Toshimaru Nakamura

DEREK PIOTR – BAHAR (CD by Bit-Phalanx) *
SMALTS – IN C (CD by Blowpipe) *
ERIC LUNDE – SHORT BURSTS OF LIGHT (book, 2CDRs, lathe cut 7″ by Torso And Such) *
IMA & ATTO PLAIN – IMA X ATTO PLAIN (CDR by Edgetone Records) *
TIETOKONEDUOJ&J/LOST SNIVEL (cassette by Hyster Tapes)

Vital Weekly #980 by Vitalweekly on Mixcloud

tracklist for Vital Weekly 980:

0000 Tune
0014 Derek Piotr – Sprawl
0321 Smalts – In C
0625 Hollan Holmes – The Year’s First Rain
0928 Ima – Eline
1233 Eric Lunde
1536 Ionosphere – The Silence Underneath
1841 Vladislav Sikach & Segey Gabbasov – Tengri
2148 Maurizio Bianchi & Saverio Evagelista – Microsonic
2452 Sean Washburn – Trans-World India
2754 Gianluca Favaron – IV
3057 Gianluci Becuzzi
3403 Vertonen – Telephone (Hello, Hello)
3707 Chefkirk & Andrew Quitter – Spatial Surface
4010 Toshimaru Nakamura & Many Arms – II
4314 Tune

After a period of silence of eight years it’s time for another album by Ionosphere. No further names are on the cover, press text or website, so it’s one of those ‘we don’t tell you anything, and we let the music speak for itself’ type of things. That of course should be enough in itself, but as a reviewer you’d love to tell more. Maybe something about the kind of instruments used, maybe something about earlier releases and such like, but here’s just eleven pieces of music, speaking all for them selves. Like many of the releases on Loki-Found the music of Ionosphere also moves around in what one could call ‘drone/ambient/atmospherically/spacious/etc.’ music. There are many of these out there, yet they all come with minor differences, obviously. In Ionosphere’s particular brand of the genre, everything is quite dark but it also comes with a bit of melody; it’s not the very abstract variety, but in these eleven pieces everything is kept to short (well, relatively short) time frames, in which the whole piece is rounded off. It doesn’t flow from track to track, but starts and stops each their own point. There are very few and very faint traces of rhythm, for instance in ‘Palilicium’ and something that one could see as ‘space voices’. No doubt Andrew Lagowski is a bit influence on Ionosphere. There is the same creepy dark ambience, with sounds coming toward you from deep space (or so it seems). This is all quite musical, as we usually expect from Loki-Found. If that label has trade mark music to offer and you have no idea what that is, then Ionosphere is a perfect example. Dark, mysterious, spacious, melodic and musical. Music to be played in the dark but not something that scares you as such. More to offer an enlightened state. (FdW)

DEREK PIOTR – BAHAR (CD by Bit-Phalanx)
This is already Derek Piotr’s fifth solo release (see Vital Weekly 935, 930, 828, 811 and 799 for his previous releases, some in collaboration with others) and he further explores ‘rhythm’ and ‘voice’ notions here. His last one was ‘Tempatempat’ and in that one he explored a more ‘pop’ approach to what he did; in the works before seemed to be more about ambient and modern classical music – he studied with Meredith Monk, which might give you a clue (maybe not). This time he has bit less pieces, nine instead of fourteen the last time, and it seems he has been simplifying his tunes also a bit. It’s pop from an outsider point – at least that’s what he says himself of these pieces. The voice plays a more important role than before and Piotr is singing his tunes. Maybe his music is based on processed voice, I am not sure about that, but he also uses guest players on clarinet, flute and saxophone. They add rather sparse sounds to the music. Some of this material owes to the world of techno, such as ‘Tone Offering’, but in general it stays away from rhythm organisation in that way. His rhythms are more broken up, adding confusion to the notion of pop music, I should think, and that’s great. Me personally am not always blown away by his voice, but his style of crooning is something that I can imagine being quite popular. It depends on how he presents this stuff in concert. This is all excellent stuff and Piotr has delivered a highly varied album of left field electronic pop music. I am not sure if it will hit any charts but I certainly can imagine, given the right stage presentation, this might bring Piotr to places. (FdW)

