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STEVE RODEN & MACHINEFABRIEK – LICHTUNG (CD by Eat, Sleep, Repeat)
MINUS PILOTS – HITTING UP THE HEAVENS (CD by Eat, Sleep, Repeat)
MIKHAIL – XENOFONIA (CD by Sub Rosa)
STEFANO FERRIAN – LOPHOPHORA (CD by deN Records)
THE RADIATA 5TET – AURELIA AURITA (CD by deN Records)
CLAUDIO MILANO, ERNA FRANSSENS aka KASJANOOVA – ADYTHON (CD by deN Records)
ULTRA (CD by Korm Plastics)
THE TOBACCONISTS – SMOKING IS GREEN (LP/CD by Economy of Language)
FAZIO – ELEGIE (CD by Faith Strange)
CHRISTOPH ERB & FRED LONBERG-HOLM – SCREW AND STRAW (CD by Veto Records)
FABIO ORSI – THE NEW YEAR IS OVER (3CD by Silentes Minimal Editions)
FAVIO ORSI & VALENTINA BESEGHER – HUNT ME TENDER (DVD by Silentes Minimal Editions)
MAURIZIO BIANCHI/M.B. – PHARMELODIES (CD by Silentes Minimal Editions)
UNDER THE SNOW – THE OTHER ROOM (CD by Silentes Minimal Editions)
MAREK X. MARCHOFF & MJ CAROLINE RIDER – VOXFIELDS (CD by Zoharum Records)
AB INTRA – SUPREMUS (CD by Zoharum Records)
COPPE W/ NIKAKOI – RAYS (CD by Mango + Sweetrice Records)
SEAMUS CATER & VILJAM NYBACKA – THE ANECDOTES (LP by Anecdotal Records)
MATT CARLSON – PARTICLE LANGUAGE (12″ by Draft Records)
MATT CARLSON/JASON E. ANDERSON – DISSOCIATIVE SYNTHESIS (LP by Borft Records)
SUBORNO – THE INSTRUMENT (CDR by Running On Air)
THE TOBACCONISTS – SUPERIOR BLEND (3″CDR on My Own Little Label)
Y FRONT – THE FINAL SESSION (3″CDR on My Own Little Label)

[stream]http://www.vitalweekly.net/826.mp3[/stream]

tracklist for Vital Weekly 826:

0000 Tune
0014 The Tobacconists – Fever
0307 Fazio – Il Sognatore E Abcora Addormentato
0607 Ab Intra – Supremus Part 6
0907 Y Front – 8.7
1149 Coppe – Amygdalas
1451 Erb & Lonberg-holm – The Hostages
1751 Marek X. Marchoff & MJ Caroline Rider
2053 Maurizio Bianchi – Pharmelody 1
2353 Minus Pilots -Nothing Can Happen To Us
2705 Fabio Orsi – The Lonesome Era (part 2)
3004 Machinefabriek & Steve Roden – Vayhinger
3305 Suborno – Routine, Attack, Creativity
3553 Under The Snow – Room 501
3915 The Tobacconists – Smokers Paradise
4241 Tune

