Vital Weekly #824

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 someof the CDs (no vinyl or MP3) reviewed. It  will remain on the site for a limited period (most likely 2-4 weeks). Download the file to your MP3 player and enjoy!

Complete tracklist here:

before submitting material please read this carefully:

Submitting material means you read this and approve of this.

Help Vital Weekly to survive:

* noted are in this week’s podcast. Feed at


CAKEWALK – WIRED (CD by Hubro) *
PAIL BUG – PAIL BUG (CD by Generate Records)
CELER – TIGHTROPE (CD by Low Point) *
PLAISTOW – LACRIMOSA (CD by Insubordinations) *
NATUR 2 – BUTTERBUR (CD by Space Controller) *
ATHANA REMIXED 2012 NO:US (LP by West Audio Productions)
LARS LEONHARD – NO COMMENT (12″ by Bine Music)
LASSE-MARC RIEK – HARSH ENVIRONMENTS (cassette by Banned Productions)
GENERIC DEATH/VARUNIAN (split cassette by Truco Esparrago)
SHALOCINS – SISTER ARHYTHM (cassette by Put Your Hands Down)
PHIL JULIAN – TRANSCRIPT (cassette by Obsolete Units)
TWISTYCAT – SOLAR PLEXUS (cassette by Obsolete Units)
56K – GENERATIONS LOST (cassette by Notice Recordings)
KIKO C. ESSEIVA – PARCOURS FLECHE (cassette by Masters Chemical Society)

More music from David Velez, who was already responsible for the first
double CD on the mothership label Mystery Sea – see Vital Weekly 781
for that. This might be his first real CD – I am not sure. For this new
work he visited the farm ‘Las Margaritas’, where his aunt and uncle
have a farm house and recorded sounds around the farm for a few days.
There is a small river floating nearby, insects, old tractors, work on
the land, wind mobiles, the chimney and such like. Some of these sounds
and textures reminded me of the old farm I used to visit when on
holiday as a kid in Austria – in general, the slowness of life, as
opposed to the hectic of bigger cities. Velez put these sounds together
in a collage form that lasts some fifty minutes, of slowly moving
sounds from these many field recordings. Its hard to say wether these
field recordings are in any form processed, but somehow I don’t think
so. Its more a straight forward collage from life on the farm. For me
this invokes the feeling of holiday in my youth on that farm, and I
would immediately leave home and go there and spend two weeks on that
quiet farm in Austria. That is perhaps the best quality of a release
like this. One remembers something, based on what one hears – memories
of childhood and such like. Although perhaps as such nothing much new
seems to be happening in that specific world of field recordings, Velez
crafted one of the better works I heard from him. (FdW)

This CD comes with packaging that needs mentioning as well: the cover
is made of a two-fold cardboard sleeve with a really thick silver coat
and embossing on the front and a magnetic (!) closing strip, black and
silver print on the inside, all designed by Jasmin Moeller, great work
– but therefore also an edition of 100 copies, and still a real CD! The
music is made by a team that most of the readers will know: Robert
Deters (former Vance Orchestra) and Martin Luiten (Pick Up, Uw
Hypotheekadvies, Girlfriends). They use several (mainly) electronic
means to create sounds: samples, loops, field recordings, electronics
and strings. The disc contains four tracks of varying lengths. The
music is made up of loops and added sounds, resulting in tracks which
could be considered ambient, but are more vibrant and surprising then
most releases in that genre. In track three for example, a blue grass
guitar intermezzo closes the piece. Nice. In all this a release that
requires some in depth listening (as suggested in the duo’s name
maybe), but this will be rewarded.

What to play first in the morning? A daily, obviously recurring
question. It depends of course what is there. Right now I was looking
at various items, reviewed this week, some of which I already heard and
some I don’t, and decided to pick something I hadn’t heard – a risky
operation.  Ballrogg is a trio of Klaus Ellerhusen Holm on alto
saxophones, clarinet, electronics and field recordings, Roger Arntzen
on double bass and Ivar Grydeland on pedal steel guitar, acoustic
guitar, banjo and radio. They were a duo, sans guitar, before, but I
never heard that incarnation. Their background is in jazz and free
jazz, which is something one can easily hear in these four pieces, and
perhaps something I should leave with Dolf Mulder, Vital’s own
jazzpert, but there was something about it that I really liked. The
strings bring an added value to the music, which extend, for me at
least, beyond jazz. Maybe its a country like, americana feel that is
brought to the table, reminding me of chamber like music from Ben Vida
or Town & Country, especially when Grydeland uses his pedal steel
guitar. All players add a bit of experiment to their playing, that
occasional sip of feedback from the wind instruments, the scraping of
strings, on both guitar and bass, which make this is also less
traditional. The whole intimate setting of this music, like they are
sitting right in your living room, makes this a great CD to play when
you get up, early morning. Now if jazz would be more like this chamber
orchestra, I’d be all for it.

