LE POT – SHE  (CD by Everest Records) *
CHIHEI HATAKEYAMA – MIST (CD by White Paddy Mountain) *
OTZIR GODOT – IN- (CD by Epatto Records) *
DAS SOMBREROS – THE LAMP (LP by Soft Propulsion Records)
MARCUS M. RUBIO – CITIES SINKING DOWN (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions) *
BRENT FARISS – FOLK SONG FOR 27 OBOES (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions) *
MATT KREFTING – RECITALS (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions) *
HIGHWAY ISSUE 1 (book by Ademas)

Vital Weekly #968 by Vitalweekly on Mixcloud

tracklist for Vital Weekly 968:

0000 Tune
0014 Chihei Hatakeyama – A Silver Fence To Present The Entrance Of Horses
0316 Konstruktivits – Future Past Calling
0634 Matt Krefting
1018 Philippe Lauzier & Eric Normand
1327 Brent Fariss – Folk Song For 27 Oboes
1631 Otzir Godot
1934 Elisabeth Schimana
2242 Marcus M. Rubio – New Inquisitions
2550 P.O.T. – Ariel Alert
2854 Tune

LE POT – SHE  (CD by Everest Records)
With Le Pot we are in Bern, Switzerland. A quartet consisting of Manuel Mengis (trumpet, electronics), Hans-Peter Pfammatter (keyboards, electronics), Manuel Troller (guitar, electronics) and Lionel Friedl (drums). All four of them Swiss musicians whose paths have crossed on many occasions in the past: Friedl and Pfammatter started Scope. Friedl also played with Manuel Mengis Gruppe 6. With Le Pot they make a new, ambitious step. ‘She’ is the first part of the trilogy ‘She-Hera-Zade’, they plan to realize in the future. Le Pot is a very adventurous combo. They deal in noisy sound-oriented improvisations. Spacial constructions that come from group improvisation. Sometimes with a beat, but most of the time they abstract from rhythm too. A trumpet in a spaced out electric context always makes one think of Miles Davis, which is the case here in a track like ‘Tartarugas Dream’. Trumpet player Mengis is the most jazz-oriented improviser of the four. Just listen to his solo halfway ‘ICCL’. But in total their music is far more radical, and abstracts from any common vocabulary. Their eruptions of loud, seemingly chaotic interplay, could also be associated with the energy of rock music. Luckily they are embedded in passages that allow some rest and time for recovery. So well-balanced excursions it are, although sometimes a bit too open for my taste. But there is always to be enjoyed a very concentrated playing and one feels a sense of direction that wells up from the subconscious of these players. Great record from an interesting project. (DM)

CHIHEI HATAKEYAMA – MIST (CD by White Paddy Mountain)
Japanese musician Chihei Hatakeyama is rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with, via a flood of releases, mainly (but not exclusively) on his own White Paddy Mountain label. When I woke up this morning it was close to getting daylight and there was even a bit of sun, but very hazy and vague. One could easily mistake that for mist on a nice spring day. But now, hours later, it’s very grey and rains pours down, plus it feels cold. A typical Dutch winter afternoon, I guess. There are arguments pro and contra to play this music on a day like this. The highly atmospheric guitar ambiance of Hatakeyama is the perfect soundtrack to such a day, with it’s foggy, hazy field recordings of birds and sea shores, mingling with some very deep, highly processed guitar sounds. That is speaking ‘pro’ playing this release on this day, but against it would be that this is also the kind of music that if you didn’t feel depressed already (Winter, cold, January, blue monday, blah and blah) you could very easily feel so after playing this. This is not music that will cheer you up, that’s for sure. I am not sure what Hatakeyama’s intention is with this music, but I would think it’s mostly about playing moody and atmospheric pieces of music and as such he does that very well. But that’s what he always does, and as such ‘Mist’ isn’t anything to offer: it is what it is and nothing out of the ordinary for Hatakeyama. He has carved out his own ambient niche market and is now busy with filling up his market stall. I wouldn’t mind hearing something new from him. (FdW)