Lots and lots of music come to our attention and we’d like to keep good track of all of this. One of the most used words in reviews in Vital Weekly is ambient, atmospheric and drone, by whichever variation they come to us. One of things we don’t hear a lot, luckily enough, is all those things that can be loosely labelled as ‘new age’. Here however I think we have one. The music is by one Sean Washburn, who plays synthesizers, sampler, processors, voice, ney, suling, native American flute, ocarina, bells, chimes, bowls, gongs, rainsticks, shakers, rattles, stones, frame drum, udu, didgeridoo, natural and urban environment sound recording, and for some reason the copyright (and thus the recording?) is from 2000, but only now released. This is all very spacious, with tons of reverb on every instrument possible to create that wide-open space sound. There is a melody on the flute, wave sounds from water (imitated by synthesizers no doubt) and the rainsticks and shakers add that rainforest feel. With track titles as ‘A Sacred Voice – Cloud Tree’ and ‘Inner Gate’, you know the Age of Aquarius is upon us. I, however, stay in the third dimension (or was it fourth already? Damn 2012) and pass on this rather sweet pill of cosy, space muzak to someone who might need it.
Of equal massive length, a bit longer even at eighty minutes, but with only two pieces is the CD by Vladislav Sikach (synthesizer, keyboards, singing bowls, field recordings, contact microphones, voice, sound processing, programming) and Sergey Gabbasov (Tibetan ritual instruments and chanting, Armenian blul, Moldavian caval, Kyrgyz sybyzgy, Tuvan shoor, Bashkir quray, Kyrgyz temir-khomus, Tatar kubyz, sound engineering & processing, programming and recordings). That’s a whole bunch of instruments east of the Danube, I thought. Here too reverb plays a vital role in the music. Everything undergoes this treatment, but throughout Sikach and Gabbasov have a darker sound, perhaps more obscured if you will. Partly that might be because of the percussion instruments played, or the vast amount of reverb on the voice, but everything is smeared together in these pieces, closing it off. Maybe this was also a bit more improvised, or taken from various improvised sessions stuck together to form one piece of music, but here too I was not that impressed. Maybe I am too closed off (not open enough) myself to see the mystery in this music? Maybe my karma is a bit dark today? Or do I need to rush out and get some incense? Either way, these men perform ritual music that is simply not my kind of ritual. But let it be said: this was less new age minded than the Washburn release, and I can imagine Vital-heads who would join on this trip. (FdW)

Being on Facebook means people make you a member of their social group, in which they discuss software, old records, silly covers and what have you. In one of these groups I discovered a guy called Gert Blokzijl, who seems to upload a new album on bandcamp every week. It’s not something I review, or buy, but when reading a book at night, I’d like to hear some of his heavily arpeggio based synth doodling, which receives ‘Berlin School’ as a tag from the composer himself. Check out his bandcamp. The tag ‘Berlin School’ is also to be found in the press text for Hollan Holmes new CD. In 2010 he released his first CD and since a couple more (not as active as Blokzijl, but everything on a CD, so perhaps that’s also a decisive element?) and his latest album ‘Incandescent’ is dedicated to Richard Burmer (1955-2006), of whom I (also) didn’t hear before, but judging by his picture in the cover he was also a synth meister. Probably these things listen closely in the world of electronic music, so maybe I say something wrong, but if Berlin School means anything that is firmly driving by sequencers, bouncing arpeggio’s and such like, then Holmes does that plus a lot more. In the first few pieces the motor driven sequencer plays an important role, but as the album progresses, there is also more drone like pieces, in which rhythm of any kind is absent; pieces such as ‘Earth Song’ and ‘Interstellar Lullaby’ (yes, his titles are a bit naff). One might even say that the majority of these pieces are more in the drone/atmospheric music vein, than in pure sequencer based rhythms. I realize that it’s fine line between electronic and interesting and new age and boring (see the Washburn review), but even when some of these pieces are quite spacey and agey, Holmes likes to keep his music dark and mysterious. Maybe he could have placed the pieces in a different order, to keep the variety going, but otherwise I think this is a great release. Nothing earth shattering new, but some very decent synthesizer music. (FdW)

