Vital Weekly #844

Vital Weekly, the webcast: we offering a weekly webcast, freely to download. This can be regarded as the audio-supplement to Vital Weekly. Presented as a radioprogramm with excerpts of just some of the CDs (no vinyl or MP3) reviewed. It will remain on the site for a limited period (most likely 2-4 weeks). Download thefileto your MP3 player and enjoy!
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help Vital Weekly to survive:

K. LEIMER – PERMISSIONS (CD by Palace Of Light) *
OREN AMBARCHI – SAGITTARIAN DOMAIN (CD by Editions Mego) *
NICK EDWARDS – PLEKZATIONZ (CD by Editions Mego) *
MARK FELL – SENTIELLE OBJECTIF ACTUALITE (CD by Editions Mego) *
IL GRANDE SILENZIO (CD by Two Acorns) *
RUSSEL HASWELL – SCANDINAVIAN PARTS (IMMERSIVE LIVE SALVAGE SUPPLEMENT) (CD by Ideal Recordings) *
CACTUS TRUCK – BRAND NEW FOR CHINA! (CD by Public Eyesore)
STIAN WESTERHUS – THE MATRIARCH AND THE WRONG KIND OF FLOWERS (CD by Rune Grammofon) *
JOHN GRZINICH – TWO FILMS (DVD by Paleosol Edition)
DOUGLAS MOFFAT – MONTREAL PHONOGRAPHE (LP by Oral)
CHRISTIAN BOUCHARD – AUTOMACITE (DVD by Empreintes Digitales)
LSD MARCH/MAMA BAER (split LP by Psych KG)
BISCLAVERET & FEINE TRINKERS BEI PINKELS DAHEIM – BOTH SIDES OF THE LOOKING GLASS (7″ by Zahorum)
SENSITIVE DATA 2 (CD compilation by Zoharum)
BALDUIN – MUSICAL IMAGES FOR HARPISCHORD (7″ by Everest Records)
MACU – RETROSPECTIVEN (CDR by Inner Cinema) *
MIKE MAJKOWSKI – TREMOLO (CDR by Avant Whatever) *
DEMENTIA AND HOPE TRAILS/SOFT PIECES (CDR by Seven1878)
JUSTIN MARC LLOYD – YEAR OF THE WATER DRAGON VOLUME 1 (cassette by Hello Rainbow Bridge)
ALEXANDRE NAVARRO – SKETCHES (cassette by Constellation Tatsu)
BILLY GOMBERG – INTO THE FADE (cassette by Constellation Tatsu)

K. LEIMER – PERMISSIONS (CD by Palace Of Light)
Just like Marc Barreca, reviewed only two weeks ago, K. Leimer has been around in the world of ambient music for quite some time, always on the Palace Of Light label. There has been a hiatus, but since ‘Statistical Truth’ (see Vital Weekly 533) he is back on track, with occasional new releases, including ones that are only available digital – check the label’s website for these long pieces. This new album is a bit different than his previous works, as it seems to be some kind of collaborative work with Taylor Deupree, who ‘added and subtracted voices, processed the original audio, and mixed and mastered’ the album, yet who doesn’t get front cover credit for it. This is ambient music, as that is what Leimer has been concerning himself with for close to thirty years now, but it seems that Leimer has now a stronger interest in using the computer to manipulate field recordings, and mainly, I think/assume, the possibilities offered by Max/Msp. The glitchy sounds, the moving small textures, pitches and sound colors, making up a long, fine album. The first time I played this, I fell asleep, but in these musical circles I believe that is a compliment, but the second (and third time) I stayed awake, and noted all these small differences in these textures, slow moving and bouncing making small, evolving mechanisms, living organisms and all such microscopic references. An excellent CD of classic ambient music with modern means. (FdW)
Address: http://www.palaceoflights.com

