ROOIE WAAS – ROOIE WAAS (CD by Kaiserlabel)
SLEEPLAND – FOR SILENTSEEING (CD by White Paddy Mountain) *
CHRISTOPHER RIGGS & CARL TESTA – SN (CD by Gold Bolus Records) *
BARCHAN – SOLITON (CD by Silken Tofu) *
JACOB KIRKEGAARD – ARC (LP by Holotype Records) *
MICHALIS MOSCHOUTIS – NYLON (LP by Holotype Records) *
HOPEK QUIRIN – 6 OR 7 (CDR by Hak) *
ALFREDO COSTA MONTEIRO – ANIMA (CDR plus book by Lenka Lente) *
THORSTEN SOLTAU & J. ADOLPHE – RED CLIFFS (cassette by Geräuschmanufaktur)
RE.PRO.GOR – KURSABHÄNGIG (cassette by Geräuschmanufaktur)
STEFAN CHRISTOFF/POST MORTEM – TAPE CRASH #12 (cassette by Old Bicycle Records)
RED BRUT – REBIRTH (cassette by Cold Milk)
MS. BLUEBALLS – RADIOBALLS (cassette by Cold Milk)

Vital Weekly 1008

tracklist for Vital Weekly 1008:

0000 Tune
0014 Autistici – Thinking Before Feeling
0323 Hopek Quirin – Mata Denwa Samme
0628 Machinefabriek & Anne Bakker – Deining
0936 Richard Ginns – A Familiar Place
1243 Ivar Grydeland – Stop Freeze Wait Sleep
1600 Jean-Luc Fafchamps – Beth/Veth
1909 Sleepland – Degree Of Partial Melting I
2219 Jacob Kirkegaard – Arc II
2526 Rodolphe Alexis – Early Morning For Mudskippers
2834 Alfredo Costa Monteiro – Anima
3142 Michalis Moschoutis – Nylon Love
3437 Christopher Riggs & Carl Testa – Sn
3743 Barchan
4051 Tune


David Newman, who works as Autistici, also has his own label, Audiobulb, and among the
releases you can find a piece of software called ‘ambient’, which I reviewed in Vital
Weekly 845 and which is something I like a lot. I might be entirely wrong (or have
strange notions about such things), but I imagine that Newman is still working with
that bit of software, among other things of course, and maybe expanded or enhanced
it further, and that he explores his own very personal brand of musique concrete with
this tool; or maybe not at all. On his previous release, ‘Beneath Peaks’, he used
a bit more piano and guitar, but those seem absent on this new release. On ‘Temporal
Enhancement’ we find a ‘sonic exploration of the perception of time’ and as Newman
writes “Each sound is an event. Each event a ‘here and now’ perception, experienced
and consigned to memory. Each sound exists in the ‘specious present’ and exists for
a set duration before ending. Temporal space in between each sound populates the
narrative of present and past. The brain relies on memory to bring order and meaning
to the sequence and to notice changes across the passage of time. The experience of
harmony or disharmony all depends on the placement of events, the spaces between these
events and relation of each event to each other.” This works out into six pieces
of microsonic ambient, with lots of small details; there is no doubt some electro-
acoustical treatment of sounds taped from hitting, scrubbing, banging objects but all
of that is heavily treated with software, spaced out, with gaps between them, which
are filled with airy lightness. Sometimes such as in ‘Opened Up Too Quickly’ it is
all a bit louder and angular, with a stronger emphasis on the acoustic sounds and
their multitude of treatments. Throughout however the elements works with quieter
elements and the granular stretching of all sort of sounds, forming small loops and
big drones (although never ‘fat’, if you catch my drift). In ‘Thinking Before Feeling’
these small loops all of a sudden seem to be able to form a rhythm of some kind.
All of this makes that this album has quite an interesting amount of variations to
offer: there is that rhythm bit, the noisier section and the more obvious microsound/
ambient pieces. This is the kind of drone music I very much enjoy; not because
it’s very ‘new’ per se, but because there is that oddity, that strangeness, those
variations that makes all of this just a bit more different and exciting, than
some of the others in this field. Nice one! (FdW)