STEVE RODEN & MACHINEFABRIEK – LICHTUNG (CD by Eat, Sleep, Repeat)
MINUS PILOTS – HITTING UP THE HEAVENS (CD by Eat, Sleep, Repeat)
‘Lichtung’ may sound like a familiar title (not just the German label Licht Ung) in the vast catalogue of works by Rutger Zuydervelt’s Machinefabriek, and indeed such a thing was reviewed before, in Vital Weekly 756, but then it had the form of a DVD-R. Now we just have the music. The original work was an audio-visual installation, “a collaborative effort of Rutger Zuydervelt and Steve Roden, both responsible for the music an Sabina Burger, who did the visual component for this work. The later shows reflection of trees in water, or rain drops falling in water. The music is a duet between Roden and Zuydervelt and seems to be combining the best of both ends: the acoustic sounds of Roden (chimes, bells, cups) and Zuydervelt’s careful electronic manipulation thereof. The music and film go together really well, I’d say. Poetic, silent and light. An excellent three way combination”, I wrote back then. The new ‘version’ of ‘Lichtung’ is not the piece as such but rather various edits of the sound material used in the installation. Both Roden and Machinefabriek have four pieces here and the ninth piece is an edit of the concert they played at the opening of this exhibition. Its quite interesting to see what each of them brings to the table. Machinefabriek’s slightly processed electronic sounds versus Roden’s acoustic approach to the sound material of water, leaves and twigs, but in ‘Ice Strings’ perhaps also with some electronic sounds. In his pieces its less easy to hear what is going on/being done. The overall atmosphere is ‘winter’ and ‘cold’, with sounds that seem to be derived from ‘cold’ matter, ice, snow and such like. It makes altogether a fine addition to the previous version of ‘Lichtung’, this time entirely an auditive experience.
I am not sure if I ever heard of Minus Pilots. Cover and press text don’t give much clues. The cover however states that ‘the crackle present on our recordings is due, in the main, to the use of various analogue delay pedals, old basses, our broken four-track cassette recorder and most notably our incompetence’, which I guess is nice to know. Its not easy to see the eleven pieces here as finished songs, even when they all have titles, ranging somewhere from merely one minute to four minutes maximum. They are rather like sketches, minimalist sketches. Sort of thing when you have a few lines on a piece of paper, that make out some schematic, or pattern. Once a track is set in motion it seems to stay there, a pointillist painting. Very rarely something else happens half way through, but in ‘Fall From Your Stars’ it does. Sounds repeat sometimes in other tracks. Overall this is all very minimalist and fits the Machinefabriek tradition, but then even more sparse I’d say, but that might also be due to the overall low volume which was used to present these recordings. Think Oren Ambarchi at his most quiet, Machinefabriek on a quiet day. Its not easy to say where the actual difference is with these artists and Minus Pilots. Like with the music, the difference lies in the details. Its a nice CD for sure, very gentle, smooth and delicate. (FdW)
Address: http://www.eatsleeprepeat.org

MIKHAIL – XENOFONIA (CD by Sub Rosa)
Greek-born and London-based Mikhail Karikis delivers his third album with ‘Xenofonia’. His debut album ‘Orphica’ appeared in 2007 to be followed by ‘Morphica’ in 2009. Besides multi talent  Mikhail works across different art forms, above all as a visual artist.  ‘Xenofonia’is a solo work with the help of many others, especially a lot of vocal support by Matthias Grübel, Elaine Mitchener and Jade Pybus and others. The music is built from a combination of choir, harpsichord, percussion, electronics and environmental recordings. Mikhail did all the composing. Also he had a good technical crew at his disposal. Resulting in an excellent produced album, with many allusions to ethnical music. A great sound work that’s for sure from somebody who understands his craft. In contrast however, musically spoken not much of interest is happening here. Sadly this combination results in a pathetic pop aesthetic that is very irritating. It all is very close to kitsch if you ask me. In many songs an intimate male voice, I suppose of Matthias Grübel, is prominent and also contributing to this atmosphere. The work pretends a depth that I never experienced during this one hour trip. (DM)
Address: http://www.subrosa.net

STEFANO FERRIAN – LOPHOPHORA (CD by deN Records)
THE RADIATA 5TET – AURELIA AURITA (CD by deN Records)
CLAUDIO MILANO, ERNA FRANSSENS aka KASJANOOVA – ADYTHON (CD by deN Records)
Three very different new releases from the Italian deN Records. All three have Stefano Ferrian as a participator. So I suppose deN Records is his outlet. The releases offer an insight into the scene of Novarra in the north of Italy and have some stunning surprises to offer. ‘Lophophora’  is the second chapter of Ferrian’s soloproject dE-NOIZE. The first chapter I reviewed some time ago. Now I’m even more impressed by this one man band. What a band it is! Ferrian is playing everything himself (vocals, guitars, saxes, bass, objects, percussion, drum programming, synths, metal weevil, editing). So it is a work that came into being in the studio. Like chapter one it is a suite divided into several parts. Compositional interesting, although also partially improvised.  Also Ferrian is a capable player and producer. In all aspects this is a very carefully made and convincing album.
The Radiata 5tet surprised me with the performance by vocalist Claudio Milano, who switches from very low to high registers without a problem and has an extended vocabulary to his disposal. He studied both opera and modern singing, piano and composition, works as a performer, composer and music-therapist, always building bridges between music, theatre and visual arts. He is accompanied by Ferrian on tenor sax, Cecialia Quinteros (cello), Luca Pissavini (double bass) and Vito Emanuele Galante (trumpet). With this quintet we are now into the universe of acoustic free improvised music. Fantastic interplay is to be enjoyed here in 10 improvisations that start from a diversity of ideas, reflecting many moods and tempers. Absolutely a fine album. Kasjanoova has again vocalist Claudio Milano, plus Belgian artist Erna Franssens who wrote the words and came up with the concept that defines this project. Also: Attila Faravelli (computer through modified speakers) , Alfonso Santimone (laptop, live electronics) and Stefano Ferrian (tenor sax). Two lengthy works:  ‘L’oracolo di delfi’(15 minutes) and ‘Adython’(30 minutes) this time. Again an excellent work in their combination of voice and acoustic instruments on the one hand and electronics and computers on the other hand.  Standing on both these pillars they built a music that transcends their constitutive elements. It is somewhere between music and an audio play. Milano sings and performs verbal and non-verbal, and always with a theatrical feeling . The fact that I didn’t not understand the Italian texts, I did not mind. His voice speaks for itself. For me these releases are a true discovery. Excellent high quality music! (DM)
Address: http://www.denrecords.eu

