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Vital Weekly 881

Vital Weekly 881

LUNAR ABYSS DEUS ORGANUM – ATIMUDRA (CD by Biosonar Labyrint) *
KSHATRIY – FROM HEART TO HEART (CD by Muzyka Voln) *
ARCHON ORCHESTRA – CENOTAPH (CD by Shadowplay Records/Muzyka Voln/Monopoly Records) *
LOU COHEN – MUSIC (3CD by Pogus Productions) *
BRIAN CHASE – DRUMS & DRONES (CD/DVD by Pogus Productions) *
IF, BWANA – RED ONE (CD by Pogus Productions) *
TRIO DEROME GUILBEAULT TANGUAY – WOW! (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
ENSEMBLE SUPERMUSIQUE – BRUIT COURT-CIRCUIT! (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
JOAN HETU – LA FEMME TERRITOIRE OU 21 FRAGMENTS D’HUMUS! (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
ATHANA – PAVILJON (CD by West Audio Productions)
END OF SILENCE – AUDITORIUM (CD by Heart & Crossbone)
MARCUS FJELLSTRÖM – EPILOGUE M (CDEP by Aagoo Records) *
RICHARD CHARTIER & YANN NOVAK – UNDEFINED (CD by Farmacia901) *
YANN NOVAK – BLUE.HOUR (miniCD by Farmacia901) *
VERTONEN – HACE 26,250′/11 DEGREES 22.4′N 142 DEGREES 35.5′E (LP by CIP/Misanthropic Agenda)
JASON ZEH – A VACANT LOT TO BE IN (LP by CIP)
ROBERT PIOTROWICZ – WHEN SNAKEBOY IS DYING (LP by Musica Genera)
BONDI & D’INCISE & DEMIERRE & KOCHER – OCCA (LP by Bocian Records)
SULT – HARM (LP by Bocian Records)
THE FUCKER/DR SMEGMATIC (12″ by Shock Records)
MUMMU – MIT FERIEPARADIS (7″ by VA FONGOOL)
MARCELLO MAGLIOCCHI & MATTHIAS BOSS & PAULO CHAGAS & MARESUKE OKAMOTO – INSTANT CHAMBER MUSIC (CDR by Seto Di Maiale)
ROBERTO DEL PIANO & MATTHIAS BOSS & MARCELLO MAGLIOCCHI – ONE HOUR WITH THREE UNCLES (CDR by Seto Di Maiale)
TASUKETEKUN – ELECTRICAL LESSONS (CDR by Obfuscated Records)
TO THE LOVERS, FAREWELL BANISTER TO THE THRONE ROOM (CDR by Obfuscated Records)
VENISON WHIRLED – THE MANY MOODS OF (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions) *
FORBES GRAHAM – RETURN: THE JOURNEY (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions) *
ZEN LU – RIVER (CDR by Eta Label) *
PEER SAER – BERCEUSE VOLUME III (CDR, private) *
STIRNER & HAL MCGEE – MICRO MEANIES (cassette by Haltapes)
PARASHI – THE BOOK OF NOTHING (cassette by ((Cave)) Recordings)
AMALGAMATED – TRUDGE/SLAP (cassette by ((Cave)) Recordings)

listen

tracklist for Vital Weekly 881:

0000 Tune
0014 Archon Orchestra
0306 Richard Chartier & Yann Novak – Undefined
0613 Marcus Fjellstrom – Penrosum
0915 If Bwana – It Is Bassoon
1214 Lunar Abyss Deus Organum – Milarepa
1519 Brian Chase – Feedback Drone
1818 Yann Novak – Blue.hour
2125 Zen Lu – River
2427 Peer Saer – Berceuse Volume III
2726 Ksahtriy
3028 Lou Cohen – Harmonies
3330 Venison Whirled – Real Ohmyed
3635 Tune

 

LUNAR ABYSS DEUS ORGANUM – ATIMUDRA (CD by Biosonar Labyrint)
KSHATRIY – FROM HEART TO HEART (CD by Muzyka Voln)
ARCHON ORCHESTRA – CENOTAPH (CD by Shadowplay Records/Muzyka Voln/Monopoly Records)
Three Russian releases which all involve somehow Zhelezobeton, either as a label or a distributor, and it confirms this strong base for all things dark, black and atmospheric. The first I played, simply because I recognized the name best, was Lunar Abyss Deus Organum, whom I once saw live. Earlier today, when I played this for the first time, I fell asleep, which has nothing to do with not liking this, but its one of those things that happen. Slowly ambient music like this take me away and I fall asleep. It happened to John Cage a lot, and it’s supposed to be a compliment. The music of Lunar Abyss Deus Organum is created by using a combination of field recordings, acoustic instruments and above all electronics. It’s all melted together into a seemingly endless mix of moods and colors, sometimes randomly organized, or such as in ‘Milarepa’ more strictly organized along linear developments. The music is heavy under the weight of effects – especially reverb is a much seen guest around here – but it fits the esthetic we know this group for since their previous work, plus, I guess some of the original sounds can still be heard, unlike some other drone bands where the effects create the music, rather than enhance the music. Two pieces are collaborations, one with Hattifnatter and one with Kshatriy, both from Russia’s drone landscape, and essentially don’t make a difference: the music remains as dark and as ambient as it always was. Mood music in optima forma. Maybe too dark for day light, as far as I’m concerned, but certainly a creepy night time excursion.
Kshatriy himself has a new album out too, his third by now. Sergey Bulychyov, who also calls himself Uak-Kib and he’s out on a mission in deep space. We might be lucky still to receive his signals. Armed with his synthesizers, his space craft is craft in space music. Long sustaining tones, lots of reverb – here indeed used to create music as well as to suggest more space, but Kshatriy knows how to avoid ‘endless sustain’ on the machines – bits of field recording – who says you can’t hear birds in space – this is again another fine example of template ambient music. Six pieces spanning one hour, so you can guess the long-form these pieces have, but as ever with a fine amount of variation in these pieces. Kshatriy’s music can easily meet with the best in this field, say Lustmord. The music critic that I also pretend to be asks every now and then: what’s your next move, Kshatriy? You surely can’t be doing this over and over?
And finally there is that Archon Orchestra again, with a second release, following ‘Pong’ (see Vital Weekly 744). Here too its sees a continuation of the previous album: church organ like sounds are mixed with electronic beats and piano. Very occasionally, if I like a film, I will download the soundtrack of the film, and the music here reminded me very much of ‘The Truman Show’ – a bit slick, new age like music, but with that very odd edge; a bit darker and a bit weirder than what is probably ‘allowed’ in the world of new age. There is an element of repetition in this music, but it’s never connected to the world of ‘academic’ minimalism (Glass, Reich). Like with ‘Pong’ I must secretly admit I quite enjoy this, but I am not sure why. It seems all like a mighty cliche this music, like midi instruments from garage band, but still it has that nice, darker edge, which makes this is the perfect soundtrack, for, indeed a dystopian movie like ‘The Truman Show’. Not really Arvo Part I should think, but here’s a nice film/music quiz question: which composer has a cameo in ‘The Truman Show’? Right. That should make this little circle complete. (FdW)
Address: http://zhb.radionoise.ru