ROOIE WAAS – ROOIE WAAS (CD by Kaiserlabel)

The third album of the Dutch trio Rooie Waas (Seeing Red) is released by the Kaiser
label. Rooie Waas consists of Gijs Borstlap (voice, drumprogramming, cacophonator,
weird sound genetaror and more), Gerri Jager (drumprogramming, percussion and voice)
and Mikael Szafirowski (synths, vocoder, MS20, drum programming and voice). The album
starts without compromise with the track “Denk aan de Buren” (Mention the Neighbours)
and the following eleven tracks continue in a maniacal tempo. The break in the album
is called “Intermezzo 3” and has a jazzy atmosphere. After this quiet break the music
continues with the strong beats of industrial music and free-jazz, I must say really
an adventurous combination. The texts of Gijs Borstlap are absurd and straight from
the heart. The musicians pick elements of several music styles and traditions and
create their own merciless style. I do associate their music with Dadaistic poetry
evenings in a noisy bar or as a fast and furious younger brother of the band Arbeid
Adelt from the eighties. Rooie Waas is a relief in the Dutch-speaking musical scene
which gives a rough addition to this scene, a beautiful combination electronic beats
and sounds and rhythmical texts. (JKH)


Here is more music from the ever so prolific Machinefabriek, who recorded this
twenty-six minute work with Anne Bakker, a violin player from Perth, Australia.
Rutger Zuydervelt, the Machinefabriek himself, asked to “bow each string of her
instrument, while sliding slowly from the lowest note to the highest, for exactly
five minutes, as fluently as possible”. That may sound easy, but wasn’t the easiest
thing to do; Bakker also recorded the whole thing in reverse. Zuydervelt then
divided the piece into four sections, each for one string and adding a bit of subtle
radio statics, pitched down viola and a bit of sine waves for some extra ‘flavour’.
When the sine waves and viola hit the same pitch, he freezes them and starts working
with another set of notes; the whole thing has an interesting ‘swelling’ character,
to stay in touch with the title of the piece. Sounds are accumulated over the course
of this piece (a graphic representation of the piece is enclosed as well), and it
sounds perhaps a bit familiar of an Alvin Lucier piece for sine waves and strings
and/or a piece by Phill Niblock, then with a lot more happening over the course of
the entire piece; and that perhaps goes for both these references. Machinefabriek
taps here into the world of modern classical music, which is something he does more
and more nowadays it seems, but this is one obvious point for a new direction. It
captures the main interest of Machinefabriek, playing atmospherically, drone-like
music, but moving it more into something that uses more and more acoustic instruments;
played by others but with Zuydervelt as the conductor/composer of the piece. Quite
a refined piece – I may have used these words before when discussing Machinefabriek,
but this one certainly is very refined. (FdW)


While listening to this release of recordings made at Iriomote-Jima, the most southern
island in Japan, there is a storm outside the VWHQ. It’s cold, very windy and it rains
from time to time. So it’s a bit odd hearing these recordings from a place where ‘90%
of it ground is covered by jungle and mangrove’ and an island that never had many people
living on it. An island with insects, frogs, birds, flying foxes and ‘the famous leopard
cat named Yamaneko, which was only discovered in 1965′, as well as ‘another mysterious
big cat allegedly lived on the island and was much larger than the Yamaneko. At night,
his eyes were said to be the glittering thing on the mountain or Yamapikary?. Some people
even claim this creature still exists’, so you have an idea where Rodolphe Alexis got his
title from. Alexis had a bunch of previous releases on Gruenrekorder solely filled with
field recordings (see Vital Weekly 837 and 909), but also works with musicians, such as
Valerie Vivancos (as Ottoanna, see Vital Weekly 964) and saxophone player Stephane Rives
(see Vital Weekly 936), but this one is strict field recordings again. It is quite
a fascinating recording of birdcall, chirping insects adding drone like sounds from a
higher pitched perspective. The recordings from day- and nighttime sound absolutely
great: lots of small details are uncovered here and make a cold and chilly November
all sunny again. (FdW)