ULTRA (CD by Korm Plastics)
Ultra was the name of the post-punk movement  in the Netherlands at the beginning of the 80s.  Several groups from Nijmegen were part of this ‘movement’: Bazooka, Vice, Das Wesen, Mekanik Kommando, being the most important ones. They all combined a do-it yourself-mentality with a sense for experiment and artistic ambitions. Now, some 30 years later it’s time for looking back.  On march 8th,  Extrapool/De Onderbroek in Nijmegen was the location for an Ultra-evening. Several of the original musicians from those days were present for an interview. For the most part however this evening was full loaded with short performances. Not for a nostalgic reprise, but for a confrontation of the Ultra-spirit with the present. I was there,  ambivalent about what to expect.  But I stayed the complete evening that had a good program. So I can say this compilation is a fine overview of this memorable evening of diverse musical outings. Of course in several of the songs and music performed, the original Ultra-music returned in one way or another. Wieman, Frans de Waard and Roel Meelkop also known as Zebra, did the kick off. They worked already for some time with Minny Pops material  before  the Ultra-event was planned. They did a funny and danceable remake of ‘Dolphin’s Spurt’, but I liked the non-rhythmic parts (‘Springtime’, etc,) more.  The casio-pop by Bertin worked out also well. Again a Minny Pops cover passes by: ‘Total Confusion’. Under the name MK12, Ties van der Linden (Vice) and Laszlo  Panyigay (Mekanik Kommando) gave an up to date beat-driven rendition of tracks from the first album by Mekanik Kommando. The Dear Listeners (Robert Deters and Martin Luiten) departed from the famous Oktopus-cassette using it as source material for their a bit pointless noise improvisation. Distel, a duo, did a very good job with their under cooled and stripped down re-workings of several Mekanik Kommando songs. Their synth pop comes close to the sound of from early 80s. Harsh guitar improvisation came from the Tändsticksfabrik, again a duo, that emerged at the end of the 90s in Tiel. They did an excellent job! Their improvisations were focussed  and really heading at something. Their performances are ultra rare, but I hope they will continue their collaboration! The CD ends with 10 minutes of non-melodic and non-rhythmic songs by Donné et Desirée, commenting on Tox Modell material. Not to forget, Bas Andriessen filmed and compiled a nice 50-minute impression of this evening (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3O0F2nEUm9U ). (DM)
Address: http://www.kormplastics.nl