Also a trio is Cakewalk: Oystein Skar (synthesizers), Stephan Meidell
(guitar, bass and boxes) and Ivar Loe Bjornstad (drums). They have been
active with other bands such as Scared Harp, Highasakite, The Sweetest
Thrill and the Hedvig Mollestad Trio. If Ballrogg can be seen as
morning music, at least by me, then Cakewalk is perhaps best seen as
evening music. Music with a great drive and energy, taking cues from
rock music spiced with improvisation, and especially krautrock never
seems far away. Especially when the train has left the station, the
ball gets rolling and, the drums are on, then its on. Guitar and
synthesizer add drone like, sustaining sounds, but here too the element
of rock seems never far away. In ‘Soil’ we get a moment of rest, but
its a sparse moment among the driving forces. The title piece is a more
straight forward rock anthem it seems. Maybe this is all a bit too much
unVital like, but I must admit this morning versus evening music was
well enjoyed by me. (FdW)

A collection of 7 works by Ensemble Pamplemousse, a collective of
performers and composers with a shared vision and passion for
discovering new vistas of sound. Their names:  Natacha Diels
(flute, composer), Kiku Enomoto (violin, photographer), Rama Gottfried
(composer), David Broome (piano, composer), Jessie Marino (cello,
composer) and Andrew Greenwald (composer). 2002 was their starting
point. This first (?) release proves that they succeeded in
establishing a very unique sonic world of ‘small music’. Don’t ask me
why I  to call it that way. But it has something to do with their
performance and compositions. There is a concept of simplicity behind
these works and a concentration on elementary material. The
compositions are built from small gestures, which make this music very
sympathetic and human.  Their first disc contains three works that
are all about “an exploration of codependent relationships in sound and
music.” The four works on the second disc focus on ‘exploitative
self-limitation’. The compositions made a strong imprint on me. Good
stuff, spread out on two CDs. Silence is an important ingredient of
most compositions, but also detailed complexity, short runs of hyper
action, and also – not to forget – a sense of humor. The playing is
virtuoso and inspired. All together fantastic playful modern chamber
music full of magic and wit. Surely this one will make many friends.

PAIL BUG – PAIL BUG (CD by Generate Records)
Pail Bug is Dietrich Eichmann (piano), John Hughes (double bass),
Astrid Wiens (double bass) and Jeff Arnal (percussion). A unusual line
up, that’s the first thing we can say. It is only the name of Jeff
Arnal that did ring a bell. I reviewed two excellent duo albums by him
with Aaron Dugan and Michael Evans, released by C3R. The recording on
this release is already of some time ago. It was recorded on December
9, 2009 at Vivaldisaal in Berlin Germany in one session. No idea if
this quartet is still in existence, and if so, if this recording
reflects where there are today. Probably not. Because we are in the
company of some very good improvisers, who are constantly heading for
something new. German composer and pianist Dietrich Eichmann first
studied with Alexander von Schlippenbach (piano) and Wolfgang Rihm
(composition). Cecil Taylor, Bernd Alois Zimmermann, Luigi Nono, and
Morton Feldman, a.o. are his points of reference. In 2002 started his
duo work with Jeff Arnal, a highly original percussionist. Arnal
studied orchestral percussion and composition. But same as Dietrich
Eichmann he is also a very capable improviser. John Hughes is active in
the jazz and improvisation community of Hamburg, playing with numerous
improve groups and projects. Weins worked extensively with Peter
Kowald. So far the crew. There improvisations are very concentrated and
a lot happens. They chose different angels in the improvisations. The
second one starts from repetitive motives from the piano. The third
starts with a dialogue between two basses with some coloring by Arnal.
Throughout fantastic interplay between the musicians is to be enjoyed.
There several moments on this cd where the music really lifts you up
into something beyond. Great intense work. (DM)

