Vital Weekly 963

DALE GORFINKEL – SWITCHES AND HOSE (CD by Split Records) *
THOMAS BUCKNER & CLAUDIO PARODI – TAKEN FROM A TRUE STORY (CD by Extreme Records)
HELLL – PI (CD by Meenna/Ftarri) *
MELODIA – DIARIO DE VIAJE (CD by Home Normal) *
OLAN MILL – HALF SEAS OVER (CD by Home Normal) *
VINZENZ SCHWAB – DINGS #1 (CD by Canto Crudo) *
KARLA BORECKY – STILL IN YOUR POCKET (LP by Recital) *
JLIAT & DYECAP – THE ARCHE-FOSSIL (CDR by Pre-arlophone Records) *
BRYAN COUNTER & SATCHEL FORRESTER – TWICE STOPPED (cassette by Small Scale Music)
HENDERSON, METTLER, FOISY & LACHANE – BUILT LIKE A BROCK SHITHOUSE (cassette by Small Scale Music)
BORD À BORD – SAME (cassette by Small Scale Music)
FEDERSEL/FREUDL – PEACOCK KING (cassette by Meteorismo)
JAMIE AND THE DEBT – NO, LIFE ISN’T (cassette, private) *
STEPHAN MATHIEU – NACHTSTÜCKE (download by Schwebung) *

Vital Weekly #963 by Vitalweekly on Mixcloud

DALE GORFINKEL – SWITCHES AND HOSE (CD by Split Records)
Although we reviewed some of his work before, I think this is first solo release by Dale Gorfinkel. Normally he plays vibraphone, when playing with others, but on the four pieces of ‘Switches And Hose’ he showcases some of his self-built instruments, or rather his additions to instruments, such as the trumpet and vibraphone as well as an interest in field recordings. Take for instance the title piece, which says ‘footpump, balloons, garden irrigation, taps, plastic containers and reeds’. I read that he sometimes adds motorised mechanisms to his vibraphone, or extra bars, creating extra microtonal stuff. The first doesn’t seem to be present here, although ‘I’m Walking In A Room, With Two Vibraphones’ has some great overtones, so who knows? Maybe this is a combination of two vibraphones, extra bars and motors? These four pieces are quite different from each other. In the title piece it sounds like an electro-acoustic work, with motors playing these objects, but for all we know it might also Gorfinkel himself. Nice stereo separation here, which adds an additional layer to the music. ‘Gong Cage’ is recorded in Yogyakarta (Indonesia) and is ‘a kinetic sound sculpture in a bird cage’, which has a nice, meditative percussive feel to it. Maybe not unlike the vibraphone piece, but that seems to be an entirely different kind of meditation. The final piece, ‘Enoggera’ is a very quiet improvised piece for trumpet, recorded outside, in the reservation of the same name, and is almost like piece of field recording with some incidental music being taped from the trumpet, almost hardly played at all. Great release which, however, is way too short. But for those interested: it’s also available on vinyl. (FdW)
Address: http://splitre.com

THOMAS BUCKNER & CLAUDIO PARODI – TAKEN FROM A TRUE STORY (CD by Extreme Records)
It is some time ago I had a release from the Australian Extreme label in my hand, but fortunately they are still in business as this release of duo improvisations proves. Baritone Thomas Buckner is around in the world of new and improvised music already for many decades. A true veteran with a great reputation. Here we encounter him in a meeting with Genova-based improviser Claudio Parodi, in a live perfomance that dates from 2008. Parodi is a classically trained musician who turned to improvised jazz after a meeting with Barre Philips. Maybe you remember him for his solo album ‘Heavy Nichel  (Creative Sources), that I reviewed some time ago. Buckner has a very characteristic voice, that makes him always very easy to identify. He is not screaming his emotions out, always stays a gentlemen, which does not imply that his art without emotion. Far from it as he puts drama in his performance. Parodi excels in short and prudent patterns and gestures. What is more important together they develop convincing dialogues, intimate improvisations. (DM)
Address: http://www.xtr.com

