SEETYCA – DEUS EX MACHINA (CD by Essentia Mundi) *
A GUIDE FOR REASON – XIII-XIV (CDR by Faith Strange) *
COLBETS – AND SILENCE (CDR by Twice Removed) *
FOSSILS – FOR BRIAN RURYK (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions) *
STEVE FLATO – EXHAUST SYSTEM (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions) *
SIMON WICKHAM-SMITH – A HIDDEN LIFE (cassette by Tanuki Records)
AMK – BUNGALOW (cassette by Obsolete Units)
DREAMCRUSHER – KATATONIA (cassette by Obsolete Units)
CHAPELS – NIGHT THOUGHTS (cassette by Obsolete Units)
STERILE GARDEN – DIRTY THOUGHTS (cassette by Basement Tapes)
STERILE GARDEN – LIVE ACTIONS 2005-2013 (cassette by Basement Tapes)

Vital Weekly #978 by Vitalweekly on Mixcloud

tracklist for Vital Weekly 978:

0000 Tune
0014 Walt Thisney – View From Nowhere
0319 Doc Wor Mirran – Instrumental #52
0637 Seetyca – An Angelic Machinery
0946 Caught In The Wake Forever – Your Absent Breath
1249 A Guide For Reason
1609 Florian Wittenburg – Piece For Bowed Piano & Electronics
1911 Derek Rogers – Return, Initiate
2215 Colbets – Leaves Trembling In The Night
2521 Steve Flato
2828 Platform – Siphonapetra
3140 Adern X – A Mental Image Of F
3447 Simon Whetham & Canned Fit – Chapter II
3754 Costis Drygianakis – Second Movement
4101 Fossils
4411 Tune

SEETYCA – DEUS EX MACHINA (CD by Essentia Mundi)
Hot on the heels of ‘Nemeton’ released by Winter-Light and reviewed in Vital Weekly 974, there is now ‘Deus Ex Machina’, released by Seetyca on his own label, Essentia Mundi. He still credits his music with e-maschinen, voice, dsp and samplers and judging by the very black cover, things are still dark around here. Here we have four lengthy pieces, two of eighteen and one of thirteen and twenty-two minutes. It opens with ‘Strange Metallic Objects’, which doesn’t seem to have any strange metallic objects in it (not heard at least), but it has a dark ambient synth and a voice reciting texts through some sounds effects reminding me of the best SETI (as in Andrew Lagowski) work. In the first part of the title piece one could say there is metallic objects to be heard, in a nice sustaining piece; objects are carefully strummed, in a flowing way and has a fine moody texture. ‘An Angelic Machinery’ is the one piece that sounds perhaps most melodic here, with a nice shimmering melody buried inside the mass of sound that washes around it. A slow thumb on the bass completes the more musical approach in this piece, bouncing around majestically. In the second part of the title piece there is bell-like sounds – strange metallic objects, I was thinking – tinkling randomly about like wind chimes and the wind sounds here are a bit chillier than on the other pieces, which seemed a lot warmer. This is a rather spooky ending to a great release. Here we have an excellent nocturnal trip: everything is dark and once we get out of the city there is a cold wind; not entirely the kind of spring time music perhaps but for a cold April evening surely one of the better choices. (FdW)
Address: http://www.essentiamundi.com

