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Vital Weekly 879

MARC MCNULTY

MARC MCNULTY – IN CELL SURVIVAL (CD by Earphone) *
CHRISTIAN WOLFARTH – ACOUSTIC SOLO PERCUSSION (2CD by Hiddenbell Records) *
JOHNNY CHANG & STEFAN THUT – TWO STRINGS AND BOXES (CD by Flexion Records) *
ARTURAS BUMSTEINAS – SLEEP (AN ATTEMPT AT TRYING) (CD by Bolt) *
JACK O’THE CLOCK – ALL MY FRIENDS (CD, private) *
CHANDAN NARAYAN & JODA CLEMENT & JEFFREY ALLPORT – THE PARTY (CD by Simple Generator) *
THE MEMORY BAND – ON THE CHALK (OUR NAVIGATION OF THE LINE OF THE DOWNS) (CD by Static Caravan) *
R G MORRISON – SLUMBER/SWEETHEART (7″ by Static Caravan)
GRUSKA BABUSKA – GRUSKA BABUSKA USB (usb by Static Caravan) *
SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE/(R) – SHIVERS (7″ by Tourette Records)
MICHEL BANABILA – GARDENING (CDR by Tapu Records) *
JORG (CDR by Esc Rec) *
TOTAL NORMAL – TALES OF THE EXPECTED (CDR by Momental Records) *
MUSIC FOR VOYEURS – THE LONG SLEEP (CDR by Hangman Ho Records) *
I AM A MAN WITH A ST TROPEZ TAN – JUST A GHOST (CDR by Hangman Ho Records) *
THEREMANNEN – THEREMANIA (CDR, private) *
WILT / CROWN OF BONE – NEUROSIS OF ENTHRALLMENT (split CDR by Obfuscated Records)
TASUKETEKUN – ELECTRICAL LESSONS (CDR by Obfuscated Records)
GREGORY BÜTTNER – SCHERENSCHNITT (3″CDR by 1000Füssler) *
ADAM ASNAN – FBFC (3″CDR by 1000Füssler) *
OLAF HOCHHERZ – ROOMS TO CARRY BOOKS THROUGH (3″CDR by 1000Füssler) *
GAEL MOISSONNIER – LIVE AT KNOT GALLERY (3″CDR by Orila) *
CHILDREN’S IMPROVISED MUSIC WORKSHOP (3″CDR by Orila) *
DANIEL WYCHE – A JUDICIOUS OBSERVATION OF THAT DREADFUL PORTENT (cassette by Field Studies)
ZERFALLT – RITUAL SYSTEMS (cassette by Field Studies)
KOMMISSAR HJULER – NO! KOPF (cassette by Knife In The Toaster)
PRAIRIE-LITIÈRE  LOGICAL FIEND  ROTKAPPCHEN KNIRSCHEN KNACKEN  SPLIT (cassette by Autistic Campaign)

listen

tracklist for Vital Weekly 879:

0000 Tune
0014 The Memory Band – As I Walked Over Salisbury Plain
0308 Total Normal – Porca Juno
0547 Jack O’ The Clock – Saturday Afternoon On The Median
0849 Gruska Babuska – Mioaldarkirkja
1158 Jorg – Unsafe
1445 Michel Banabila – Niki Jumpei
1742 Christian Wolfarth – Viril Vortex
2046 Music For Voyeurs – September
2342 Children’s Improvised Music Workshop
2643 Marc McNulty – Backscatter
2946 Theremannen – Bonjour
3248 Arturas Bumsteinas – Slumberparty
3541 Gael Moissonnier – Live At Knot Gallery
3851 Gregory Buttner – Scherenschnitt
4154 I Am A Man With A St Tropez Tan – Breaking
4434 Chandan Narayan & Joda Clement & Jeffrey Allport – The Party
4734 Adam Asnan – FBFC 4
5022 Olf Hochherz -
5326 Johnny Chang & Stefan Thut – Two Strings And Boxes
5634 Tune

MARC MCNULTY – IN CELL SURVIVAL (CD by Earphone)
As early as Vital Weekly 12 we find the name Marc McNulty, who worked then as Photophobia. In the last half of the 90s, McNulty was quite active in the field of long, atmospheric drone pieces. He released works on such long gone labels as Plate Lunch, Isomorphic and later on his own Earphone. After 2000 things got quiet around him, except for a bunch of releases in 2006 (see Vital Weekly 549, 582 and 587) and then it got all quiet again. I have no idea what the reason is for this rather unstable career, but here is another sign of ongoing activity. The cover doesn’t shed much light on what it is that McNulty does, but his website notes this: “… composes using analog and digital systems in a fragmentary manner. He deeply explores digital signal processing and the radio frequency spectrum. Marc’s work includes: data visualization, multi-channel sound installations, microsound, sound diffusions and cinema for the ear.” There are three long pieces on this CD, totaling close to an hour. What goes into the chain of signal processing is a bit unclear, but these might perhaps be field recordings. It then is locked into a chain of generative events, slowly changing shape, color and dimension. Although it’s hardly ‘autopilot’ music – it’s not an excerpt of an ever lasting, always changing algorithm, but composed by a human, for the time needed. Styllistically McNulty stays close to his older musical principles, that of the highly atmospheric music. In ‘Quartermass’ this is quite deep, going back to his earliest work, but in ‘Brisance’ and ‘Backscatter’ it all seems a bit more reduced, and especially ‘Backscatter’ reminded me of the current music of Asmus Tietchens, especially if drones et all are reduced further more and high end bleeps and ticks remain. Excellent stuff, with a fine, dramatic build up, come down and moving along barren ice fields and hot desserts. Ambient industrial music in that ‘Quartermass’, like standing close a steel factory – but not inside the actual factory itself. Great, evocative music. Another most welcome return, and hopefully for a bit longer this time. (FdW)
Address: http://www.earphone.org

