4 Manrico Montero

MANRICO MONTERO – SISAL (CD by Unfathomless) *
KAPITAL – CHAOS TO CHAOS (CD by Instant Classics) *
ENTRE VIFS – NO SIGNAL (CD by Impulsy Stetoskopu) *
DENIER DU CULTE – MESSE AROUND (2CD by Impulsy Stetoskopu) *
NAPH – ESTUARY (CD by Ambiencephono) *
IGOR – FAST & SLOW (LP by Lamour)
PRO424 – IMMUNE (LP by Lamour)
ELIAN – CUTTING UP THE SUN (CDR by The Long Story Recording Company) *
FI-AGED #9 – LIVE-FI (CDR by Primecuts) *
ADDZ (cassette by Spina! Records)
MARTIN TETREAULT – SOFA SO GOOD (cassette by Tanuki Records)

Vital Weekly #979 by Vitalweekly on Mixcloud

tracklist for Vital Weekly 979:

0000 Tune
0014 Networks – Gyoq
0319 Art Of The Memory Palace – This Life Is But A Passing Dream
0627 Alexander MacSween – Eleanor Bone
0919 Elian – Transition Region
1225 Visionary Hours – Sad Time Stretching Before And After
1535 Denier Du Culte – L’Arche De St. Denis
1842 Brandon Hurtado – Open Window
2153 Naph – Windmill On The Opposite Shore
2454 John Godfrey – Hand Tinted
2759 Kapital – The Music Of Goodbye
3107 Claudio Parodi – Hammaim
3416 Michael Thomas Jackson – Omaggio a Mario Marzidovshek
3724 Manrico Montero
4031 FiAged #9 – Conveyance
4335 Entre Vifs – Radiate
4640 Tune

MANRICO MONTERO – SISAL (CD by Unfathomless)
For once, so it seems, Claudio Parodi moves away from his more improvised and jazz-like work and he comes with an album of field recordings. These field recordings were made in the harbour of Turin, Italy of which Parodi really likes the sound of the wind. There is all sorts of connections he makes to a quote from Genesis (the book rather than the band), ‘and the wind of God breaths on the faces of the waters’, and through other connections dealing with the Hebrew culture, he came up with five field recordings, ‘one for each Hebrew word’, and recordings were made ‘referring to the map of the harbour, the recorder was placed five times from top right to bottom left, imitating the direction of Hebraic writing’. Also the various recording dates, length of these pieces and panning/reverb, which was later added in the studio was decided in such ways. A long and complicated, conceptual process, which essentially brings us an album of five pure pieces of field recordings, as whatever he did in the studio is not something we easily recognize in the ‘finished’ pieces. This is all right, but it doesn’t seem to go beyond that. Just five very quiet pieces of field recordings, in which we hardly recognize wind, and perhaps a bit of harbour sounds, but nothing much else. When I ripped a song for the podcast, the waveform looked very odd, suggesting perhaps lots more was done to it. I must admit I played this with interest, as I think Unfathomless is a great label, but I doubted this would easily finds it way to the CD player again.
The name Manrico Montero seems new one to this reviewer and his website seems unavailable when writing this. Between 2009 and 2011 he recorded sounds in and around Sisal, Mexico. This is a Mexican harbour town, which is the port through which much of the fibres are transported, which is used to make rope. Obviously it’s not an area I visited. Unlike the Parodi release this is much more a work of pure field recordings, although the cover indicates there is some form of composing in this material. Maybe this composing is merely selecting the pieces from larger sections, but more likely this is composition dealing with carefully editing various bits and pieces together. ‘Cuearto Manglar’ sounds like a trip in the harbour on a rusty boat, very close by, whereas ‘Mangle Negro’ is a look at the harbour from a more remote area, overlooking a wider part of the same space. There is a distinct difference between both pieces, although the subject seems the same. Other pieces focus more on the surrounding areas, and have bird and insect sounds; there seems to be very little human activity in these recordings, but I might be wrong (‘Mangle Blanco’ for instance seems to suggest otherwise). This is all together quite a diverse release of some great field recordings. (FdW)
Address: http://www.unfathomless.net