LOU COHEN – MUSIC (3CD by Pogus Productions)
BRIAN CHASE – DRUMS & DRONES (CD/DVD by Pogus Productions)
IF, BWANA – RED ONE (CD by Pogus Productions)
With three CDs in a carton sleeve there is obviously not much room for a booklet, so there is a website which provides an insight into these pieces. Lou Cohen composed music for ensembles, 12 tone and serial techniques from 1960 to 1990, and after he has been using computers, and most importantly the CSound program. In 2004 he played his first concert in forty years and since then he plays around as a laptop improviser. Quite an odd career I’d say. These three CDs have twenty-three pieces from I assume the last ten years. Some of these pieces have a concept behind them, like ‘Concerto’, which is a sort of ‘piano and orchestra’ piece, but then all with computerized sounds, and some are just pieces of a more random organization. The nine ‘symphonies’ that we find partly on disc two and whole of disc three are the most chaotically sounding pieces, and reflect very much the more academic side of this kind of music. For me the first disc was the best. Maybe because it was my first step into over three hours of Cohen music, but also perhaps it was just closest to what I personally like. A nice combination of drone like sounds, glitched sounds and some level of organization among these sounds. Less chaotic, maybe also less improvised, this first disc is a true pleasure to hear, an excellent display of improvisation meeting more composed computer music, less dramatic, but in a fine shape. Lots of music here, but surely a few things (or more) could please anyone interested in laptop music.
The next release is the first DVD release by Pogus, with the same music on CD. I went to straight to the DVD. Brian Chase is the drummer for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (which name I may have come across, but surely not their music, as far as I know), a rock group. I must admit I didn’t know what to expect from a disc in which the title already tells us what’s going to happen. But exactly how drums create drones, or how the two are going to be married, is of course the big question here. Inspired by LaMonte Young and Marian Zazeela, Chase started to tune the drum head to a specific frequency and ‘mic the drum and the sound into a computer’ and then using software with very precise equalization to emphasize and boost the frequencies of the drum’s overtones. In a concert situation he would also use a loop pedal. That was one starting point, the other was to have drum heads resonate with feedback loops between drum and speakers. None of this is actually be seen on the DVD, and the images, created by Ursual Scherrer and Erik Z, which are mostly abstract affairs of multi-layered images, that fit the music rather well. In many of these pieces one hardly has the idea one is listening to anything that is even remotely drum like, except perhaps ‘Stick Shot Harmonics Drone’, which is also one of the pieces in which the video seems to be running along with the music – in sync. But many of the other are like sustaining tones of sometimes sine wave like sounds, waving slowly and majestically about. If you listen closely you may recognize a bit of drum here and there, maybe more apparent if you play the CD and not be distracted by the visuals. As someone who loves drones, I must say I was quite taken by this release.
And finally there is label boss Al Margolis with a new release as If, Bwana, his moniker since the mid 80s. His ‘Red One’ looks very much like some tape release he could have done in the 80s, with paint images sprayed on paper and a rather 80s design, but the music is all new. In each of the six pieces he works with sound material which he received from others, and all that has to do with ‘air’. Nate Wooley plays trumpet, Margolis himself toy-trumpet (both in the first piece), Ellan Band uses her voice (second), Monique Buzzarte trombone (third), Leslie Ross (bassoon), Lisa B Kelley (voice) and Veronika Vitazkova on flute (fifth) and Margolis again on toy trumpet in the sixth piece. Margolis keeps his If, Bwana name for when it comes to using recordings for acoustic instruments and reworking them into lengthy pieces of drone like sound scapes. Taking the working method from Phill Niblock he cuts the sounds right before they start and right after they end, and then starts to layer them on the computer. He pitches some up, some down, and in some tracks in the musical program he cuts out parts, so have a start/stop feel, like some instruments only play part of the time, and others are in a more continuous mode. Thus clever modern classical music is made of a highly atmospheric chain. It’s a technique If, Bwana has been using for years now, and he mastered it quite well. Not as controlled as Niblock himself does this, but the music is more playful – for instance in the two pieces that use voice, especially ‘Lisa Verabbit’ connects to the world of improvisation/free forms of classical music. It’s different, playful, but perhaps not my most favorite of this disc. I’d rather settle ‘Toys For Al’ or ‘It Is Bassoon’, which it’s controlled sustaining sounds and sounds dropping in and out in very gentle way. Another fine release with a nice, strange visual esthetic. Not the next new move, but a further investigation into what we already know. (FdW)
Address: http://www.pogus.com

