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Dark ambient _industrial_noise_Death Industrial_Orchestral,_Power Electronics_Neoclassical_martial_dark folk

2LP Thomas Watkiss "Ancestor-Phase I-Silence" (The Seventh Media)

Dark Ambient & Experimental Drone Newcomer aus Pennsylvania (USA), sein Debut-Album ist Sitting Bull gewidmet und taucht thematisch ein in die Mythen von Abstammung & Geschichte der Menschheit. Illustriert wird das von zum Teil archaischen, recht rauhen & gurgelnden Drones, aber auch sanftere Elektronik-Wallungen kommen vor und geheimnisvolles Oberton-Geflüster... das alles wurde effektvoll in Szene gesetzte mit Gitarre, Bass & Synth / Computer. Limitierte & nummerierte Vinyl-Version im wunderschönen Klappcover.

"This ambitious, hour-long dark-ambient soundscape composition is certainly one of the finest we've heard in years. The basic concept seems to be rooted in the depths of human history and experience on Earth, and this is expressed primarily through gentle washes of electronics, computer generated sounds, and very heavily processed electric guitar and bass, occasionally building to dramatic intensity. This is divided into 12 parts, each of which stands alone with its individual theme, but also works naturally with the others to form the entire composition. The double LP version comes in a very nicely designed gatefold sleeve in a hand-numbered limited edition of 500."

    CD Thomas Watkiss "Ancestor-Phase I-Silence" (The Seventh Media)

CD Thomas Watkiss "ANCESTOR PHASE 2: MACHINE" (The Seventh Media)

Dark ambient/Drone/Industrial

As announced back in Vital Weekly 623, Thomas Watkiss is busy to release a trilogy. 'Silence' was the opening, now its time for 'Machine', which comes in the form of a double CD. One CD has phase two, the other has a live recording from Norway from Autumn of 2008. The new album moves away from the dark ambient music of 'Silence' and the machines are set in motion. The landscape he depicts is that of an empty industrial site - at night of course. Hit perhaps by a nuclear blast a few days ago, smoke everywhere. Or maybe after an invasion of bugs. Its certainly not a pleasant world - but perhaps its our modern world indeed. Maybe the reality is not so pleasant? More than before, but this is merely an assumption, it seems to me that he is using synthesizers, sound effects and computer manipulation, rather than guitars, or bass like on the previous. Well, perhaps he does play them, but then its less obvious. In the live version, spanning two long pieces, in which things are a bit more stretched out then in his studio work, taking more time to develop his music. Here he seems to be combining the dark ambient of 'Silence', with bits of the more bleak industrial nightmares of 'Machine' - a combination that works wonderfully well. It made me curious to hear the third part by now. (FdW)


CD Thomas Watkiss "Ancestor" (The Seventh Media)

"Side 1 of this dark ambient single features a fragment of one part from the album, while side 2, "Southern Venom/Trail," would fit very well with the other pieces on the album. Quite long for a 7", this is eerie, foreboding and at points distinctly malevolent. Packed in a full color hardboard sleeve with similar design to the album art."


CD Thomas Watkiss "Of Victory and victim" (The Seventh Media)

For example, Of Victory and Victim (2007) is a compilation of edited tracks from the first five unreleased albums recorded in Stockholm between 2004 - 2005. Watkiss' recordings have mostly included bass improvisations, minimal synth pieces, sound-for-picture works and sound art installations including: Consume(behave) for Stiftelsen 3,14, Bergen Norway 2008, Sounds for Olle Baertling exhibition film, Modernamuseet 2007, Trestle (2xCD installation for Gallerian, Stockholm 2006) to name a few. All liscensed work for film or space will be available through the Seventh Media.


