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BILL GOULD & JARED BLUM – THE TALKING BOOK (CD by Koolarrow Records) *
FARYUS & VADIM BONDARENKO – QUIET SONGS FROM MISTY PLACES (CD by Silentes) *
JACQUELINE OSKAMP – ONDER STROOM (book by Amboanthos)
ANTHOLOGY OF DUTCH ELECTRONIC MUSIC 1999-2010 (CD by Basta Music)
INIEN – FAVORITEN (CD by Schraum) *
ELECTRIC CARPETS (CD by Record Label Records)
DRINKING THE GOAT’S BLOOD  (CD by Record Label Records)
CITY PARANOID – CLOSE DOWN (CD by Paranoid Press Release)
DECIBEL – DISINTEGRATION: MUTATION (CD by Hello Square Recordings) *
CHANNEL IN CHANNEL OUT – THE AUTHOR AND THE NARRATOR (CD by Karaoke Kalk) *
THE NEW BLOCKADERS/MERZBOW/ANOMALI – KALI-YUGA KARMA (CD by Hypnagogia) *
SIMON BALESTRAZZI – A RAINBOW IN MY MIRROR (miniCD by Magick With Tears) *
A SPHERE OF SIMPLE GREEN – UNTITLED LANDSCAPES (miniCD by Magick With Tears) *
UNCODIFIED – INVOLUCRI (miniCD by Magick With Tears) *
ALPHATRONIC – CYBERSYN (LP by Everest Records)
BUSHWAC – FIGHT! AND IF YOU CAN’T FIGHT, KICK! IF YOU CAN’T KICK, BITE! – REMIXED (LP by Everest Records)
SYRINX – OUTBOUND (CDR by Dark Meadow Recordings) *
PINK VENOM – WASTE OF THE WORLD (CDR by Dark Meadow Recordings) *
DAO DE NOIZE – WALKING IN THE DARK MEADOW (CDR by Dark Meadow Recordings) *
HOIST – GRAVITY (CDR by Dark Meadow Recordings) *
IAN HOLLOWAY – SILENT SPRING (CDR by Dark Meadow Recordings) *
SAWI LIEU AND I\D – SPLIT (CDR, private)
JANEK SCHAEFER – ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL MIXTAPE (cassette by My Dance The Skull)
ORGAN OF SPECIES – RANDOM SELECTION (cassette by Notice Recordings)
GODSEYE – NO MORE CAKE HERE (cassette by Notice Recordings)
NATHAN MCLAUGHLIN – ECHOLOCATION (cassette by Notice Recordings)
DEISON – C (cassette by Collezione Del Silenzio)
ALO GIRL – U (cassette by Collezione Del Silenzio)
ENRICO CONIGLIO – I (cassette by Collezione Del Silenzio)
N. – L (cassette by Collezione Del Silenzio)
GHOUL/VASCO ALVES – SPLIT (cassette by Foredoom Productions)
ANDREW PERRY/UTILITY – SPLIT (cassette by Foredoom Productions)
PHALANX – FFF333 (cassette by Foredoom Productions)
ARAR – AMPLIFIED DUO (cassette/CDR by Foredoom Productions)
THE ALTERS – BLUE HOLE (cassette by Lighten Up Sounds)
JOHN ZUMA ST. PELVYN – AMPLEX, STOLAROFF, DOGWOOD, RAIN (cassette by Lighten Up Sounds)
ODRADEK REPORT NR. 6 (magazine by Wachsender Prozess)

[stream]http://www.vitalweekly.net/775.mp3[/stream]

BILL GOULD & JARED BLUM – THE TALKING BOOK (CD by Koolarrow Records)

At their peak I met Faith No More. They came walking into our little shop were introduced as ‘a rockband’, and we kindly asked where they would be playing that night, mentioning the well-known Amsterdam places. ‘Oh, no, we play Rotterdam, in support of Guns ‘n Roses’. That was in 1992. When later somebody mentioned that I should meet Mike Patton, I had no clue who he was. Still wasn’t a Faith No More fan, but both incidents got me thinking: maybe these guys like their music, other than on world stages, to be experimental? Bill Gould was a founding member of Faith No More and he here teams up with Jared Blum, whom I don’t know, but who is apparently ‘a conceptual sound artist, best known for his abstract pop under the moniker Blanketship’. I usually have a pretty strong opinion on stuff like this, like ‘why do fancy rich popstars care about this, as its obviously they don’t have a clue’ (no names in particular here), but this album is actually pretty strong. Not every track is a winner, like the long and uncontrolled ‘Notes From The Field’, which is pretty chaotic with drones, guitar improvisations, rhythm machines, and in general I thought when the guitars were used to play something that sounded like a guitar, it was of least interest. When the guitar sounded like anything else it was all the more interesting. It becomes the generator of drones through feedback in ‘Maxim’, or in the short psychedelic drones of ‘Open Your Eyes’. This is not a case of superstars jamming about, as is often the case (again, no names are forthcoming), but a carefully constructed album of guitar based music, which occasionally slips away, but is most of the time on top of things. I should investigate more, I know. This is a learning curve. (FdW)

