The Vortex Vault originally came out as a collection of 12 CDs. The discs were released on the first of every month from December 2006 through to November 2007.
Not only is the Vortex Vault available at an incredible price but the entire collection of 169 tracks have now been remastered to sound clearer, sharper, deeper and louder than ever before.
Eternal gratitude to all the individuals who loaned and housed their unique talents within the Vortex Vault. Thank you again. In no particular order those who contributed were and are Ernesto Tomasini, Dr. Malik, Jackie Pickup, Leah Pickup, Mason Ball, Elisabeth Hannah, Richard Miles, Darius Akashic, Jack Richardson-Cox, Annie Kerr, Tony Wakeford, Alexander Thynn, Freek Kinkelaar, Miranda Kinkelaar, Joolie Wood, Clay Young, Wolfgang Weiss, Freida Abtan, Agnes Ladanyi, Michael Liles, Esme Haynes, David Janssen, Steven Wilson, Matt Waldron, Gregg Sharpen, Colin Potter, Jackie Potter, Brian Poole, Steven Stapleton and R K Faulhaber.
andrew liles, from the uk, is an experimental sound artist with a pretty diverse output. i'm only familiar with a few of his releases, but they ranged from sound art, to ambient soundscapes, drone, experimental electronics and the occasional foray into noisier directions. some good points of reference, as far as his ambient and drone works are concerned, would be andrew chalk and vidna obmana, two artists he's also happened to work with.
kenji siratori is a japanese cyberpunk author who's had a hell of an outpouring of non-paper releases last year. this is mostly because he pimped himself out by "writing to as many industrial, ambient, ebm and goth bands he could find, including "reviews" of them in his idiosyncratic style, and asking to collaborate. (this) scattergun approach proved successful, despite his reviews of non-sequitirs and non-sensical cyberspeak being interchangeable" [discogs.com]. after all was said and done he'd put out fifteen total albums, including three that are on net labels and are availiable to download for free at smell the stench and dystonia. the bulk of them have been in the form of collaborations, most notably with gx jupitter-larsen (the haters), torturing nurse and henrik nordvargr björkk (hh9, folkstorm, mz.412, et al.). i would be surprised if that last one is anything short of amazing. i...must...stop...buying...things...
black paper opens up with barometer ii, a beautifully haunting piano piece by liles, which siratori soon begins speaking over. his words are all spoken in japanese. emphasis on spoken. this could be poetry or god knows what, but it sounds great. he's got this gruff sounding voice that immediately made me think of splinter's voice from the teenage mutant ninja turtles movies. i love it. there's some great layering of his vocals near the end, too.
vtr is one of the least musical (most experimental) cuts on here. there's a whole mess of noises, electronic bleeps and textures from andrew, and kenji's vocals are affected, in parts, and panned all over. it easily has the most overall stuff going on at once, but it works well, due partly to how andrew progresses it. if that was the album's exercise in maximalism (i think i just made that word up), the title piece is its most rhythmic. half of this piece features with some very catchy xylophone (i'm guessing) playing, the rest focuses on kenji's vocals, manipulated the most here. one of my favorite parts is where its just him with no music, and there's also his sped up vocals shooting back and forth between the speakers.
jaguar is black paper's absolute highlight. over liles' sparse backdrop there's a vocal track in the left speaker, a different one in the right, a repetitious one in the center and then another, different track in the center. it's completely hypnotic, wonderful and memorable. then when that piano comes in towards the end, jaguar achieves total brilliance. it all strikes me as being rather noir, while maintaining an underlying sense of beauty. the next two tracks mainly feature andrew doing some nice, slightly stark, experimental electronic work. the closer, barometer iii is vocal less and revises the pianos from barometer ii, but adds some terrific electronic noises over it.
there's actually two separate collaborations by kenji siratori with the title black paper, the other is with tardive dyskinesia. that may cause a bit of confusion, but this one is only available from andrew liles' website or beta-lactam ring. it's part of andrew's 12 cd set, the vortex vault, limited to only 300 copies. once those 300 are gone, that's it. no reissues. i think if you get one from andrew it will be signed by him.
i'd also recommend his collaboration with gx. while it's not as memorable as this one here, there's some mighty fine noise by him, and who doesn't like mighty fine noise? after hearing all of this from kenji i've definitely become interested in his literary work...at the very least it should be interesting.
