Hans Koch

FOILS QUARTET – THE JERSEY LILLY (CD by Creative Sources Recordings)
BASE 4 – AXES OF SYMMETRY (CD by Analog Arts)
TRANSMIT – RADIATION (CD by Monotype Records)
COMMUNITY OF LIGHT – NIGHT VISION (CD by Oiseaux Invisibles) *
HANS KOCH – ERFOLG (CD by Deszpot) *
KLANGWART – TRANSIT (CD by Staubgold) *
TL0741 – BEFORE WAKING (CD by HC3 Music) *
TL0741 – CIRCULATION (CD by HC3 Music)* 
GEINS’T NAÏT & LAURENT PETITGAND – JE VOUS DIS (CD by Ici D’Ailleurs/Mind Travels) *
HESSIEN – YOUR EMPIRE, IN DECLINE (CDR by The Long Story Recording Company) *

Vital Weekly #964 by Vitalweekly on Mixcloud

tracklist for Vital Weekly 964:

0000 Tune
0014 Klangwart – Transit
0315 John Luther Adams – Canticles Of The Sky: Sky With Endless Stars
0622 Daniel Lentz – Pacific Coast Highway
0926 Christian Wallumrød – Second Fahrkunst
1229 Hessien – Flightless And Nocturnal
1525 Ottoanna – How Am I Going To Close?
1831 TL0741 – Magadan
2140 Geins’t Naït & L. Petitgand – Iroshima
2447 Reinhold Friedl – Golden Quinces, Earthed
2755 Natasha Barrett – Oslo Sound Space Transport System : Route no.1
3100 Community Of Light – Wiring Azalea
3405 Ocean Viva Silver – The Secret Song Molpe
3711 Hans Koch – Overtone
4017 Spunk & Joelle Leandre
4320 TL0741 – Decelerando
4625 Tune