CHRISTIAN WOLFARTH – ACOUSTIC SOLO PERCUSSION (2CD by Hiddenbell Records)
This is something I did see coming, a CD issue of the eight pieces that we released on four 7″ records (see for reviews Vital Weekly 687, 706, 744 and 772). I could easily refer to those reviews and skip the entire first CD, but I didn’t. Not only was I curious to hear all the pieces in one flow, I was also keen on hearing them on CD. Of course people will respond to this, but I really do prefer CDs over vinyl – I like a good clean sound, mastered by the best – in this particular case thumbs up to Rashad Becker. To refresh your memory: Christian Wolfarth is a Swiss drummer and percussionist who has played with anyone and anywhere from the world of improvised music. His drum kit is a vast source of many diverse sounds, which he explores on previous CDs, but also on these four 7″ records. Many times he uses bows to play his cymbals to create an excellent form of acoustic sound, or simply using a piece of styrofoam on various skins to create a similar drone like effect. It sounds at times pretty much electronic, but it ain’t so. This has nothing to any form of regular drumming or standard improvisation – half the time you won’t recognize any drums or percussion. More electro-acoustic music than improvisation, even when it’s all recorded in one take. Here on compact disc I must say it has more sonic depth than on vinyl, simply because one isn’t distracted by any crackles and one notes that these eight pieces fit nice together.
Each 7″ is remixed (both A and B side) by one remixer, Gunter Müller (himself no stranger to using drums in a similar drone like way), Joke Lanz (also known as Sudden Infant), Hans Joachim Irmler (of Faust) and Rashad Becker, the master of mastering, but little less known as a musician himself. Each remix also lasts more or less as long the original does. I don’t know if there were more restrictions. It opens with Müller’s remixes, two further explorations of low rumble – objects on bass skins, but maybe the originals are played through speakers vibrating skins and that is the remix? Hard to say, thats for sure. Lanz uses the pieces as pressed on vinyl – which is of course the one thing you can’t do as nicely on CD: scratching, speed change and such like – and adds his own voice. The remixes are more forcefully present in terms of sound/noise. Irmler takes his krautrock experience on board and his remixes sound like recorded at a Faust soundcheck, adding surprise elements of random stabbings on the organ/electronics. What Becker is even more hard to decipher, especially in ‘Cabin No. 9′, but in ‘Well Educated Society’ he adds baritone saxophone, violoncello, violan and feedback clarinet by himself and some friends, and morphes that with the scraping textures of Wolfarth, into an intense piece of modern classical/action music. Remixes might not be the right word here: it’s more a question of what else can we do with this, and most curious enough, what we don’t get is a laptop remixes ripping it all apart of someone who creates a full on dance beat out it. That would have been nice too, but ultimately not necessary. Great package all together. (FdW)
Address: http://wwwchristianwolfarth.ch

JOHNNY CHANG & STEFAN THUT – TWO STRINGS AND BOXES (CD by Flexion Records)
Improvised music on Flexion Records is of course nothing new, but here we have quite a challenge to listen to. Johnny Chang plays zither and object and Stefan Thut is responsible for the composition, while also playing zither and object. They played together for forty minutes and twenty-two seconds on June the 4th 2012 at Reithalle, Solothurn, Switzerland and I would be curious to know how it sounded in that Reithalle. As quiet as on this disc? I should hope not. Now, ‘quiet releases’ have been around for some time and this is certainly not the most quiet one, but I think the overall low volume stands in the way of the music. Ripping this CD, adding 12 db and still one needs to listen very carefully to hear what’s going on. Normalizing the whole thing and then adding 12db makes a difference. Of course in some areas this counts as a major success when the reviewer is all complaining about the volume, but common, why oh why? A compact disc is not the same thing as listening inside a concert situation, so why not adept to the medium/situation? The music itself deserves to be heard! Lots of crackles, static sounds of objects rubbing on the zither, bits of feedback manipulation and overall a great composition. Received with rather mixed emotion here. (FdW)
Address: http://www.flexionrecords.net