TRIO DEROME GUILBEAULT TANGUAY – WOW! (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
ENSEMBLE SUPERMUSIQUE – BRUIT COURT-CIRCUIT! (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
JOAN HETU – LA FEMME TERRITOIRE OU 21 FRAGMENTS D’HUMUS! (CD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
New releases by well-known combinations and artists. ‘Wow!’ is a fine release, because it brings a new perspective for people like me who say by impulse, exposed to traditional jazz, ‘oh yes, I know that, but please pass it to someone else’. Their interpretations are very vivid and here and now. They don’t bring old pieces to the present, but also the other way around if that makes any sense. ‘Wow’ is their fifth effort featuring three compositions by Derome and four standards: ‘ The Best Things in Life Are Free’ (Ray Henderson), ‘Wow’ and ‘Dreams’, both written by Lennie Tristano and ‘The Baron’, a composition by Eric Dolphy. A mix we know already form their earlier releases. The players are true believers in the classic jazz material, and succeed in putting them in unpretentious and convincing jackets. Ensemble Supermusique interprets six compositions, by the hands of Tétreault, St.Onge, Roger, Hetu and Derome. They are also the players of these pieces together with Émile Girared-Charest (violoncello),Vergil Sharkya (synthesizer), Michel F Coté (drums, microphones) and Guido del Fabbro (violin). The opening piece ‘Malgré tout Face A’ is an work by Tétreault. Based on a straight and simple beat, sampled sounds, voice,s, etc. are put over it. Halfway after a break of silence, a narrator speaks with mellotron-like sounds in the background. Also in his second piece on this album, ‘Malgré tout Face B’ experiments with beat. In ‘Le fruit du hasard’ by Derome, rhythm and melody and not far way. In all other compositions we are dealing with far more abstract soundconstructions, built from a diversity of sounds, instruments and objects. An example of this is the piece ‘SM: re-trait de’l ábjection’, the work I liked most. The ensemble uses noise-esthetics, sound-improvisation, sprechgesang, acoustic and electronic soundsources, etc, for well-defined excursions and compositions, that are far more than just an eclectic mix. But a new musical language. The new solo work by Hetu is most fascinating. If ‘pittoresque’ is a useful qualification to describe abstract soundworks, I would like to use it in the case. An intriguing work. It is a vocal dominated work, sparsely instrumented and completed by noises, sounds and field recording. All five players sing and play (accordion, percussion, flutes, sax, objects, etc.). Most texts are by Hetu herself, plus  some  by Cavafy, Shakespeare, Tsechov and Caille, all in translated in French. But this was not limiting my experience of this piece, like some of her earlier work. Most texts are spoken, performed, sung and everything in between. The whole is made up of 21 small pieces, each with its own dramatic and musical quality (DM).
Address: http://www.actuellecd.com

ATHANA – PAVILJON (CD by West Audio Productions)
The genius behind this project is Alf Terje Hana, a guitarist and composer from Stavanger, Norway. It is a mystery to me why a cd like this was sent to Vital Weekly. It is very far from what we usually cover. But also when I do my best to be as objective and positive as possible in my judgements, in this case I can only say this release is of no interest. Others may find this a worthwhile cd, but I have my doubts. Pompous, grooving pieces are followed by soundscapes. An unusual combination I must say. All tracks have in common that they end between 5 and 6 minutes. In the rocking tracks Hana takes his inspiration clearly from 70s music and guitar heroes. Beat and drums however are clearly of a later date. Hana has recorded and played with dozens of Norwegian artists over the years. As Athana he has released 8 albums. The nucleus of this project is Torgeirnes (electronics, programming), Oyvind Grong (bass, double bass, tuba, voice) and Hana himself on guitars, electronics, synth, kalimba, berimkau, plus programming, editing, composing and producing the whole thing. Nine other musicians make their contributions as guests, with Stewart Copeland (of The Police fame) on of them. The ambient soundscapes work the best for me, as long Hana don’t adds a guitar solo. The closing ambient noisy track is the best one for me. (DM)
Address: http://www.waprod.no

END OF SILENCE – AUDITORIUM (CD by Heart & Crossbone)
I think a simple line up of guitar and drums using loops and effects in an improvised performance of musical themes, centering around pulses and modulated guitar feedback which is no where near as ‘polished’ as the Fripp and Eno work which stirs distant memories of post pock improvisations?  Raw electronics and pulses from drums and cymbals …. the final track of the three being even more like freeform jazz improvisation than electro-drone improv. The pulse; such a rudimentary element of music – (and this work can be regarded as rudimentary electro-improvisation.) has obvious origins in the heart beat, ones own or another’s – from the womb onwards makes music supremely human, or if more than that, aware of the non-human world outside of humanity and music. So we long for the pulse which is life and company because of our alienation from the cosmos, which is why pulsars were originally designated as LGMs – little green men, signs that we were not alone. From ancestor worship through to the anthropomorphism of the gods the rhythm of the pulse-heart-beat is present as music accompanied humanity it is conception. The mystery of why we are here not only promotes philosophy but also the desire for the reassurance of the primordial pulse,
as well as the reason we keep animals as pets- we need the reassurance of kitty and fido as avatars of this lack…! Why we feel such a need seems deep, alluded to in early religions as the product of an intelligent consciousness in ourselves which alienates us from the world. The beat, the pulse, is this fundamental loneliness in which we despair or seek to escape from – in and with music. (jliat)
Address: http://www.hcbrecords.com/

