Terje Paulsen

ASMUS TIETCHENS – 4K7+ (5CD by Vinyl On Demand) *
GHOST FLUTE & DICE – MELODY IS GOD (CD by Mastermind/Obsolete Media Objects)
EASEL – BLOOM (CD by Veto Records)
MIRT – MUD, DIRT & HISS (CD by Catsun) *
MIRT – SOLITAIRE (CD by Bolt Records) *
JAD FAIR & STROBE TALBOT – HUNGER (postcard flexi by Music A La Coque)
YOUR HEAD IS A PHANTOM LIMB (2CDR/1DVDR by Amalgamated Torso And Such)
ERIC LUNDE – FLUXOFFOF (7″ lathe cut/DVDR  by Amalgamated Torso And Such)
BRGS – ENDLESS WALLS (CDR by Zvocni Prepihi) *
BRUME – ENOLA (3″CDR by Taalem) *
THOMAS SHRUBSOLE & CARIG TATTERSALL (triple cassette by Local Studies)
BEAUTY SCHOOL – RESIDUAL UGLY (cassette by Humbler)
CLAUS POULSEN – COLLECTED DREAMS (cassette by Skrat Records)

Vital Weekly #977 by Vitalweekly on Mixcloud

tracklist for Vital Weekly 976:

0000 Tune
0014 Pas Musique – Molecular Mechanics
0318 Asmus Tietchens – Kultmusik Fur Ein Altes Land
0624 Mirt – Swamp 1
0935 Brume – Launched
1242 Mirt – Soltaire 03
1551 Jeff Stonehouse – Ghosts Of Longing
1854 Brgs – Wall 1
2153 Hafdis Bjarnadottir
2457 Brgs – Overture
2804 Terje Paulsen – From A Nearby Bay
3113 Tune

ASMUS TIETCHENS – 4K7+ (5CD by Vinyl On Demand)
In the mid 80s I was a poor student who always wanted to hear some new music, so when Dolf Mulder became a friend of mine, I went over, almost every week, to hear new and exciting music. Dolf still writes for Vital Weekly on all forms of jazz and improvised music, but he was also in those days a big fan of Asmus Tietchens, and even corresponded with him. I am no longer sure but Dolf had various of the Sky Records LPs and perhaps some of these cassettes which ended up on ‘4K7’, the 4LP box set which Vinyl On Demand released a few years ago. For reasons I am no longer sure of, the same label now releases this lovely 5CD, including the four original LPs, the bonus 7″ and more, previously unreleased, work that is now on the fifth CD. For me, in the 80s, hearing these cassettes meant a few things: first of all that Tietchens was still doing more experimental music than we’ve found on his Sky Records LPs and, also not unimportant, that he was still interested in releasing cassettes; which for my little enterprise meant that, upon suggestion of Dolf, I approached herr Tietchens and asked him for a work, which apparently nobody wanted to touch (the ‘Linea’ cassette, his fifth cassette only release). The four original cassettes were released by homes of electronic music in the 80s with quite some reputation, Yorkhouse Records and Aeon (and three of the four later re-issued by Auricle Music). If after releasing his first record ‘Nachtstucke’ (1980), Asmus seemed to have a followed a more poppy road, as witnessed on the Sky Records albums, his much more electronic works appeared on these cassettes. Tietchens shows us here his interest in electronic music of the more serious variety, from the 60s. None of these comes with actual recording dates, which is perhaps a bit of a pity. Much of the early music Tietchens released, after 1980, was recorded well before that. It would be nice if one could make a chronological order in these five discs, but I believe that the music on ‘Musik Von Der Halde’, the fifth disc here and not previously released, save for two pieces on the bonus 7″, might contain his earliest music (although it’s still from 1974-1977, the only date indication on the package). Whereas on the other four, Tietchens is quite serious, purely electronic sometimes, but in ‘Unter Der Stadt 2’ also in an orchestral musique concrete manner, it’s on the fifth CD more naive, more joyous perhaps and shows us a Tietchens we hardly know. This bonus CD is quite a good reason for buying this box alone, even if you have all the rest on vinyl already. A funny CD moving all over the electronic place and has some great pieces, as well as some awkward experiments.
But there are also other odd ball pieces on the other releases too, such as the more cosmic approach of ‘Konstrukt 2’ and the looped voices of the very gothic like ‘Kultmusik Fur Ein Altes Land’ – that must have been tongue in cheek, I’d say. Or the industrial rhythm approach of ‘Maschine 6B’ forecasting his ‘Stupor Mundi’. Some of these pieces might be a bit long for what they are, but that surely fits the time in which these were created. I would like to think that any Tietchens fans should have this essential piece of the man’s musical history. (FdW)
Address: http://www.vinyl-on-demand.com

