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Vital Weekly 823

img  Tobias Fischer

A one woman band, Theresa Stroetges, is Golden Disko Ship, who plays more instruments than someone could possible easy carry: guitars, voice, computer stuff, viola, glockenspiel, toys, casio, sampler, kaossilator, accordion, cymbals, and noises. I once had the pleasure of seeing her play live, on a sunday night, following a long saturday night, and while I don't remember all of it, I do remember it as being quite pleasant. Golden Disko Ship plays pop music. At least that's what I think. No doubt some people would call this rather folktronic and perhaps its indeed more folk like, and sometimes I wonder why we bother with all these words. Its strange music indeed, that defies description. Stroetges offers twelve pieces in which she sings and plays that variety of instruments, creating sometimes wildly orchestrated songs, with much layers, including many drums, but also more sad, melancholiac songs, in which she reduces herself to playing what seems a harmonium and singing - I wish I could say Nico like, but its less dramatic and Golden Disko Ship has more a voice of her own. Not always with the most clear cut voice, but that's certainly the charm of this sometimes weird music and what seems sometimes utterly normal music. Ornamented with weird sounds of an electro-acoustic nature, some computer techniques (cut-up, glitch like), this is surely one of the more pleasant surprises of this week. (FdW) Address:


JOKE LANZ - MUNSTER BERN (CD by Cubus Records)
There is a difference between Joke Lanz when he works as Sudden Infant and under his own name. I wasn't aware of that, until now. I only knew him as Sudden Infant, an one man noise orchestra. As Joke Lanz however he is apparently also a turntablist artist, working solo or in duo with Ignaz Schick, the turntable quartet BETT4 and with The International Turntable Orchestra, TITO. Perhaps this release of a solo concert from October 22nd 2010 brings him out in the open as a turntable player. In this work he is more interested in playing a collage of sound, rather than using the turntable as an object, with objects but by using records to create an abstract collage of sound. It stays away from the more obvious plunderphonics works. He plays around with looped sounds that form bits of rhythm, voice material, which mixes and distorts. It stays away from his noise work and sounds rather good. I have no idea if he also uses external sound effects, but at times it seems there is quite some reverb used. I am not sure if this concert is a special one, or just regarded as one of the better ones he did, deserving a release by itself, but these twenty-seven minutes is a fine showcase of what he can do. An interesting shift from his other work. (FdW)


An interesting thought: can an improviser provide a soundtrack to a feature film? Doesn't one exclude the other? 'Errors Of The Human Body' is a feature film by Eron Sheean and stars, among others, Rik Mayall. Sheean knows Anthony Pateras since the early part of this century, and worked on some music before and this collaboration is their first full scale collaboration. So we have here Pateras in a role of composer, scoring this work for a multitude of instruments, such as violin, viola, cello, bassoon, clarinet, horn and himself on piano, prepared piano, organs and electronics. This means that the music here is more 'composed', I guess, than improvised. Maybe its a bit more difficult to judge the music here if one doesn't know the film. There are small stills on the cover, which don't mean much to me, and I couldn't possibly say what the film is about based on just the music. Its is, stills and music, however a film I'd like to see. The music is 'dramatic', melancholic, modern classical and even rhythmic in places, such as in 'XIJ' - is that to a scene taking place in a disco? Certainly the most 'unPateras' track I ever heard, but one I really like (as opposed to what the text writes: 'no one can decide whether they like it'. Other pieces, like 'Milk & Mice' sound purely electronic, or drone like 'Automatic 3', modern classical. A pretty varied disc altogether, with many different styles and moods, but that makes a great CD. The best new Pateras direction he could take! (FdW) Address:


You could wonder if its really necessary. Kasper T. Toeplitz released in 2004 his 'Elemental II', a composition for solo electric bass, which Eliane Radigue composed for him. That CD is sold out (although I am sure Toeplitz can sell you a CDR in the original digipack - he kindly send me one), but to reprint that is 'no fun' he says. Since he has performed the work more or less thirty times, so why not release a newer version of it. Which I think is a valid point, even when the work is not really different than the first version - the length is more or less the same, and so is the structure (I compared both versions in a multi-track program). The differences lie in the details. Its interesting to know that the whole thing is played live, rather than pre-recorded, and still it sounds more or less the same. Its alike classical music in which 'interpretation' plays a big role, differences and details. I think this new version has a somewhat lighter touch than the 2004 version, less bass-like and less mildly distorted. It seems. A somewhat gentler version I think. Its hard to recognize the bass in here, but its a very fine piece of drone music. The bass rumbles below and electronics do their thing on top. Address:


Now here's two guys whose history goes back at least thirty years. Both from Germany and both from the world of cassettes and industrial music, but both having grown into something else, the world of academic music, musique concrete. Ralf Wehowsky was the main man behind P16.D4, but left that name behind to become RLW, while Guido Hubner always remained Das Synthetische Mischgewebe. Especially that is perhaps a bit odd. Hubner's work is more than Wehowsky's connected to the world of serious composing, yet he maintains his old 'band' name. Both of these men also know each other for a long period and there has always been talk of doing something together, so after much discussion, this double CD 'Die Eisenbuglerin' is the result of an extensive 'music by mail' collaboration. They both use conceptual angles to work from. 'Ah, DSM is always very fragmented, maybe I should work opposite', 'let's use mainly analogue, mechanical techniques to transform this material'. Also in the final execution the results are not widely apart, which is fine. It would be hard to say whose CD is who, if you didn't look at the label. Lots of microscopic detailed sounds - sometimes isolated, sometimes like mass - are the very foundation of this music. A fascinating ride, this is. Some close to fifty minutes by RLW and close to sixty by DSM. As said differences are in the details with this. Maybe DSM is at times a bit more fragmented and RLW a bit more 'full' at times. None of the sound sources mentioned on the cover (piano, trombone by RLW) can be easily traced, if at all, in these pieces. Excellent electro-acoustic music in the best tradition of  both microsound and serious academia. (FdW) Address:


The picture of Guido Del Fabbro shows a young man with a violin, which in the opening seconds/minutes of his 'Ctenophora' release shows. But it quickly moves into something else, and that something else is not easy to define. At first it seems that it's all electronic manipulation of those first few violin sounds, but the cover also lists 'flutes a bec' and 'electroniques' as well as 'synthetiseurs', but these instruments are also presented as they are. That makes an odd result of improvisation, composition, analogue and electronic music. Quite interesting music I must say, perhaps because its so difficult to define. At times very modern classical, but then with all those microscopic pulses, gliding electronic scales, crackles, also very much the work of improvised electro-acoustic music. Fascinating collision of styles and ideas in some gorgeous sounding set of five pieces. Could have been seven as far as I'm concerned, as every time I play it, I regret its over.99
The other release is by at least two musicians by whom we hear more music on the same label: Alexandre St-Onge on bass and electronics and Michel F. Cote on amplified drums, along with Sam Shalabi on electric guitar. All three known from their experiment in improvised music, and here they do the same, but with a slight twist. It seems to me they are using the 'no wave/no new york' format of a slightly more pop-like character, sans any vocals of course. Nervous hectic playing on all three instruments, but occasionally leaping into a bit of a rock mode, all in a very free reign of play. Jazzy also times, but not as much as one could all too easily think. Quite a vibrant and energetic release. Exactly the right Ultra spirit, but then from Montreal. (FdW) Address:


Two new names on Apollolaan for me. Although, I could have known Hisato Higuchi from Tokyo. Originally he was a puppeteer, but now plays music from his home in Tokyo. He has had a couple of Family Vineyard, which I don't know. He plays electric guitar and 'sings', sometimes. The title translates as 'scattered scenes' and its quite desolate music. Its for a start 'far away': there is quite some space between the position of the singer/guitarplayer and the microphone picking his signal up. He doesn't play chords it seems, but strums very occasionally and it seems irregular on his strings and does some sort of singing. Music that is not unlike some artists did on Black Petal, or perhaps even John Fahey, or highly experimental blues music. Thirteen pieces in just over thirty minutes, which don't leave the listener jumping and stamping for joy, but rather a bit depressed and desolate. Not bad, but just long enough I'd say.
Jon Marshall (of The Hunter Gracchus, Le Drapeua Noise, Singing Knives Records, Vampire Blues) and Ben Morris (of Chora and Le Drapeau Noir) met for the first time in 2005, but since last year they are Akke Phallus Duo together. They are not a band in a strict sense of the word, but this is one of those exchange by mail music projects, or, as they put it, 'a process of exchange and abandonment of authorship'. They exchanged recordings and the other was free to do whatever he wanted to do it. There are no instruments mentioned on the cover, but hearing these eight pieces, it could be anything really from acoustic instruments to electronics and field recordings. Its not easy to say either what it is that they done, or who is responsible for what. In some cases it seems to be that they use various layers of acoustic playing of objects and wind instruments, but in other instances it also seems that these instruments are fed through some electronics. Here they arrive too easily at noise and it doesn't sound too great. Sometimes they use crude field recordings, such water running and insect sounds. There is an interesting 'anything goes' aspect about this release, which I enjoyed. It brings an amount of variation to the table, which is nice. Not every moment is great, but throughout a most enjoyable debut release. (FdW)


MECHA/ORGA - 31:56 (CDR by Kukuruku Recordings)
'Computer feedback generated with the 'audiomulch' application' it says on the cover of the new Mecha/orga release. Now, we could easily think, this leads to a bunch of noise, but not so in the capable hands of Yiorgis Sakellariou. This work was already recorded five years ago and the title is also the duration of the music. One piece of excellent drone music of a modern kind. Music that sounds much more like modern electronic music from the sixties, think Philips' 'Silver Series', David Berhman and Planet Of The Apes, than a lulling piece of ambient drone music. Mecha/orga's music is upfront, present, loud even in some of the later parts of the music, which is where some of my interest waned a bit. But throughout I thought this was an excellent work of a sadly underrated voice in our world.
The other new release by this label is by two people I never heard of, one Korhan Erel and Nikos Kyriazopoulos. The latter gets credit for 'DIY oscillators, analogue filters and spring reverbs' and the first 'Omnibus (computer instruments, touch-interfaces and controllers). Their recording is from March last year and I assume it comes in an unedited form, taped with a microphone. This thing is less controlled than the Mecha/orga release, and comes across like a piece for circuit bending. It has a fine improvised texture, which occasionally sounds like a bunch of wind instruments driven by motors, but also moves into more electro-acoustic and electronic variations. In these twenty-nine minutes we move along various of textures and it makes an interesting and varied disc of improvised music. Excellent covers too: white on black, giving that serious avant-garde look. (FdW) Address:


MYSTIFIED - LIFE IS A CARNIVAL (CDR by Attentuation Circuit)
Of course I am not the right person to say anything about Aalfang Mit Pferdekopf's 'Mutatis Mutandis', since a little silly thing from me as Freiband was the basis of this. An one minute piece released on a cassette, which people could use to remix, preferably using a four track cassette. There is an unreleased piece by Z'EV, but only Mirko Uhlig has spend a lot of time with it. He's back to using his old bandname, Aalfang Mit Pferdekopf, and there are three pieces here. One seems a straight remix of the original, followed by the title piece, which takes up thirty eight minutes. Here Uhlig takes the hiss of the original apart, adds sound effects, time stretches bits into long form drones, making an absolute great piece, ending a nice up in your face drone bit and even a short noise bit at the end - but hey of course I am not the right person to write such things. Close to the fire and such things. But to know such a short and hissy piece of loosely formed sounds can make such a great piece, I didn't know. Excellent, but of course I am not etc. And, best coup about it, its also released on cassette. Now there is something to bring to your four track machine. I know I will!
Mystified returns to the same label, following 'Coming Days' (see Vital Weekly 811). Its bit unclear what we should think of when we hear 'carnival instruments', but maybe Thomas Park did some recordings in some carnival surrounding but he has most surely processed them around a lot to make his more familiar drone scapes. His previous albums were usually mixed affairs of drone like soundscapes, mild noise and rhythm bits. This new album is a bit different. The five pieces here sound alike but aren't the same. Soft gliding and sustaining sounds, all drone like, no rhythm and no mild noise. Rather pleasant mild drone music actually. Coherent, which is good, although the variety of his previous works was always nice too. Hard to say what is exactly used here, but the labels thinks a Hohner harmonica has been used, which might very well be the case - airy music. I think this is one of the best albums I heard from Park so far. (FdW) Address:


More 'Echolocation' by Nathan McLaughlin (see also Vital Weekly 760 and 775), and I may have missed out on one. Which is, to be precise, 'Echolocation #1'. This is only now released and the only one to have some information. It says that the series was recorded late 2009 and early 2010 and that these tracks are largely improvised, with some "common themes or are based on preconceived melodies but they are performed live to a stereo feed with an absolute minimum amount of post processing or editing (and no post effects of any kind)". The chronology of the series is not really of importance, hence we now see Volume 1, along with number 4 I guess. Number 4 has not a lot of information, except that Sunshine says its an "homage to the mid day meal… a sign of togetherness and humanity" and also that it is based on tape-loops. But I think I figured that one out already. Crude, old tape-loops I should think which are decaying all around, or perhaps dug up from his backyard like  that shark from beaches on Iceland after six months, ready for consumption. Which is pretty much what one can say about both releases. Number 1 is apparently not split up in different tracks, but two lengthy pieces while number four has set of seven songs sound a bit more crude than before, meaning perhaps less influenced by Basinski and Asher and maybe more Jason Zeh. Who knows? Its great stuff, I thin, either in long form or short form. Its exactly that kind of low grade sound I like, a bit noise like on the first pieces, but even a bit ambient in '4.5', but also very spooky in '4.6'. In 'Echolocation #1' things remain on the ambient side, bearing even more resemblance to Basinski and Asher than with the work of Jason Zeh. I still have no idea what McLaughlin does actually - that is still clouded with some mystery. Maybe its all very simple and easy, but it sounds excellent to me. Of these two "#1' was for me the better tapes - a name from the past I kept thinking of were the very early cassette releases by Dutch label Kubus and De Muziekkamer - who hey, who remembers that? Still a name to watch out for, as I wonder what he will do next. (FdW)


DONNE & DESIREE - [B-SIDE] (cassette)
The name Resonan I connect to noise, but maybe I am not fully informed. Resonan on this tape works with found cassettes (audio and video) in the trash and flea markets and except for some use in reverse no other effects were used to transform this material. Basically this material has been re-edited and layered, and nothing much else. Maybe I should have reviewed this in my Ultra special of last week. Not because this is very ultra or post punk, but quite a fine example of the do it yourself spirit of that time. Even when you have instruments, you can still produce some excellent music. Perhaps in its day it would have been rejected as 'too simple', but, after thirty years of plunderphonics, I beg to differ. This is an excellent tape of 'media manipulated music' and these guys have a fine sense of composition. None of these pieces lasts too long or too short and in all its minimalism and repetition this could have been released in 1985 instead of 2011. Spoken word cut up, a synth like piece in 'compose #1' and 'compose #2', some noise in 'No Visual #4': its quite varied material and as said, this time around actually thoughts went it before gearing up in action.
The other Dutch release on cassette - spray painted! - is by Donné & Desirée, a duo from Arnhem, playing drums, guitar and vocals. Their '[b-side]' tape I got handed last week at the local Ultra event, where they played last, doing something we hadn't heard all night: a free jazz/free rock/much noise battle that was simply the best closing down concert we could imagine after such a long night (wait for the CD release of it!). Does music like that survive on a medium as 'low' as a cassette? Well, it does, but it doesn't beat the original experience of the concert - or any concert by them, as I saw various. The fury of the music shares a punk sensibility, loud, aggressive, short, but then with the free spirit of no wave, free jazz and noise. They claim to be inspired by the music of No New York, and yes, that's it. Its the direction left of anything leftfield, going into a field where few others went before. Just as with Resonan this could have been released 25 years ago, and it makes the overall great impression now as it would have then. (FdW)


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