OREN AMBARCHI – SAGITTARIAN DOMAIN (CD by Editions Mego)
NICK EDWARDS – PLEKZATIONZ (CD by Editions Mego)
MARK FELL – SENTIELLE OBJECTIF ACTUALITE (CD by Editions Mego)
A bit of a summer assault here by Editions Mego, by now a major record company among the smaller labels. We kick off (random selection!) with the album by Oren Ambarchi, who has long left the road of his drone/ambient/sparse guitar sound scapes in favor of whatever else it is he pursues, which is actually a lot. May 26, 2011 he went into the studio, I assuming for a day, armed with guitars, moog bass, drums, percussion and voice to record a thirty-three minutes, thirty-six minute piece of music. Right from the start you know we have landed in a different world than what we usually assume to know from him. A rhythmic start on bass and drums, in motorik, krautrock fashion, not too fast but driving a constant pulse. On top of that Ambarchi’s guitar wails about and sings his tune. Later on violin, viola and cello have been added, not played by Ambarchi actually, and add to the somewhat spooky atmosphere of the music. But those string sections seem to be only in the final minutes of the pieces. Think Neu, or Faust with Tony Conrad on a long LSD trip and you’re almost there. Excellent psychedelic krautrock at work. Play loud.

I am not sure if I ever heard of Nick Edwards before. He released his first cassette in 1994 and has an influential Gutterbreakz blog (which I also never of, but perhaps it says more about me then) from 2003-2009, followed by releases as Ekoplekz on labels as Punch Drunk, Mordant Music, Further, Perc Trax and Public Information – which made me think there are lots of worlds I never heard about it. Now, again under his own name, although looking at the title a bit of cross-over between his old name and his new guise, he releases a quick album of very recent (one live concert) pieces, from March and April 2012. On the inside of the cover we see him from above behind his equipment: definitely lo-fi with a casio keyboard, monotron, some stomp boxes, a drum machine and that’s about it. His influences are to be found in Cabaret Voltaire, King Tubby, Suicide, Radiophonic Workshop and such like, and the music has a rather loosely organized character. Four pieces, all around fifteen minutes (a double LP is also available and a track per album side) of Edwards playing his machines with indeed a nice electronic touch, but due to the extensive use of echo, it always remains a bit rhythmic and not without a certain element of dub  music. It carries Cabaret Voltaire influences all over from ‘(No) Escape From ’79’ to ‘Chance Meets Causality Uptown’ (an unreleased CV soundtrack); especially the first sounds like a CV jam from their early years, but then more extensively played out. The shades of retro are all over this record I must say, its like listening to a cassette from the early to mid 80s underground, rather than something from ‘now’. That’s quite nice, at least for someone like, grown up on a strict diet of this kind of music, but its a bit hard to see where this fits in today. Its great to see someone working away from the laptop and not as noise based as some of the other lo-fi monotron users today, so perhaps Edwards has indeed his own voice, relevant today. Unless this forecasts a revival of this sort of music, which would be nice for a while.

And then lastly, again, something completely different is the CD by Mark Fell, whom by now is perhaps more well-known by himself, than the fact that he was one-half of the highly influential SND. Fell is always in for a surprise or two, and you never know what to expect from him. I must admit I don’t always keep up with what he does, so I probably missed out on his Sensate Focus 12″ records, released on a label from the same name and one of them on Terre Thaemlitz’ Comatonse label. The cover tells us extensively what Fell uses, software wise, sound wise but otherwise leaves us pretty much in the dark. Fell’s abstractions in computer music are, I would think, his trademark, but on this CD, which contains seven remixes of the aforementioned 12″s see him work within a strange kind of dance music. Not exactly floor-fillers, but also not necessarily highly abstract pieces of computer music. It sounds a bit cheesy with the standard use of hi-hats, kick drums and hand-claps and make up a very odd form of techno music. As I am not really the kind of person to dance around a lot, I am not sure what to make of this. It sounds interesting and on a hot August day it makes me want to sit by a swimming pool, sipping cocktails and listen to dance music, but those days are sparse, so I think I rather go for his more abstract computer work. (FdW)
Address: http://editionsmego.com/

