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Vital Weekly 875

SAMM BENNETT & ALFRED 23 HARTH & CARL STONE & KAZUHISA UCHIHASHI

OLIVIER DI PLACIDO & SEC_ – RAINBOW GROTESQUE (LP by Bocian Records)
YONG YANDSEN – DISILLUSION (LP by Doubtful Sounds)
PALI MEURSAULT – OFFSET (LP by Doubtful Sounds)
K2 – VARIATION: PIANOISE (7” by Dead Mind Records)
ASTRO – DEFORMATION RECEIVER (7” by Dead Mind Records)
KAZUMOTO ENDO & KAZUMA KUBOTA – GYOEN BEDIENINGSHENDEL (7” by Dead Mind Records)
PULSATING CYST – HORRIBLE SIGNAL (7” by Obfuscated Records)
CIRCUIT WOUND – PATIENCE WEARS THIN (CDR by Obfuscated Records)
BIFURCATED CITHARA ORCIN – STANCHENZZA (CD by Obfuscated Records)
RE-DRUM – ECLIPSE (CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
STEFAN FUNCK – SO FAR SO GOOD (CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
TONFALL – 2012 (CDR by Attenuation Circuit) *
SAMM BENNETT & ALFRED 23 HARTH & CARL STONE & KAZUHISA UCHIHASHI – THE EXPATS (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions) *
FOSSILS – BELLS AND GULLS (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions) *
MARCUS RUBIO & BILL SHUTE – ONLY THE IMPRINT OF AN ECHO REMAINS (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions) *
PROCEEDINGS (compilation CDR by Sqrt Label)
THE INFANT CYCLE/THE ANCIENT TAPES OF INDU MEZU – IN BETWEEN AND IN BOTH SIDES IN THE SAME TIME (CDR by Cold Graey)
INSTANT MOVIE COMBINATIONS – SEE THE TRAVELLERS SADLY WALKING IN EVER MIST (CDR by Cold Graey) *
STPOCOLD – WHAT HAPPENED OUTSIDE (CDR by Cold Graey) *
THE CLOSED CIRCUIT – THE DIGNITY OF LABOUR VOL. 2 (CDR by Klappstuhl Records) *
SOLANACEAE TAU – OUTDOOR EXPRESSIONS  (CDR by Klappstuhl Records) *
LUGOZI – THERE IS STRONG SHADOW WHERE THERE IS MUCH LIGHT (CDR by Mik Musik) *
3+ – YOUR SMALL STORY (CDR by Twice Removed) *
EXIT TO EXISTS & CREATION VI – ANTIGRAVITY (CDR by Twice Removed) *
SIMON WHETHAM & SLAVEK KWI – EXCHANGES ACROSS A DINNER TABLE (double 3″CDR by Tentacles Of Perception Recordings) *
SONM (compilation CDR by Sonm)
DREAM WORLDS – COLD BLACK RAGAS FOR LOVE OF ALL FORMS (3″CDR by Kimberly Dawn)
ABYSSAL FARMERS – FIND A NAME TO CALL ME (3″CDR by Kimberly Dawn)
COYOTE IMAGE MEDICINALS – COYOTE IMAGE MEDICINALS (3″CDR by Kimberly Dawn)
TASOS STAMOU – THE RETURN OF THE LONG LOST ONE (3″CDR by Orila) *
DANIEL SPICER – VOICE STUDIES (cassette by My Dance The Skull)
LEIF ELGGREN/JOHN MOLONEY – STREAM OF UNCONSCIOUS VOL. 9 (cassette by Stand-Up Tragedy Records)

listen

tracklist for Vital Weekly 875:

0000 Tune
0014 The Closed Circuit – Einsparpotential
0310 Solanaceae Tau – Tanks Of Xiao Ping
0619 Re-Drum – A Moon Piece
0920 3+ – Reciter (Sunset Of Sollow)
1229 Lugozi – Nic
1533 Marcus Rubio & Bill Shute – Only The Imprint Of An Echo Remains
1834 Stefan Funck – So Far So Good
2139 Exit To Exist & Creation VI- You Will Dissolve In The Airlove
2441 Bennett & Stone & Harth & Uchihashi – Eschew Obfuscation, Espuse Elucidation
2741 Tasos Stamou – The Return Of The Long Lost One 1
3006 Slavek Kwi & Simon Whetham
3308 Instant Movie Combinations – Jungle Book
3608 Fossils
3909 Stpocold – The Way I Like It
4207 Tune
OLIVIER DI PLACIDO & SEC_ – RAINBOW GROTESQUE (LP by Bocian Records)
In the current wave of Italian’s finest improvisation musicians SEC_ is surely at the forefront of that scene. He had a solo release on Bocian Records only recently (see Vital Weekly 864), but now Mimmo Napolitano teams up with Olivier Di Placido, of whom I never heard. He plays ‘prepared guitar with moving neck and unfixed pickup’, whereas SEC_ takes credit for revox tape recorder, no-input feedback manipulated on tape, field recordings and samples. The whole thing was recorded in Berlin and Naples between 2011 and 2012, but I’m not sure if this is a collaboration through mail or through meeting in person. Somehow I think it’s the latter. This is another work of the modern – read: 2013 – version of of improvisation. Loud, noisy, careful and thoughtful. It may open up in a heavy mode, with ‘Rain’, but don’t let this deceive you. These two man will take for you for a bumpy ride across some uneven terrain here. The music hisses, cracks, bumps, collides, is smeared out, silent and loud throughout these forty or so minutes. The improvisations have been edited down, spliced away, trimmed and expanded and sound nicely analogue. Like so many of the works SEC_ is involved in, it’s a bit of everything, or perhaps a lot of everything. He blurs the boundaries of all those genres which we all need to hold on to, and creates through his editing process an excellent journey in sound. Wild and vivid! Here with some more emphasis on the the guitar of Di Placido obviously but, by and large, it moves in the same boat as SEC_ solo does. Fine stuff indeed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bocianrecords.com