Avant-garde_Contemporary_Electroacoustic_musique concrète_field recording_experimental_drone_abstract electronics_ambient_modern classical_dreamscape_turntables_cut-up

CD Arthur Cantrill "Chromatic mysteries-soundtracks 1963-2009 (Shame File Music)

Chromatic Mysteries is a collection of soundtracks of moviemaker Arthur Cantrill from Australia. It is a overview of tracks from 1963 till now. Arthur Cantrill has been making movies with his partner Corinne for more than 50 years. The CD is released with a 16 page booklet with a lot of information about the music of Arthur Cantrill. Arthur Cantrill himself writes about how he creates his music and his development into music. He uses fieldrecordings, voice, radio, music instruments and tape recorders to compose his beautiful music. This CD is really a feast for the ears. The sounds are pure, not dated in a specific period and varied. Lots of his compositions are filled with the sound of birds and other nature sounds. Other compositions are made by radiosounds, piano and a female singing voice. Most of the sounds are generated by equalizers, computer, tape-recorders, playing with speed and playback. I can spend a lot of words to this release, but I will not do it, because every word is too much. Chromatic Mysteries is highly recommended and one of the best CDs of this year so far. (JKH)/Vital weekly



CD Peter Grummich plays Staubgold "Dinner Music For Clubbers"(Staubgold)

At first sight, the combination seems highly unlikely: On the one side, there's Peter Grummich, techno DJ and producer with a reputation of being one of Berlin's foremost party animals. With releases on Kompakt and Shitkatapult to his name, it seems he is wearing "a rumble-rave halo". On the other side, there's the Staubgold-label, a notorious A-Musik-supplier, which for the past ten years (take note!) has "addressed the synapses in head as well as the feelings on a gut level" (Leipziger Volkszeitung) on more than 80 releases.

One look at the motto on Grummich's myspace site reveals the common denominator: "No boundaries, just hot shit with love." Taking a closer look at the man reveals a more complex portrait (of, well, the artist) than most would have thought. Wrote Sascha Koesch in German electronic music magazine De:Bug: "His propinquity to Shitkatapult plus the occasional album on Kompakt make it almost inevitable, that most people will utter a finger-wagging and grinning 'Ouch!' when his name is mentioned. But if there is one thing that Grummich does not have, it is a rumble-rave halo. He hates rock snares, but loves italo (and disco in general). His father had been a DJ, and Grummich himself has been working the turntables for the last two decades, and – to make the confusion complete – he has been working for Discomania and released on Braintist."

"Dinner Music For Clubbers" presents music for the time before and after one hits the floor. No dance music, but music to listen to, which inspires, stimulates and gently widens one's aural perception (a kind of "vespertine music" if you will) – a complete menu, from the aperitif to the digestive. Thus this mix cd is Grummich's alternative draft (or, to put it more blatantly: the opposite) to the uniform "Buenavistabuddhabar"-ambient, which rules the cafés, bars and hip restaurants of this world with an iron fist.



LP D_RRADIO "Parts" (Distraction)

Musique climatique orchestral.

They've done it again.  Just when the plaudits were coming in for the self-titled debut album, d_rradio leaped forward and stunned listeners with their sterling 2CD opus 'Leaves' on Symbolic Interaction.  And now comes parts, d_rradio's biggest release yet!  They embrace more earthly and serene elements on this one, bleak and stark atmospheric drones from a primeval forest of crackle and hum; golden hues of evening; passages of ambient sparseness sprinkled with deft hints of the orchestral. . . and all the while the hiss of a hundred tired, well-loved 78s remains a constant thread, a tangible hook stirring nostalgia while simultaneously breaking new ground.  This is not IDM.  This music both thinks, feels and oozes with humanity.



CD Ian D Hawgood "Tents and Hills" (Humming Conch)

Ian Hawgood needs no introduction. He has released an enormous number of releases under different monikers on countless labels, free mp3’s as well as physical releases. And besides that musical output he also runs three labels.

“Tents and Hills” was released by luvsound back in March 2008 as a 4-track EP. Shortly after the release Ian recorded 4 additional tracks. I first heard the tracks back in 2007 when Ian contacted me to release some of his music on Resting Bell. I fell in love with the first 4 tracks within seconds. The main theme through the whole record is a kind of organic, natural feeling. Especially on the bonus tracks Ian uses field-recordings from hiking and camping, woven together with droning soundscapes.