Van Cauwenberghe is a promising guitarist from Antwerp, Belgium. With this first solo album he says ‘thank you’ to Columbia University. During his three year stay in New York he met many young composers from this University. It are these composers who wrote the works that Van Cauwenberghe is performing here. Most of these composers are also associated with the Wet Ink Ensemble; an ensemble Van Cauwenberghe was part of during these years. Earlier he studied guitar performance in Ghent and also in New York where he studied with Mark Stewart. All compositions have Van Cauwenberghe playing acoustic guitar, most of the time strongly amplified. Besides he uses objects and electronics, different (microtonal) tunings,  in order to expand the sound spectrum of the acoustic guitar, but always sounding as a recognizable acoustic guitar. I could not have imagined there is still so much to discover from this instrument. But Van Cauwenberghe succeeds in creating many different sounds and textures from this instrument. Van Cauwenberghe is technically very advanced (of course) but also a very spirited and pronounced player, who plays with verve and emotion. He plays six compositions, respectively composed by Alex Mincek, Taylor Brook, Rama Gottfried, Aaron Einbond, Paul Clift and Christopher Trapani. I didn’t had a special interest or weak spot for one or another of these compositions. All of them have something substantial to offer. Listening to all these works, there were moments that kept me on the edge of my seat, eager to register everything that is happening. So this album brings a great player in the spotlight who triggers his instrument to make dances I didn’t know of. Lovely record, of a baffling beauty! (DM)
Address: http://www.carrierrecords.com

GHOST FLUTE & DICE – MELODY IS GOD (CD by Mastermind/Obsolete Media Objects)
Ghost Flute & Dice is the curious name of a project by Danish composer Mikkel Almholt. In 2011 he debuted with ‘Music for Amplifed Piano’.  It had Almholt experimenting with acoustic piano plus delay, distortion, amplification, etc. For his new record, the piano is again at the centre, but Almholt expanded his sound this time. Almholt invited saxophonist Danielle Dahl, violinist Maria Diekmann and singer Trine Odsgaard Nielsen to participate, as well as Ole Grondahl Jorgensen and Kristian Hverring (drones). Also Almholt used field recordings that he recorded himself. In construction his works he started from melodies and used them as the leading principle. This resulted in six works that are altogether quite different from each other. In common they have that it is friendly instrumental music. In most tracks we hear the conventional instruments I mentioned above. Often they are manipulated but always we can easily differentiate between these sounds and the electronic sounds plus field recordings. Guess these works received their definite form  in the mixing process. It is a sort of low profile chamber music of a romantic nature.  Musically not very experimental or demanding, but moving along accessible and well-known paths. But by using modern techniques, resulting in a balanced combination of acoustic, electro-acoustic and electronic sound sources. The edition counts 150 copies. The cover is homemade, consisting of etched plastic, eyelets and a metal spring. Well done. (DM)
Address: http://www.mastermindrec.tictail.com

EASEL – BLOOM (CD by Veto Records)
A new release – number 11 – in the Luzern-Chicago interchange.  Never a disappointing chapter so far, and also this new release is a very satisfying one.  Easel is Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello, guitar, electronics), Michael Zerang (drums, percussion) and Christoph Erb (tenor saxophone, bass clarinet). Often we meet on the releases from this  so called Exchange-programm  a trio format: The Urge Trio, Bererberg Trio, a.o.  Erb and Zerang were together in a trio with Tim Baker. With Lonberg-Holm Erb played in numerous combinations, like in a quartet joined by Jason Roebke and Frank Rosaly.  This makes Lonberg-Holm the improvisor Erb most often met, compared with the other Chicago mates.  ‘Bloom’ counts three lengthy improvisations that were created on april 29th 2014 at Kingsize Studio in Chicago. They choose for loud and noisy improvisations.  I especially liked the playing by Lonberg-Holm this time.  With his freaky and dirty playing, he defines and shapes the face of these explosive improvisations on many moments in a prominent way.  But above all I like free improvisation if there is a good and tight interplay and communication. And that is absolutely the case with these experienced players. Their passionate, in the face improvisations are very worthwhile. By the way, I’m not sure I ever made mentioning of the beautiful artwork of the Exchange series. But as always the CD is protected by a well-designed screen-printed packaging by Sonnenzimmer. (DM)
Address: http://www.veto-records.ch