Here we have a small corner of modern classical music. The first two releases are by Cold Blue Music and on the first we find recent pieces for strings by John Luther Adams, who won in 2014 the Pulitzer Prize in Music. There are three pieces on this release, two are string quartets and one is for ‘four cello choirs, performed by the 48-member Northwestern University Cello Ensemble’. All of these pieces are quite dream-like and atmospheric. It works with long sustaining sounds, long attacks and sounds dying out very slowly, suggesting much space. The release opens with the first part of the title piece, which is beautiful piece of gliding, soft notes, followed by a somewhat more frantic part and another, lower, third part, full of tension and drama, but played out slowly. These slow movements – moving, always – are also present in ‘Canticles Of The Sky’ for that cello ensemble, and this is a piece that reminded me of Arvo Pärt’s best works: heavenly beautiful, very intense, b
ut also
an excellent set of drone like clouds. Anybody who loves a bit drone and who is fed up with laptops, loop stations and electricity: this is the place to look for something new and exciting. The only piece I was not blown away by was ‘Dream Of The Canyon Wren’, the shortest around here, but somehow failed to grab me. But otherwise I thought this was a great release.
The other new release contains just one instrument, the piano. Compositions by Daniel Lentz performed by Aron Kallay. Lentz has been composing music for some 45 years and much of it has a minimal streak. It’s however not the kind of minimalism of Reich or Glass, but just a sparseness in between notes, slow moves, but not always highly repeating. The four pieces here (one of which is separated into four parts, so seven pieces on the disc itself) are from recent years, and two of these are for multiple pianos, I assume played one by one by Kallay, recorded using multi-track. Now here we have piano music recorded on a fine grand piano, with fine microphones, unlike last week’s record by Karla Borecky, which was a great charm of it’s own, but differently also. But this release sounds better produced, but the music is along similar, if not a bit smoother. Lentz’ piano music is not necessarily Satie or Debussy like, but may also have a more ‘romantic’ notion, maybe that Californian
that I often hear in the releases by Cold Blue Music. Maybe I’m just imagining that. The title piece, for seven pianos, has a nice complex character, almost with mild delay put forward on the pianos, but it isn’t, and it’s a great piece. The release opens with ’51 Nocturnes’, played without a gap between them, and has fine late night feel to them. The four parts of ‘Dorchester Tropes’ reminds me Satie and Debussy, with the more melancholic touch it has. The four pianos of ‘Pacific Coast Highway’ are perhaps the closest Lentz comes to the ‘other’ minimalists. It makes all of this quite a varied release, but all of it of excellent quality.
Also on piano we find Christian Wallumrød (born in 1971). As this release is on Hubro, I expected something more improvised and/or jazz like, but it’s actually not. Just what it is, is not too easy to say what it is. Wallumrød recorded in a number of venues and on a variety of pianos his playing, compositions perhaps; or maybe the compositions were created from these recordings, using overdubs, editing and such like. It’s hard to say what exactly is done here, although it seems clear to me that there are multiple pianos to be heard at the same time, and there is a strange modern classical music to be heard. In the opening piece ‘Fahrkunst’ it seems as if we only hear sustain of the piano sounds, but not the actual attack of the keys; it almost sounds like electronic music but you know it isn’t (the cover indicates no such thing; for whatever that is worth). In ‘Second Fahrkunst’ regular piano playing is combined with resonances of unheard piano music. But then in ‘Hoksang’
Wallumrød starts to play the piano: in the opening lines minimal but quite quickly it seems to derail a bit and gets strange hooks, but it works quite well. ‘Boyd 1970’ is another odd piece: minimal, but with some catchy offbeat hook, like the start of a pop song in its demo-phase (but much better recorded). ‘Lassome’, the final piece is along similar, but maybe it’s because it sounds so, because it is recorded the same piano and has the same tone color. The only bit of tape echo applied is in the ‘School Of Ecofisk’ (although, come to think of it, maybe in the ‘Fahrkunst’ pieces he applies also tape echo?), which sounds nice. In some way this is all quite ‘minimal’, but of another nature than the Cold Blue releases, even when it all seems to fit together quite well. 
Perhaps furthest removed from these more or less classical releases, but played by a modern classically trained pianist, Reinhold Friedl of Zeitkratzer, is this new work played on a Neo-Bechstein piano. Quite a surprise to see this released by Bocian Records, which I assumed ceased trading last year. The neo Bechstein piano was created in the twenties of the last century and one of the first instruments with a pick up system, so it could be transmitted on the radio; this was a time before microphones. Just a pick-up system is perfect suitable for a spatialized concert, and this is what Friedl does here. He plays the inside of the piano, with small pieces of wood in the strings, heavy stones vibrating, bass strings played with mallets, metal tubes and such like. This was spatialized onto eight speakers, easy to do with the various pick-ups already present in the piano and picked up in space using a 12-channel set up. As you can perhaps imagine this may result in something that
resembles any conventional piano sound. Sometimes one vaguely recognizes the strings being played, but just easily this sounds like the work of musique concrete, the electro-acoustic world of Pierre Henry. It’s a very full-on sound that Friedl produces here; not some careful plink-plonk inside the piano, but everything seems enlarged here and he moves from section to section. Around the thirty-minute mark it’s all very nice and very low, in a very subdued manner, but shortly after that the piece reaches its peak and that is not well spend on me. That’s the only weak moment in this composition: the rest is more than excellent, with a fine sound moving around these two simple speakers giving this great hallucinating sounds. (FdW)
Address: http://www.coldbluemusic.com
Address: http://www.hubromusic.com
Address: http://www.bocianrecords.com/