Enjoy “Tents and Hills” in its wholeness, with about 50 minutes complete duration.
Illustrator Kati Meden also reworked the graphic-design for this CD-edition.



CD Jeph Jerman "Metal drift" (Fissür)

"Metal drift" is a collage of contact mic recordings of found metal; dicarded vehicles and appliance, abandoned structures, downed fences, broken furnitures or other detritus populating the desert surrounding the town i live in. Everything was recorded on a portable mini-disc recorder and transferred to cdrs. The final mix was done live using several cd players and a four-channel mixer. No processing of any kind was used".



CD Myo "memory gospel" (zeromoon)

Intelligent noise music label ZEROMOON is proud to release MEMORY GOSPEL, the newest release from MYO, the solo project of Cory O’Brien – self-taught hacker, computer musician and electro-acoustic improviser.

Memory Gospel reads as sonic text wherein tones are stretched to their breaking points; sounds twist and turn inwards onto themselves; numerations of crackling static and looped feedback shatter and then recontextualize in a perfect illogical reasoning; all culminating in the title track’s rhythmic pulse-signaling.

The sounds of Memory Gospel are mini-soundtracks informed by greater occurrences: Digital Overboard / Lipoma 08 and Emergent Citrus Feedback Multiphonics / Lipoma 02 v2 by O’Brien’s week-long recovery from a lipoma removed in spring 2009; People Are So God Damn Fucking Selfish and Memory Gospel were recorded during the recession slump in late 2008, during an uncertain future; with the remainder of tracks recorded in winter 2009.

In a similar pattern where harmonics and timber are altered in prepared piano or guitar work, Myo has created a new audiology of ‘prepared’ electronics: “It is digital noise that got confused and thinks its analog shortwave feedback,” states O’Brien. “The whole thing was done with a very raw and gritty aesthetic.”

“louder, dirtier, gritty and angular, but still with ingredients of microsound…” ~ vital weekly



CD Tomas Phillips "Quartet for instruments" (Humming Conch)

Relying predominantly on acoustic instrumentation, Quartet for Instruments compounds exploratory inspiration, precision, and elegance to create a work that is both evocative and absolute.

As a well-versed artist with many distinct styles, Tomas Phillips has released works on such notable labels as Trente Oiseaux, Line, NVO, and Koyuki, as well as having an extensive background in contemporary literature and fine arts.

Created with piano, clarinet, minimal electronics, and cello during a two-month residency program at Headlands Center for the Arts, outside of San Francisco, California, Quartet for Instruments stands as a delicate, yet flourishing example of directional music, set in a gentle, free-flowing pathway.

The piece is very much an extension of Intermission/Six Feuilles (Line, 2006), which attempted to harness various influences into a focused, composition-driven work. Where Quartet for Instruments
differs is in the depth of its arrangement and in the fact that it utilizes recordings (mostly piano and clarinet) of improv. Thus, it operates at the midpoint between composition and improvisation.

Like Intermission/Six Feuilles, it is also a fairly demanding piece in the sense that it relies on an aesthetic of duration with minimal repetition. It does contain movements, though these are not necessarily independent of one another; the piece is intended to function as a singularity with decisive variations.



LP Tiago Sousa & João Correia "Insónia" (Humming Conch)

As founder and main operator of the Merzbau label (pioneering netlabel in Portugal, home to some of the most solid and consequential new names in the portuguese scene, such as Lobster, B Fachada, Noiserv, Frango or Walter Benjamin) Tiago Sousa had always shown an attention to novelty and an healthy disregard for genres or for playing it safe. Merzbau came to an end, earlier this year, having fulfilled its mission and its destiny, with some of it’s front runners attaining considerable attention and even success in the portuguese scene.