IL GRANDE SILENZIO (CD by Two Acorns)
Its been a while since I last heard something by Minoru Sato, who is best known from the highly conceptual label WrK which he ran from 1994 to 2006. They released musical works in a scientific context, from installations and such like, and dealt usually with one ‘thing’ per release. Later on he released a CD with Asuna on the Spekk label (see Vital Weekly 601), but then it was quiet again. Here he teams up with one Atsuo Ogawa, who draws and paints, but also plays the banjo and ‘provides voice’, at least on this disc. while Sato plays a self-built instrument, mysteriously named ‘RP3M’, and I have no clue what it is. They named themselves after a spaghetti western. All of the seven pieces were played through improvisation, and the shortest is just over two minutes and the longest close to nineteen. All of the pieces are played in the same slow tempo, and consist every time of the same thing: plucking the strings of the banjo, deep sighs (every now and then) and the obscure rattle coming from Sato’s instrument, which seems to me some kind of electronic thing, but at the same time I wouldn’t be surprised to know its something acoustic. Pieces sound strikingly similar at times, and one doesn’t know a new piece has started. Very much like a lot, if not all, of the previous work of mister Sato this has a strong conceptual edge, but whereas that previous work was almost drone like in approach, exploring sound phenomena, this one is from a more musical perspective and it doesn’t work too well for me. Well into the third, say about twenty minutes into this CD, I know what it is about, and then I find out that the whole thing is over fifty-five minutes; but I already know what it sounds like, so I don’t need to hear the entire release that extensively, save perhaps for ‘Rust’ and ‘Kettle’, two short ones in which, all of a sudden Sato’s instrument sound distinctly different, longer sustaining and drone like. Why not explore that a bit more? Thus one is left behind, bemused and puzzled, but perhaps not entirely satisfied. (FdW)
Address: http://www.thesingularwe.org/twoacorns

RUSSEL HASWELL – SCANDINAVIAN PARTS (IMMERSIVE LIVE SALVAGE SUPPLEMENT) (CD by Ideal Recordings)
In 2010 Russell Haswell once again toured with Autechre on their European ‘Overstepper’ tour, playing thirty concerts in fifteen countries. No longer a laptop act, Haswell uses electronics, contact microphones, crystal mic, light sensors, effects pedals and SOS whistle. The cover of this documentation details almost every step in how the music was captured with a microphone on stage, and how it was dealt with afterwards, but also how the music was subject to attendance, temperature, humidity, and all such things. Interesting but what does this tech talk mean? Is it to satisfy the the interested listener perhaps, or to impress his audience? Or maybe to tell us: it may sound like a bunch of noise, but beware: there is some thought into this? I am not sure whatever it is. The music is quite raw, seventy four minutes long, and sounds like Merzbow, but then chopped into fifteen pieces. All highly improvised, very loud but sometimes also a bit sounding away, due to the fact that this is microphone capture made on the stage itself. The audience is also captured and seem to like it. That’s great news. Rather than taking a version of themselves on the road, Autechre takes Haswell and gives the audience a fine treatment into the world of noise. A fine tour document for sure, but I think I prefer his studio work better. (FdW)
Address: http://www.idealrecordings.com

CACTUS TRUCK – BRAND NEW FOR CHINA! (CD by Public Eyesore)
When I saw Blast some time ago in their latest line up, I was pleasantly surprised by the fresh and powerful contributions by two young and new members Govaert and Dikeman. So it is nice to meet them again in one of their own projects: Cactus Truck. A dutch trio of Jasper Stadhouders guitars, Onno Govaert (drums) and John Dikeman (sax).  Dikeman comes from the US, but is living in Holland since 2007, after short stays in Egypt and Hungary. Since he settled down in Holland he played with numerous musicians from the dutch and international improv scene. Govaert and Stadhouders are  both Amsterdam-based improvisers involved in numerous projects. As Cactus Truck they play a powerful free improvised music, that is a bit atypical for what improvisers normally do they in these regions. There improvisations are raw and rough. For sure they make a powerful and impressive statement, bursting of energy. Clearly Dikeman has a love for free jazz power play as we know it from the 60s and 70s. His presence is most prominent in the improvisations. The complex drum patterns however by Govaert are not to be neglected. There is also a punk attitude to it, which makes them related to The Ex. Some of the pieces are ultra short, too short in my perception, and others quite long, too long, again according to my standards.  No doubt  it is a joy to see them live. However, as a listener I cannot operate constantly on the same level of intensity  as these players play. Especially in the longer tracks, I did not find enough musical surprises. The result is that  I lose my interest, although – let that be clear – all three go for it. (DM)
Address: http://www.publiceyesore.com

