REVIEW: GIOVANNI LAMI - HYSTERESIS III

Vital Weekly - Issue 1099

Wikipedia says about Hysteresis “Not to be confused with Hysteria”, but it’s “the dependence of the state of a system on its history.” Lami writes: “There is a perfect match between hysteresis (concept) and this kind of practice: both are in the field of reality, and both are related to objects (physical objects, sound objects, living things)” and that is a piece that is played on site and recorded with “four microphones, using reels instead of tape loops, switching from the ambience couple to the two on the recorder back and forth, using objects and other shit on tape, recording everything, doing everything in the field - I mean - outside the studio”. Lami already has five versions, all released so far (by Turtore Burlato, Czaszka Records, Falt, NullZone Tapes and now Soft Errror). There are two parts of this piece and it can easily be seen as one piece, I think. Close your eyes and listen, and you see the action; the rattling on an object, the slamming of a door, people talking and with very brusque changes of the microphone the whole perspective changes quite dramatically, from time to time. The whole proceedings seem to take place in an open square or such like, so there is some natural reverb going on here. The whole piece has something mysterious I think. You may recognize sounds of a stone surface upon a metal surface, and or an object in a bicycle wheel, but then you might be entirely wrong. There is an interesting vibrancy about all of this, with a constant shifting back and forth of sounds and positions that worked in a great way, the complete twenty-six minutes. 

Frans de Waard

Review: miki yui - ( dual hollow )

Excerpt of a longer survey of miki's career to date.
Full article HERE 

During the sonic adventure that is Two To One, the music on veers between understated and atmospheric to cinematic and chilling as Miki Yui deploys her trusty samples and solar oscillators. Samples emerge from the soundscape as it gradually reveals it sonic secrets. It’s a case of the closer one listens, the more of its secrets Two To One reveals. Sometimes, the music is futuristic and otherworldly, as sci-fi sounds emerge. Soon, the soundscape becomes understated and minimalist as Miki Yui draws inspiration from small music. In the distance, samples of chatter can be heard and one can eavesdrop as this journey continues. Samples of a steam train are added, adding to the feeling of being on a journey. The sound of someone singing, children chattering and a myriad of found sounds are added as the minimalist sound dissipates. Suddenly, it’s a very different soundscape as it continues to evolve, bubbling, cracking, squeaking and droning adding a ruminative and sometimes, menacing sound. Always though, this innovative and cinematic soundscape has the capacity to captivate and set one’s imagination racing.

Flip over to side two and press play, and gradually the understated, dark and almost menacing sound of One To Two begins to reveal its cinematic sound. It’s panned and drones, growing in power, as washes of this dramatic and atmospheric soundscape assails the listener. This proves powerful, chilling and is guaranteed to enthral. The listener is left to provide their own script as wave upon wave of music continue to assail them. Later,the music becomes futuristic, dramatic and mesmeric as beeps escape from soundscape. They add a hypnotic backdrop as rumbling, bubbling and scampering sounds escape from soundscape. Latterly, what sounds like water can be heard in the soundscape, as it bubbles, before beeps, drones, melodic and menacing sound are emitted before this musical voyage draws to a close. It features Miki Yui at her most inventive and imaginative as she creates the second soundtrack to film that has to be made.

The two epic soundscapes on Dual (Hollow) feature Miki Yui at their most inventive and innovative as she takes the listeners on a musical voyage of discover. During this journey, Miki Yui throws curveballs and springs surprises aplenty during these captivating cinematic soundscapes. Even by the end of Two To One, the listener realises that they can never second guess Miki Yui.

She paints pictures using a myriad of samples, field recordings and found sounds. They’re her musical palette, which she puts to good use, throughout Dual (Hollow). It features one of the leading lights of experimental music as they create music that isdark, broody and moody, and other times, is melodic and Sometimes, it’s chilling, eerie and unsettling, other times, is understated and minimalist. Always, though, the music on Dual (Hollow) captivates and is innovative and inventive, as Miki Yui combines disparate musical genres.