MARCUS FJELLSTRÖM – EPILOGUE M (CDEP by Aagoo Records)
Aagoo Records launches a new series, called Rev Laboratories, but I am not sure what this series is supposed to be about, but I believe it deals with Dutch designer Bas Mantel. Despite Fjellström’s earlier releases for such labels as Lampse, Miasmah and Kafkagarden, I must admit I never heard his work properly before. He’s inspired by Aphex Twin and Autechre and Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy – to mention something quite wide apart. The six pieces here have a slight orchestral feel to them, more film music scores than impressionist atmospherics, I should think. You can easily imagine these pieces has part of a film, horror or science fiction movies, most likely, but Marcus Fjellström uses a much more musical backdrop than you would probably expect. Dark moody synthesizer sounds, strong, forceful percussion and sampled orchestral sounds – without say the bombast of a band like Laibach – makes up fine dramatic pieces of music. From the introspective moods of ‘Sinneslöschen’ and ‘Penrosum’ to the more forceful ‘Puretos’, this is quite a nice little release of thirty minutes of music. Here’s no doubt someone who could be making the big money scoring music to films in a certain well-known US city of film making. (FdW)
Address: http://aagoo.com

RICHARD CHARTIER & YANN NOVAK – UNDEFINED (CD by Farmacia901)
YANN NOVAK – BLUE.HOUR (miniCD by Farmacia901)
Somebody must have done something right! Yann Novak appears on both these new releases from Italy’s answer to 12K and Line, Farmacia901. Yann Novak used to run his own label Dragon’s Eye Recordings (which was actually first run by his father) and later on he also released his music on different labels, most recently on Unfathomless. I believe his label no longer exists and that he moved to Los Angeles, which seems to be the new location for Richard Chartier, whom was located in Washington DC before. I am not sure if that establishes a link (enough) between but it did result in a work. Chartier mailed Novak a piece of unfinished music, without explanation, but with the instruction to add or subtract anything, (re-)combine whatever and basically to finish the piece. All Chartier had to do was accept or reject, and of course he accepted. It’s a piece of music, without a concept, but just music and with the instruction to the listener to listen and nothing else. Which is an approach I always like. Cut away any ‘noise’ there is on the lines, and give me music to listen to. Which is what happens here, in this thirty nine minute piece of music of a relatively soft volume level. To start with the downside: there is nothing going on here that you haven’t heard before, either in each men’s work or in the genre of computer based drone/microsound music. That’s a downside if you are looking for anything new to happen. If what these men do in their work appeals to you, which is producing some very nice, soft yet deep organic music based on computer treatments of field recordings than this is exactly the sort of release you have been looking for. This is some great stuff, especially on this rainy, grey and somewhat cold spring day. Stay inside, do nothing and just listen to music like this.
The blue hour is that time of the day when day light is not yet entirely gone but darkness has not yet fully arrived. It follows after the ‘golden hour’, which is ‘known for its diffused yet powerful light’ and the blue hour ‘retians the diffusion but lacks the strong light source giving this period of the day an especially melancholic and meditative atmosphere’. I believe this is an installation piece, but of course here we have a stereo version. This is already much louder than his work with Chartier, but follows the same course. A dark sound is brushed with big strokes and lighter notes, higher pitched ones are placed around it, like guiding lights in a dark forest. Slow build up, slow drop down – the sound wave that looks like a cigar. Minimalist changes are of course the matter, as this is not some piece of simple stretching some notes around and leave them be. Twenty-one minutes exactly of rich bliss music. A small quiet storm of sound. As far as I am concerned this could lasted also thirty-nine minutes – rain still pours down and it’s best to stay inside and listen. (FdW)
Address: http://www.farmacia901.com/

