CHRISTOPH DELAURENTI

NORN – USOTSUKI (CD by Moving Furniture Records)
ARTIFICIAL MEMORY TRACE – SYNKRONIKA (CD by Noise-below)
CHRISTOPH DELAURENTI – TO THE COOLING TOWER, SATSOP (CD by GD Stereo)
NORBERTO LOBO & JOAO LOBO – OBA LOBA (CD by Shhpuma)
COCLEA (CD by Shhpuma)
HELEN MIRRA & ERNST KAREL – MAPS OF PARALLELS 41ºN AND 49ºN (CD by Shhpuma)
SIMON JAMES PHILLIPS – BLAGE 3 (2CD by Mikroton)
CROPCIRCLE – SOUNDTRACK FOR AN UNQUIET NIGHT (CD by Creative Fields)
AB BAARS TRIO & NY GUESTS – INVISIBLE BLOW (CD by Wig)
AB BAARS TRIO – STATE BLUE (CD by Wig)
SPANISH DONKEY – RAOUL (CD by Rarenoise Records)
MERZBOW & MATS GUSTAFSSON & THURSTON MOORE & BALASZ PANDI – CUTS OF GUILT, CUTS DEEPER (2CD by Rarenoise Records)
CHARLEMAGNE PALESTINE – SSINGGGG SSCHLLLINGG SSHPPPINGG (CD by Idiosyncratics)
ROGELIO SOSA – DATURAS (LP by Bocian Records)
FRED LONBERG-HOLM & PAAL NILSSEN-LOVE – YOU CAN BE MINE (LP by Bocian Records)
NILSSEN-LOVE & ZENICOLA & MANSO & LACERDA – BOTA FOGO (LP by Bocian Records)
BENE GESSERIT – THE RECORD STORE DAY EP (7″ by EE Records)
SIMON CRAB – AFTER AMERICA (CDR by Fathom Records)
REANTIMATION – UNDER THE LAST TREE ON EARTH (CDR, private)
STEREOCILIA – SLOW MOTION (cassette by Echoic Memory)
ICE YACHT – POLE OF COLD (cassette by Fragment Factory)
DAVE PHILLIPS & CHRS GALARERETA – THE INVISIBLE CAGE OF COMFORT (cassette by Fragment Factory)

Vital Weekly #981 by Vitalweekly on Mixcloud

tracklist for Vital Weekly 981:

0000 Tune
0014 Simon Crab – Kropotkin
0315 Norn – Maanmeer (Bewogen)
0615 Coclea – Desire
0923 Norbert Lobo & Joao Lobo – Olarias
1230 Artificial Memory Trace
1535 Christopher Delaurenti – To The Cooling Tower, Satsop
1841 Helen Mirra & Ernst Karel – Maps Of Parallels 41ºN And 49º
2148 Charlemagne Palestine
2457 Simon James Phillips – Blage 3
2809 Tune

NORN – USOTSUKI (CD by Moving Furniture Records)
To follow lasts week discourse about small labels running that extra mile to make something special (see the review of Eric Lunde’s 500+ page book with musical objects and Vertonen’s package with a smaller book, music and films), here is a likewise small art object, albeit of a somewhat smaller scale. This is a lovely 7″ sized book with drawings by the also lovely Astrid Florentinus, depicting in black and white the depths of the sea, caves and mountains. Printed by Knust (related to Extrapool), hand bound (although not many pages) and the whole package is limited to 100 copies, but it’s copied on a real CD, not a CDR; a truly fine little art object. The music here is all by Norn, which might be something you never heard of, but it’s one of the many musical acitvities of Peter Johan Nijland. Perhaps he’s best known as Distel, the angst pop (?) electronic duo, but does so much more, such as Hadewich and Syntax Pony. I believe Norn is something that he operates on his own and sadly this album is only twenty-six minutes. You get sucked into the far deep with ‘Droom Van Het Zinken Naar Het Holst Van Een Maanloze Diepte’ and you end with ‘Tryst’. There is no use of rhythm here, like he does with Distel, but there is plenty of mood and atmospheres here. Lots of that is created with synthesizers, but there is also quite some piano here, as well as (maybe?) a bit of rhythm, but that remains very slow and very solemnly. This could be the music for a phantasy movie with lots of dreamlike sequences. Nijland’s music here is quite melodic also; unlike many of his peers his drone music is not of the abstract variety, but in these synthesizer washes he waves small melodies, which make this highly accessible music. Nijland sometimes writes music for television programmes and if you hear this, you know why: he knows how to paint a fine mood with minimal means. ‘Balor’ is the only piece here with spoken word, a poem by Pete Simonelli. You could think this would break the somewhat cerebral atmosphere of the music, but it actually works very well. Whatever this poem is about, whether or not any of these pieces are tied into some sort of overall story, it all fits together very well. Everything, from music to package, is in varying shades of grey. This is an excellent, albeit way too short of an album. (FdW)
Address: https://movingfurniturerecords.bandcamp.com/album/usotsuki