STIAN WESTERHUS – THE MATRIARCH AND THE WRONG KIND OF FLOWERS (CD by Rune Grammofon)
Usually I leave releases by Rune Grammofon to Dolf Mulder, but also usually I do check out what they are about, so it might end up in my hands, like this one, by one Stian Westerhus. Apparently he is some sort of celebrity playing more than 200 times a year, with all sorts of projects, such as Puma, Monolithic, with Sidsel Endresen and being a member of Nils Petter Molvaer’s trio, or producing work for others. I did think for a short moment that Westerhus is about jazz, but this album tells me otherwise. Most of the material here was recorded at the Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum, known for its 20 second natural reverb, and I assume this is where Westerhus taped his voice and guitar bits, but surely used some amount of processing somewhere else. This album, these nine pieces, don’t have anything to do with jazz indeed. Just what it is then, is a different thing. This is one of those albums with music that don’t fit any description. Perhaps improvisation played an important role in the creation of the music, yet it doesn’t sound like improvised music. The same could be said of the use of electronics in the music, but it doesn’t bring (automatically?) this into the land of say ‘drone’ music. Much more I think this is some form of modern classical music, but where the pieces have the length of ‘pop’ songs, each being very much its own entity. Partly using slow changing collage like sounds with abrupt changes, these are majestical movements in sound. Lots of (natural) reverb, such as in ‘Like Passing Rain Through 9 Lives’, with adds to the cerebral atmosphere of the music. I thought this was all great stuff. Very innovative, very new and something ‘else’ for a change. Quite a pleasant surprise. (FdW)
Address: http://www.grammofon.com

JOHN GRZINICH – TWO FILMS (DVD by Paleosol Edition)
DOUGLAS MOFFAT – MONTREAL PHONOGRAPHE (LP by Oral)
The label Alluvial Recordings is apparently no more – I am not sure why – but now there is Paleosol Edition, and this first release is done in collaboration with And/oar (catalogue number on the spine being 49, on the disc itself 50) and is a DVD of two films of composer John Grzinich, which I think is an interesting thing. Just what would it be? Animation stuff, a documentary, a concert or, as it in fact turns out to be, a film that displays the field recordings being recorded. We see someone (perhaps Grzinich himself?) beating a pole, a campfire, electrical wire in a field, someone scraping large empty metal containers, and sometimes no human interference at all, like a stream and what seems to be a wire inside. All of this is short movements in ‘Sound Aspects Of Material Elements’, which lasts some fifty-six minutes. Sometimes I think I am being fooled and I see something but believe that I hear something else. That’s always a great thing I should think, but perhaps I like this sort of illusions very much. The nice thing about this film is that following every segment the screen blacks out and we hear what’s coming next, but yet not see it, so your mind starts guessing – I was wrong in almost of all these cases. Shot in austere black and white, this one is great. The other film is much shorter and called ‘Mimema’. Here  I don’t think its about the action to generate material, but a more poetic film with people floating in water set against a great piece of drone music. Maybe this is all about hearing ‘below the surface’? I am not sure, but it looks and sounds great. More poetic, less documentary like than the other one. Two quite different approaches to film, but both work quite nice.

How to record a difficult surface? That is more or less the question raised by one Douglas Moffat, of whom I never heard. He created a sort of construction which acts a stylus. So the surface, the real earth surface that is, becomes a sort of phonograph to be played. In twenty-five pieces, all around thirty to fifty seconds, he scans the earth in and around Montreal, and each of those pieces is documented with a picture. Moffat choose the winter days it seems to record the city of Montreal, perhaps because snow is easier to record? I am not sure. It sounds weird, that much I do know. Like scratching the surface and being amplified quite a bit. This is one of those things where it makes perfect sense to release it on vinyl, but perhaps a DVD of it would be nice. How does this contraption work? Now, just listening to it, and without knowing what it is about it makes perhaps less sense, and one could easily mistake this for a serenade of contact microphones. However, if you study text and images closely enough it makes perfect sense and you’ll see a true piece of art here. Very nice, also, but perhaps on an entirely different level. (FdW)
Address: http://www.and-oar.org
Address: http://www.oral.qc.ca