ARTURAS BUMSTEINAS – SLEEP (AN ATTEMPT AT TRYING) (CD by Bolt)
When I gave up smoking last year one of the side effects was insomnia, which lasted for some two months. Not something that I thought was particular great, even when sleeping as such is not really my kind of pass time either. Here Arturas Bumsteinas presents his work which he was commissioned by Deutschland Radio Kultur and it’s a work which is a kind of broadcast of those who can’t sleep. Bumsteinas wrote the music for it, had narration spoken for it and credited the music to fictitious bands such as Sheep Orchestra, The Insomniacs, The Sleepless International and with real callers when this was broadcasted at night. On this CD we just have the music and none of the radio broadcast and there are no credits for these bands (unfortunately). The music is played by a small ensemble of vocals, saxophone, clarinet, flute, flugelhorn, violin, viola, guitar, percussion, field recordings and ‘other instruments’ (the latter being played by Bumsteinas himself). I could have waited until tonight with reviewing, but writing while lying down is not my cup of tea. And perhaps because my insomnia has disappeared a bit. These is certainly an odd bunch of songs here. Songs indeed, rather than what you would expect with Bumsteinas, ‘pieces’. There is that lazy late night jazz club atmosphere in these songs, with, no doubt deliberate, some odd dissonant sounds mixed in – not all the time, but cleverly woven into the music. Like a note being held too long by one of the instruments in an otherwise gentle piece. This is music that is quite far away from what Bumsteinas normally does. A sort of easy listening, lounge, late night kind of music with an odd element thrown in for good measure. I must admit I liked the idea better here than the actual execution. Maybe because I love mockumentaries, fake bands and radio plays. Maybe I would have enjoyed it better if the CD contained the actual radio program, to give it some more context? Now it’s just a nice, weird release of strange music. Or maybe I should go and try to sleep to this? (FdW)
Address: http://www.boltrecords.pl http://www.monotyperecords.com

JACK O’THE CLOCK – ALL MY FRIENDS (CD, private)
This is surely the odd ball of the week, even when compared to the Static Caravan release reviewed elsewhere. Jack O’The Clock is a five piece band from Oakland, california around Damon Waitkus, who sings, plays guitar and hammer dulcimer. “All My Friends” is my introduction to their music, although it’s their third album. Thirteen songs are played by this band, set up as a rock band , with violin, psaltery, melodica, bassoon, male/female voice, flute, bass, piano and drums/percussion. To a great extend this is pop music, but perhaps that is because there is vocals, and in general these pieces don’t last that long (with two exceptions). But it’s a weird culmination of a lot of things, which include folk, free jazz, rock, even classical music, and with their own references of Sufjan Stevens, Henry Cow, Joanna Newsom, Frank Zappa, Van Dyke Parks and Philip Glass, you can imagine what sort of wide ground this band covers. While I must admit I enjoyed this quite a bit, I am not sure I could tell you why. Obviously I like pop music too, I like weird pop music, I like people overstepping rules and who decide to things different and among all the drones, atmospheres, free jazz, and whatever else this publication writes about, it’s this sort of odd-ball, out of the ordinary routine which makes Vital Weekly exciting, along of course with the Static Caravan releases. But I am at the same time also a bit too unfamiliar with some of their references, or perhaps altogether with the notion of alternative pop music altogether, to make a well balanced judgement of this. Having said all of that, this is something I enjoyed a lot. (FdW)
Address: http://jackotheclock.bandcamp.com

CHANDAN NARAYAN & JODA CLEMENT & JEFFREY ALLPORT – THE PARTY (CD by Simple Generator)
Out of Vancouver hails Simple Geometry. Not just a label but more a collective of musicians, all loosely connected via the “burgeoning electroacoustic improvisation scene” of that city. They also release their own stuff, but also from other people. Now it’s based in Toronto and more like a record label. This particular release has two pieces recorded in concert in 2010, with Chandan Narayan – (autoharp), Joda Clement (Korg MS-20) and Jeffrey Allport (percussion). The website also mentions Kara Uzelman (hand-built radios), but she is not on the cover of the CD. Two pieces here, both of sixteen minutes, and both of course firmly rooted in the world of improvised music. I would assume these pieces have been lifted of the air, rather than from cables and mixing desks. The room sized recording adds a whole dimension of its own to the music, a certain direct form and all the extra sounds – shuffling our feet in the same space as it were – adds to the music. If this would have been a line recording, it would have no doubt sounded more ‘mellow’ and I would have used such words as ‘careful’ and ‘intimate’. But now, now there is a nice rough edge to this music, which hisses, drones, scratches and bounces. None of the instruments are easily picked out here, and they all blurr together in a hazy form of noisy debris. Not really an autoharp or drums, and just how would you describe the sound of a Korg MS-20 in an improv situation anyway? Not very refined improvised music, but that’s exactly the intention of it and one of the things I particular liked about it. (FdW)
Address: http://www.sgrecs.com

