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Vital Weekly 710


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AMP2 + TIM HODGKINSON – HUMS (CD by Bowindo Recordings) *
FRANZ FJODOR – GLORIOUS DAYS (CD by Vatican Analog) *
KASHATRIY – SLEPOK SOZNANIYA (CDR by Zhelezobeton/Muzyka Voln) *
I.M.M.U.R.E. – THE NEW CIRCLE (CDR by Zhelezobeton) *
SISTER LOOLOMIE – SIGNALS (CDR by Zhelezobeton) *
TIM BRADY – MY 20TH CENTURY (CD * DVD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
A SPIRALE – AGASPASTIK (CD by Fratto9 Under The Sky/Deserted Factory)
LENE GRENAGER – AFFINIS SUITE (CD by +3DB)
R.S.GIERTSEN – GRAINS (CD by +3DB)
CREMASTER – NORANTA GRAUS A L’ESQUARRA (CD by Monotype Records)
WINTERS IN OSAKA – MOLDED TO CRAWL  (CD by Haunted Hotel Records)
SECRET BOYFRIEND – BROKEN BLEEDING EARTH (CDR by Hot Releases)
LEIF ELGGREN – DEATH TRAVELS BACKWARDS (DVD by Errant Bodies Records)
VIDNA OBMANA – 1984-1986 [TESTAMENT OF TAPE] (3LP by Vinyl On Demand)
O.R.D.U.C. – 107 (LP by Motok)
JAMES FELLA/TIMELOAD FOWL (LP by Gilgongo Records)
ASTRAL SOCIAL CLUB/GLOCKENSPIEL (7″ by Krayon Recordings)
FRANK ROTHKAMM – ZAHRA FUGUES (CDR by Flux Records) *
MAURIZIO BIANCHI & MAOR APPELBAUM – NEUROTRANSMITTERS (CDR by R.O.N.F. Records) *
HEARTS OF PALM – EARTH HEADED HEART (CDR by Fater Disks) *
NICOLASH – NICOLAGE (CDR by Fater Disks) *
BJERGA/IVERSEN – INTERSECTING PARALLEL LINES (2CDR by Striate Cortex) *
NILS ROSTAD – RECORDED WITH A MIC STANDING ON A TABLE (CDR by Striate Cortex) *
FAT LEGS – LAMENTATIONS (CDR by A Mastro Titta Produzioni)
ECOMORTI- INTERFEARANCE   (CDR by A Maestro Titta Produzioni)
CHARLIE MCALISTER & ERIC OSTROWSKI – THE YEAR OF SUSPENDED SAP: ANOTHER LOOK AT THE PORTIONS THE WORLD FORGOT (CDR by Friends & Relatives Records)
(D)(B)(H) – WHY A PREACHER AND NOT A PRIEST (CDR by Friends & Relatives Records)
(D)(B)(H) & CRUDE HILL- A SHREDDED LEAF DOESN’T BLOW  (CDR by Friends & Relatives Records)
EYE OF VISION (CDR by Friends & Relatives Records)
MATT SHUFF – O PHANTOM OF THE OVERHEATED BRAIN (CDR by Friends & Relatives Records)
HACKLES – INTERIORS (2CDR by Friends & Relatives Records)
BREAKWAY – GET DOWN (CDR by Friends & Relatives Records) *
COLLEEN DONALDSON – OH I FEEL SO SORRY FOR YOU YOU HAVE TO GET UP (cassette by Friends & Relatives Records)
TOY BIZARRE – KDI DCTB 216 [DATA #6] (3″CDR by Kaon) *
BENJAMIN NELSON (cassette by Semata Productions)
ZERFALLT – TO KNOW THE LOVE OF YOUNG WITCHES (cassette by Semata Productions)
PERISPIRIT – CYNICAL OVERLAPS (cassette by Semata Productions)
EHNAHRE – PIPELINE (cassette by Semata Productions)
SFHHH — SELF-TITLED (cassette by Skrot Up)
HUMAN ADULT BAND — LA-DEE-FRICKIN-DA (cassette by Abandon Ship Records)



tracklist for Vital Weekly 710:

0000 Tune
0014 Franz Fjodor – Glorious Days
0312 Frank Rothkamm – Zahra Fugue 16 “Gott Erhalte Franz den Kaiser”
0559 AMP2 + Tim Hodgkinson – Rolling
0900 Breakway – Refracture
1158 I.M.M.U.R.E. – Once
1457 MB & Maor Appelbaum – Neurotransmitters
1758 Nicolash – Nicolage
2056 Sister Loolomie – Prelude And Part About Pink Dream
2357 Kshatriy – Lights
2556 Bjerga/Iversen
2954 Toy Bizarre – kdi dctb 216 [Data #6] 3256 Nils Rostad
3558 Hearts Of Palm – Earth Headed Heart
3905 Tune