The first time I played this, earlier today, I promptly fell asleep on the couch. Maybe
I just had short night or perhaps it was Sleepland’s music? Sleepland is the musical
project of Kengo Yonemura, who has been active since 2011. ‘For Silentseeing’ (which I
am not sure is a real word, even when it sounds great) is his second album, following
from ‘June Forecast’, which Wood Frame released in 2013. Sleepland’s primary instrument
is the electric guitar and no doubt a whole bunch of effects. These effects have a
guaranteed ‘ambient’ effect on the music, stretching out everything above and beyond the
regular sound of the guitar. There are ten pieces on this CD, which lasts in total forty-
five minutes; so one can guess not every piece (the label refers to these as ‘songs’
actually) is very long. That is actually quite nice, as while these ten pieces sounds
alike, as in dark, atmospheric, ambient, the differences are in the details. Sometimes
a bit more stretched out, sometimes a bit more guitar like, quieter or more orchestral,
and sometimes all of this in combination with each other; it all is part of these songs.
I guess for fans of Machinefabriek or Dirk Serries (in whatever guise), this is might
a welcome addition as a related new artist. Sleepland’s music might not be something
one hasn’t heard before, but it is all created with a refined sense for detail. Music
to dream by, sleep by and also to be entirely awake by. (FdW)


The second solo CD by Huntsvile, Ballrogg and Dans Les Arbres member Ivar Grydeland
is called ‘Stop Freeze Wait Eat’ and follows ‘Bathymetric Modes’, which was reviewed
in Vital Weekly 850. This new album is entirely solo (unlike the previous one) and
Grydeland plays here acoustic and 6 and 12-string electric guitars, banjo, electronics,
drum scope, pocket piano and Rhythm 77, the latter being a very simple drum machine.
Not that he uses it a lot, or to produce very coherent rhythms. Much like before the
music is very minimal in approach, and emphasis on the use of the guitar. Some of this
is extensively layered, such as the two parts of ‘Lag, Accumulated’. Here Grydeland is
a bit more hectic, and layers various guitar parts together. Throughout however the
minimalism prevails here and I’m reminded of Oren Ambarchi’s work, but Grydeland keeps
his music to a more concise, concentrated effort: his pieces aren’t very long, except
for the opening one. Quite abstract at times, but also very pleasant to hear; it’s
rather a culmination of both ends. The sound on this new solo CD seems to me to be
richer, especially with the use of electronics, which in ‘Stop Freeze Wait Run’ and
‘Stop Freeze Wait Sleep’ reaches for some very low-end bass sound. Grydeland’s music
is on this solo work hardly ‘jazz’ or ‘improvised’, which he is best known for when
playing with other people, but this intimate, austere yet rich music is surely very
much the result of composing; most likely using elements of improvisation when playing
but nevertheless. Excellent release. (FdW)


Somewhere in the far end of my mind I remembered the name Jean-Luc Fafchamps. He is
a piano player (playing works of Bowles, Liszt, Feldman, Duchamp, Scelsi and Berio),
a member of the Ictus Ensemble and a composer in his own right. In this last capacity
we should see this new release, with two works. In both of these pieces he uses
‘electronic means – the kind that are commonplace, accessible, cheap and easy to use’
and he put ‘them to work in a mostly-theatrical way: a situation of representation,
one that is unique, new and creative, where the focus lies in aesthetics and poetics
instead of in technological prowess’. If I understand well, he wants the listener to
think that the sounds might be coming from the instrument, or perhaps from electronic
sources, or both. ‘Beth/Veth’ is a forty-eight minute piece for piano, metallic
percussion and electronics. The first two I think I could ‘easily’ detect, but the
electronics is an altogether different story: these aren’t as easy to discover, but
if you listen carefully they are surely electronics. This piece has a very modern
classical feel to it, with a very light touch at the piano most of the times, and
the percussion being somewhat oriental in approach. The pianist (Stephane Ginsburgh )
of duty here plays these. A piece that moves through various sections and which is
a true beauty.
   On DVD we find ‘Street Music’, for ‘plugged viola’ (played by Vincent Royer),
and recorded, I assume, on the streets of Brussels,. The viola is plugged into an
amplifier and loop/effect pedals, just as they are used for performing in public
places, such as streets. There is a slow 360-degree panorama shot of the environment
and shots of the violinist himself. He plays a very vibrant, wild piece, reading
from a score with instructions (I guess) and he keeps on layering his sounds until
half way through they all die out and everything starts all over again, very quietly,
with the same themes played again, albeit in a somewhat different pattern. The music
is very loud and wild, but looking some of the bystanders’ reactions, it seems it
wasn’t that loud on the street itself, but judging the applause, people enjoyed it;
so did I, a lot actually. (FdW)