HELLL – PI (CD by Meenna/Ftarri)
So, very recently I saw Asuna play live with some forty to fifty small keyboards and I thought it was great (and I don’t say that because he handed me a bunch of free CDs): a powerful drone emitting from all these small speakers, and then with the addition of some previously recorded keyboard sounds, making something very mighty and very alive. I don’t think I realized I heard some of his ‘other’ music previously; see for instance Vital Weekly 921. The bunch of CDs he gave me contains something very fresh and new, which is the CD by Helll, and which seems to be the only one that is not Asuna solo, but a bunch of musicians: Asuna, Jeff Fuccillo, Jason Funk, Sakiyo Tobita and Tetsuro Yasunaga. No instruments are specified here and the band might not exist anymore. They played live and in the studio between 2007 and 2011 and Asuna reconstructed these recordings into the music we have here, their first pressed up CD. Helll is called an ‘Avant-rock’ collective, which seems to be quite an apt description. Having just heard, for a couple of hours in fact, the older Asuna releases, this one is a bit different, but it’s also something which I can see fit his aesthetic quite well. It’s indeed Avant-rock in the sense that it’s freely played music, but the aspect of drone music is never lost in here: it’s always lurking beneath, above and beyond, like samples being played, but more likely this is the sound of a harmonium or keyboard – indeed the organs we know (well, at least I do now) Asuna for. With sparse percussion only being played in ‘May’ it all makes up some curiously fine psychedelic ambient music of indeed a highly free, loosely structured nature. It sounds a like band that would be for two hours at the most minimum: the longer it is, the more one gets into it. Excellent space rock, without much rock really. (FdW)
Address: http://ftarri.com/

MELODIA – DIARIO DE VIAJE (CD by Home Normal)
OLAN MILL – HALF SEAS OVER (CD by Home Normal)
More music by Tomoyoshi Date (Opitope, Illuha) and Federico Durand. In Vital Weekly 927 I reviewed their ‘Sausades’ release on Kaico, now it’s time for a release on Home Normal, another fine Japanese label (run by Ian Hagwood, who does expert jobs on mastering these releases). Their new release translates as ‘Travel Diary’ and that’s what it is: a diary of recordings made on the road in Europe and Japan (where Durand lives these days). It’s however not a standard live album of any kind” recordings were made in hotel rooms, friend’s houses but also outside in the woods. More so than their recent CD on Kaico, this work is intimate as it’s more limited, less instruments. The sounds come from the natural surrounding, while the toy of them play guitar, play a music box and in general create small sounds. It’s very delicate and close to the heart, even more than on the previous one. I suggested back then it sounded like someone went outside and recorded the music in nature (but perhaps it was all studio trickery), here they actually just did that. The cover shows us some of the instruments played, and indeed its a wider spectrum of xylophones, toys, gramophone and a philacordia organ, but it seems the guitar somehow prevails. A nice breeze of tranquillity: what a delight in the cold wintertime.
Alex Smalley works as Olan Mill. Recently I reviewed his CD with Keung Mandelbrot (see Vital Weekly 935) and here he has a solo work. Two of the six pieces here were recorded live and may contain the live violin by Mike Jessop. It’s at twenty-seven minutes a relatively short release, but it walks the gentle earth of ambient music, painting tones in long majestic strokes. Unlike the somewhat different work he did with Mandelbrot, this is all majestically, slow, minimalist music. I don’t know all of the work by Olan Mill, but I am told this one makes more use of voices, more than his previous works. These voices consist of humming and intoning, stretching out like washes of sound – to stay in tune with the title of the release (which originally had a nautical meaning, but these days to stand for ‘intoxication’). Perhaps there is something intoxicating about this music too: one can easily let oneself float about on the waves, being totally immersed in it. Maybe it’s because it’s Christmas time and one is more easily touched by the more angelic choirs covered in this release; in that sense this delivery by Home Normal has some great timing. If one was to look at this in a more objective way, one could say that this is very good, but perhaps also a bit standard in terms of drone/ambient/atmospheric; Excellent production on this release, making it sound beautiful. Despite some of these reservations one could have, this is an excellent release. (FdW)
Address: http://homenormal.com