YONG YANDSEN – DISILLUSION (LP by Doubtful Sounds)
PALI MEURSAULT – OFFSET (LP by Doubtful Sounds)
As I was watching two groups in a row made out of drums and saxophones, both in the free jazz style, last friday, I was thinking about the whole genre of free jazz. For one it seems hard to find something new in that style, no matter how hard you blow down that tube or hit those cans, but also I thought – but perhaps that was just friday – there is a certain element of machismo in free jazz. ‘See how hard I blow down the sax’ vs ‘how hard to hit the drums’. Perhaps an interesting subject for a study? I was thinking again today about this, listening to the solo tenor saxophone record by Yong Yandsen, from Kuala Lumpur. He’s a member of Emacm/Sickl, two collectives promoting avant-garde and experimental music in Malaysia. At first he played the guitar but turned to the tenor saxophone later on. Over a period of two years he recorded these pieces, between 2009 and 2011. ‘Free tenor sax with strong breath’ is what the label says, and who am I to disagree? References are made to Albert Ayler, Kaoru Abe and Masayoshi Urabe, but obviously (?) I am lost there a bit, as these are not names I am too familiar with – well, Ayler I know of course. Strong breath indeed here, as Yandsen seems to be using quite some force in his music. My knowledge of the free jazz genre is limited, but I must say, on a monday afternoon, at home, I am not distracted by such thoughts as I had earlier and I quite enjoyed this. Highly free music, very jazz, and yet even for someone as me, mildly interested, quite enjoyable.
The other new release on Doubtful Sounds is something entirely different. Pali Meursault is always hunting for sound in fine field recorder fashion, and as such he recorded two different printing facilities, in Grenoble and Paris, to create music with these recordings. Music with the sounds of machinery is nothing new, but hey, we are celebrating 100 years of the ‘Art Of Noise’ manifesto, so why not another one. Maybe it’s good to note on this occasion that Vivenza, one of the best known composers of machine sounds, actually never did record machines, but rather played his EMS synths. I always enjoy the sounds of real machinery, I must admit. Perhaps because all things mechanical and all things minimal are special to me, the element of repetition, in which, the better you listen, the more you will hear. On one side, Meursault uses shorter, cleaner cuts of his recordings, while in the two pieces on the b-side they are combined together, and Meursault seems to be adding sound effects to the pieces. The whole idea is to see when machine sounds become music, and I think that is fairly quick – I am biased, since I love machine sounds. Compelling, hypnotic, both in the naked state as well as in their more dressed versions. Two different sides, but both sound great, with a clear defined character of their own. Now this is very much like something I  like very much! (FdW)
Address: http://doubtfulsounds.info

K2 – VARIATION: PIANOISE (7” by Dead Mind Records)
ASTRO – DEFORMATION RECEIVER (7” by Dead Mind Records)
KAZUMOTO ENDO & KAZUMA KUBOTA – GYOEN BEDIENINGSHENDEL (7” by Dead Mind Records)
Dead Mind is a Dutch label with a wonderful and well-documented penchant for the early noise scene. Seriously, one sideways glance at the track listing for their 2010 Penus Rectus compilation reveals a litany of nineties-noises I didn’t realize were still making a racket: Smell & Quim, Prurient, Aube, Macronympha, and Pain Jerk are but a few names worth mentioning. With 2013 they’ve dropped a trio of singles from members of the Japanoise scene, an sound island they’ve visited several times in the past.
Kusafuka Kimihide’s K2 project converts the sounds of a grand piano into a pulpy mess of abrasive noise on ‘Variation: Pianoise.’ With his fiendish armament of feedback machinery and effects devices, as well as a trained ear for the absolutely blaring, Kimihide whiles away this slick seven-inch desecrating his source material. The real story here is the juxtaposition between the hushed tones of the piano and the razor’s edge of his evil implements of noise generation: there is nothing remotely pleasant or melodic to behold; instead, his motivation is entirely destructive. The two sides of this single are in some way interchangeable, although “Expansive Piano” is a smidgen more fretful, a tetchy Kimihide navigating its turns with expert imprecision.
Astro’s ‘Deformation Receiver,’ decked in cloudy gray cityscapes, sees another weathered veteran propel abuse at his listeners. This time around there are no overtures towards concept art; instead Hiroshi Hasegawa reaches straight for the trachea with his screechy brand of harsh. There really is nothing quite like a noisester in his third decade of activity… there is a massiveness to this sound that is lost on many of the fledgling noise acts of today. Consider the heft of “Hurricane Crash,” in which curlicues of metallic shrapnel creak out of a thick, static background. “Deformation Receiver,” meanwhile, evokes a video game where the protagonist is summarily dropped into a deadly pit with each new game. Arising from the void, the squelchy electric noise-blade swings juicily, over and over, continually peppered by a miasma of shit. There is no escape from the evisceration that awaits you, Super Mario.
Lastly, ‘Gyoen Bedieningshendel’ (which translates miserably to something about a joystick) weaves the efforts of yet ANOTHER Japanese noise vet, Kazumoto Endo (formerly Killer Bug) with those of a relative newcomer, Kazuma Kubota. Their particular odour of noise is segregated into brief little pockets of spastic noise, each punctuated by a momentary spell of silence. In a world of hour-long harsh noise walls, folks like Endo and Kubota (and the globule of sound artists with similar philosophies, incl. Cock E.S.P. & my dear faves The Gerogerigegege) provide necessary counterpoint. After all, an hour-long harsh noise wall exponentially loses its effect after minute number two, but when each snippet is ten seconds in length, there is no opportunity to acclimate. Instead, each harsh spike seems to explode out of the negative space with a desperate eagerness to disrupt the peace, as if to say, “Fuck you, fuck your fat face, and fuck your stupid herbal tea. This here’s Endo and Kubota territory.” Needless to say, the record is sublime. (MT)
Address: http://www.blutistzeit.nl