Come 2009. Merzbau has reached its end with a feeling of mission accomplished. Tiago Sousa, in the meantime, had assumed a surprising solo career, with the release of Crepúsculo, Noite/Nuit and The Western Lands. Surprising because, and despite the broad aesthetics he revealed as an editor, nothing in that aspect of his life hinted at the direction its own music would take. Far from the indie pop precepts of Noiserv, B Fachada, Jesus The Misunderstood or Mariana Ricardo, and equally distant from Frango’s overt experimentalism or the muscled noise rock of Lobster or Lemur, Tiago’s music took as reference contemporary classical music, though assuming a creative method clearly owing to the ingenuity, simplicity and spontaneity of improvisation. The emotive and restrained melodies he sketched on those records, mainly coming out of his piano, evoke not as much his inside knowledge and living of the highly remarkable last 5 years in portuguese indie or experimental music, but more so his discovery of luminaries such as Erik Satie, Terry Riley, Robbie Basho or Olivier Messiaen, as well as his readings of most of the Beat Generation masters, the political testimonies of H.D. Thoreau and the Situationists or the distant Eastern Philosophy.

So here we are, on the verge of Insónia, Tiago’s fourth record, released by Humming Conch. An album which is almost exclusively fed by the piano, with drums and even some clarinet popping out every now and then, courtesy of guest musicians João Correia and Ricardo Ribeiro. Insónia, recorded in the beginning of the year by american sound-engineer and university teacher Geoffrey Mulder, and mastered by the renowned Taylor Deupree, who runs the 12k label, is, simultaneously, the record that one anticipated from Tiago (or which awaited Tiago), but also a surprising effort. It is, on one side, a certain pinnacle of the work Tiago had been developing, but it’s surprise lies in the fact that, in a way, nothing had anticipated such an accomplished and emotionally-charged record. The steadiness of its markedly impressionistic meanderings, echoing Debussy or Chopin, and the savoir-faire with which it turns simple and small melodies into crafty hymns of spirituality and meditation, show that this is a nocturnal record, no doubt about that, but also reveal a morning splendor and vigor which materialize on the unstoppable and unresistant propelling of tracks like Passos, and hinted at on the several movements of the chosen single Folha Caduca or the opening track Movimento.



CD-R Thomas Tilly "Elaeis guineensis"

Recordings for this work have been carried out during a two month trip in guinea.Inspired by nature and animism rites,it's a non documentary vision of a land,propelled by the loss of cultural reference points.Composed and mixed at Césaré studio.


CD Thomas Tilly "Cables & Signs" (Fissür)

These sound pieces all originate from hydrophonic mono recordings, carried out during summer 2009 in the waters of a moat of a castle in the west of France. During these recording sessions, I came to realise that some of the sounds generated there (Cables & Signs 1, 5 et 10) were modulated by variations in the intensity of the sun on the surface of the water. Even though I was not able to accurately identify the species emitting them, I now know they were produced by insects and aquatic plants. Fascinated by their relation to the external environment, by the concentration of these phenomena on the site and by some of the effects they produce on the ear, I selected fifty minutes out of the five hours of material gathered on location. Naturally composed and modulated by the environment, these ten excerpts result from a careful and subjective listening process and now exist through this format as musical pieces. Apart from a slight equalisation, none of these works were electronically altered or edited.



CD Christian Vasseur "Poèmes saturniens (Humming Conch)

The focus on “Poèmes saturniens” is melancholia without any doubt and from the first tune. Christian Vasseur created 10 highly emotional, warm and beautiful pieces of classical-orientated guitar music. Not as separated songs, more like a journey or dance.

Melody fragments come and go like moods or thoughts, some return like memories or reminders, some fade away and are gone forever. Most of the time, “Poèmes saturniens” is a very reserved and fragile work. But in some situations it gets loud, explosive, improvised and noisy. Just like a unexpected mood swing.

For me, the earlier mention of dance is a good image to get this wondeful piece of music. It is very fragile and balanced on the one hand, but also highly dynamic and expressive.


CD Christian Vasseur "Alam" (Humming Conch)

Christian Vasseur’s work “Alam” was recorded 16 years ago. Eleven very clear and fresh compositions, only Christian’s voice and a 14-string-archlute.

It is a very pure work. You can hear the deep and slightly dark tone of the archelute, Christian’s fingers moving over the fretboard and his voice, sometimes humming in the background. I think the main difference with Christian’s guitar work is that “Alam” is very structured. You still have the feeling that Christian’s play is very light, free and close to improvising, but at the same time, one feels very save and guided in this compositions.