ARTIFICIAL MEMORY TRACE – SYNKRONIKA (CD by Noise-below)
Slavek Kwi is a very active composer, who keeps working as Artificial Memory Trace, and what I recently noted (for the first time, really), was that all of his releases are very long: they are always over an hour, and surely, in some cases, fill up the entire length of a CD, eighty minutes. In this new work he uses field recordings made in Soutrh Africa, Brazilian Amazon, Basque Country and Eire. I believe these are territories he explored before, in other recent releases, but maybe one could say that Kwi recycles his sounds all the time, and puts them together in new configurations. It’s what he says through the label: “Exploring abstract textural and aural potential of animal voices and environmental sounds on various surfaces of time and scale. Metamorphoses.” Lots of animal voices indeed and Kwi layers them together in a very interesting way. I would like to say ‘a highly surprising way’, but that’s not the case. If you have been following his career for some time, like me, then you will notice that Kwi follows his own path, but doesn’t diversify very much. This is what he does and he does that very, very well. He’s a master in finding the right sounds that fit each other very well. Some deep end rumble, maybe a nocturnal hum, slowly fading into some mid- to high-range insect sounds. The second piece (no track titles here) starts out with what seems to be a very particular nasty low-end sound but end on a high note – also in volume. Everything flows into each other, so one could say this is one piece in six different parts. It’s hard to say if Kwi added any sort of computer treatments to this, but somehow I don’t think. What seems to be a computer is probably nothing more than the occasional dense layering of sounds. Not a big surprise, but a further exploring of his fine art in crafting music with field recordings, and making it sound more than just some field recordings. (FdW)
Address: http://www.noise-below.org

CHRISTOPH DELAURENTI – TO THE COOLING TOWER, SATSOP (CD by GD Stereo)
Geoff Dugan of GD Stereo is a man who loves his physical releases, and finds that each format has it’s own merits. It also has to do with how you organise the playback of the physical object in a real space. That can be your living room, but also outside in a field or another space. And spaces are another firm interest of Dugan, and this new work by Christopher DeLaurenti is the second in the ‘Improvisational Architecture series’. DeLaurenti is a member of the Seattle Phonographers Union and has been around for quite some time. He hails from Seattle and it’s over there where we find the unfinished nuclear plant at Satsop, started in 1972 and the construction stopped in 1982. It was closed for some time but now is a business park. There are also tunnels and towers and they are ‘sonic wonders’ as DeLaurenti writes on the cover. In the forty-four minutes his piece lasts he walks through these towers and tunnels, and we hear sounds far away and very close by. Everything seems to resonate from afar, and it’s hard to say what that is. Cars passing? Is that wind blowing down these tunnels? Or whatever Delaurenti is doing resonating in this cavernous space? There is water sounds nearby, like pools he’s stepping in, or running down the cracks of the tunnel, and there is the hollow sound of what seems objects falling. I am not sure if this is man-made action, or if Delaurenti is trying very silently to captured the nature of this space. There is a fine build-up in this piece, which works very well. No doubt an untreated recording – or perhaps with some excellent fades throughout more source material, but otherwise an untreated sound recording. A fascinating trip for Delaurenti, no doubt there, but it’s also, as an outsider, a listener, an excellent piece of music. Very spacious, in the most literal sense of the word. A nice letterpress package finishes of this great release. Take it outside and do a playback in an empty hall. (FdW)
Address: http://gdstereo.com