Farah is a composer and multi-disciplinary artist from Toronto, where he studied composition and piano. He also took lessons from Terry Riley and studied Arabic music. Although he  performed work by others – the complete solo piano works of Arnold Schonberg for example – performing his own music is his main focus. From what I read he strives for a fruitful intertwining of western and Arabic music. Listening to this album, it becomes quickly evident this is also what he strives for on this new release. ‘Between Carthage and Rome’ is a true solo album. Farah composed and performs all tracks. Also the detailed ink line drawings on the cover are by his hand. Farah plays piano, electronics, synthesizers, percussion and samples. On some of the tracks we hear daff, darabouka, tiqq, nay, violin, clarinet, played by several guests musicians. His first solo outing, ‘Unfolding’ was released in 2009 on Dross:tik Records, followed by a duo album, ‘Pieces of the Earth’,  in 2011 with pianist Attila Fias.  On his new effort he presents nine new works that show his ability to mix different musical cultures into one interesting blend. I’m always very cautious – and most often also disappointed – where eastern influences are integrated with western music. Often this results in a superficial mix different worlds, but not in real musical encounter. With this album however things are different. Farah succeeds in bringing western classical idiom, Arabic music, but also latin music into a fruitful communion. Thorough compositions, that are delivered in a passionate performance. The music is very accessible and enjoyable on the one hand because of the strong pulse, the rhythms and the spirited performance. But also intelligently composed when one listens more concentrated. Farah works from a maximalist approach, an exuberant style and enthusiastically follow his path out of pace with what many others are doing nowadays. (DM)
Address: http://www.bosworth.de

Quite an active force, Pas Musique from Brooklyn, NY, and in 2015 they have been going since twenty years. Their main man is Robert L. Pepper, but it’s also very much a group/collective, which changes line-up and instruments all along, along with more permanent members as Amber Brien, Jon Worthley and Michael Durek. This core of four members is responsible for their latest release ‘Inside The Spectrum’. Their music changes throughout their history, but what stays is their love for all things electronic and their love to structure things more loosely, almost in an improvised manner. At times they remind me of a more experimental version of The Legendary Pinks Dots, or perhaps just an instrumental version of the Dots. There is always some rhythm/groove/sequence going, either upfront or in the background, and the band improvises around that basic structure with guitars, synthesizers, samplers and sounds. Sometimes a bit too loosely I gather, and it seems machines are used to generate sound, but to what end? But when they keep their music a bit more together, throw in some samples, such as in ‘Mindless Mechanics’, which a more concentrated rhythm it actually works quite well. There is a certain krautrock aspect to be noted in this particular release, hissing and humming from those analogue synthesizers and ancient drum machines hammering away in a pretty psychedelic and trance like modus. It’s probably not always as intense as it’s supposed to be (or could have been), but in terms of pure entertainment value this works very well. (FdW)
Address: http://www.alrealonmusique.com

For some reason I always believed that Iceland had some particular noisy nature, with those geysers exploding high up. Not that I heard (or saw) any of that during my ultra brief stay there. This release of these pure field recordings from Iceland proofed me indeed wrong. One Hafdis Bjarnadottir made these recordings and she takes us on a trip around the Island. Each of the seven segments is divided in more than one piece and the journey starts down south on Iceland, going westward and then north. There is no human intervention in these pieces and while each section contains multiple pieces, they still sound like a small composition of nature sounds, and not a solid piece of field recording. Recordings of water dripping in caves, stream, geysers, wind, hot springs, birds, waterfalls and all such like makes this one excellent trip. And a trip that is indeed not as noisy as I expected, but sometimes it does; the crackling of ice, the geysers high up in the air and close by taped waterfalls, but it’s all put together in quite a clever way, like acousmatic compositions, creating delicate balances and a great narration between these loud and softer sounds. Great release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.gruenrekorder.de