THE TOBACCONISTS – SMOKING IS GREEN (LP/CD by Economy of Language)
This package (a bit like a package of cigarettes) comes in two distinctive flavours; a vinyl album and a CD. The two are quite different entities, but somehow also fit together – like a pair of matchsticks. Frans de Waard and Scott Foust have spent considerable time on both projects and it shows: Smoking Is Green is a well-constructed and well-executed piece of work.
The LP starts opens with the sound of birds and keyboards, adding low keyboard sounds, field recordings and loops, not unlike Scott’s (and occasionally De Waard’s) other project Idea Fire Company. The poppy rhythm box and piano in ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes’ come as a surprise break, but a pleasant one. By the time we come to b-side, and with ‘Ocean Drama’ the mood of the LP changes; from a rather relaxed listening experience we move to a somewhat darker sound thanks to what sounds like down-tuned strings. This almost 10 minute tracks ends this splendid LP that owes lot to do its respective parents, but manages to create a unique sound of its own: a Tobacco-flavored sound if you like. And then the real fun hasn’t even started!
The second part of this package is the CD featuring the opera Smoking Is Green. I’m not very keen on smoking and I’m not an avid opera-fanatic, but I’ll gladly be putting my preconceptions aside for this very special project. Like many operas, Smoking Is Green, has been structured into 4 main parts, beginning with an overture. The first act is “Great Times To Smoke”, in which Foust proclaims all those great times when you should lit up a cigarette. Ranging from after sex or with any kind of drink to whilst waiting for a plane (in fact of course any time), the first act is great to listen to even when you consider that all these moments are probably just as much fun (to most non-smokers) without the smoking. But we’re not here to question the Tobacconists motives; this is an opera after all, and most operas are an exaggeration of the truth. So we move on to the second act (and time to light your second cigarette). This act is all about politics and taxes. Foust’s rant “tax the fuck out of rich people” is set to piano chords, clings/clangs, loops and reverbed/reversed sounds, leaving enough space for the dialogue (very important in opera). The Intermission lures us to the lobby, where an incredible cheesy organ and rhythm box are keeping the smoking crowd happy. When finished with our intermission cigarette, we are introduced to the Smoking Sensations Choral, who turn out to be a mutant barber shop quartet. The third act (all acts are announced by Karla Borecki, Foust’s wife) forms the central theme of the CD: “Smoking Is Green”. After a droney intro we are treated to scientific proof of the fact (I don’t spoil the fun by splitting the beans in this review) and flashes of brass-band playing. Act four, the closing act, is “Smokers Paradise”, which features a very funky guitar sample (Joe Jackson? The Police?) and Foust detailing what a smokers paradise looks like and De Waard buys a package of tobacco (being in heaven). After a reprise of the Smokers Choral we move to the end titles. In all, Smoking Is Green, is a truly brilliant piece of work, which has given me much pleasure listening to it. As a concept, it works brilliantly, even when, as stated by Foust, perhaps having a heart attack as a smoker at 30 saves the community a lot of money, it would also rob us of the genius that is on display on this CD. The Tobacconists will be performing this opera during their upcoming tour. Somehow, smoking a cigarette during the performance makes sense. (FK)
Address: http://economyoflanguage.tumblr.com/

FAZIO – ELEGIE (CD by Faith Strange)
A Guide For Reason is Mike Fazio and in Vital Weekly 793 I reviewed some of his material which he recorded in 2009. For reasons I am not entirely sure of, this new release is under the name of Fazio, but if I understand well, it was also recorded in 2009. The first and the third piece are just over nineteen minutes and originally intended to be a LP release, but with the second piece added, recorded a bit later, its now on CD. One reason for using another name is that the music sounds a bit different than on ‘I-VI’ and’VII-VIII’. Here we have no computer reworking of diesel engines, but I assume the use of guitars, lots of effects, maybe a bit of sound scapes and a repeating voice every now and then, reciting a text, which has a somewhat claustrophobic feeling – and that’s just the opening track. Just like the music actually. Its all quite doom and glum here. As I look out out of the window and see the beautiful sunny, spring day, this music doesn’t seem to be fitting to the occasion such a nice day. More music for dramatic occasions, grey winter day. ‘Dopo Tre Mesi, Tutto È Lo Stesso, Eccetto Un Piccolo Regalo, Quando Arriva L’inverno, Più Disappunti È Dispiacere (Petey’s Song)’ is the lengthy title of the second piece and works around a piano and treatments, and has a likewise dark character. In the third track he returns to what he set out in the opening piece: more guitars, bit of percussion with lots of echo, bouncing in and out of the mix, but less any voice material. Good solid dark, atmospheric, drone like music, executed with great care. Different than A Guide For Reason, but equally fascinating. (FdW)
Address: http://www.faithstrange.com

