordings and some highly interesting forms of sound processing, all keep within close distance of the original sounds. Moving through a number of phases, or stages and thus creating an excellent composition. One of the highlights from the series. (FdW)
Address: http://www.kaon.org

 

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