If one reads the liner notes on the cover of this CD before actually playing the
music, which is something I did, one could easily expect something else. Christhoper
Riggs plays prepared electric guitar and Carl Testa, who played with Anthony Braxton,
plays live electronic processing and he created a system in SuperCollider with various
delay patches. Now, I assumed, wrongly, that this would be some sort of ambient drone
thing, but after I played some of the other enclosed releases by Gold Bolus I knew
this was going to be more in the field of improvised music (the other releases will
be reviewed due time by someone else). But then I probably read over the bit that said
‘prepared’ guitar, which means that the strings are played extensively with objects
and it sounds quite wild. No drones were formed in the creation of this forty-minute
piece. This is not easy music; not in terms of electronic music, or in terms of
improvised music. It’s throughout quite loud and upfront. It bounces and leaps around,
and the various delay effects sound like that: various delay effects. I quite enjoyed
a fair bit of this, but I found the whole forty minutes, in all it’s minutia variations
of objects on strings feeding through a bunch of delay patches on the laptop a bit
of long stretch; too long for my taste, even when it sounds well-made and definitely
has something of it own. The rough improvisations played by Riggs fit the similar raw
computer techniques (which never leap of into noise or distortion – mind you) of
Testa quite well. But after about two-thirds I also felt that I heard it all. (FdW)

BARCHAN – SOLITON (CD by Silken Tofu)