FOILS QUARTET – THE JERSEY LILLY (CD by Creative Sources Recordings)
Combine Frank Paul Schubert (soprano saxophone), Matthias Müller (trombone), John Edwards (bass) and Mark Sanders (drums) and you have the Foils Quartet. Play their album and you enjoy some excellent improvised music. Originally Müller and Schubert worked as a duo, named Foils, before inviting Sanders and Edwards. Sanders and Edwards have a long history as the rhythm section of Trevor Watts and Evan Parker units. Müller is a Berlin-based improviser but also plays a role in the new music scene, especially as a member of the Echtzeit  scene( Kai Fagaschinski, a.o.). Frank Paul Schubert is also involved in improvisation and contemporary jazz. Coming from the Aachen-area he played with many, mainly German musicians (Willi Kellers, Johannes Bauer, Alexander von Schlippenbach). So a German-British collective that excels in very communicative improvisations.  What a joy to listen to! Never a dull moment here. Throughout they play intense and concentrated on a continuous high leve
Thrilling playing by Schubert, what a player. They unfold their ideas in two lengthy improvisations: ‘Eddie’s Flower’ and ‘Amaryllis Belladonna’. Recorded live on april 2nd 2013 in Birmingham. ‘Eddie’s Flower‘ takes more than 50 minutes but is worthwhile from beginning to end. A real tour de force. The instruments make a nice colour palette. Especially through the combination of trombone and sax. It is above all the constant stream of musical ideas that make their interplay very rich and fascinating. Quite and subtle textures change for high-energy battles.  Totally gripping music, emotional as well as cerebral if this distinction is of any meaning. (DM)
Address: http://www.creatrivesourcesrec.com

Hubro is a really hot label if you ask me. Adventurous music of groups and musicians who want to set a next step, melding old musical forms into something new. The first solo album by writer and musician Eric Honoré is another example if this. In the past he worked with David Sylvian, Arve Henriksen, Jon Hassell and Brian Eno. In 2005 with long time collaborator Jan Bang, he started the Punkt Festival in Kristiansand, where concerts that have just taken place are remixed live in another room using sampling as an improvising tool. Honoré took time to make his first jump for a solo album. Most of the recording work for ‘Heliographgs’ Honoré did in his home studio. The album has contributions by percussionist Ingar Zach (Huntsville, Dans Les Arbres), Eivind Aarset (guitar), Sidsel Endrsen (vocals), Jan Bang Sampling) and Arve Henriksen (trumpet), plus Dutch violinist Jeffrey Bruinsma (Zapp 4). Honoré did sampling, synthesizer, synth bass, rhythm programming and field rec
The pieces with vocalist Sidsel Endresen spring out. Her breakable and characteristic voice works well in the jazzy ambient soundscapes. Honoré creates fascinating textures. Sometimes sketchy and sounding loosely improvised, at other moment’s very worked-out constructions. Pieces have different coloring and instrumentation. Ambient music often has the risk of becoming victim of its introvert character and remaining an emotionally closed book. Honoré shows however he is full-grown communicator in this field as his music makes a strong appeal. Excellent, warm and deep ambient music. (DM)
Address: http://www.hubromusic.com

With The Remote Viewers we are talking of a very profiled ensemble that started as a sax-trio in 1997. They follow vey consequently their own path and developed a very distinct concept, releasing almost on a yearly base a new cd.  The line up this time is as follows: Caroline Kraabel (alto saxophone, baritone saxophone), Sue Lynch (tenor saxophone, clarinet), Adrian Northover (soprano, sopranino, alto saxes, wasp, autoharp), David Petts (tenor sax, noise generator), John Edwards (double bass), Mark Sanders (drums) and Rosa Lynch-Northover (keyboards, tuned percussion). All compositions are by David Petts, who made his fist steps with B-Shop for The Poor at the end of the 80s. With this release they complete their trilogy inspired on film noir, with ‘City of Nets’ and ‘Crimeways’ as the other parts. The music breathes dark and heavy atmospheres. If it were a plain rock album it would be a very heavy rock album. If it were jazz, well I don’t know the equivalent, but a
gain it
would be of a heavy weight. But their music is neither nor. Call it chamber music, I say in cases like these. The compositions by Petts are very outspoken and transparent. The arrangements are sober and effective. It all breaths discipline and control in order to reach music of unusual clarity. And they succeeded in it once more! (DM)
Address: http://www.theremoteviewers.com