NORBERTO LOBO & JOAO LOBO – OBA LOBA (CD by Shhpuma)
COCLEA (CD by Shhpuma)
HELEN MIRRA & ERNST KAREL – MAPS OF PARALLELS 41ºN AND 49ºN (CD by Shhpuma)
One of the perks of writing about new music that there is apparently an endless stream of, indeed, new music, new musicians and new labels. Here’s three releases from a label from Portugal called Shhpuma, ‘powered by Clean Feed Records’, “aimed at promoting and celebrating an unparalleled creative and richly heterogeneous moment in the country’s musical history”, and, as far as I understood, this is an off-shoot of the more jazz oriented Clean Feed. The first release is the one that seems to me the one that is most jazz like. It’s ‘Oba Loba’, which is the work of Lobo Norberto (acoustic and electric guitars, fender rhodes, electric bass, monotron, vocals) and Lobo João (drums, harp, vocals) who enlisted the help of Giovanni Di Domenico, Jordi Grognard, Niels van Heertum, Lynn Cassiers, Ananta Roosens, Daniele Martini and Gregoire Tirtiaux on windinstruments  mostly, but some also on piano and vocals. I’d say the most jazz-like of this trio of releases but it’s more than that, I think. Just a easily one could say this is folk or pop like – mostly freak folk and weird pop. The jazz-element is always there too, even in a free form of noisy measures (as in ‘Aaaaaa’) so it moves all over the place. Mostly moody and atmospheric but, as said, sometimes it stings out like a bee. It’s something I played with some interest, even a couple of times before getting a bit of grip on it, but I must admit overall this seemed to far away from the Vital world. Maybe the jazz is too regular, too polite and freak-folk also just very decent, without a sharp edge? That could be the intention of all of this, but it would be too sweet for my taste. It’s not bad at all, but it’s not really something I dig.
Behind Coclea is one Guilherme Gonçalves, of whom I never heard before and he was a member of Gala Drop, and in some alliance with Six Organs Of Admittance and Comets On Fire. He plays guitar and those damn loop stations. In ‘Scorpio’s Theme’ is this very clear and very simple. A chord gets stuck in a loop and Coclea improvises on top with an e-bow and some extra picking. To call this, as the label does, the “characteristics of the kosmische musik played by Manuel Gottsching (Ash Ra Tempel, Ashra) and Edgar Froese (Tangerine Dream)”, is a bit far; a simple repeating loop is not yet the a fine repeating arpeggio. In other pieces there is surely an influence of The Durutti Column (also noted by the label; I made the same note on my piece of paper), with those fine melancholic chords.  But unlike ‘The Return Of Durutti Column’ or ‘LC’, Durutti Column albums I like very much, I find the music of Coclea a bit too easy, a bit too simple, although, when he sings he sounds a bit better than the mumbling Vini Reilly. He has six songs, thirty-one minutes, which seems a bit short also; tracks cross fade into each other and one could wonder why that is. Just finish them and start anew, I’d say. It’s a fine melancholic guitar record; nothing more but certainly also nothing less.
The final release is something different all together. I must admit I didn’t understand the cover text very much, but here’s a bit from the website explaining the conceptual nature of this piece: “a map of the latitudes delineating the geographical area where the European – North American history of deforestation and reforestation has played out”, but instead of using field recordings, land is represented by guitar, railroad by a 16mm film rewind crank, deep water by a bass, wind by analog noise generator and filters and rivers by silence. This music is created, I guess, by Helen Mirra and Ernst Karel and lasts exactly one hour. It’s almost an ambient piece, moving very slowly forward and one think, knowing what these instruments stand for, one is on a trip over land and sea (places are listed on the inside cover), but one could what I did: just sit back and listen to all of this, quietly, peacefully. A map dictates the composition and where these things are located one can also try and imagine while hearing this. Or one could try not to imagine anything and enjoy the music. The logic of the composition comes from non-musical elements and may add a slightly random element to the music, but everything is played out here in a very spacious way, with some very minimal changes throughout. It’s a piece of music that works very well; simple but evocative and definitely a bit weird occasionally. Sit back and trip away. (FdW)
Address: http://www.shhpuma.com