Many Arms is a trio of Nick Millevoi (guitar), Johnny DeBlase (bass) and Ricardo Lagomasino (drums); I never heard of them. On the night of April 28, 2013 they played music at the Rose Recital Hall, in Philadelphia, in an improvisational duet with Toshimaru Nakamura on no-input mixing board. I went in this completely blank as, as said, I never heard of Many Arms. Right from the start of ‘I’, the opening piece, this is a blast of noise. For eleven minutes this piece marches on and it’s not easy to figure out in this violence of drums, guitar and bass what Nakamura is contribution is to this mayhem. Occasionally one hears him, in the same con furizio style. In ‘II’ the sounds are more spaced out – still loud, but here we hear a clearer distinction between ‘band’ and ‘musician’. All of them play a blast of sound and in the end of each blast we hear a bit of Nakamura humming about. In ‘III’ he even starts out and this slowly grows from a more traditional forms of improvisation – carefully building up towards a all out free-freak session with Nakamura on an all out feedback experience. ‘IV’ is the longest piece here, in which the interests of the three pieces are combined in an almost nineteen minute piece of music. Quiet sometimes (very rare though), lots of free noise, Nakamura trying to make himself heard from time to time, but adding this alien backdrop to the free noise rock of Many Arms, regular improvisation with a bit less noise, and clearing the floor in an all out noise blast. Only in ‘II’ the balance seemed equal, and in the other three pieces Many Arms seems to be blowing their guest away, but he holds up well in this violence. That must have been one hell of a concert, to which the CD only does partly justice. (FdW)

SMALTS – IN C (CD by Blowpipe)
Right up there, in the canon of classical pieces that are a must hear for everyone who reads Vital Weekly, is Terry Riley’s ‘In C’. It’s probably the best-known classic minimal music piece from the sixties. It’s premise is very simple: “In C consists of 53 short, numbered musical phrases, lasting from half a beat to 32 beats; each phrase may be repeated an arbitrary number of times.” Each musician can play whatever phrase (s)he wants and for whatever amount of time. To quote further from wikipedia: “the phrases must be played in order, although some may be skipped” and the length can from fifteen minutes up to hours. Before going into this version: there is even a free app version, which allows you to play your version – try that and see how it works (and also that is not that easy). Smalts are a Dutch group, existing since the early 80s and are, one could crudely say, essentially the band Minny Pops, less the singer, Wally van Middendorp. In the early days very much a ‘synthesizer’ group playing moody tunes, accompanied by real drums, but in later years expanding also to guitars and such like. Partly because ‘In C’ sounds like a gamelan piece, which is what attracted Smalts to perform it. I am not sure about the (current) line-up for Smalts, nor which instruments are actually played on this recording, but it sounds great. Lots of emphasis on the percussive instruments, maybe played in real time, maybe from sampled sources, there is also quite some wind instruments used here (and again, I have no idea if they are played in real-time or if they are sampled). It’s almost like a train, pounding forward all the time, but if you listen closely to this train ride you notice the gradual changes in this work, and even sometimes voices (at least that’s what I believed to hear at various points). Riley thought of this piece to be played by a group of approximately thirty-five players, but I am sure Smalts has a smaller line-up. They manage however to sound this piece as a small chamber orchestra. It’s also hard to tell if this is the result of a live recording, or layering it in the studio; somehow I think this is a live recording, but I can’t substantiate that claim. I do know that I think this is a great version, which was one hell of a beautiful ride for the entire thirty-three minutes. I know only a few versions but this is surely a must hear version, I think. It’s condensed but very repetitive and beautifully shifting. (FdW)