BASE 4 – AXES OF SYMMETRY (CD by Analog Arts)
A release from New York-based Analog Arts, a non-profit organisation operating in three major areas: live events, project management and recordings. Base 4 is Bruce Friedman on trumpet, Derek Bomback on guitar, and Alan Cook on drums and percussion. A trio based in Southern California. Cook worked with an impressive list of musicians: Dave Holland, Albert Mangelsdorf, Bobby Bradford, Lee Konitz, etc. He is already forty years in business. Friedman worked with Rich West¸Scott Fraser, improvising ensemble Surrealestate, etc. Bomback is the youngest one and is a recent Masters of Composition graduate from Berklee College of Music in Boston. For this cd they selected a varied set of jazz standards (C.Bley, Jobim, Monk, Rodgers and Hammerstein) that are interspersed by sections of free improvisation. Don’t know what made them exactly chose these standards, but they make up a coherent and pleasant collection together with their own creations. Their improvisations make a pleasant

with the standards and offered most fun for me. Electric guitar and trumpet is a unusual combination, but they produce some fine interwoven patterns like in ‘Afro Blue’. The players make up a well-balanced combo, playing a bit too controlled however. (DM)
Address: http://www.analogarts.com

Kronomorfic, co-led by saxophonist David Borgo and drummer Paul Pellegrin, is an ensemble dedicated to the exploration of polymetric time. Other members are John Fumo (trumpet, flugelhorn), Paul Garrison (electric guitar, effects), Ben Schachter (tenor saxophone on 1, 3, and 5), Anthony Smith (vibraphone, marimba, glockenspiel), Peter Sprague (nylon-string guitar), Andy Zacharias (contrabass). And in the title track also Michael Dessen (trombone), Mark Dresser (contrabass), Brad Dutz  (vibraphone, marimba) and Emily Hay  (flute) contribute. Their first effort ‘Micro Temporal Infundibula’ was released by Pfmemtum in 2010. ‘Entangled’, their next step is released by OA2 Records, a Seattle-based independent label that concentrates on jazz. In each composition they built their pieces from multi-layered rhythmic patterns and phrases, with melodic lines in top of it. Complex but gripping constructions. At the same the music is accessible and moving. The playing is excellent
engaging. They truly master the complexity of the compositions and turn it into captivating and vivid music. (DM)
Address: http://www.oa2reocrds.com

TRANSMIT – RADIATION (CD by Monotype Records)
Transmit started in 2009 as Project Transmit with the release of their first album on Staubgold. At this time initiator Tony Buck played everything himself except for bass by Dave Symes. Now Transmit transformed into a quartet with Austrialian drummer Buck as the central force of this band. He wrote all the pieces, except for ‘Drive’ by Ric Ocasek. Buck is most known for drumming in The Necks a combo of trance jazz. Also for Transmit Buck chose for a drumming style that have repetitive structures and patterns dominate. Most certainly in the opening piece, that that has wild organ playing by Magda Mayas on top of it. Magda Mayas is a pianist living in Berlin, who worked with many improvisers and composers such as John Butcher, Annette Krebs, Phill Niblock, Andrea Neumann, Axel Dörner, Thomas Lehn and Tristan Honsinger. On drums we find Brendan Dougherty. Born in Philadelphia he later moved to Europe. In 2004 he founded the ensemble Oursongislong devoted to durational perf
of improvised music. The bass is in the hands of James Welburn, who mainly works as a sound designer for film, installations and video productions. As said for all six tracks on this album repetition is the most important building stone, but this time the music is more (post-)rock oriented instead of jazz as with The Necks. Like in the first two tracks that have Bucks drum patterns keeping up the pressure. ‘Drive’ is a dreamy piece of weaves of compact sound with vocals on top of it. ‘Swimming alone’ starts with open percussive textures before changing halfway into hardcore rock. Closing piece ‘Who’ is a overwhelming apotheosis of strongly pulsating rock. Overall the music has something psychedelic because of the trance-inducing rhythms. Let this one hypnotize you. (DM)
Address: http://www.monotypereocrds.com