VINZENZ SCHWAB – DINGS #1 (CD by Canto Crudo)
This is my introduction to the work of Vinzenz Schwab from Austria, and I believe also his first release; at least the title indicates this being the first one of a series of releases. Schwab says that he is using improvised live electronics, but that the composition of computer music is his ‘chief musical activity’. He uses mostly self recorded sound material, and that these pieces were developed with ‘the vasp and amp programs’, of which I never heard, but that the script language of these programs enables a quick and ‘simple’ working with a large number of sounds, routines and parameters. On this release some of the sound material is played by others, such as the piano by Gloria Damaijan, the objects by FM Einheit and the cello by Michael Moser. If I understand correctly almost all of these (six) pieces were in the original form for a multi-speaker set up but obviously reduced to stereo here. Not every piece is great here; ‘Quartett Für Gruben & Sträucher)’, with synthesizer input by Feichtner is pretty chaotic, due to a multitude of sounds, field recordings and processing going on. That is, luckily, the only case here. The other tracks are much better. Schwab is a composer who takes matters seriously (maybe could be a downside also, I thought), composing interesting collages of sound with his music, with dynamic edges: walls of sound mingle as easily with moments of silence, singled out sounds versus clusters of many small ones. I am not sure about the background of Schwab but I assume here some formal training or someone who studied the classics – in particular Pierry Henry – quite closely. A sturdy release, perhaps not always with the most surprising ideas, but executed with great care and style. Very promising. (FdW)
Address: http://canto-crudo.at

KARLA BORECKY – STILL IN YOUR POCKET (LP by Recital)
Obviously you recognize the name Karla Borecky as one-half of The Idea Fire Company; if not, then where have you been all this time as I have been applauding this great duo plus guests group for ages; actually ever since I heard their first record, back in the late 80s. Within The Idea Fire Company Scott Foust seems to be the man for the crazy sounds, the drones, the radio, trumpet or trombone, while Borecky, with perhaps some amount of exaggeration, is the one responsible for the melodies; she usually gets the credit for keyboards. In more recent Idea Fire Company releases ‘keyboard’ is also to be understood as piano, such as on ‘Music From The Impossible Salon’. I noted back then that recording-wise there is room for improvement: if only someone would offer them free studio time with some great grand-piano and excellent microphones and see what that would bring. I assume it’s the upright, at home piano that is the instrument that Borecky plays on ‘Still In Your Pocket’. This was previously released by Entr’acte in 2011 on cassette, and now, minus one piece, is released on LP, always the preferred format in the Company’s household, by Recital Nine. While listening to this LP, I think perhaps that some of the great power of the music lies perhaps in the unmasked, naked recording. One can almost feel to be in that very room and maybe, but perhaps I am hallucinating, hear the surrounding of the house. Borecky’s piano music is very melodic and repetitive; Satie is of course a name that comes to mind. Borecky plays similar mininal and moody pieces. With in ‘Structure’ some nice spacing between the notes. In ‘Cracking The Whip’ (which seems an odd title, reminding of the scene in Spinal Tap, where Nigel Tuffnel plays the piano – in d minor, the saddest of all keys – and refers to the beautiful piece as ‘Lick My Love Pump’) it’s simple, intertwining notes with counter melodies – perhaps the slowed down Chopin the label refers too? A lovely piece indeed. But that goes for all seven pieces I think; each of these is lovely. It seems very classical but it’s rather modern also; not the playing or the compositions as such, those are quite classical, but the whole approach of the music and they way it is released. Very serious, perhaps, but also with a beautiful light touch. An excellent record. (FdW)
Address: http://www.recitalprogram.com/

