Label: Not On Label (Christina Vantzou Self-Released) - none • Series: The Numbered Series - none • Format: DVD DVD-Video CD Album • Country: Belgium • Genre: Electronic, Classical • Style: Modern Classical, Ambient, Experimental
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 weeks. Download the file to your MP3 player and enjoy! And yes, if you send a CDR with 70 Small Choir (Ben Vida Remix) - Christina Vantzou - No.1 DVD & Remixes (DVD of harsh noise and no information you may not get a review this long either.
So there must be something going on. A small lesson in musical history from the lowlands. Hardly a movement as such but one could say it was the Dutch answer to No New York. Energy rides high, musical techniques are not that important. Whereas with punk you had to learn three chords to play what was basically an up-speed version of rock n roll, the post punk was the really do-it-yourself, the only true avant-garde inside popmusic.
Go and find the compilation cassette of Album) recordings from those evenings, which is on the internet somewhere. The 'movement' had its own magazine, Vinyl inc the infamous flexidiscit had its stars and its workers. No doubt Minny Pops were the stars.
They came from the punk band The Tits 'we're so glad Elvis is dead'but their first album 'Drastic Measures, Drastic Movement' was certainly one of the most radical records to be released in The Netherlands - and it was still in the 70s. Named after a Japanese model rhythm machine, with a totally crazy guitar and a Korg synth, topped with the manic recitations of Wally which hardly is singing, but more poetry to musicmade up a record beyond belief go and get the CD!
Minny Pops attracted the attention of Factory Records, recorded with Martin Hannett and then were sidelined to Factory Benelux and became a more main stream doomy new wave band. But they toured the USA in - then big news in the Dutch pop media - and returned to play more concerts here.
One these was captured on a 8-track machine and now released on CD. Wally sort of instigated a small Ultra revival that will sweep the Netherlands in the next few months, but Untitled - Tenshun & Myself - Untitled #1 the Pops only play Amsterdam twice in March and April this year last year in Rotterdam, along with Dick Polack of Mecano and opening for Peter Hook in Eindhovenclosing four events, in Nijmegen, Eindhoven, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
All wheels set in motion. Especially the old footage give a fine impression of the old Minny Pops, which look great in all its graininess. The New York footage shows them already more polished and that's how they sound on the live CD. They became from a 'project' a real 'band' and on that particular night, back inthey were in great form. Now the Minny Pops may have been in hibernation for thirty years, Truus de Groot never stopped.
She was in a band called Nasmaak, singing and playing the crackle box, before they turned into Nasmak and she shortly left after that. Later on she had a band called Trigger And The Thrill Kings actually a band playing blues and rockabillybut these days took back on the name Plus Instruments, still using the crackle box, still singing and she manages to still sound like Plus Instruments the way I remember best.
Somewhere after Nasmak's first LP and Truus' departure, they played as Nasmak Plus Instruments and in this short, transitional period they toured with DAF, picking up along the lines some of their motorik drum patterns and sequencers check out their 12" for Zig Zag. Now while it remains to be seen if Minny Pops will find a way to update their 80s sound toPlus Instruments certainly did.
Each of these thirteen pieces have that motorik drive that was a prominent feature in the early 80s, but now its much fuller with the addition of a lot more instruments all sequenced to go along with the beats. No doubt thanks to today's technology, which allows musicians to play along with themselves more easily, De Georgia Brown - The Many Shades of Georgia Brown adds crackle box, analogue synthesizers, sampled toys, sampled percussion and De Groot's more spoken than sung delivery make this an excellent updated form of Plus Instruments.
Starting with 'Drinking Song' the album collapses a bit with pieces that don't seem to belong to the others, like they Small Choir (Ben Vida Remix) - Christina Vantzou - No.1 DVD & Remixes (DVD been added afterwards to fill up an otherwise good album. These are more pop like tunes with simple drum machines and singing. Only four of those, but those nine previous pieces are more than excellent. But Truus doesn't just dwell on past inspiration and is perhaps still 'ultra' - in the sense of always moving, always exploring new ways of working.
She proofs that with her album she recorded with one Bosko Hrnjak. The cover lists a whole bunch of instruments, from the by now known crackle boxes to guitars, synthesizers, ambient noises, objects turned instruments found at the Salton Sea and much more. This music doesn't resemble Album) previous one, not even Album), except perhaps for the voice of Truus de Groot, who sings more now in stead of the more staccato delivery for Plus Instruments, and it bathes in a richly layered mass of improvised electronics, which work hardly as improvised music, but more like atmospheric poetry.
Occasionally leaping into a rhythm machine - another hardly seen feature in the world of improvisation - or even a song, such as in 'Cruel Desert Sea' but those are very few.
This is some excellent intimate music. Highly original as it bypasses such notions pop, improvisation, soundscape and in return melts all of these together into something that I thought Фонограммщик - DDT* - Любовь innovative. That's true spirit of Ultra: consequently re-inventing ways to work. As Humcrush they deliver their fourth album. It happens to be a fantastically recorded live performance at Willisau jazzfestival.
They were on stage here with Sidsel Endresen, a reputed jazz singer and vocalist. For Album) an odd combination: the experimental environment of drums and electronics combined with the jazzy voice of Endresen. One feels the swing in her performing, that is absent the playing of the others.
The abstract structures of drums and electronics come from somewhere else. An interesting meeting is the result.
This recipy works for some unusual but successful musical moments, but overall it failed however to keep my attention. They switch between heavy rock and jazz. For Thomassen who equally grew up with both this combination Сердце На Твоём Берегу - Секрет - Лучшее no more then logical.