From Britain but now living in Krakow is Hayden Berry, who works as Visionary Hours. He already released two albums on the Preserved Sound label, which I didn’t hear, but Hibernate promises that he is ‘always aiming to offer something different with each release’, and that his interest on this new release lies in creating ambient/modern classical music. To that end he uses strings, guitar, vocals, flute and clarinet and with the help of Richard Formby (Spectrum, Mogwai, Dakota Suite, The Jazz Butcher) this was fed through ‘genuine tape delay created through a Revox B77 reel to reel tape recorder’, but also other tape techniques were used to create the music, such as slowing down and reversing on a four track cassette. Others than Berry played some of the instruments. A very analogue work indeed, and I must admit it sounds great. There are eight pieces on this album and it lasts thirty-eight minutes. Each piece is around four to five minutes and seems to focus on a few sounds per track, but by minimally altering sound effects, especially the delay, Berry creates a fine sense of space. Some very spacious and drone like, but then sometimes also quite open, with the simple strumming of a guitar motif. One could perhaps argue that Berry uses one and the same trick throughout these pieces – open up effects, close them down – but I would give this the benefit of doubt. I think he does a fine job in creating some excellent spacious music, using a variety of instruments and it all comes with some fine analogue warmth.
This release is limited to 100 copies only and the cover is hand-printed by Katie English. I can imagine one has to act swiftly to get one to get one of these limited beauties. (FdW)
Address: http://hibernate-recs.co.uk/

KAPITAL – CHAOS TO CHAOS (CD by Instant Classics)
Two releases that deal with the music of HATI member Rafal Iwanski. Besides being a member of HATI he is also active solo (as  X-Navi:et) and in other groups, such as Kapital, which is him and Kuba Ziotek. Together they use tone generator, analogue synthesizer, rhythm machine, sampling unit, sampling pad, congas, metallophones, rattles, found objects, horns, voice (and that’s just Iwanski), electric guitar, analog synthesizer, 6 & 12 string acoustic guitars, analog & digital synthesizers, sampling unit, loop station, voice, clarinet, dvojnica double flute, gongs and effects (Ziotek). Like in his other projects, rhythm plays quite some role in the music of Kapital, and they owe tribute to the work of seventies krautrock artists, especially when the guitar is strummed and rhythms get stuck into a single repeating groove. But that’s only half the story, I’d say. Kapital just as easily throws in a bit of noise when needed, and a bit of ambient to smooth out any pain. It’s not just about one thing or the other; it’s the total sum of sound they are producing here. It can take any form and any colour and it’s about the whole thing they are producing here. It’s intense, it’s powerful and it’s great music. Play with a considerable volume and enjoy the forces within the music. This is a wake-up call that makes you continue dreaming.
In the past I spoke about compilation/remix projects and speculated about the reasons why people do them. The axis of ‘masturbation’ and ‘marketing’. I have been accused of knowing little about the nature of experimental and electronic music. So, let’s go back to what I usually write: I really, really don’t mind compilations, and I really don’t mind remixes – in fact as ‘masturbation’ goes, I love them, but that’s perhaps all from the perspective of a creator of music and not looking (more objectively?) as a reviewer. Here we have a remix project of X-Navi:et’s ‘Dead City Voice’, which was reviewed in Vital Weekly 910. A LP, which reminded me of living in big cities, especially at night. Rafal Iwanski invited some of friends with whom he collaborated to deliver a remix; the only one he’d never met before was Rapoon. The six remixes are a nicely diverse bunch. Mirt plays his moody electronics in a minimal way, both Z’EV and Yannick Franck has some loud drone sounds to handle, while Pure looks for a more rhythm perspective. Rapoon keep the music well under control for a lengthy amount of time but ends rather noisely. The most surprising piece comes from Stara Rzeka, which is the nom de plume of Kuba Ziotek, who has a very nice piece of guitar strumming – maybe even 12strings, I think. I really liked his piece because it so different than the others and seemed to have perhaps little to do with a remix. Great compilation of six nice remixes. (FdW)
Address: http://8Merch.com