CHRISTOPH ERB & FRED LONBERG-HOLM – SCREW AND STRAW (CD by Veto Records)
While being an artist in residence in Chicago, tenor saxophonist/bass clarinetist Christoph Erb, from Lucerne (Switzerland) met up with long serving improviser Fred Lonberg-Holm, who plays the cello and guitar. On June 23rd 2011 they met up at the Kingsize Studio in Chicago and under the guidance of John Abbey they recorded ten tracks together, which lasts just over an hour, which might also equal recording time, coffee breaks not included. To spoil the end: I think an hour is a bit long for such a release. Perhaps because its quite good, it is, at the same time, also quite full with sound information. These two man play their instruments with great speed, great care and there seems always at least three things going on, changing rapidly. That makes an hour perhaps a bit long indeed. A very free play of instrument (ab-)use, very acoustic in approach, and expertly captured. The best thing is of course, as always with improvised music, to see this in concert (in which case an hour might be indeed the right length), but this CD is a fine alternative to such a scheme. As said, these men don’t like silence very much, even when occasionally such moments exist, in ‘Death Ride’ for instance, but throughout they use their energy to cook up a fast and furious play. One that leaves the listener both tired and satisfied. (FdW)
Address: http://www.veto-records.ch

FABIO ORSI – THE NEW YEAR IS OVER (3CD by Silentes Minimal Editions)
FAVIO ORSI & VALENTINA BESEGHER – HUNT ME TENDER (DVD by Silentes Minimal Editions)
MAURIZIO BIANCHI/M.B. – PHARMELODIES (CD by Silentes Minimal Editions)
UNDER THE SNOW – THE OTHER ROOM (CD by Silentes Minimal Editions)
One of things I wondered about when listening and looking at ‘The New Year Is Over’ is why a set of three CDs? Track titles don’t show evidence that these belong to each other per se, but of course music wise it does. Nine lengthy cuts of what Fabio Orsi does best, playing ambient soundscapes, highly atmospheric. He employs synth, effects and guitar according to the cover. That’s easy. The outcome however isn’t as homogenic as one should expect. I thought it would be along those lines where we have nine similar approaches to the same idea, but that’s not the case. A piece like ‘Endlisch’ on the first disc is almost noise ambient, with a touch of rhythm buried underneath and marks the end of a CD that seems anyway a lot louder than we are used to. Its a diametrical opposite piece to ‘Dust In One Hand, Love In The Other’ (track two, disc two), which is a very soft floating sailboat, the last track of a more silent CD. These two works could have fitted one disc, but I can see why it’s decided not to do that. The third disc has three pieces which have a slightly more rhythmic, looping feel about it, and bridges I guess the two previous CDs in an effort to go from very quiet, introspective material to more loud movements in ‘The Lonesome Era (part 3)’. This CD is a showcase of the various aspects of atmospheric music that Orsi is familiar with and as such he does a great job in displaying that. You could argue wether three is a crowd and such a showcase could have been one CD, but I think its better to have it over the course of three separate discs and show the smaller variations in there.
More music by Fabio Orsi can be found on the DVD he did with Valentine Besegher. A private document, since the original footage hails from the family archive of Orsi and were shot on 8mm. She did a slight treatment to the films, but it shows us plants, animals and family life. Orsi provides a sound track of field recordings, environmental drones and instruments. It sounds like an organ drone being treated in the beginning, but switches over to the most percussive bit I have yet encountered from Orsi after ten or minutes in order to move back into more atmospheric drones as the piece evolves. Altogether its quite a diverse piece of music, of nice atmospheric music and likewise filmic material. Pretty dark at that too. Nice one.
The list of works by Maurizio Bianchi is also ever expanding. This particular new release might however be recorded some time ago, as the cover somewhat cryptically mentions ‘theocratic suites, belonging to my hiatus period, re-elaborated during the 6034 A.M. with the precious assistance of Phramakustik’ – I don’t know what that number means, the jewish calendar is not that far yet. After his hiatus Bianchi returned with a couple of album that sounded quite ‘new agey’ if I remember well, before returning to a sound that owed to his past, but also sounded like something new. This work, perhaps recorded during his hiatus (but perhaps not) doesn’t forecast the new age character of his come back albums, but are nonetheless quite atmospheric and ambient. Like usual, its not easy to say what exactly his sound sources are. In the first part it seemed to be some sort of string instrument, while in the second part similar string instruments seem to be coming from an old piece of vinyl, or taped of a particularly hissy radio. In the third part no strings are attached and while they are removed from the mix this simply floats in space. Bianchi’s non-linear way of composing is apparent here too. He likes to have all his sound events going and only makes the slightest of changes in the sound. I think its perhaps all not enough and therefore at times a bit too long, but its exactly that quality in which we recognize the signature of Bianchi.
Another release by Under The Snow, the laptop/guitar duo of Stefano Gentile (guitar) and Gianluca Favaron (‘processing’, loops and field recordings). If I am not mistaken, this is the third release I heard from them, following ‘Transparant’ (Vital Weekly 771) and ‘Delta’ (Vital Weekly 786). Here they are inspired by large rooms, large empty rooms no doubt. The first one was perhaps a bit too much laptop processing, but on ‘Delta’ we found a fine balance between guitar and computer, which is something that is also the case here. Sustaining, warm laptop crackles and drones, and from the guitar likewise warmth and finesse. No voice samples this time, but there is a fine sense of emptiness in this music, indeed like being in an empty room, or perhaps stylish furnished rooms with walls and modern couches. Its another fine work by them, but perhaps not the greatest move forward. Solid, good, fine produced music, making a fine combination of improvised guitar music and electronic laptop music. Nothing we haven’t heard before but in its genre quite good. (FdW)
Address: http://store.silentes.net