...The Vortex Vault series, a series of no less than 12 CD's of both archive and new recordings plus the odd collaboration thrown in. On Black Paper he collaborates with Japanese artist Kenji Siratori, who contributes spoken word and whisperings, delivered in an urgent and dynamic fashion. As my Japanese is poor, I have no idea what he's talking about, making the voice sound more like an additional instrument, which perfectly suits Liles' collage-like style of music. Black Paper is a great CD (though at 30 minutes a bit brief), which made me want to listen to the second Liles CD in this series even more.
Andrew Liles' new series of CDs, The Vortex Vault, is as ambitious and eclectic as the composer himself, including everything from archival releases to new collaborations spread out over 12 CDs. The first part is a collaboration with Kenji Siratori, the prolific and avant-garde author who's recently risen to prominence in the industrial scene by working with everyone from Portion Control to Nordvargr. On Black Paper, the first impression you get from Siratori is one of intensity; whether or not you understand Japanese, his growled speech on opening track "Barometer II" sounds angry and threatening. "VTR" is less emotional but no less unsettling; like Siratori's writing, it's cold and mechanical, with Liles' sampled mechanical sounds making things even more jarring. "Jaguar," on the other hand, is almost tranquil in places, with Liles building soft atmospheres by looping and layering Siratori's monologues and smoothing them over with judicious sustain effects. Perhaps the most intriguing piece, though, is the title track. A bit like Einstürzende Neubauten's quieter "floor pieces," it builds a gentle rhythm from clattering metal, with melodic accents provided by what sounds like a xylophone. Though its sound sources—including Siratori's muttered monologue, which pans back and forth across the stereo channels—its use of at least some structure makes the arrangements all the more uncanny. Between Liles' own sonic eccentricities and the fact that few English-speaking listeners speak Japanese, Black Paper is by definition of interest only to a select few, but for fans of the avant-garde it appears that The Vortex Vault is off to a good start.
Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2007
By: Matthew Johnson
Consisting of 12 individually released CDs, this is, in part, a collection of unreleased material from one of the UK's finest electronic experimentalists' studio archives. A collaborator with similar sound envelope-pushers such as Nurse With Wound and The Hafler Trio, Liles' music mixes minimalist drones with antique instrumentation and natural noise for a sonically surreal sound. This is dark ambience in its most eclectic form - sublime, sinister and visually spectacular.
By Billy Chainsaw
Black Hole has Liles all on his own. Much more contemplative by nature, this 14 track CD is less outspoken than Black Paper. The 40+ minutes of Liles-material, full of loops, found sounds and strange effects, will surely please his ever-growing army of fans. In fact, interest so far in the Andrew Liles' Vortex Vault series has been so high, that BLRR has made it possible to buy the whole set in one go at a reduced price. Highly recommended!
Part Two of The Vortex Vault series of random and archival tracks from experimental composer Andrew Liles, Black Hole features a little bit of everything. For fans of ambient and drone music, "An Uneventful Afternoon" is a gentle drift on warm analog tones, and "Humiliated" is a strange but enjoyable bit of '70s-style space rock synths. "Midnight Gardener" is quite interesting too; its core consists of distant church bells ringing through a thickened bank of sustain, while muffled conversations playing back and forth across the stereo channels conjure the feeling of waking up from a winter nap to the sound of passersby talking as they pass your window. For slightly more industrial-tinged fare, try the echoing clanks of "Pillow Voice" or the panning buzzes and muffled percussion of "Root Canal," which—perhaps thanks to the Novocaine haze of the coolly droning background effects—is far less painful than its title suggests. Alternately, "Without Anaesthesia" is aptly sadistic, thanks to a shrieking noise that may be metal on metal but may in fact be actual shrieking, but not without its funky charm, thanks to a mellow tribal rhythm. While a lot of this is playful but somewhat inaccessible, actual melodies do make the occasional appearance as well. "Hello Pharaoh" sets a man's voice humming absentmindedly in harmony with a lovely wordless soprano, and "Bad Vibes Waiting Room" pairs buzzing upright bass with tinkling vibraphone, like some coffeehouse jazz duo filtered through post-industrial surrealism. It's a good collection of tracks, all things considered; Liles' devoted fans will enjoy the variety of course, but perhaps more importantly, newcomers will get a chance to sample a variety of his unconventional flavors in small, easily-digested chunks.
Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2007
By: Matthew Johnson
Black Hole is perhaps the most conventional of the three, thirteen short instrumentals. Liles doesn't use as much reverb and other effects as many ambient artists, even on his "ambient" pieces (such as An Uneventful Afternoon), which gives the album a more human touch, not as many machines taking the various musician roles. Often there is a simple melody line, repeated over and over, with other instruments or noises in the background. Bad Vibes Waiting Room, for example, uses something like a bass guitar to play a simple two-bar melody, with occasional melodic and textural variations throughout. He combines this melody with vibes and some very spare noises. Three minutes and it's over, without wearing itself out or spinning out to something new. This pattern affords considerable variety, whether he uses loops from old records (Hello Pharoah), melodramatic soap-opera gestures on electric organ (Sequential Dreaming) or even sequencers that wouldn't be out of place on a Klaus Schulze album (Humiliated). The tunes range from soft drones (An Unspoken Narrative Regarding Institutional Abuse) all the way to a semi-African jungle rhythm (Without Anaesthesia). Because each piece is so short, the album almost seems like a sketch book, which is of course the theme of the Vortex Vault as a whole.
For its centerpiece, Part Three of Andrew Liles' collection of rarities features two extended experiments in ambient music and found sound. The first, "All Things Bright and Beautiful and Corrosive," is as bleak as its title suggests, and as varied. Starting off with quiet ambient drones, creaks, and occasional tapping sounds, it also features slowly echoing gongs and washed out crashes of cymbals. For its second movement, soft chimes slip into the mix, adding a sort of creepy music box vibe vaguely reminiscent of Coil's early work, and the emphasis on random and unexpected sound effects calls to mind Nurse With Wound. "George the Chemist" is less eclectic, but perhaps also less unsettling, with softly ringing tones evoking the subtle loneliness of Tor Lundvall or Raison D'etre. It's the scattering of short pieces on Black Beauty though, that prove to be most compelling. Each a quick experiment in melody, they run the gamut from beatnik weirdness on the rain stick-soaked jazz wails of "Dead Roses" to the Tim Burton chiming of "Tender Box." Each is long enough to present a thought, but short enough to leave you wanting more; the eerie dulcimers of "A Numbers Game" in particular would make a good basis for a longer piece. "The Artless Shaman," on the other hand, is perfect just the way it is; any more of its mellow tribal beats and puzzled, puzzling growls, and the fun would be ruined. And Black Beauty is, most importantly, a fun CD; it has its dark places, but Liles' passion for extravagantly weird music comes through even in its bleakest moments.
Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2007
By: Matthew Johnson
Things take a decidedly weird turn on the third volume, Black Beauty. For one, although there are still a couple of short tracks that would have fit nicely on Black Hole, there are two much longer tracks, each clocking in at sixteen minutes. In addition, some of the music is considerably more abstract here. The opening track, Dead Roses, is a wispy electroacoustic piece, with a couple of instrumental reference points with some percussion and a few trumpet licks, but which otherwise would fit comfortably with some of the more subdued work of the French-Canadian acousmaticists on the Empreintes Digitales label. On the longer tracks, he has time to show how his drones and melodies transform themselves into each other over time. For example, on All Things Bright and Beautiful and Corrosive, percussion scrapings and boomings with extended resonance mingle with garbled and otherwise treated vocal sounds, finally joining with a melodic loop played on a gamelan. The other long track, George the Chemist, uses slow loops combined with more constant and ominous drones, with a loop played on flute and percussion floating in the middle.
Written by Matthew Amundsen
Sunday, 01 April 2007
The latest installment to spill from Andrew Liles' ambitious and generous Vortex Vault series casts Liles as the ringleader of a black magic vaudeville act. Theatrical and playfully whimsical, this multilingual, dialogue-laden album is a striking release that shifts modes effortlessly, revealing new finds from Liles' unlimited bag of tricks at every turn. The human voice, both speaking and singing, forms an integral part of this album. The unpredictable way it's interspersed with music and the different languages that appear and vanish gives the impression that there’s some bizarre stage performance in progress, even if I'm at a loss to explain what it's about. The vocals range from the spoken word to the operatic, and the effect is jarring only when it’s intentional.
Musically, there are plenty of fascinating objects to behold in this cabinet of curiosities. "Bengali Bergman" has dirge-like strings and a beguiling Eastern accompaniment. Hand drums make up a large part of "Quicksand Mudslide" as some feline entity patrols the border. This piece is interrupted by startling electrical zaps as if some modern alchemical wizard is channeling the secret energy of the universe. It‘s one of the most arresting moments on the disc. Also surprising, albeit in a different sense altogether, is the song "God Doesn’t Fuck About," a percussive jazz funk so convincing that I momentarily forgot what album I was listening to until the airplane rush of an ending reminded me.