Although Alexander MacSween has been making music for thirty years, this is first release under his own name. He was a drummer for Jerry Jerry & The Sons Of Rhythm Orchestra, The Nils, Tinker, Blinker The Star, Pest 5000 and Bionic, but also ventured into improvisation with Sam Shgalabi (as Detention) and he’s part of Martin Tetreault’s Turntable Quartet. Solo he sometimes works as Macheen with a drum machine and effect pedals. He is a man of many talents, which comes to great use when recording his own album. He plays here rhythm programming, sampler, tom toms, keyboards, voice, drums and marimba and along there is input from Corinne Rene on marimba, wood blocks, drum set, tympani, bowed gong, cymbal, percussion, bowed vibraphone, Nicolas Caloia on contrabass and univox MaxiKorg and Shalabi on guitar and nylon string guitar. They play on several of the pieces but not always and not all the time. This is indeed a highly varied album of some excellent music that easily moves around the circles of free jazz, jazz, improvisation, electronics, abstract sound scapes and these circles sometimes bump into each other, and sometimes stay wide apart. There is a fine choice of sampled voices, scattered around sparsely in these pieces. There are fine crafted rock rhythms, and Shalabi’s guitar spins, bows, moves around like he’s trying to kill the damn thing. Sometimes it seems that MacSween wants to play a more or less conventional rock song with some weirdo elements, and then there’s something like ‘White Bear’ and ‘Under The Plum Tree’, with all it’s abstract electronics and sound scaping and the latter with a soaring cello. ‘Crocodiles’ with some fine voice samples has a nice film noir ring to it. This is a highly varied record, which goes from strong somg to another song. Anyone with an open mind should seek this out. (FdW)
Address: http://etrecords.net

ENTRE VIFS – NO SIGNAL (CD by Impulsy Stetoskopu)
DENIER DU CULTE – MESSE AROUND (2CD by Impulsy Stetoskopu)
Years and years ago I saw Le Syndicat play live; well, perhaps I thought I did, but in stead it was Entre Vifs. I never managed to figure out properly what the differences are between these two closely related projects. Maybe Le Syndicat was all about noise from electronic machines; maybe synthesizers and drum machines, and Entre Vifs are more about building instruments. The booklet that comes with this release shows us pictures of these instruments and short descriptions. “The Shriller, second of the name, is one of our early instruments. Its original Air Force LY1A laryngophone is assisted by a Firebird bridge pickup” – if that makes any sense. Entre Vifs is a duo on this release of Shirubee (who plays Shriller, Kratz, Throbbler, Growler and Electrolyre) and Zorin (Sturmophon, Rikrokoid, Kritz, Charcutron, Throbbler and effects). The six pieces on this release were all recorded live at their ‘Noisecraft Workshop’ and perhaps we could say that Entre Vifs are the true grand-grandchildren of Luigi Russolo’s ‘art of noise’ manifest. This is the true industrial music; think Merzbow, but more chaotic. It is not easy to say if and to what extent Entre Vifs any other sound effects in their music or if it all comes these self-built instruments being amplified to their max. I would hope the latter, but I think there are quite some sound effects in play here; distortion pedals, delay and reverb seem to me very likely candidates. This is sixty-five minutes of sonic mayhem blasting all over you. Play at maximum volume is something I missed out in the booklet, but is something that seems necessary I’d think. Possibly this is a bit long, but certainly most powerful.
I must admit I know the name Denier Du Culte ever since much of the stuff was recorded that is now on their double CD, which is from 1981 to 1986, and I have been in contact with some of the members, but I never could figure out what kind of band they were. Now I know a bit more. Denier Du Culte was a trio of Lieutenant Caramel on drums, percussion, bass and vocals, Alain Basso on bass and violin and Sylvie Loquet on voice, bass, percussion and lyrics. Caramel and to a lesser extent Basso went to work with electronics in a more musique concrete-like vein, but as Denier Du Culte they worked as an improvisation trio and as such they were part the worldwide cassette movement, releasing a few works on cassette themselves and contributing to many compilations around the world. On the first CD we find a selection of their cassettes and on the second CD fifteen contributions. It’s not a complete picture of everything this band has ever recorded, but it gives a nice over view. I must admit I didn’t recognize anything from the ol’ days – perhaps my mistake. We hear them move from the very rudimentary earliest pieces of shameful self-indulgence to more complex pieces in their later years. It’s these pieces that showed the great strength this band had, when, armed with reel-to-reel machines or perhaps synthesizers to further alienate their rock approach. Some of these earliest moments sound perhaps a bit tedious, and devoid of any context one might scratch their head with this amount of rumble and chaos, but in the light of the time, the early 80s of freely re-organising rock music, post-punk, industrial music and such like. What I perhaps didn’t realize back then, or not as much as I do now, Denier Du Culte was a great, unique band, which sounded very different from all the other noise boys. This is a most welcome re-issue of a band that is surely over-looked in a long time. Both of these releases are very limited so act quickly! (FdW)
Address: https://thecatcherinnoise.wordpress.com/