MAREK X. MARCHOFF & MJ CAROLINE RIDER – VOXFIELDS (CD by Zoharum Records)
AB INTRA – SUPREMUS (CD by Zoharum Records)
The cover liner notes for the release by Marek C. Marchoff and MJ Caroline Rider – both of whom I never heard – tells us about the location in which this was recorded: inside the east and west bunkers of Fort Tilden, Far Rockaway, Queens, New York. That is something I couldn’t have told you if I hadn’t known this and was purely to judge the music. It doesn’t have that large spacious natural reverb that recordings like these are supposed to have – I gather – but the atmospheric music here seems to treated (either live-in-action or in a post-processing stage) with such things as echo. Its hard to tell what it is that they are doing in these bunkers. One could assume these are voices, such as the title suggests, but that seems not to be the case. Especially in the first three its very hard, but in the fourth piece metallic objects are tossed around in the empty bunker, reminding me of ‘Bunkerschallung’ by ABGS. Here some of the natural reverb comes alive again, yet I still think there is a bit of post-production going on. In the fifth piece a stringed instrument is added, and recorded up close without the use of natural reverb. The final piece is only residue of a hissy nature. Its quite a nice work actually. Various points of interest in exploring such a space, with a variety of means, leading up to what could be considered as an improvised version of atmospheric music, though not necessarily and exclusively drone music.
That part of the world is inhabited by Ab Intra, apparently return after four years with a new album. I don’t think I know them. Here we go down in the underworld, crossing the styx and view a world we haven’t seen. This I mean metaphorical as what we hear is not what we haven’t heard before. Ab Intra’s atmospherical music is not quite soft however – its present and loud. Using an organ, sound effects, field recordings and lots of processing, this is very much in your face, even noisy in ‘Part 2′, or mysteriously far away in ‘Part 3′. The louder pieces are also the longest pieces (‘Part 2′, ‘Part 5′ and ‘Part 7′, making more than half the CD), which I am not sure was a good idea. I would have preferred it if some of the quieter tracks were longer, such as ‘Part 3′, ‘Part 8′ or ‘Part 6′. Especially the latter is a fine combination of all the elements he uses: instruments, field recordings and sound effects. If you are familiar with the releases on say Malignant Records, then you should know where to place Ab Intra – along similar utter black lines of the deepest undercurrent in ambient. As such Ab Intra doesn’t bring something new, and perhaps in their noisiness a bit too late at times, but at least half the album is pretty damn good. (FdW)
Address: http://zoharum.com/