We continue our exploration of the Silken Tofu label with the final CD for now, by
a duo calling themselves Barchan: Tomas Järmyr on drums and James Welburn on drones.
The first one is perhaps known for his work with Zu, Yodok and The Void of Expansion,
while the latter has played with Miasmah, Tony Buck, Transmit and more. I am not sure
how long they have been working together, but in May 2014 they recorded for two days
and the result is a fifty-seven minute piece that we find on this CD. Captured by an
array of vintage microphones, and this release is surely something else for the label,
at least so it seems, based on what we heard last week. There is an element of drones
in here, obviously, generated by a wall of effects which are applied to the bass
guitar and who knows what else (or perhaps: nothing else than just a bass guitar,
effects and an amplifier); Welburn plays an impressive piece in that respect, but
it’s perhaps also something one would expect on this label. It’s however the drumming
of Järmyr that marks the difference I think. He plays in quite an improvised manner,
banging and hitting the drums, never short on abusing his cymbals and making throughout
one hell of a racket. It’s sometimes quite ‘easy’ and ‘supportive’, but most of the
time the playing is rather free and uncontrolled, almost like free jazz, but then set
in a pitch-black nightmare scenario. This is a most enjoyable release, and something,
or so it seems, out of the ordinary.
   Fré Decruyenaere is behind All Shadows And Deliverance. He also has his own label,
Usain Bolt Records and is a co-host of the Noisefest in Kortrijk (Belgium). Decruyenaere
was a member of Galatasaray, a Belgium cultband, but as a solo-musician he is not very
active, as it takes him time to work and re-work his pieces. Side one has a single piece,
spanning the entire side, and the other side has two pieces. Here Silken Tofu releases
some true industrial music. They refer to Cold Meat Industry, which I can see, but All
Shadows And Deliverance seems to me more abstract in their noise approach. Lots of
feedback crashing, along with rambling contact microphones, scratching rough surfaces,
bit of metal being thrown around and even vocals, which were very hard to decipher (and
which are by Jenci Vervaeke of Vvovnds). This is all quite grim music, thanks to all
the sound effects used on virtually everything that Decruyenaere uses around here.
Sick sounds for the mentally disturbed, but I quite enjoyed it. This is the kind of
music that perhaps I just don’t hear a lot these days and which reminds me of the good
‘ol days of doing cassettes and listening to power electronics and industrial music was
just part and parcel of every day live. It brings back happy memories, oddly enough,
considering the oppressive bleakness that this music has on the listener. Sometimes
I think it’s great to create this kind of music, but no doubt musicians like this can
also be jolly fun types. I hope Fré Decruyenaere is.
   Onrust means in Dutch ‘unrest, turmoil, agitation and disquiet’ and it’s the solo
project of Wendy Mulder, of whom I never heard. So far she has released music on a 3″
CDR “Nelson/Marquez” (Usain Bolt Records) and a split tape with Belgian droner Monnik
(Wool-E Tapes/Consouling Sounds), and here presents two side long pieces, in which she
plays around with her collection of analogue synthesizers, drum machines, pedals and
‘cable spaghetti’, no doubt something to do with a modular synthesizer or such a beast.
She is inspired by the likes of Orphx, Esplendor Geometrico and Pan Sonic, and you can
guess quite rightly this music goes into a rhythm that sounds like a conveyer belt or
sledgehammer. It’s not easy to recognize the ‘distinct feminine subtlety and attention
for detail’, as the label puts it, but I think to believe what that means. Things bang
around here in mid-tempo, and changes are minimal, but they do happen. But ‘Luthuli’
has certain playful elements that I can see where that come from. In the end it is
perhaps all a bit too long for my taste, but there is a fine sense of minimalism about
this. On the bandcamp page of the label there is as a bonus a bunch of remixes by Anus
Nocturnum, Orphan Swords and Noseda for this record.
   Silken Tofu’s imperium also stretches out towards cassettes and in a limited edition
there is a split cassette by Köhn and Filip Gheysen, both from Belgium and it might
be some time ago since I last heard their music. Traceable in the VW archive is the
‘Tabletop Guitar’ CD/DVD/book by Gheysen (Vital Weekly 891), but nothing shows up for
Köhn (maybe the search function isn’t working). The recordings were made as part of
a series of concerts by Consouling Store and Wool-E Shop – just also shows how much
there is going on Belgium: labels, shops and musicians. Köhn, aka Jurgen de Blonde,
played for forty minutes but just this cassette has half of that (the bandcamp also
has the complete thing), and in terms of light versus dark, this surely tends towards
the lighter side of things. Köhn plays keyboards and rhythm machines and has an airy
light sound, cosmic but then close to the sun, if you catch my drift. I quite enjoyed
this after all that was grim and gloomy. Filip Gheysen on the other side plays guitar,
flat on it’s back, with lots of guitar effects and the result seems a bit less refined
than on his studio recordings. Towards the end it seems he even picks up the guitar
and that he is strumming it. This is quite drone like at the start and lands in a
different drone towards the end. That is a nice shift. Great to hear something new
by these musicians again. (FdW)

JACOB KIRKEGAARD – ARC (LP by Holotype Records)