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AMP2 + TIM HODGKINSON – HUMS (CD by Bowindo Recordings)
By the time, as a youngster, when I discovered new music, Henry Cow was a well established name. Dolf Mulder – our long friend of all things improvised – must have played me Henry Cow, the Art Bears, the Work and Fred Frith, but I never got out to get it myself. Maybe it was a bit too much for a young student with hardly any money. So I missed out much of Tim Hodgkinson’s career, although I believe he has strong ties to Italian’s finest experimental musicians. He has a CD with Martusciello, if I am not mistaken. Here he teams with a group called AMP2, which stands for Advanced Music and Mixed Media Pool Palermo, of which the core unit (there is more then!) consists of Dario Sanfilippo (laptop, live electronics), Marco Pianges (laptop), Antonino Secchio (percussion), Gandolfo Pagano (prepared guitar) and Domenico Scianjo (laptop, live electronics). Hodgkinson plays lapsteel guitar, electronics and clarinet. During a two day session in Palermo in April 2009, they recorded the pieces on
this album. No doubt they recorded long sessions of all of them improvising together which was later on edited together, or rather separated into seven pieces. Unlike the improvisation of Hearts Of Palm reviewed elsewhere, this is the sort of improvisation where people actually listen to what the others are doing and try and find an appropriate response to it. A very dense layered work this is. The laptop/electronic part play the leading part in forming this mass of sound, and on top there are bits of the ‘real’ instruments scattered around, trying to find a place of their own, so it seems. Highly improvised, with lots of bleeps and blobs of all instruments involved, but it makes a strongly coherent sound. A fascinating journey all around, but one that requires your full attention. Which I guess is not uncommon with music like this. (FdW)
Address: http://www.bowindorecordings.com

FRANZ FJODOR – GLORIOUS DAYS (CD by Vatican Analog)
If Machinefabriek is the Dutch master of endless releases, then Franz Fjodor is the man of endless concerts. In the last month I bumped into him on two different locations, once at Extrapool and once in the train. In both cases he was moving from and to concerts. In the last three years he has played over 400 shows, all around the world. Maybe that’s why he has a lot less releases out. Behind Franz Fjodor is Wouter Jaspers, one of the driving forces behind Vatican Analog in Tilburg (The Netherlands), but who currently lives in Berlin. ‘Glorious Days’ is his second full length ‘Exhibition’ (see Vital Weekly 632). Field recordings play an important role in his music. The ones used on this album are recorded during his many travels, and sometimes he meets people that are guests on his CD. People like Bram Stadhouders (guitar), Tom Smith (samples), Koen-Willem Toering (vocals) or Sten Ove Toft (vocals). Fjodor adds electronics to this, some acoustic objects, maybe an instrument here and
there, and melts it all together in a densely layered cake. Drone music is not the word that applies to Franz Fjodor, although its were his music is partly based at. Long sustaining fields of sound, created by analogue sound effects, are intercepted by acoustic sounds or pure and clear field recordings. There is also a musical element to it, or I should rather say a melodic element, like the humming voices on ‘The Fitzgerald Passage’ or the synthesizers and drums of the title piece. That makes that Fjodor bypasses the whole notion of being either pure drone music, pure ambient, pure field recordings or pure anything, but even, dare I say it, an element of popmusic comes in, maybe folk tronic, without any clear vocals that is. That makes this a particular nice record I think. A daring move, but one that works well. A fine combination of styles, makes a fine combination of music, and ‘Glorious Days’ a fine album. No doubt Franz Fjodor anywhere you all sooner or later. (FdW)
Address: http://www.vatican-analog.com

KASHATRIY – SLEPOK SOZNANIYA (CDR by Zhelezobeton/Muzyka Voln)
I.M.M.U.R.E. – THE NEW CIRCLE (CDR by Zhelezobeton)
SISTER LOOLOMIE – SIGNALS (CDR by Zhelezobeton)
Of these three, the name Sister Loolomie was the only one I heard before. Muzyka Vlon is a kind of sub division of Zhelezobeton, which releases CDs, not CDRs, like the main company does. ‘Slepok Soznaniya’ is the first album by Kasatriy, who are active since 2004 and who had a couple of CDRs out. This new work is ‘based on the concept of consciousness of a warrior, a galatic warrior of light, bringing to world pure knowledge, infinite silence, perfect balance, a moment of power and might, a flight of freedom, love, serenity, joy, light, unified time, eternal life, simplicity and bliss’, which is indeed more than a CD could carry, me thinks. To that end they use synthesizers, field recordings, acoustic echoes and rhythmic loops. Dark ambient music is the result. At the core of the proceedings is the almighty reverb unit. Every sound they produce, it seems, is fed into the reverb, trying to achieve that gloom and doom sound. I must say that is a pity. It kind of blurs the music quite a
bit, making it into one uniform mass of sound. Everything is pitched to grey and black. I assume this would be a popular item among those who love all things ambient and industrial, but I thought it was just alright. Nothing great, nothing bad either. Quite alright.
About I.M.M.U.R.E. we don’t learn much. They are from St. Petersburg, and are part of  a musical foundation called Forbidden Sounds Group. They have performed a couple of times live and ‘The New Circle’ is their physical release. They are not easy to pin down I thought. There are pieces in which a keyboard plays a melody, but with somebody else playing some electro acoustic music on top. What is a consistent feature here on this release, is the use of reverb. Its used a bit too extensively for my taste and used to create that creepy atmosphere they deem necessary for their music. If there is an influence to be mentioned for them, then I’d say Coil comes close, and when they use vocals there is someone who tries to sound like David Tibet. Throughout the music is mostly instrumental, meandering into experimental electronics, sometimes spiced up with bouncing rhythms and sounds borrowed from the world of techno, sometimes losing themselves a bit too much in the experiment, such as in
the
piece ‘Casket Full Of Dreams’, but throughout this was a very nice psychedelic ride.
Sergey is the man behind Sister Loolomie. He’s also responsible for the music of Five Elements Music, Exit In Grey and his labels Still*Sleep and Semperflorens. This I believe is his second release as Sister Loolomie. Much of his music deals with the almighty drone, and as Sister Loolomie it is not different. However there is one major difference, and that is that here he uses only digital means. For one reason or the other, this album was already recorded in 2004, but only finished this year. At his disposal are a guitar, electronics, radio and all of that goes into the computer for some further processing. Distinctly digital it is. Sergey down-samples the material into a gritty, grainy sound, using many loops that phase shift around. Its not the world of dreamy drones, but that of angular electronics. Not really warm glitch music, there is however something captivating about this work. The sheer minimalism of revolving dark, grey sounds make this is into a great album. (FdW)
Address: http://zhb.radionoise.ru