VERTONEN – HACE 26,250′/11 DEGREES 22.4′N 142 DEGREES 35.5′E (LP by CIP/Misanthropic Agenda)
JASON ZEH – A VACANT LOT TO BE IN (LP by CIP)
Here’s something I wasn’t aware of: this is Vertonen’s first solo vinyl release. I could have sworn Blake Edwards, the man behind Vertonen, did more already. The geographical location that makes up one side of this LP refers to Mariana trench, the deepest known point on earth, and in 1960 Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh dived there. The other side is about the human body, inspired by High Altitude Cerebral Edema, ‘a condition with the greatest potential for striking in the dead zone (26,250 feet), where available oxygen cannot sustain human life for more than 3 hours’. Two sides about extreme conditions on earth, set to music by Edward using his Polivoks synthesizer and ‘some processed metals and field recordings’ – the latter no doubt not taped at the extreme conditions. Vertonen’s music can take different forms, ranging from loud noise to very quiet drone music. There is no prize to have for the one I like. Vertonen is at his best when he proofs himself to be a fine student of Eliane Radigue, which is certainly the case on the Mariana Trench side (which types easier than it’s geo-number code). Slow, evolving drone matter, with carefully placed shifts in that matter. Lasting twenty minutes, but it could have lasted, at least as far as I’m concerned, an hour. The ‘body’ side is an entirely different affair, but by no means a noise affair. The noise there is is rather subdued. Shrieking noise of crashing metal are pushed to the background, dropping dead in the ambient room, and on top, Vertonen waves some synth like sounds together in a randomly organized fashion. Whereas below sea level things sound surprisingly easy yet moody, the overall tone on the ‘body’ side is oppressive and menacing. Both from the world of drones, yet both sounding quite different. Great record, especially if this is the Vertonen you like. I know I do!
The other new record on CIP is by Jason Zeh, of whom I first heard on the same label, and whose work since then has my interest. Zeh is one of the few people I know who uses extensively cassette tapes, processed in extreme conditions, to create some excellent musique concrete from a very lo-fi point of view. Tape is treated with paint, dirt, needles, sand papers, but also tape recorders are subject to similar modifications, and all of these processed recordings are put together with some great effect. Two pieces, one per side and each is described on the cover, such as ‘all sounds derived from cassette loops of varying lengths stretched between modified tape decks. Magnets, splicing tape, sand paper and magnetized knife blades have been used to slowly dismantle the recorded source material’ and that’s what happens over the twenty minutes of ‘Cycles Of Doubt’. That piece is throughout quite a drone like affair, whereas ‘A Vacant Lot To Be In’ is a slow growing animal, reaching it’s forceful peak at one point, buzzing loudly with tons of hiss, in a might crescendo ending the piece. Excellent stuff, carved into an analogue medium for optimum playback. (FdW)
Address: http://cipsite.net http://misanthrophicagenda.com

ROBERT PIOTROWICZ – WHEN SNAKEBOY IS DYING (LP by Musica Genera)
Poland is currently buzzing with great music and excellent labels, such as Bocian and Monotype. Musica Genera seemed to be first at the game, at least looking from my angle, of the current wave and then became more quiet again. Here they return with a LP by Robert Piotrowicz of whom I reviewed music before. I used such language as ‘loud drone music’ for some of that work, and ‘electronic’. It almost seems like we have a different Piotrowicz on our turntable today. On this LP he plays modular synthesizer, guitar, piano, vibraphone and software. There are five pieces on this album and ‘loud drone music’ it surely isn’t. Only in the final piece, ‘Snakeboy Maximus’, the word drone could be used, but throughout this seems mostly to be a LP of acoustic music. Piotrowicz collects clusters of sounds, say playing the vibraphone with a bow, and layers on top sparse notes of piano and guitar; sometimes these drone like sounds are generated electronically, but when so, it’s done with great care and style and never aggressive or loud. That makes very subtle music rather than loud music, but somehow it fits the world of drone very well, albeit on an entirely different level. All of this sound material seems closely related, tied in together and none of them seem to could have existed without the other. It’s emotional music indeed, of solitude and perhaps also of grief, of sadness – but maybe I am reading something that isn’t there. I played this record three times in a row and had it not for other work lying around I would have easily played this a couple of more times. Excellent record! (FdW)
Address: http://www.musicagenera.net

BONDI & D’INCISE & DEMIERRE & KOCHER – OCCA (LP by Bocian Records)
SULT – HARM (LP by Bocian Records)
From the omnipresent Bocian Records two new LPs (hard to know what gets released on CD and what on LP by this label) and both of these records capture live music from the field of improvisation. That might be what connects these two together. The first seems to be a Switzerland affair, with Cyril Bondi (bass drum, floor tom, objects), D’Incise (laptop, objects), Jacques Demierre (piano) and Jonas Kocher (accordion). The music was recorded in August 2011 for the Radio and Television in Switzerland (which of course makes us very jealous), and I wonder what it looked like. What we hear sounds pretty interesting. There is a fine collision going here between the melodic, sparse piano playing of Demierre, who reminds us of someone like John Tilbury, and the more odd playing of those objects and instruments-as-objects. There is a sort of extra electro-acoustic layer that casts over the music, not always that present or clear but is no doubt there. The piano stands out like a lone wolf in this music. Playing a chord – alone – or a shimmering quiet melodic part, along with some rumbling on the accordion and the percussive instruments – rubbed, touched, examined and played indeed. D’Incise’s laptop is perhaps the other lone wolf in this, but it seems that is either quiet or playing back acoustic sounds. A record of quiet music, mostly. A bit like the mighty AMM, I suppose. Great record.
We have reviewed music by Sult before (Vital Weekly 852 and 861) and here’s a new record by this quartet of  Tony Dryer (contrabass), Jacob Felix Heule (percussion), Guro Skumsnes Moe (contrabass) and Havard Skaset (acoustic guitar). The difference with the other quartet record is, obviously, that all of this is acoustic, and just like their previous releases, Sult plays in a more traditional way of free improvisation. You recognize those instruments easily, even when it’s played with some furious approach like Sult sometimes does; sometimes, not always, as Sult also knows how to play a more contemplative piece of music, such as ‘Skade’. It’s all highly ‘free’ music, but cleverly moves between free jazz and free rock – the latter perhaps due to the lack of amplification? I quite liked this record, as much, perhaps, as I did their other releases, but somehow it remains for me what I said before: Nothing we haven’t heard elsewhere, but that’s not a problem. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bocianrecords.com