CHRISTIAN BOUCHARD – AUTOMACITE (DVD by Empreintes Digitales)
A student of composer Yves Daoust, winner of various prizes for electro-acoustic compositions and founder of the live electro-acoustic quartet Theresa Transistor. He seems to me the typical sort of composer you’d find on this label. In 24-bit rate they present three of his pieces, ‘Impasto’, ‘Parcelles 21’ and ‘Objet Menace’. The first is the longest and a triptych about expressionist abstract painters (Pollock, Riopelle and Shiraga), and it sounds indeed like expressionist abstract music. Lots of sounds thrown together and then mixed, edited and treated further. At least that’s my best guess upon hearing this music. Sounds roll about like thunderous storms and walls of snow bursting into masses tumbling down the mountain. A nice piece for sure, but perhaps at forty-five some minutes all a bit long. Luckily ‘Parcelles 21’ – a revised version of ‘Parcelles 1’ and ‘Parcelles 2’ – provides a more quiet piece, but is also moving all over the place. Its hard to say, in both of these pieces what it is that Bouchard is using sound wise. Field recordings perhaps, but also down right electronic matter, and maybe acoustic instruments being treated in one way or another. Its hard to say, as the level of abstraction is quite high on this release. The final piece is ‘Objet Menace’ and the cover says its a symphony for parking meters, and brings up the massive attack again of the first piece. While some of this music sounds alike what similar composers do on this label, but throughout I seemed to like this more than some of the others on the label, but its not easy to pin down why that is. Maybe its the level of disturbance, or the notion of improvising with his sound material and the editing thereof? Maybe its the overkill in sound anyway? I am not sure. Maybe its the heat that provides me from thinking straight. (FdW)
Address: http://www.empreintesdigitales.com

LSD MARCH/MAMA BAER (split LP by Psych KG)
Surely I missed out on a few of those split LPs that Komissar Hjuler and Mama Baer are doing as this is already volume 8, with this time Japanese psychedelic band LSD March, named after a track by Guru Guru. I am not sure if I ever heard of LSD March. They have here one piece without a title of a highly improvised nature. It starts in a free rock vein, not loud but disorganized and then followed by a spoken word with sound effects and maybe bits with percussion. Then a bit with sine wave like sounds before ending a more conventional (?) free mode. It seems to me that these are excerpts of longer pieces stuck together to make this side long piece. Its fine music, but hardly doesn’t stand out, I think. On the other side we have this time just Mama Baer, who ‘… Plays Amy Winehouse’. Now I readily admit I never heard Winehouse’s music until day she died (honest confession, but then I don’t have a radio either), so I am not sure what to make of this piece. Lots of line hum, and Mama Baer reciting text/half half singing something with the very irregular strumming of a detuned guitar. Did someone say ‘outsider’? This might fit the description very well. Its great music, but I am the first to admit that this is surely not the easiest stuff around. I am however fascinated by the popularity of Baer and Hjuler. Its seems difficult to me, and yet so many people like it. Odd. This record builds further to that notoriety. (FdW)
Address: http://www.mndr.de/

BISCLAVERET & FEINE TRINKERS BEI PINKELS DAHEIM – BOTH SIDES OF THE LOOKING GLASS (7″ by Zahorum)
SENSITIVE DATA 2 (CD compilation by Zoharum)
A 7″ in an edition of 200 released with the help of the city of Gdansk – ‘city of freedom’. It has one side music by Bisclaveret, of whom I never heard. A trio of vocals, synthesizers and live sounds. The voice comes from beyond the grave and the whole music setting is rather ‘gothic’ (as in ‘black’, ‘raven’ ‘leather etc) and probably I just fail to see what it is all about. Or perhaps its just not my cup of tea. The other side as Jurgen Eberhard’s project Feine Trinkers Bei Pinkels Daheim, in an instrumental mood – thank god – of a likewise dark nature, but also more along the lines of older industrial music. Now this is more of my liking. Slightly distorted the needle scratches through the vinyl, and the Trinkers offer a nice collage like piece of metallic sounds and analogue electronics. Nice one.
On the same label, a label sampler, probably one of those items I dislike reviewing most. I probably reviewed many of the albums already, or will do so in the future. Zoharum presents here fifteen tracks taking from as many albums and some pieces are from releases now sold out, so they may count as rarities. Music by [haven], Inner Vision Laboratory, Ab Intra, Hoarfrost, Different State, Rapoon, X-Navi:et, Aabzu, Hybryds, Zenial, K. Stanislavsky, Ouroboros, M.x Marchoff & MJ Caroline Rider, Orrylle & Hermaphroditic Chaorder Of The Silver Dusk (I mean: what’s in a name nowadays?). Maybe they will add one to your order, next time you get a release from them? (FdW)
Address: http://www.zoharum.com