These two genre-melting soundscapes find Miki Yui flitting between and fusing elements of avant-garde, drone, electronic and experimental music and Musique concrète. Miki Yui also draws inspiration from the pioneers of the Berlin and Düsseldorf schools of electronic music, improv and incorporates elements of what John Cage called “small music”during these two ambitious and captivating cinematic soundscapes. They were recorded live, which makes the quality of the music on Dual (Hollow) all the more remarkable. 

The recently released Dual (Hollow) is the first live album from the multitalented Miki Yui, and is without doubt, one of the finest albums of her near twenty year career. Dual (Hollow) is also the first album that Miki Yui has released on Mark Lyken’s new label Soft Error, which is based in Dumfries and Galloway, in the South West of Scotland. Hopefully, Soft Error will release many more albums of the quality of Miki Yui’s Dual (Hollow), which features a sonic pioneer at the peak of powers.

DEREK ANDERSON

Review: Chemiefaserwerk - Kopfbild Default

Vital Weekly - Issue 1086

There already have been a few works by Chemiefaserwerk, mostly on cassette, which I think is a format that suits what he does quite well (see Vital Weekly 1072, 1041, 1030, 992 and 953). 

It is the work of Christian Schniefer from Marseille and he uses 'tapes, field recordings, synths and electronics' and creates lo-fi sound collages with these. Maybe the word 'lo-fi' means for some that it is crude in recording and execution, but that is not the case here with the six pieces on this release. He is very careful in approaching the sounds he uses and how he combines these into a composition. I would very much believe much of this uses a 'live' or 'semi-live' approach, playing all at once and hit 'record' button when he thinks it all works together. The six pieces here are all highly delicate affairs of small synthesizer melodies shimmering about, sustaining organ like tones, scratchy records of spoken word speeding up and down (in the appropriately titled 'Speech Lessons'), along with the crackling of field recordings, in 'Refrained Knistern'. The most complex piece, in which the most things happen, is 'Certified' on the second side, and there is quite a bit of sound effects sparking about. The overall quality of the works by Chemiefaserwerk is going up all the time and this 'Kopfbild Default' is the best so far. This is a highly delicate piece of work of some excellent experimental music.

Frans de Waard

Review: Masayuki Imanishi - clips

Vital Weekly - Issue 1080

Applause to those who, in times of ever diminishing sales, start a new label. It is called Soft Error, run by musician Mark Lyken, to focus on 'sound art, field recording, drone, sound collage, tape music and unruly electronics' and their inaugural release is by Masayuki Imanishi, of whom I reviewed a LP before (see Vital weekly 1024), but who also had releases on Gender-Less Kibbutz, Deserted Factory, Psych.KG, A Giant Fern, Creative Sources and obs. For this new release, with a single piece on either side of the cassette (twelve and twenty minutes), he uses paper, speaker, field recording and synth. I had this tape on repeat for some time, distracted as I was by so many things at the same time. Obviously that is not the way to play music, but perhaps also it is, inevitably, the way things go. I noticed that in both cases, playing the music without paying too much attention and with some eye for detail, that it didn't matter that much, and it worked in both cases really well. There is something very microsound about the music, even when it does not drop to an all time low (in fact never at all), but the hiss and rumble or whatever it is that he does works very well as a pleasant backdrop to what one is doing, checking mail, reading, relaxing or a concentrated listening. Obviously in the latter modus one simply hears more of what's going on, and the delicate care that has been used for the detail in the music. On the first side there is quite some crackling and bubbling going on, like the processed rain drops falling down, while the other side is a beautiful stretched out drone piece, slowly changing colour as the piece progresses. Here I believed to hear a multitude of ventilators or otherwise obscured motorized sources. Nothing new or spectacular going on here on this tape, but quite a beauty of poetic noise.

Frans De Waard

SOFT ERROR GUEST MIX FOR SPOOLS OUT RADIO

Soft Error guest mix for the excellent Spools Out Radio on Resonance FM, featuring new & upcoming SE releases + additional selections from favourite tape labels, some featuring artists we're working with in the coming months.

Featuring: Chemiefaserwerk, Masayuki Imanishi, miki yui, Monte Burrows, Giovanni Lami, Ame Zek, Persona Mercure, Mark Lyken.

Thanks to Tristan Bath for the opportunity.

Click HERE to listen to the show.