THE MEMORY BAND – ON THE CHALK (OUR NAVIGATION OF THE LINE OF THE DOWNS) (CD by Static Caravan)
R G MORRISON – SLUMBER/SWEETHEART (7″ by Static Caravan)
GRUSKA BABUSKA – GRUSKA BABUSKA USB (usb by Static Caravan)
Three releases by Static Caravan, on three different formats. The first is a CD by The Memory Band, brainchild of Stephen Cracknell, who was also in The Accidental (see Vital Weekly 613). I am not sure if I heard other music by him as The Memory Band, but ‘On The Chalk’ is already their fourth album. This is one of those things that, like Jack O’The Clock (reviewed elsewhere), takes its inspiration from various sources, but here the end result is less rock oriented, and less strict song based (as in ‘vocals’ and ‘lyrics’ that is). A bit source is folk music, but cleverly melted down and reshaped/remodeled in eleven pop-tones of around three minutes – the classic pop album length. The Memory Band uses piano, keyboards (by which I think we should understand samplers), vocals, recorders, mbira, percussion, bass, harp and glockenspiel. Samples play an important role here, either through the music itself, but also the sampled voices which drop in off and on. There is a strong reference to The KLF’s ‘Chill Out’, since this is also an album about traveling, but also because of the use extra musical sounds that go along with theme of travel. Cracknell waves together a string of relatively easy melodies, sometimes based on old folk songs and most of the time of his own making. I did like that Jack O’The Clock, but maybe I wouldn’t stick on easily again. Maybe too rockist, whereas I played this release twice in a row, and then twice again, before even going to think about a review. Funny, sad, intimate and above all pleasantly convenient music. Excellent, excellent!
From Totnes Devon comes R G Morrison, a four piece band with a conventional line up, who have played all around the world and who have been described as ‘Bonnie Prince Billy meets The Band’ and Bon Iver is also mentioned. I always love Static Caravan’s output, because it’s always close to the ‘other’ stuff we review, but here is an occasional example of something that is just too far off our radar. Slow, rock/folk songs, and performed with great skill and care, no doubt, but also very conventional in terms of American(a) rock music. Melodic, sweet, rock. Great, but not my cup of anything really. Like the other 7″ of this week, I didn’t mind hearing this, but I woudn’t stick it on again, easily.
“So, when you are done with that, I can have it, to keep it, you know, as a gift”, my daughter never likes the kind of the music that is playing, but some of these gadgets look nice indeed. Like this miniature Babuska that is in fact an USB device, holding six pieces by a four piece band Gruska Babuska. “Only if you write the review”, I said, but guess what she didn’t. Apparently a four piece, all female band from Iceland, sung in Icelandic and highly folktronic. But hey, this is on Static Caravan, so there no surprise there. This label is my constant of distraction when it comes to writing about strange music in this small isolated corner of the music world. It can’t be always doom, gloom, glitch and hiss. Static Caravan are one of the few labels of really alternative pop music that send their stuff down here and not just because of that, this is highly enjoyed by me. This is the kind of pop that I like to hear and write about. Six tracks which would be a nice 12″ single in the 80s, mini LP length, of multi vocals, electronic sounds, synths and an odd fairy tale like way of singing. But then a bit electronic. By the time you have read this, I visited a ‘fantasy fair’ (‘true story here’, as Howard Stelzer would say), which has live music by highly amplified bands playing mediaeval rock music. Instead, and I know nobody would ever listen to me, they could have invited this band from Iceland to play their fairy tale music. Childish, naive music, which can easily pass as ‘honest’ music (something that should be used with the greatest caution and a term hijacked by – oh horror – rock musicians like Lenny Kravitz) to these ears. These girls no doubt believe in the supernatural, but then who in Iceland doesn’t? Hence, so I think, honest music. What do I know? Excellent odd ball release of the week. (FdW)
Address: http://www.staticcaravan.org

SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE/(R) – SHIVERS (7″ by Tourette Records)
True story coming up: a while, not so long ago, I was at a private listening party and someone played something by The Birthday Party, which I no doubt heard twenty or more years ago, but couldn’t remember. I made a (mental) note to self: must listen again to The Birthday Party. I didn’t follow any of the subsequent solo work by the various members of that band: I just know that it’s nothing for me. So I had to inform myself at youtube to hear what ‘Shivers’ sounded like by Rowland S. Howard, as it’s covered here by (R), which is Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo (who you may know from Blind Cave Salamander, Almagest! and Larsen) and on the other side Six Organs Of Admittance, also known as Ben Chasny (and to be honest, again, I know the name but it’s entirely my fault that I don’t know the music; I am not that hip, I guess). I must admit I wasn’t that impressed by the original ‘Shivers’ piece, as heard on youtube: it’s just not the kind of thing I like, the big, deep emotion; I am not that sensitive, I guess). That is pretty much what I can say about the two interpretations on this 7″. I can hear they are made with great style, great care and an utter love for the original, but it’s just not my kind of music. Six Organs Of Admittance use more percussion, (r) is more introspective. I thought it was nice enough though. I enjoyed hearing it, but nothing more I guess. (FdW)
Address: http://www.touretterecords.com