Two oversized (almost A4) books with photographic work by Stefano Gentile, the label boss here, and music by others. Black is a colour that is omnipresent in photos, artwork as well as the music. I started with the CD by the ever so-active Maurizio Bianchi, the once mighty name of industrial music, and since a craftsman of dark electronic music (not always as a loud though), who teams up with Saverio Evangelista, who was a member of E.G. Kaidan, M.S.B. and Esplendor Geometrico. ‘Micromal Sonorities was already released by Artecnico/Gift in 2007, but for whatever reason (deleted might be a good one, re-mastered might be another reason, new package) is now re-issued and, as said, with a great package. The photographs here look like car lights in the night. Nocturnal might also be the word that applies to the music. This is some very dark music, mostly electronic but it could very well be that they also use a lot of samples of acoustic sounds. It’s hard to tell actually. There is quite an amount of sound processing going on, which obscures any original sources to quite some extent. In ‘Microsonic’ and ‘Microcosm’ I believe to have heavily treated piano sounds. Also, but maybe my opinion is clouded by the fact that Evangelista was connected to bands using rhythm, I believed to hear more repeating blocks of sound in here, especially in ‘Micrometric’, the longest piece here, almost thirty-three minutes. If anything, this music is best classified as ‘apocalyptic’, ‘post nuclear’ or the more easygoing term ambient industrial. Nothing new, but quite a good CD; quite soft in volume and I believe that’s the whole intention of this.
Gianluca Favaron plays objects, microphones and electronics on his latest release ‘Entretien’. The photographs here are all very black, like hair or grass depicted in black and white. It looks rather mysterious. The music is rather short with four pieces clocking in at twenty-eight minutes. These tracks are quite diverse, although loops seem to be the key element in here. The most ‘musical’ one is ‘III’ with a slightly out of tune guitar. In our other pieces there is no doubt some (any?) kind of field recordings in play, but also, in every piece, some sort of crackles. It sounds like the ones coming from old vinyl sources. In ‘I’ Favaron makes this sound like an industrial nightmare, almost as if the listener is being caught on a conveyer belt, whereas in ‘II’ it is a bit toned down, but nevertheless this still inside the factory. Perhaps on a quieter point down the assembly line? In ‘IV’ we enter the office and listen to the Xerox machine on a hot day so cars passing outside also made it to the tape. Which leaves the mildly blues like ‘III’ as the odd man in this factory. Maybe it’s lunchtime and someone picked up a guitar? It’s a great CD, which for all I know could have been a bit longer.
On the mothership label Silentes we find a double CD by Gianluca Becuzzi, with liner notes in Italian. I am not sure why that is, as I can imagine not everyone can’t read this. I think it says something along the lines of this being a remix of the group Limbo. Discogs tells me that Limbo was founded in early 1984 by Becuzzi, ‘one of the most important personalities on the Italian electronic / electro-acoustic and experimental scenes’. Limbo released twelve albums and four mini-albums, played various styles of music, but always dark and rhythmic. I don’t think I ever encountered their music before and I only know Becuzzi and his music from a more ‘laptop’/electronic music point of view, starting whenever I heard Kinetix for the first time. I always liked his abstract electronic music, but these four pieces on disc one (which all last 11:33 minutes) and the one long piece on disc two, didn’t do that much for me I must admit. Especially the four pieces on disc one sounded, despite all the deconstruction going a bit too ‘gothic’ for me. Lots of drama, pathos, crying and screaming, which is embedded in a great perspective, a radiophonic sound piece if you want, with stretched out drone sounds from whatever original sources were, but it is drama that doesn’t appeal to me very much. Sometimes when screams, sighs, cries are kept to a minimum in favour of other looped sounds, orchestral rock symphonies, dark, pounding drums and such like, I thought that it wasn’t actually that bad. But there seemed to be not enough of that in here. For me this wasn’t the next great Becuzzi release, but rather a remix/deconstruct which he did rather nice, but of which the original music just didn’t interest me very much. (FdW)

An all female quintet, so it seems, consisting of Ellen Arkbro (electric guitar, voice, supercoilider), Marta Forsberg (viola, electronics, percussion, harp), Maria W Horn (8mm projector, video feedback), Kali Malone (electric guitar, voice, electronics) and Elsa Bergmann (double bass), although the latter seem to have left Hästköttskandalen, which apparently translates as ‘horse meat scandal’ – I think I liked the title of this record more as a band name. They have been around since 2013 and played various festivals and events. In February 2014 they recorded forty minutes of their improvised music as a disbanded morgue, Kapellet, in Stockholmn. To some hacks that is important information. Why not the slaughterhouse? Of course the visual element is lacking from this record, but these forty minutes provide enough to hold on to for now. The video feedback and analogue film manipulation apparently play some role in the music, which may (or may not count) for some of the more deep end bass sound in here. On top of that there is lots of carefully strumming of all those string instruments and Hästköttskandalen easily goes around avoiding strict musical styles. You could certainly find the element of improvisation in here (but in which record not, these days), but also post-rock, psychedelic music and electronic manipulation. There is always something happening in this music, as it is heavily layered with lots and lots of sounds everywhere. String instruments are plucked, scraped, played with objects, fed through electronics and it seems that all of this is done at the same time. The voice is used rather sparsely around here, and when so it’s humming, wordless and weightless in this vast space-amount of music. An excellent record, me thinks, of minimally changing yet massive fields of sound. This is a new name to watch out for and certainly one of those promising bands I’d like to see play live. (FdW)