Address: http://www.koolarrow.com

FARYUS & VADIM BONDARENKO – QUIET SONGS FROM MISTY PLACES (CD by Silentes)

A while ago I was reading a biography on Brian Eno and it seemed like a good idea to play some of his old records again. One of them was his record with Harold Budd and I reminded of that record when I heard this record by one Faryus and Vadim Bondarenko. The latter plays clarinet and piano, while the first is responsible for electronic manipulation and field recordings. Especially of course the piano reminds me of Eno/Budd, but also the way electronics are used here. If we are to take the title literally, the clarinet and piano (never at the same though) are the quiet songs while the electronics/field recordings are the misty places. Completely with melody, this is all textured wallpaper. Indeed what Eno would call ambient. Nice but not ignorable, its not muzak. Bird calls here and there, while the piano or clarinet waves in small melodies in this bed of mist. The drones that make up this mist are however not like Eno: its all quite dark and haunting. This can not be mistaken for a meditative drones, but rather unsettling. Although I thought this was all pretty good, I also must admit that eight quite similar pieces is a bit too much. Five or six of these pieces would have made an equally strong point. The film on CD is a nice bonus. Perhaps less music on the CD and more films? Nice throughout, but too much. (FdW)

Address: http://www.silentes.net

JACQUELINE OSKAMP – ONDER STROOM (book by Amboanthos)

ANTHOLOGY OF DUTCH ELECTRONIC MUSIC 1999-2010 (CD by Basta Music)

There is nothing to celebrate, no fifty years of electronic music in The Netherlands or something like that, but a book on the history of electronic music in this country is overdue, I would say. Since the book is in Dutch I would urge to read on, as you may have a synopsis (and cringe over the fact that its not in English). Journalist Jacqueline Oskamp describes the very early electronic studios, the legendary names (Jan Boerman, Dick Raaijmakers) and the developments in this small country. Anarchy is a keyword. Whereas in France, Italy and Germany the studios were state sponsored affairs, here it was small and private. The first studio being in practice was the NatLab, owned by Philips, and where Varese worked on his ‘Poeme Electronique’. Later on more studios came, like CEM (housed these days at Worm in Rotterdam), Steim and various at the conservatories, the one in The Hague being the best known. The book is divided in six chapters, each about a development and each with a portrait of someone that stands out in that particular development. Electronic music with acoustic instruments by Ton Bruynel, the pure tape music of Jan Boerman, the conceptual approach of Dick Raaijmakers, live electronics with Michel Waisvisz, sound installations by Edwin van der Heide and the current generation of laptop and improvisation with the flute player Anne La Berge. Which struck me as odd, as she lives in The Netherlands since 1989, but is of course American. Wasn’t there another representative from this scene, like say Cor Fuhler? Oskamp writes easy language, no technical bla-bla (although there is list of explanations in the book), which makes this a great book for the interested listener, ready to find out more; or perhaps for those who know a little bit about electronic music but keen to know more: its all in this book. A book also that invites you to re-listen, to those excellent box sets of Boerman and Raaijmakers, or both ‘Anthologies Of Dutch Electronic Music’.

One thing to complain about: all of the composers (not just the six with a portrait) mentioned in the book have a conservatories background. It ignores entirely the generation of autodidacts, say people like Roel Meelkop or Jos Smolders, but also the noise boys (say Fckn Bstrds, Odal), which I think is a serious omission.

At the same time there is also a third ‘Anthology Of Dutch Electronic Music’, which spans the years 1999-2010 (meaning there is nothing for 1978-1999, but perhaps someone can look into that) and has the same omission: no Meelkop, Smolders or Fckn Bstrds. A bunch of people here have found their way to Vital Weekly before, such as Justin Bennett, Gert-Jan Prins Edwin van der Heide, Marko Cicilliani, Yannis Kyriakides, Huib Emmer, Thomas Ankersmit and Robert van Heumen. Obviously it also contains names I never heard of, which proofs the music scene in those serious circles is well alive. A variety of these pieces have been released before (Prins, Van der Heide, Bennett, De Man, Emmer, Van Heumen, Bollen, Houtkamp, Kyriakides), which some may find a pity, but I guess there aren’t that many completists who have it all. The CD sees the variety of interests as outlined in the book well worked out. From listening pieces of pure electronic music to combinations of with ‘real’ instruments, improvisations and installation pieces, its all there. Tracks are shorter than on previous Anthologies, which makes it perhaps less easy to digest all at once. Twenty-six tracks is a lot to digest. There are some great pieces here, such as the drones from Hans Timmermans and Thomas Ankersmit, the almost religious singing of Henry Vega, the noise of Bosch & Simons and Cathy van Eck and some fine, if not more conventional pieces by others, such as Kees Tazelaar, Rozalie Hirs and Roderik de Man. One track leaped out, negatively, and that is Luc Houtkamp’s piece, which sounded like a horrible exercise for guitar loops. Read book, play the CD and go back to the shelves to play the rest. That is what I call a well-spend weekend. (FdW)

