VITAL WEEKLY 895 : Tapu releases

Banabila, Erker, Machinefabriek & Zenial (12")

Banabila & Scanner - Between Your Eyes and Mine (7")

Michel Banabila - ZoomWorld (CDr)

The ever so busy Michel Banabila, from the city of workers, as we say in The Netherlands. Here are some of his most recent releases. The Banabila I once knew, the one that was interested in ethnic music, is a man of many talents. In many of his recent works he displays an interest in all things electronic music, from industrial to musique concrete and then towards, as easily it seems, quiet, ambient and introspective music. The first release is a five track mini 12" LP, which has two songs by Banabila, and then one each in collaboration with Polish composer Zenial, home town boy Machinefabriek and somebody named Erker. I assume the latter plays saxophone on this highly moody piece, a film noir soundtrack. Two pieces are exclusive to this track, the other from previous releases, so I wonder for whom this teaser record is actually released. Why not an all new, all exclusive record? I did hear the piece he did with Zenial and it's still a powerful piece of everything dark and dance alike. The other four pieces are all much more introspective and relaxing. The film noir piece with Erker, but also the more abstract imaginary film soundtracks of the other three. Here we find an absence of rhythm and a strong love for sound processing with the aim to create some excellent mood music. If you like vinyl and you need an introduction to the recent Banabila (or maybe an update if you know his work from ages ago), then I'd say do not look further. Also on the collaboration side is a lovely 7" Michel Banabila recorded with Robin Rimbaud, also known as Scanner, since many years. It's not that I expected them to work together easily but then why not. Two pieces here, a total of eight minutes, of which the title piece has time stretched drone sounds on top of which a piano is placed which tinkles away in a rather non linear fashion, calm and relaxing, but very effective. 'Sleeping The Sleep Of Stones', which is actually the a-side of this record, has a voice, maybe picked up from a Lomax record, or maybe scanned from the airwaves surrounding the studio, with a musical setting of synth, guitar and sparse percussion. Both of these pieces work quite well as 'songs' - always my concern when it comes to a 7", but hey, I am old fashioned - and certainly long for more. Will this be the start of more music between these electronic lizzards - changing to whatever tone is needed? That would be awesome indeed. 'Zoom World' I got as a CDR with a nice pro-printed cover, but maybe it's just available on Banabila's bandcamp site. Maybe if you try and order a CDR, you'll get one. As far as I understand from the same website, these seven pieces are created by going back to earlier releases from Banabila, such as 'In Other Words', '47 Voice Loops' and 'Mltvz7', and three of them were made in collaboration with Radboud Mens. Here we find five pieces of what we could easily call nice accessible ambient music, with mysterious rhythms, darker passages on keyboards and guitar samples and throughout great atmospheric music. I must admit I am not that familiar with the original songs, but these sound great anyway. It's all a bit darker than I would expect from Banabila - but then, we learned to expect the unexpected - and a tad of glitchy rhythms are tied in here. In the final two pieces, which span almost twenty minutes, Banabila goes out to an underworld in 'Mltvz7' of very subdued sound in almost complete stasis, drone music at the verge of standstill. In 'The Late Hour' much of that returns but in the end there is simple, far away drum machine majestically humming away. Three releases by Banabila, three times different, and three times great.


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Music composer & sound artist. Michel Banabila releases music since 1983 and has produced musical scores for numerous films, documentaries, video art, theatre plays & choreographies. His music varies from minimal loop-based electronica, 4th world and neo-classical pieces, to drones, experimental electronica and tribal ambient. In addition to acoustic instrumentation, Banabila uses electronics, field recordings, and snippets from radio, tv and internet.