The RaaskalBOMfukkerZ starts in 2003 and started in a squat in the middle of the Netherlands. The duo exists of Dr. Snoodaard who is responsible for the sounds and Formulator is responsible for the words. In the beginning the music was like rap with long texts with a high poetic value. The duo explored several music boundaries and the influence of Dada was highly present. Their latest release at Toztizok is a 10” with a beautiful handmade cover. The music is has maniacal as always and inspired by free jazz, world music, hip hop and some musique concrete influences. The texts are beautiful poems with some political statements. Side A has four tracks and the last track “Lelylaan” refers to De Kift, a nice melancholic piece of musical poetry. They other are caleidoscopes of sounds, rhythms, words and guttural sounds. Side B is filled with the “Geen tijd” (No time) and is a nice collage of sounds, atmospheres, songs, word art and a nice poem. The album ends with a instrumental track. The RaaskalBOMfukkerZ are growing but they do not forget their background. The music and poetry sounds more adult, but to be honest an adult with a free mind which doesn’t want to confirm to music rules and boundaries. Beautiful album and highly recommended for people with an adventurous heart! (JKH)

The fourth release of Core Shift in 2014 is again a beauty. This ambient project of Mike Kramer from The Netherlands is an ambient project with a lot of intensity. The repeating tones of the music sound easy and laid-back meditation music. But in between other tones and sounds, which are added which makes the ambient music to more worth listen. The listener can choose to which parts of the music he can focus on, so he can makes his own musical journey. There is a nice follow-up between the several tracks, from more dark ambient to more open atmospheres. The beats in some tracks give more power to the music so the listener can move with the flow in the composition. The track ‘Stream of Consciousness’ starts slowly and in silence. Slowly and with a lot of intensity the chords are building a massive sound which circles into your head. The last two tracks remind me to Ambient Works of Aphex Twin, a nice mix of  beautiful pulsating beats, nice string sounds and edited voices in an open atmosphere. This album is a must-have for ambient music lovers, which is based in the nighties. (JKH)

ERIC LUNDE – SHORT BURSTS OF LIGHT (book, 2CDRs, lathe cut 7″ by Torso And Such)
Of course I am very flattered that this little, on going operation called Vital Weekly is apparently something you can mail ‘stuff’ too and that somewhere along the line there is a review of some kind. However, this ‘stuff’ better be music because otherwise we are lost. There are voices out there claiming we can’t do a proper review of music, so how would they feel if we said upfront we are not the people who should review novels, films, video art, art objects, software and poems, even if any of this is produced by musicians. Obviously I read books, mostly on music, but even the odd novel, from time to time. But this 518 page ‘workbook’ by Eric Lunde places me for serious problems. It’s a lot of text to read, and perhaps I may not like novels that much? If I understand correctly this book is about a guy who invented some sort of technology who can copy people and objects and of course this is mis-used by the military concern who paid for this. The story is a bit William Burroughs like, with repeated stories – not exactly the same, but with slight variations. Copies of course that went ‘wrong’, or ‘alter’ the original. Throughout this book, Lunde uses a variety of fonts to tell this story and I am not sure if they connect or not. Maybe because it took me various weeks to get through this, being distracted, as always, by other music, other books and texts to read. All right, I’ll admit, I am more than half way through this novel when writing this, and if you like science fiction in a stranger than usual style – think Burroughs cut-up techniques – then this is surely a book for you.
On the two CDRs we find ‘music’ and ‘readings’ from the book. I am not sure how the music comes from the book, but perhaps this music is meant to be played while reading the book, which seems likely. This is a musical side of Lunde we haven’t heard a lot: it’s quite musical. He uses piano, rhythm machines, melodies and such like, next to his trademark lo-fi noise – copied of a copy of a copy on what could be very cheap machines. Melodic, industrial, quiet, loud, rhythmic. This might easily be one of Lunde’s more varied releases of music, put together on a single release. On the ‘readings’ disc we just get exactly that: Eric Lunde reading parts of his book; sometimes clear cut, but in other pieces there is also background noise. The way Lunde sometimes processes his voice is also part of this, but keep to a minimum; it makes however this CDR is makes sense, and maintains that science fiction character of the novel; like listening to some alien, police radio station. The lathe cut also has a story and Lunde singing a song ‘Copy That’. Massive project? Bigger than that. (FdW)