Although a few recurring titles appear sporadically throughout the album, they are not simply multiple versions of the same song. Instead, they are different enough from each other to suggest they are somehow parts of a related story or theme, even though the instrumentation and mood are often dissimilar. Yet it's a tactic that works in the service of the unexpected.
The breadth of this album and its beautiful presentation really make it an impressive package. Even the devilishly genial hand-puppet shadow grinning on the cover reflects the fun to be found within. Liles and Beta-lactam Ring are raising the bar ever higher with this series, and they both deserve a lot of credit for making these incredible recordings available.
This is the fourth release in a total of 12 CDs in the Black Series by Liles, current member of Nurse With Wound and general magic man. Like the previous CDs in this series, Liles uses more and more vocals in his music, which complement his music wonderfully. On this disc famous actor/singer Ernesto Tomasini (who also appeared on Crowded Skies on the BBC television) adds narration and sings. There is even narration in Urdu (by Dr. Malik). Starting off with the thumbpiano of To Maim A Donkey we are sucked into the surrealist world of Liles, where things are never quite what they seem. Strange samples and dark sounds creep in and out
and are laced with a unique sense of humur (as in A Hippo Took An Apricot). Before you know it, you're humming along to The cod-James Bond theme And God Doesn't Fuck About, before you realize it's just a little off-beat (and definitely off-set!). The best issue of the Black Series so far, this CD is highly recommended. (FK)
Part Four in The Vortex Vault series ongoing series of rarities and collaborative works, Black Widow sees Andrew Liles bringing in a couple of guest vocalists: Urdu professor Dr. Malik and Italian cult performer Ernesto Tomasini. An eclectic mixture of Urdu, Italian, and English draws the album together in a loose thematic arrangement, while Liles' arrangements and studio work ensure an ongoing sense of eclecticism. Instrument choices range from primitive to classical; "To Maim a Donkey, Part I" starts things off with a bit of thumb piano, but just as you prepare yourselves for an exploration of African themes, "Bengali Bergman" takes things in a radically different direction, merging the classical traditions of East and West in the form of sitar and cello. Voice also plays a prominent role; "Uncle Alf" is a mysterious little narrative piece—like a Ligotti short story, it's somehow both innocuous and chilling—set to gently ringing ambient tones, for example, and "Dove I (Noodles and Cheese)" layers Italian speech over humming vibraphone. Only one selection, "To Maim a Donkey, Part III," is built around actual singing in the conventional sense. It's a sort of operatic nugget about... well, maiming a donkey. Conceptually, it should be offensive to opera fans and donkeys alike, but in practice, it's ridiculous enough that only the most humorless and ardent supporters of either could possibly take umbrage. Lyrics aside, Tomasini's vocal range on the piece is uncanny; he sings both the English and Italian parts, in tenor and falsetto, respectively, and sounds for all the world like two separate people. Dr. Malik's contributions, on the other hand, are dry and rather mumbling, but this too is surprisingly effective in places; "Dove II (Hoodle on a Plinth)" is particularly gorgeous. With nothing more than quiet speech and understated pianos, it achieves a subtle loveliness that recalls Current 93's Soft Black Stars crossed with a Punjabi graduate school seminar. At first listen, there's not a lot holding these tracks together, but Tomasini's campy performance and Malik's businesslike narration manage to pull things together in an unlikely cohesion. In any case, it provides further fuel for thought to Liles' already eccentric output and makes a welcome addition to The Vortex Vault.