Both band name and title sound a bit ‘gothic’ to these ears, and also the cover looks a serious contender for good ol’ World Serpent. Neo hippie. This might be my first encounter with Fraser McGowan who recorded this music at home and recorded some field recordings at the Isle Of Arran in 2013. That’s about the extent of information on the cover, but the website informs of previous releases on Hibernate Recordings, Audio Gourmet, Sound In Silence and Soft Corridor Records. McGowan went for a holiday to the Island Of Arran and found it very quiet and he came back home feeling a better person. Back home he tried to re-create that tranquil feeling through the use of music, which consists of field recordings made on the island as well as manipulating a 78-rpm record he bought in a charity shop on the island. The music is indeed very quiet and tranquil, with lots and lots of nature sounds being processed, but also the gentle crackle of vinyl and loop in the short (and odd) ‘Sun Downing’. Otherwise the field recordings are melted down in sustaining pieces of sound, which are half way through a field recording and the processed version thereof. Sometimes cut into longer and smaller loops, gently repeating and buzzing and humming. One of those great drone releases and perhaps one of those less surprising drone releases. What McGowan does, he does pretty well. There is some great care for detail here and each of the six compositions is a true beauty blending field recordings, instruments, sounds and effects together in a very fine way. But despite all of that beauty it doesn’t add much to what one might already know from this kind of music, and it’s perhaps a bit standard? I was reading a book, gazing out of the window and watching clouds, so I had a more than pleasant time with this music. (FdW)
Address: http://dronarivm.com

Simon Balestrazzi from Italy is active since 1981 and his releases are well balanced and composed with a great attention to atmosphere. The CD “Ultrasonic Bathing Apparatus” released by the Italian label Sincope is again a beauty. The album starts quietly with drony sounds. Some field-recordings and voices give a natural atmosphere to the ambient atmosphere. The second track has a more open character by on-going fragmentary rhythmical sounds. The base is meditative and sounds created by table top guitar, horizontal steel cello and prepared toy psaltery disturb subtle the quiet mood. I can describe every track, but most of the track have this duality. The searching for quietness and introspection and the disturbance by sounds and influences from outside. Most of the tracks have a drony and ambient character. Exceptions are the tracks between the so-called  “Immersions”. The three tracks have more an experimental character and have been played by prepared piano, a broken metronome, cello, toys and lots more. Maurizio Saiu with overtone singing and Sara Aresu have assisted him on tabletop guitar. The last release of Sincope has also a more professional attitude by the beautiful artwork and cover by Truculentboy. Anyhow a beautiful album for lovers of experimental and drony ambient music. (JKH)
Address: http://sincoperec.altervista.org/

Lots of the releases on Norway’s VA Fongool deal with improvised music and sometimes it’s a bit too jazzy oriented for me, but sometimes I quite enjoy things. Such as with Platform, which seems a bit of a boring name to me, a trio of three players from Norway and one French guy. The latter is Xavier Charles on clarinet, and from Norway we have Jonas Cambient (piano), Jan Martin Gismervik (drums) and Katrine Schiøtt (cello). These three started the group, with Charles joining later on. All of this comes without any amplification, or so I am told, and that’s something I always like very much. Obviously one can hear things are improvised and perhaps there is a jazz background in play here, but these miniature pieces here are quite together. Small bundles of sound coming together, light of nature, or sometimes (in fact most of the times), a bit spooky and dark. The clarinet and cello play like sine waves, carefully humming in free space and there is a bang on the piano, on the kit, and everything is always quite sparse. And that’s perhaps what attracts me to this music: the sparseness of it all. There is a lot of room between the notes, which keep on hanging in the air, and which do not fall heavily on the floor. Airy music of great beauty. Excellent release and certainly a ‘must see’ band. (FdW)
Address: http://vafongool.no

This is already the fourth release by German composer Florian Wittenburg (see also Vital Weekly 825, 863 and 920). His first one was all about using computers to transform sounds, but that changed on his second, which was all about real instruments. On his latest release he plays around with the notion of ‘aleatoric’ which is, roughly, put chance music; music made with chance operations, like tossing dice or using star charts to map out compositions. Think especially John Cage and Morton Feldman. Wittenburg uses these chance operations as an inspiration for his own music, but unlike Cage, if a note is not in the right place, Wittenburg will change it and there is some more human interaction. On this CD we find a couple of pieces that deal purely with the piano and little do I know about ‘real composing’: the sparsely played piano sounds great, whether or not it’s with composed with change operations or not. This is quite beautiful music, and, little do I know indeed, along the lines of Cage and Feldman. I must say I am more pleased with the two longest pieces here, which is perhaps more of my expertise also. ‘Pulses & Drones’ is a very minimal piece of what sounds like sine waves colliding and slowly moving about. There are no pulses to be heard as such in this piece, but it has a beautiful, almost Alvin Lucier-like austerity about it. In ‘Piece For Bowed Piano & Electronics’ a bow plays the strings of the piano and perhaps that sound is amplified by the use of electronics, amplifying overtones and bring out ringing aspects of the sounds. This too is a ‘slow mover’ but it’s less subdued than ‘Pulses & Drones’; it’s more present and alive and it forms a great counterpart to the other pieces. Both of these pieces are quite long and great. Together with the piano pieces they make a beautifully varied release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.nurnichtnur.com