MICHEL BANABILA – GARDENING (CDR by Tapu Records)
Back in Vital Weekly 837 I woke up with a small shock: Michel Banabila is perhaps not the man who does the sort of stuff I thought he was doing for years. I associated his music with world/jazz/fusion/ethnic but ‘The Latest Research From The Department Of Electrical Engineering’ was quite a strong work of electronic music, and his collaboration with Machinefabriek was easily one of the best collaborations the latter did. Here Banabila manages to surprise me again. This is another work of electronically processed sounds, but they use extensively field recordings, and judging by the title of this work, as well as what we hear, these field recordings might have been taped while gardening. The amplification of a spade for instance. Raking the grass, picked up with a rusty contact microphone. Then electronic processing which Banabila uses here is not heavy, or extensive, but rather gentle. Sometimes he creates a loop or two, which by itself already form a small song, and let’s the other crackles just continue. It’s not music for which we could use the word excessive, but it’s not exactly ‘ambient’ either. Intimate seems to me a word that is more appropriate for this music. A tinkle on the piano, more loops, but essentially also a work of gardening, which if it always sounded like this, I would indulge in it too. But gardening is easily in the top three of activities I don’t like. Listening to ‘Gardening’ is of course something else. This is great! Thoroughly relaxing music, and with the balcony doors wide open because spring more or less seems to be arriving, this is a most pleasant release.
Banabila’s work spans eight tracks, but also invited seven friends to do remixes of this work, and those seven remixes follow straight after his eight originals. Here we have many of his Rotterdam chums, such as Radboud Mens, Lukas Simonis, Machinefabriek but also Peter van Cooten, Naoyuki Sasanami and Zenial. They all seem to capture a similar atmosphere in their pieces, but all seem to be using more electronics to transform the original sounds, which are a bit removed/remote here, except, funnily enough in Banabila’s own remix, and make occasionally massive waves of sounds, such as in Machinefabriek’s work. It’s very nice to have these remixes as an added bonus, but maybe altogether it wasn’t that necessary to have a an equally strong album. (FdW)
Address: http://banabila.com/

JORG (CDR by Esc Rec)
The Jorg here on this limited CDR, and no doubt unlimited download, is a guest on loan from his own label dealings, on the highly local (Vital Weekly local that is) label Lomechanik. On his own label Jorg releases all kinds of beat based music styles, or perhaps even more extended, all sorts of electronic music. Here he has fifteen pieces, from six seconds to just over five minutes, but the majority is under three minutes anyway. Jorg’s own music has only the faintest traces of dance music. Very occasionally there is something of techno beat to be detected here, but mostly this is a collage of moods and atmospheres. All done with electronics and field recordings. People talking, machinery and electronics that play drones, melodies of a darker nature, and sometimes that thumb of a beat. More melodic than y’r average drone release, Jorg has his eye open for the musical component of this. Piano sounds tinkle, there is some singing and it’s never abstract. This is all more like a story than just a bunch of pieces. Maybe I think so, because I’m told by the press text says so, but maybe it’s the brief character of the songs that made me think so, or maybe it’s the fact that these tracks seem to flow neatly into each other. Great stuff, I think. Because it sounds so unlike any sort of organized rhythm based music, I am particular attracted to this. (FdW)
Address: http://www.escrec.com

TOTAL NORMAL – TALES OF THE EXPECTED (CDR by Momental Records)
Thierry Vaudor is the man of Total Normal. He played bass in various jazz and rock bands in Montreal, but later on studied electro-acoustic composition at the University of the same city and now he releases his first work as Total Normal. I wouldn’t have guessed that he studied electro-acoustic composition if I would have just heard this record. He calls it acousmatic, I call it sampled based pop & plunderphonics. His sampling of jazzy tunes, lounge music, rock drums, spoken words, exotica and all such like is thrown into the melting pot of musical styles and cooked up into nineteen relative short pieces of great classic plunderphonics. Think Tape-beatles, think Negativland, think People Like Us, Ergo Phizmis and such like, and while Total Normal uses a bit of spoken word, it’s less heavy based on as with the others just mentioned. The political and sociological connotations their work has, lacks here, all in favor of a more music approach. Which is something I actually like. Plunderphonics rules, but you can keep your political pamphlets. Nobody remembers of course, but this sounds like DJ-T-1-11′s long forgotten record ‘Natural Selection’. Great grooves, great melodies and nice samples. Maybe one hour is a bit exhausting, I thought, and it would have worked better on LP, or LP length, weed some of the weaker tracks out and have a stronger overall album. Now it’s still a great album, but with some weaker brothers and sisters, and the listener somewhat fatigued. That, of course, is also an accomplishment. (FdW)
Address: http://www.totalnormal.tk

MUSIC FOR VOYEURS – THE LONG SLEEP (CDR by Hangman Ho Records)
I AM A MAN WITH A ST TROPEZ TAN – JUST A GHOST (CDR by Hangman Ho Records)
Rick Senley is a former photographer and journalist but also behind both of these releases, which look and sound quite different from one another. Both have ‘misprints’ on them, suggesting they were released in 2011, but Senley assures me they are brand new. In the melancholic corner we find ‘Music For Voyeurs’, where Senley creates sweet ambient music, armed with a guitar, piano, drums (out of a box, rather than from a kit) and electronics, along with bits of field recordings and found voices, and maybe his own voice. Its all a bit cliched here, with Durutti Column like guitars and other midi controlled instruments and sounds, a bit of watered down version of real ambient, whereas as the release evolves we find more and more bass lines and it’s more ‘pop’ like, but only in the way the bass is played. This lacks any form tension, but instead floats by like a small creek on a summer’s day. Not too fast, nothing wild and sure, thats ok, but I wondered if I’d play that easily again. Probably not. It’s one of those things you hear with interest, like more or less, and then probably forgot all about.
As I Am A Man With A St Tropez Tan (check his website for additional information on the man, but I don’t think all of it is true) Senley plays a different kind of music. Maybe referring to a band he was in before, Gent, but this is all more pop like, and to a certain extend more aggressive. It has elements of industrialized forms of dance music, sampled voices combined with more mellow moments, but never as sweet as Music For Voyeurs. Again much of the instruments here are derived from midi controlled environments, maybe even garage band or something like that and there is quite an amount of variation in approaches here. Maybe we could say this is a soundtrack to some ghostly movie, shifting through various atmospheres, or something like that, but I am not really that convinced about it. You could as easily say this is a release of someone who couldn’t make his mind up and dabbled around in various forms of alternative pop music, from punk to new wave to shoegazing and dance music, but not always with the best results. Some of these songs are nice, but where do they fit in, I wondered. (FdW)
Address: http://www.musicforvoyeurs.co.uk
Address: http://iamamanwithasttropeztan.co.uk