Not to forget the strong link to John Dowland and Elizabethan lute music with virtuosity transferred to the present days.

Avant-rock_post-rock_krautrock_math-rock_free improvisation_heavy-rock_Urban folk_

CD Blue Sausage Infant "Flight of the solstice queens" (Zeromoon)

Collage à la Negativland, Smegma/post-rock/Très bien

In Flight of the Solstice Queens, Blue Sausage Infant offers a deep dose of sonic escapism, ranging from the layered drone of pure head music (The Sentimental Communist) to earthy krautrock grooves (Radiant Arc). Through these methods and a reckless thirst for improvisation, BSI’s singular motive is to conjure trance states by any means necessary.

Washington DC’s Chester Hawkins has performed as Blue Sausage Infant since 1986, cross-contaminating the far corners of psychedelia (bitter noise, pastoral soundscapes, dadaist editing) to produce unique and demanding music. Tools include an even mix of electronics and organics: everything from synth and bass to harmonicas, scrap aluminum, and amplified electric toothbrushes.

Blue Sausage Infant has produced 14 handmade releases under the Intangible Arts imprint and has contributed to compilations across the USA and elsewhere. Past collaborators include Violet, Haunted Toilet, Changes to Blind, New Carrollton, Lida Husik, and Stolen Government Binder Clip. A selection of BSI material has been used for the soundtrack to Tim Ashby’s film Surface To Air, due for release in 2010. For Flight of the Solstice Queens, Hawkins drafted Chicago’s Michael Shanahan on drums (tracks 2 & 7) as well as DC’s Jeff Surak (a.k.a. Violet, track 3), Jason Mullinax (a.k.a. Pilesar, acoustics track 4), and Gary Rouzer (un-prepared bass & amplified textures, track 4).

With a renewed focus on live events (including two celebrated performances at the Sonic Circuits Festival in 2008 and 2009), Blue Sausage Infant is spreading a new and deeply interior breed of feral freakout music that insists upon an active partnership with the listener: All BSI tracks remain unfinished until they reach the brain of a willing host.


CD Mushi Mushi "Sequins Save Lives" (Distraction Records)

At very long last, 2009 sees the debut album from Tyneside's premier bleep-und-fuzz-und-skreal! combo. 13 morsels of prime whoomp, all lo-fi cranks and cronks, clocking in at just of half-an-hour of utter popnoise brilliance. Mushi Mushi have long been regarded as one of the North-East's best live bands and their album is testament to their perfectionism and dedication to making their recorded output just as kickass on compact disc as it is live. And - believe us - it's well worth the wait. This is the record that demonstrates just how placid and backwards looking the current crop of Ed Banging fashionista electroclash-lite dweebs really are. The perfect soundtrack to your attention deficit disco.


12" Tempelholf "Leaving Home / Cage" (Distraction Records)


Hot on the heels of their debut album We Were Not There For The Beginning, We Won't Be There For The End ("a soothingly beautiful collection" AU Mag; "[a] frequency magnificant record" Artrocker; "their hazy shoegaze/experimental hybridity means that they are well worth the effort of a listen" The Line Of Best Fit), Italian electronic post-rock duo Tempelhof release two charmingly epic cuts of majestic loveliness that were actually recorded before the album came out: Leaving Home and Cage. This is released on a 12" slab of vinyl, individually numbered and painted making up one section of an image of rural North-East England (left) by contemporary artist Polly Bound (and comes with a custom-made sleeve to boot).

It all gets underway with Leaving Home, all melodic keys punctuating the starting whispers, and then the beats start to kick in and you know it's going to rock bells. Beats chop and change and glide into space, wallowing around yer head, swirling around, building to a classic postrock crescendo. Cage goes for the juggular, fluctuating from skittering drum fractures, to ghostly strings and Borroughs-esque cut-and-paste murmurs; equal parts fractured, soaring, shimmering, golden and booming, fans of The Album Leaf, M83, The American Dollar, Hammock etc. will lap this up.