The duo of d’Incise and Cyril Bondi, which goes by the name Diatribes, take two pieces from the world of dub music and deconstruct them. Both of these pieces are by King Tubby, and in absolutely nothing they sound like King Tubby or dub, per se. Diatribes use melodica (always a fine feature in dub music), bass melodica, loudspeakers, objects, electronic and microphones. It’s hard to say how this deconstruction actually worked but it works well. The main ingredients are here for sure: a deep bass sounds, the melodica and the sound effects. But it’s all stretched out to quite an extent and it’s not some head nod/smoke weed record. If anything one could say that ‘Great Stone’ is a great drone piece. It effectively layers together lots of recordings from the melodica (bass and otherwise) together, moving in and out of phase, in a very slow majestically way, along with a similar type of bass sound. It is both gentle and heavy: the high-end sounds move around slow and gentle but all of the bass end sound may come off as a bit of a menace. On ‘Blood Dunza’ the bass sound and high end sounds are more separated from each other. Not moving along each other but opposite to each other; a bass sound is followed by a high-end sound, perhaps like a dub record. But maybe a dub record that is slowed down a lot – maybe we hear only ten or so bars in here (which brings up the other pressing question: is it at 45 or 33 rpm? I played it at the latter). This is an absolutely great record! The concept is great: deconstruct dub music with electro-acoustic means and it’s also executed with great care. Quite an intense record with two excellent pieces of music. Powerful dub! (FdW)
Address: http://www.aussenraumrecords.com

One of the key elements in the music of Walt Thisney is confusion. Check out his tumblr at http://walthisney.tumblr.com/ and you know what I mean. Or read the previous review in Vital Weekly 945. If I am right he’s from Portugal and likes to sample whatever, wherever and who ever he can. Everything is a source, both audio and visual. Maybe you think it’s a load of bullshit, or crap, or cheesy, but I quite enjoy it, especially on this album. The previous was a bit drone/ambient/cosmic like but this new album comes courtesy of many old disco records, plundered and sampled and then put together in a re-organised manner of coherent disco beats. This is dance music from days past; say the days of the 80s, with its fat synth washes, cheesy rhythms and spacious elektro rhythms. Perhaps not the kind of stuff that was easily found in the top 40, but all of this brought a big smile to this face. Some of these pieces were short and to the point, or even a bit dark (‘Neon Sky’), but with the higher tempos, the better I seemed to enjoy this. All of this was instrumental (perhaps another reason for this not to hit top 40 easily) and perhaps twenty songs in sixty-five minutes were a bit overlong. This album, great as I think it is, could have used some more selective approach. Now it’s stylistically all over the place (electro, drum & bass, disco, techno) and that takes away something of the strength of the music. Half of these pieces would have had more impact, I think. Or simply copy the ones you like to your mp3-player and start running or cycling. (FdW)
Address: http://klappstuhl.bandcamp.com