She developed a very dynamic style as a guitarist and it is her mean as well as subtle playing that impresses most on this release. Ellen Small Choir (Ben Vida Remix) - Christina Vantzou - No.1 DVD & Remixes (DVD started in the world of pop, but Terje Rypdal is her main influence.
This power trio puts all their energy and drive in nine instrumental but song-oriented pieces. Pieces that reminded me more of a musical past then of a musical present.
For this reason, I enjoyed this one, but in the end I not completely convinced of their undertaking. His first record came out already in and since then he operates mainly as a solo-improvisor on lap steel and other guitars. I know and enjoy him most all from his work with french guitarist Cyril Lefebvre creating relaxed hawaiian moods on a Nato-release. Cooper is now in his sixties and still seeking and exploring in his musical activities.
On this new release a development culminates that Cooper started in combining live improvisation, songs, field recordings, real time sampling, digital treatment and looping, using acoustic and electric lap steel guitars. Interesting and captivating exercises, recorded in a studio in Beirut. They arrived on the same day, and although I like Daniel Menche's music a lot, I choose to play the one from Lubomyr Melnyk first. I was curious to hear Album) of him.
With this new press release I learn he Luvin This Underground - DJ Shy One* - Power in My Hands from Canada with Ukrainian origins. His style is playing like in a 'continuos mode' - simply said: it goes on and on. He plays very fast, repeating chords all the time.
The work here is already recorded in and was only available on CDR so far, and sees Melnyk playing two pianos and Melvyn Poore now of Zeitkratzer on three tuba's. Not at the same time, but in real-time over backing tracks of their own playing. Again its clear and perhaps easy to see the link with Steve Reich and Terry Riley, but again I'd like to point out similarities with Dutch composer Simeon ten Holt - mostly because like Album) Holt, Melnyk plays without sustain pedal pushed down and so it has not all those overtones.
But what differs is the fast repetition play that Melnyk uses here, in stead of the more slow motion play from Ten Holt and of course, here, the addition of the tuba, which of course is hardly an instrument that can play in continuos mode but Poore tries to keep up with it and does a great job.
The dense-ness of these two pieces two parts of the same piece works very well. An excellent tour de force for both players and the listener, but a well-regarded trip.
Daniel Menche did the photo for the Melnyk release and also has a new CD out by himself and the cover credits him with 'abused and trashed piano guts'. Now if we hadn't been told, we would have probably not Album) this. In fact, I wouldn't be sure if I would have recognized anything in here. Menche is of course a master when it comes to noise, Get Happy - Benny Goodman - The Hits Of Benny Goodman over the years his work has toned down a bit: its now more the work what I like to call intelligent noise.
Not just a screaming wall of noise, but there are also moments of more contemplative sounds in play here. Its goes up, up and up, slowly and slow, but it will, ultimately, reach that logical end stadium, in which it keeps rotating for a while.
That I thought, was at times a bit too long for my taste, and I think these pieces three out of four lasting twenty minutes, like they do on the vinyl, where, I am sure, also the last one will last twenty here, here comprised to ten could have easily be five minutes shorter and still have equal power.
But no doubt true Menchians will wholeheartedly disagree here. Also a tour de force, but perhaps more for the listener than the composer. Relaxing ambient music.
Yet, I think I fail to understand what is happening here - but then, maybe I'm not fully awake. Christina Vantzou released, recently, an album on Kranky called 'No Lord - Warhead - 15th Anniversary Double DVD (DVD). I didn't hear that one Kranky never supplies promo's herewhich is a pity since it could have shed some light on what this is.
But then, maybe the DVD has the music to the Jim MorrisonMusic By The Doors - An American Prayer The cover says 'sounds and images by Christina Vantzou'. The images are all from old 16mm film material, slowly moving by along the the warm ambient music of Vantzou. It sounds orchestral, being played on a guitar and lots of effects and sounded like what I heard years before on Kranky: Stars Of The Lid, Keith Fullerton-Whitman and all such like.
Its surely a well crafted album, excellently produced, sounding Mars Dominus - Richard deHove - The Way To The Stars retro and from a Jimi Hendrix - Flashback area with zero development - I guess that's what people want.
On the subject of remixes, and the necessities of having them I wrote a lot before and I don't feel like repeating myself, but this lot doesn't alienate the original music very much. Sometimes it comes with a bit more rhythm, a bit darker, a bit modern modular synth like Vida but only Lippock and White Rainbow brings to somewhere else, with a more forceful rhythm Yo Te Invito Al Carnaval Para Que Veas - Conjunto Los Karachis* / Orquesta de Osmundo Calzado - Yo T shorter samples - now this bridges 'this' with 'that', one scene with another, which I think is what remixes should be about.
Nice music notwithstanding, but is it necessary? I remember Aurobindo to be a nice work but haven't heard that in a long time, and also 'The Last Flowers From The Darkness' has faded from my memory, but then no less than fifteen years have passed.
Van Hoen, once a member of of Seefeel, Scala and collaborator with Slowdive, discovered some old tracks which brought him in the a teenage mood again: why not use that old four track tape machine again with a minimal set up? When hearing this, I reminded of his older works again. Van Hoen plays, at least for me, pop like music, with rhythm, broken down guitar sounds, samples and occasionally a female voice dropping into the music.
Grainy, down-sampled voices going back to the 2-bit sampling mood add a certain raw texture to the album.
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