The last time I reviewed a release by Danish composer Jacob Kirkegaard was ‘Conversion’,
back in Vital Weekly 877. I guess much of what he does moves out of sight of the world
of Vital Weekly, away from releases, and inside the world of sound installations, video
art and soundtracks. This happens to be the case with the release of ‘Arc’, which is
the soundtrack to Carl Th. Dreyer’s film ‘The Passion of Joan Of Arc’ from 1928. Last
month I was in France and saw a statue of Joan of Arc, and I remarked to my travel
companion that if one could go back in time, I surely would witness this woman in action.
Not because she is some kind of pre-feminist hero of mine; I’d be interested to know
what he motivation was to do what she did (and meet of course her brutal companion
Gilles de Rais, but that’s a different story). Traitor or saint, we will never know.
Kirkegaard takes music from the time of Joan of Arc and stretches these out into two
beautiful pieces of ambient music. It spans eighteen minutes per side and majestically
unfolds right from the start until the very end. I am strongly reminded of Stephan
Mathieu’s work in this respect, and while I must admit I heard very little new music,
I think this a wonderful record. ‘Arc 1’ is the quieter of the two pieces, staying on
a similar, with a spooky dark undercurrent, while ‘Arc 2’ ends louder and much more
orchestral; the whole notion of stretched out sounds is something once doesn’t notice
too much I think. As said: in terms of something ‘new in music’, you won’t find it
here, but let that not distract you: this is lovely drone music.
   From Kirkegaard to Michalis Moschoutis is a giant step. I never heard of Moschoutis
before and this is debut album, although he had a digital release on Echo Music two
years ago. He’s the man behind the Holotype label. The title, ‘Nylon’, refers to the
strings of his classical guitar, which he plays quite radically. Not a chord in sight,
never a simply strum, and that’s great. The bow is a particular favourite and Moschoutis
uses it very well to bend those strings on the hollow, wooden body. In these pieces,
such as in ‘With A Strong Sense Of Purposelessness’, he records various layers of
his playing and creates a sound that almost sounds like electronic processing of
the acoustic guitar. The press text suggests that this record is ‘entirely acoustic,
tracked in just eight improvised takes’, so perhaps there is none of this layering
I believe to hear. In other pieces he may pick up an object and play these on the
strings, brutally, scratching, hectic, nervous and above all: intense. Moschoutis’
approach isn’t careful or delicate, but it almost sounds like he wants to destroy
the guitar and the strings, but no doubt he embraces and loves his instrument and
shows us this is in quite a remarkable way. If you like Bill Orcutt, then search
also for Michalis Moschoutis. An excellent debut record. (FdW)


Over the years I didn’t review much music by Richard Ginns, but ever since his
first release in 2010, his output was small anyway: ‘Until The Morning Comes’ is
his sixth album. Two of his previous releases were reviewed in Vital Weekly (789 and
941) showed a strong love to play acoustic instruments and use analogue treatments.
On the cover of his latest release it reads that he uses ‘tape loops, reel to reel
tape machine, cassettes, electric guitar, classical and acoustic guitar, music box,
pedals, electronics, op-1, found-sounds and field recordings. Like with his two
previous releases I was again reminded of many 12K releases; Ginns doesn’t seem to
have his own voice in that respect. Much of his music is very quiet, with lots of
small tinkling guitar sounds, careful field recordings, very little processing
(more colouring of ambience than actually engaging in the composition), and one
could easily think this is a mere copy-cat. Maybe it is, but I was reading an
exciting new detective book on this very quiet afternoon and the music of Ginns
doesn’t force itself upon the listener and just softly drifts by, hanging freely
in my space, almost weightless. No heavy listening, nothing weird, strange and also
nowhere exciting. It pleases the listener in a very non-demanding way: that’s what
ambient should be all about I should think. (FdW)

HOPEK QUIRIN – 6 OR 7 (CDR by Hak)

A rather lo-fi affair when it comes to cover and design, but Hopek Quirin, who plays
bass, radio and dictaphone, gets help from Jochen Arbeit (guitar, electronics, loops)
and Jacki Engelken (guitar) on a couple of tracks, but also from a bunch of people
reading texts for him. Qurin’s earlier releases (see Vital Weekly 884 and 888) showed
us an interest in more improvised music, but here it’s all a bit more electronic and
organised but perhaps that’s also because of the reciting of texts. I am not sure what
these texts are about, relation stuff I imagine at times, but there is a variety in
the voices used here, which makes it all the more listenable. Usually with reciting
texts I must admit that I think it’s fine to hear once or twice, but for me not
something to play a lot. If the voice changes, I think it’s all more interesting.
While these might be very well eleven songs, unconnected to each other, the whole
thing has quite the quality of a radio drama to it; it could very well be a story
all together. The music by Quirin and his occasional buddies provide some great
electronic music: partly rhythmic with clicks and cuts, synthesizer sounds,
experimental bass heavy at times and throughout played freely, but always perfectly
supporting the music. With all of these voices, and some of these taped in curious
ways, it reminded me of the early releases by Scanner. Maybe it’s a bit of a pity
about the artwork, as with some more effort in that respect, everything about this
could be just really good. For now, the most important thing: the music surely
is. (FdW)

ALFREDO COSTA MONTEIRO – ANIMA (CDR plus book by Lenka Lente)