The recording of this one took place at Carleton University in Ottawa,
where Stewart teaches music composition. Jesse Stewart is a multi
talent : percussionist, composer, improviser, artist, instrument
builder, teacher, etc. writer. As a musician, he works primarily in the
areas of jazz, new music, and free improvisation. On this cd we meet
him as a percussionist.Oliveros is a veteran who needs no further
introduction. She is around already four decades. She developed the
‘Deep listening’ concept that was about incorporating environmental
sounds into the performance. Also accordion became her main instrument
of expression. But she never left electronics completely aside, as this
release proves. Here she plays an accordion that has a built in
synthesizer. She can choose to make it sound like an accordion but also
like some other instruments. In a piece  like ‘Pound’ she
introduces human voice. Sometimes sounds of evident electronic nature.
In 11 short pieces both players develop dynamic interactions and
textures. Not in all pieces I felt a clear sense for direction or focus
and I felt bored. But they are also very fine moments to be enjoyed
where everything works. (DM)


Perhaps I am misinformed or (dazed &) confused, but I thought Will
Long wasn’t recording any new material as Celer, since his wife and
co-member of Celer passed away. But this new work was recorded late
2010. Long used some of the source material here in a concert in Tokyo
in November with Opitope and Corey Fuller and quickly put together when
he got back home. Then he decided to move to Japan where he now lives.
‘Tightrope’ is basically a collage of twenty-four separately titled
pieces, which are layered upon layer, and then mixed together.
According to the press text these sources include piano, television,
synthesizers, fire crackling in the fireplace, whistling, pipe organ,
eating ice, acoustic guitar, laptop, an afternoon conversation, a
medicine drip buzzer, car noise, his ringtone, contact microphones and
other he doesn’t remember. I am quoting this so extensively, as I think
its funny. Funny, because if you hear this, you’d be one hell of a
listener if you could pick any of this out. Now, you could say ‘many
layers, so its blurred’, but that is also not the case. It rather seems
to me that there is a lot of time stretching on all of these sounds,
which is then put together into a piece of music that lasts seventy
minutes, but which could have easily lasted three hours or thirty
minutes – depending I guess what your prefer. The time stretching adds
a digital edge to some of these sounds which made it for at least a bit
too digital at times. I am not sure if I was aware of that in Celer’s
previous works. Throughout a fine piece, one that won’t disappoint the
true Celer fans, but not one that sets out for a new course.

Currently on tour are Celer, Machinefabriek and the two Kleefstra
brothers, Jan and Romke. The brothers first gained attention when they
started working with Machinefabriek. Romke plays guitar, just as
Machinefabriek did, and Jan is the poet. Since then they have expanded
to working with others, such as Gareth Davis, Nils Frahm, Greg Haines
and Peter Broderick. Here is a new record by them, recorded with
Chris-Anne Bakker, of whom I never heard, but who also plays guitar and
effects. Three long pieces here, which sound along lines they have
already set out: long sustaining guitars, lots of looping effects and
Jan’s dark and moody poetry in the Frysian language (to call it a Dutch
dialect is an insult to the speakers). His poetry doesn’t sound all
along these pieces, as the main weight is still the music. On ‘Stadich
Joust My In Han’ (‘slowly you shake my hand’) one of the guitars sound
like an electro-acoustic rumble, until full on echo effects take over
the scenery. The other side has two pieces and have a somewhat more
clear duel between a guitar with e-bow and one that uses strumming.
Desolate drone music. If you were looking for something new to happen
with these brothers, then you won’t find it on this record. That is,
perhaps, a downside of it. What the Kleefstra brothers do is very
restricted, looping drone guitars and Jan’s desolate sounding poetry,
and I wonder what else could be done. Doing many of records like this,
however great they are by themselves, is, I think not a way to follow.