To say that I am the world’s biggest fan of Konstruktivits? No, not really. I haven’t kept up with their actvities, but in the very early days I would have called myself a fan. ‘A Dissembly’ and ‘Pyscho Genetika’, both records from 1983/84 were highly appreciated and if they were on a compilation it was certainly worth checking out. I was even in brief contact with Glenn Michael Wallis in those days and may have had a track for a compilation of some kind I was thinking about. Yet, even in those days, I thought Konstruktivits was a bit of an odd band. Their music had sometimes long guitar solos, so maybe I suspected them to be old hippies? I lost contact and interest, perhaps due to the fact one can’t buy all the records one wants and maybe because I was more and more interested in the world of cassettes. Over the years Wallis is the constant factor of the group, and these days it’s a duo with Mark Crumby, once of Jara Discs and these days living in Vienna. The band’s bandcamp (at shows the details of all those missing years and while not overtly productive their entire history can be heard over there in an evening or two. That’s a good place to start, perhaps, to know more about what Konstruktivits did in the last thirty years, but one could, rightly think not a lot has changed for them music wise if you did that. A lot can be said about industrial music of course, and how many different variations there are (Throbbing Gristle version, early Cabaret Voltaire, Whitehouse, Nine Inch Nails, early Neubauten), but the version Konstruktivits are dabbling with connects the Throbbing Gristle in the later days (Heathen Earth) to the early Cabaret Voltaire records, but what makes it true Konstruktivits is their psychedelic touch, which makes their music a bit more minimal and much more krautrock inspired, especially a piece like ‘Sin Sear Senasation’ with a Cabaret Voltaire rhythm box, spacious synths and a voice a bit buried below in the mix. Of course everything is quite dark here, especially the half spoken/half sung vocals, which make it more poetry set to music, but maybe also make it a bit more ‘gothic’ (excuse le mot) than I necessarily like. Maybe that’s the biggest difference from the early days: the emphasis on using vocals and lyrics. Otherwise the industrial rhythm and wailing yet spacious synths are very much part and parcel again. I quite enjoyed a long evening with this CD, playing the earliest vinyl again and filling in the gaps from their history on bandcamp. Certainly a most pleasant evening of retro cosmic music. (FdW)

Hypnotics is a double CD created by Subterranean Death Trap. The electronic improvisation project is run by Patrick Kavanagh in cooperation with Anastasia Mano, who is responsible for the beautiful vocals. He is also playing in X-E-S with Louis Burdett and Anastasia Mano as well. The album is released by Killerscar. The first CD has the subtitle “Operating Heavy Machinery” and really that is true. The electronic sounds and beats are strong and dark in combination with some fresh sound sources. The track “Influence” has a stunning ongoing beat, with pulsing bass and ongoing sounds. A melody on piano at the end of the track completes this trippy track. The trip is completely over when the following noisy track “Gilt” starts. And again a spacy track begins. These tracks are really great with a lot of layers. Some tracks are more dark-ambient in combination with some bird-twitters and a suggestion of traditional instruments from India. The last track is a beautiful end of an adventurous CD. The track “Thinking” has a nice combination of fragile voices, an ongoing electronic drone and incoming and out fading noises. Just like when you think, a thought is coming up and is fading away by other thoughts. The second CD has the subtitle “More Symptoms & Side Effects” is more experimental. The track “Maia” lasts 16 minutes and is a great composition of electronics and electronic beats. The beats have a wide range of sounds. Other tracks are a fine combination of metal influences, free-jazz, great electronic sounds, noises and field-recordings. All these ingredients result in a huge diversity in sound. All tracks are well composed and a create different atmospheres. The second CD shows the musical possibilities of Patrick Kavanagh and he knows how to use them. This double CD is highly recommended for people who like dark electronic music. (JKH)