Although I didn’t receive the carton box that this comes in, I did receive the CDR
and the roughly forty pages of this sound poem, and this is my second encounter
with Monteiro doing sound poetry. The first time was in Vital Weekly 995, when
I reviewed his 7″ lathe cut for Geräuschmanufaktur. That too came with a sound poem,
and lasted about ten minutes. I am not sure if Monteiro recites the text that is
enclosed, or how he sets to work anyway, but there is an excellent multi-tracked
aspect about this work that I really like. Monteiro uses Portuguese, French and
Spanish here and throughout these fifteen minutes there is hardly any use of
electronics but just his voice, and in some instances a bit layered. Still half
spoken, half whispered, and without the initial surprise I felt a few weeks ago,
I must admit I found this totally captivating. Towards the end there is a bit
of far away, high piercing sounds, but that’s the extent of the electronics around
here. Last time I wrote that I wasn’t sure I would like a whole album of this,
now I think: bring it on! Combined with the somewhat more noisy efforts on the 7″
and the austerity of this piece, I think a whole album of this would be a great
idea, along with a book of similar quality as Lenka Lente presents, and one has
a true beauty! Great release! (FdW)

THORSTEN SOLTAU & J. ADOLPHE – RED CLIFFS (cassette by Geräuschmanufaktur)
(cassette by Geräuschmanufaktur)
RE.PRO.GOR – KURSABHÄNGIG (cassette by Geräuschmanufaktur)

Some of these new releases by Geräuschmanufaktur are quite short. The first one I
heard had two songs and lasted ten minutes in total. Thosten Soltau’s music has been
reviewed before – pretty much a lot of what he put since starting to play music in
2009. He teams up here with J. Adolphe, who has already a whole bunch of releases
on Geräuschmanufaktur, but I have no idea who he is (and I may have missed out his
previous releases). The two songs they recorded are electronic, with a slow rhythm,
deep and dark synthesizers and especially on ‘Eulogy For Tramadol And Mädchentraube’
some dark vocals. Life is grim in these songs. With my limited knowledge of such
matters, I would compare this to the angst pop of Distel, but Soltau & Adolphe have
not yet the same production level. Here it’s all a bit on the low side of things,
more 80s perhaps in approach when it comes to recording, but I very much enjoyed
this. I wished there was a bit more than these ten minutes.
   Also short, but a bit longer is the cassette by Maurizio Bianchi, who has here
‘damaged loops (defected piano as sound source) and compact stereo’, and he teams
up with A.N., also known as Creation Through Destruction, for a fifteen minute
festival of good ol’ noise. I have no idea if there is any defective piano in here,
but in ‘Annulment’ that could very well be the case, in what we hear behind that
wall of noise, which is actually a bit less on this piece, than on the other side,
which is called ‘Defunction’. In both one can perhaps hear some sort of damaged
loops, but it’s mostly a lot high piercing that form an uneasy marriage with those
loops. But I guess that’s what noise should be all about: uneasy sounds and uneasy
circumstances for the listener? I quite enjoyed this; maybe because of it’s brief
character too. Nothing that went on for too long, which I think for noise is the
best route.
   With Sterile Garden we plunge back into something combines noise with stuff that
is less harsh. On their thirty-minute cassette we have two sidelong pieces, according
to the cover, but it might very well be that these pieces are build from various
pieces stuck together. Sterile Garden (who had previous releases reviewed in Vital
Weekly 932 and 978) is a trio from the USA and their music is a mixture of feedback,
noise and metal clutter set against tape manipulations from broken cassettes and
erased reel-to-reel tapes. The recording quality is kept low, from an aesthetic
point of view. There is not always much detail in this music, and that’s deliberate.
It hides the fact that these boys are banging around in open air, at an abandoned
industrial site, recording their crashing of objects and hand held Dictaphones as
background tapes. One could easily think from my descriptions that I don’t like
this. That is not the case: I very much enjoyed this! Especially because it all
sounds at times disorganized and dirty, uneasy and plain noise music: it’s the
complete package for this kind of thing.
   ‘Play this tape quietly’ it says on the cover of the ‘Kursabhängig’ by Re.Pro.Gor,
of whom I never heard, and about which there is no information on the cover. According
to the website, this is the project of Tony Ennis, who has a “unique Ghost Recording
Technique”, but it’s not said what that technique is. I would assume they would love
to have their stuff played loud. Well louder than ‘quiet’, judging by some of the
more noisy stuff on this cassette. It seems to me that Re.Pro.Gor isn’t afraid to
use quite a bit of feedback like sounds, along with some kind of field recordings
recorded in a lo-fi manner, thus making all of these also quite noisy. The overall
sound of the music is shrill, with not a lot of low-end material. I must admit this
does not blow me away. It sounds all a bit too easy for my taste, in terms of noise,
quiet music or otherwise. Maybe the ghost recording technique has a different effect
upon this listener? (FdW)

