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Vital Weekly 829 - 832

img  Tobias Fischer

CULTURE OF UN - MOONISH (CD by Bocian Records)
Now here I find myself puzzled and pleasantly confused. A down-under duo of piano (played by Chris Abrahams) and prepared acoustic guitar and prepared semi-acoustic guitar (played by David Brown). I could take this down to Dolf Mulder, as it sounds at times pretty jazz like, but there is something very captivating about it. Their acoustic approach seems amplified, sometimes lingering on the verge of feedback (only slightly though), and when their playing is conventional, like playing the keys of the piano, it sounds jazz but not in a way I have encountered before. On top of that the prepared guitar sounds most of the time as a percussion instrument, with objects placed on top like a cymbal. Strange tonal textures arrive and in every way this is an odd record. Improvised music of course, but in an odd way also jazz or pop like. Small melodies are used, every now and then, such in 'Porpoise To One Side', but with those strange acoustic approaches on top of that. As said this is all very captivating to hear. Chris Abrahams never lets me down, it seems. All of his releases are wonderful, and this one is no exception. (FdW) Address:


SYNDROME - NOW AND FOREVER (CD by Consouling Sounds)
Now and Forever is the third release of Syndrome at Consouling Sounds, a label in Belgium. Syndrome is a project of Mathieu Vandekerkhove, who plays also in Amenra, Kingdom, Sembler Deah and Caan. He is assisted by Colin H. van Eeckhout on vocals and Josh Graham on piano and moog. Now and Forever consists of one track of 28 minutes and is dedicated to his son Wolf. The composition starts with slowly played accords on guitar and a rhythm on piano... I presume. Slowly some drones will flee into this open melancholic sounds which slowly slip away. Dark moments of ongoing sound layers are slightly opened by guitar tones which introduced the dark voice of Vandekerkhove who sings a song for his son and wishes him a independent life and guidance to walk this way. The song makes me not happy and gives me more then feeling of a farewell song. Anyhow... maybe it is like that... when your son grows up and goes his own way, you had to say him goodbye and hopes that he will do the right thing and follows his own heart. Now and Forever is melancholic album full of deep mixed emotions, claustrophobic and also full of hope and despair. The variation between dark sound layers and ongoing guitar drones and open played chords and fresh string sounds makes this album to one of my favorites in this field of music. Mathieu Vandekerkhove tells a musical story about the role as father and he tells in a sensitive way. (Jan-Kees Helms) Address:


Chester Hawkins has been going strong has Blue Sausage Infant since the 80s, releasing a bunch of cassettes. But its only in recent years that I fully heard his music, such as on the excellent LP 'Negative Space' (see Vital Weekly 790). Here is a new CD by him, this time with a bit more and a bit shorter pieces, although still between three and twelve minutes. He receives help from a bunch of players, such Jeff Barsky, Daniel Euphrat, Jason Mullinax, Jeff Surak and Chris Videll on instruments as guitar, drums, fire extinguisher, turntable, bells, gongs and shortwave. Hawkins himself plays synthesizer, oscillators, bass, lapsteel, rhythm machines, guitar, voice, wood flute, zither, ukulele, edits, toys etc. Style-wise Blue Sausage Infant continues were that LP left of, even with the inclusion of a track from 1990: an excellent mixture of krautrock driven beats, drone like soundscapes, modular knob twiddling, walls of guitar sounds, still very much along the lines Neu!, Hawkind, and The Legendary Pink Dots, but save for a few taped bits, all instrumental. A piece like 'Yggdrasil' shows the eclectic approach of Blue Sausage Infant, with one hand a lot of guitars and feedback but on the other hand a bouncing techno beat. And somewhere in between a desolate lapsteel guitar. Excellent music for some late night beer drinking and dope smoking - if only such things were allowed. Another fine album indeed. (FdW)