As you might have rightly guessed the Quiet Music Ensemble is all about quiet music. There are five players: Dan Bodwell (double bass), Ilse de Ziah (cello), John Godfrey (electric guitar), Sean Mac Erlaine (clarinet, bass clarinet, chalumeau) and Roddy O’Keeffe (trombone) and they perform pieces that were commissioned by them. Four these are to be found on this release by David Toop, Alvin Lucier, Pauline Oliveros and John Godfrey himself. The aspect of quietness is worked out differently by each of these composers. The bookend pieces by Toop and Godfrey seemed to me the most quiet of the four pieces. Instruments are very silent and, unlike the other two, both of these pieces use pre-recorded field recordings. Godfrey lets his companions freely move around in very much a similar way as the field recordings, and they succeed very well: it blends wonderfully together. In the piece by David Toop this is also very quiet and also on the level of field recordings not a lot seems to happen. Just some insects, a sine wave like (which notice when you cut the volume) and very little in terms of progress. This is one of those pieces working best when played quietly, but with windows open, or on a balcony and let the quietness of your surrounding play a part. The Lucier piece is very much a Lucier piece: the clarinet and trombone play single tones and the guitar, cello and double bass sweep up and down, ‘scanning the interval of a major third’. An excellent piece, not very silent or quiet I’d say, but it works perfectly well. Classic Lucier atmospheric/sine wave music. The composition they perform by Pauline Oliveros is recorded in a ‘simulated reverberant space’, which I guess is a must for any Oliveros piece and is the longest piece on this release. I must say it’s the one piece I didn’t like so much. Maybe there was too much happening in this piece? Maybe it’s the artificial reverberant space quality of the piece? I am not sure there, but it also didn’t seem as quiet as the other pieces. Otherwise I think this is a great CD of indeed quiet music indeed. (FdW)
Address: http://farpointrecordings.com/themysteriesbeyondmatter

NAPH – ESTUARY (CD by Ambiencephono)
Can I have two cases of Japanese weirder pop music, please? Here you go. First we have a three-piece group who play keyboard, guitar and drums. They call themselves Networks and five years ago they released their debut album, and since then they have played lots of concerts and festivals, further honing their skills as musicians. Apparently they play everything live, even when it sounds programmed. It reminded me of the Austrian band Elektro Guzzi, which is a rock band, which play like a very strong techno set by a single DJ. I once saw them playing live and was impressed. Networks don’t play techno or house with a standard rock set up. Their music goes deeper I think. It has that power of pop music, but four of the five pieces are almost eleven minutes so that’s perhaps a bit long for pop music. There is a complexity in this music, which one could say owes to the world of progressive rock music, but there is also a lightness to these pieces, which denies that whole prog-rock angle. And then there is the angle of minimal music, that Steve Reich/six marimbas sound that is a strong feature also. It makes up a most odd record; quite a strong record and one that easily defies any classification; it’s not pop, it’s not minimal, hardly rock like and surely a fine class of their own.
From Tokyo comes Naph and he released two albums before, of which ‘Autumn Of The Saroos’ was reviewed in Vital Weekly 876. Besides recording solo music he is also active with Mondii as RdL and plays music with Chihei Hatakeyama and Tomoyasu Takanishi as All The Frogs Are Our Week End. The cover of ‘Estuary’ lists pretty much the same instruments as before, acoustic and electric guitar, bass, electric piano, flugelhorn, minimoog, harmonica and field recordings, and of that previous double CD, one was called ‘Far Sounds’ and had short pieces of gentle strumming. That is what we get on ‘Estuary’ too: eighteen short pieces of somewhere from forty seconds to six minutes – the longer tracks in a minority here. Less than two minutes seems to be a favourite for him. The guitar plays the most important role here; everything else seems supportive. The guitars plays very minimal pieces of music, flageolet’s mostly, and occasionally there might be the flugelhorn or the call of some birds as if Naph was sitting in his garden when recording this (and yes, that is possible in Tokyo too). This album seems more single minded than ‘Autumn Of The Saroos’, I think, but that’s perhaps the album with that title, the second part of the double CD it was, seemed more experimental. It would have been nice if Naph would have made a step forward and created an album which was a combination of both these interests of his, the ambient guitar on one side and the more experimental edge on the other and see what interesting results that would lead too. Now he delivers an album that is quite fine, but which seems also a bit more of the same. (FdW)
Address: http://www.naturebliss.jp