TIM BRADY – MY 20TH CENTURY (CD * DVD by Ambiances Magnetiques)
The name of Tim Brady regularly appears in the columns of Vital Weekly. This time with his multimedia project “My 20th Century”, subtitled as a ‘music/video/theatre narrative in 4 works’. CD and DVD contain the same compositions in the identical performance. The dvd has as an extra the beautiful videos from artists Martin Messier and Oana Suteu that were shown during performance. To exclude any misunderstanding, the dvd contains no pictures of the performance. Usually I feel very ambiguous about multimedia-projects. Personally I don’t need pictures if the music satisfies me, nor the other way around. But with each dvd-release like this one, I try to put my prejudices aside. And in this case I have to reconsider my views on this point. Music and the videos are very worthwhile, and I felt no urge to put one of them down. On the other hand, whether the combination of these two media produce something that is bigger then their sum, is still a question for me. Brady started this project
in
2003 when the first work was composed. The others followed in 2005. The works are performed by his own ensemble Bradyworks and Quator Molinari. “Strumming (for John Lennon)” is the most accessible of all four works. It is written for multiple guitars and built from limited musical material. Simple riffs and repeated and alternately textured. Because repetition is a key element is this composition it has a hypnotizing effect.
This is underlined by the video that is constructed from pictures of a hand of a person strumming a guitar. “Traces” is a work for guitar, piano, percussion, saxophone and sampler and brings tribute to another guitarist, namely jazz musician Charlie Christian. Brady deconstructed a guitar solo by Christian that he played in concert with Bennie Goodman in 1941. By doing this Brady abstracted from jazz and choose a pulsating, tight and severe sounding new music jacket as we know from earlier works by Brady. “Hommage à Rosa Luxemburg (Casino Adagio)” is written for string quartet plus electronics. The electronic environment is ever changing and full of detail. For this work Brady took inspiration from a painting by Jean-Paul Riopelle, “a work obsessed with ghostly images of birds and nature”. The CD closes with “Double Quartet”, divided in three sections this ambitious work reflects on the life of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich. It features a “virtual string quartet” plus piano,
saxophone, percussion and electric guitar.
How the collaboration between Brady and video artists Messier and Suteu came about I don’t know. From the pictures I suppose that they were chosen and created in function of the compositions by Brady. Sueu did the video for “Hommage à Rosa Luxemburg”. Messier made the other three ones. Martin Messier is a composer and performer as well, and the fascination for the relation between sound and images, unites his talents. Oana Suetu is from Romania, where she studied at the Film and Theatre Academy in Bucharest. (DM)
Address: http://www.actuellecd.com

A SPIRALE – AGASPASTIK (CD by Fratto9 Under The Sky/Deserted Factory)
A combined release from two experimental labels, the italian Fratto9-label and the Japanese Deserted Factory. A Spirale is a high energy trio of Maurizio Argenziano (feedbacks, electric guitar), Mario Gabola (feedbacks, acoustic sax) and Massimo Spezzaferro (drums, little things). Obviously they have a background in punk, and they still have the freshness and spontaneity that often belongs to this music. But punk is no longer what they doing here. There music developed into a very energetic version of improvised rock music, since the release of “Come Una Lastra” in 2004. Playing on stage stimulated them a lot taking this direction. Listening to the CD what stroke me first is the crystal clear recording of this trio from Naples. This helped me al lot in enjoying this release. “Black Crack”, the opening track, is a fantastic Brotzmann-like eruption of noise. The beautiful “Sriciorbu” and “Kaluli” prove the trio is not afraid of improvising in softer and quieter regions. Especially
“Sciciobu” is a nice exploration into sound and texture. Needles to say they are contrasted with explosions of noise like again in “Tersicore”, a Naked City-like concentrated scream. This way they shaped their ideas in a nice collection of seven radical pieces. Never losing themselves in useless musical excursions, but always very down to earth. Punk, remember! Nice work. (DM)
Address: http://www.fratto9.com