In case you don't know: Don Preston was from 1966 to 1974 the keyboard player of The Mothers of Invention, Frank Zappa's band. Alright: I didn't know, but then, I never cared for Zappa that much anyway, so perhaps you will excuse me. Preston also played with Carla Bley, Captain Beefheart, Meredith Monk, Eugene Chadbourne, The Residents and much more. Yet, almost forgotten, were his pure electronic works, which are now gathered on this release. 'Electronic Music' (1967), 'Analog Heaven' (1975, in seven parts) and 'Fred & Me' (1982). This is a discovery that equals I guess the first time we found that there was a person like Tod Dockstader, who had been composing electronic music decades before we heard it. Preston works with modular synthesizers, moog synthesizers, oscillators, theremin and such like and the result is excellent. From the pretty raw 1967 piece to the excellent mood music of 'Fred & Me', with its soft drifting nature, and sparse percussive sounds - well, according to the cover, but they were not easy to find here. 'Analog Heaven' is just that: analog blissful heaven. An excellent CD all around, which made me think: is there more? Yes? Please? For all fans of sixties electronic music, Barron & Dockstader fans. Or perhaps even for daring Zappa fans. (FdW) Address:


'With Friends' called have also been 'With Many Friends' as Philippe Petit gets help from a lot of his friends here. A few of them are Bela Emerson (cello), Nils Frahm (piano), Reinhold Friedl (prepaired [sic] piano), Aidan Baker (guitar) and lots of people I never heard of playing harp, violin, vibraphone, organ, guitar, grand piano, flutes, gongs, drums and tibetan bowls. They don't always play together, but per track - thirteen in total - Petit chooses what he needs to add to his own processed acoustics, field recordings, found sounds, electronics, turntables, glass manipulations, percussions, synth, piano and balloons. The cover specifies who does what on which track. The overall tone of the pieces is modern classical music, but not in a very melodic sense, but highly abstract. Not always seem the instruments fit together, but somehow they do. Take for instance 'Crepuscule', in which we have an electric harp, flutes, gongs, bells, violin, cello, tibetan bowls, guitar, bass, acoustics, electronics and percussions. All of that used in the space of five minutes, all seemingly playing random things, but put together so that it actually works quite well. Petit and his ensemble - no doubt none of these people were together when this was recorded - play some highly modern music, rooted in classical music, electro-acoustic music, soundscaping and even folk like tunes. Music that is filled from top to bottom with sounds, with always something happening. Maybe the story like character of some of his previous releases is not that apparent here, but it makes up with some great music. Now its time to work with a real ensemble - maybe Zeitkratzer should invite him? (FdW) Address:


V4W.ENKO & SANMI - YET (CDR by Nexsound)
A collaboration, through e-mail I guess, between Kyo Yanagi, also known as Sanmi and Evgeniy Vaschenko from the Ukraine. A highly digital work this is, but one that has also quite a 'live' feeling to it. Clicks 'n cuts - if anyone cares to remember that - is certainly something that applies here. Things buzz, hiss, crack and loop around, with a highly dynamic sound. Deep bass sounds, shrieking high end sine wave like sounds on top, cut 'n pasted together in the best Pan Sonic tradition. yet, all with a slight difference: this music deals less with a straight forward beat, but rather with cutting up all the sounds, all the time. Only in the closing piece 'Lcgf' the cut-up is absent, and everything is placed in a straight forward fashion, with some desolate piano sounds. A fine closing to a somewhat tiring but also quite rewarding release. Excellent stuff. (FdW) Address:


Like I said last week, I do like noise; when served decently. One of the noise makers I really like is Francisco Meirino. He worked as Phroq until 2009, and since then under his own name. For his 'A While And Awhile) he uses his computer, reel-to-reel recorders, analog synth, field recorder, various home-made electronics, piezo transducers, radio scanner and electro-magnetic sensors. 'With audio and visual data gathered in Switzerland and China', it says on the cover. Noise is perhaps not really present on this release. Or perhaps: not as such. Things buzz, crackle and hiss, and put together in an interesting fashion through collage techniques. There are nine pieces on this release, but they can also be heard as one piece. I wasn't paying attention to my CD player so its hard to say when a track started and ended. Its not really important either - the tracks have no titles anyway. Sometimes there is a strong buzz and a new piece starts or perhaps in the middle of piece. Faulty lines and machinery are important ingredients in this music. Sometimes the buzzes are layered together and form a heavy drone like machine sound. This is all excellent modern musique concrete music put together in a highly intelligent way from elements from noise music. See, boys from the HNW scene, now that's what I call noise. Use this as your text book example. (FdW) Address:


A new trio, a new label, but with two names we heard of before: Jamie Drouin (analogue synthesizer, radio) and Mathieu Ruhlmann (objects), who, together with Lance Austin Olsen (copper plate, objects, floor guitar) form D.O.R. Their six piece release was recorded live in Drouin's home of December 14, 2011. While we may know Drouin and Ruhlmann from more microsounding drone minimalism, this new venture goes out into the field of improvisation. Minimalist improvisation from the world of electro-acoustic music. The objects, including the guitar, provide a steady rumble, while the synthesizer and radio add a static feel to it. Each of the six pieces is build like that. All is set in motion and slowly things are altered over the course of a piece, by adding small variations in the way things are played, a slight twitch on the radio dial, or knob on the synthesizer or minimalist changes in the way an object is played. Its still highly microsound: carefully constructed from a minimal set of sounds, played softly, sometimes at the verge of being unable to hear anything, but away from the static warm glitch computer music. At times reminding me of some of Kapotte Muziek older live concerts, in which 'hearing' and 'listening' to almost inaudible events were the most important. Excellent experience music. (FdW)

Perhaps best known as the man behind the Zeitkratzer Ensemble, Reinhold Friedl performs also solo, on the piano (just as he plays with Zeitkratzer). Here he has a new CD of solo piano music, but then of a more unorthodox way, as he mentions it on the cover. Maybe if you hear Philip Glass' 'Music In Fifths' you may not agree, as this is a straight forward minimal piano piece, but of course there is something mechanical about it. But then in the other pieces things are pretty unorthodox, like in 'Mutanza' (composed by Witold Szalonek) which use the inside of the piano, to be played with all sorts of objects, or the two different ways of making drone like music on the piano, in two different ways, 'Music For Piano With Magnetic Strings' (by Alvin Lucier) which is carefully building sine waves with ebows and the loud 'Pan Fried II' (by Phill Niblock) which is machine like loud. Also in his own composition 'Epitaff' he uses external elements to play the inside - the strings - of the piano in quite a loud way - think an acoustic Merzbow piece. All in all a fine release which shows the various ways of playing piano in a different way. Not just for those who like modern classical music, but also if you like modern drone music. (FdW) Address:


'Allow The Light' is what the title means, and its a live recording 'with no post tampering of the recordings', but its not played in a concert environment and without audience. So I am not sure what point has to be proven here, if any of course, but Hildur Gudnadottir is excellent player of the cello, electronics and voice. Following the short opening piece, aptly named 'Prelude', the main course is served, the title piece. For both her cello and voice, Gudnadottir uses loop devices to multi-layer her own playing and while at it, add more new layers - live. A method that is hardly new new these days and shocking, but unlike so many guitarists who keep doodling about with a few simple tunes, Gudnadottir crafts together a whole piece of humming voice, in tune and then slowly adds, little by little, her cello playing, slowly amassing, while voices are disappearing, ending in a grand finale. An excellent, somewhat moody and atmospheric piece of music. Why 'live without audience', or 'no post tampering' are irrelevant questions once you heard this. There is not much else to say about this piece: simply a lovely direct piece with a great quality. If Gudnadottir plays concerts like this in front of real audiences: bring it on, I'd say. (FdW)