PULSATING CYST – HORRIBLE SIGNAL (7” by Obfuscated Records)
CIRCUIT WOUND – PATIENCE WEARS THIN (CDR by Obfuscated Records)
BIFURCATED CITHARA ORCIN – STANCHENZZA (CD by Obfuscated Records)
Obfuscated Records’ mysterious top dog Adrian Obfuscated brings to his releases a seriousness (and willingness to invest financially) that isn’t always typical of noise labels. If we’re to accept vinyl and professionally pressed CD releases as barometers of experimental-label clout – a fairly effective metric, actually – then Obfuscated makes the grade on several accounts. This batch features both.
First up is the biggest treat of all, at least from an aesthetic standpoint. Pulsating Cyst’s ‘Horrible Signal’ single comes on glow-in-the-dark vinyl. I kid you not: seems Jack White’s not the only one with his eye on the absurd/awesome novelty vinyl market. But enough about the luminescence; what about that horrible signal we’ve heard so much about? Well, despite all the build-up, Pulsating Cyst’s glowing disc turns out to be a somewhat restrained affair. If, like me, the image of an oozing, fluctuating ball of tissue and serous fluid seemed to portend a vile exercise in harsh noise, prepare to be surprised! On the A-side, a trudging bass pulse forms the rumbling woodwork beneath a matrix of intersecting star-trails and scuffed digital scuzz, eventually collapsing into a dysphagic locked groove. The flipside kicks up the sci-fi quotient. “Monster” is home to a architecture of industrial sound buffeted by the booty-bouncing bass bump from a tape-recorder lodged in the earth six feet below a rave. “Broadcast,” meanwhile, converts a muddied cacophony of incidental sounds into a titillating mini-opus (before predictably tumbling into another locked groove). A good use of glow-in-the-dark vinyl, if you ask me.
Circuit Wound is the handle by which guitarist/electronics-maven Jay Howard leaks his brand of sound onto the populace, his first exploits appearing over ten years ago. Patience Wears Thin no doubt refers to the major transition that occurs fifteen minutes into this single-track album, where a rich, looming drone texture is supplanted by an impatient retch of noise. The change doesn’t occur without warning: there seems to be a minute or so of swelling tetchiness before Howard takes the full plunge into his geyser of harsh noise. But it still catches one off guard… after twelve minutes of effulgent guitar tones and haunted-circus reverberation, a fat, gristly maw of noise is no bag of giggles. And it’s an impressive racket, at that; Howard doesn’t let up on the pedals, approximating the experience of having your head strapped to a carburetor. Over the final ten minutes, he steps off the gas, spritzing in some fidgety tomfoolery before retreating into the soothing fog of the drone. Taken as a single composition, it’s an unpredictable but subtly cohesive piece. This conceptual unity is affirmed by a consistency of tone – here a bleak but somehow understated one – that many noise records lack.
Big City Orchestra (here billed – why not? – as Bifurcated Cithara Orcin) is the ever-morphing sonic entity out of San Francisco that’s been lecherously fondling the hometaper scene for decades. Like anyone who’s ever bought anything from a DIY label, I’ve encountered their distinct brand of odd in the past, most recently on a tiny 2009 tape release, ‘Ymiz,’ put out by the now-defunct Agharta label out of Lithuania. One thing I especially dig is their fervently inclusive message: their list of former members encompasses an extensive smörgåsbord of varied soundsmiths, and they have a well-documented willingness to issue their releases on small, otherwise unestablished labels (in addition to several linchpin imprints of the 80s/90s tape-trading scene). The joy of each BCO record stems from its utter unpredictability; never content to settle for mere noise, they skitter eagerly from hand-sewn sound collages to tape loop diversions to wispy miasmas of droning miscellany. ‘Stanchenzza’ is more of the same from the reliable troupe, this time scraped down to a mere quintet. Expansive “Dirt Road to Cliff” and “Klangend” busy themselves with forlorn, droning textures, both of them paralyzing in their glowing impressions of infinity. They steal the show somewhat, but the second half of the album has its share of pleasures, too: the flimsy rhythmics on “Opium” are a welcome textural diversion, while relative shortie “Pixied” has its foundation in loops and found sounds, much in line with the aesthetic propagated on dusty old tapes in the mid-eighties. On ‘Stanchenzza,’ as always, BCO stirs their unique playfulness into each abstract composition. The final product is a treat. (MT)
Address: http://obfuscatedrecords.com/