BALDUIN – MUSICAL IMAGES FOR HARPISCHORD (7″ by Everest Records)
Its been a long while since I heard ‘Rainbow Tapes’ by Swiss composer Balduin, who played twenty-four pieces on that LP, and which seemed in all its weirdness a bit outside of the world of Vital Weekly (see 671 in case you want to know what I talk about). I am not sure if he released anything in between, but here is a 7″ which just uses the harpischord, as the front cover calls it (and on the backside its called harpsichord). Four of the five pieces are inspired by paintings, while the fifth is a ‘portrait of a fictional figure. This painting doesn’t exist’. We are also informed that the harpsichord is tuned to 415hz, instead of the common 440hz, but I guess you need to be an expert (or Stephan Mathieu) to know what this is about. The paintings that formed the source of inspiration here, are old from around 1600 and I think its in this way we should think about the music. I am not the man to know such matters but it sounds quite baroque like, but in all it’s sketch like – its a 45 rpm 7″ after all – it also has some pop like quality. This is one of those things that leaves me quite puzzled, but also with a big smile. This is surely a most surreal product, topped in a like-wise fake classical cover. (FdW)
Address: http://www.everestrecords.ch

MACU – RETROSPECTIVEN (CDR by Inner Cinema)
The name Susanne Hafenscher popped up once in Vital Weekly, I think, in 810 when I reviewed a particularly vague release by Teatro Plagues. Here she has a release on her own and I learned that she is a trained classical pianist and guitarist, who changed to abstract and electronic music. Now she uses guitar, vocals, field recordings, all of which she processes in some way – computer no doubt. All of this leads, at least on this first CD to seven long (between five and sixteen minutes)  pieces of drone based music. Music that, I think, could serve with some additional mastering along the lines. Its all very soft, without one having the notion that it should be this soft. That’s a pity since I think fine mastering would have brought out so much more out of this. I put the volume quite up a bit to hear this. The music is all about drones, in which we sometimes recognize indeed voices, a guitar, bowed cymbals, but most of the times it stays like an mass of sounds, all put together and mixed close to each other. Lots of reverb has been used all around this music and the music remains closed off I think. Of course such things are in the nature of drone music I should think, but the linear development, the thickness of the music, it all has quite a claustrophobic feel to it. Its not bad, but perhaps a hot summer’s day is not the right day for such things. I am left behind with rather mixed feelings. (FdW)
Address: http://inner-cinema.com

MIKE MAJKOWSKI – TREMOLO (CDR by Avant Whatever)
Mixed by Jon Watts, its says on the cover, but what’s there to mix, as we have solo double bass playing here, and ‘this recording presents the music as it was performed live. no edits have been made’. So what’s there to mix? I think this is my first encounter with double bass player Mike Majkowski from down under, and has played with Jim Denley, Sam Pettigre, Chris Abrahams and others in various combinations but always within the realms of improvised music. Of the various possibilities of the use of tremolo, Wikipedia says for string instruments: “[…] is a rapid reiteration of a single note, particularly used on bowed string instruments and plucked strings such as harp, where it is called bisbigliando or “whispering””. Maybe we’d say that this nervous or hectic playing. This is the case here, but not exclusively, not all thirty-five minutes that this work last. The first half is actually relative soft spoken, and not always that hectic. Its after nineteen minutes that this picks up in volume, when Majkowski starts plucking the bass, more loud, more present. Majkowski has a variation of techniques which he uses, which makes this quite an interesting release. It lacks, obviously, the visual element, which is a pity since seeing this would be great. A fine, sturdy release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.avantwhatever.com