Address: http://www.ambovananthos.nl

Address: http://www.bastamusic.com

INIEN – FAVORITEN (CD by Schraum)

The two musicians that are behind Inien are Axel Haller (electric bass) and Johannes Trondle on violoncello. Trondle is also part of Norz who had a previous CD on Schraum (see Vital Weekly 704), and Haller plays on a bunch of the releases from this German home of improvised music. Of course the two instruments are linked together in the way they sound, low bass like, but in the hands of these players, the two large instruments transform into objects to produce sound. Apparently Trondle is the man who is a bit more noise based, whereas Haller is the man of using acoustic, unamplified, objects on the instrument. Together they created ten pieces of closely linked pieces – there were times when I thought it could be as well one piece, or thirty, certainly if one’s eyes aren’t fixated on the CD player. Yet, this is being on Schraum, which is a more traditional place for improvised music, and Inien don’t divers from that. There is a lot of bowing and plucking here and they don’t go out all the way into the more current versions of improvised music. Inien cleverly combines both ends into a particular powerful work. Not always the big surprise, but a thoroughly fine work. (FdW)

Address: http://www.schraum.de

ELECTRIC CARPETS (CD by Record Label Records)

DRINKING THE GOAT’S BLOOD  (CD by Record Label Records)

Robbie Martin has a fine nose for electric and electronic music. He compiled two CD’s and the quality of the music is high, because of its quality and experimental use of music. The music is released at Record Label Records, which Robbie Martin in 1996 when he was a young man of 15 years old. Electric Carpets is a compilation with experimental electronic dance music, but if you think you will have a nice compilation of floor fillers… I do not know. I never go to danceparties, but my teenage daughter finds the music “nice but….” As many compilations the listener will be taken to all kinds of music which fits in a concept which the compiler has in his mind. Some musicians use traditional dance elements and try to create something more. Anyhow… if you are interested in creative electronic beats and “yes of no” dance music, this CD is highly recommended, “Drinking the Goat’s Blood” is more focused on experimental music with 19 tracks with a wide diversity of sound designs and atmospheres. Fluorescent Grey is a project of the label-owner itself and has beautiful looped metallic sounds and slightly filtered to several moods. column one has a basic track with voice what makes the sound of gun and other sounds are added like a howling wolf, beats, bells and rumbles. A very funny piece of music. Some tracks are just beats, short moments of pleasure and soundscapes. Others are more like free-jazz based electronics like Squarepusher or ambient based tracks with slightly moving synthesizers patterns and pulsating drums. Great introduction to explore and to experience more of this well composed jewels of sound. (JKH)

Address: http://www.recordlabelrecords.org

CITY PARANOID – CLOSE DOWN (CD by Paranoid Press Release)

Closedown is the latest CD from Crispin Lee under the name City Paranoid and is a follow-up of of Dream’s Edge (2004) and A Means to No End ( 2008). Closedown will be the final chapter of his set of solo recordings under the name City Paranoid. The album is very intense  and built up of 11 tracks in a period of 26 minutes. The tracks are created by highly manipulated field-recordings, and acoustic and electronic sound sources. His voice tells a story, but I cannot follow it, because of my lack the English language, but also because of the way the voice is mixed in drony, noisy sound layers. But maybe this is also the meaning of these short stories with titles like Hitched, Now Understood, Terminal Nation, At Peace with Nothing and Silent Running. That we will never know what the thoughts are of this man who is living in a city which fears him a lot by all the dangerous moments, vehicles and people. Cause if we really know what in his mind than we can track and expose him. City Paranoid is a short well-composed piece of dark music with a unique personal touch. (JKH)

Address: http://www.cityparanoid.com

DECIBEL – DISINTEGRATION: MUTATION (CD by Hello Square Recordings)

More an ensemble than a group, Decibel, from the Western part of Australia. They are set out to play scores, through means of improvisation. The group consists of Cat Hope, Lindsay Vickery, Stuart James, Malcolm Riddoch, Tristen Parr and Aaron Wyatt. Among them they have flutes, bass, reeds, piano, percussion, electronics, cello and violin. Four pieces here, two by Cat Hope and two by Lindsay Vickery. I must admit that I found all four pieces quite similar. Lots of sustained playing on the instruments, bending the snares and tones, with a little bit of electronics added here and there. Highly improvised, even jazz like in ‘Transit Of Venus’, and its a pity that we don’t see the graphical scores on the cover. The pieces are described on the cover, which is nice, but not the same thing, I guess. I found it hard to keep my full attention to this and I wondered if a concert place wouldn’t be the more natural place to enjoy this. (FdW)