SIMON JAMES PHILLIPS – BLAGE 3 (2CD by Mikroton)
Always on the careful side, but the name Simon James Phillips popped up once before in Vital Weekly, when we reviewed the LP by The Swifter in Vital Weekly 868.  That was a trio with him on piano, Andre Belfi on drums and BJ Nilsen on electronics. The latter is still part of this new work by Phillips, who seems now the leader of a bigger ensemble, which also includes Tony Buck on drums, Werner Dafeldecker (double bass), Liz Allbee (trumpet) and Arthur Rother (guitar). This double CD is the result of a five-hour long improvisation session in a large dance studio. They began with playing before the audience arrived, which was free to come and go. Much like the LP by The Swifter I am here reminded of the new jazz from Australia (well, by now, perhaps not so new any more, but it still smells great). Spacious improvisations with lots of room, no doubt because of the big space this was recorded in (and with a microphone set-up in the middle capturing both the proceedings as well as the space this was recorded in). Most of the time it’s all wide apart but in the second half of the second disc it is also more menacing and closed off. This was quite some amount of music, I thought, one hundred minutes, but then I read one could get more of this on the download side of this release, and maybe one should not be reviewing this, but rather undergoing this as a lengthy sound experience. (FdW)
Address: http://mikroton.net 

CROPCIRCLE – SOUNDTRACK FOR AN UNQUIET NIGHT  (CD by Creative Fields)
Cropcircle is the project by someone called Cecco. Inspired by Coil Italian artist Cecco started this project around 2004 searching to combine ambient with experimental electronic music. So far this resulted in five cds and many contributions on compilations. All released on his own label Creative Fields Records. This new release features vocals by Daniela Bedeski and Stefania Domiziana V. All instruments are by Cecco. He is a builder of ambient structures, dark and meditative, but not very significant. Most to be enjoyed are the vocals by both ladies, who have far more to offer than the boring instrumental textures by Cecco. (DM)
Address: http://www.creativefields.net/index.htm

AB BAARS TRIO & NY GUESTS – INVISIBLE BLOW (CD by Wig)
AB BAARS TRIO – STATE BLUE (CD by Wig)
Two new releases from the Ab Baars Trio, a trio that is around since 1990, as an unit of three experienced Dutch improvisers Martin van Duynhoven (drums) and Wilbert de Joode (bass) and Ab Baars himself (tenor sax, clarinet, shakuhachi). On ‘Invisible Blow’ they are assisted by Vincent Chancey (French horn) and Fay Victor (voice), plus Anneke Brassinga. The title is an expression used in boxing sport and speaks for itself.  For these new compositions Baars took inspiration from texts and poems by writers like Charles Bukowski, Seamus Heaney  and Anneke Brassinga, who reads one of her poems on this cd. The players all have a fine tone, and interact very musically and inspired.  No matter the music plays with humour, or moves along in highly abstract and cerebral regions. Truly full-grown music with an essence and soul. No doubt this also the case for ‘state Blue’, a recording that was made about 18 months earlier. For this project Baars was inspired by the music of French composer Olivier Messiaen.  Again a beautiful record coming from a crystal clear vision. The music is less jazzy than ‘Invisible Blow’. This time the music is more near to modern music, with eastern touches every now and then. The music is very stripped and to the point, and may sound therefore rigorous and austere.  But their music is also very concentrared and to the point. Every musical gesture, how small it is, has content and spirit. Warm and essential music. (DM)
Address: http://www.stichtingwig.com