Although around for a long time, it wasn’t until Vital Weekly 815 that
we reviewed something again by Jon Attwood, better known as Yellow6.
That was a collaborative work with French Larkian, but in spring time
last year he toured the lowlands, Belgium, The Netherlands and France,
performing at the Tonefloat tf100 festival (along with Dirk Serries as
Sleep Of Reason) and in Antwerp at the Live Looping Festival. That is a
well-chosen name for a festival where people like Yellow6 perform.
Basically a man, a guitar and loop devices. His three pieces from that
festival are captured in audio and film, and both can heard and
watched. On the CD there are also six pieces recorded from the
audience, so we have a curious mixture of guitar playing and audience
activities, although which is very quiet most of the time. These six
pieces have been manipulated by David Newlyn. Like I remarked when
reviewing the collaborative CD with Larkian, this kind of music hardly
progresses, and probably doesn’t want to either. With all of this audio
and video material, quite an overload. As a music lover I should say I
enjoyed the CD more, but that’s not entirely true. The CD contains
great music, but perhaps music that I also know well quite now.
Therefore I had more joy here with the DVD, especially his playing at
the Live Looping festival, which lasts thirty minutes. Its interesting
to see Attwood at work, playing few notes and then starting to loop
them around, adding a few more, more loops, a texture, a strum, loop
and loop. The floor is covered with all sorts of boxes to transform
sounds, color them, change them. Attwood is playing them with great
care and hardly a guitar hero, rock god type of musician. On the DVD
there is a bunch more of bonus material, such as a spacious film and
likewise spacious soundtrack by various film makers and even a slide
show of tour pictures. Video and images work well together here and
that’s nice. But obviously sometimes you just want to sit back and
enjoy ‘just’ music and then the CD is perhaps the best alternative.
Like said, in this particular world ‘innovation’ doesn’t seem to be
that important, but quality is delivered no less. An excellent tour
report. (FdW)

PLAISTOW – LACRIMOSA (CD by Insubordinations)
For his eleven pieces for prepared piano, Erdem Helvaciouglu pays
homage to some of his favorite film directors (Lynch, Kieslowski,
Angelopoulos, Campion, Ki-Duk, Soderberg), but the titles do not refer
to any of them especially, but rather scenes from movies. Me no film
buff, I could say to which movies these scene belong. Turkish composer
Helvacioglu has composed electronic music, which we reviewed in Vital
Weekly 675, but here its the prepared piano, which he prepared with
pencils, erasers, paper, plastic and metal spoons, knives, forks,
drumsticks, guitar plectrums and slides, e-bows, metal plates,
clapsticks, ear plugs, paperclips, a toy train and a 60s fashion
magazine (in case you are ever near piano, you know what to try out,
but be sure to use the strings inside). The music is throughout what I
would lump in with the modern classical world, and John Cage never
seems far away, but overall Helvacioglu has a melodic touch also, a
melodic melancholiac touch that is. Indeed the sort of music you would
imagine to go along art house movies – long open camera shots of an
empty park, with one bench in the middle, with a person sitting on it.
From the far right somebody walks slowly to the bench and ‘Trapped In
The Labyrinth’ is the soundtrack. I can all too easily imagine that
happening. Normally I am not the biggest lover of modern classical
music, but for this lovely solo prepared piano I very gladly make an

The piano also plays a role on the CD by Plaistow, a trio with pianist
Johann Bourquenez, electric bass player Raphael Ortis and Cyril Bondi
on drums. They got their name from Suqarepusher’ ‘Plaistow Flex Out’,
but there is no link to drum & bass, but they are called ‘post
jazz’, which made me raise an eyebrow. But I am reviewing it, so it
must be something less jazz? It is. The piano opens up with a
repetitive motive which he continues for a long time. Drum and bass
slowly walk into the music and from then a very minimal piece of jazz
music unfolds for the next nine minutes, which then moves into another
part of the same piece. Its the title piece and it lasts almost
twenty-three minutes, and its an excellent piece. It slowly unfolds but
never really expands or takes a different shape. For me that would have
been enough. Steve Reich on a post-jazz roll? The second and last
piece, ‘Cube’ is a more jazz like piece, with the drums playing a much
active part, and the piano playing two minimal tones, with the bass in
a supporting. Here too the piece is broken up in two parts. The piano
continues but we land in a more improvised piece, especially the drums,
but coming to back the original tune. Now that’s jazz! But certainly
jazz owing to post rock and most of all minimal music. Is there more
like this? I might become a jazz-fan. (FdW)

Vital Weekly is not firstly known for their reviews of pop music. And
yet that is what the Rooftop Runners present on ‘We are here’. This CD
with its confident title is basically an EP with four tracks of simple
yet progressive pop with roots in the past, but firmly rooted in the
present. The two brothers Macisaac play guitars, synths and drum
computers tracks that clock at just over four minutes. They both sing
and give a convincing vocal performance, somewhere in between Baths and
Fujiya & Miyagi. It seems as if these minimalistic, but strong
songs are merely the beginning of what Rooftop Runners have in store
for the world. So keep an ear out.