JLIAT & DYECAP – THE ARCHE-FOSSIL (CDR by Pre-arlophone Records)
Here Jliat teams up with one Dyecap whoever that might be. There is some cryptic messages here: “Meterorite Dissection (Saharan chrondite meteorites) [Chrondites were formed by the accretion of particles of dust and grit present in the primitive Solar System which gave rise to asteroids over 4.5 billion years ago]” as well as “The (“arche-fosisil”) fossil-matter is the givenness in the present of a being that is anterior to givenness; that is to say, that an arche-fossil manifests an entity’s anterior vis a vis manifestation” (Quentin Meillassoux) and lastly “sound source with no addition of sawing a chondrite meteorite…”, while on the front we read ‘seventy-four minutes of HNW with genuine meteoric evidence of process’, of which ‘seventy-four minutes of HNW’ is perhaps the only thing that is a) true and b) I understood. That is exactly what we get here: seventy-four minutes, to the second precise, of harsh noise wall music. Without much low-end, lots of high end, but sounding like a transmission which has been out there for billions of years, captured in an ancient horn (from the dawn of recording technology), blown to excessive proportions and without any change that can be noted of any kind. Very much like the whole HNW is supposed to be. It’s neither good nor bad, it’s what it is and Jliat and Dyecap deliver what is required. I guess the difference here lies in the approach: nothing about sex/violence/death but something as big, monolithic as HNW itself: the vast time dimension of space itself. Nice! (FdW)
Address: http://www.jliat.com

BRYAN COUNTER & SATCHEL FORRESTER – TWICE STOPPED (cassette by Small Scale Music)
HENDERSON, METTLER, FOISY & LACHANE – BUILT LIKE A BROCK SHITHOUSE (cassette by Small Scale Music)
BORD À BORD – SAME (cassette by Small Scale Music)
Small Scale Music is a very recent independent label for improvised and experimental music based in Montréal. This city is known for its vivid improv scene, just think of the Ambiances Magnétiques family. But Montréal has more to offer as this label makes clear. Let me introduce some of their very first releases. I guess most of the musicians involved operate on a local level, as most names were new for me and I couldn’t trace much of their whereabouts. But their works are worthwhile examples of free improvised statements. Jeff Henderson (sax and clarinet), Vicky Mettler (guitar), Raphaël Foisy (bass) and Félix Lachance (drums), deal in free, loosely improvised structures. In most improvisations they work towards moments of enormous intensity. Like in the lengthy opening piece, where all four equally participate in a conversation that becomes more and more animated. Fine interplay, great playing by Henderson and absolute a captivating journey. Bord à Bord is a trio also dealing in free improvised music. Again with Raphael Foisy-Couture (upright bass), plus Evan Tighe (drums) and Aaron Leaney (alto and tenor saxes, electronics, percussion). They make their point in eight short improvisations. Leaney is for sure the driving force. In a way his improvisations are melodic and lyrical in a way. Also he makes effective use of electronics (looped sax-sounds,etc), which is not often heard in improvisations where acoustic instruments dominate. It’s their unique selling point. Evan Tighe, who is active in numerous local pop, rock and improv bands, and Foisy make a good rhythm vehicle for Henderson’s solos. Bryan Counter (drums) and Satchel Forrester (alto saxophone) offer one extensive duet improvisation. Forrester is a fine and very capable player and has a lot to tell. Subtle and fluid playing. Counter comes from a rock background I suppose. His energetic style makes a contrast with Forresters melodic playing. Strong and interesting moments appear during their 45-minute improvisation, but overall it is a meeting that didn’t work for me (DM).
Addres: http://smallscalemusic.wordpress.com/

FEDERSEL/FREUDL – PEACOCK KING (cassette by Meteorismo)
Meteorismo is a minilabel from Czechia, with an interest for eclectric, experimental music. The label started this year as an initiative of Federsel and Pasi Mäkelä. Czechia is also the home country of Federsel en Freudl, who present with ‘Peacock King’ their newest effort. We hear David Freudl playing Korg microKORG, Delicia Mini MicroBrut Arturia, Korg Poly 800, Sonivox Mellotron, and Tomislav Federsel  plays Dr. Boehm Digital Drums, Arturia MicroBrut, Hard Mod Duo, electric guitar, bass guitar, didley bow, theremin, percussions, voice. Petr Vrba (trumpet, trumpinet, electric tube), Strakos (saxophone, clarinet) and Vaclav Kalivoda (trombone) make guest performances. Federsel is musician, improviser, sound artist is involved in theatre and numerous bands like B4, Gurun Gurun, Radio Royal, Federsel&Mäkelä, Uranus, Wabi Experience. Freudl is also member of B4 and both have a long history of operating together. Earlier they released ‘New Rock’ as a duo, and ‘Peacock King’ is the follow up. Recordings date from last summer, produced at home. Their adventurous music is about cacophony and built from many musical fragments of very different origin. Call it avant dada rock if you want. Fine eclectic collage work, exuberant use of sounds and ingredients that give flesh to simple straightforward rock-oriented structures. A piece like ‘Samba Malaria’ allows to take a breath, as it passes by as a – relatively easy listening kinda piece. ‘Stability Tune’ is also an accessible poppy tune. The chaotic – over the top – pieces however I enjoyed most, like ‘La Natura’ that combines free improvisation from the horns with noises, samples, etc. Charming for its humour and enthusiasm, interesting for how their anarchic behaviour brings forth a satisfying blend of improve and sound art. (DM)
Address: http://meteorismorecords.blogspot.cz