SPANISH DONKEY – RAOUL (CD by Rarenoise Records)
MERZBOW & MATS GUSTAFSSON & THURSTON MOORE & BALASZ PANDI – CUTS OF GUILT, CUTS DEEPER (2CD by Rarenoise Records)
Spanish Donkey is a powertrio by Joe Morris (guitars), Jamie Saft ( organs, synthesizers, exhoplex piano) and Mike Pride (drums). Four years after their first statement, ‘XYZ’ on Northern Spy Records, ‘Raoul’ is the second eruption of this volcano. They deal in extended, noisy improvisations from a fusion-jazz background. The title track keeps you for more then 30 minutes from the street. ‘Behavorial Sink’and ‘Dragon Fly Jones’ last some 22 and 16 minutes. Morris uses a lot of distortion, wah wah and assorted effects. Stretched out, endless improvising, is their thing. But for me it was above all endlessly boring. And that’s  strange. Morris is a reputed guitarist and improviser, and so are the others. The sound is heavy and powerful, and impresses on first hearing. But also after a seconds try, I couldn’t discover what makes this release worthwhile. Hopefully I can be more positive on that other release by Rare Noise, a double cd by Merzbow (noise electronics), Mats Gutafsson (saxophone and g clarinet), Thurston Moore  (guitars) and Balazs Pandi (drums). Again we have to deal with a combo with a love for extended, noisy improvisations. This time even a double cd, containing four works. To start with the players, they don’t need  further introduction, except for maybe Hungarian musician Balasz Pandi. Pandi drums with Merzbow since 2009. Accompanied by Gustafsson they released ‘Cuts’ in 2013 for Rare Noise Records. For their new blow they invited Thurston Moore as a fourth participator, which works out as a very good choice. Together they produce some excellent hardcore noise improvisations that really work and do tell a story. Everything is drenched in the white noise by Merzbow, drummer Pandi is omnipresent and delivering a solid fundament. Moore excels in on the edge playing, and also Gustafsson  is in shape with his boiling contributions. Excellent work by all four. Thundering and distorted improvisations as is the case with Spanish Donkey. But where they fail this quartet succeeds in keeping the attention throughout their lengthy excursions through their intense and communicated interplay. (DM)
Address: http://www.rarenoiserecords.com

CHARLEMAGNE PALESTINE – SSINGGGG SSCHLLLINGG SSHPPPINGG (CD by Idiosyncratics)
There was a time when I saw and heard a lot of Charlemagne Palestine, the once enfant terrible of the minimal music scene out of New York. Not in more recent years although his two Barooni CDs are regularly to be found in my CD player. His performances have something of a legendary status, with piano strumming, keyboards of the cheaper variety, spoken word and singing. His new work starts out with singing – perhaps nothing odd with such a title. It seems as if Palestine invocates spirits like a shaman and then the music starts. His keyboards (maybe of the more expensive variety these days; like said, I haven’t encountered him in quite some time) start coming up, more and more and over the course of the next thirty minutes, everything grows in intensity. There is some drum being banging here, more and more voices come in, the drone is still here and forms the backdrop for everything, bird sounds, screaming, and Palestine’s voice is in there still shamaning away. It’s very chaotic, like some random events put together in a digital environment and mixed together, which sounded alright for quite some time, but seems to be losing control in the second half, and it becomes too muddy, too much a mass of sound, which cuts out suddenly and then there is a weird soft vocal piece left. A bit like you find in toys, maybe of the kind you find on the cover. This is certainly not the best Palestine record, but it’s a nice one; not his worst either. Certainly a personal one and one that reflects perhaps his live concerts pretty well. (FdW)
Address: http://idiosyncratics.limitedrun.com