LENE GRENAGER – AFFINIS SUITE (CD by +3DB)
R.S.GIERTSEN – GRAINS (CD by +3DB)
This new label is focussed on “new music and sound without consideration for genre esthetics”. With the CDs by Grenager and Giertsen we step into the world of contemporary norwegian music. Lene Grenager studied composition and the cello at the Norwegian State Academy of Music in Oslo, and she participated in many seminars with composers like Louis Andriessen, Brian Ferneyhough, Iannis Xenakis, Trevor Wishart and many others. Besides her work as a composer she is also member of improv group Spunk. The “Affinis-Suite” was composed for the Affinis Ensemble, an ensemble specialized in new music from Norway since 1990. Grenager and ensemble work together already for ten years. The suite is made up of six parts, composed between 2004 and 2007. As a whole the suite was premiered in 2008 on the Borealis Festival. The opening part of the suite “Attitude” starts with whirling manoeuvres of all players, playing like a mad fanfare. Part two is a solo for oboe and it is an exploration of the
theme
of the first part. “Redolence” is for piano and marimba, to be followed by “Intermittent Interplay” for sax, trumpet and guitar. “Fumblemumble” is for bass clarinet and the closing piece “Effect without Cause” has the complete ensemble at work. Her music is strongly based on the playing with rhythmical patters. Using unexpected intervals, crazy jumps, etc. her music is funny and very lively. A good example evidencing that composed new music can be accessible and enjoyable for less trained ears. In the case of her colleague Ruben Sverre Giertsen this is different as we will see. He is another young composer from Norway who studied composition at the Grieg Academy in Bergen. He has also followed master classes with guest composers like Brian Ferneyhough and Helmut Lachenmann. His work has already been performed throughout Europe. Giertsen cooperated with the Oslo Philharmonic, Ensemble Intercontemporain, as well as other orchestras and festivals. On “Grains” we find five of his works.
All them show that the use of extended techniques have become a common thing nowadays in modern composed music. The CD opens with “Fluente” performed very disciplined by cello player Friedrich Gauwerky. In the other pieces soloist from the Ensemble Intercontemporain and the Oslo Philharmonic give a great performance. “Contradiction‚ is for violin, bass clarinet and horn”, an intense dialogue through a series of sequences. In “Duo for Viola and Contrabass” the instruments are beaten, plucked, etc. A very physical experience. The piece has a surprising almost melodious end. “tReMbLiNg” is for 14 musicians and performed by Ensemble Ernst. It is an example of a piece that I experience having a strong narrative, as if it telling a story. The cd concludes with the title piece “Grains‚ (for percussion, viola and harp)”. Giertsen shows he has strong hand in writing down notes, meaning that is able to write with a clear musical vision in a vocabulary we know from other contemporary
composers. He compositions have well-dosed arrangements and are multicolored by the use of all kinds of playing techniques. Giertsen proves himself as a very disciplined and focussed composer. To conclude I want to make mentioning of the beautiful cover art of both CDs, but alas the letters are very tiny and it is difficult to read them. (DM)
Address: http://www.plus3db.net

CREMASTER – NORANTA GRAUS A L’ESQUARRA (CD by Monotype Records)
‘Ferran Fages: feedback mixing board, pick-ups-Alfredo Costa Monteiro: objects on electric guitar’ – @ which the address below can be found mp3s… but  for the lazy it would be difficult to guess a guitar was involved, high pitched noise and feedback mainly staccato sounds recorded over a four year period- another attempt at research (into – about?) noise, which one could take issue with, but the offering here is well produced and surprisingly delicate, maybe the long gestation period accounts for such intricacy of form. Which generates the question regarding the idea of noise research, as noise can be – and is – defined as the detritus of existence (and or culture), not its careful constructs, so this work falls more in line with the genre of modernist avant-gardism than the flagrant ignoring of culture of the more recent work of others. Even the harsher sections are carefully located like jewelry manufactured from junk and found objects. (jliat)
Address: http://www.monotyperecods.com

WINTERS IN OSAKA – MOLDED TO CRAWL  (CD by Haunted Hotel Records)
SECRET BOYFRIEND – BROKEN BLEEDING EARTH (CDR by Hot Releases)
MTC = Spoken American – some political commentator amidst low-fi low-volume
sounds which slowly envelope the work “Triumph of Wolves” – the second track begins with some domestic contestations soon disappearing to be replaced by
massive metal clanging like some huge badly made robot walking? Track three
begins with quiet rising tones and squeaky door hinges…which again becomes
clanking noise, reverb metal, whilst the final offering begins almost like a band, but morphs again into metal and this time animalist noise- only to see the band re-appear and disappear as the tape slowly grinds to a halt. Machine noise, almost cattle, burbling…which is Caligula in fragments, the band re-appears, I don’t know what is going on?  I’m even more confused by the eclecticticity of S.B.s BBE,  which according to the Xerox was recorded 2008 in Itri-Italy, Celo NC, Carrboro…. Industrial electro drones and rumbles which do morph into noise, sprinkled with conversations? – and chopped up with ambiences.. I’m reminded (though god knows why) of Sigmar Polke’s strange mix of the representational and abstract as one of the early post modern attempts at somehow re-interpretation – re-inversion of modernity, which might have offered some neo-romantic alternative to high modernism but IMO failed to establish anything other than an individualistic peculiarity – something these
works maybe have, kept in-sufficient to match the more robust, outwardly not old art moves of the YBAs.  That makes both Polke’s work and these strangely nostalgic, odd that the present feels more like the past than the 80s? (jliat)
Address: http://myspace.com/hauntedhotelrecords

LEIF ELGGREN – DEATH TRAVELS BACKWARDS (DVD by Errant Bodies Records)
Just as I was to watch this DVD, the main light bulb in the front room broke down. I could of course watch this DVD in darkness, or perhaps take Elggren’s advise from the booklet: ‘put the DVD in the player, make sure that the DVD is running and is visible on a monitor or so. And then leave quickly the room and don’t look back”. There would be a problem doing so. There is no ‘play all’ here, so it would only play the first video, ‘As If I Was My Father’. We see Elggren on a chair in his underwear, making gestures. No sound. In the next one he goes to bed. ‘Ventillation’ has a ventillation with its sounds. Static image for fifteen minutes. A sewing machine in ‘Celebration Of A Revolution’, making on and off sound. Etc. Much of the work of Elggren deals with mysteries, dream and subconsciousness. There is a lot to think about while watching these video’s. I don’t know what they mean. I have no clue at all. Maybe there is no meaning? Maybe one is free to find a meaning for oneself?
Maybe
its just (?) visual poetry? I don’t know. Just any or all, I assume. Quite compelling. Quiet disturbing. (FdW)
Address: http://www.errantbodies.org