Address: http://www.hellosquarerecordings.com

CHANNEL IN CHANNEL OUT – THE AUTHOR AND THE NARRATOR (CD by Karaoke Kalk)

No doubt the oddest release I received this week. Marcus Cotten is the man behind Channel In Channel Out, and hails from Portland, Oregon. Odd music, since just what is it anyway? Popmusic? Singer-songwriter? Ambient? Folktronic? All four is the most likely thing. Cotten sings with high falsetto voice, a bit nasal, and on his plate he has a guitar, but also hissy electronics, click ‘n cut beats, found sound. Throughout these ten tracks the mood is best described as ‘melancholic’ and perhaps ‘tracks’ is also not the right word. These are more sketch like offerings. Sometimes it seems that a song is not entirely finished yet, but no doubt that is part of a higher game plan, if there is any at all. A most curious release indeed, but every time I play it, it grows more and more. It may contains that I am normally not blown with, such as those vocals, which should not be my cup of tea at all, it keeps growing and growing. A fine cross road of pop, folk, experimental music, ambient and general weirdness. Odd, curious, and simply great. (FdW)

Address: http://www.karaokekalk.de

THE NEW BLOCKADERS/MERZBOW/ANOMALI – KALI-YUGA KARMA (CD by Hypnagogia)

Its not easy to find information on this label, but through discogs I learned that Hypnagogia is a label run by P. Coates, also known as Anomali, and that this CD contains three pieces of vinyl, probably long out of print, ‘Falten’ by The New Blockaders and ‘Oumagatoki’ by Merzbow and The New Blockaders. ‘Falten’ was recorded with Anomali, of whom the release ‘Nitya-Baddha’ is included here (all three were actually 10 inch records). The three of them are also responsible for the final piece, which is a new one ‘Kali-Yuga Karma’. Here the Blockaders and Merzbow provide sound material and Anomali did the composition. Of these works I only heard ‘Oumagatoki’ before, but as I love re-issues on CD, I welcome all three. Of course, this is a disc of noise music and this is no problem. I like noise, but not all noise. Elsewhere I write about noise that doesn’t succeed, but there is also fine examples of great noise, and this disc proofs it. From the maltreated vinyl attacks of ‘Falten’ to the delicate electronic noise patterns employed by the Blockaders/Merzbow, in a twenty minute unrelentness style (why did the term harsh noise wall not exist for this, I wondered), with even a touch of musical-ness in the second part of ‘Oumagatoki’. Anomali uses acoustic treatments along with pre-taped music from vinyl (I assume) and slips into a more quieter style of noise on the second part of ‘Nitya-Baddha’. Three somewhat different approaches to the idea of ‘noise’ and this all culminates in the sort title track: a furious attack on the nerve system. Study material for aspiring cement builders of harsh noise wall. (FdW)

Address: http://www.discogs.com/label/Hypnagogia

SIMON BALESTRAZZI – A RAINBOW IN MY MIRROR (miniCD by Magick With Tears)

A SPHERE OF SIMPLE GREEN – UNTITLED LANDSCAPES (miniCD by Magick With Tears)

UNCODIFIED – INVOLUCRI (miniCD by Magick With Tears)

Three very neatly packed mini CD’s (pressed on five inch discs), all with musicians from Italy and I think all new names for me. There is an element of improvisation throughout these discs, but electronics play also an important role. First we have Simon Balestrazzi who plays ‘prepared acoustic instruments, old synths and keyboards, field recordings and electronic manipulation’. Most of his twenty-one minute was recorded in real-time with minimal editing and overdubs. The acoustics sound at the beginning like a prepared violin, but as the piece progresses it turns out to be a guitar (I think). The electronic part starts strong with some high pitched sine wave like sounds, crackling and sizzling. But as the piece progress, it all looses it a bit, and it seems to get stuck into improvisational doodling a bit too much. The guitar plays a heavy role here and when the proceedings arrive at a full stop, its only a quick fade out. That makes that I have a somewhat unsatisfied feel a bout this. Not bad, but it could have been a bit more.

The next release is a trio of Simon Balestrazzi (electronics and amplified objects), Adriano Orru (double bass) and Silvia Corda (prepared piano). Its recorded in real-time, but various recordings have been layered together, although I must say I thought that was hard to believe. Improvisation is their trick of the trade, just alike the solo release by Balestrazzi, but then in a trio setting. I must say that I wasn’t quite impressed by them. The improvisations are rather normal, even with all the prepared instruments and objects. They scratch, hit, bang in a rather introspective mood, but it wasn’t enough to impress me. Have a great time while playing music seemed their point of departure, and perhaps it works in a concert situation, but not on this short disc.