Great, pro-printed package here, which lifts the whole thing up, from a mere CDR to something beautiful. Mike Fazio, the man behind A Guide For Reason, created two new pieces, of twenty minutes each and in an ideal world this would have been released on LP. There is no mention of any instruments – as always – and in the past I guessed stuff like guitar, effects, synthesizer, tapes and e-bows, but in these two new pieces I’d say sound processing is the most prominent feature, and perhaps it is all from acoustic sources; heavily treated of course, as this is very much in the world of musique concrete, acousmatic music and electro-acoustic. The computer is at the central stage of processing, editing and mixing these compositions. I might be entirely wrong of course. The looseness of his music, which I found on his previous releases seems to be gone here and throughout I found these pieces more composed. A Guide For Reason moves from blocks to blocks in these pieces, linked together and each section is worked out pretty neatly. At times reminding me of Asmus Tietchens in his post-2000 music, but also harking back to Tietchens’ earlier work (‘Abfleischung’ for instance) in the louder parts of this music. These two pieces show Mike Fazio in great form in composing some truly engaging beautiful music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.faithstrange.com

COLBETS – AND SILENCE (CDR by Twice Removed)
The Japanese duo Colbets consist of Saitoh Tomohiro (from Shreber Harber Mole Flying Wheel – what’s in a name?), who plays synthesizer, programming, trumpet and Kari Takemoto on guitar. Despite the fact that I haven’t heard their previous releases (on Twisted Tree Line, Vent and U-Cover), this is their fifth album. “Silent music of resounds, time sleeps and warm air”, the label writes, but it’s actually not that silent at all. Despite the instruments they are playing, at the very heart of it all is a whole array of sound effects, analogue and digital. On the longest piece ‘Clock Of The Weather’ this is all about the delay machines, working overtime on the instruments, and seems a bit stuck in an all too easily repeating form. In other pieces reverb plays a big role, but then this is the world of ambient music, so one knows this is dominant feature. Colbets’ music works best when it comes in larger, abstract repeating drone fields, with those endlessly sustaining patterns, and intertwining waves. The guitar just below or just above that, tinkering away; that’s what we want, that’s what we like, even when it’s all not ground breaking new. When it’s too much derived from improvisation, such as that aforementioned piece, Colbets loose the listener. It seems too easy to do that, and apparently goes nowhere. That’s not the way to go, boys. Stick to what you are good at and explore those roads further.
The name Simon Whetham you might actually know by now, I hope, through his releases on Cronica Electronica, Monochrome Vision, Helen Scarsdale Agency and such like and works a lot, but not exclusively, with field recordings. Canned Fit on the other hand is a new name. Behind this is Christine Schörkhuber from Vienna, who has been on a few digital compilations, and with this release, releases her first physical release. Apparently she works with a fragile set-up of ‘self-built electronic analogue interfaces, sonorous everyday commodities and her voice’. In 2013 she met Whetham in Chile but the recordings on this disc were made a year later, in Bavaria when Whetham was doing a residency there. On three compositions Whetham plays found objects, guitar and ‘recorded material’, while Schörkhuber plays prepared cans and tubes, found objects and DIY electronics. It’s not easy to figure what these DIY electronics actually do, but in general it sounds like home made synthesizers/crackle boxes. In general these pieces are heavily controlled improvisations, with the two of them carefully investigating their instruments and sounds, as not to disturb the gentle flow this has throughout. Which is not to say this is all very quiet per se. This duo have some excellent dynamics in these three pieces, ranging from very quiet to considerable loudness and anything in between; sound-wise these pieces range from electrical buzzing and whirring to crackles and clicks, and also here: and anything in between. Excellent release! (FdW)
Address: http://twicerememberedtwiceremoved.bandcamp.com