NATUR 2 – BUTTERBUR (CD by Space Controller)
Here’s a case of a label who just discovered Vital Weekly and taking
the opportunity to send a CD release from 2006 and 2008, plus 4 others
(go figure how well that submission link is read that we put at the top
of every Vital Weekly) which may or may not be from 2011 or 2012. Ok,
well, ‘Butterbur’ is actually a release from March 2012, so let’s start
with that. Natur 2 is a trio of Jan Minkvad, Peter Sorensen and
labelboss Jakob Brandt-Pedersen. Their aim is to  ‘explore the
idea of making electronic music – without electronics’. To that end
they use ‘unmodified natural objects, no amplification, no tonal or
rhythmical elements and the music should be improvised based on rules
and propositions’. Some of these pieces are site specific. Not really a
new concept, think for instance of Jeph Jerman and his Animist
Orchestra. The five pieces here, lasting close to an hour, have a very
improvised feel to it, and while its not bad, I found it hard to get
into this. ‘Action music’ would be a more appropriate name for this and
I am sure that is a well lighted concert setting, this will make more
sense. On CD it comes across as just ‘nice’ rumble, which doesn’t yet
translated to great music. But as said, this surely works better live.

ATHANA REMIXED 2012 NO:US (LP by West Audio Productions)
LARS LEONHARD – NO COMMENT (12″ by Bine Music)
Hot on the heels of the Athana collaborative release with Schanche –
see Vital Weekly 819 – here is another new record and its the successor
to ‘Athana Remixed 0508’ (Vital Weekly 630). Back then I had no idea
what I was dealing with, as I never heard of Athana before. Now, four
years later, I have, and I still have some reservations against the
whole remix thing, but I guess this lot brings the music into new
circles. Two US remixers and two from Norway, with twice the same song
remixed, ‘I.O. Roni’ and ‘Picazzo’. I never heard of any of the four
remixers at hand, Ost & KJex, Mungolian Jetset, Uberzone and
Desantis. Like the previous remix project, these four pieces (more a
12″ than a LP perhaps) are all from the world of techno and house. It
sounds pretty good, I’d say, but I am perhaps not the right person to
discuss the differences in the labyrinth of styles that techno/house
has become. It sounds good, the weather is sunny, what more could you
want? An enjoyable record, and perhaps one that will find its way to DJ
turntables around the world. Let’s hope so.

And perhaps I could write the same thing about Lars Leonhard’s new 12″.
On one side Leonhard remixes his own ‘No Comment’, besides offering an
‘original edit’, on the other side we have remixes by Sven
Schienhammer, T. Touzimsky and Scanner (all label mates). In his own
work Leonhard – see also the review of his ‘1549’ in Vital Weekly 798 –
combines dub, dance and ambient music, and as I predicted a return of
ambient house – actually for a while now – this fits in perfect with
that. Lots of waving synthesizers with delay techniques to create that
dub like feel and slow dubby rhythm at the core of it all. Sample-less,
this could be great intro pieces for extended Orb tracks, but its not
yet entirely dance floor material. The remixes on the other side are
more related to the dance floor, owing more to techno than to ambient
music. Nice stuff indeed. Weather is still warm, you can sit outside
and your feet taps along the 4/4 rhythm. (FdW)

LASSE-MARC RIEK – HARSH ENVIRONMENTS (cassette by Banned Productions)
Gruenrekorder director Lasse-Marc Riek is also a composer of work
dealing with field recordings. Don’t let the title of his latest
cassette scare you away: its far from ‘Harsh Environments’. Apparently
these field recordings were taped from 2006-2010, but the way it
sounds, made me think its more or less one piece spread out over the
two sides of the tape. It sounds like the sea, but taped from some
distance, which means ‘harsh’ is not really the right word. Maybe there
has been some sort of editing, actually I am sure it has, but it
doesn’t sound like it. One piece, thirty or so minutes of static sea
like sounds. Its the kind of stuff that fits perfect on the medium of
cassette – not exactly aiming to have a fixed composition, but rather a
sketch, or a notion of a work. Perfect stuff to incorporate into a live
DJ set of similar sounds, sketches and notions. At that its hard to say
if this really good (or not, perhaps). It is what it is. (FdW)

GENERIC DEATH/VARUNIAN (split cassette by Truco Esparrago)
These band names suggest noise and to some extend they are about noise.
Generic Death ‘was born in 2010 when Dopi (Machetazo, Deadmask,
Ruinebell) decided to discharge his frustration against the current
state of the underground scene into a recording studio’. There has been
some releases on vinyl already. It suggests punk & noise I guess,
with a forty-seven track on 12″, but here they have one longer track
(ten minutes) called ‘Continuity Of Deception’ which is a more like
metal noise sort of thing within the rock line up (drums, bass, guitar,
vocals), but it lacks aggression and punch. This is, I would think,
largely due to the medium of cassette, which seems to compress the
presence of the much needed attention for sonic detail in such music.