VIDNA OBMANA – 1984-1986 [TESTAMENT OF TAPE] (3LP by Vinyl On Demand)
Someone mentioned last weekend that the only thing that sells in ‘underground’ music is re-issues and not new releases. And somehow I think he was right, sadly so. Close this Vital Weekly for now, and open it in 15 years and see what you missed and re-issue that. Maybe that’s the way to go about? I hope not, even when I like re-issues actually. I don’t have the resources, nor the space actually, to indulge myself with all the releases by Vinyl On Demand, but occasionally one reaches me, and that makes me happy. Maybe, so I was thinking, we should regard this 3LP by Vidna Obmana as the vinyl companion to ‘Noise/Drone Anthology 1984-1989’ (reviewed in Vital Weekly 480)? Though there is one overlap (as far as I can see), its otherwise a coverage of Vidna Obmana’s earliest work when he was involved with noise music. Back then I wondered wether it would have been nice to hear the entire archive of old works, which is still not covered with this 3LP set – which brings me to the fact that
there is no booklet with handy information with this release, which makes the box merely a box with one normal record sleeve and one gate fold and apparently nothing else – as I know there is more. Using a minimum of equipment (Korg MS20 + m1, Dr. Rhythm 110, tapeloops, effects, turntables, shortwave radio and vocals), Dirk Serries, the master mind behind Vidna Obmana, creates powerful noise music. Music that is actually more musical at times then we would have expected, especially when Vidna Obmana incorporates minimal beats, some form of melody and even tries his hand at singing. Of course there are also the walls of feedback, screaming, oscillating noise to be found here. It struck me that a lot of this material was more varied than I remembered from the early tapes. Vidna Obmana uses various approaches to the idea of noise, and he does a great job. Yes, this is the perfect companion to that previous CD, and perhaps it will convince Vidna Obmana to re-issue the rest of his oldest
work too. (FdW)
Address: http://www.vinyl-on-demand.com

O.R.D.U.C. – 107 (LP by Motok)
In the immediate past I expressed my delight that the One O Seventh Royal Dutch Underground Company, long for O.R.D.U.C. is back. Back in 1981 he released the LP ‘Pink & Purple’ a most charming collection of electronic popsongs. After almost thirty years this album is still available (and I urge to get one, while they still last) and while never entirely gone, since this year Nico Selen is back in full operation modus. Recently he released the ‘Auto’ 7″ (see Vital Weekly 694) and now there is a whole new album. Nico send me some extensive liner notes, about all the ins and outs of the various tracks on the album, which quite nice (it should have made it to the insert I think). What was charming about the first LP, the absolute non-vocalist Selen, is pretty much absent here, and yet it still has that great quality of electronic pop. Or rather minimal wave, as Selen calls it himself. Songs that represent a feeling, and usually those feelings are a bit sad. There is some pleasantly
charming music here. Intimate playing, always within the structure of a song. Tinkling keyboards, minor keys, sampled drums from earlier works, but also, such as in ‘Excerpts’ a cymbal and a putty knife, which add a nice ethnic feel to the song. Today’s its snowing here and inside O.R.D.U.C. play melancholic songs; what a perfect combination. A great record, one to cherish in these short, cold days. (FdW)
Address: http://motok.org

JAMES FELLA/TIMELOAD FOWL (LP by Gilgongo Records)
A good old fashioned lo-fi released record with one band per side, with two xeroxes for the cover. On side A we find James Fella, who plays saxophone, electronics and guitar in this piece that was captured live on May 14th 2009. I am not sure how you could play a saxophone and a guitar at the same time, maybe the piece is split in two and now first have the saxophone in a noise session. Sounding like a less heavy Borbetomagus, but still with great fury and power. Then he slowly moves out of that and starts playing the guitar. Here he uses a more minimal approach, carefully plucking the strings in a highly atonal manner. There is only a minimal amount of electronics here, and its almost a melancholic ending here. Nice one.
On the other side Timeload Fowl. I am not sure if this a group or just one person. There is credit for loops, electronics, amplified materials, guitar, synth and vocals. The lengthy piece ‘Intro’ is a very fine ambient electronic music piece, whereas ‘Untitled’ (I admit they don’t have original titles) is a more noise based piece of howling electronics, the total opposite to the other piece. The third piece is called ‘Collaboration w/ James Fella’, which takes the noise edge a bit further, a bit too far if you ask me. Throughout however this is quite a pleasant album of improvised noise, with some surprising results. (FdW)
Address: http://www.gilgongorecords.com

ASTRAL SOCIAL CLUB/GLOCKENSPIEL (7″ by Krayon Recordings)
Music like this should not be on a 7″. That’s my opinion and I will stick to it. It doesn’t mean anything negative about the music, but the short time span is not right for music that needs development. Astral Social Club’s ‘Smash Crater #1’ is a rhythmic piece. Loops of rhythm lie at the bottom and on top there is a synthesizer which sound like a synthesizer. It begins somewhere and it ends somewhere, but there isn’t much of a song structure. It could be an edit of a longer section, despite some of the movements that Neil Campbell makes throughout this piece. A nice one for sure. I have no idea who is behind Glockenspiel, or wether that instrument is actually used. I think I heard a guitar, some slowed down percussion and distortion pedals. Here too had the impression that it was lifted from a larger recording (although I might be wrong on both accounts). A somewhat lo-fi affair here, which could have been touched up a bit. A bit too muddy, noise based for me. (FdW)
Address: http://www.krayonrecordings.net