ROGELIO SOSA – DATURAS (LP by Bocian Records)
FRED LONBERG-HOLM & PAAL NILSSEN-LOVE – YOU CAN BE MINE (LP by Bocian Records)
NILSSEN-LOVE & ZENICOLA & MANSO & LACERDA – BOTA FOGO (LP by Bocian Records)
The Bocian Records label was nearly gone late last year but seeing three new releases in one row might proof it’s very much alive this year. It’s never easy to choose where to start but today I was going for the name I never heard of, being Rogelio Sosa. He’s a guitarist from Mexico who studied computer music in Paris and is now back in Mexico. Besides playing music he curates music festivals. He has had a CD on Sub Rosa. Of his music he says it ‘explores a wide range of aspects that deal with sound morphology, structures of auditory reference, and performativity, questioning at the same time the contemporary notions of “noise” and “music”’ and listening to the six pieces I can see that. His guitar playing is transformed on the spot, using computer technology, but that doesn’t necessarily lead to highly refined, warm, laptop doodling. Everything here is quite loud and severely distorted but at the same time not without melody, such as the longest piece here ‘Caliz Del Infierno’ proofs, with it’s organ like sound and continuous rhythm. Below, above and beyond there is the distorted guitar, sparkling, buzzing and sawing. It’s the best piece of the record along with the more moody ‘Ultima Invocacion’. The opening piece ‘Descenso’ is more along the lines of classical power drone music, with an electric guitar being on fire. ‘Caida Libre’ and ‘Diablero’ are more traditional noise pieces and ‘Visiones’ is the most regularly improvised piece, even with those nasty over tones. The improvisational powers of Sosa didn’t deliver any easy record, not even an easy noise record, as Sosa moves through various highs and lows of the noise world. Quite a tour de force, this record, but one I enjoyed very much.
The other two new releases have the drums of Paal Nilssen-Love, who seems either way quite a constant presence on the releases of Bocian Records. The first record is duo with Fred Lonberg-Holm, the renowned cellist from Chicago, who also takes credit for the use of electronics. August 31st 2012 saw them playing at the Rattlesnake Studio in Chicago, and the result is four pieces of quite some heavy improvisation. In ‘The Pleasure Principle’ this is almost in a noise rock sense, with the two of them banging and scraping as loud as possible. That sets the tone for the other pieces, but with small variations. ‘Control’ exerts just that: control, but in the title piece everything is quite furious again, but none of this leap into true distortion land. Sure, Lonberg-Holm’s electronics make it all nasty and scratchy but it’s never a long howl of a distortion pedal going through the floor. Both cello and drums remain recognizable, but both are played with an immense amount of power; with the intensity of controlled and uncontrolled bursts of energy. I can imagine these two players were exhausted by the end of the session. Powerful improvised music, which one needs to hear at a high volume, so that it feels they play right in your living room.
The other record is pressed on deep purple vinyl and recorded in Brazil last year. Maybe I can assume Nilssen-Love is world traveller and takes every opportunity to play his music. I assume his fellow players are from Brazil? They are Eduardo Manso (guitar), Arthur Lacerda (guitar and electronics) and Felipe Zenicola (electric bass) and Nilssen-Love on drums and percussion. The recording is from a concert, which is something one can hear. I must admit, from a recording standpoint, and playing this right after the previous Nilssen-Love album, this is the lesser one. Not bad, but this one seems to some power, occasionally. The music is full of furious elements too, but this quartet works it out quite differently. This more like a band playing music of the more heavy variety with improvised elements thrown in, but at the same time Nilssen-Love keeps, from time-to-time, a steady beat, such as with the opening of ‘Fogo’, which fills up the entire B-side here (and ‘Bota’ the entire A-side; there’s the title of the record explained). It’s almost like an off-beat post-punk band playing a Velvet Underground for the entire side. It slowly changes and changes until it has morphed into something else entirely. On ‘Bota’ the tempo is higher and that makes it all together a bit more chaotic, certainly in the first half of the piece. It seems to be moving to something a bit slower, but also a bit more straightforward stomping. All of this made a fine impression on me; it sounded like a band that rehearsed a bit, but also a band which leaves it’s members free to break away from the standard riff and do something else, off limit and off guard. For Bocian Records this is perhaps the rockiest record so far. Nice one! (FdW)
Address: http://www.bocianrecords.com

BENE GESSERIT – THE RECORD STORE DAY EP (7″ by EE Records)
No matter how much I love my father, mother and records, I don’t like fathers’ day, mothers’ day and record store day: they are all out there to sell you something. I know Record Store Day came from the world of independents, but of course is nothing more than to sell you another Jack White 180 gram vinyl pressing direct metal mastering limited edition 10.000 copies 7″ single in picture sleeve with a song you already had, but hey: vinyl sells. How many people rushed out thinking: fucking hell, my favourite record label for weirder electronic pop songs just released a seven track 7″/15 minutes by a mainstay in that same scene, Bene Gesserit? I would hope enough to sell all 300 copies at once, but let me doubt that. Perhaps, a good thing, so one of these landed on my desk to review. Bene Gesserit, along with Human Flesh and Pseudo Code is one of those many groups by Alain Neffe and Nadine Bal, or Benedict G and B. Ghola as they are called here. Six of the seven were previously unreleased, while the seventh was released in the 80s on a cassette compilation (hands up if you have that one. Ah, no hands shown). All of these pieces were recorded in the mid to late 80s and show Bene Gesserit at their best: funny as in ‘An Insane Rabbit’, brief and to the point in ‘Les Moustiques’ and melancholic in ‘Les Bijoux’. Bal’s voice bends like elastic and Neffe’s synthesizers are poppy and light, but also spacious and full of well-crafted melodies. Bene Gesserit is their most poppy outing but also has links to the cabaret/music hall tradition but in a very dada way. Did you really spend money on more Bob Dylan Metallica or what have you on vinyl and you really believed you did something worthwhile commemorating vinyl? Any day of the year is suitable for buying records, so if those people who really didn’t need any more financial support from you didn’t rob you of your money and you have something left, then go for this beauty. This is a band worthy of investing all your money in plus you support real underground. Another excellent release from this label, which deal with great electronic pop songs on a wonderful format. (FdW)
Address: http://www.eetapes.be

