VITAL WEEKLY 976: Music for Viola and Electronics II

It seems like a few weeks ago that I reviewed 'Music For Viola And Electronics' by Michel Banabila and Oene van Geel, but it was actually some time ago; Vital Weekly 950 to be precise. In the last six months they worked on new music, again using their set-up of electronics, which is for Banabila a doepfer A-100 analog modular system, radio, logic pro and keyboards (the latter on all tracks) and Van Geel plays viola and 5 string violin. They are now receiving help from other players: Keimpe de Jong on contrabass clarinet (track), Joost Kroon on drums & metals (track 3), Radboud Mens on ableton programming (track 5), Emile Visser on cello and Eric Vloeimans on trumpet (both on track 2, 3 and 5). Both Banabila and Van Geel worked with these people before in other projects, as such is the nature of especially Banabila: always on the lookout for a new partner to further enrich his musical world. I was highly surprised by their release, and obviously the second release is not the similar surprise (it could be, of course, but it just isn't) but it further explores the nature of violin playing and electronics. Sometimes very sparsely, and I already mentioned Arvo Part the last time, and here too his influence is present, such as in 'Radio Spelonk', but there is also very hectic and chaotic moves such as in 'Chaos'. This pieces comes close to the world of free jazz, with some wild electronics too and a fine orchestral ending. In the longest piece, 'Hephaestus', that also is the opening they set the compass to all things drone like and atmospheric, along with the modular synth cracking up like rainfall and some sparse drumming, making it all a very intense piece. 'Kino Mikro' is a piece in which we find more crackles but also the cut-up from computer (Ableton?) technology, and with more intense drone like sound tapestries. The only piece that I didn't quite comprehend was 'Vleugels', which seemed minimal, but at one point sounded very prog-rock like and not in the best tradition. That was the piece with the drums, so next time, I'd say we can do without. Otherwise a top-class release of some highly exciting electronic music meeting classical instruments. (FdW)


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 neoclassical pieces, to drones, experimental ambient, and punk-as-fuck tape music. In addition to acoustic instrumentation, Banabila uses electronics, field recordings, and snippets from radio, tv and internet.

Bureau B, Eilean Rec, Séance Centre, Pork Recordings, Tone Casualties, Challenge Records, Steamin' Soundworks, Knekelhuis, Tapu Records.