MIRT – MUD, DIRT & HISS (CD by Catsun)
MIRT – SOLITAIRE (CD by Bolt Records)
This is one of those reviews in which everything is connected, one way or another. Two releases are by Polish composer Mirt, and one of which is part of the Bolt Records series Polish Radio Experimental Studio, while the third CD is also from that series. I started out with ‘Mud, Dirt & Hiss’ on Mirt’s own Catsun Records. Five pieces here and Mirt plays modular synthesizer, guitar, sampler, field recordings and thumb piano. Ter (another recording artist from his label) provides some additional modular and analogue synthesizer. Over the years Mirt has moved towards a more minimal approach when it comes to music, perhaps less ‘pop’ like (in the broadest sense of the word) and more attention to detail. In the five pieces he further expands on that ‘less is more’ notion, but widely spreading out the field recordings in play and the sparse crackles, bleeps and melodies coming from the rest of his set-up. There is quite an exotic feel to the field recordings he uses; most of the times we hear them it seems they are straight from a rainforest or some Eastern country (remember Mirt did a CD with pure field recordings from Cambodia and Siam – see Vital Weekly 957) and these have a natural, warm feeling to it. This music is not cold, distant or alien, but has some wonderfully warm quality. There is the vaguely percussive edge of ‘Swamp 1’ or the many birdcalls of ‘Swamp 2’ and the bell like sustaining sounds of ‘Bury Me Here’. This is some truly exotic and exciting form of electronic music. Excellent minimal music, fine combination of field recordings and electronics.
The other new release by Mirt seems to be, gathering from the liner notes, a re-interpretation of the work of Arne Nordheim, and especially his ‘Solitaire’. In the short cover notes Mirt tells us that as a kid he liked slowing down records when he played them (which is something I sometimes still love doing!) to ‘improve’ bad records as it were. A process of slowing down is also something he applies to the music of Arne Nordheim, and takes small elements from that slowed down process and use that as elements to start a new process. Nordheim’s original (from the late 60s) is a classic piece in the world of contemporary electronic music (I’m sure it’s to hear it somewhere in the public domain). It’s quite disturbing in terms of ‘noise’, at times, and at other times it just comes close to very spacious ambient music. It’s perhaps not difficult to see which elements appealed most to Mirt, which is not the noisiest bit for the piece. He rather goes for those elements that are really very quiet and expands on these. The way Mirt composes is also quite different than that of Nordheim. Whereas the latter creates various blocks of sound and puts these together in a collage like form with too much repeating elements (read: loops), Mirt uses a lot of bigger and smaller loops in the five pieces – making his album almost three times longer than the original. In an almost Asmus Tietchens like fashion he uses all sort of sound filters, and then cut and pastes various of these sounds and uses them as loops. The slowing process also leads to some very dark drone like sounds and remains as spooky as the original, certainly in ‘Soltaire 1’.
Also under the banner of Polish Radio Experimental Studio comes a double CD that deals with experimental music and space, from both a historical perspective as well as a more current one. It’s not difficult to see the relation between early electronic music (late fifties) and the space program. Both were signs of new times to come, new places to explore and some of those early electronic devices sure looked like space ships controls, right? On this compilation we find four historical recordings made under supervision of the Polish Radio Experimental Studio and four modern interpretations. Best known from the historical pieces is Edward Artemyev’s ‘Solaris’, the soundtrack from the Tarkovsky movie. Among the other pieces is an early electronic piece from 1961 by Krzystof Penderecki in a rather playful mood, with naive sound effects and cut-ups. The soundtrack to ‘The Magellanic Cloud’ by Zdeneck Liska is a great piece of electronic music and spoken word, like tapping into a control station. Eugeniusz Rudnik’s ‘Pole Reports From Space’ is from 1978, the year the first Pole went into space, and the first Pole was elected pope. This piece dwells too much on the use of voice and spoken word in Polish, which makes it not easy to grasp what this is all about.
From the reinterpretations the two short pieces by Marcon Cichy, using samples made from films, were the most poppy sounding pieces here, almost techno like in ‘Test’ and post-rocky in ‘Silent Star’. Among all the seriousness this was perhaps the stuff that was quite oddball, but it worked well. Arturas Bumsteinas has an interesting piece of otherworldly voices and it seems to be part of a bigger thing, almost two-hours long, of an almost opera-like interest. Like the long Rudnik piece, the new work by Sultan Hagavik also deals with a lot of voice and here too I am a bit lost, I must admit. Throughout this was quite an interesting release, even if it left some room for questions. (FdW)
Address: http://catsun.monotyperecords.com
Address: http://boltrecords.pl