THEREMANNEN – THEREMANIA (CDR, private)
Hubertuz de Bode is one half Brodrov (see Vital Weekly 863), but also one half of this duo, Theremannen, together with Hans de Leeuw. De Bode thought of the concept here, and plays sound monochromes, samples, theremin, keyboard, electric guitar and mix, while De Leeuw plays self build sound machines, theremin, smartphone and keyboard. “A sound universe of video-monochromes, self build sound generated machines and digital instruments. It’s feeded by the sound-images of several shortfilms. Soundbytes of chafing iron, smashing piles, sonic cows and rustling night-moths. The relics of an impressive visual soundscape. A polyphonic soundtrack based on the elements of earth, water, air and fire”. It premiered last year. It seems there is a strong visual component to this music, but this CDR only shows us the music side of this. This is indeed something entirely different than the Brodrov music. Whereas that was quite bouncy and krautrock like, this one is all about experimental soundscapes, with it’s mysterious sound textures, processed field recordings of bird calls and other obscured sounds. This is more mood – or moody perhaps – music than the more ‘pop’ like approach of Brodrov. Indeed, I can imagine a strong visual side to this music, and I would not have minded to see that on this release, or perhaps as a DVDR by itself. Each of the seven unfolds slowly and has minimal changes throughout. Each seem to be around a few sound sources but inside there is enough changes to be fully interesting for the time each pieces lasts. It shouldn’t have been much longer, I think. Interesting release, although perhaps only part of the whole thing, which would be interesting to see one day. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ubtrex.blogspot.nl

WILT / CROWN OF BONE – NEUROSIS OF ENTHRALLMENT (split CDR by Obfuscated Records)
TASUKETEKUN – ELECTRICAL LESSONS (CDR by Obfuscated Records)
This collaboration between Wilt and Crown of Bone takes three different forms. There are two tracks by each solo artist, followed by a thirty-five minute epic that pools their efforts. The title, ‘Neurosis of Enthrallment,’ presumably refers to a state of being so gleeful about something that it becomes a mental disorder. It’s curious language from these dungeon-dwelling bass-mongers, who perhaps perceive it pathological to be excited about anything life has to offer. Wilt’s tracks traffic in low tones and subterranean menace, cheeking out minimal drone metal on “The Weight of Chains Break the Backs of Men” while trudging into dense dark-ambient dimensions for mouthful “A Room With No Light Produces Hallucinations For The Beaten Down.” In keeping with previous Wilt releases, there’s a sense that these folks are burdened by their own neuroses, and that the only effective release involves slinging their wormy worldview onto the shoulders of others. It’s a curious glimpse into the psychology of the two men behind the music. After Wilt’s dead-eyed but subdued couplet, Crown of Bone (Dustin Alan Redington) drops in like an aluminum bat to the crown. Since you’ve already turned the volume knob up to appreciate the nuances of Wilt’s sprawling compositions, Redington’s blustering harsh noise assault makes for a vicious awakening. “Mass Graves of the Institutional,” with its hashed-up vocal prowling and embedded samples, is the more memorable of his two solo tracks.
However, it’s the two bands’ half-hour collab that’s the prime focus on ‘Neurosis.’ The track comes across as a valiant attempt to stake out middle ground between the two acts. In whole, the composition seems to tend towards Wilt’s less obtrusive approach, staging a multi-layered fog of industrial-inspired dark drone and glimmering electronic floaters. Only over the track’s final third does the thing casually graze into the gruesome domain of harsh noise, and even so it never matches the haughty snarl of CoB’s solo work.
The professionally printed cover of Tasuketekun’s ‘Electrical Lessons’ surrounds a childlike drawing of a boy and a girl lying innocently in the grass with messy swaths of monochrome paint. It’s a harbinger of things to come: this Japanese noisester, real name Kouta Yamamoto, takes no prisoners with his eventful ruckus. Yamamoto’s ‘lessons’ refer to noxious sound of the piercing variety, with abrasive surfaces and torturous noise-spikes reinforcing his draconian method of education. The pulsing timbre of electricity is omnipresent here, recurrently invading those ends of the sound spectrum not occupied by grumbling low-end grime. The twitching, continually metamorphosing “Light Sleep” is a personal favorite, both because it covers so much ground and because it does so with admirable concision. (MT)
Address: http://obfuscatedrecords.com/