When I spend more time in record stores out of work obligations, I was more acquainted with the world out there. I could listen to labels that I wouldn't hear otherwise, and get to know some music that hardly makes it to Vital Weekly these days. Music by the likes of say Christian Vogel, when he was still recording for Mille Plateaux. Needles to say I didn't keep up with Vogel, or all the small sideways techno always seem to take - a marketing coup boys and girls, to keep you interested - so I have no idea where his new album, the fourteenth solo album, would fit in, in either his solo career or, for that matter, in the world of techno (and beyond) music. I don't think this album is necessarily a very techno album, in fact its a highly varied album. Dub like in 'Deepwater' and 'Dreams Of Apolonia' or cosmic like in 'Spectral Transgression', before leaping into a Chain Reaction like beat, piano arpeggio of 'Todays Standard Form' or the slow 'Moved By Waves' which seems worlds apart from the industrialized 'Enter The Tub'. The overall tempi of the pieces is rather slow - not always - and the mod is dark. Hard to see the dance floor filled with this, but that might not be the objective of Vogel here. If his objective was to create a highly varied album for home listening than he has succeeded rather well. I for one non-dancer was highly pleased with it. (FdW) Address:


For the world of isolated drones, head space music or whatever you want to call it, some say just 'drone music', Drone Records is the right place to be. In their new series there is now a 10" by Lunar Abyss Deus Organum from Russia. We have reviewed their effect loaded ambient/drone music before. Here we have two new pieces, especially recorded for Drone Records, which seem to be build by and large from field recordings. On the A-side church bell sounds start off a nightmarish piece of heavy sounds. Not noisy, but heavy in the sense of the multitude of events going on in this piece. Everything seems to be touched with electricity and processed heavily, which is in stark contrast of the b-side in which we start out with more pure field recordings, which gradually move over into more electronics/synthesizers, but the frogs, fire sounds and water never are far away. Also I thought to hear long wave sounds on this side. A strange, unsettling atmosphere is around this record, beautifully haunted I'd say. Spooky stuff for late evenings. (FdW) Address:


Its been quiet for Dirty Demos for a while, but at last here is a new release by a duo of Georgia Jones and Adam Baker, the latter working as Dead Wood and owner of Dirty Demos. I guess it didn't expect him to come with this duo. Acoustic guitars, female vocals? Its really there and perhaps its nothing for us, but it shares the quality that we know from Static Caravan (why not send a demo there, I wondered), plus it has something that is certainly weird about this. There is an electronic component about this music that adds a certain spookiness about it. Its not in all the tracks it seems, or perhaps not as apparent, but it adds a certain weirdness to the music, moving it out of the traditional singer-songwriter material. Six tracks only, seventeen minutes. That's the downside. I would have minded say ten tracks in thirty minutes and get an even more clear picture of what this is all about. But so far, this is a most promising start. Nice folky music with an odd twist. Yes, definitely along the lines of Static Caravan - the more I play this. (FdW) Address:


Sietse van Erve has been going as Orphax since 2001, first releasing music on net labels and then, since 2004, also on CDR. Van Erve has his own label, Moving Furniture Records, but somehow he never seems to release his own work on his own label. Sometimes on other labels such as Striate Cortex, Cut Hands and Verato, sometimes, such as here, a private edition of his own. Why this is, I don't know. His first real CD will soon be released on his own label though. Confused indeed. 'Confused' is the title of his eight CDR release and is a somewhat older work for semi-acoustic guitar, voice and audiomulch, all recorded in one take. Music with a highly drone like character. Perhaps using an e-bow, or perhaps some sort of motor device on the strings, being picked up by the computer and, once locked inside, start growing and expanding like living organisms. When they organisms are big enough, they take over the guitar playing and now it seems they have a voice of their own. The end sequence of this piece (almost thirty one minutes) has a slightly distorted feeling to it. Perhaps such is the nature of recording things in one go? Throughout however I thought this was a very nice piece and certainly one to be released. I surely wasn't confused by this, so I wonder where that title comes from. (FdW) Address:


Over the years there haven't been that many releases by Monos, it seems, by looking at Discogs. But the cover of 'Age And Transformation' says its a re-issue of a work that was 'released initially in two editions of Fungal Records' and that one isn't mentioned on Discogs. So perhaps there is more of which only a handful of insiders known of? Monos is the ongoing (?) collaboration of Darren Tate (also of Ora fame) and Colin Potter (also of Nurse With Wound fame) and deal with the transformation of field recordings through electronic means with the use of an instrument here and there. That results in long form pieces. The first, untitled, piece is all about a guitar improvisation to which slowly some electronics are added but not a lot. It stays a bit too much on the side of improvisation for my taste. Its not that I don't like improvisation, but this sounds a bit too much like free doodling. The other piece on the first disc is much better and sounds like Monos should sound like. Field recordings of what seems a shopping mall, including processed muzak sounds, bell like sounds in the far distance and careful electronic sounds, all slowly evolving and ever changing in a slow and peaceful manner. Nice, classic and classy Monos music. The bonus disc has also pieces of 'reworkings' by Colin Potter, I assume of the original material. In 'Aged' this is the 'mall' sounds, with even more electronic transformations, but working slightly more chaotic. In 'Transformed', a forty minute work, Potter opens up all the gates of processing and totally transforms the same piece into something unworldly. Deep end rumble is what we get most of the time, very occasionally rising just above that in what results to be a very dark and moody set of atmospheric music. Here we still recognize the trademark Monos sound, but then in its most abstract form. A fine piece, whereas 'Aged' seems a bit superfluous, staying too close to the original of the second piece on the first disc. But nevertheless the second pieces of both CDs are quite excellent displays of an unique sound. (FdW)


Recently I was in a record store, which I found quite odd. I couldn't recall being in a record store for ages. This one was not named after the band of the same name - a favorite band here - but coincidently they found about the band later on. That's great. Lots of noise, lots of great music, and they have their own record label. I picked up on Ramleh, Skullflower, John Wiese and now its time for a new release by one Jason Crumer. Although I never heard of him, he was a member of Face Down In Shit, American Band, Now In Darkness World Stops Turning and Amazing Grace and I gather he is from the noise scene. He has had releases on Iatrogenesis, RRR, Chondritic Sound, Harsh Head Rituals and Hospital Productions. This new album seems to be from live recordings. It opens great with a harmonica sound (Ennio anyone?) slowly developing into a nice deep drone. This continues in the piece after that which slowly culminates in noise, and followed by a short piece of heavy noise blasts after that, plus another short one of that. Those may not be my cup of tea, but in the build up of the CD it makes rather sense. The elements of noise return a few times, which doesn't convert me to love noise as such, but if we are to discuss in terms of noise music, I think this is a pretty strong release; the type of noise music I like. Especially since it moves between 'softer' aspects of drone music, electro-acoustic type music (music boxes, crackles, contact microphones) and those heavy noise outbursts. Dynamic noise music, planned with care, executed with style. That's how I like them best. Who says I don't like noise music? (FdW) Address:


ROLF JULIUS - RAINING (CD by Western Vinyl)
Western Vinyl occupy themselves with the release of the archive of Rolf Julius. They started doing so when he was alive and continue doing so after his death, last year. This is the first release since then, from his archive. Julius is a man of 'small sounds', making 'small music' in mostly empty spaces with a minimum of equipment. His work could either be installations or compositions. Small speakers in small or large rooms, or even outdoors, using field recordings of say rain, such as the almost fifty-four title piece on this CD. Its very minimal music, of rain sounds and 'something else' which I found very hard to define, but it gives that electronic texture to the piece. That something which I think also very much defines music by Julius. More water like field recordings can be heard in 'Weitflachig' - music for a wide plain. Here too we hear insect like sounds, over water sounds. Are they tape loops, real time recordings? Its hard to say. 'Music For A Glimpse Inward' has insect and bird sounds and was originally a piece for small speakers in a large room. All of these pieces are very minimal, and show hardly any development. But that's hardly the point of Rolf Julius' music. Its more about perceiving space and silence and it works best when played softly in your space. Open up windows - if you are in a quiet surrounding I should think - and have this on repeat for a long time. It will definitely alter your perception of space and time. An excellent release - once again, and hopefully with more to follow. (FdW)