All records have two sides, even when one contains no music. This record has two sides of music and they are one hell of a noise, but actually two different sides of noise. Here we have Julien Ottavi (voix, crotales, ordinateur) and Kasper T. Toeplitz (basse, ordinateur – well, it’s either French or Polish on the cover) and the music was already recorded in March 2010 in Nantes, and mixed in 2014. ‘Corollaire Au Vacrame Du Silence’ is one side and in this piece the voice of Ottavi plays an all-important role. He screams his lungs out over a hotbed of more screaming noise. This is very much a piece of power electronics in the classic sense of the word – say Ramleh or Consumer Electronics, but within a more digital surrounding. On ‘Quelques Eclats D’un Effondrement Soudain’ there is also noise, but it seems to be filtered one way or another, so it’s a bit repressed. Or so it seems. This side seems to be shifting more back and forth between really loud parts and less loud parts and brings in a much-needed amount of dynamics. Perhaps if you turn up the volume real loud, you might beg to differ and everything is very loud. This is one solid record of improvised noise and will appeal no doubt to noizeheads worldwide. I myself had a bit of problem with this record. I am not sure if this really, well really, needed a release. I am not sure what it adds to the world of noise as we know it and Bocian Records, whom we do know to like a bit of noise, but also from a more conceptual end, seem perhaps to taken the more obvious route with a solid but not too different noise record. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bocianrecords.com

Oh boy. With all the times I spelled his name wrong (and I am deeply sorry, but I am sure it adds to my sloppy reputation), it’s impossible to find all the reviews I did of the music of Tim Catlin – right spelling. ‘Whorls’ is his third release with Rutger Zuydervelt, also known as Machinefabriek, and I reviewed the first one, ‘Glisten’ (Vital Weekly 706) but perhaps I didn’t review ‘Patina’, which was released in 2011. Catlin uses prepared guitars to which he attached machinery and have them played mechanically, but these days also extends that to a bowed piano, metals, vibrissa, zither and the cover mentions also acoustic synth guitar and avian guitar. A recording of this Catlin sends to Zuydervelt for ‘editing, processing and additional sounds’. What Zuydervelt doesn’t do is add a whole bunch of sound effects onto a single layer of sound and create a powerful drone, but in stead creates many layers of sound and plays around with them in a rather playful manner. One of the great things about this album is that there are no less than fourteen individual pieces. One could easily think this one of those ‘one track per side’ kind of things, but it’s not really. Zuydervelt creates rather short and to the point pieces, in what seems to be his current interest of doing this in a collage like style. There is lot of attention to detail and everything sings around, drops in and out, while some elements continue. Just as easily as you could say this is just two long pieces of collage(d) music perhaps. Unlike ‘Glisten’, which seemed a more ambient outing, this one has a more varied touch, even with dashes of mechanically organised rhythms, giving this a slightly pop-like tone, occasionally. This I thought is an excellent record. It’s highly varied, short and to the point, great small compositions, lots of different approaches and yet, it all makes sense as simply an excellent record. One of the best collaborative records I heard from Machinefabriek and no doubt thanks to a mighty varied input from Catlin.  (FdW)
Address: http://www.low-point.com

JAD FAIR & STROBE TALBOT – HUNGER (postcard flexi by Music A La Coque)
This is an one song postcard of Jad Fair, best known I should hope as one half of Half Japanese, who works here with a band named Strobe Talbot, of which I read on discogs that includes Mick Hobbs, Benb Gallaher and Jad Fair. Odd, but it says Jaf Fair & Strobe Talbot here. It also says play 45 rpm, which sounds like the wrong speed, but I checked the bandcamp version and it sounds like the right speed. This is a two-minute and eighteen second song with the characteristic voice of Jad Fair in what the label sells as ‘experimental lo-fi art rock free form everything garage rock irregular jazz and improvised music no wave post riff punk’, but it sounds like a fairly conventional Jad Fair song about hunger and thirst. A bit of Velvet Underground jangle and an excellent break in the middle. Limited to 250 copies so grab one while they last I’d say. Not just if you a massive Fair fan, or postcard flexi disc collector, but also if you like a great song. (fdW)
Address: https://musicalacoque.bandcamp.com