THE FUCKER/DR SMEGMATIC (12″ by Shock Records)
Something which I didn’t realize up to receiving this 12″ is that Vital Weekly receives very few of this kind of 12″ releases from what could be easily called ‘dance music/white labels/anonymous stuff’. Here we have a 12″, 33rpm, of which one side is called ‘The Fucker’ and the other ‘Dr Smegmatic’, which don’t seem to be titles aiming at world dance floors filled by the likes of Armin van Buuren and Tiesto. It’s on Shock Records. Hold on. Shock Records? Isn’t that Stefan Jaworzyn’s label? Guitar hero of Skullflower, erstwhile member of Whitehouse and improv guitar trouble maker of Ascension (and generally nice bloke, if you know him better)? Oh Shock, it is indeed that label, and what’s more, Jaworzyn is also responsible for the music. No more fret wanking, but this all synthesizers and drum machines dancing like maniacal, derwish dancers. That should teach the more closed minded improvised music lover, Jaworzyn may consider, but I happen to know it’s also something Jaworzyn loves to do. Experimental musicians going dance is nothing new. Dan Burke of Illusion Of Safety didn’t succeed with his Fixated project but took revenge with Groovy and some people are still in shock (!) when they think of Porter Ricks being Thomas Köner: how could he produced such great dance music? Very occasionally you can find me among the young kids who dance to erm… dance music… and I often like those surroundings, always fueled by… let’s say alcohol. Those places do not employ DJs who would spin musical pieces called ‘The Fucker’ and ‘Dr. Smegmatic’, which are jumpy hectic affairs of rhythm driven music, which hardly make you ‘dance’ in the traditional sense of the word of ‘dancing’, but which have an interesting captivating feel to them, which after a while make various parts of your body start moving and shaking. It has some of that feeling I had when I first heard releases on Sahko: you realize this comes from a world that we call ‘techno’ but it’s not quite it, but it doesn’t lack anything to be called ‘techno’ but rather has it’s own captivating feel to it. Techno music for the head probably. Listening to this I remember what attracted me to dance music – the weird ones that is – in the mid 90s. Jaworzyn may not do something entirely new, but these two long exercises in madness are great. It makes you almost jump around for joy. (FdW)
Address: <stefan.jaworzyn@ntlworld.com>

MUMMU – MIT FERIEPARADIS (7″ by VA FONGOOL)
Great stuff from the Norvegian collective Mummu: Christian Winther (electric guitar), Magnus Skavhaug Nergaard (electric bass), Anja Lauvdal (Korg MS10), Heida Karine Johannesdottir Mobeck (tuba) and Joakim Heibø (drums). On their debut single ‘Mit Ferieparadis’ they show two faces. ‘Feda Bru’ is a open and searching sound improvisation, resulting in a creepy and atmosphere. ‘Logatunellen’ is loud, speedy rocking piece. They play with a punky attitude in an uncompromising way, comparable with the Ex. Although chaotic and wild, they know what point they want to make, and they do that with verve. Excellent work. Surprising is also the format they choose: a single. So their energetic statement is very restricted in time (about 15 minutes). A promising release from the new Oslo based label Va Fongool that has an eye for all kinds of experimental music. To be continued I hope (DM)
Address: https://www.facebook.com/VaFongool

MARCELLO MAGLIOCCHI & MATTHIAS BOSS & PAULO CHAGAS & MARESUKE OKAMOTO – INSTANT CHAMBER MUSIC (CDR by Seto Di Maiale)
ROBERTO DEL PIANO & MATTHIAS BOSS & MARCELLO MAGLIOCCHI – ONE HOUR WITH THREE UNCLES (CDR by Seto Di Maiale)
Two new releases from Seto di Maiale. A quartet and a trio formation with both Marcello Magliocchi and Matthias Boss as participants. Marcello Magliocchie is a veteran of the Italian jazz improve scene, playing since 1974 and to be found on many records released by Ictus, Splasch, and numerous other labels. Boss is a Swiss violinist. For the ‘Instant Chamber Music’ recordings they were joined by Paulo Chagas (flutes, oboe, clarinets, saxophones) who is a improviser, composer, etc., from Portugal with a background in classical music. Maresuke Okamoto (doublebass, contracello) is a player from Tokyo. In 1982 he started his career as a improviser, starting in Japan, but nowadays playing all over the planet. The cd contains 11 improvisations from two sessions in  january 2011 and march 2012. They find each other in abstract collective improvisations, that show a intense interplay between the musicians. It is a kind of improvisation that is deprived of jazz influences, and often sounds more close to ‘chamber music’. A very fine recording. With a diverse spectrum of sounds due to Magliocchi’s playing on sculptures made Andrea Dami. The warm playing by Chagas should also mentioned.  For ‘The Three Uncles” Del Piano joined, a bass player from the north of Italy. A player who mainly played in Italy from what I know. He was a member of the Contemporary Group in 1971, contributing to the introduction of free jazz in Italy. So a true veteran. Again a set of improvised music, but of a different nature. Now it is more associated with jazz. My main difficulty with this one is the tone and sound of  the violin played by Boss. Not my taste.  His playing lacks depth in a some way. And also he is too dominant in most of  the improvisations. The interaction is not sparkling. As it is with pure improvised music, ‘it’ sometimes happens, but most of the time improvisations demonstrate good musicianship and that is all. (DM)
Address: http://www.setoladimaiale.net