We hear Candelaria Saenz Valiente (vocals, percussion) and Marcin Masecki (piano, keyboards), on this release by the polish Bolt Records label, a medium for experimental music from Eastern Europe. Masecki is aWarsaw-born pianist, composer, etc. and a leading artist in the polish underground scene. He has a diversity of projects and groups going on. From what I understand he has a love for a deconstructing approach, considering his projects around polonaises, Bach and Scarlatti. And this new release is also an illustration of it. Candelaria Saenz Valiente is a Poland-based singer and writer from Argentinia. For their collaboration ‘Hymnen’ they chose to record anthems from countries that are not doing very well in their perception. So they interpreted the anthems of Greece, Nepal, Afghanistan, Haïti, Vanuatal and Guyana. Anthems are – by definition? – not the most musically exciting pieces of music. Masecki and Valiente produce low-key versions, simplified and reduced
, with
distorted and odd keyboards, all combined romantic singing. A curious album and in the end I don’t really know what to make of it, but it made me smile. (DM)
Address: http://www.boltrecords.pl/

On the inside we read: ‘Community Of Light is a collective of artists & musicians working in the post kraut cosmic drone continuum which was unitiated by mr Robert Fludd and has come to full fruition in the twenty-first century in various forms, specifically: as pursuers of the Light, which is often called Darkness, and a sound we call silence (with a method called night vision)’. Three members here: Michael Malinski (bass, percussions, vocals, synths), Matthew Swiezynski (guitar) and Chi Yun (vocals, synths, electronics) with the curious addition of “instruments: vocals, synths, baritone guitar, guitar, delay/reverb devices, bowed acoustic bass, zither, bells, piano, harmonicas and various prayer bowls’. That means this trio plays these instruments? (Why list instruments with their names then?) Or is there a player called ‘instruments’? (Or is there a mistake?). Five lengthy pieces here of something that is indeed highly drone like, a bit cosmic, and through the somewhat imp
playing a bit kraut like, but not expect any Neu! rhythms to be part of this krauty dish. Like previous releases on this label, this is all quite atmospheric and a bit dramatic. Lots of this, of everything really, is put under in the bath of reverb and delay to suggest an infinite space and atmosphere (or drama, as the voice in ‘Nwyfre’ should from the back the cathedral), and much of this sounds like a mighty cliché, but I must also admit it’s a cliché that works quite well. With all these dark, short and grey days these moody soundscapes, humming voices and metallic percussion work all quite well. It’s not difficult to glide downwards to the underworld, the darkness of the basement, the emptiness of the factory floor and do nothing at all, otherwise than sitting back and let Community Of Light bring some light into your room. While I thought this was all not the most original mood music, I found myself pleasantly enjoyed by it. (FdW)
Address: http://www.invisiblebirds.org

HANS KOCH – ERFOLG (CD by Deszpot)
Music by Hans Koch has been reviewed before, even when it was a duo with Gaudenz Badrutt (see Vital Weekly 853). ‘Erfolg’ (succes in German) is his second solo release, following ‘Uluru’ from twenty-five years ago. Maybe the title is a bit of cynical look at his solo work? Koch (born in 1984) examines his three instruments: bass clarinet, soprano saxophone and tenor saxophone. Apparently he worked for some time on this disc, trying stuff, throwing away and starting all over again. Now, while the saxophone can be recognized as such I think in most of the pieces and we are not talking about the instrument I enjoy most, I must admit that it sounds quite good in this release. Koch seems to be enjoying sustaining tones, which he creates, sometimes, by using overdubs and sometimes by just playing very long tones and a lot of breathing. Much of this stuff is very direct, very loud. A piece like ‘Overtone’ (all of his titles are quite descriptive) is like a steamboat horn ringing in 
your ear
In ‘Bow’ and ‘Inside’, Koch explores the mechanics of the instrument, again very close the microphone, so we have quite some vivid electro-acoustic music. There are also four pieces in which Koch explores the relation feedback and saxophone, and while that is nice, it’s also not something that hasn’t been done before. ‘Multi’ is great piece, in which he has various saxophones playing together and creates a beautiful, intense piece of music. All of these different approaches make that this is a great CD, even if you are (like me) no particular lover of the saxophone per se, with various sides of the saxophone and all of these ways to play the instrument. ‘Erfolg’ is a pretty varied disc and Koch can call this a fine success. (FdW)
Address: http://deszpot.ch