ANTHONY PATERAS - COLLECTED WORKS 2002-2012 (5CD by Immediata)
If you would have asked me: 'who is Anthony Pateras?', I'd probably say: 'oh great improviser on the piano from down under, with a great trio CD on Mego, years ago, but really none of his works ever disappointed me'. Now I know this would justify him at all. But then, I just digested a five CD set by him, which sheds another light on the man. The works on these five CDs are all composed, perhaps not always in the traditional sense of the word with the five lines but surely with notations of some kind. Each CD in this box treats one instrument, and in one case more than one: the first disc is about chamber music and orchestral pieces. Two discs are with works for the piano, of which one disc is with prepared piano works, one disc with pipe organ and electronics and one disc of works for percussion. Its a lot of music to take in all at once. The hectic and nervous, 'many notes here', of the solo piano (unprepared) disc 'Block Don't Bleed', which is forty-five minutes not easy to access music, or, by contrast the more contemplative mood of 'Architexture' piece for pipe organ and electronics, with its slow developing dissonant sounds. Or the three shorter electronic pieces of 'Keen Unknown Matrix' on the same disc for analogue synthesizers - and perhaps the most 'Vital' music. The disc with prepared piano works is also one I liked very much. Its not easy to avoid the name John Cage in here, with a similar gamelan styled preparing - damping the strings with objects, played with great speed and a minimalist setting - makes it hard to believe this is a prepared piano and sounds exactly what Cage already intended: a small ensemble of percussion instruments. The bookends on this box, CD one and five, contain perhaps the most conventional works in this set. Disc one has pieces for small ensembles and one for an orchestra, and is perhaps the disc I least liked in here. This has very much to do with the fact that I don't get along well with serious modern classical music. It might be my problem of course. The hectic of notes, bending, glissandi and such like: its not my thing. The box closes with a long disc of percussion works, two of which are for a small ensemble, and lengthy works for solo percussion players. This too may sound like improvised music, its all carefully planned out and has that modern classical feel to it, but unlike disc one this is definitely something that I enjoy very much. Its a lot of music here, and while not all is of my taste (although the vast majority is), this sheds a most interesting light on the work of Pateras. A must have! (FdW) Address:


A duo disc of Pascal Battus, who plays guitar pickups here, and one Benjamin Duboc who plays double bass. Recordings took place on December 2nd 2010 in France and are now released. I am not sure to what extend things have been edited or mixed, or wether this is a straight forward release of whatever was recorded that day (in one go?). Its music that is improvised, obviously one would almost say, but even when cut into one track has distinct pieces throughout, each with their own character. Sometimes noisy, with some kind of feedback like manner, but then to be followed by something that is almost inaudible, with the double played being hit occasionally and the guitar played with a bow. Another segment cis then altogether very rhythmical with the two of them hitting the strings fiercely. This makes this improvised music of the highest level, where players have complete control over their instrument and know every trick in the book to play their instruments in any conventional and unconventional manner. Much of their playing makes the instruments sound like a guitar and double bass, but occasionally they treat them like acoustic boxes to generate new sounds. Highly minimal playing with maximum output. Excellent disc. (FdW)


Last month Die Stadt organised a concert on the Stubnitz, probably the only floating music stage in the world of alternative music. There were concerts by Konktakt Der Junglinge, Dittel & Tuttel, Asmus Tietchens, Ditterich von Euler-Donnersperg and Thomas Koner. The last three are present on this CD, in fine Die Stadt tradition, who almost always seem to release an item to be given away on the night itself  to ticketholders and the remainder is for sale for those who didn't make it to this night, in Bremen. Euler-Donnersperg opens up here with a piece for what seems to be toys and electronics, crafting together a nice piece of mechanical music, which somehow seem to go wrong along the lines. Tietchens has the longest piece here, eleven minutes (its rather a mini CD than a long play CD), which is very austere in approach. Quiet, electronic and working with small yet dramatic climaxes. Slow building with a very low sound, and then small climax and working again. Maybe there is some use of real instruments in here, but perhaps not. An excellent Tietchens piece. It almost flows in a natural way into the Thomas Koner piece, with the difference being a soft spoken voice in Russian (I think), and which has a nice spooky atmosphere. A pity there is no piece by Kontakt Der Junglinge, being Tietchens and Koner, as its been a while since we last heard something by them. A pity, I should think, I missed that event. (FdW)