TASUKETEKUN – ELECTRICAL LESSONS (CDR by Obfuscated Records)
Tasuketekun from Japan uses surprisingly digital synthesis, as the work sounds very much like someone playing with an analogue modular setup and analogue sequencer, sequenced tracks of abstract oscillations, studio based no doubt as the sound is very controlled and manipulates the various oscillations carefully in the stereo field, usually of two layered discrete soundscapes, a background oscillation and foreground of various electronic phrases, sound effects and noises. The supporting material from OR notes a certain playfulness and I imagined even before reading this at the creators of this work were enjoying themselves and playing with what I originally thought was analogue devices. What does one do then but smile benignly at such play? But only then to fall foul of being accused of some error in reviewing such work negatively?  Well its not a priori true but experience tells us that play is about enjoyment if not self absorption, and that comments are welcomed when they to engender pleasure, however its hard to find others playing pleasurable unless one is a fawning parent or grandparent, and such scenes normally make the rest of us feel slightly bilious, if not that glazed boredom on viewing other peoples photographs of their children/grandchildren, pedophilia no withstanding, its hard to work out precisely what to say, what expression to make given such an aesthetics. (Jliat)
Address: http://www.obfuscatedrecords.com

TO THE LOVERS, FAREWELL BANISTER TO THE THRONE ROOM (CDR by Obfuscated Records)
This is about “the self and mutilation of one’s self image or one’s relationships either by their own actions or by external forces….” Digital loops of repeating space invaderesque noise… ignoring whatever, however, one mutilates ones self image – surly such a mutilation is an image, don’t be put off by such aporia. This release verges on the comic loony tunes, through to a more refined – (knits brow) glitch based critique of ______ (fill in the gap). The track titles – Bleed out… 32 Year Old Options… Never thought it Could Be This way – to name a few – equally sound ridiculous, but as one listens one can imagine ones score in dead aliens steadily rising and wondering what it is all about only immediately to decide its about nothing, or about wandering through an amusement arcade and being like Queen Victoria. (jliat)
Address: http://www.obfuscatedrecords.com

VENISON WHIRLED – THE MANY MOODS OF (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions)
FORBES GRAHAM – RETURN: THE JOURNEY (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions)
What I liked about Venison Whirled’s first release, which I reviewed in Vital Weekly 774 was the brevity of it all – noisy but to the point. A total of twenty minutes for two pieces recorded live. Here Lisa Cameron, who is Venison Whirled returns with another four live pieces, two from the same concert in 2006, one from 2009 and one from 2011. She pretty much the same tools, such as contact microphones, tape recorder, pocket siren, kalimbas, vibrator, Tibetan Bell, hoop drums, hand drum, metal tral, strings, masking tape, jew’s harp, plastic membranes, finger cymbals, cookies tins and sundry metal. These four pieces last one hour, and it opens up with a piece that is quite noisy, bursting with electro-acoustic rumble fed through distortion, nice but chaotic and at seventeen minutes also quite long. The more drone sounding second part of the same concert works much better, such as the 2011 live recording. Both of these are noisy too, but have an atmospheric edge which works quite fine. In the 2009 recording, with twenty minutes the longest piece on this disc, things rattle about, vibrator on various metallic surfaces I should think. This continues on various surfaces throughout this piece, but one may have the impression that it would have been more interesting to see the actual concert, then to hear the audio recording of it. It’s all a bit too long. Nice disc, two pieces on the over-long side, but nice throughout. Would be interesting to see this live.
Forbes Graham is a new name for me. He is a trumpet player from Boston and has played with people like David Gross, Rakalam Bob Moses, Joe Morris, Luther Gray, Jim Hobbs, Raqib Hassan, and others, none of which are names I recognized actually. I assume it’s all in the world of improvised: that’s the general idea from the extended notes. The album he created is an odd one, and I am not sure what to make of this. I am assuming it’s all made using his trumpet, but then also processed on his computer, and then played back, using more real-time trumpet improvisations. The processing leads us into a labyrinth of heavily stretched sounds, sometimes cut short into a rhythm, and occasional use of voice material. Sometimes played through midi-keyboards which is then played in a free jazz manner. Sometimes a bit noisy, and weird, and at other times with a bit of jazzy feel to it. I tried hard and many a-times, but there is something about this record which I don’t understand, or perhaps better: which I don’t get. The experimentation seems at times a bit too forced, and in none of the eight tracks I had the idea that there was something that was going to grab me as a listener. I played them all, even a couple of times, but I couldn’t avoid help thinking: so what? The best thing about it, this music defies categorization. It’s not jazzy, it’s electronic, but not really ambient, noise or dance, but a bit of all, but it lacked for me that thing that is always so hard to define, but which makes you want to return to the album straight away. (FdW)
Address: http://kendrasteinereditions.wordpress.com

ZEN LU – RIVER (CDR by Eta Label)
There is no information on the cover of this release, which is hand printed, hand painted carton sleeve. Eta Label added some information, no doubt on a website somewhere too, about Zen Lu, a musician from Shenzhen in the province of Guangdong in China. He’s also a curator/label owner and in that capacity he brought some Polish musicians to China, hence his presence on this Polish label. ‘River’ deals with Yantze River, along which Zen Lu was brought up. This twenty-four minute, my first introduction to his work, shows us a love of field recordings, processed versions there of and microscopic detailed sounds which form little melodies. Perhaps all too easily be called laptop artists, I guess. Delicate crackles, long form drone, the repeated tinkle of a piano, and sparse (processed) percussion sounds make up a highly atmospheric piece of music. Gentle moving forward, perhaps indeed like the stream of a river. Of course I have no idea if the Yantze river is slow moving, clean water and such like, or perhaps that Zen Lu uses wishful thinking here, but it’s a fine, if not really surprising, piece of music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.etalabel.com