Behind Uncodified we find Corrado Altieri, who also works as TH26 and Monosonik. This is first release as Uncodified. He uses sounds from analogue and digital devices, manipulating tones and textures. Its the most interesting release of this trio. High piercing sounds and deep textures, with acoustic stumbling around. Drone like, maybe even noise based at times, its an interesting merging of various styles and interests. A bit like the Antimatter release of two weeks ago: intelligent noise, made without the extended use of computers, along the lines of Joe Colley and Illusion Of Safety. Intense, slowly shifting tonal drifts of electrically charged music. Now here I wouldn’t have minded hearing a bit more than these twenty minutes as some of this could have easily lasted a bit longer. Strong release. (FdW)

Address: http://www.ticonzero.org

ALPHATRONIC – CYBERSYN (LP by Everest Records)

BUSHWAC – FIGHT! AND IF YOU CAN’T FIGHT, KICK! IF YOU CAN’T KICK, BITE! – REMIXED (LP by Everest Records)

It seemed like yesterday that I reviewed ‘Sonic Landscapes’ by Daniel Wihler, also known as Daniel Wihler, but perhaps it’s because the cover of his latest release looks similar to that one? But it was back in Vital Weekly 701 indeed. Playing these eight new pieces, with much pleasure I must add, it also seems nothing much news is under the sun. Lots of synthesizers, drum machines, making this a techno inspired record, but subtle, armchair like. Tap your feet, but don’t move your entire body. That kind of thing. This time on vinyl, which means its shorter than the previous CD release, and it gained certainly some strength from that. Nicely retro once again, and this is just a damn fine slab. Cinematic music.

The other new release on Everest Records puts me into some difficulty: I never heard the music Bushwac, so a bunch of remixes is a bit hard to judge. There are two original tracks here by Bushwac. Loop machines and something that resembles rap. I hate rap. Full stop. Even rap that is a bit experimental, like Bushwac. I just don’t like rap. Full stop. Of the four remixes (by Thavius Beck, Deckard, Meienberg and Playpad Circus), I only liked the one Deckard, who uses a vocoder to transform the voice into a more singing kind of thing. Otherwise I wasn’t very impressed by this. (FdW)

Address: http://everestrecords.ch

SYRINX – OUTBOUND (CDR by Dark Meadow Recordings)

PINK VENOM – WASTE OF THE WORLD (CDR by Dark Meadow Recordings)

DAO DE NOIZE – WALKING IN THE DARK MEADOW (CDR by Dark Meadow Recordings)

HOIST – GRAVITY (CDR by Dark Meadow Recordings)

IAN HOLLOWAY – SILENT SPRING (CDR by Dark Meadow Recordings)

Five releases, ouch, on Dark Meadow Recordings. In order: the first is by Syrinx, of whom I never heard (I’ll repeat that throughout this review), offer two tracks that span seventy minutes. Who are they pleasing, other than themselves? Its announced as ‘drone/harsh ambient’, which I don’t agree upon. Its drone music for sure, that much is true, and while not entirely of the most quiet kind, its also not very harsh. It perhaps lacks a bit on the recording side. This trio of Ed Plenderleith (Pink Venom), Dave Saunders (Glowingpixie), and Jon Bayliss (Ghoul Detail) operate since 2009 as a trio, and it seems to me they all play guitar here. Lots of that and lots of effects to get that sustaining, droning aspect in their music. In that respect this release works quite well, be it that especially the second track is a bit long. This release would have certainly be better if all it was a bit shorter.

A solo release by Ed Plenderleith, also known as Pink Venom (and sometimes as Forest On Fire) is also labelled as ‘ambient/harsh ambient/drone) and said to be “very reminiscent of Ghoul Detail versus Troum”. It takes its inspiration from industrial and classical music. In “Foetus”, the opening piece, that is quite clear. A dark mass of sound, from sources unknown. Thank god this is not the case for the rest of the release. ‘Fallen’ is lighter of tone, but sounds somewhat distorted. That goes for many of the six pieces on this release. What I think is somewhat disturbing also, is the extended use of reverb. Its very easy to create drone music through the use of one or more reverb settings. But perhaps also too easy. Here I am not convinced it works very well.

Noise is represented by Dao De Noize in four lengthy (neh, overlong) pieces, but not always of the harsh noise (wall?) type of thing. Distorted radio’s in ‘Haru’ but in ‘Natsu’ we have some loop of water sounds, organ like sounds, seagulls. Actually quite a nice piece, although perhaps at seventeen minutes a bit long. ‘Aki’ (almost thirty two minutes!) is a noisy extension of that. ‘Fuyu’ has more distortion, thunder storm and church bell (I think). All four pieces are way too long for the amount of information they have, but ‘Natsu’ is a fine piece, the best so far.