GREGORY BÜTTNER – SCHERENSCHNITT (3″CDR by 1000Füssler)
ADAM ASNAN – FBFC (3″CDR by 1000Füssler)
OLAF HOCHHERZ – ROOMS TO CARRY BOOKS THROUGH (3″CDR by 1000Füssler)
Germany’s 1000Füssler label launches a new series of 3″CDRs, in a small edition (50-65 copies) and the first three all seem to have some sort of conceptual edge to them. Take for instance the one by Gregory Büttner, the label owner himself. His piece ‘Scherenschnitt’ translates as ‘silhouette, cut out or paper cut’ and deals, obviously (?) with the sound of paper and cardboard being cut. Büttner uses some very close miking, like zooming in closely to the material and isolates sound parts. The music here was used as part of an installation and as it turns out, from the three releases, the one which has the most organization to it. This is very much a work of pure electro-acoustic sound and what seems to be very short, fragmented processed versions there of. But for all we know, this might also the way he cuts his paper and cardboard (well, I know this is not true: that sound around seven minutes is something you surely won’t get through just cutting). The combination of these pure sounds and the electronic processed versions there of, sounds really nice, and Büttner has collaged this into a great piece, right along the lines of the best work of Roel Meelkop and Marc Behrens.
Adam Asnan from London you may know from his releases on Foredoom, or with his trio VA AA LR, one of the more interesting new groups for improvised electronics. His release has a conceptual edge. He uses ‘a single speaker driver, amplification feedback and the lid of a 35 mm nitrate film canister, that once contained reel 13/16 of Henry V’ – the latter of information seems a bit superfluous, I think. Asnan acquired a MA under the supervision of Denis Smalley, but in his solo music there is no such thing as delicate composing of gliding scales and computer processing, but rather, as on display here, a direct form of musique concrete by way of letting things happen. You feed some feedback to a speaker, placed on an object, in this case a film canister lid and record the vibrations. Here it has four forms, ranging from one to ten minutes, but it could perhaps also be three hours but perhaps these eighteen minutes are also quite sufficient. Nice enough though, direct action music.
Perhaps the release by Olaf Hochherz is least conceptual, but it involves an instrument of his own making – “a combination of piezoelectric contact microphones ad piezoelectric speakers placed inside a book. The book is a resonator and a filter. The instrument is based on the feedback between the piezo microphones and speakers”. He plays it with his hands and the sound is distributed over ten speakers. His pieces lasts twenty-one minutes and like with Asnan that is dictated by the length of a 3″CDR, as this could have as easily lasted two hours too. Not something I wanted, as, again like Asnan, these twenty-one minutes give me enough impression of what it sounds like. But to be honest, without the description I would think this had all something to with maybe a bunch of crackle boxes being played. Chaotic, disorganized and a bit noisy, this is circuit bending at it’s best. With or without a concept. (FdW)
Address: http://www.1000fussler.com

GAEL MOISSONNIER – LIVE AT KNOT GALLERY (3″CDR by Orila)
CHILDREN’S IMPROVISED MUSIC WORKSHOP (3″CDR by Orila)
The name Gael Moissonnier sounds like a new name to me, but he has been a member of Motherfucking, La 6eme Faute and ‘the informal ensemble Faux Amis’, while also recording music with Pascal Nichols, Ben Morris & Rob Lye and Julien Louvet. He lives in Brussels, but in February of this year he was in Greece where he played his A-100 Modular Analog synthesizer, tapes and field recordings in the Knot Gallery. His recent ‘research has been oriented towards ‘improvised noise synthesis” the label writes. Although these twenty-four minutes are quite noisy, I wouldn’t call this a noise release per se. It has loud sound on it, ear piercing at times, but in a sort of rhythmic, non linear vein, bouncing up and down and quite layered. On every level of the release there is something happening. It’s heavily layered and quite dynamic; it’s also quite direct in y’r face. Music that sticks straight away. It has that early vintage synth approach, the 60s sci-fi soundtrack, but it’s more chaotic than any such older work, and connects also to the world of industrial music. Sometimes it derails and goes on a bit too long, but overall this was quite good.
Tasos Stamou organizes a workshop for children in the age of 6 to 12, in which they play children’s instruments as well as other instruments, both acoustic and electronic. They learn to enjoy making sound, and listening to others and a bit of live sound processing. There were a number of sessions, each of around one hour, and with an average number of ten participants. Here we have the results of the 2009 workshop, in five pieces. When children are open to create music, it’s a most wonderful experience to do. Some can be really serious about it – my experience anyway. Some can be a real drag, banging as a loud as possible for as long as possible. Of course we don’t know to what extend these five pieces have been edited down from larger sections, but these kids here are great. Very rhythmic music, where the percussion plays a big role, played by a larger number of players. On top we find voices (sometimes fed through loop devices), wind instruments and organs. Very occasionally a guitar or violin is used. These kids take the adventurous route into music, but it stays music and not sound/object based music. But as an entry into creating ‘free’ music this sounds great. If ‘free music’ from the outsider/weirdo/rock point of view has your interest, then I’d say this is definitely one to look for. You wouldn’t these were kids unless you were told. (FdW)
Address: http://www.orila.net