COPPE W/ NIKAKOI – RAYS (CD by Mango + Sweetrice Records)
‘The legendary godmother of Japanese electronica’, that’s how Coppe is called. I don’t think I ever heard her before, despite her thirteen previous records. Here she teams up with one Nikokai, a Georgian producer. I am not sure what to make of this. Maybe it has to do with the way all of the Japanese women sing, which is something I don’t seem to like very much. Its never full on, but always seem to be down in the music somewhere. Music-wise Nikakoi is skipping through the entire break beat, computer treated drum and electronic catalogue, spiced with some digital synths, which I guess makes this a highly varied bunch of musics, and maybe all is well, but I was thinking that I am not the right person for this music. Maybe its too normal in terms of ‘modern’ popmusic. At any rate not really cut for Vital Weekly, it seems. I am lost. (FdW)
Address: http://www.sweetrice.com

SEAMUS CATER & VILJAM NYBACKA – THE ANECDOTES (LP by Anecdotal Records)
Sometimes I think Vital Weekly gets a lot of odd things, things that somehow don’t seem to belong in here, although I wouldn’t know where else either. I reviewed music by Seamus Cater before, back in Vital Weekly 721, when he did a LP with Uncle Woody Sullender, who played banjo and Seamus Cater played harmonica. I wrote: “Even for non Vital like music which we receive (like this week no less than 8 CDs of heavy metal from Poland), this is certainly one which deserves the word ‘outsider’. Its one of those things which you have no idea what to make of, but you feel instinctively its great and perhaps therefore all the more a great record. Odd but great.” That more or less applies to his new record which he recorded with Viljam Nybacka. He’s a bass player, playing with the N-Collective, but also with freejazz/mathrock group Brown vs Brown. On this record he plays drums for the first time, but also ukulele, voice guitar and pitch pipe, whereas Cater sings, plays the fender rhodes piano and ‘re-tuned harmonica’. Some of the ten pieces here are about persons, anecdotal, biographical, but then personal reflections by Cater himself. We have Sergei Prokofiev next to Ewan McColl, L.S. Lowry, Alexis Lapointe (a runner, running against cars, trains and horses), Eadweard Muybridge and Bas Jan Ader (Dutch visual artist who disappeared crossing the ocean). Cater has a background in folk music, which is something that is very clear when you hear this most delicate music. Cater has a great voice to recite the songs – lyrics enclosed but not entirely necessarily – and the music is sparse, guiding the listener through these anecdotes. Supporting, never taking the lead. Strange music that is folk like, blues like but at the same time also has something that is sufficiently different than what you would traditionally expect from folk or blues. That makes this record again ‘odd but great’. Perhaps nothing for Vital Weekly as such, but certainly something quite captivating. Hopefully Cater brings this on the road also. (FdW)
Address: http://www.seacater.com

MATT CARLSON – PARTICLE LANGUAGE (12″ by Draft Records)
MATT CARLSON/JASON E. ANDERSON – DISSOCIATIVE SYNTHESIS (LP by Borft Records)
One and half album by Matt Carlson. In Vital Weekly 773 I first heard his music, on cassette. Carlson is a busy bee, being a member of Golden Retriever (electro-acoustic improvisation), Parenthetical Girls (pop music), Oregon Painting Society (video soundtracks), CexFucx (freely improvised dance music) and Bonus (reductionist electronic drones), which I all still haven’t heard. This new LP, which has multiple tracks but still plays at 45 rpm (so perhaps more a classic 12″) all deals with the use of modular synthesizers, like that cassette, and we still find him somewhere between pop music and avant-garde music. Perhaps even more pop here than on that cassette. He builds his pieces from abstract bubbles, but then suddenly it all seems to be coming together and a song is there, which occasionally also includes vocals through vocoder, and that’s just the first song ‘An Entity Appears’. In the other six tracks Carlson doesn’t go back to that level of pop-ness, but remains more abstract, but tries to built shortish songs from that and succeeds quite well at that. Carlson here bypasses overtly cosmic connections, but in stead makes a fine combination of pop sensibility, avant-garde electronics and elements of the more noisy end of modular synths in what becomes in his hands quite an unique sound. Excellent record.
The other record is a split LP with Jason E. Anderson, the label boss of Draft Records and Gift Tapes (releasing that earlier Carlson material). Here Carlson also plays analog modular synth, but these pieces lean more towards the abstract than to the pop side of things. The pieces here have a more improvised feel to it, with lots of modulations and bending squares and sines. There is even a dark steady beat present here in the final piece ‘Medusozoa’. Perhaps the title of the album is programmatic here? Anderson on the other side has six pieces of also modular synthesizer, sequencing and digital editing. I assume he filled up his editing software with a load of improvisations on his modular synth and then started to weed out the bits he didn’t like. It continues the course set out by Carlson, but its even more abstract, and throughout works on a more noisy level, but without being true noise. Its more like a violent version of serious sixties avant-garde electronics. Vibrant, bouncing electrons – this is the kind of noise I dig! (FdW)
Address: http://www.draftrecords.com
Address: http://www.borft.com/