PEER SAER – BERCEUSE VOLUME III (CDR, private)
CDR that are mostly physical off-shoots of a bandcamp thing, never look that great. This is no different. The name Peer Saer might not be well know, but the cover lists ‘His story: De Fabric, Solenoid, Insecticide, Westernlands, OR.D.U.C. and other sound adventures’, which, for those who know a bit of Dutch history regarding electronic music, should be names with some buzz to it, certainly if you are willing to go back some thirty years. This new work has one piece that spans an almost an hour of heavy synth doodling, lots of sound effects, bit of field recording in the form of dripping water, and very few bits of guitar. But the lengthy, endless sustaining synthesizers are Like De Fabriek, Solenoid and perhaps to a lesser extend OR.D.U.C. there is a strong influence of seventies cosmic music in all of their output. Sometimes less obvious but in this case of ‘Berceuse Volume III’ quite obvious. These long form synth drones are very much seventies cosmic drone stuff. It’s a work of a rather free nature, without too much compositional structure, but rather recorded in a haze it seems, which is perhaps similar to the haze you could need while listening to this. Dopey shit, man! Although I rarely use that kind of parlance. Elements keep dropping back in and out, as to underline the free reign of sounds here. The only thing which I didn’t like was the rhythmic bit at the end – it felt out of place. It makes it perhaps a work that one should have on repeat, like a private installation piece, in your own living room. Play soft, as some of the more nastier bits – not a lot, not really loud – may upset the visitors. No surprises here, but very nice and not always the most gentle piece of music. Which is always good, I suppose. (FdW)
Address: http://peersaer.webs.com/

STIRNER & HAL MCGEE – MICRO MEANIES (cassette by Haltapes)
Four pieces, around fifteen minutes each of improvisations recorded through mail using a vast array of sound sources (synthesizers, radios, kazoo, crackle box, harmonica, toy piano to mention some; entire list on the cover of this release) but where the title refers to the medium it was recorded on, the micro cassette. Veteran home taper Hal McGee, who has been around for thirty or so years in the world of cassette labels and experimental electronics teams up with one of the younger kids, Tony Stirner, who started out as a heavy noise man, but in the mean time also went ‘softer’. This tape proofs that, and is another point of evidence how these sort of collaborations are often created. Let’s have four pieces of fifteen minutes and let’s use a random selection of sounds thrown together in that duration and cut away in a crude form what we don’t need in the mix. Or let’s mix with blindfolds – providing of course there is analogue mixer somewhere around. Like a stream of un/sub/consciousness this is wheels set in motion and wait around for any possible action to happen. Sometimes all at once – and then wait for the noise bomb to drop – or all alone, just by themselves, and we find both in a more subdued mood, but the microcassette is not a medium that captures moods lightly. It always stays on the noisy side, even in the quieter moments. Sixty minutes is perhaps a bit long, but that too is part of the whole game/esthetics of this. Nice retro early cassette music of the current day! (FdW)
Address: <haltapes@gmail.com> <vagetoon@msn.com>

PARASHI – THE BOOK OF NOTHING (cassette by ((Cave)) Recordings)
AMALGAMATED – TRUDGE/SLAP (cassette by ((Cave)) Recordings)
From these two, I have no idea who Parashi is. A band, a person? Or likewise what else there is. Four piece to go by here, each around ten minutes, I suppose. The whole thing is about forty minutes. Not much information on the cover either, about such trivia as instruments used. My best guess would be that this is an one-man project who deals with improvisations using a variety of electronic tools, be it analogue, be it digital. The whole thing seems to be put together without caring too much about such notions as compositions, but rather see what happens next, or what could happen next. It’s hardly noisy, nor ambient, nor, in fact, anything that can easily be put down in one word. It’s collage like with the use of voices, and lots of echo, put forward in a rather naive manner, reminding me of the early days of Throbbing Gristle, which makes this altogether quite a retro sounding release. I quite enjoyed it, even though I am not sure why. I guess it must be exactly that retro sound that Parashi has, that early 80s, old school industrial sound, the sound of spontaneous combustion with all that lo-fi gear. Maybe some of that is highly missed in some of the current high brow computer world?
Music by Amalagamated we reviewed before (Vital Weekly 857 and 842) and as far as I know this group recorded music quite some years ago, but for whatever reason is released now. The group may or may not consist of the following people Cory Bengtsen (Rebekah’s Tape on sampler, keyboards, saxophone, turntable), Bob Newell (of Headless Ballerinas Underwater on sampler, keyboards, percussion, drum machine), Mike Richards (also of Rebekah’s Tape, but also the man behind Makeshift Music and Intangible Cat on guitars, effects drums, percussion, keyboards and tapes), Phil Klampe (of Homogenized Terrestrials on keyboards and sampler) and D. Petri & Gus Kumo on editing and mixing. But none are mentioned as such on the cover of this new release. I quite enjoyed their previous two 3″ CDR releases, and this new one (recorded in 2004) is no different. A fine mixture of psychedelic music, tripping on sunshine, bits of musique concrete mixed with cosmic drones and here for the first time longer pieces – hey maybe even a piece per twenty minute side – it’s hard to say. Here Amalgamated has the feeling of a live band rather than the clever doodling of samplers connected through midi. These are the grandchildren of Nurse With Wound in their best krautrock phase(s). (FdW)
Address: http://caverecordings.blogspot.com

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Vital Weekly 895
JOAO CASTRO PINTO - ARS ABSCONDITA (CD by Oto) * HANNES LOESCHEL – SPIN (CD by Loewenhertz) ROBY GLOD & ROBERTA PIKET & MARK TOKAR & KLAUS KUGEL – OP DER SCHMELZ ...
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Vital Weekly 895

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