JAMIE AND THE DEBT – NO, LIFE ISN’T (cassette, private)
It seems a lot of this week’s small issue (Christmas no mail period) contains, all least for me, a lot of moody, atmospheric music, which is great of course, but one needs that antidote also. That is amply provided by Jamie And The Debt, which is, unlike the name suggests not a band but the solo act of Jamie Rowitsch from Buffolo, New York, playing guitar, singing and with a bunch of uptempo rhythm machines. She was/is also part of Sexist, Mallwalkers and Human Touch. Her music is very loud, aggressive and especially direct in your face. There is no hiding here. Quite raw and malicious, but having just survived Christmas it’s about time someone walked by and kicked around and Jamie And The Debt does this very well – see my leaping around, pogo like a bastard. Now, a good reviewer knows his stuff and I don’t, so it’s hard to say what this sounds like, and then insert a bunch of cool names, but maybe my best guess would be an early Runaways recording, just when Kim Fowley handed them a cassette recorder in that garage to record a bunch of songs, while waiting for a drummer to arrive. This short but furious punk blast was very well received here. It shook the Christmas real heavy and that looked great. (FdW)
Address: http://jamieandthedebt.bandcamp.com

STEPHAN MATHIEU – NACHTSTÜCKE (download by Schwebung)
Yesterday it snowed, so one could rush out in some vague romantic notion and take pictures of sun and snow, thinking one is an artiste – thanks Warhol. I don’t like snow, so I didn’t walk out easily, afraid as I am to fall and break something; then I’d be sitting, uninsured for such things, alone in my first floor room, starving, having no income and no-one to do my shopping – now that’s surely a romantic notion I’d pass on. So when I managed to get back home safely I (getting food for a few days!), I vowed not to get out all Sunday and most of Monday (until someone picked me up in a car!) and just be listening to music and reading. In another vague romantic notion I could read a small book of poetry – zen poetry no doubt – while listening to the four hours of Stephan Mathieu’s new release, but I didn’t. I started, a few days ago, reading a Kurt Cobain biography – ‘Heavier Than Heaven’, if you must know – and this day, still icy roads, remnants of snow, but sunny is fine enough to stay at home and gaze outside every now and then, and do reading all day and listening to Mathieu’s music. Music that translates as ‘night pieces’ and which are designed to be played at a low volume. I know various people who sleep with music being played, which is something I could never do, but otherwise these four pieces are excellent textured soundscapes, indeed to be played at a low volume and preferable on repeat I’d say. ‘Black Mirror’, the fourth part, is over two hours long and very low in volume by itself. It’s humming like a machine in the far away distance and over the course of this piece it gradually becomes louder, but it’s of an entirely different timing than we are used to. The other three pieces are called ‘First Dream’, ‘Second Dream’ and ‘Third Dream’, of which the first is a majestic Mathieu like soundscape, slowly yet distinctly moving about. The other two dreams are shorter, twenty-five and thirty-five minutes, of which the latter is very drone like, with beautiful overtones, which sound like field recordings. The ‘Third Dream’ also consists cassette loops by Federico Durand, and is the most ‘hissy’ piece of the four, with a nice grainy texture to it. This is four hours well spend – well, more close to eight as I played almost all of it to think about the review. And at 24 bit-rate and a PDF, this is a few euros well spend. This is the most massive release by Mathieu and perhaps not the most ‘new’ in any kind, unless you count the longitude of this as something new. What a Sunday! (FdW)
Address: https://schwebung.bandcamp.com/

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