IGOR – FAST & SLOW (LP by Lamour)
PRO424 – IMMUNE (LP by Lamour)
Behind Igor is Mikael Strömberg, who has been active since the early 1980s, in music, film and literature. He releases books, radio shows, CDs, exhibitions. Yet I never heard of him before. I am not sure if that goes for all his works, but on this LP his interest goes out to all things ambient and on that in the more classical sense of the word, the axis formed by Erik Satie, John Cage and Brian Eno. A few years ago Strömberg had his aorta broken and was rushed into hospital and when he woke up after some time he heard the music that later on composed. I assume there is indeed some piano in this set-up of Igor – like Cage, Satie and Eno – but especially with he latter he shares something that brings the sound of a piano to another level. Whatever kind of electronic processing is applied here, it sounds very nice. The piano is transformed, that we are sure of, and yet we recognize it as a piano; sometimes Igor makes it sound like a gamelan orchestra – think of the prepared piano techniques of Cage – and throughout there is a melancholic sense that he shares with Satie. I’d like to think there is some obscured reel-to-reel technique in play here, but more likely is it that Igor uses a lot of computer techniques to maltreat the piano sound and cooking up this moody piano music. Just as Eno once came to ambient music lying down on his hospital bed, so does Igor, but his results are quite different than that of mister ‘Discreet Music’. More musique concrete like techniques from the world of computers applied to the sound of the piano. Very nice.
Also ambient but then something completely different is the music by Pro424 (yes, I typed that correct, first I thought it said 242…) and the label assumes that I may not like this. This ambient music goes out, further down the line of history, as in: coming our way, and by passes Cage, Satie and Eno, but takes a lead from Tangerine Dream straight to the minimalist beats of Plastikman and/or any other work by Richie Hawtin. The arpeggios are great on this record and the beat is very minimal. Towards the end of ‘Dystopia’ one has the idea this is minimal techno with its use of delay and synthesizers, but throughout this all sound very cosmic in approach. I have no idea why Lamour thinks I may not like this. I love it. I love the early seventies synth music, I loved ambient house in the mid-90s and I always hoped that the current revival (or is that already over yet?) of cosmic music would lead to more beat-driven music. So the spacious rhythms of Pro424 are well spend on me. One excellent trip, this pro424. (FdW)
Address: http://www.lamour.se

ELIAN – CUTTING UP THE SUN (CDR by The Long Story Recording Company)
Michael Duane Ferrell is Elian and as such he has been recording music since eight years; we reviewed some of his previous work. Back then I called it ‘ambient industrial’ and that’s perhaps something I still stand by. Actually we might even say more industrial than ambient perhaps, as much of what he does is with considerable force; it’s forceful but it’s never really noise based, as in harsh noise. It has that fine sense of atmospherically music through lengthy sustaining fields of sound but it comes with mechanizations of machines. I am not sure but I don’t think Elian uses any field recordings but it’s mostly, or perhaps even exclusively, in the electronic domain. Hard to say if he uses a bunch of analogue synthesizers or perhaps any sort of digital ones, but Elian produces some excellent music, both in terms of composition as well as the sound quality of his music. It works really well on the dynamic level, with lots of great low-end bass sound and sharp, intense sounds in the higher regions. But then, just as well, things can also be quiet and introvert, such as in ‘Corona’, but that seems to be a rarity here. Most of these pieces have a more collage like aspect, of various elements stuck together and make angular, abstract, strange and sometimes scary music. This is the kind of noise that I like very much: it’s well thought out, it moves along very dynamic ranges – high, mid and low – and has some very intense music. Excellent release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.longstoryrecordingcompany.bandcamp.com