FRANK ROTHKAMM – ZAHRA FUGUES (CDR by Flux Records)
The fugue is a music form in which the counterpoint and a varied repetition play a main part, well, or along those lines. I never got beyond playing a chord on the piano, but Rothkamm knows his ways with the 88 keys. ‘Zahra Fugues’ is the second album in the ‘Tetralogy’ series and its his first all acoustic release since his ‘Chamber Ensemble’ in 1984. Just Rothkamm and the piano. Yes, this man is always your man for something weird. I must admit my knowledge of classical music is really limited, even when I recognize the names Rothkamm mentions, such as Glenn Gould, Conlon Nancarrow, Anton Webern and one J.S. Bach (oh no, he’s not mentioned), but its too hard for me to say if these fugues are great or absolute bullshit. Like with say video-art or literature (two things that for reasons unknown also make their way into the Vital Weekly HQ) this is a territory where I have not much knowledge. I must say I quite enjoyed this release. Maybe twenty-six of these uptempo piano pieces,
although they are short, is a bit too much, its excellent music to wake up with. Not too heavy, not too difficult, but in a good tempo to wake up by. Rothkamm’s usual scheme of electronic music is however, perhaps more spend on me. (FdW)
Address: http://www.fluxrecords.com

MAURIZIO BIANCHI & MAOR APPELBAUM – NEUROTRANSMITTERS (CDR by R.O.N.F. Records)
A heavy duty collaboration between the old master Maurizio Bianchi and Maor Appelbaum, a younger player in the field of noise music. Although both get a credit for writing the music, it is mixed by Appelbaum, which is not uncommon. Many of the current Bianchi albums feature him as a musician, but never as the person to finish the collaboration. Its a bit of a mystery what his role is. Does he send sound files to the other who then remixes them? It seems so. Two pieces here of some excellent noise drone music. Whatever the input – either some sort of synthesizer sounds or perhaps the recordings of a washing machine – it used to trigger a whole bunch of sound effects that makes the work top heavy. There is constant change running through these pieces, always something going on, without making many new directions, more a further deepening of the various themes in the sound material available. Crashing, cascading sounds, like thunderous storms wail upon the listener. This is noise indeed
,
but this is noise that I like. The drone element is amplified, neh exploded to the very top end, and this is a perfect example of industrial music. It cleanses your ears and refreshes your mind. Better than the real neurotransmitters. (FdW)
Address: http://www.ronfrecords.com

HEARTS OF PALM – EARTH HEADED HEART (CDR by Fater Disks)
NICOLASH – NICOLAGE (CDR by Fater Disks)
These two releases don’t have much information at all. The first is, I think, by Hearts Of Palm and might be called ‘Earth Headed Hearth’. It mentions C. Spencer Yeh on violin and consists of thirty minutes of improvised music. There is drums, organ, the violin, percussion and maybe a guitar, and they make sound. For thirty minutes. And I must admit they are not very good at it. None of the music seemed to be very engaging. Maybe the concert (of which this seems to be an excerpt) was interesting to watch, but by itself, as a release, it didn’t do much for me. People improvise by creating sounds that hardly have a relation to anything else that goes on at the same time. To some that is probably good improvisation, but for me, its just bad music.
Things are not much more clear on the release by Nicolash, which has a lot of words on the cover, which may or may not give any clue as to what is used here, equipment wise. Its a one piece work, about forty or so minutes. There is electronics, there are tapeloops and there are voices. Maybe this is some very weird singer song writer stuff? Quite lo-fi recordings, with occasional distorted sounds, but throughout the voice seems to be important. Not that we easily understand what the singing is about, nor does it matter. As for the instrument department, its hard to say what Nicolash uses. A cheap organ perhaps, electronics and an amplified thumb piano (a bit Konono like). Its a pity that all of the tracks are cut together as one piece and not as separate pieces, which would have resulted in a somewhat more coherent release. The funniest bit is at the end when he uses a loop of Erik Satie, mumbled percussion and a horn. Strange one, this one. (FdW)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/faterdisks

BJERGA/IVERSEN – INTERSECTING PARALLEL LINES (2CDR by Striate Cortex)
NILS ROSTAD – RECORDED WITH A MIC STANDING ON A TABLE (CDR by Striate Cortex)
Mmmm…lucky guys, Sindre Bjerga and Jan-M. Iversen… they now have, so it seems, a label at their disposal to release all their music. Striate Cortex from the UK has in their short live span released only music that involved both of them together, solo or in collaboration. That is: until now. First there is a double CDR by Bjerga/Iversen, with a single piece that are both equally long. Aside from two track titles and the overall title for the release there is no other information. But me thinks we should play the two CDRs at the same time and then mix them ourselves. Something like that. Not the original idea, but always nice to think about. I didn’t do this, but instead played both one at a time. No mixing, but taking in the same what minimal electronics. Its no doubt one of the most ambient releases by this duo, very calm and slow moving music. It seems to be less based on improvisation and/or a live recording, but more planned out along with a bunch of pre-recorded sounds,
flowing gently through a whole bunch sound effects. Quite nice stuff, mixed or unmixed. One of the nicest releases I heard from them.
Nils Rostad has produced already a couple of highly obscure releases, with hand written covers, and such like. He found home too on Striate Cortex and on his release, two pieces recorded in the UK, on October 6th and 7th 2009. It comes with a small booklet with glued ‘paintings’ by Rostad. The title explain what went on: a microphone is put on a table, on stage, where we find Rostad with his guitar. He improvises his way with an acoustic guitar and amplification, and plays some nice music. Two shows, each around fifteen minutes, which I think is exactly the right length for this kind of music. He does his thing (to use some awful modern words) in how own way, and with elegance or style. Perhaps this is the kind of music to witness preferable in concert, but in this particular recording, Rostad finds a fine voice of his own. Delicate yet also raw recording. Pleasantly surprised. (FdW)
Address:arborntolose@msn.com