Andrea Piran, the man behind Adern X, releases irregularly new works, with quite long intervals. I have no idea why that it is. His work primarily deals with the laptop and usually deals with some concept or another. In the case of ‘love is warmer than time’, as the new title translates, it’s about space and time. ‘Time’ through the use of tape-loops and ‘space’ through stereo separation of sounds. On the input side we find analogue tapes, radio waves, sine waves, field recordings and tape-loops. These are cut together as compositions. There seems sometimes to be a random element in this music which reminded me of John Cage’s more random mulit-media pieces (‘Variations’ for instance); Adern X’s music is more musique concrete inspired than warm ambient glitch, although that is a present feature in some of these pieces too, such as in ‘A Day Apart’. I quite enjoyed this randomized chaos for some time, but towards the end of these sixty-eight minutes I thought it was perhaps a bit much. Especially the almost seventeen minutes of record skipping sounds in ‘Memories’ is a bit long and a tedious. There is simply not enough in there to justify this length. Adern X’s music works best when these randomized events are embedded in larger structures of on going, sustaining sounds, and the more atmospheric drone edge that he also uses sometimes. The cut-up radio sounds, the plug ins and such like working around these atmospheric drones make it all quite nice, such as in ‘A Mental Image Of F’, ‘Dialoguing Forms’ and the more orchestral, less chopped up ‘A Mental Image Of A’. Received with mixed feelings. (FdW)
Address: http://www.xevor.net

This is one of those confusing releases. The title is in Greek and some where in the text we read it’s pronounced as ‘A-thee-la ke kri-fi-a’, and it comes from “the 51st (50th) Psalm of David, according to the version of the Septuagint. The New English Translation of the Septuagint 92007) interprets as ‘unclear and secret'” but it could also mean ‘inward and inmost’. The cover also lists a whole bunch of musicians, who played percussion, French horn, bass, noises, cello, computers, recordings and there might also a lot of sounds from videos that were used here, about graveyards, Middle east, missiles and such like. No doubt there is lots more to this, but it’s very hard to peel off this information. Maybe, I thought, this was all part of a stage thing, an opera of some kind. Maybe this was just a modern composition in which Drygianakis, uses lots and lots of different sounds to create some highly obscure composition. Four pieces are to be found here, each around twenty minutes, of very obscure sounds. Lots of crackles, hiss, bits of improvised music, field recordings, sounds of destruction, cars passing, all seemingly in an endless stream of (sub-) consciousness sounds. Maybe this is all a work of deep religious thought or an anti-war statement; maybe this is something else altogether? I haven’t got a clue. It sounds quite fascinating though; it is one long trip through an obscure, half dark sound world, full of ghosts and spirits. Frightening stuff also. Not something for the weak of hearth. (FdW)
Address: http://www.discogs.com/artist/649659-Costis-Drygianakis

FOSSILS – FOR BRIAN RURYK (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions)
STEVE FLATO – EXHAUST SYSTEM (CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions)
By now Fossils are regular featured artists in these pages as well as regular label mates in Kendra Steiner Editions catalogue. This duo of Daniel Farr and David Payne dedicated their latest release to Vancouver guitarist noise guitarist Brian Ruryk, who has been active since the mid-80s and whose work is firmly underground. The eight pieces recorded from April to June 2014 were captured straight away to tape and display their noise improvisation approach pretty clear. They play guitar and percussion since long but have, also since some time now, moved to using Dictaphones, cassettes and reel-to-reel tape manipulation to further alter the music they are doing. That adds something different to the music, making it less noisy; more avant-garde perhaps, while at the same time there is always a certain lo-fi ness about this music. There was a time when I though Fossils would take their improvisations to the next level, and use these recordings as building blocks for more electro-acoustic inclined compositions, but I don’t think that is going to happen. These eight pieces show their more extended line-up of guitar, drums, effects and tapes, but always within the context of a live recording. I don’t think they should change, although it would have been nice to see them going to another place; instead they opt to be in one place and further carve out their niche in playing. It’s what they do best, and what they get better and better at.
Derek Rogers also has had a few releases on Kendra Steiner Editions before, although also on other labels, such as A Giant Fern and Obsolete Units and he’s a guitarist, as far as I know and plays the machine, along with lots of effects and perhaps processing it, in real-time, on the computer or perhaps later on. The cover gives us no clues as to that. The music in these six pieces is a varied bunch of computer processed guitar sounds – rather post playing that in real time, I’d say and it works pretty well. Think an early Main, a noisier Main perhaps too at times, but something along the lines of musique concrete, electro-acoustic music and guitar; and perhaps he also uses samplers and Derek Rogers creates some fine minimalist music. More refined than on some of his other releases, I think. Quite a refined balance between something that can be noisy (but never too much, thank god), minimalist laptop doodling (think Oval in ‘Matilda & Richmond (For Evan Chronister)’) and largely orchestral in ‘Image And Identity’ and more dark ambient in the other pieces. This might be easily the best release I heard from Rogers so far.
I don’t think I heard of Steve Flato before. His ‘Exhaust System’ is a ‘process piece in just intonation for three clarinets, oboe, bassoon, cello, bass and sine waves’, and composed in September and October of last year. It contains four parts on the release, and they could form one piece or perhaps not. It’s music that works very well if you like minimal orchestral music with both a modern classical notion as well as electronic organisation. ‘Exhaust System’ sounds quite similar to the work of Alvin Lucier, but there is more happening in this release than in some/most of the Lucier pieces. The slowly moving tones change in a very minimalist way, but they do change. Sometimes it seems as if the intervals are stretched out and sometimes they seem to be smaller. It is not easy to say, but it gives a rather unsettling feeling; unsettling, but great, I’d say. It works very effectively with overtones and, as said, there is more happening than on an average piece by Alvin Lucier. There is a fine sense of ‘flowing’ in these pieces, almost in a cerebral way; I can imagine this piece being played in a chapel or church and filling the space beautifully with these sounds. Quite a great release of modern classical music. (FdW)
Address: http://kendrasteinereditions.wordpress.com