Maybe this is a glimpse of the future, as far as labels are concerned? That Lunde book, 500+ pages and CDRs and lathe cut record (see elsewhere), or perhaps this 7″ box, filled with two CDRs, 1 DVDr, a lathe cut 7″, a booklet, an envelope with photographs, all in a hand printed box. And of course highly limited to just 45 copies. Maybe the people want a small box of art? Let’s hope so as it deserves to be out there. And maybe this is the reason why Blake Edwards, the man behind Vertonen, but also the CIP label (of which he says there is one more release coming) created a new imprint for this, Ballast? The booklet with text, based on James Joyce’s ‘Finnegans Wake’, must be reviewed by someone who read the original, and that’s not (yet) me: I still haven’t read the original. The photographs look great, but let’s turn to main course: the music and video. The first CDR is ‘Spirals Of Everlisting Chance’, which is dedicated to Robert Turman, and uses two four-speed turntables and six records, and it has that excellent raw noise quality that we remember from Turman’s own work, but also reminds of the earliest steps of Vertonen himself, when he used turntables and sound effects. Throughout these almost forty minutes it skips (pun intended) minimally forward and backward at the same time. Gradually it seems surface noise takes over and all audio information seems to have disappeared. Almost of a similar length is the other CDR which is called ‘Telephone (Hello, Hello)’, dedicated to Aaron Dilloway, which ‘uses a recording of ‘hold’ music captured from a telephone earpiece speaker via microcassette as source, which is looped, layered, and processed’ as it says on the information enclosed. I am not sure how that works, but there is a short looped sound running through this piece, which only minimally gets altered but in doing so goes through lots of stages of processing and can be quite loud but also very soft. It moves through these stages in one gentle flow. From lo-fi distortion to deep end bass rumble; one always recognizes the input – whatever that input is. This work reminds me more of Vertonen later explorations in musique concrete procedures. Excellent piece here.
On DVDR we have four videos by Eric Lunde, ‘combining source material Vertonen provided with his own source material and processing. Source material turntables, opycay device and shortwave radio’. In ‘Prolepsis 1’ the sound is very drone like, almost in an Eliane Radigue like manner, with a very drone like film of moves shades of grey and black. In ‘Prolepsis 2’ this is like moving the camera over a piece of paper, with lines and letters and the soundtrack is very intense: creepy with whispering voices and highly obscured field recordings. ‘Prolepsis 3’ is very short and has vinyl sources, skipping and looping with a glitch video on racecars. This one didn’t do much for me, unlike the ‘Prolepsis 4’, which is the longest video, nearly twenty-six minutes of what seems to be out of focus sunshine through leaves; or crystals melting with a green colouring effect on top. Maybe I am entirely wrong. The soundtrack is more of that lovely drone music, which is, of all the various musical interests Vertonen has, is the one I enjoy best. Deep, intense and evocative, dreaming up these slow moving images.
More Lunde, but only in dedication, is on one side of the 7″. Here Vertonen uses records and spoken word in what seems to me a rather simple piece of skipping records and nothing much else. The other side is dedicated to Jason Zeh and apparently also uses voice, although harder to tell really, as well as sounds from (micro-) cassettes and tape. Here there is an excellent level of tension in the music; almost like something is going to burst and it’s going to burst in a big way. I won’t spoil the fun by saying it does or doesn’t.
If massive packages is the future of small record labels will be releasing boxes like this, I am all for it. (FdW)