FAT LEGS – LAMENTATIONS (CDR by A Mastro Titta Produzioni)
ECOMORTI- INTERFEARANCE (CDR by A Maestro Titta Produzioni)
Lamentations has three tracks of what was once called electronic experimentalism, oscillators and the like.. some quite harsh / industrial
others more didgeridoo like – but strangely empty .. Ecomorti = 3 tracks slow silent beginning each evolves into noisy but never overly harsh sounds with industrial loopings? … I’ve addressed the problem of “the experimental” before but I think it needs re-stating. Properly an experiment is associated with science, typically supporting an hypothesis but better attempts to disprove it, seasonally apt- one of the first users of this method was Francis Bacon, not the painter, who in 1626 set out to prove that freezing meat would keep it fresh longer, unfortunately though his experiment of filling a dead chicken with snow supported his hypothesis (you can only ever support – never finally prove) he caught pneumonia and died. This by the way is inductive reasoning, from the observed facts to the general, as opposed to the greek deductive, from the general to the particular. Electronic musicians of the 50s and 60s borrowed the term ‘experiment’ as at the time science (inductive remember
)
was thought cool.
However doubt must be raised as they were in fact reasoning from the general
ideas of music into specifics, so the term is descriptive but inaccurate. So its simple to see that questioning what things are music or art isn’t a matter of experiment at all. I’m rambling on like this just to point out that this process just doesn’t work for art and music, just mucking around with stuff to see what comes up isn’t experimentalism, further what has been proven is that music and art in general are about context. Any 4 plus minutes of silence isn’t a Cage piece, not all urinals are art. So to set out to see if twiddling with some synth is music is a waste of time. Now these guys may not be setting out to do so, but if so drop the word experiment, even if they simply point to a style of 50s music practice, as its no longer the 50s in that context they place their work outside even that use of the term. Within modernity the ready made has been done, the only escape would be to use the term in a post-modern ‘ironic’ way, if so its not at all obvious. What does this prove
(you might ask) well you might decide to play your saxophone outside in winter to get lower notes, cold air being more dense, but in the process catch pneumonia, though you may be comforted by dying for your art you would not be dying for it, but maybe for science…(jliat) Why science – well you might disprove the hypothesis regarding cold air, or support the hypothesis that mucking about in the cold is bad for you.
Address: http://www.mtp.altervista.org

CHARLIE MCALISTER & ERIC OSTROWSKI – THE YEAR OF SUSPENDED SAP: ANOTHER LOOK AT THE PORTIONS THE WORLD FORGOT (CDR by Friends & Relatives Records)
(D)(B)(H) – WHY A PREACHER AND NOT A PRIEST (CDR by Friends & Relatives Records)
(D)(B)(H) & CRUDE HILL- A SHREDDED LEAF DOESN’T BLOW (CDR by Friends & Relatives Records)
EYE OF VISION (CDR by Friends & Relatives Records)
MATT SHUFF – O PHANTOM OF THE OVERHEATED BRAIN (CDR by Friends & Relatives Records)
HACKLES – INTERIORS (2CDR by Friends & Relatives Records)
BREAKWAY – GET DOWN (CDR by Friends & Relatives Records)
COLLEEN DONALDSON – OH I FEEL SO SORRY FOR YOU YOU HAVE TO GET UP (cassette by Friends & Relatives Records)
Now here’s obvious a label who aren’t subscribed to Vital Weekly, nor wished to read the guidelines to submit material for review. One of the reasons to set a limited of three releases at a time is that serious listening may take some time. So sending a lot like this means we have to devote about the same amount of time as it was just three. Some of these are short releases. First there is a release by Charlie Mcalister and Eric Ostrowski. The latter you may know from Noggin and he plays violin here along with some electronics. Mcalister recites poetry. The music seems to made through improvisation. Lots of short pieces on the release, but it didn’t do much for me. Some of it were alright, but half way through this fifteen minute release I heard it all and stopped it. Maybe I am just not much of a poetry man?
Of much more interest is the release by (D)(B)(H), a group with a changing line up. I could barely read who did what here, but there seems to be guitar, upright bass, drums, saxophone and trumpet. The information says that these people never played some of these instruments before, which might be true, but they sure play it in a nice. A very calm record, of almost ambient improvisations. The pieces are spun out a bit too much for my taste, but it makes surely a nice impression. Late night improvisation music.
Earlier on the evening you could play their ‘A Shredded Leaf Doesn’t Blow’. Here the band is a five piece but then its a collaboration with Crude Hill from Providence, Rhode Island. There are drums, three electric guitars saxophone, mandolin and electronics placed on the stage. I have nothing with sort of improvisation. It lacks tension and attention. People like making sound, but don’t wish the sound others are making. That’s the impression I got of this release.
Eye Of Vision is a collaboration between Visions and Eye Of The Babbath. They found some disabadoned oil refinery where they climbed upon empty oil barrels, stomping them, talking into them and made this almost eighteen minute piece that is actually more a field recording of sort than the actual registration of a music piece, but I must say it all sounded rather interesting. A sort impromptu performance piece in which one only hears the sound and rather not see what is going on. Nice indeed.
Matt Shuff’s release is a sort of audio dairy of a travel he did with his brother through the mid west of the USA. The first quarter of his release is made when he was still at home, playing percussion on pots and pans and some trumpet. After that it becomes a collage of field recordings made on the poetry with some drunken like ranting every now and then. Maybe if the mid-west means anything to you, you could more easily relate to this than I did. No doubt of much interest to Matt Shuff and his friends and relatives but what about the outsider I wondered.
A double CDR (why not? – as this wasn’t easy enough) comes from Hackles, who are from Pittsburgh. I gather from the information they longer exist. This particular release is more or less a re-issue. They are also a group dealing with improvisation that are less based on traditional instruments, but rather deal with electronics, sometimes crudely recorded. From all these releases this is most noise based one, but throughout the pieces are kept short and somewhat to the point. Maybe two hours is all a bit too much I thought, but surely some fine moments are there.
Back to improvisation music with Breakway, a trio of Paul Giallorenzo (synthesizer/piano), Brian Labycz (electronics) and Marc Riordan (percussion). They are from Chicago and recorded their music on multi-track and then mixed it down. This is by far the most interesting release of this lot. These guys know how to play an improvisation that has intensity as well as being able to listen to what the others are doing and how interact on what the other players are doing. Its a most odd combination, so much electronics playing abstract sounds while the drummer uses his kit in a rather traditional manner. It makes some intense playing with some beautiful pieces going on here. I gather these are matured improvisers, who are not out there producing a random set of sounds on some instruments. Great.
The only non CDR is a cassette by Colleen Donaldson from Michigan, who recorded this in her bedroom ‘conjuring the spirit of a ‘something’ but the actual ‘thing’ itself, whatever that may mean. She uses a variety of samples, percussion and such like, all taped directly with one microphone. I must admit this didn’t do anything for me at all. (FdW)
Address: http://www.friendsandrelativesrecords.com