From Novosibirsk in Russia hails Vyazkiy Sharab and he uses contact microphone, tape loops, effects unit, objects, while Resonan is from Groningen in The Netherlands, and he uses oscillators, reverb unit, matrix mixer and Tibetan singing bowl. Together they exchanged recordings and each created a mix of this. Sharab mixed ‘Tension’ and Resonan mixed ‘Friction’. The first piece is sixteen minutes and the other one ten. These are the basics of the music. Their joint interest lies in ‘minimal, static, droning’ sounds, which is indeed what is in this music. In ‘Tension’ there is a static buzz which is both played ‘dry’ and ‘wet’, as in: with quite some delay on it. Maybe there is also the recording of ‘wind’ in here. It’s perhaps a bit long to keep the interest. Resonan keep things also on the minimal side with similar wind recordings as well as getting the bowls to sing, set against a drone like background. Also with sparse means of very little input, but quieter and spaced out; this being close to eleven minutes, it actually works much better. Two comparable pieces of music, one fine, the other all right. Maybe they should have kept their pieces a bit shorter and create some more music together, make more variations on the theme they have going and make a some what longer album next time? (FdW)
Address: http://www.resonan.com

Germany’s active force of weird music that can take any desired form releases their 132nd release with this, and the recordings were made in the years 1985 to 1993. There is the extended line-up – the rockier version of Doc Wör Mirran is at play here. This recording is dedicated to Ray Manzarek, the late organist of The Doors (one of my favourite 60s groups actually). Don’t expect some Doors like music here however, or any sort of Jim Morrison singing. When there are vocals they are rather flatly sung and not very engaging. There might be some sort of organ in here – Manzarek’s trademark – but not a lot. There are lots of guitar solos – for instance in the over-long ‘Wrong Said Fred’. There are drum machines, keyboards and throughout this is rock music alike, but not of the variety I like very much. It sounds all a bit tired to me, like the songs were rejected for release at that time because not a lot happens in here; nothing moved very much around here. Some pieces were all right, such as the title piece, ‘Instrumental #52’ and ‘Finalty’, but many of the others I found tedious. Doc Wör Mirran is a band with many faces, and I like that a lot and I like many of the different genres they operate in; this is just not one of those. (FdW)
Address: http://www.dwmirran.de