Part Six of The Vortex Vault sticks mostly to classically-inspired ambient, but it wouldn't be an Andrew Liles album without a surprise or two. The sixth entry in The Vortex Vault, Andrew Liles' collection of random pieces and outtakes, Black Sea sticks mainly to dark, minimalist soundscapes drawing on various classical traditions. "Anhedonia" opens things with an extensive creepy meditation, starting off with the cold reverberations of mournful choir singing, but then moves into a surrealist spoken-word piece, with a man teaching a child to memorize by repetition such evocative yet bizarre phrases as "These are not angels, these are hovering flies" and "We are alone with Walnut Mary." It's at once nonsensical and completely chilling. "Olisbos (Introduced Instruments into the Belly of Another)" and "Padavona (The Long Running Dispute Over the D.O.B. of R.J.D.)" are each instrumental snippets barely longer than their titles, the first built around the scraping gypsy violin of Annie Kerr and the second centering on a moody piano phrase. Finishing things up is the title piece, presented in three parts in descending order. "Black Sea, Part III (A Return to the Bottom of the Ocean)" is dark ambient, crafted of studio-manipulated choir pads, their attack and decay lengthened extensively and drenched in sustain. With its tidal washes of soft fuzz, it's like a less ghostly take on Salt Marie Celeste by Nurse With Wound, with whom Liles is a frequent collaborator and live performer. "Black Sea, Part II (Danny Buoy)" is more dissonant and industrial, with lots of slow rumbles and metal scrapes, though it eventually adds piano and a reprise of Kerr's violins. Then, is if to call the quiet avant-garde classical of the rest of the album into question, "Black Sea, Part I (Semen, Salt, Sweat, Blood, Semen)" bursts forth from waves breaking softly upon a sandy beach into a noisy grind of instrumental garage rock, overloaded and overdriven. It's more like a Black Sabbath outtake than anything else on Black Sea, but it's also a fine example of what makes Liles such an intriguing noise artist. You can't ever rely on what he's done in the past as a predictor of what he might do in the future. That would be a curse if he was playing pop music, but it's a blessing for fans of the weird.
Written by Matthew Amundsen
Sunday, 05 August 2007
Another bewitching album to waltz from the Vortex Vault, this one evokes cinematic imagery if only because there is less of a focus on vocals here and more emphasis on atmosphere. One of the best things about Liles' music is how it sparks the imagination beyond the scope of intention, and Black Market is no exception.
Liles' use of the sustained piano is a common thread running through many of the entries in the Vortex Vault, and his use of it in the opener "Malcolm" could be an invocation of the rest of the series. The piano also figures prominently on a couple of other tracks, including "He Always Worked, He Never Hit Me," the wistful melody of which reveals a little more emotion than some of his other solo piano works.
"Robotic Monkey" especially made me think in cinematic terms as it could easily be the soundtrack to a long-lost David Lynch outtake with garbled, guttural speech underlying a mystery-laden jazz score. Equally intriguing is "A Little Adventure After Dark," in which an appealing rhythm made from what could be the striking of high-tension wires and additional reverb clanks around for a while until a light keyboard melody arrives to complement the movement and is eventually joined by horns for the finale. I was also captivated by "Taking Bumblebee to France for the Afternoon," a gossamer fugue that ends with the sound of an airplane flying away, as well as "Time Waits For No Man," a droning instrumental with sinister undertones. Since I am both allergic to bananas and lactose intolerant, I have to admit a fondness for the title, "Matthew Doesn't Like Bananas In His Ice Cream." Thankfully, the song itself is much more enjoyable than my own boring trivia as its heavy, wavering tones are eventually relieved by a hallucinatory airy passage. Liles ends the album on a different note altogether from which it started with "Black Grass." Here he unleashes his krautrock impulses in a slowly unfolding hypnotic rocker that's one of the album's longer tracks. There are only two songs on the album with discernable vocals, and both are effective counterpoints to the instrumentals that populate the rest of the album. The first is "36-23-33 1/2," with numerical narration by Alexander Thynn, the seventh Marquess of Bath, who also provided narration on Mother Goose's Melody. On "Anhedonia (Part 3)," Tony Wakeford contributes world-weary vocals over the top of Liles's sparse, brooding piano.
While there are certainly some similarities among the different entries in the Vortex Vault series, each one has its own unique share of surprises. One of the great qualities of these recordings is that Liles can go from moody abstraction to playful structured material and make the transition seem natural, if not inevitable. His juxtaposition of different styles and the confluence of radically divergent ideas make his work vital, no matter what form it may take.