The other side is by Roberto Bustabad (Machetazo, Banished From
Inferno), who works as Varunian. He rises up from the world with dark
ambient in the early stages of his track, but comes in crashing with a
blend of loud noise and sonic depth and then slowly dies out again,
arriving at where things started in the first place. Here the quality
is marginally better, but it immediately improves the music which is a
good thing. For me the Varunian side was the better of the two, but I
guess its always fine to see ‘other’ music on tape too. (FdW)

SHALOCINS – SISTER ARHYTHM (cassette by Put Your Hands Down)
Put Your Hands Down is a tape label ‘solely in existence to release
recordings by RN Juristo and his solo projects, bands and
collaborations’ it says on the xeroxed flyer. Aesthetic wise this is
down right very 80s: xeroxed cover, type writer font kind of thing.
Juristo has ‘solo projects and bands’ by such names as Plonk Moist,
Claridomens and Shalocins. Of the latter I received ‘Sister Arhythm’ a
forty minute with two twenty minute pieces. Here too we dive in retro
world: crudely cut tape loops, with some sound effects. Vastly layered
from a bunch of sound sources, all hard to define in this mass/mess of
sounds. ‘Will Power Weed’ on the b-side is harsher than the title piece
on the a-side, which I liked in the end more. The loops are also
shorter on the b-side, which gives a short rhythmic aspect to the
music. With a bit of will, you can say that he resembles Vivenza on
that side, and Boyd Rice (circa ‘Black Album’) on the title piece.
Nice, but is forty as good as twenty? Or even ten minutes? I am not
sure if this length works better for the amount of information it

But Juristo knows his way and so the other release is two parts of the
same title, ‘messing with each other field recordings and concrete
sounds’, it says on the cover. Also twice twenty minutes.  Part
one shows similar layering as the a-side of ‘Sister Arythm’, which is
not too much, and not too noisy, but it works nice. I am reminded of
Domaine Poetique, which was the 80s collaboration of Jerman with John
Hudak. The other side however is even less layer-based and here it
works even better. The rumble and dirt of concrete sounds of unknown
origin and wind blowing down microphones make up an almost poetic piece
of the dirtier kind of field recording. Raw and mildly intense I’d say.
Here too I might argue its five minutes too long on either side, but
throughout its a highly enjoyable release. (FdW)
Address: <>

PHIL JULIAN – TRANSCRIPT (cassette by Obsolete Units)
TWISTYCAT – SOLAR PLEXUS (cassette by Obsolete Units)
For a long time best known as Cheapmachines, Phil Julian now works,
from time to time, under his own name, and while I am not sure what
makes the difference, his output has always been quite diverse. From
noise to ambient to electro-acoustic and anything that might make a
cross-over between all of that. Here he returns to lo-fi sound sources:
blank cassette tapes (bulk erased, endless loop, vintage, new),
cassette decks (stereo, mono), personal stereo and dictaphones and the
music is recorded with cassette recorder, telephone induction cells,
close-range VLF detector, piezo & pvdf film tab contact
microphones. ‘Transcript’ has two parts and it makes up quite a minimal
set of works, hissy, scratchy but also spacious and mildly noise based.
An excellent choice, I’d say, to put these works out on cassette, and
unlike some others of this week, the overall sound quality is very
good. Julian knows how to construct his sound pieces to keep them both
minimal yet interesting and works along the lines of Howard Stelzer in
that respect, but also Joe Colley and Jason Zeh as an influence is
never far away. Excellent cassette all around.