OTZIR GODOT – IN- (CD by Epatto Records)
Jouni Koponen is from Finland and is trained as a classical drummer and percussion player, who works with modern dance, video and improvisation. He does that under the name Otzit Godot, which I am not sure if it means anything. He calls himself ‘drum-poet’, and I thought that would mean something with voice, but it’s not; it’s aim is ‘orchestration to create the poetry of drums and percussion’, and to that end he doesn’t use basic classical or Latin/African percussion, but a variety of ethnic percussion, extended drum set and concert marimba. “He approaches percussion as an archaic deep manner that creates small poetic worlds for the listener”, which one could see as a lot of words to describe twelve pieces of improvised percussive music. Which is not a bad thing at all of course. It doesn’t sound very improvised per se, but more the result of either playing for a long time taking the best bits, or careful planning and execution. The nice thing about this, is that Otzir Godot uses a wide variety of instruments; the marimba plays an important role, but it’s expanded beyond that, with rattling bells in the sixth (all are untitled) piece; sometimes he plays things furious and sometimes very sparsely, such as in the ninth piece. Otzir Godot delivers an excellent amount of variation in these pieces. Nothing that one could easily define as ‘something’ (modern classical, improvised, ethnic) and that is the best thing about it. I must admit I am not too sure about the poetic component of this, but I must also admit I didn’t care about that very much. A great CD: that is what counts, and nothing much else.
“The virus series is an expedition into acoustic perception, a sounding of the responses of our brains in the span of milliseconds, a plea for the precise acoustic moment. And what do you hear?”, is what the booklet starts with and also that “the live generated electronic resonating body is the host to which the sounds of the instruments attach and adapt, they penetrate into it and use it for their replication”, and if I understand the liner notes, quite extensive here, right, is that the acoustic instruments in these three pieces follow what the computer plays, or respond to that. Schimana is the person behind the laptop and in each of the three lengthy pieces she plays with an instrument, piano and in the first, percussion set in the second and strings, woodwind and brass instruments and percussion sets in the third. In that piece we have twenty-three players and it’s quite a small orchestral pieces. I leap this release in with the Otzit Godot one as they share a common territory; well, a vague, common territory, in which it is hard to decide whether this has to do with the world of improvised music, modern classical, both or perhaps something else altogether (although I doubt that). It’s perhaps most likely this is all in the world of cross-over between all of this (and more? Musique concrete for instance). The piano piece I thought was the least interesting one of the three; too soft, not very outspoken; the orchestral piece and the percussion piece were great. In the latter there are shimmering, bell-like sounds along with some more deep end, low bass bumps and the orchestral piece has some excellent minimal passages, breaking up into something much more sparse. The computer in all of this plays an odd role, one that is hard to define. It’s not your usual clicks & cuts, max/msp granular synthesis, but more something that picks up sounds and feed these back in the mix, only sometimes stretching them out into supporting drone like sounds. All three works are great, even while I personally would say: the percussion and the orchestral piece would have been enough also. Neither improvised, nor strictly modern classical, this could appeal to a lot of people. (FdW)

DAS SOMBREROS – THE LAMP (LP by Soft Propulsion Records)
Half way through playing this record I picked up a piece of paper with some of the information on this record and I see this record is cut at 45 rpm, instead of the more usual 33, but still lasts 37 minutes. Oh. And I started the record again; I didn’t notice. This has to do with the ‘unusual sounds and high frequencies that Das Sombreros employ’. The band name rhymes with ‘hair loss, rather than ‘pharaohs’, and you can read in their bio something about ‘the loveable motops (who) earned their stripes in the bierkellers of Hamburg’ etc. etc., but are those stories still necessary? It’s obvious that it’s non-sense, and do these marketing techniques be applied here? I should hope not; let them do so in the real music world where bullshit is hyped up and music is a commodity, which comes second, third or even last. The music is quite interesting anyway so it doesn’t need this. Das Sombreros is a duo of Pedro Wong and Klaus Patel and this is the second release I review from them (see also Vital Weekly 795).  There is an ambient quality to the music but it’s not your usual drone/atmospheric record. The B-side opens with a collage of sounds, cutting in and out of the mix, children singing, clocks and vague percussive rumble. This reminds me of Nurse With Wound, which seems to be an influence throughout this record anyway, and especially on this side of the record. The cover lists various titles, but it’s as easily to be enjoyed as two separate pieces, one per side. It moves from these collage/cut-up pieces into something that employs various instruments, played by the two members themselves for all we know, but just as well lifted from somewhere else. There are odd vocalizations – think Jaap Blonk – piano treatments, ambient passages and all such and throughout this seemed to me a major leap forward since their previous release. Packed in a cover that has a distinct 80s feel to it, and that tops off a really fine product. (FdW)
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Although the text here in front of me says there are three new releases on Tour de Bras, a label from Quebec, there are in fact on two in the mailer, of which one will be handled by someone else sometime soon. The other one is a duo disc of Philippe Lauzier (bass clarinet, soprano saxophone) and Eric Normand (bass and ‘caisse claire’, of which I couldn’t find a proper translation). The three pieces here were recorded in concert in March 2014 and the label defines the music as ‘chamber noise’. Both of these players have a history in the world of improvised music, having played with Martin Tetreault and Jim Denley among others. The music here could be labeled as ‘heavy’; ‘heavy’ as in noise based. Lots of this revolves around the scraping of sounds, with some added reverb to make it all a bit heavier. It peeps and scratches, likes feedback; like fingers on a blackboard, like the very early Organum at times. Not something for the weak of hearth, but if you are accepting then an excellent sound world opens up. The sound of what seems a 1000 violins being scraped simultaneously, but this duo also knows how to pull back, slow down and space out, such as in the second part. Tour De Bras? Tour de force is more like it. Excellent stuff. (FdW)