Posted: Friday, November 02, 2007
By: Matthew Johnson
The second half of Andrew Liles' ambitious 12-album collection of random tracks, outtakes, and collaborations begins with this offering of short sketches.Several of the albums in The Vortex Vault have seemed more like actual albums than collections of rarities and discards, but Andrew Liles kicks off the second half of the ambitious 12-disc series with a pile of tracks that, while intriguing, don't have a lot holding them together. "Malcolm" starts things off with deep moody piano chords, then "Robotic Monkey" takes things in a jazzier direction with bouncing saxophones and upright bass. "Taking Bumblebee to France for the Afternoon" embodies its title perfectly with sunny layers of fuzzed out brass and a soaring jet engine. Fortunately, the music on "Undiluted Puce Diarrhoea" is less directly related to its title, consisting of minimalist ringing tones, and the echoing cymbals and soft harps of "Horsehair and Milk" are more pleasant than such a concoction has any right to be. "Anhedonia (Part 3)" sees Liles reprise a track from the previous CD in the series, this time adding Tony Wakeford of Sol Invictus, who delivers the song's surrealist phrases ("We are alone with Walnut Mary") in his usual dour baritone. Generally speaking, Liles' work alternates between disturbing and playful, and Black Market offers plenty of both, ranging from the eerie darkness of "Time Waits for No Man" to the tinkling IDM of "The Jean Michel and Vangelis Taboo Liaison," an inside joke for those with electronic music obsessions if there ever was one. There's even a nod to Krautrock on the hypnotic psychedelic guitar strums of "Black Grass." The downside of all this variety though, is that it's really only going to appeal to people already familiar with Liles and his work. If you're going to journey into the depths of The Vortex Vault, this is probably too overwhelming a place to make your first incursion.
Andrew Liles shuts the door on the Vortex Vault with this final installment which includes contributions from Steven Stapleton, R.K. Faulhaber, and Matt Waldron. It's an atypical entry in the series and one of the most intriguing if only be cause of its spectacular finale.
Stapleton is listed as contributing to the first track, "Ohm," but it's unclear exactly what he does. The atmospherics the song delves into toward the end sound more like his style than does the voice that repeats the title as if i n a mantra devoid of mysticism. It's a somewhat disappointing track given the personnel. More amusing is "As On a Dung Hill," in which R.K. Faulhaber lists se lf-deprecating traits such as "I am filthy/I am riddled with lice/Dogs, when they look at me, vomit/My skin is encrusted with the scabs and scales of leprosy an d covered with yellowish puss." Its playful organ and drums make it one of the more accessible pieces from the entire series and one of its most humorous. Matt Waldron's vocals and distorted guitar provide the backbone for "Kojack Witho ut the Hat," but the song is a little too repetitive without much of a payoff, and its novelty wears off after repeated listens.
While those three songs aren't without their charms, the real jewel is the nearly 40-minute "Kay-Loong-Meu-Tuk," which sprawls haphazardly in continuously cross-fading 8- to 34-second increments over 95 tracks, cycling through a variety of musical styles in the process. Parenthetically subtitled "(The Beginning of the End of the End of the Beginning of the End)," some sections hint at elements that may have been culled from previous Vault material. Yet it's no retread either. Other than the ending passage lifted from the recurring "Anhedonia," I can't pinpoint any specific tracks that may have been used, only general i mpressions. Either way, this song is wholly its own with high-tension drones, rattling machinery, rushing water, sparkling pianos, and a harrowing choir, among many other elements, that make it such a bizarre cinematic treat.
As an ending to the album and the Vortex Vault itself, this track may not be an echoing boom, but the haunting impression it leaves is no less subtle. It has been a fantastic run, and this sweeping epic seals the Vault shut unforgettably.
Written by Matthew Amundsen
Monday, 10 March 2008
The last volume, Black End, goes even further off the deep end. Liles shows his penchant for black metal (a "black" phrase that somehow didn't get used for a title in the series) in the track As On a Dung Hill, a truly morbid poetry reading by R. K. Faulhaber recalling the lyrics of the more obsessed black metal artists. Liles has expressed a love of metal in interviews, and we also get some deranged surf guitar (played by irr. app (ext.)'s Matt Waldron) of Kojack Without The Hat. Most bizarre is the last item on the disc, a thirty-nine minute excursion entitled Kay-Loong-Meu-Tuk (The Begining of the End of the End of the Begining of the End) [sic], which is divided into 95 tracks ranging in length from … well, it's hard to say. For the two shortest tracks, iTunes reports the time as "not available" and reports the two longest tracks at more than 15 hours. There's some serious f***ery going on in the CD's table of contents. Also notable is that Black End is the only Vortex Vault CD that is not available at emusic, Amazon, and iTunes. The piece itself is quite lovely, moving through watery field recordings, drones, a minor-key melody looped on the cello that segues into Auld Lang Syne on bagpipes, sampled choirs and orchestras, power tools, all combined in a fitting epic to close the suite.
What comes across through the three Vortex Vault albums that I've heard is a dissatisfaction with any individual genres, but a healthy curiosity and exploration, a refusal to get pinned down in any single area of music. I come away from this set with the highest admiration for Liles, and I look forward to hearing more of his music in the future.
released December 1, 2006
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