Of an entirely different is the music by Hoist. ‘Gravity’ also lasts seventy-six minutes (if a CDR can hold eighty, its not necessary to fill it all up, I guess) and from the cover it seems the music comes from three EPs, although I found no information that they were released before. Here we have ‘dub/breakcore/illbient’. Lots of bass, piano and trumpet sounds. It seems, but I might be entirely wrong here, all played by Hoist. Slow rhythms, deep bass and quite an experimental use of sounds. I actually quite enjoyed a lot of this, but not all. Seventy-six minutes is all a bit too long I think. Tracks start to sound too uniform in approach and what was once good, start to irritate. Why not a great forty-five minute selection of the best bits, I wondered?

The last one is a familiar name, Ian Holloway with another ‘one opus’, ‘Silent Spring’. Here we have the most ambient release of this lot, but even Holloway couldn’t resist to add some pretty nasty high-end frequencies into this work, which adds a tonal quality to his work which I didn’t hear from him before. Organ like drones as before, but mixed to a somewhat harsher quality, certainly in the first half of the piece. Again he uses time stretching techniques on a limited set of sounds, but as before he knows quite well how to build this is into an effective, menacing piece of drone music. Heavier than last week’s release, but throughout I preferred this ‘Silent Spring’ over that one. (FdW)

Address: http://www.darkmeadowrecordings.com

SAWI LIEU AND I\D – SPLIT (CDR, private)

Sawi Lieu lives in Jakarta, Indonesia  and and describes his 24 piece of music as created a trip on the Trans-Java Express, in a train cabin filled with sounds of cosmic music, gamelan and dangdut, all mixed and smashed into a mega Technicolor brew. And really this description fits really well by this collage of sounds and styles. Unfortunately the quality of the sound-recording is not really good, but the this low-fi sounds makes it more surrounded by a hidden layer. What I really adore is that Sawi Lieu takes time to explore soundlayers, melodies and rhythms and how to combine them. A nice piece of electronic music with different moods which flows into each other. But he deserves a better sound quality! The other part of the split is created by Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from Singapore. They celebrated the coming of 2012 with a noise-psych improvisation action. And indeed these recordings are a real party for the ears. The recordings are really good and fresh. The guitarist plays in a nice manner guitar with greats licks and riffs. The band plays in post-rock style and they do it in a nice manner. Sometimes it takes too long these improvisations, but the moments of weird psychedelic walls of sounds save the day. Anyhow… I do not understand this combination of this split CDR, cause the styles and far away from each other and the infosheet cannot help me to give an answer to this question. (JKH)

Address: http://ujikajirecords.wordpress.com/

JANEK SCHAEFER – ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL MIXTAPE (cassette by My Dance The Skull)

For somebody who doesn’t has a license to drive cars its hard to fall asleep at the wheel. But I do like to drive with other people, especially at night. Listening to music, talking about music. ‘Asleep At The Wheel’ is an installation created by Janek Schaeffer, which includes a ghost road of cars in an abandoned supermarket, along with in car soundtracks. This cassette is a mix of those soundtracks, but you can also download all of them from Schaefer’s website. Now me and my friends prefer to play popmusic in cars, especially of the cheesy kind, but Schaefer may beg to differ. The mixtape has music that may lull the driver into sleep: stretched out tones, crackling sounds, gliding scales and such like. If anything I was reminded of the old Stephan Mathieu music, lifted from radio sources perhaps. Short pieces which is perhaps the thing that prevents the listener from falling asleep. ‘Wonderland’, the twenty minute piece on the b-side may be dangerous in that respect. Perhaps the driver should download the complete soundtracks, especially if a long drive is ahead, since this as all the sounds as on the mix tape (or are we invited to mix these sounds ourselves, I mused) but also lots of spoken word, radio switch dialing and muzak like soundtracks. I am the first to admit that I didn’t listen to all of them, spanning over two hours worth of music, but I can assure you one day I will. Most likely on a long train journey (which I recently did listening to six hours of Brian Eno, catching sleep on a night train). Actually: can’t wait for that to happen. Great bunch of soundtracks, suitable for any situation. (FdW)

Address: http://www.audioh.com

ORGAN OF SPECIES – RANDOM SELECTION (cassette by Notice Recordings)

GODSEYE – NO MORE CAKE HERE (cassette by Notice Recordings)

NATHAN MCLAUGHLIN – ECHOLOCATION (cassette by Notice Recordings)

Behind Organ Of Species we find one Scott Cloud, who plays hammond organ, mouth, saliva vs electronics and sampler. Scott has his own label Cloud Valley Recordings. That’s all I know. And of course I do know there are two tracks on his cassette. The music is quite interesting, although not easy to capture in a few words. There are loops of sound, organ like, which seem to be recorded in such a way that has some decaying effect, like an old cassette for that special effect of analogue graininess. But then it might be not, and it might just be digital. Not exactly ambient, because too ‘raw’, but certainly also not noisy or industrial. Maybe an upfront and present kind of William Basinski? That could be it indeed, say Asher with his music more up to 0 db. Quite a nice release and certainly one that fits the format pretty well.