YOUR HEAD IS A PHANTOM LIMB (2CDR/1DVDR by Amalgamated Torso And Such)
ERIC LUNDE – FLUXOFFOF (7″ lathe cut/DVDR  by Amalgamated Torso And Such)
Maybe it’s a bit much to document a two-night festival into a two CDR release and a DVDR? Eric Lunde was invited, in October 2012, to organise a two-day event about ‘noise, sound, music, and performance’ and invited a whole bunch of friends, and I assume all of them from around the area of Minneapolis, although some seem to have come further afield. Among the names I recognized were Eric Lunde himself, Karl J Paloucek, Peter J Woods, Jason Soliday, Burial Hex. Boy Dirt Car, Vertonen, Jeph Jerman, but also there are new names as Be Bank Consort, Lucky Bone, Pelzwick, Talking Computron, Tim Kaiser, Ring Toss Twins and Ice Volt (and others). On the two CDRs that document both nights we hear quite a lot of spoken word actually, which sometimes made me suspect this was all the doing of Eric Lunde himself under a bunch of aliases and with some friends, which didn’t make it very easy to know what was going on in terms of performance. The more musical pieces had more of my interest actually, such as Tim Kaiser, Karl J Paloucek, Pelzwick, Ring Toss Twins (combining music and performance it seems), Vertonen and Burial Hex. Maybe the DVD has more insight to offer? It does! We see that Paloucek had an installation; we witness some of the vocal pieces being performed as sound poetry. Video on stage, live action on using reel to reel tapes, performances now making sense: it’s an excellent documentation.
While the sound quality of the CDRs is overall not really top notch, the DVD has an excellent quality in video, sound and editing. While I am not sure if you’d want to watch such a DVD easily again, I recommend it highly as it has some highly insightful stuff.
The other new release by Eric Lunde himself deals with fluxus. It documents an action in which Lunde wants the audience to pronounce the name of Fluxus founder George Maciunas, and he tells us why. The lathe cut 7″ contains the audio of both performances, and the DVDR shows us what it looked like. Both performances are just under six minutes. I am not sure why a lathe cut 7″ had to be made as the sound quality is not really that great, and it’s clearly documented on the DVDr anyway. In ‘How Do You say Maciunas’ we hear and see actually a quite funny Eric Lunde – never met him, but I am not sure if fun is something I would easily attach to him – and on the other side he sits down and reads a text and has that more serious feel to it. The package comes with a high quality, full colour print booklet, which contains mainly images from the ‘Maciunas’ action. It’s all a bit short, unfortunately, but it works very well. Excellent performances, excellent documentation.
A bigger item is a LP released by After Music Recordings, which also releases music from Lunde’s previous band Boy Dirt Car, and it’s an album we may regard as a compilation LP of his recent, more limited and not-so limited releases. “Why? Because I want it on vinyl now”. That should be reason enough I guess. Eric Lunde’s previous activity period was in the 80s when he released a bunch of intriguing cassettes and records, in which his voice was a central point, but always on the erasing side, corroding like the recording has been left outside in the rain too long. A few years he returned and released a whole bunch of vinyl, CDRs and CDs, further exploring this ‘eroding voice’, but also side stepping using rhythm as in ‘techno’ and more musical backgrounds. Many of these have been reviewed in Vital Weekly (916, 872, 832, 808, 797, 795, 764, 754, 730, 720 – and in many of these issues more than one release) and some of these found their way onto this piece of vinyl – another asphalt indeed – and it showcases nicely the various interests of Lunde of the last few years. Eroding and encoding voice material, field recording processed through a similar way, voice poetry, but also his short flirt with Pan Sonic like rhythm and even a short techno song. It seems like an odd mixture but actually this selection works great on a record. Maybe the die-hard fans a somewhat disappointment as they have but one of this, but for those who love vinyl this is surely a fine addition.
The biggest item by Lunde, a 500+ page novel is still under review – and seeing the massive book on the coffee table, it might take a while. But perhaps I am not a reviewer of literature that easily. (FdW)
Address: http://torsoandsuch.bigcartel.com