While I always firmly proclaim that I have no knowledge of the actual technical side of music, Klangwart’s Markus Detmer and Timo Reuber once asked me to record their music for a CD, which I did, making suggestions and all the ‘producer’ like things I think I should do, but in the end they decided the recordings I did were very flat and it was to re-record it, somewhere else at another time. That ended my career as a producer for other people. But every since that experience (or perhaps even more) I am keen to hear whatever Klangwart come up with now. They don’t belong to the most productive musicians in the world, perhaps due to the fact that they don’t live in the same city since quite some time, so they get together very irregularly to work on a new release. Their original interests were with both Steve Reich, Terry Riley, krautrock and the mid 90s electronic music in their then home city Cologne. Armed with synthesizes, samplers and sequencers they exploit the boundaries 
music once again. Perhaps one could say this new work is no different than say ‘Sommer’, their previous release (see Vital Weekly 728), but as you can see that’s been four years ago, and in the course of some eighteen years this is only their seventh release, so what am I complaining about. I could rather say that Klangwart has very successfully crafted their own sound, and it comes more and more to bloom. The rolling synthesizer sounds, the spacious patterns, the ever-lasting kick of a faint drum machine and electro-acoustic sounds that are sampled. This is the true cosmic journey one needs, but an updated cosmic journey it is. Play this loud and you see a lot more is happening underneath and that this CD is a trip indeed: a train ride going underground, over mountains, along the river and halts at stations. It might be their own ‘Trans Europe Express’: but then even more conceptually tied together. Another great release by this fine duo. They don’t need a producer: they can
well do it themselves. (FdW)
Address: http://www.staubgold.com

TL0741 – BEFORE WAKING (CD by HC3 Music)
TL0741 – CIRCULATION (CD by HC3 Music)
It’s been quite some time since I heard music by Pat Gillis, who works by the name TL0741 since many years. Obviously postal rates are sky-high everywhere these days, preventing it to send out tons of promo’s. I may assume that ‘Before Waking’, with the lower catalogue number, is somewhat older and ‘Circulation’ is brand new. On the first the credit reads as ‘synths, effects, location recordings’ and on the second ‘synthesizers and treatments’. I saw Gillis play live, quite some years ago also by now, with quite an impressive set-up of modular synthesizers, which probably helps when reviewing this: I have an idea what he is doing. His pieces range from short (more so on ‘Circulation’ it seems) to quite long, but in all of these pieces Gillis is looking for some kind of compositional form, rather than switching on his machines and let them run wild in some form of improvisation. Much of this is quite dark and atmospheric. There is always a drone or two lurking underneath all o
f this
and on top more spacious, free-whaling of oscillations, filters and such like. There are differences between the two releases, I think. Of the two, ‘Before Waking’ seems a bit darker and cloudier than ‘Circulation’, which seemed a bit lighter in tone. Whereas ‘Before Waking’ is a trip inside a black hole, it seems that ‘Circulation’ takes you inside a space ship and you watch the beauty of space. Those kinds of differences. I preferred ‘Circulation’ over ‘Before Waking’, which I found a bit too noisy and not too well defined in it’s sound. ‘Circulation’ simply had more variation to offer in that respect. But when it comes to experimental electronics, both of these are of refined quality. (FdW)
Address: http://www.hc3music.com

Years and years ago I worked in a space, which also functioned as a record store, and before, that I was a volunteer at another record-store/mail-order. In both ‘stores’ I saw the name Geins’t Naït, but for whatever reason I no longer recall, I never played any of their records or CDs that we sold. Maybe it was because there was so much other great stuff to play? Let’s keep it at that. So up until this CD I never heard their music properly, but in my defense, they didn’t have any new release since 1993. The name Laurent Petitgand (not to be confused with Dominique Petitgand) I never heard before, despite the fact that he did soundtracks for Wim Wenders and Paul Auster as well as being a singer-songwriter. In 2011 he and Geins’t Naït worked together for the first time and now there is a new album. But for me this is maybe a first introduction all around. And I am quite surprised. The label makes references to Coil, Current 93, Neubauten, none of which are really particular f
with me, but in these hands it works out differently and actually quite well. There is quite some drama in this music, through the use of samples, melancholic piano bits and the dark voice of Petitgand. Geins’t Naït provide a rather minimal set of music – not as in ’empty’, but as in ‘repetitions’, which makes rather odd pop music. Petitgand’s voice is most of the time heavily transformed (vocoder perhaps?), which makes that a rather darker atmosphere hangs over these pieces. It bumps and collides but that I think is the beauty of this music, it’s rather unusual atmosphere. Tacky and clichéd it seems at times but it works out quite fine. Maybe because there are some cliché’s in here, but also some more unusual aspects, that it all makes up for something strange and estranged. A most enjoyable album, I thought. A fine introduction indeed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.icidailleurs.com