IMA & ATTO PLAIN – IMA X ATTO PLAIN (CDR by Edgetone Records)
If I understand correctly this is a meeting of two duos, Ima and Atto Plain. One is Nava Dunkelman on percussion and Jeani-Aprille Tang on electronics, while the same Tang is also a duo with Michael Mersereau on guitar. Ima came from the intention ‘to express our voice through timbre in percussion and electronics’ and the other is a ‘sound project based on filmic intentions and the interaction of the two-dimensional plain’. Meeting is perhaps a bit much said; there is one track by the two duos, the shortest here, and then two pieces by Ima and one by Atto Plain. Easily the best piece here is ‘Eline’ by Ima, in which we find wordless vocals humming about, along with a great set of spacey, wavey, electronics and a likewise mysterious ringing metallic percussion – xylophone maybe but maybe something else entirely? It’s the longest piece here and has an excellent dreamy texture to it. The other piece by Ima is more along the lines of musique concrete; a Japanese (probably?) text and sounds dropping in out. There is some processing on the voice, which makes it not unlike some early Nurse With Wound. The Atto Plain piece is about a stuttering rhythm and spacious, wandering guitar, in a complete pyschedelic space out mode. All of these interest culminate in their two times duo piece (even when that’s the opener of the release): bell like sounds, whispering voices, organ like sounds (the guitar) and deep end electronics, which makes your environment rumble and shake. I wouldn’t have minded if they would have explored their combined talents a bit more. Maybe there is a next time? (FdW)

It’s been since I last heard music from Chefkirk, also known as Roger H. Smith, who, at one point, seemed like a weekly presence in these pages. Maybe it was a rumour, but someone said: he will stop sending you music, when you are positive about it. I must admit, much of his noise releases weren’t that well spent on me and I am sure he didn’t like my writing. Here he teams up with Andrew Quitter, who works, besides his own name, as Lisa’s Trip, Neon Dumpster, Normal Police, Regosphere, Robotnoise, Suburbia Melting, Trunkus, Vestron plus he’s in a whole bunch of bands. The five on ‘Kajiu Manifestations’ were recorded live from soundboard at Slithie Studios in Eugene, Oregon and there is no specification as to who’s doing what around here. Chefkirk, no doubt, is still armed with his no-input mixer, sampler and cassettes and Quitter also has a fine bunch of lo-fi electronic apparatus under his belt. I actually enjoy these pieces. Maybe it’s because these days I am leaning towards a bit of (intelligent?) noise again, or perhaps there is something in here that made me grab my chin and go: ‘yeah, these guys planned this actually quite well’ and came up with an interesting variety on the subject of noise. ‘Plastic Synthesis’ is a raw drone piece, whereas ‘The Hedorah Strut’ is classic noise and chaos. In both ‘Recreation, Multiplication, Expansion’ and ‘Spatial Surface’, the starting point is the same but in the latter worked out in rhythm and noise and in the first pure noise, with some looped sounds. This is all surely quite loud and noise based, but with the variations on offer and the fact that this lasts only thirty-four minutes, one has the idea that this is enough as it is, but also with the idea that an extra track could have added another level of noise. It leaves you craving for a bit more, which is good, I think. (FdW)

TIETOKONEDUOJ&J/LOST SNIVEL (cassette by Hyster Tapes)
Finnish label Hyster Tapes (named are the former forklift company? My dad would have been proud) use recycled tapes for their releases, ‘except when not cassettes’. They sometimes also release vinyl. Here we have two bands/projects I think are new to me. Apparently Tietokoneduo J&J is a duo doing improvisations on laptops. Their piece lasts twenty-nine minutes and starts out in a rhythmic way, maybe a bit Pan Sonic like, but without the massive beats. Maybe a Pan Sonic light? Throughout the twenty-nine minutes they keep feeding this little bit of rhythmic information into all sorts of effects – on their laptop, I assume, but it also sounds these could be analogue sound effects from time to time – slowing them down. The label notes ‘almost touching techno at points’, but that’s not something I heard in this; it’s a word that has been used wrongly I guess. This laptop duet sounds all right, nothing spectacular or earth shattering; just a decent set of improvised electronic music with a bit of minimal rhythm. On the other side we find Lost Snivel, with a fifteen-minute piece of music that sounds recorded live, but maybe is not live at all. It’s a bit of a noise piece, which uses the output signal of a faulty DAT tape it seems, being fed through a bunch of sound effects. This is nothing that goes over the top very much, in terms of noise that is, but it’s nevertheless quite a fine piece of, that word again, decent experimentalism. Both sides are exactly the kind of thing that should be on a cassette release, I think. The cover aesthetics is rather low, but it fits the recycled nature of the tapes I guess. (FdW)


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