RE-DRUM – ECLIPSE (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
STEFAN FUNCK – SO FAR SO GOOD (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)
TONFALL – 2012 (CDR by Attenuation Circuit)S
Another trio of releases on the Attenuation Circuit label which are all done by people I never heard of. For instance Pavel Aleshin, who works as Re-Drum. This is my first encounter, but he has previous releases, which are at times ‘particular scary’, to quote the press text, but here the ‘overall feel is one of warmth and calm contemplation’. I am not sure how Re-Drum creates his music nor why he choose that name. His music is not about any sort of drum sound, but rather all about drones and ambience. Again according to the information it has to do with ‘sampled acoustic instruments and indecipherable ambient noises’. Not that I recognized any of those acoustic instruments, as they have been heavily treated in the process of sampling. The end result is no surprise if the world of ambient and drone has no secrets for you. Four lengthy sturdy cuts of finer minimalist movements, all firmly rooted, I think, in the world of digital sound processing. Nothing scary indeed, but not always on a relaxing note either, but it depends, I guess, on the volume you use at home to play this. Music that easily, when played at a normal volume, could fill your space with warmth and depth, and as such the perfect kind of ambient music. Music that isn’t too demanding yet also not disposable, like muzak. Exactly like Brian Eno would have wanted such things. Nice music indeed!
Stefan Funck – in which funck doesn’t equal funk but transmission, and no doubt his is real name – uses synthesizers and software, along with found sound and field recordings. I have no idea about any of his previous releases. Here too we tap into the world of ambient music, but it’s a bit of a different world than that of Re-Drum. Whereas the Russian take is more through ‘conventional’ plug ins and sound devices in order to present a more smoothened version of ambient music, Funck’s work owes more to sound art. It also works on an entirely different dynamic level. Whereas with Re-Drum it stays more or less on the same dynamic level, here it’s at times getting close to being inaudible and very deep end versus very high end. Some of the sound sources can be recognized, such as the ping pong at around forty minutes. This sixty-two minute piece is a very nice piece, in as much that this is all less about relaxing and more about listening. Here we find, occasionally, the influence of say Roel Meelkop (later work) or Marc Behrens (earlier work), but Funck has enough of his own to create something that works quite well. An intense piece with some great moves, and it works almost like a radio play, but without any words. With Re-drum you can sit back and read a book; with Funck you lie down and listen. That’s the difference. Both releases are great, both are ambient, yet both are also quite different.
The last release is alike that other, recent, release on the same label, the Noise Factory 2011 release, but then in another part of Germany. The idea is similar: people meet up in a two-day retreat in the countryside, and play together to create some new music. The members vary. In the 2012 version we find in Tonfall Birgit Merk/Eljara (vocals), Narc Fischer (guitar, synthesizer, percussion), Emanuela Ströber (percussion), Ralph Patrick Kopfmüller (guitar), Tommy Schmidt (guitar, synthesizer), Gerald Fiebig (samples, electronics) and Emerge (drones, concrete noises). Here it’s, unlike Noise Factory, all less about using concrete acoustic objects to produce music, but rather the attempts of getting some form of song together, through means of improvisation. Here I went scratching my head: what to make of this, if anything at all? It is indeed improvised, and there is an attempt of getting somewhere near a song, although not early Cure (‘believe it or not’ as the label suggests), but yeah, maybe ‘whiffs of the more subdued side of Swans’ indeed. They improvise all along some guitar notes and throughout it’s indeed rather subdued. But for the outsider – which the reviewer usually is – it’s hard to grasp the nature of this. Maybe he wishes for a producer to make decisions. ‘This is what we do with this song’, and perhaps we want to hear a finished song rather than a forty-five minute attempt of (not) getting there. Unless of course half a finished song with lengthy parts still in jamming stages is up your alley. (FdW)
Address: http://www.attenuationcircuit.de

SAMM BENNETT & ALFRED 23 HARTH & CARL STONE & KAZUHISA UCHIHASHI – THE EXPATS (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions)
FOSSILS – BELLS AND GULLS (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions)
MARCUS RUBIO & BILL SHUTE – ONLY THE IMPRINT OF AN ECHO REMAINS (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions)
A trio of new releases on Kendra Steiner Editions out of Texas. I always quite enjoy the musical part of their releases, but I think their covers could be a better, in stead of this generic look. The first release is a live recording from Tokyo 2010 of a quartet of players, Alfred 23 Harth (reeds, kaoss pad, dojirak, samples & voice), Carl Stone (computer, max/msp, voice, samples), Kazuhisa Uchihashi (electric guitar, daxophone) and Samm Bennett (diddley bow, mouth bow, voice and gadgets). Music that is obviously improvised on the spot, but edited by Stone later on. A nervous hectic but not too fast playing of a multitude of sounds which bump and collide, rather than smoothly working together. There is a lot of tension in this music, culminating in an uneasy marriage of acoustic sounds – the various wind instruments used here – and Stone’s computerized craziness. Quite vivid almost all of the time, and with the listener leaving, grasping for breath. Not always an easy marriage, but actually quite nice, even when things get a bit too jazzy for my liking.
Fossils, the duo of Daniel Farr and David Payne, not only expand their operations beyond their own label, but also become musically more and more interesting. Here we have two pieces, totaling around seventeen minutes, of their improvisations on piano and accordion, which seems a first for me to experience them playing that, and then three further explorations of that material by Farr and four by Payne. This moves away from the wild fury of their older work, yet the lo-fi aspect of their music remains, certainly when it comes to the two original pieces, later used as sources. Here it’s quite pushed away which is a pity since better recording would show a bit more depth to whatever is going on. There is, I think, a fair amount of electronics used also. It’s all rather subdued and nice. As reworkers I think there is a bit too learn for both. They use the obvious techniques of looping their material around, time stretching (Farr), or obscuring it further by even more lo-fi techniques such as dictaphone re-recording (Payne) to make things a bit more noisy, but never too much, which is of course always good. While there is lots to be noted about this, the best thing remains that Fossils is quickly moving away from the more rockist noise free improv agenda and onto new directions, which will no doubt be explored more in depth soon.
The final release is by the for me unknown Marcus Rubio and Bill Shute. Voice is here the main thing. There are three spoken word tracks by Shute, which serve as sound material for Rubio’s compositions. Shute reads his text slow and peaceful, without anything else. It works well to play them in between the music pieces, although I can imagine you would want to hear just the music or just the poems. The music is made by using the voice material and take them to granular synthesis, spectral reduction and the Kaoss pad. Rubio builds quite nice pieces of electro-acoustic music, collage like and strong. Time stretching is never far away in these pieces, of course I should think, which is perhaps something one can easily have enough off, but Rubio incorporates that in whatever else he’s doing in these pieces. The title piece for instance is a subtle layered pieces of breathing – it seems – rather than words and in ‘New Vessel’ he uses vocoders and sound like Laurie Anderson’s earlier works. Quite a poetic release, in which poetry and music fit together pretty well, I think. For later at night, with a glass of fine wine. (FdW)
Address: http://kendrasteinereditions.wordpress.com