Godseye is a trio of Eden Hemming Rose, Brad Rose and Nathan Young. Apparently there have been previous releases which deal with spoken-word readings, which is also the case here. Texts are by Natalie Diaz, Edward Kuznetsov, Emma Goldman, and Seth Abramson, while the music is made with a bunch of synthesizers. Somehow I think these texts are not to be understood as texts to be heard. The voice is drenched with echo, which makes it hard to know what it is about. The synth(s) produce a drone like background, which is very dark. Maybe it’s me, but this bunch wasn’t well spend on me. The music is a rather easy lo-fi noise drone thing and the voice speaks without too much intonation, so the whole thing drags a bit on. Maybe if I was into serious literature more, I would understand more.

Recently, in Vital Weekly 760, I reviewed ‘Echolocation by one Nathan McLaughlin, and I was quite pleased with that. Since then his name came up a couple of more times and here we have another version of his ‘Echolocation’, which was the thing that introduced me in the first place. On the cover we read about this being a combination of rural and suburban recordings and included is also the presence of Oliver Drake (age 2), whose ‘careful critique of the sounds in real time gave useful direction and his youthful energy kept things light when they got too heavy’. No list of equipment used. ‘Echolocation #5’ continues where we left ‘Echolocation’: tape decay music. Pretty clueless actually what he does here, or just what does field recordings might be made of. A simple loop of low-grade sound, being repeated far away, low on the tape, slowly changing, adding tiny bits of extra sound. More Basinski/Asher like music and this time things seems to be a bit further in decay than on the other

‘Echolocation’. An intense tape of minimal music. Not exclusively new, but highly enjoyable. (FdW)

Address: http://noticerecordings.blogspot.com/

DEISON – C (cassette by Collezione Del Silenzio)

ALO GIRL – U (cassette by Collezione Del Silenzio)

ENRICO CONIGLIO – I (cassette by Collezione Del Silenzio)

N. – L (cassette by Collezione Del Silenzio)

The next batch of Silentes alphabet of ‘silent’ music from Italy’s finest experimental musicians. The first is Deison, who is mostly known from a more noisy end of the musical spectrum. That is not the case on this release. The music is rather quiet, in line with the series, I guess, of looped electronic sound sources, but its all rather ‘low humming’, so perhaps not easy to tell. The b-side is also looped based, but here the material is definitely louder and stems from the world of industrial music. Sheets of metal reverberate in a large hall – that sort of images are evoked here. The somewhat more obscured a-side is what I preferred, but both sides are actually quite good. It shows what Deison is capable of.

Alo Girl is a new name for me, and the music here has nothing to do with the notion of things being quiet, unless noise is the new quiet. I can be short about this one: two sides of harsh noise music, and not really the kind of harsh noise I particularly like. Too much static distortion, not enough variation. You know the drill – literally.

Luckily there is Enrico Coniglio to bring back ambience and ambient into the room. More the kind of music I expect from this series. Coniglio is a member of Herion and recently (see Vital Weekly 769) had a solo CD reviewed. Here he stays in ambient land with both feet firm in the ground. Glacial like tonal drifts on side A, and on side B, low humming bass sound hovering closely over the surface. Whereas its unclear what the soundsources are on the first side, the second side seems to have heavily processed guitars. It sounds altogether made in the digital domain, which may take a bit of warmth away, but, after Alo Girl, certainly a delight to hear.

Did I ever hear of N.? I may have, but its hard to find online, which might be whole point of calling yourself N. He (?) too dabbles with noise, distorted vocal ‘singing’ over a low distorted sound. Not as loud as Alo Girl, and not always as loud, but nevertheless loud enough. Here too I thought I heard all of this before, a long time ago, also on cassette, and even back then it was all rather stale. Those do not remember the past, are condemned to bla bla. (FdW)

Address: http://www.silentes.it/

GHOUL/VASCO ALVES – SPLIT (cassette by Foredoom Productions)

ANDREW PERRY/UTILITY – SPLIT (cassette by Foredoom Productions)

PHALANX – FFF333 (cassette by Foredoom Productions)

ARAR – AMPLIFIED DUO (cassette/CDR by Foredoom Productions)