MARCUS M. RUBIO – CITIES SINKING DOWN (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions)
BRENT FARISS – FOLK SONG FOR 27 OBOES (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions)
MATT KREFTING – RECITALS (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions)
Temptation to start with the Matt Krefting release was high; very high, as what I heard so far from him I thought was very good. Vaguely I remembered the name Brent Fariss, so I started with the one that was the most unknown one, Marcus M. Rubio, although I also wrote about his music before, a duo disc with Bill Shute, who is the label boss here. He has had releases on Copy For Your Records, Prairie Fire Tapes, Yawn Tapes, Test Tube among others and his work is sometimes pop like but also at times drone like, or orchestral. If I understand correctly his new release is all about him singing and playing banjo, while this was recorded using ‘a glitching/looping process’ – whatever that is; think a software tool that gives you the certified Oval feel, but then applied to the world of folk music. It’s quite weird stuff going on here. When it leaps too much into Oval territory things are too obvious for me, but when the banjo playing prevails, it has a great yet odd feel to it. Think indeed folk music but then with a minimalist feel to it; a sort of ‘Come Out’ by Steve Reich, but much louder and more alien. It makes an odd combination: on one hand this very primitive roots music, on the other hand this process of ‘glitching up’ the music. But maybe that process of glitching up the music happens to be in a similar primitive way. Its hardly subtle, but maybe all the more primitive pressing down of buttons of a machine. Quite captivating music.
Also the next release has some connection, perhaps, to the world of folk music. Maybe it’s just the title? Although the piece is credited to Brent Fariss, who plays acoustic guitar here, he gets help from Jacob Green on ‘oboe(s)’. Maybe 27 oboes? I am not sure. There aren’t any more liner notes so we have to guess a little bit here. It’s not exactly folk music of any kind, but also not really much of that expected improvised music thing, which a player oboe and acoustic guitar could do. Maybe in the first twelve minutes it seems to be an improvisational duet between these two instruments, going all over the place, but after that there seems to be just the sound of the oboe, expanded and layered, into this fine orchestral music. It’s not as densely layered as say Phill Niblock of If Bwana, but surely quite a few layers have been used here. The guitar is now buried more in the mix and some times hard to hear. I assume we are dealing here with some kind of score (written by Fariss?) being performed. I quite enjoyed this piece. It moves from the delicate and open early minutes to a much more closed off space for the final half. Excellent stuff.
At which point we end the night with the music of Matt Krefting, member of Idea Fire Company and Son of Earth and producer of an excellent solo album, ‘High Hopes’ (see Vital weekly 874) and ‘Sweet Days Of Discipline’ (see Vital Weekly 853) for the same label that now also brings us ‘Recitals’. I have no idea, still, what it is that he does. Many of his pieces, certainly so on this CDR as well as the CDR before this one (more than on his LP), seem to consist of just a few loops, culled from other media (vinyl, cassette) and played together and form a small, delicate drone like sound. It fades in, it fades out and nothing much else in between seems to be happening. That may seem, perhaps, a little dull, I know, but it’s far from dull. Most of these pieces are short, around three or so minutes, except for the last one, ‘River’ (one of the two songs to be called ‘River’ oddly enough), which is about eight minutes. It’s not always a bit of drone/rumble that Krefting offers, as in ‘Mead’ he has a two or three shifting loops of orchestral sounds, an old 78 rpm in ‘Weston’, or an old piano in ‘I Told No One’. In various other pieces we have the cello that plays along nicely with the electronics. And yes, sometimes it’s all very electronic and drone like, but Krefting has a nice balance between the more orchestral tunes and the abstract drone bits. I really love this kind of ‘simple’ music: it’s very effective, very beautiful and truly captivating. (FdW)