DEMENTIA AND HOPE TRAILS/SOFT PIECES (CDR by Seven1878)
JUSTIN MARC LLOYD – YEAR OF THE WATER DRAGON VOLUME 1 (cassette by Hello Rainbow Bridge)
Although I found these two in the same mailer, I am not sure what the relation is between the two. Both aren’t exactly overloaded with information, but websites do, a bit. Behind Dementia And Hope Trails we find Justin Marc Lloyd (and thus we have found our link), who works under a plethora of names, although I may only know just a little bit of his work. Under this particular guise he plays guitar and a whole of sound effects. He shoots at the sky with much reverb, but his music can have this overload and it crosses neatly the world of ambient fuzz into a wall of guitar sound. Heavenly, but the sky is clouded: it might rain any moment soon. Whoever Soft Pieces is I am not entirely, not even after looking at his website. His piece is called ‘Utility’ and has six pieces in total, ranging from forty-four seconds to eight-some minutes. Its not entirely soft pieces what is going on here, but not entirely noise either. Its electronic music for sure, cold and distant, perhaps working along some sort of analogue set-up. Its like a beast pushing buttons in a very mathematical way, precise but chaotic – if you catch my drift – especially in the final (long) piece. The shorter pieces are more monochrome pictures of oscillations and bleeps. You imagine yourself in the operation theatre, somewhere between half awake and half asleep, and you have no idea what’s happening next. Quite alright, this package.

More towards the world of noise is the release by Justin Marc Lloyd which he released under his own name. Two side long pieces, in total some sixty-two minutes of music. No information as to what has been used, but the website of the label tells us its ‘real time composition and recording’, and for all I know – which is never a lot – its an orchestral piece for plenty of dictaphones and stomp boxes. Its never really, true noise but its more heavy. The weather is hot, I’m sweating and reading Thomas Bey William Bailey’s book, which was reviewed by Harold Schellinx last week, on ‘unofficial audio’, and as such this release of course qualifies very well for such reading. If I would more observant, less sweaty, and perhaps less lazy (because of the weather), I would be all the more active in hearing. Years ago it was as hot as this for many days, and I remember, quite vividly, I played the entire Merzbox is one go, on days on end. Very much like I let this tape slip into repeat. I didn’t turn up the volume to ‘insane loud’, but rather enjoyed the stream of sounds that Lloyd produces here. Sometimes, in fact most of the times, loud and bursting, but when the circuits are bend enough it slips down into near silence – opening of ‘Medium Grounds For Senses’ for instance, but later things pick up again. Maybe on another day I’d be a bit more critical, but today I liked it. I could even play some Merzbow right after it. You know what: I just might as well do so. (FdW)
Address: http://www.seven1878.com
Address: http://hellorainbowbridge.blogspot.nl/

ALEXANDRE NAVARRO – SKETCHES (cassette by Constellation Tatsu)
BILLY GOMBERG – INTO THE FADE (cassette by Constellation Tatsu)
Last week things were a bit more quiet around the office, and with the kids around, it had the idea of a holiday, but then staying at home. It allowed me to play some music from old CDs, something which I don’t always get around to, and I played a whole bunch of zoviet*france CDs. Today, back in full work mode, I am again reminded of that, since I am listening to music by one Alexandre Navarro, of whom I never heard. His title is well chosen, since the thirteen pieces on this tape sound indeed like sketches – I think zoviet*france used the word ‘songlets’ in their days. Using a low form of sampling, like an ancient casio of perhaps a loop station, Navarro fills it up with guitar doodling, a bit of voices, a bit of percussion and from a few snippets of sounds which are sampled, and by feeding all of that through an extensive line of delay pedals to craft short, spacious song like pieces, or perhaps that should be piece-like songs. Highly atmospheric pop-like songs, mostly due to the brief character. I had this on repeat for a while all morning, while doing some other stuff and a lot of the times, I thought, ‘great stuff’, let’s play it again.
Its been a while since I last heard music by Billy Gomberg. So far I believe his work had to do with field recordings, but here its all about synthesizers and computers – or so the label’s website tells me. On side A we have the side long piece ‘Loom’ and here again I was reminded of zoviet*france, but then in the later work, say ‘What Is Not True’: slow developing spacious synth music, in which the full use of sound effects takes a while to unveil itself. The five shorter pieces on the other side have less of this influence, and work more towards a noise edge of things, with more heavy modulations at times working heavy on the eardrums. I thought this was all quite alright, but perhaps not to be played on repeat straight away. The Navarro release was more like Tapas: you can eat a lot of little snacks all the time, but the Gomberg dish was a heavy meal. Not easily to be repeated right away. But dishes were great however. (FdW)
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