TwistyCat has had releases on Obsolete Units before, but I am not sure
if I reviewed them. TwistyCat is a duo of Ed Bear (baritone saxophone,
electronics, radio) and Lea Bertucci (bass clarinet, electronics,
tapes). This sort of line up might lead to ‘improvisation’ and surely
the music here is generated along such lines, but it has an interesting
quality along the lines of ‘drones’ and ‘minimalism’ too. Building up
slowly, from electro-acoustic rumble (found sound from tapes, radio, I
assume) to long sustaining sounds on the respective wind instruments,
with a low end rumble, the electronics I should think. The other side
seems to be exactly the same working method, but then in reverse.
Starting out with similar sustaining wind instrument, spacing out in a
more sparse manner, with the present electronics moving out or
(ear-)range also over the course of these fifteen minutes, opening up
like flower. Sparse means are used to create a distant and widening
musical journey. Excellent sound quality here too, marking an excellent
release. (FdW)

56K – GENERATIONS LOST (cassette by Notice Recordings)
Josh Burke is the man behind 56K. Before that he worked as Sky
Limousine, Ocean Diamond, Silk Fountain and other names, but now its
56K. Apparently in all of these projects, the synthesizer is his main
instrument, and so its here. ‘Voices’ opens with voices from an
otherwise empty hall, with waving synth tones, but its more an
introductionary piece. The other pieces showcase a classic Tangerine
Dream sound of long sustaining synthesizer sounds, but only once with
the arpeggio held down. Otherwise spaciously meandering about but with
a nice lo-fi edge to it, like so many of similar artists had in the
eighties, think ‘Visions’ compilation on Third Mind, YHR tapes,
Neumusik and the works of Enno Velthuys to name but a few. Of course
this fits nicely with the resurrection of cosmic music in recent years,
which made me think: with such fine quality, why hasn’t nobody released
Josh Burke on record yet? Or perhaps I am mistaken, which is no doubt
possible. So aspiring A&R managers on the look out for cosmic
talent: 56K!

In the mid 90s Kirk Marrison (member of the band Kiln) and Charlie Nash
(Arsenal and Rhys Chatman) formed Waterwheel and they were supposed to
release two records on Alley Sweeper Records, but only one, ‘Panchroma’
was released. The second was shelved, but ‘Waterwheel Windmill’ is that
record, so about fifteen years too late. Too late? That is of course a
matter of opinion. Late for what? If its good then its never too late.
Nash is the guitarist, just as Marrison, who also plays keyboards, by
which I assume we can also understand sampling. Although the music is
old, it hasn’t aged and these experimental musings are still valid
today. The guitar is sampled together and transformed to create
rhythmic patterns, on top of which more guitars are being played. While
abstract in some of the direct guitar playing, the sampling is what
makes it a more musical release. Somehow I was thinking: ‘wow, this
would have been a nice release for Multimood’, sitting nicely along Rob
Angus, Brannon Hungness and those guys (but a quick search learned me
that label is gone) – that whole mid nineties scene of experiment,
ambient, abstract yet always somehow vaguely melodic and musical. This
should have been released at the time when it was made and on CD. Good
to see it out anyway. (FdW)

KIKO C. ESSEIVA – PARCOURS FLECHE (cassette by Masters Chemical Society)
Back in Vital Weekly I reviewed a CDR collaboration of Eric Boros (also
known as Hermit) with swiss Kiko C. Esseiva. I didn’t know who he was,
and still I know nothing. On this release the only thing that we are
told is that its musique concrete and it was realized between 2009 and
2010. Four pieces, two relatively short and two longer. The website
says: “An interrogation of mundane reality by self-taught musique
concrète artist Kiko C. Esseiva. “Parcours Fléché” (or “Arrow marked
path”) represents modern life as a tightrope walk from childhood to
death. Sounds of work and leisure recur, entangle & deform. Larger
patterns are revealed. These are the rhythms of our days, seen at great
remove. Working with elderly tape machines and digital editing, Esseiva
has constructed something profound from the moments we ignored.” A day
in the life? We hear someone sleeping, an alarm clock, music – a
classical that I know but can’t place – people gathering and then sleep
again and then get up again. Quite a ‘concept’ piece I’d say, and
although nothing new to depict such a day, Esseiva works out things
quite nicely. His sound sources seem sampled together and involves a
bit of turntablism I think and has a plunderphonic like character at
times, especially when it comes to sampled orchestral movements. In a
world that usually has ‘abstract’ pieces without a story, Esseiva is a
bit of anomaly, but an anomaly that delivered a fine work. Not just
because its different, but also just because its very good. Great
choice of sounds, put together in an intelligent way, and with great
care for the composition. (FdW)