TOY BIZARRE – KDI DCTB 216 [DATA #6] (3″CDR by Kaon)
Following the surprise of the fifth installment in his twelve part series, I must admit I was more than curious to see what the sixth would be like. The first four were typical Toy Bizarre works: an excellent and personal form of musique concrete, the fifth one however his own take at sound poetry. For this one he moves yet in another direction. Again one piece of twelve minutes that is basically one long drone building over the course of just over eleven minutes and then slowly fading out. Sounds leap in very carefully, chirping birds towards the end I thought. Another fine surprise here, following that great fifth part, and for now something completely different again. (FdW)
Address: http://www.kaon.org

BENJAMIN NELSON (cassette by Semata Productions)
ZERFALLT – TO KNOW THE LOVE OF YOUNG WITCHES (cassette by Semata Productions)
PERISPIRIT – CYNICAL OVERLAPS (cassette by Semata Productions)
EHNAHRE – PIPELINE (cassette by Semata Productions)
Four cassette releases by Semata Productions, all by people of whom I think I never heard. Benjamin Nelson plays live with F/I/T/H/ and with Tides, a rock band. Here however he plays solo, using a modular synthesizer. On the first side is his set opening up for John Wiese. A fine harsh blend of monolithic synth noise, a sort of massive drone operation. The b-side is probably a studio recording, and its the opposite (literally) of the other side. A low humming drone piece. It uses the same methods – long sustaining sounds, but much softer. Maybe not the newest of things around, but this is an excellent tape.
Zerfallt (a former member of Astronaut) starts in a drone like manner, with a nice sustained hum from the analogue synthesizer. Later on things get more angular with shrieks of sound from what seems metal on metal, to end the a-side in more drone like territory. The other side opens up with noise music: distorted sound wailing about. Actually its not bad, even when its not entirely my taste and not as good as the other side of the tape.
Along similar compositional lines moves the release by Perispirit, a duo Luke Moldof and Ricardo Donoso (who recorded a great 7″ for Semata Productions). Its two pieces here that slowly develop out of a deep end hum. Little by little they add sound to the plate and builds up carefully, not breaking the careful lines they wave together. Its hard to say what kind of instruments used, based on what you hear. The cover mentions guitar, synths and electronics. Maybe the material was generated through improvisation, but they sound well crafted together. Along with the Nelson release (although different), this is an excellent tape of great experimental music, defying such qualifications as noise, ambient and improvisation.
Something entirely different is the music of Ehnahre. ‘Pipeline’ was originally released in an edition of 50 copies for their European tour, but now is re-issued in an edition of 175 copies. Doom and death metal based on the dodecaphony, the twelve tone music of Arnold Schonberg. Since I can’t play guitars I don’t know if this is indeed is what Ehnahre are doing. I guess its not bad, but this music is just not my kind of music at all. (FdW)
Address: http://www.semataproductions.com

SFHHH — SELF-TITLED (cassette by Skrot Up)
SFHHH sure got their name right. These frantic no-wavers have hammered out four freakish anthems of chaos here — torrents of tumultuous drums and trashy guitar which test the limits of magnetic tape itself. Indeed, this one-sided, self-titled tape could be the sound of a microphone dying. Right off the bat, on “Fake Stress Neuroptera Grub,” we’re treated to a short blast of dense bass, youthful vocals, and Jesus Lizard inspired, siren-like guitars. The squall continues on venomous “Day Care” and garbled punk-rock stomper “Last Wanks.” However, the finale, “True Stench,” changes things up abruptly. In lieu of somewhat traditional song mechanics, it is an experimental noisescape comprised of industrial feedback atmospherics, the sounds of machinery chugging, and shrieked vocal interjections. The DIY recording conditions do flatten a lot of this squall, the overall effect being a convincingly basement affair — it’s a reasonable compromise that suits the band just fine. N.B. Comes with
a glorious silkscreen poster of the cover that’s almost worth the price of admission alone. (MT)
Address: http://www.myspace.com/skrotup

HUMAN ADULT BAND — LA-DEE-FRICKIN-DA (cassette by Abandon Ship Records)

Pardon my cheap guffaws, but this cassette is so basement it dips into the Earth’s mantle. The descriptively named Human Adult Band force through these eight tracks in a grimy clatter of heavy bass, menacingly apocalyptic guitars, and alternately desperate and nihilistic vocal outbursts.

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