Usually releases by +3dB Records from Norway deal with the more improvised end of music (as we will see), but the release by Natasha Barrett is something different. Superficially one could think there is something improvised in these pieces, the way voices are used or percussion, but upon a closer study one realizes this is all the work of musique concrete. Barrett also had releases on Empreintes Digitales, Aurora, and other more highbrow electronic music labels, some of these being DVD-audio and SACD. This double CD shows two aspects of her work: the pieces on the ‘Polymer’ disc are ‘3D compositions: dramas unfolding in fictional spaces re-mixed for stereo listening’, while ‘Peat’, ‘collects a series of audio experiences, placing the listener inside the reality of an actual environment’.  The pieces on ‘Polymer’ are indeed quite dramatic at times, blending instrumental music, voices and sound from various processed sources together. This makes up quite imaginative music, ful
l of
life, changes taking place all the time and moving from one imaginary picture to another. It’s perhaps music that one knows from the academic world, and which is not always received favorable here but in this case it works rather well. The pieces on ‘Peat’ seem to deal with field recordings (Oslo, Lima and Shanghai) which come largely unprocessed it seems, but for all I know there might also be some kind of intervention from Barrett, either processing sounds or simply creating a sound collage of it with abrupt changes. Whatever the case might be, it sounds quite fascinating, especially the ‘Oslo Sound Space Transport System: Route no. 1’, which seems to have more intervention than the other pieces. But maybe this was picked up with more microphones and there is some odd spacing going on here. It gives you the impression to be inside a hollow, tube like space and sounds drop in and out all the time. Following the pieces found ‘Polymer’ this opening piece of ‘Peat’ forms an exc
long bridge from one CD to the other, with more field recording/documentation pieces.
The other new release is from the world of improvisation. Here we have a meeting of the double bass of Joelle Leandre with Spunk, the group of Kristin Anderson (trumpet and flutes), Lene Grenager (cello), Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje (voice and electronics) and Hild Sofie Tafjord (french horn and electronics). In 2001 they all played the Moldejazz festival, and this disc documents that. There two piece solo by Leandre, one solo by Spunk and two collaborative pieces. Welcome to the world of hardcore improvisation. The two collaborative pieces are heavy busy blasts of improvised music, with lots of things happening and everybody doing something all the time, especially in the shorter piece of the two. In Leandre’s solo pieces, she plays the double bass with a bow very hectic, and in the first one sparsely adds her voice. In Spunk’s solo piece things seem less hectic than in the collaborative spirit, but as ‘the other side of the coin’ this works really well, rather more concen
and working towards a great crescendo. Something of that concentration we also find in the longer collaboration, in which there seems to be more spacing between the sounds and instruments. It’s quite a long ride, this release, but one with some remarkable beauty in it. (FdW)
Address: http://plus3db.net