SUBORNO – THE INSTRUMENT (CDR by Running On Air)
The releases I heard so far from Running On Air all seemed to be dealing with some of electricity, electronic music, but this new one is about the guitar, played by Asheq Akhtar. He recorded this in his living room, so it includes surrounding noises. From the information I gather he plays two acoustic guitars, some household items and an Ektara, a percussion instrument from Bangladesh. On ‘The Star With Only One String’ this sounds quite ‘ethnic’, whereas most other tracks sound like  finger picking, lime John Fahey, Americana, folk like and blues like. Not something indeed I would have expected from this label. Quite introspective, reflective mood music, using bits of field recordings of his native country, India, making quite a nice record indeed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.runningonair.com

THE TOBACCONISTS – SUPERIOR BLEND (3″CDR on My Own Little Label)
This brand-new CDR, made for the upcoming European Tobacconists tour, consists of 7 tracks recorded for several compilation project between 2010 and 2012. The Tobacconists on this compilation are Scott Foust and Frans de Waard. Superior Blend, as the name suggest, is quite a fine and varied blend of music as The Tobacconists (much like Foust’s other band Idea Fire Company) are, luckily, not that easy to pin down. This neat little album, therefore, features noisier tracks like “Grand Entrance” and “Poor Man’s Music” (which lives up to its title) to Fall Out; a more upbeat track with synthesizer arpeggio’s (sounding a bit like Throbbing Gristle’s 20 Jazz Funk Greats) combined with odd little sounds. “Alive At The Party” features a drone, a rhythm box, sampled sounds and a slapping bass – very nice. “Mystery From The Deep” sounds is like a soundtrack to James Cameron’s pointless dive to the depths of the seas, only to find there is nothing there and making a documentary about the fact. Maybe we should consider stopping our explorations of these last remaining mysteries on earth and just write songs about them instead. It would probably lead to far more interesting results. Closing track “Twilight” could have been an outtake from the brilliant Idea Fire Company album “The Island of Taste” (and if you have no idea what I’m talking about, go out now and buy a copy!). The Tobacconists’ version of “Fever” (yes, the 1958 Peggy Lee classic) does not come close to the original, but is all the better for it. With a great opening line “Give me a cigarette!”, tuba noises, voices and coughing, this is one of the best cover versions I’ve ever heard of the song – the highlight of this CD. All hail to the coughing kings! The Tobacconists – soon at a tobacco shop near you! For tour dates and details and a very nice video by Scott Foust, visit www.fransdewaard.com (FK)
Address: http://www.kormplastics.nl/moll.html

Y FRONT – THE FINAL SESSION (3″CDR on My Own Little Label)
Most of our English speaking audience will know what a Y front is and perhaps is even wearing one whilst reading this review. The chances of readers knowing Y front is in fact the first band of Scott Foust might be slightly less. Foust is probably better known for his work in Idea Fire Company and The Tobacconists. On this little document we are witness of the final session of Y front, recorded in what sounds like a basement, in April 1981. That’s 31 years ago this month – how time flies! At that time Y front featured Foust on guitar and vocals, Rich Labric on drums, Chris Scarpino on bass and Mike Popovich (from Pickle Factory and The Tobacconists 2012 tour member) on synthesizer and guitar. So what do we have here? There’s four songs in all, perfectly capturing the early 80’s DIY spirit. Y front are really a bunch of Joy Division-wannabees with access to an old monophonic synthesizer. The recording quality is fine, even though the vocals are hard to decipher, which gives it that specific rehearsal basement-feel: you can imagine them all sitting down for a beer (and a smoke!) between songs. There is nothing really special or out of the box here (the closing track Pulse with its jazzy drumming is probably the most original of the quartet of songs), but as it stands, this little document adds a nice chapter to the already rich and quite brilliant work of Scott Foust. (FK)
Address: http://www.kormplastics.nl/moll.html

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