SIMON CRAB – AFTER AMERICA (CDR by Fathom Records)
The name Simon Crab might not mean much to the average listener, as such, but since the early 80s – 1983 to be precise – he was the front man of Bourbonese Qualk, right up to 2002 when the group split up, following the death of Miles Miles, the guitarist. I always liked Bourbonese Qualk, and mainly for their sheer diversity. You’d never had the idea what they would be up to next. In the early days a song with industrial rhythms could sit right next to a lovely guitar tune. Later on the dabbled in harsh dance music and some excellent electronic music towards the end. Go to http://bourbonesequalk.net/ if you want to hear all of their output, for free, as a political context (read: as in left wing) for their music was never far away. After stopping Bourbonese Qualk, Crab worked as a designer and blogged a bit his own musical past and memories about musicians he worked with. Now he’s back with a new solo CDR in a great digipack cover, of which the design reminded me of the time in 1986 when I saw Bourbonese Qualk play live behind a backdrop of their own wallpaper, which I thought looked impressive. That same sort of pattern is now on this digipack. Much like the late Bourbonese Qualk, in the nineteen pieces here, Crab moves all over the musical place, which is a great thing. It’s almost like one has tuned into an alternative radio station here. Moody, jazz saxophone, minimal rhythm, voices from all around the world, ambient, ethnic percussion and downright experimentalism. It shifts back and forth, up and down, and yet it makes a beautiful unified album. All of this is instrumental, and while the cover has no information at all, from the website I learned he uses horn, wind, drum kits, acoustic and electric guitar with the help of Dave Smith (drums), Kenji Siratori (voice) and former Henry Cow flute player Geoff Leigh. No doubt there is also a lot of electronics involved, hardware, software  and what have you. All of this is highly melodic, down to earth; nothing very abstract, but simply some great music and it makes a great album. It’s not easy not to think of Bourbonese Qualk when hearing this, as there seem to be quite a few parallels between that band and this solo album. The sheer diversity, the overall quality and the excellent performance. If Bourbonese Qualk was always your band, or if you just found out about them through all this free music on their website, then why not continue finding out about Simon Crab? (FdW)
Address: http://www.simoncrab.com/

REANTIMATION – UNDER THE LAST TREE ON EARTH (CDR, private)
Late last year I was seen in the company of Steven Wilson, in his guise as Bass Communion. I think I reviewed some of his music as such in the past. We talked about lots of things, and that included his day-job as a prog-rock musician. I once jokingly said I didn’t know so many notes existed (after seeing Wilson and band live) and Wilson believes that I don’t like his prog-rock. That is not true, but not every lengthy guitar/bass/drum/keyboard solo is well spent on me. I do like the odd Yes record, all of Earth & Fire, most of Kayak and the very first band I ever saw live was UK, so there you go (or not, if this is all a riddle for you). Having said all of that: it’s all private interest and not something I would pretend to know anything about; at all. So I hope this CD by Reanimation was send my way because of any linkage some may believe to be there between me and Wilson, but I really think Vital Weekly is not the place to discuss ‘rock-psychedelic, experimental, progressive and alternative’, as the taglines are for this CD. Reanimation is the band of Michael Shanahan. I listened with the same interest as I listen to Wilson’s music, Porcupine Tree and such like, and think that these people are excellent, gifted musicians who craft some fine, lengthy (although nothing over ten minutes here); and some of this is Velvet Underground like, kraut rock or drone like, the majority of this music is just nothing for Vital Weekly. (FdW)
Address: http://www.reanimationtheband.com