FI-AGED #9 – LIVE-FI (CDR by Primecuts)
Experimental musician Michael Thomas Jackson has been going since the mid 80s and produced a vast amount of work, of which we probably see just a little bit, here at Vital Weekly. These two new releases have catalogue number 163 and 167, so perhaps that shows some of the extent of his work. For his solo release he writes on the cover that ‘digital hardware on all tracks, and analogue hardware on tracks on 2, 3,5 6’ is used, but there is no software or overdubs here. I have no idea what digital hardware is, actually, but maybe this from Wikipedia might help: “Digital electronics, or digital (electronic) circuits, are electronics that represent signals by discrete bands of analogue levels, rather than by continuous ranges (as used in analogue electronics). All levels within a band represent the same signal state. Because of this discretization, relatively small changes to the analogue signal levels due to manufacturing tolerance, signal attenuation or parasitic noise do not leave the discrete envelope, and as a result are ignored by signal state sensing circuitry.” (Although it also reads: “This article may be too technical for most readers to understand”) Maybe Jackson uses all sorts of circuit boards to create his sharp, noise sounds. Maybe it’s some kind of circuit bending that goes on here. Whatever it is, it sounds pretty nasty, especially if you care to play this at a loud volume. The high frequencies of ‘She Sublimates The Sun’, the opening piece, is such a piece, which goes straight into your brain. Other pieces are more to be found in the mid to low ranges and contain usually a variety of piercing, on going drone like sounds and some highly chaotic ‘improvisations’ of other electronic disturbance, such as in ‘The Folly Of Attempted Dream Recreation’, which was a bit long and a bit too chaotic for my taste. But the noise drones of ‘A Palsy Of Some Persuasion (condensed)’ worked really well. There was a great link to the 80s here with ‘Omaggio a Mario Marzidovshek’, the (former) Yugoslavian home taper who passed away a few years ago. The non-keyboard electronics of Jackson pay him a fine homage indeed, dark, moody and owing to the world of modern electronics. Save for that long chaotic piece, I thought this was overall an excellent release.
Fi-Aged #9 is Jackson along with one Craig Murray and they play ‘electronics and percussives’ and the five pieces here were recorded live. Only on one track there has been ‘sequencing, editing and additional work’ by Murray. I can imagine how the electronics work around here; no doubt along similar lines as on the Jackson solo release. I am just not too sure about the ‘percussions’ part of this. Only in ‘An Act Of Listening’, the fourth piece, these percussions sound like drums, but in the other pieces it’s not easy to know what these are. It might be samplers or something more along electronic lines being played rhythmically, but it stays all on the more obscure side. In ‘Is There Anyone On The Air’, with a guest appearance of Hal2000, the samples bounce around while there is also more electronic percussion. The three first pieces on this release are more obscured, more improvised along ‘let’s roll out sounds in a free form manner’, and the result is a pretty chaotic, hybrid affair of whirring and buzzing electronic sounds with a vague rhythmic undercurrent. It’s actually all together quite nice release and it would be something I wouldn’t mind seeing live one day. (FdW)
Address: <emptyj4@hotmail.com>

Here we have a very much hand made package. Everything is hand-written and perhaps even hand-drawn on the cover. I already mentioned the fact that Brandon Hurtado shares the name with the brothers that make up Etant Donnes, but that’s about the only thing he shares with them. On this CDR we find nine pieces, all rather short; say from two to five minutes and in each of these Hurtado explores a very few limited palette of sounds; a guitar, some sound effects; maybe a piano, maybe some field recordings, but it seems they never sound together at the same time. That’s about it. But with these limited means he creates some highly atmospheric music. ‘Blurry’ is a word Hurtado likes and I agree it fits him quite well. Much of his music sounds ‘blurry’, like an overexposed photograph, a jpg with not a lot of pixel, a picture that went wrong. That kind of thing. It reminded me of the music of Matt Krefting: it sounds like it has been deliberately recorded on an analogue machine with dirty recording heads, as to further manipulate the sound. In terms of ambient/drone/atmospherical music and such like, one could easily say Hurtado doesn’t seek out a new path, but his music is certainly very powerful and intense. Keep this name in mind, he might be going places. (FdW)
Address: https://bhurtado.bandcamp.com/merch