A duet of Ofer Bymel on drums (of whom I never heard) and Gregory Buttner (known as an improviser and the 1000Fussler label) on laptop, speaker and objects. The two pieces were recorded on two different dates in 2010. Obviously this is improvised music, but somehow sounds a bit different than what we usually hear in this area. It all seems to me heavily object based, electro-acoustic by nature, in which the drums are treated like an object too. The rattling of objects on the drum skin, along with whatever objects Buttners using in combination with the crackling, hissy, sustaining sounds produced by the laptop of Buttner make up two excellent pieces of music. Both play very careful with a strong emphasis on 'hearing', rather than an overload of sounds. A minimal approach which seems isolated to few sounds, or sometimes even a single sound each time, with that curious electronic processing going on, along with the spatial nature of using a variety of small speakers. Quite intense music, simply because there is not always a lot happening. Quiet music for a refined nature. (FdW)


Its not everyday we receive music from South America, but Fungitonic And The Lobers are from Bogota and is the musical work of one Mauricio Alvarez, who also worked as  Cero39, La Blanquita Farm, Fungitonic, Smetenan, Keyboard and Mauricio Álvarez y Loopito. 'Osea' is his second album as Fungitonic And The Lobers and its quite an interesting album of melodic music that is computer made. It seems to me he uses a variety of real instruments which he recorded and then transforms using computer technology. But unlike many other who would stretch it out and make it warm and glitchy, Alvarez uses a nice cut-up technique and he creates fifteen relatively short songs, all somewhere between the three and five minute mark. You could wonder if fifteen of these sketch like, intimate pieces is not a bit too much, but it works well. Sometimes he uses drums, which give the whole thing a trippy, dubby character, such as in 'Candlelight'. I think piano and guitar are the instruments he uses most here, but also marimba, glockenspiel and voices. This too is warm and glitchy but then of an entirely different nature. It owes much more to popmusic I guess than to the world of avant-garde and that's perhaps the best thing about it. Another surprising release on that Spanish label - check 'm out! (FdW) Address:


BILL HORIST - THE SIGNAL BOX (cassette by Ultramarine Records)
Two tapes of improvisation. The first one is solo by Bill Horist, who has been around for a long time, quite active, yet not always present in Vital Weekly. On this solo tape he just takes credit for prepared guitar, which is quite interesting. At first I believed he also used some small synthesizers, like the these days so popular monotron, but then upon closer inspection, it indeed seems all to be guitar. Horist plays his guitar with quite some imagination. Not in a careful, soft manner, but in a more direct, ongoing way. Electrical music, recorded quite raw and untamed, including a variety of sound effects. Some of these pieces are quite loud and upfront, such as 'Like A Fire In The Slate Season', including the crackling sounds that come like a small campfire, but before that we have '&The Thing With Threadwire', which is an interesting mellow improvisation for pure strings and hardly sound effects. Six pieces and an excellent showcase of what Horist can do. Great tape I thought.
The thing that is striking about the other tape is of course the location where it was recorded. The Morden Tower in Newcastle-upon-Tyne is best known as a location where legendary concerts took place in the early 80s by such legendary acts as Ramleh and The New Blockaders. I assumed it no longer existed as a venue since we never had any other concert releases out of that place. But apparently it still does exist and last year saw this quartet playing of Mama Baer (voice), Kommissar Hjuler (tapes, voice)m Ninni Morgia (guitar) and Silvia Kastel (synth). From the latter we heard some  fine improvisation which tends towards more rock/noise structures and the first two we best know for the weird music, spoken word, tape collage and insanities. This could be indeed a daring set-up for all four and it turns out that to be quite a nice collaboration. Probably exactly the one you'd have in mind if you know some of the music by those involved. Quite noise based, like good ol' industrial music: ongoing bursts of noise, distorted guitar, screaming voices, synth bubbles, all in a rather free mode, which ties in improvised music with noise music. Maybe its all a bit long in the unedited form, but that too might be part of the deal: to make sound like before. (FdW)


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