STEFAN CHRISTOFF/POST MORTEM – TAPE CRASH #12 (cassette by Old Bicycle Records)

This is already the twelfth split cassette Old Bicycle Records releases and here we
find Stefan Christoff, of whom I recently reviewed an excellent work of electronics
and piano which he recorded with Nick Schofield (see Vital Weekly 999) and Post Mortem,
which is the musical project of Jan Kees Helms, who sometimes works as StringStrang,
which I thought was his main musical enterprise these days, and that Post Mortem was
no more, after twenty-five years of activities. Christoff has two pieces in which
the organ plays an important role. I am not sure what kind of organ that would be:
a farfisa, bon-tempi or small church organ? It might very well that this is a software
thing, which is plays over a small speaker and is picked up with a microphone. Two
other pieces deal with the guitar, played in an even bigger space, with quite some
reverb, but it didn’t do much. His final piece is a gorgeous piano piece: intimate
and small.
   Post Mortem fills his side with one piece of music, entirely created with the use
of field recordings and piano. The first seems to be more upfront than the latter,
but then the 88 strings might appear also very heavily processed. I am not sure. It
sometimes sounds in the distance, as a piano. The field recordings however form the
main portion of the music, and they appear to be mildly processed and layered together
to create a flowing collage of sounds. Not in a very ambient sense of the word, but
rather bumpy and crashing together, with occasional leaps into mild distortion, which
is quite nice. Not an easy going ride this one, but it works very well. It seems
quite apart from his old days of noise treatments, which I guess is great thing.
Good to see this is something else; may he be exploring this route further. (FdW)

RED BRUT – REBIRTH (cassette by Cold Milk)
MS. BLUEBALLS – RADIOBALLS (cassette by Cold Milk)

From the people that make up Rotterdam’s finest no-wave band Sweat Tongue we have here
a new label, Cold Milk, and the first two releases are more or solo works by their
members. Behind Red Brut, we find Ma Verbiesen, drummer of Sweat Tongue, who, as we
learn now also sings and plays synth in JSCA (see Vital Weekly 970 and 1003). In her
solo work she uses ‘crude tape collages’, a Korg MS-10, small keyboards and household
objects. These are looped and collaged together. It all sounds very lo-fi, which I am
sure is the entire point of this work. The whole release, music and cover, has this
excellent 80s underground cassette feel to it, which is of course something that I
enjoy very much. The are three tracks on this tape, simply called ‘I’, ‘II’ and ‘III’,
but it seems there are more pieces than that, or perhaps it is not easy to say where
a piece starts and ends. Red Brut has different interests than Sweat Tongue and
JSCA; maybe more song like, but than all of this much more abstract and alien.
Very enjoyable.
   Which qualification also goes for the cassette by Ms. Blueballs, which might very
well the singer of Sweat Tongue? Her thirty-minute cassette is filled with pieces
that use a lot of loops. The cover (cassette in an oversized plastic box, which
damages easily in the mail) lists a whole bunch of titles per side so pieces are
short. I have no idea where the loops were generate; stolen from movies is likely,
or otherwise found somewhere in a thrift store, they are crudely put together into
sweet brutal sound collages, in which not necessarily the composition is very
important, but rather the energy of creation; something that is also very 80s,
I would think. Excellent start for this label! (FdW)


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