BRGS – ENDLESS WALLS (CDR by Zvocni Prepihi)
Four releases by Jaka Bergers, from Slovenia. I don’t think I heard his name before (I am told I should be careful using these lines), and none of the many Slovenian artists he worked with mean anything to me. His work deals with improvisation in which he acts mainly as a drummer. Since last year he works with Borghesia, if you remember them. His CV contains loads and loads of names of people, places and festivals but perhaps not a lot of what it is that he does. I randomly picked ‘Endless Walls’ as the first to play, and it says that Brgs plays ‘string table/processing’ and there are two pieces here, which last thirty-six minutes in total. I am not sure what a string table is, but I must say I quite enjoyed what I hear. Actually I have no clue what he does, but my best guess is that there is some kind of stringed instrument of which Brgs is playing and creating samples and these are fed through electronics or software. In both of these pieces he creates music that is not too dissimilar to the world of musique concrete, but in ‘wall 1’ through highly concentrated short sounds, which seemed to be reversed and like some binary code bleep on-off. ‘Wall 2’ has that too, but it starts out more noisy and through out the second piece is louder and grittier; perhaps less concentrated. I thought this was a great release.
‘Overture For A New Beginning’ is just one piece, of similar length and here it says ‘sampling/processing’. On the inside of the cover we read ‘to build new, we must first colapse [sic] the old’. Whereas on ‘Endless Walls’ the input is perhaps a bit abstract – whatever is string tables, right? – here nothing is mentioned, but upon listening its clear Brgs took some classical music and sampled that, mainly from the strings section: lots of violin and cello sounds to be found, played around like endless blocks of sustaining sounds, cascading back and forth. It doesn’t stay in one place very long but is on a continuous move, through the highs and lows of what seems like a landscape. Towards the end, the final ten minutes or so, we could easily think there is some guitar effects in play to further destroy the sound, whereas in the first two/thirds everything seems to be more clear cut from classical recordings. Quite a nice piece, but maybe a bit too obvious in terms of sampling and composition?
In the other two releases (which last sixteen and eighteen minutes) Brgs uses ‘samples originate from field recordings recorded in the central highlands area of Ethiopia’ and ‘Liberia’ respectively. In ‘Ethiopia’ we recognize singing and drumming quite a bit, but we also clearly hear the sampling/processings techniques applied by Brgs. He doesn’t compose a strictly linear composition with this material, but it’s all a rather vivid collage of sounds and noises, gradually transforming into a wild, and somewhat distorted sound. You can hear the ethnic origin in here, but I am not sure if someone would say ‘oh Ethopia’, if of course that is something one would want from it. The ‘Liberia’ seemed to me a more concentrated effort of exploring the thumb piano in it’s most pure form and slowly expanding on that is a phase shifting experience, throughout the entire length of the piece, along with some chanting. ‘Liberia’ was for me the piece I preferred over ‘Ethopia’. I am not sure why these two were released on separate discs, as they could have fitted nicely on one disc, and both of them perhaps also a bit shorter and/or with some more pieces from similar countries. The idea behind both of these I thought was quite nice. (FdW)
Address: http://www.zvocniprepihi.com

BRUME – ENOLA (3″CDR by Taalem)
It wasn’t a difficult choice to start with the Christian Renou release here. I know his music for close to thirty years now, and I’m sure I didn’t hear all of his roughly 100 releases – not by a long stretch – but I am always interested in hearing what he is doing. Up until about the turn of the century Renou worked as Brume, proudly proclaiming on the covers of his release ‘no synthesizers used’, but then also under his own name. I never really figured out what the differences are between Brume and Christian Renou, but perhaps in the latter incarnation he uses a bit more silence, whereas within Brume it’s always quite noise; what I call ‘the never silent approach’. On this release he uses voices, taped voices (what’s the difference, I wondered), tapes, electronics, cymbals, small gong, big metal plates and tubes. In the old tape days all of this would have been captured on a reel-to-reel machine and treated on it – reversed, altered, speed up, slowed down, looped – and I am not sure if that’s what he still uses; but maybe it’s the good ol’ computer these days? At times I was reminded of the mid-80s Asmus Tietchens, but also to more traditional forms of musique concrete. A dense sound, full of changes and mildly noise based at times. Hardly very quiet, but also not very loud, Brume proofs his one of the fine masters of musique concrete.
Paulsen is from Norway and some of his work has been reviewed before. He released works on Mystery Sea, Impulsive Habitat, Con-V, Resting Bell and Gruenrekorder. This new release, which is one long piece of music, sees him break away from his previous work. Normally we works with a relatively simple set-up to work with objects and field recordings, and perhaps these are present here too, but here he adds a new element: his own voice. Together with the sounds and field recordings this brings his music to a new level. This voice, mainly in the first half of this piece, is mostly whispering and it’s hard, if not impossible to make out what it says. But combined with the field recordings it almost sounds it was recorded in real time. Paulsen wandering across a seashore, mumbling and whispering, cracking shells with his shoes and such more or less poetic images one gets. In the second half of the piece he moves along the shores but doesn’t speak or mumble, but it rather has a more moody and introspective approach to sound. Of course this is all not true: it’s a work of layering various field recordings together, but Paulsen does this is a fine way.
The final new release on Taalem is by Jeff Stonehouse, once half of the duo Listening Mirror (now just Stonehouse solo actually) and Le Moors, but also doing his own solo music. On ‘Ghosts’ he presents three solo pieces, which deal with field recordings he made in New Zealand, but these are heavily transformed into three dense masses of sound, in which we also seem to detect the sound of a guitar and/or a piano. These pieces move very slowly, almost majestically around recordings from resonating spaces. It’s the humming of a ventilator, a motor, or simply a microphone who caught ‘nothing’ at all, heavily amplified and treated with subtle sound effects. Along comes the slow tones of the piano or the guitar, especially in the opening piece ‘Ghosts Of Longing’. The other two pieces are bit more abstract and also more minimal in approach, with a number of small, varying layers of sound. It’s not something you haven’t heard before, but Stonehouse does a fine job at creating some of this excellent mood music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.taalem.com