PROCEEDINGS (compilation CDR by Sqrt Label)
Has it only been a whole week when I wrote: “Oh, did I ever mention that I don’t like reviewing compilations, of any kind? Probably I didn’t, as I am still probably hearing at least two or three a week”. I really hope one day all those labels realize that’s almost pointless to send me compilations. And certainly of the likes like ‘Proceedings’. Five bands/projects, total length thirty five minutes. One name I recognized, Lukasz Ciszak, who operates the Sqrt label. Four new bands. Just so, I wondered, what? “More details on the album website” leads to “This CD is a compilation of tracks by ambient, noise and improvising artists who frequently shared scenes in 2012″. Which is all there is. We have the free rock rumble of Hun, followed by the very quiet improvisation on guitar and a keyboard of Artur Ruminski, the exploration of dynamic sound by Sleep Sessions (nightmare inducing to some, when he hits the noise button) and then the guitar strumming by Ciszak himself, which is a gentle wall of noise. Arrm concludes the proceedings with more guitar, lots of reverb, and somewhere half way through a solitary drone and lonesome blues. Nice music for sure, which sounds a bit like a tour CD – either those sold on the road or indeed a documentation of a tour – but either way: what if you missed those concerts? How much does the music for you then? That is a bit hard to say. (FdW)
Address: http://sqrt-label.org

THE INFANT CYCLE/THE ANCIENT TAPES OF INDU MEZU – IN BETWEEN AND IN BOTH SIDES IN THE SAME TIME (CDR by Cold Graey)
INSTANT MOVIE COMBINATIONS – SEE THE TRAVELLERS SADLY WALKING IN EVER MIST (CDR by Cold Graey)
STPOCOLD – WHAT HAPPENED OUTSIDE (CDR by Cold Graey)
Three tapes, all the way it seems from Novosibirsk, but not exclusively with musicians from Russia. The first one is a collaboration between Jim DeJong’s Infant Cycle project and The Ancient Tapes Of Indu Mezu, which I thought was a funny name. The cover details extensively what each brought to the table, in terms of sound sources (‘strange unpredictable noises that Alesis USB interface makes when Mac G4 is in sleep mode’ and ‘an old computer reel from a wardrobe-sized ones. Stolen at the secret Soviet aircraft plant. The tape was about 4 times wider than cassette player head so it was pressed and regulated by hands and sometimes passed manually’) and processing techniques, which seem to involve only cassettes, mini discs, DAT and a hard drive. No additional sound material was added here. The Infant Cycle has one piece of ten minutes, The Ancient Tapes Of Indu Mezu has two which last thirteen minutes. Maybe it’s because I am thinking of all this computer reel stuff and unpredictable noises, and perhaps this makes it clouded for me, but indeed it sounds all rather mysterious. In ‘GBVoiceinsect’ by The Infant Cycle it seems as if we tapped into the FSB (that’s KGB for you cold wars) central command and listening to a multitude of voices on their number stations. But reception is not that well, and it cuts in and out, along with deep atmospheric disturbance. No voices in the material by Indu Mezu, but here the surveillance equipment’s malfunctions are put to good use and by leaking nuclear waste into them them, the level of alienation comes quickly. A somewhat crude of modern electronics, not too well recorded but that’s part of the esthetic of this I guess. Nice!
The release by Instant Movie Combinations doesn’t reveal much as such, and for some odd reason three titles are listed on the cover, while on a separate handwritten two additional tracks are listed ‘not for use with the main part’. At first I believed this to be an extra service for the reviewer, but I see they are also listed on the website. The three ‘official’ (?) tracks last twenty-one minutes whereas the two ‘additional’ pieces last each that length. Curious indeed. There is no information about the band/project on the cover/website, or about the instruments or recording. Always the more difficult thing, but Instant Movie Combinations deal with drone music. At my best guess I should think it’s blend of electronics and organ like sounds set to an unchanging stand still or slow rotation. It starts, plays and stops and whatever happens in between isn’t essentially different from any part of the song. I was thinking wether it makes a real difference if a song is seven or twenty minutes and came to the conclusion it doesn’t. Yes, that leaves some room for thought, I would think.
According to the label’s website, the release by Stpocold is already sold out. It also listed an old website on the cover, so I am not entirely sure why this needed promotion – hold on, that the cover really say 2007? Six years ago? Didn’t we say nothing older than six months? Stpocold is quite a noisy beats, erm beast with beats occasionally, some piercing synths and a vocoder running the vocal, if ever there is one. It ends with ‘Sick In Your Mind’, not by De Brassers but the The Klinik, and that perhaps gives you sense of direction too where to place Stpocold. Angry music, by people dressed in black and with their fists raised. But for all I know, based on the other two releases, this might be the label’s old sound. (FdW)
Address: http://www.coldgraey.com

