05 01 2009


number 659
week 1

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 the file to your MP3 player and enjoy!
complete tracklist here: http://www.vitalweekly.net/podcast.html

KTL - IV (CD by Editions Mego)
SUM OF R (CD by UTech Records)
All of KTL's previous work was commissioned for theatre and film, but this new one is not. KTL stands for Kindertotenlieder and is the ongoing collaboration between Sunn 0)))'s Stephen O'Malley on guitar and Peter Rehberg on computer and synthesizer. On two tracks they receive help from Atsuo on drums (on 'Paratrooper') and gong (on 'Natural Trouble'). KTL is one of those supergroups, the seventies term for well-known people collaborating, but in the case of KTL its probably much more serious. 'IV' was recorded and produced by Jim O'Rourke in Tokyo and once again its one hell of a beast. Wall of sound was never better defined, but having said that, KTL isn't just about noise. Perhaps, come to think of it, not about noise at all. Surely its loud, but unlike so many other noise music this is also about detail. This isn't some muddy sound thrown on tape which is loud but without depth, this is has sonic richness. Lengthy pieces of endless walls of guitar sounds, while Rehberg's computer also sounds like a rocking machine. Not carefully processed sounds, but loud sounds, clicks, drones, hiss and machines humming on end. Very powerful stuff this KTL, even when they pull back in volume, such as in 'Eternal Winter' or the opening of 'Benbbet' or the sheer silence of 'Natural Trouble'. When its all open its mayhem such as in the landmark piece 'Paratrooper'. A refined example for all aspiring noise makers who would want to try their hands at making good noise music. Must be frustrating, because its unlikely it will be as good as this.
Although something entirely different, something similar can be said of the third Editions Mego release by Anthony Pateras and Robin Fox, who this time operate as a laptop duo, and leave their usual instruments at home. Perhaps some of the sound material they play around here was made during the previous concerts, and they add some ARP 2500 synthesizers sounds which they recorded at the studio of Worm in Rotterdam. Here too it would be too easy to say we are dealing with noise, and yes, this is 'loud' music, but it is, like KTL, by no means one of those pointless exercises in feedback. There are moments of quietness, such as in 'Hyperpole', the following piece after the sheer noise attack of 'Lung Butter Blues' - its the same side of the noise coin. Whereas most noise is generated through improvisation, but more in the sense of not knowing what to do, these skilled improvisers know how to improvise, and this time it is with a set of acoustic and electronic sounds playing from their computers along with synthesizers sounds. The hasty changing sounds doesn't sound like at all like KTL, yet its surely noise too. More improvised, more based in serious avant-garde music, yet loud and forceful, this is another damn fine disc.
Normally I wouldn't go on with a CD that has nothing to do with these two, but there is a connection to be made. Behind Sum Of R we find Reto Mäder (bass guitar, strings, electronics, piano, effects), Christoph Hess (manipulated turntables, also known as Stotter Int.) and Roger Ziegler (harmonium, effects). If you look at that, then what does Mego have to do with it? Sum Of R play also forceful music, noise even, but also have their quiet moments. More KTL than Fox/Pateras, and that's where my little problem comes in with this disc. Whereas KTL seems to have so much clarity and detail, the noise drones put on by Sum Of R are a bit more muddy, a bit more clouded and less refined. They start out their pieces through relatively 'easy' drones, but once everything has come in place, things seem to explode, effects are in full use, and then the refined details are gone. Surely this is not a bad release at all, but right after the two Editions Mego (and why does noise come in this amount in the darkest days of the year? It made me wonder), this is the weaker brother. What I did like was the addition of the manipulated turntable, as this added a strange, rhythmic component to the music. Throughout I thought this was a fine work too, nothing wrong with it, well, except that it could have been better produced. Next time in Japan, gentlemen. (FdW)
Address: http://www.editionsmego.com
Address: http://www.utechrecords.com


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