Foredoom Productions primarily releases cassettes with “but not exclusively with – harsh / minimal acoustic / electronic improvisations / arrangements.” The first tape is by Ghoul on one side and Vasco Alves on the other. Ghoul definitely is harsh noise, even when the title of their piece, ‘Chant’, may sound otherwise. A wall of noise type of thing, but in which there is more happening than just a wall of feedback and distortion. Its alright, perhaps because it lasts just under twelve minutes and the somewhat low medium adds its own tonal color to it. The other side is a solo project of Vasco Alves, who is into circuit bending. Here he has loops of radio transmissions ‘played through the AM/FM Keyboard 6, multi-tracked and processed severely through Supercollider patches.’ He could have fooled me, but what do I know? A distorted lo-fi sound of what could indeed be computerized noise, of sounds fading in and out. Maybe at eleven minutes a bit long for what the idea has to offer, but nonetheless quite functional low grade noise.

The next release is also a split. Andrew Perry previously collaborated with Dead Wood (see Vital Weekly 719) and is a member of Gish (see Vital Weekly 707). The cover lists only one title for his side, but it consists of various blocks of sounds/music, alternating between loud, quite loud, a bit softer. Hard to tell what it is that he does here, but as a brutal form of musique concrete it actually sounds quite alright. Roughly processed field recordings and electronics. Nice. I never heard of Utility who have a thirty-two minute piece on the b-side. It starts out quite loud, and I feared it would be all noise here, but thing went more quiet and it seems it was made on a bunch of analogue synthesizers. Not quite at the sophisticated edge of cosmic music, but effective and to the point.

Also Phalanx is a new name for me. Two pieces here, both called ‘Field Of Rape’, both said to last 16:45. ‘Synthesiser & Voice’ and ‘Structured improvisations through time based systems’ it says also on the cover, which has no further information. I am not sure what the structured aspect of this music is, as it seems to me that this is all a bit unstructured in the realms of voice (?) plus synth. The second version of ‘Field Of Rape’ is louder than the first, but both seem to me an uncontrolled mass of noise and a bit worn out. Its alright, I guess, for what it is, but not great.

Vasco Alves returns in a duo with Louie Rice. Both get credit for electronics on a release that spans a forty-two minute tape and a nineteen minute CDR. In total about an hour worth of music. Its mostly improvised electronic music with a strong touch of experimentalism and noise. Music that goes on and on, in lengthy proportions, lots of feedback wailing about, but in an intelligent way. Sometimes a bit like the first works of Arcane Device, if anyone remembers that, but all a bit more monolithic and minimal. Not a lot of changes occur here, but its all quite effective. Maybe the hour is a bit much for such excursions, but you could do some mixing yourself, using both formats. (FdW)

Address: http://foredoomproductions.blogspot.com/

THE ALTERS – BLUE HOLE (cassette by Lighten Up Sounds)

JOHN ZUMA ST. PELVYN – AMPLEX, STOLAROFF, DOGWOOD, RAIN (cassette by Lighten Up Sounds)

‘Blue Hole’ was recorded ‘live in the afternoon’ as it says on the cover. A duo from Kansas City playing clarinet and synth. Odd music, that is partly rooted in improvised music, but is also surprisingly coherent. A bit cosmic also, especially of course due to the synthesizer. This plays steady on drone like material, occasionally with bubbling sounds, but no long wave arpeggio’s in sight. A raw version of cosmic music perhaps. Maybe there is not enough variation to hold the interest for forty minutes, but certainly the kind of music that works well on a cassette release.

John Zuma St. Pelvyn plays guitar and theremin, aided with the use of electronics and sometimes recorded outdoors. Whereas The Alters may use improvisation but it works out a bit differently, this release by Pelvyn is all improvised guitar music. Sometimes as subtle as say Loren Connors or John Fahey, and sometimes more scratchy, then melodic. Blues music I should think, beautiful blues music actually. Pelvyn takes you on a road trip through waste lands, deserts and across mountains. Great stuff. (FdW)

Address: http://www.lightenupsounds.blogspot.com

ODRADEK REPORT NR. 6 (magazine by Wachsender Prozess)

In between reading a book on Dutch electronic music (see elsewhere) I found time to read this fanzine, which is all in German. It opens with a fine piece by Asmus Tietchens about silent music, followed by an interview with Melt-Banana, Ran Slavin (in English actually) and Murmer. Then whole bunch of reviews of the sort of music Vital reports about. Nice to read a different opinion, although some of the material is not very recent. An extended catalogue of the label who produced this fanzine is also included. A bit of a messy, cheap layout and with a different type-setting the same amount of information could have perhaps fitted on half the pages. But then, this is a true fanzine. (FdW)

Address: <wp666@gmx.de>

http://www.vitalweekly.net

Categories: Publications