THE CLOSED CIRCUIT – THE DIGNITY OF LABOUR VOL. 2 (CDR by Klappstuhl Records)
SOLANACEAE TAU – OUTDOOR EXPRESSIONS  (CDR by Klappstuhl Records)
If you hear the The Human League and you start humming ‘Don’t You Want Me’ you should really try to get your hands at their 12″ called ‘The Dignity Of Labour’, a bit earlier in their career. Great electro music, all instrumental. Martyn Ware was a member of The Human League and later of Heaven 17, and here we have The Closed Circuit being one Martyn 17 and with a CDR release of the same name as the 12″ by The Human League. Inspired or grand theft? Of course a lot has happened since 1978, and especially the dance music that started to make big waves a decade later is an inspiration here too. I have no idea who this Martyn 17 is or what his game is, but here we have six pieces recorded in 2001 of minimalist techno material, that sounds like an updated version of original, early Human League sound from 1978. A strong sense of rhythm drives this all forward, with the synths and effects being ornamental rather than instrumental. Bouncing stuff, mid-tempo. Music to walk by, rather than to dance to I think. I can easily envisage you talking a long good walk to this kind of music rather than sitting back at home. Then it may come across as a bit too single minded, but walking, driving, this is a great push forward. A bit low on the melodies but nicely heavy on the rhythm.
By 1990 I was getting more and more out of the whole cassette scene, so yes, I do know the name Solanaceae Tau, but was I very much aware of their music? I don’t think. What I hear now at least doesn’t compare with anything I would remember. Solanaceae Tau were a trio of Jason Fretz on guitar, Katmaina on vocals and verbals and Axaxaxs on syncussion, tapes and electronics. Music of which the cement is the rhythm machine too, but with distorted guitars and that typical vocal from the underground music scene: I can’t sing, but I tried and it ends up as speaking/shouting – a bit monotone but hey the intention is good. Here’s not difficult to recognize such influences as Algebra Suicide or early Attrition, but Solanaceae Tau are a bit meaner, a bit more radical, especially in the way the guitar is used, although sometimes pushed to the background. Driven by rhythm, this is all highly elektro-with-guitar and with a distinct lo-fi production, like so many others from years, but which sounds in this ‘pop’ like context a bit as a miss these days. Of course nowadays it’s easier to do a warmer production of this kind of music, but perhaps this late cold war music reflects also a bit of it’s time? I must admit it’s not entirely my kind of ‘old’ music. Especially the voice is a bit of a problem for me, a bit too flat and maybe a bit too whiny? The music sounds actually pretty much alright, with its stomping beats and piercing synths. If the recently resurrected Nostalgie Eternelle is up your street, then it’s time you discovered this too! (FdW)
Address: <klappstuhl.records@framed-dimension.de>

LUGOZI – THERE IS STRONG SHADOW WHERE THERE IS MUCH LIGHT (CDR by Mik Musik)
Lukasz Dziedzic is Lugozi and he works ‘with audio and video’, has his own gallery and is co-founder of Paracetamol vs KSZ. He did a couple of tracks on compilations and ‘several singles’ (which might be these days two short tracks on bandcamp, for all we know) and here is his debut album, albeit in a rather limited edition. Lugozi plays electronics and sings, while processing and looping his voice in real time. Mik Musik casually drops ‘hop hop’, ‘improvised electronics’ and ‘synth pop’ in their press text and the word ‘dark’ is also never far away. Actually this is not far apart from Solanaceae Tau, less the guitar, reviewed elsewhere, but then recorded in very recent years. That’s easily be heard in the way the electronics are recorded: with sonic depth and not a bit thin. As said, no guitars here for this man, but the way he uses his voice is very much like Solanaceae Tau uses it, a male version of it. A bit monotonous also, speaking rather than singing, and occasionally a bit out of tune. That makes this also not really my kind of music. Zu Dunkel Jungs – too dark boys – for my taste I guess. Lugozi take on dark wave is technically better than Solanaceae Tau but it doesn’t do that much for me. Just ain’t my sipping tea this kind of music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.mikmusik.org

3+ – YOUR SMALL STORY (CDR by Twice Removed)
EXIT TO EXISTS & CREATION VI – ANTIGRAVITY (CDR by Twice Removed)
The cover for 3+ lists Masashi Shiraishi with credits for song, mix, arrangement, program, acoustic guitar and ‘g.gt’ (which kind of kind of guitar I couldn’t figure out), and then a whole bunch of people with likewise curious instruments such as E.ba and E.Vn, of which the first might be bass. Moskitoo (perhaps known from his releases on 12K) adds voice material in one place, and electronic noise material in another piece. The pieces here were recorded over the period 2001 to 2013, but oddly enough sound strangely coherent. One could say, perhaps, that there hasn’t been much development in those years (although I readily admit this is the first I hear from 3+, who had releases on Studio C+ and Ttb Studio, so perhaps I missed out on any other developments) or one could argue he very much holds to what he does best. That is perhaps for the fans to answer. The music is very Japanese in a sort of a mellow/pop/microsound/warm/glitch/ambient way. Fine deep end bass thump, tinkling of guitars and glockenspiel like sounds (maybe chimes), string sounds and maybe bits of field recordings are thrown in, all along with some microscopic digital sound processing here and there, which makes it a bit odd occasionally. The main emphasis is however on the use of acoustic guitar, which is the most important instrument on all of these tracks. Crispy, delicate music with a nice overall sense of warmth. Perhaps not something you haven’t heard before, but this would have been nicely in place on 12K, I should think.
And perhaps you would have a similar thought with the release of Creation VI from the Ukraine and Exit To Exists from Belarus. The latter is a member of Nemertis, and the first has had releases on Dronarivm and Cae-sur-a. All I must admit unknown for me. Here we have some harder to define instruments – guitars is my best guess, lots of electronics for sure, but perhaps also synthesizers, other string instruments or even field recordings. The excess use of sound effects is what makes this hard to define. Maybe the over-use of the delay creates a muddy atmospheric sound – like being sucked into a swamp at night. Dark, mysterious – although we know what’s going to happen, so how much mystery is there? – and foggy. It’s that sort of images that this music evokes with this particular listener, who was thinking for some odd reason of the word ‘shoegazing’. No drums, no vocals, but lots of fuzzy guitar sounds. He also thought that is he was older he would no doubt think of psychedelic music. Like said this is all pretty much alright, and if you seek something new, you may not find it here. If you seek a desolate misty soundtrack, then it’s here, in four long parts. (FdW)
Address: http://www.twiceremovedrecords.blogspot.com