STEREOCILIA – SLOW MOTION (cassette by Echoic Memory)
John Scott, the man behind Stereocilia, continues to release music. His previous release, ‘Growing’ was reviewed in Vital Weekly 949 and now there is this cassette release, which has thirty-two minutes of new music, which he recorded over a period of two weekends in January of this year. Apparently the pieces on the A-side were composed before recording them while the longer B-side is the result of a live-in-studio improvisation. Again it’s Scott, his guitar and loop devices around here, which form waving patterns of sound. I must admit that the long B-side was a bit more ambient, and more spun apart, but throughout didn’t sound that different from the A-side. All of this could have been the result of careful planning or lots of improvisation. Like much of what I heard from Stereocilia before I think it’s nicely constructed, it sounds sweet, melodic, introvert and doesn’t offend or shock the listener, and surely that is not the intention of Scott either. Pleasantly relaxing music. He could do another bunch of this, but maybe it’s time to re-think this and see whatever else is possible with a guitar, effects and stations. (FdW)
Address: https://stereocilia.bandcamp.com/album/slow-motion

ICE YACHT – POLE OF COLD (cassette by Fragment Factory)
DAVE PHILLIPS & CHRS GALARERETA – THE INVISIBLE CAGE OF COMFORT (cassette by Fragment Factory)
Of these two, initially the name Ice Yacht didn’t mean much to me, but the fine print says ‘A Snatch Tapes recording for Fragment Factory, Produced by Philip Sanderson’. He’s the man behind Storm Bugs, a duo him and Steven Ball, active in 1980 releasing a bunch of cassettes and records, all with an interesting mixture of ‘songs’ and audio collages. As Ice Yacht, Sanderson released one song on a compilation cassette on his own Snatch Tapes back in 1981, which I don’t know. On the Snatch Tapes website one can find this rumour: “Rumour had it that Ice Yacht had embarked on an ill-fated trip to the North Pole attempting to retrace a journey made by the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen in 1888. This story was given credence when last year a research group uncovered a cassette tape in a vacuum-sealed case in the permafrost. The tape was marked simply Ice Yacht – Pole of Cold. ” Bullshit, no doubt, but who doesn’t like a fine story? Let’s more safely assume Sanderson wanted to resurrect an obscure side project from the past and do more pieces alike that. I don’t think this was all recorded back then. The seven songs are a curious mixture of ancient tape-loops of rhythmic pieces, synthesizers from the world of cosmic music and electroacoustic rumbling. Throw in a bit of sound effects and these are most pleasantly entertaining pieces of music. There is a certain crudeness in these pieces, which makes it all a bit more industrial than cosmic I guess, and that is mostly thanks to the buzzing of those analogue synthesizers and maybe the fact that this was captured onto real magnetic tape – even in these days obviously something that people do (in fact: take lots of pride in). I thought this was all a very entertaining release. I hope there is more where that came from.
One side of the next tape is a live recording from Basel, Switzerland of May last year by Dave Phillips and Chrs Galarreta, while on the B-side they each have a piece together, taking their solo concerts from that night as source material. It’s interesting to note that both sides are very much a like. The live recording on the A-side has more sound information it seems, with deep end drones and Phillips’ voice and other electronics. I expected this to be noisier I guess than it was, as this was all rather subdued and quiet, it seems. Maybe the volume wasn’t up too much here? It made an excellent impression. On the B-side these sounds were also present, but it seemed more torn apart, separated from each other, but also more poignant and working on extremer sound levels, with deep end drones and piercing feedback manipulations. Maybe all of this was a bit too brief for my taste. I wish this was all a bit longer and perhaps it would have been even more powerful than it is now. Yet it is an excellent powerful release as it is. (FdW)
Address: http://store.fragmentfactory.com/

http://www.vitalweekly.net

modisti

About: modisti

Experimental Music and sound art Archive. If you want to propose some work for the file you have to register as a user

Categories: Publications