THOMAS SHRUBSOLE & CARIG TATTERSALL (triple cassette by Local Studies)
In the past Thomas Shrubsole worked as Subloam but more recently also under his own name, especially when he was collaborating with Craig Tattersall (see Vital Weekly 945), but also solo. Craig was a member of Hood and The Remote Viewer, but also worked as The Humble Bee and Cotton goods. Here the two of them present a massive work spanning a C44, a C70 and a C56, so more than two and half hours of music. It comes in a nice handcrafted package inside a document wallet and hand scribbled notes. I read that the material was recorded between December 2015 and January 2015 and there is a whole list of instruments, including synthesizers, guitar, trumpet, melodica, saxophone, sampling, drum machine, micro-modular synth, electric piano, toy keyboards, portastudio, modified cassette tape and such like. There are no track titles given for any of these ‘songs’, or in fact nothing is discernable as a song per se as such. Each side of these three cassettes is one long journey, and the whole thing probably also, which takes the listener on quite a wild ride. Much of this is gathered through methods of improvisations and yes that means not every moment is really strong. Sometimes this duo is searching a bit too long to find a common ground, but from all this strange, loosely connected acoustic sounds, rumbling on objects on a table, a Dictaphone switching on and off, a bit of metal being can slowly evolve into a drone on the harmonium, which slowly becomes a sequenced rhythm and all of a sudden, hey presto: a song! There is a bit of rhythm, delay on the voices, a synth playing a melody, radio snippets: a friendlier version of the very early Cabaret Voltaire sound. Nothing is left out it seems, and they present us with all the recordings they made – again: so it seems. Together with the great handmade package – and I am sure I haven’t the complete one – this seems very much a product of the 80s, in terms of design, handmade elements but very much also the way the music is presented: unedited, raw, but occasionally turning into a great song. Sit down, and tap(e) into the underground. (FdW)
Address: http://www.localstudiesunit.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/thomas-shrubsole-craig-tattersall.html

BEAUTY SCHOOL – RESIDUAL UGLY (cassette by Humbler)
Excellent news here: this band was named after the album by Idea Fire Company, so perhaps there is justice in this world? Tom Djll (member of Grosse Abfahrt) and Jacob Felix Heule, met up at a Nicolas Collins hardware hacking workshop. Originally Heule is a percussion player, and Djll a trumpet player, but both work here a lot with electronics. They invited Matt Chandler, of Burmese, to play bass on these improvisations. While Heule and Djll play a lot of electronics, they also stick around to play their usual instruments and take the listener on a very bumpy ride through the sonorous landscape. They ‘redefine the boundaries of a kind of beauty that as yet has no name’; they write and that might not be entirely true. I’d say that has a name and it’s called ‘noise’ and ‘free improvisation’ and yes, there’s quite some beauty in that. Beauty School delivers some excellent fierce music here, loud and forceful and quite exhausting actually. I fell asleep at one point but I didn’t mind – it was on repeat for a couple of times already. This is some fine noise, not of the harsh noise wall variety, but of a more acoustic and electronic kind mixed together. (FdW)
Address: http://humbler.bandcamp.com

CLAUS POULSEN – COLLECTED DREAMS (cassette by Skrat Records)
Perhaps best known as one half of Small Things On Sundays and Star Turbine, Claus Poulsen also does some solo music. Much of what he does is closely connected, I think. In whatever combination, solo or with others, he works with a fine range of electronics, sound effects, guitars and assorted smaller stuff, such as tape and vinyl manipulations. The four collected dreams, or so I assume, gave names to these pieces, which showcase what Poulsen does quite well. He paints four excellent pieces of atmospheric music, with carefully layered drone sounds, a bit of repeating guitar (reminding of the Aeolian String Ensemble actually), alien voice material and a bit of noise to provide to corner stones in here. Nothing very surprising in here, but four excellent collages of sound. Dreamscape-like indeed but also with much more to it than just that. Not your regular ambient drone/sleep music, but something best heard when awake. (FdW)
Address: http://www.skratrecords.com



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