SIMON WHETHAM & SLAVEK KWI – EXCHANGES ACROSS A DINNER TABLE (double 3″CDR by Tentacles Of Perception Recordings)
SONM (compilation CDR by Sonm)
It’s a bit hard to figure out which disc is what here, but it’s work here that involves both on both pieces. It started out in 2008 when they met up in Mamori, somewhere in the middle of Amazon rainforest, and I assume both were there to record sounds. Back home there was more discussion and more discussion, which lead to an audio piece by both and then these were exchanged and worked upon further. A process of many years and the press release nicely compares this with a chess game in which it sometimes takes a long time to make the next move. These pieces here are the last two standing. Perhaps I wrongly expected lots of insect and animal sounds on this release, but such is not really the case. They are there for sure, but there are also lots of other sounds to be found here and by no means is this a work of just field recordings. All of these recordings, where they were sourced, are melted together to make up two wonderful pieces of music based on the sounds of nature, rather than just nature sounds. I have no idea who is responsible for this, but I suspect Kwi to do that. Whetham is more our man of a stricter approach when it comes to handling the source material, but through the use of sound effects, recordings of instruments and such like, along with montage techniques they create some great story like music. Almost radioplay like, but without the use of voices. Sometimes we recognize some sounds and these are points of navigation here. Great music release. But that’s hardly an odd thing when it comes to these composers.
Which brings me to the other release, also send down here by Slavek Kwi. I should and do be applauding the Sonm, which is a fonoteque in Murcia, Spain, dealing with sound art and experimental music, all very much what this weekly brings you. It’s probably a great place, to which I should really go when I am in town, but the odds of that are not likely to happen, since I ran into a little financial matter with the Sonm. I am pretty sure I won’t be invited to play there, or do an installation, which is what these thirteen people have been doing that we find on this compilation CD. That’s a pity, because as a trained historian I love archives. Much of what they have can be heard online through streaming audio, and some of that you could have read about in Vital Weekly. Oh, and of course, reviewing compilations is not my favorite way of spending time. As said, on this compilation we find people who have been playing a concert or who done an installation. Many usual suspects here: Antonio Garcia, Chop Shop, Dario Moratilla, Eric La Casa, G*Park, Jean Luc Guionnet, Modulate, Pe Lang, Ruben Garcia, Slavek Kwi, Tez, Victor Nubla and Xabier Erkizia – in running order and without a particular favorite and no real surprises. Lots of field recordings, with Modulate being the odd ball out with his minimalist electronics. Nice package too. (FdW)
Address: http://www.artificialmemorytrace.com
Address: http://sonm.es