ADDZ (cassette by Spina! Records)
Apparently the release by Kostyrko, the label boss of Spina! Records (from St. Petersburg) and Rutger Zuydervelt, also known as Machinefabriek marks an anniversary for the label, but I am not sure which one. The two met up in September 2014, where they played this impromptu set together, which is now released on this twenty-minute tape. Kostyrko plays modular synths and Zuydervelt plats tone generator, microphone, bat detector, radio and effects pedals. The tape was recorded on analogue equipment, mastered analogue and copied from a cassette – just in case you a purist in these matters. We find Zuydervelt in a somewhat noisier mood, perhaps a bit noisier than we are used from him. I assume that Kostyrko is responsible for some of that darker, noisier mood that we find in here. Deep drones, spacious sounds washing ashore like tidal waves, but there is also a somewhat darker, more gothic undercurrent in these streams, which is a rarity for Zuydervelt’s more abstract ambient approach. It’s good to see him move away from such things but having said that I don’t think this is his strongest work, solo or in collaboration. It’s decent, it’s sturdy but it doesn’t leap out too much I think. But should you be a dedicated follower of Zuydervelt, than you’ll be surprised by this release.
Something entirely different is ADDZ, the duo of Alexander Zaitsev (whom some might know as EU and SBPCh) and Dmitry Dubov, one of the founders of Fizzaraum. Their music deals with rhythmic structures and there are eight tracks in total, numbered ‘1’ to ‘8’, but not in that order. The design here on the cover reflects some of the good ol’ black/white aesthetics of Fat Cat. While they use synths and drum machines, I don’t think their music is made to dance to, whereas one would probably think that. It’s hard to say if ADDZ have any meaning with their music at all, other than perhaps providing everybody a good time while listening to this. Sometimes it is a bit dark, such as in ‘8’ (I think), but throughout quite light and highly enjoyable. On a super-great spring day like today, this is perfect chill out music. Pleasant, rhythmic, engaging to undertake physical exercise or even just to clean the floors or do the dishes. Good fund entertainment.
On the final tape we find some more recordings from the Fulldozer festival (where also Kostyrko/Zuydervelt was recorded) but all from people I never heard of. On the first side a duet of Jelena Glazova and Grigorij Avrorin, which is a duet between bass by the latter and voice, laptop, controller by the former. I think Glazova picks up sounds produced by Avrorin and the results is a bunch of pieces, or so the cover indicates, of improvised, noisy electronics around the doodling of the bas guitar. Most of the time loud and deep, but also very computer minded, this music. I wasn’t too sure about this. It sounded a bit too noisy for me. On the other side there is Bisamratta, the musical project of Vladimir Luchansky. Recently he moved from Novosibirsk to St. Peterbsurg and the cover gives him credit for guitars and Soviet movies. Maybe he uses samples of the latter in his work, it seems so, but perhaps I don’t know that much about Soviet movies. Not credited, but no doubt a present feature is the extended use of sound effects in the music, to expand on such themes as ‘atmosphere’ and ‘drone’. It’s a completely different side than the other, and it’s great, spacious music. Bisamratta sounds like a wide-open space, in the twilight of the day: shimmering and hazy. Not exactly new, but quite exactly great music. (FdW)
Address: https://spinarec.bandcamp.com/

This is the second solo release for Norway’s Gaute Granli. His first release was ‘Velkommen Til Forus’ (see Vital Weekly 896) and he is also a member of Freddy The Dyke, together with Bendik Andersson (see Vital Weekly 944 for a review of their debut LP). Again we don’t find much information on the cover, but in a letter Granli writes me that he uses a drum-kit, more analogue synthesizer, twangier guitars and that this tape is in stereo. Like before the guitar is perhaps the most prominent feature on this release; Granli abuses it a lot: he hits, bangs, howls, drags it around and uses bits of delay here and there on these sounds, while added chopped up beats and voices every now and then. It’s not music for the weak of heart, but it’s also not to say this is the loudest noise around. The music is improvised, as you might have guessed, but somehow, somewhere I’d like to think that deep down he wants to create songs, however wacky these songs might be. Maybe in the stages where he mixes these improvisations together (or perhaps edits them by overlapping various improvisations together), he finds ways to organise these pieces and make sound like ‘pieces’, or even better ‘songs’. In that sense this tape is a firm step forward from his previous solo recording; just by the sheer level organisation Granli shows his progress. Great one. (FdW)
Address: http://www.skussmaal.com

Various releases these weeks deal, proudly, with the fact they are recorded with analogue equipment and this too is the case with Art Of The Memory Palace. This is a duo of Raz Ullah and Andrew Mitchell, armed with a bunch of synthesizers, rhythm machines and a microphone, or two. Their influences stretch out from Popol Vuh, La Dusseldorf to Stockhausen and Reich. Everything was played rather spontaneously and later on the album was built layer by layer from a collection of reel-to-reel tapes. It’s a pity there is no track titles (or anything else mentioned for that matter) on the cover, but if you download the tape, you’d know. It sounds like the cassette is used to sell you the download (or is that too cynical?). Anyway, the download also contains information on the instruments used, which reads like a list of all things with keys, but there are also drums, Fender jazz bass and vocals. I think that these nine pieces owe more to the world of cosmic Germany, than to serious avant-garde composing, even when those names look nice on the information. The presence of real drums on most of the pieces make this is all a bit tighter, more rock like, firm if you will. Maybe krautrock like? That is not always the case I think, as sometimes it’s all just waves and no rhythm, with some chanting vocals over a variety of synthesizer lines. That doesn’t make it ‘Gesang der Junglinge’ either, but it adds quite an amount of variation to the music and that makes this is a great release of pop music. Dreamy, uptempo, atmospheric, lively all packed in multi-coloured pictures of sound. Excellent. Next time more information on the tape itself, please. (FdW)
Address: http://www.staticcaravan.org/