These two releases involve Valerie Vivancos. The CDR contains her solo music and as Ottoanna she works with Rodolphe Alexis. They have been doing so for ten years now, but ‘Federated States of Micronesia’ is their first release, ‘a documentation of some of their past and ephemeral performances’. Four pieces here, each with a description on the cover about the how’s and why’s of the pieces, which always makes up a nice read I think. It seems to me all of these four pieces have some story and even when it seems a bit more abstract figuring out what these stories are just by listening to them, there is some radio play character to be found in these pieces. If I understand correctly these pieces are made through the use of improvising and playing around with sounds, electronics, laptops and such like, and in these pieces they show a love for collage-like techniques sitting alongside long form drone and atmospheric soundscapes. Sometimes there is the use of voice material, maybe f
or that
extra radio play quality, but it certainly adds to the more story like aspect of this release, even when these spoken words are in French. It’s intense, powerful, quiet, introspective and beautiful, usually all at the same time. An excellent release of some highly imaginative music.
As Ocean Viva Silver, Vivancos works solo and ‘Echolalia’ is a release in which ‘all the sound originate from a single voice recording at the GRM studios (Paris) in 2010’. The subsequent four pieces were recorded later on, either in concert or as part of radio commissioned pieces. For some reason it says ‘mixing and mastering by Robert Hampson’. Now, I can understand why you would leave mastering to someone else – a specialized job indeed – but ‘mixing’? Doesn’t that equal the way a composition is made? You have all of these great sounds, a fine idea and then by ‘mixing’ them the final composition occurs? Maybe Vivancos has different understanding of the word mixing? Either way, the music is very much along the lines of Ottoanna, tapping into the same field of musique concrete techniques in transforming sounds – in this case: solely voices – and then combining all of these stages of processing into pieces of music. Like Ottoanna, there are the longer sustaining blocks of soun
d, along
with small particles dropping in and out of the mix. Obviously the voice is a returning feature here, sometimes unprocessed (no doubt when she uses it live on top of a set of pre-processed sounds) but even when highly processed it’s still easily recognized as a time-stretched voice. Some great music here too, even when I had the impression some of this was a bit more single-minded and Ottoanna was all a bit more complex; both of these releases complement each other and make up some exciting computer music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ottoanna.com
Address: http://ocean-viva-silver.bandcamp.com

HESSIEN – YOUR EMPIRE, IN DECLINE (CDR by The Long Story Recording Company)
Apparently the Twice Removed label from down under is now down under and there is now a new company in it’s place called The Long Story Recording Company, ‘with a renewed focus on established artists album releases and a consistent design ethos of “less is more”‘, as we are told here. The digipack here at hand looks pro-printed and that is certainly a step-up from the previous, more handmade packaging. Hessien is a duo of Tim Martin (who is also in Maps And Diagrams, Black Elk and Atlantis) and Charles Sage (of y0t0, The Rothko Chapel); they have been playing together for some time, as ‘Your Empire, In Decline’ is their first album since the 2010 album ‘Home Is Where The Ghost Is’. I never heard their music before, so this is a first. Sage plays guitar, bass and keyboards, while Diagram, as Tim is called on the cover, plays electronics and arrangement. The eleven resulting pieces are indeed heavy on the use of the guitar and lots and lots of effects; the end result of such is
this is all highly atmospheric music. I was reminded here, on more than one occasion of the mid-80s sound of zoviet*france, especially in the use of delay effects, such as in ‘Hiding A Light’. It’s not always very quiet music, but that is, I guess, the beauty of this. It has certain rawness, coupled with lo-fi directness that works rather well. It defies the simple idea of ‘another ambient/drone/post rock guitar album’ and makes it into something that is more of their own, I guess. Great psychedelic music. (FdW)
Address: http://longstoryrecordingcompany.bandcamp.com

A rather short tape here, which doesn’t make it easy to make up ones mind about it. It lasts maybe just over ten minutes? On the first side we find Lucid Pyramids, which is Weston Czerkies (from Oak & Bone, Japanese Furnace, Sunken Cheek, Hunger Pains) and Shaun Sutkus (from Perfect Pussy, Pretengineer, Popular Selections). On the other side one Todd Anderson Kunert. Earlier in 2014 he played some shows in Miami alongside Perfect Pussy, and a tape release was discussed. The Lucid Pyramids side is a noisy improvisation of synthesizers and electronics, recorded rather crudely it seems, which gives this piece its noisy, uncontrolled edge. I guess it’s all right, but like I said, hard to make my mind based on these few minutes. The Kunert piece on the other side is a much more concentrated effort of electronics being played. Here too we find a certain noise at work, but Kunert likes to organize his noise a bit, and it comes to us less unstructured as that of Lucid Pyramids. Again
, a bit
short for a proper opinion, but it sounded most promising. (FdW)
Address: http://www.thisisnonlinear.com



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