HIGHWAY ISSUE 1 (book by Ademas)
Two weeks I wrote a fanzine, and how much I like that. I am thinking – seriously – to do one myself, and if I do, it would be the size of ‘Highway Issue 1’, which is roughly 10,5 x 16 centimeters. But mine would be not a fine produced, more a fanzine, whereas  ‘Highway Issue 1’ is a small pocket sized book of 250 pages, with color photos and tons of interviews, with the likes of Hildegard Westerkamp on muzak, Oren Ambarchi on his work with Keiji Haino, Glen E. Friedman on his photography, Joe Dilworth on the same subje t, the Yugoslavian punk and new wave, Voice Studies (the cassette label), Kchung radio, Kraftwerk on German television in the seventies, exterior sounds (an art project), Gang Gang Dance and much more. Lots of pages and lots of different subjects, which I read all and found all very intelligently written; it doesn’t have the tone of a fanzine like the one from a few weeks ago. This gave the impression of a excellent music journalism, almost German in a way. I was reminded of Testcard. It’s a pity I am no longer a commuter: this is one of those perfect sized books for long train rides. You read an article, stare out of the window and then read the next. The big question is: where to get this? “Highway is also available on the apple app store. Search for: Highway magazine” or “for updates and unpublished content connect on Instagram @readhighway #highwaymagazine”. Maybe to some this is not cryptical (or not as cryptical to me). No website mentioned is the only downside I guess.

Let me first of all criticize something practical. The music on this release maybe about thirty or forty minutes, but is copied on a ninety minutes tape, leaving an endless amount of blank tape on both sides. The label could have opted to copy the same music on both sides. Or try and get tapes of the right length. But enough of my yakking, let’s head over to the music. Violence As Sprout is the solo vehicle of Thomas DeAngelo, who acts also as label boss here, getting credits for sound sources, organization, performance, layout) along with the help of John “John” Brubaker who did the recording, mixing, mastering and technical assistance. It’s not easy to describe what I just heard, but there might be some rumble in a basement, of shoving objects and forth, picked up by a single microphone, along with what seems to be electronic manipulation of kind or another, albeit of the cruder kind. It has a collage like quality, even musique concrete like, but it lacks much refined. Buzzing lines, static electricity seems to be making as much part of it as the rumble in the basement – perhaps what they refer to as ‘field recordings of deliberate nature’. I quite enjoyed this, as it reminded me of some earlier things on the same format, from the 80s, but which one never apparently hears enough of these days – other work keeps me from doing so. This is a fine reminder of such jolly times of the more serious underground music. Think those mid-80s Merzbow cassettes with a much sparser use of electronics and you’re almost there. (FdW)

I PUT A TIME BOMB IN YOUR SUBMARINE (digital album by Bearsuit Records)
The compilation album “I put a time bomb in your submarine” is full of remixes of music of the Bearsuit catalogue. The seventeen remixes has been done by producers and musicians from all over the world, like Japan, the US, France, the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium and the UK. Some first tracks are based on song structures with some experiments in sounds and are based on rhythm. The track “A Shout Away” remixed by Stricknice is a subtle piece of music with an ongoing piano-melody supported by a drum and bass rhythm.  Some tracks are more mellow and melodic, others are more suitable as a dance-track for an underground rave. The track “Family” is a like a harmonic classical composition for a house-orchestra and is a beautiful mix of analog classic music sounds and electronics. Completely different is the following track “Of Course We Weren?t Always Superstars” Anyhow it is mostly a disaster to write about compilation albums. The seventeen remixes on this album are all of high quality and is highly recommended for people who like to discover electronic music with a nice groove and touch of experiment. (JKH)



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