DREAM WORLDS – COLD BLACK RAGAS FOR LOVE OF ALL FORMS (3″CDR by Kimberly Dawn)
ABYSSAL FARMERS – FIND A NAME TO CALL ME (3″CDR by Kimberly Dawn)
COYOTE IMAGE MEDICINALS – COYOTE IMAGE MEDICINALS (3″CDR by Kimberly Dawn)
Kimberly Dawn is an admirably active label run by Frank Baugh, who really digs the three-inch CDR format. As I pored through his recent batch, I came to appreciate his perspective: these slim little discs are less expensive to ship than clunky cassettes are, and they enforce a twenty-ish minute limit on each artist to make a finite statement. No more eight-hour drone “trips” (with apologies to Robert Rich): find your texture and carry it to its logical conclusion. I like it.
On the back of his ‘Cold Black Ragas’ mini-CDR, Dream Worlds’ Dylan Simon announces that his EP is intended for “meditation and astral projection.” I ask you: how many records from the Enigma-worshiping killer-zone-out-jamz scene AREN’T intended for meditation and astral projection? That’s right; very few. But that fact should be no deterrent here. With two compositions to toy with, Simon’s ragas take two distinct forms. “Spherical Sundering” – which refers, of course, to that ancient art of cracking spheres in half – was constructed using a classic EML 101 synth. It employs a repeated pattern that sounds like a capacitor continually charging and discharging, a sequence that shifts in timbre over the track’s duration as the nuances of the background seethe and contort. It’s vaguely ominous in spirit, whereas mouthful “Gateway to the Four Distinct Energy Platforms,” which was presumably snagged from an advanced physics textbook, exudes more of a faeries-and-talking-owls vibe. It’s also more distinctly human in nature, starring hurdy-gurdy and Farfisa organ as its dueling amigos. As the track progresses, the cycling hurdy-gurdy progression does eke towards stridency (surprise, surprise), but in tandem with the languid Farfisa drone a stirring trance is induced.
Abyssal Farmers is the project of Kimberly Dawn head Frank Baugh and veteran Uton member Jani Hirvonen. ‘Find a Name to Call Me’ is just their second release, following a cassette on tape juggernaut Avant Archive last year. While the three tracks on this tiny disc are amorphous in design, they translate as distinct songs. To this end, each employs an amalgam of electronic and conventional instrumentation, and each seems to follow a calculated compositional progression. The centrepiece is the continually metamorphosing forest-drone of “Spring to Form,” a sublime twelve minutes that traverses mixed emotional terrain: nervous tension, melancholy, hope, listlessness… you name it. Amidst a shifting textural patchwork, miniature sprigs of melody peek out from the haze – at times worming towards the early-morning glare of late-nineties post-rock. With “Rousseau’s Garden,” Baugh and Hirvonen go balls-out on the nature theme, sparring the artifice of glowing synths against a backdrop of bird chirps as guitar tears drip somberly in the background.
Coyote Image Medicinals, the nebulous project of husband-and-wife duo Grant (Nova Scotian Arms) and Rachel Evans (Motion Sickness Of Time Travel), pool their talents for a lone nineteen-minute drone interval on their self-titled disc. Over much of the track, a bed of guitar leaflets and a lurching bass pulse share the stage with a hollow synth/synth-like instrument. Curiously, none of the three sound sources capture the foreground here; instead, they all resign themselves to an even plane, seeming to drift in and out of frame with a certain anxious energy. Somewhere after the halfway mark, we hear the whir of a tape deck exiting this mortal coil and the tension is relieved, supplanted by a casual mid-day weariness that pulls the disc to its cozy conclusion. It’s a stately excursion from two prolific sound adventurers. (MT)
Address: http://kimdawn.blogspot.com/

TASOS STAMOU – THE RETURN OF THE LONG LOST ONE (3″CDR by Orila)
Stamou’s previous release was ‘Seven Synth Drone Studies’ (see Vital Weekly 837), but this new release is something entirely different. Stamou, now based in London, is both a man for electro-acoustic music but also improvisation and in the big city he has been working with the London Improvisers Orchestra, Evan Parker, Adam Bohman, Valerio Tricoli, Nikos Veliotis and at home he recorded ten pieces, which are to be found on this 3″CDR. Here he uses keyboards, circuit bend toys, violin, prepared zither, manipulated voice and field recordings. Eight pieces are between one and two minutes, one extends beyond that a bit and one is five minutes. There is an interesting ‘directness’ approach to this music. We can easily envisage Stamou sitting behind his table, playing these sounds and picking them with a microphone – straight as it happens, rather than drenched with sound effects or extremely collaged together with the use of field recordings. If you can’t play it with both hands, if it’s more than that, Stamou won’t play it: that seems to be the message here. Very home brew these sounds, but that’s the fun of it, I think. Short and sweet, ten careful tunes, of ‘honest’ (although I dislike that word when it comes to music) music, without make-up, dress up, and played with some fine, great skill. (FdW)
Address: http://orila.net

DANIEL SPICER – VOICE STUDIES (cassette by My Dance The Skull)
LEIF ELGGREN/JOHN MOLONEY – STREAM OF UNCONSCIOUS VOL. 9 (cassette by Stand-Up Tragedy Records)
Here’s two tapes that should have been reviewed earlier. However both of them had the wrong cassette with the wrong cover, or vice versa, so they were kept until it was corrected, and both were received on the same day. I have no idea who Daniel Spicer is, but he plays voice and violin while one Evie Spicer delivers additional percussion on one side, and on the other side the additional sounds are by Stewart Greenwood, Duncan Harrison, Ian Murphy, Dylan Nyoukis, Tom Roberts and again Evie Spicer. One side is for Angus MacLise, the other for Henry Flint. Spicer seems to me a more conventional reciter of sound poetry, repeating the title phrase ‘Let The Body Attend’ along with some other phrases but returning to the main phrase and sounding like a Southern prayer ceremony, along with the rattles of home brew percussion. The additional sounds are on ‘The Diamond Life’ a bit more diverse, quite dense, violin jangle and more ceremony like chanting, with less emphasis on the actual text, and more like prayer set to improvised music. It’s this side which I preferred. Perhaps more music, less poetry, or all around less conventional? The latter I suspect.
Sound poetry, but of a different kind is by Bryan Lewis Saunders, who records his dreams and sends these out for ‘re-mix’ by others. Volume 9 had a copying error, otherwise it would have also been in Vital Weekly 873. Leif Elggren is no stranger to the land of sleep and dreams, having already done a book and CD ‘Zzzz’. His approach is surely the most conceptual for this series. In one channel we hear Saunders’ dreams and sleep sounds, while Elggren is vast asleep in the other channel. Maybe, or maybe not, there is an element of ‘processing’ his sleep sounds, but that is wide open for debate, I think. Moloney is from the ‘big Dayton noise scene’ and uses mainly voice but here also the field recordings of a fire. Saunders’ dream recording seems mostly absent here, oddly enough. Splitting channels seems to be a favorite here too, and there is actually most of the time no voice to be detected here, and the fire recordings are a bit treated so it sounds like rain on a barrel. Quite interesting sound wise, although highly minimal with slow changing sounds, this seems all rather far fetched from the world of Saunders and his captured dreams. This volume is indeed one of the stranger ones from the series so far. (FdW)
Address: http://www.mydancetheskull.com
Address: http://www.bryanlewissaunders.org

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