SIMON WICKHAM-SMITH – A HIDDEN LIFE (cassette by Tanuki Records)
This seems quite a coup by Brussels based Tanuki Records: a ninety-minute tape by Simon Wickham-Smith, known as a solo musician but also a regular collaborator of Richard Youngs. That is one coup, but the title piece, which spans the whole first side, also contains the voice of the well-known composer Robert Ashley. ‘A Hidden Life’ deals with the life of Tshangyang Gyasto, the sixth Dalai Lama, who died in 1706. Wickham-Smith translated a book on Gyasto and had texts recited by Ashley and Laetitia Sonami, and some sung by Joan Stango. He himself provided the electronic background of repeating electronic sounds. The music seems to be coming without any changes and the emphasis lies on the text and the occasional song. This is all first class radio play stuff. Sit back and listen to the story, or perhaps just sit back and contemplate and listen to this as a piece of Zen sound art. Four instrumental pieces are to be found on the other side of Wickham-Smith’s electronic music, and here to we find some of that meditative spirit. Whereas on ‘A Hidden Life’, it boils in the background, here it’s out in the open and it moves between certain parameters, set out on whatever type of equipment he is using. It’s like a perpetum mobile: once set in motion it moves around, freely, as wind-chime, but within certain boundaries. In ‘Laude’ this is pretty much a living organism, full of spirit, but in the other three pieces it seems to me it’s all a bit darker, more calm and subdued, perhaps also spookier? Especially ‘Cellules’ seemed to posses some otherworldly spirits and ghosts captured on magnetic tape. Excellent release! (FdW)
Address: https://tanukirecords.bandcamp.com/

AMK – BUNGALOW (cassette by Obsolete Units)
DREAMCRUSHER – KATATONIA (cassette by Obsolete Units)
CHAPELS – NIGHT THOUGHTS (cassette by Obsolete Units)
Another trio of releases on the US Obsolete Unites label and I started with playing the tape of someone I know for a long period, but not always hearing his music. AMK is perhaps better known as the owner of Banned Productions, these days busy with releasing lots of tapes (and lots of these don’t make it to these pages). As a musician he’s less active it seems, unfortunately, and as such he’s using records, record players, field recordings and montage flexi discs. The latter could be understood as flexi’s AMK cuts into pieces and glues on pieces of carton so he can play them again. One could think this is a very crude technique leading to crude music: sure it does do that. It’s what he has been doing since the late 80s. The eight pieces on this cassette however don’t sound as noisy as one perhaps expects – or perhaps I expected it to be. AMK uses many layers of sound, which he collages together into a musique concrete type of music, albeit of a more lo-fi nature. Lots of found sound of course here, especially voice material seems to have his special interest, and in ‘Two Pairs Of Birdolas’ it bursts out, but otherwise lots of sound effects seem to be smoothing out things a lot around here, and AMK does some excellent creepy music. Nicely subdued, but with a strong undercurrent of spookiness. Excellent.
There is some very, very miniature print on the spine of the cassette of the Dreamcrusher cassette, which I couldn’t read. I hope it’s nothing really important, but I suspect it to be credits, websites and such like. The label’s website tells me that behind Dreamcrusher is one Luwayne Glass, who has been going by this name since the 2000s. Names that are mentioned include Front 242, Underground Resistance, SPK, Ramleh and that recently more noise people crossed over to doing stuff with rhythm, but that Dreamcrusher is still about ‘sonic extremity’. This tape might have four songs; at least that’s what’s mentioned bigger on the J-card. This rhythm we don’t need to understand that as something that is easily to be recognized as ‘dance floor’ material, but rather on going slabs of bass sound, which is fed through a battery of sound effects – distortion pedals, multi effects, tube screamers – and from there the music is mixed, by creating minimalist movements and changes in this material. The easy bang on the drum sets forth a whole industrial lot of sounds and that works quite well, especially when this played at a loud volume. One piece is called ‘Vitaal’, the Dutch word for ‘vital’, so something I can dig very well. This is next best thing to a conveyer belt. This is indeed ‘industrial’ music.
Adam Richards is behind the House Of Alchemy label but also working as Chapels. I didn’t know his work before (like Dreamcrusher actually) and it’s not easy to pin down his music to any specific genre. The title, which spans the whole first side of the cassette, has a sort of drone like background, sampled, it seems, from voices and the rumble of contact microphones on objects. This is quite a curious and interesting piece. On the other side we find four shorter pieces (the whole tape lasts about twenty minutes) and in all of these we also find the voice, which might be his own voice, or something lifted from radio or tape, which he mildly transforms around. In these pieces, Chapels are a bit more experimental and noisy, but it never gets very noisy as in obnoxious loud. It reminded me a bit of some of Eric Lunde’s music; perhaps a bit less on the vocal/poetic side and more on the state control/police scanner side, recorded down the line of a near broken telephone. Frightening stuff as it is, scary but it is also highly enjoyable. It marks off the end of a great trio of releases. (FdW)
Address: http://obsoleteunits.com/