It’s been a while, I must admit, that I last heard new music by Jeff Surak. Years and years ago I was in contact with him a lot, about his group New Carrollton and his solo outing, 1348, and then, again later, when he called himself Violet or even just V. Besides that he plays with many others, runs the Zeromoon label and curates the Sonic Circuits festival in Washington DC. As said, in recent years I heard a lot less of his music, but here’s a new one and Surak writes that the music was made using “synthesizers, califone record player and a humidifier”. There is no information on the cover, no track titles, nothing, so the whole thing looks a bit obscure. I can’t say if Surak intended this to be two different pieces, or perhaps there are more pieces, extending beyond one per side. It sounds like one piece per side to me. Surak takes the listener on quite a nice trip, which is like ebb and flow, ranging from all things nearly quiet to extremely loud. Everything, from synthesizers to humidifier, is set to drone out in a very dramatic way. It’s like coming from a far away distance, and hearing only the faintest of sounds of a motor and slowly one is pushed towards that very motor and it’s almost like one is pushed into that motor. But not quite so, as just before that happens the sound is cut out and then we move to the other side of the tape, which is more spacious, weightless like a rusty space ship making it’s turns around planet P (they ran out of names in that particular part of the solar system), while bugs slowly eat the interior, the califone record player spinning records. Surak has a fine tape here, blending various elements from the world of cosmic music together with the more noisy and industrial music in an excellent way. (FdW)
Address: http://zeromoon.com/

MARTIN TETREAULT – SOFA SO GOOD (cassette by Tanuki Records)
The music here spans one side of the tape, while the blank, other side, can be used to record your own piece, but the cover instructs that one uses only sounds from ‘Sofa So Good’. Tetreault is best known, I should hope at least, as someone from the world of improvisation who works with turntables and old vinyl. I must say I heard some of his work, and even saw a concert or two in the past, but to say I am the biggest fan or highly knowledgeable with regards to his music: not really, although I am usually keen to hear it. I started to play this tape without many expectations in that regard; not something I immediately would like or dislike, a rather neutral start. I must say I very much enjoyed what I heard here. Only if one listens closely, one could think there is the use of vinyl here, with its pops and clicks, but at the same time it’s all quite spooky and sinister. It’s a soundtrack to a fine horror movie of a rather b-like quality. There wasn’t a huge budget for the soundtrack so someone plunderphoniced the whole lot together, and he/she did a great job. Sometimes, especially in the earlier part of the thirty-three minutes that this piece lasts, it reminded me of a modern electronics record from the sixties, but then re-recorded from the original vinyl. Tetreault waves together all of these odd sounds, which sometimes don’t really seem to fit together, into a great nocturnal, dreamlike piece, but without sounding ambient. You are clearly awake, but in your bed, and from everywhere these ghosts are haunting you. Scary and funny perhaps. Just like last week’s Simon Wickham-Smith’s release, this is another excellent release for Tanuki Records. (FdW)
Address: http://tanukirecords.bandcamp.com

Up until now Jeremy Young worked solo under the name Szilard (see Vital Weekly 809 and 840) and he’s a member of Sontag Shogun, who delivered some fine records (Vital Weekly 900 and 928). Their concert left me nicely confused behind, and I seem to have more interest in their records than their concerts since then. Here Young presents a work in his own name, maybe a first I was thinking, and its part of a funded ‘tape loops & living online archive project’. On this tape you’ll find the ‘full extended piece’ and its inspired by the stream near his parents town in upstate New York. Young uses a square wave frequency, which he feeds through a tape delay and it slowly changes colour and shape all the time. Welcome to the world of drone music, but this is of the variety that is a bit louder and grittier than most other drone musicians would do, and that’s something I like very much. Best is to play this at a considerable volume so that all the frequencies are fully exposed and explored and the sound becomes a wandering (flowing even) phenomenon in your living room. Much like the flow of any river I suppose, and inspired by the span of a year: from cold to mild spring to hot summer and late grey autumn. That’s what Young wants of his music and that’s what he gets out of it. It’s something that works wonderfully well. Fifty minutes of excellent organ drones, working fiercely around your living room. (FdW)
Address: http://palaverpress.com



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