DANIEL WYCHE – A JUDICIOUS OBSERVATION OF THAT DREADFUL PORTENT (cassette by Field Studies)
ZERFALLT – RITUAL SYSTEMS (cassette by Field Studies)
How delightful: a couple of tapes from Eric Hanss’s relatively young but absolutely exquisite Field Studies label, these ones planting themselves in the hinterland between noise and calmer waters.
Drone/noise phenom Daniel Wyche, who plays “guitar, noise swash, filters,” scurries out a brief but momentous cassette with ‘A Judicious Observation of that Dreadful Portent.’ On side A’s “An Exercise in Patience,” tremulous waves of solid guitar slosh against comets of neon sound and – why not? – “noise swashes” to dazing effect. The title’s Dreadful Portent refers to the half-awestruck/half-uneasy feeling elicited by Wyche’s witchy blare: when amped to the room’s carrying capacity, the tape is almost asphyxiating in its sonic heft. The flipside’s “North Carolina” offers less tone but more texture, contorting gristly feedback noise against a backdrop of train-track chug. It spirals out of drone territory and into the wily excesses of, say, the more palatable edge of C Spencer Yeh’s oeuvre. Only near its terminus does it fully off-road into harsh noise meanie-dom.
Meanwhile, Zerfallt’s ‘Ritual Systems’ tape explores other territory. Side A’s two tracks traffic in celestial soaring-n’-coiling, evoking that feeling of standing deep in a field of corn, gazing up at the speckled and twitching night sky. I attribute it to the reverb-glazed chirps and scrapes of monochrome noise that echo against the tape’s hissing void of negative space. Meanwhile, the three parts of Side B’s “Ritual Systems” opus fondle conspicuously with cassettes; at times you can hear the whir of a tape being switched and stalled. At a particularly brilliant moment, a macerated rhythmic loop is strung up infinitely as distorted organ keys and squirreling electronic giblets spin out in different directions. Elsewhere, Lee Edward Tindall (the grim soul behind Zerfallt’s racket) explores grating electronic muddle and grumbling, in-the-red noise histrionics sampled from the eighties-underground playbook. All stitched together, it’s an eventful and gratifying twenty-seven minutes of chrome goodness. (MT)
Address: http://fieldstudiesimprint.blogspot.com

KOMMISSAR HJULER – NO! KOPF (cassette by Knife In The Toaster)
Design wise I’d say this is a perfect example as how you shouldn’t do this things. Handwritten cover, black and white xerox. That’s too much early 80s for me. But perhaps this fits the outsider esthetic of Kommissar Hjuler who has many similar releases available on his own label. Music wise this is another example I’d say, but then on a more positive note: if Kommissar Hjuler is a name you see a lot – and that might easily happen – but never got around hearing, this tape may serve as a fine introduction into his world of sound. A world inhabited by lo-fi equipment, old tape recorders, cassettes, dictaphones, turntables, radio and police scanners, plus some broken instruments. All of this played like it is being picked up for the first time. This is no doubt highly experimental to some, and utterly annoying to others. For me it’s neither. It’s not experimental since I heard these experiments a lot and I find these hardly annoying. I don’t think they are great either, I must admit. I heard Hjuler do better on other occasions but having said that, I also think this is pretty entertaining ‘mixed media music’. And where do you hear any Benny Hill tribute these days? Nowhere I guess than on this outsider tape. Although I always like to believe that Hjuler is less of an outsider than he pretends to be. No lo-fi design can chance that. (FdW)
Address: http://www.knifeinthetoaster.com

PRAIRIE-LITIÈRE  LOGICAL FIEND  ROTKAPPCHEN KNIRSCHEN KNACKEN  SPLIT (cassette by Autistic Campaign)
The Blog details this “4-way split release. Logical Fiend & Knirschen Knacken offer dense/raspy Harsh Noise Walls, while Rotkappchen shares an unrelentingly thick guitar noise blast. Opening track, from Prairie-Litière, deploys some grumbles of broken electronics and processing, with dry industrial beat. Colour artwork on j-card with additional print on tracing paper, plus an insert.”  More than being lazy in these days of cut-and-paste wiki graduate dissertations and degrees in wallpapering should be regarded as pseudo-intellectual recycling, a green intellectualism. So nothing new, other than the newness of not being novel. Newness before newness as opposed to (though not dialectically) not newness-in-the-last-instance, but noise-in-the-last-instance. Now reviewing this tape – qua music and not noise is problematic (in the least) for if we distinguish the Real as Real numbers, and so each (noise work i.e. This!) is possibly an infinite series i.e. 2.4628963… as noise – each noise work being structureless – structurally transparent (qua music) then music itself gains a cardinality (an opus) or countability such that music is an infinite of Aleph-zero ,
whereas at minimum Noise (here we do mean noise qua noise or even noise qua sound, or even noise qua this cassette) must be (in-the-least-instance) Aleph-one. Ergo noise is not countable in (it exhausts) music. The simple proposition that Aleph-One is “larger” than Aleph-Zero  should convince anyone that noise is not music, even if music is noise. In this review i’m really not bothered in upsetting the Zermelo–Fraenkel haters (Harman, Morton et al.) or bothered re Cohen and forcing, but from Cohen we can as it were take-it-or-leave-it re noise, though not re-music. That is you can take or leave this cassette, without any trans-logometaphysical Heideggerian nothingness, or rendering it music. There is nothing spooky here. (jliat)
Address: http://autisticcampaign.blogspot.fr/

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