STERILE GARDEN – DIRTY THOUGHTS (cassette by Basement Tapes)
STERILE GARDEN – LIVE ACTIONS 2005-2013 (cassette by Basement Tapes)
It’s not easy to find information on Sterile Garden and Basement Tapes, the label, as the latter’s name is also in use by The Band (I guess also not easy to find?) and that singer. I think the label is from Colorado, maybe the band too? The main person is Jacob Deraadt, along with Eric Wangsvickl and Joseph Yonkers – I am quoting from discogs here. ‘Dirty Thoughts’ also lists one David, along with a quote from Isaiah – I am not sure what they mean with that. That tape seems to be the most recent release and it sounds like Sterile Garden is all about noise and improvisation. Not really the sort of over the top noise, but rumbling about with assorted percussive objects, lots of sound effects and synthesizers, all connected to each other to interact and change at random will. Deep drones but worked up to the level of near distortion. A bit disconnected all of this, and highly lo-fi in both recording and composition, and there is something quite captivating in ‘Dirty Thoughts’, even when I am not sure what that exactly is. Quite a nice tape.
There is (even) less information on the other tape, so I assume it’s a collage of various bits recorded in concert between 2005 and 2013. What I liked about ‘Dirty Thoughts’ seemed to be missing these live actions recordings, and as I found it hard to point out what it was what I liked about ‘Dirty Thoughts’ I can’t, likewise, tell you what I think is missing. The material here seems to be a bit more noise based, which in itself is not a bad thing, but it’s perhaps a bit too single minded for me with a tendency to have the full-on distortion thing going on and on. What seems to be failing here is a more playful attack on the idea of ‘noise’, something that I found on the other tape, also in the way it was recorded; the more lo-fi approach. I can imagine that real noise lovers will beg to differ with me and that ‘Live Actions’ is way better. But maybe we should see Sterile Garden in action before we can make a proper judgment. (FdW)
Address: http://sterilegarden.tumblr.com/

More from the axis Eindhoven (Barreuh) and Nijmegen (Danielle Liebeskind). The band is not a single person anymore, but a trio of Danielle Papenborg on guitar and vocals, Martin Luiten on guitar and Donne Brok on drums and percussion. The latter two are also active in the (local) world of improvisation and while Danielle Liebeskind is not the exactly the wild free improvisation troupe, it’s not far off either. This trio plays a couple of pieces here, I think (none are mentioned as such on the cover), in which mood takes central position. Carefully they built up their music, quth a few strums and bangs here and there and then Papenborg’s voice comes in, more reciting than singing. More poetry than rock songs. More Patti Smith than Kate Bush, if you catch my drift. I am not sure what these poems are about, but no doubt ‘love’ and ‘lost’ play an important role. The music grows in intensity as the poems evolve and following an eruption it dies out as gently as it started. A bit more information on the cover would have been nice I guess. This is a nice, moody release of improvised rock structures, poetry and brought to you with great care and craftsmanship. Excellent tape. (FdW)
Address: https://barreuhrecords.bandcamp.com/



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