Tagged: minimal

Lock Up The House

There Was Hardly Anybody There (SPINA!REC SR026) is the new cassette from Ilia Belorukov, still the heavyweight and principal saviour of Russian underground music at time of writing, and it’s a highly grim affair. He’s forsaken his usual improvising saxophone mode and gone for these four interminable pieces of horrifyingly monotonous and empty music of greyness and bleakitude. I think the saxophone played a part somewhere, but attenuated minimalism is the order of the day. “The reductionist sound was changed by cold synth noises and monotonic rhythms,” is how the label press sell us on this captivating episode.

The opening cut ‘He Needs Someone To Wake Him Up’ is just about survivable – a thudding, ominous, sequenced synth pulse spells out doom, but at least there are urban recordings on top to make it seem like something relatable to real life; the dog barking is one nice effect. And there’s even a minimal tune (if you can find it) passing by for a few precious seconds. Thereafter, remainder of tape is a descent into empty town-dwelling horror, including ‘If Any Man Comes…’, an emptied-out and all-bleached track which might just be the “room sound” from an underground bunker or torture chamber, or other scene of terror; ‘Ask Around, Someone Will Know’ which proceeds on its way to the beat of a remorseless military drum with a low tone moaning underneath, punctuated by occasional howls of anguish; and ‘Someone Has To Lock Up The House’, which is all-but insufferable – distorted synth purrs and buzzes which somehow create a vista of sheer emptiness and an atmosphere of futility that is hard to shake off.

Throughout, Belorukov seems determined to refuse any kind of aesthetic pleasure that might be derived from electronic music, and also stops dead the possibility of any forward movement or progress in each piece. The resulting sensation of confinement is certainly well expressed by the images of concrete walls and staircases to nowhere which adorn this release, but it goes beyond the confinement of a single body; somehow it suggests an entire society, a culture, trapped in a frustrating political deadlock where absolutely nothing is possible. Are things really that bad in Russia? Evidently so! Take note, readers in the UK, this fate awaits all of us in the post-EU world, so beware. And take this tape as a forewarning of what it’s going to feel like. From 15th August 2016.

Nelson’s Column

Over one hour of heavy drone-grind can be yours for price of First (PICA DISK PICA038), the debut “proper” album by the young American musician Benjamin Nelson. Nelson comes from Boston, a city known for breeding wild and woolly types who would smash your face in for the price of a cold beer, and his ferocious escapades have spread consternation throughout that city. Small wonder he moved to Oslo, where he currently operates, since the Norwegians are capable of processing insane, lawless behaviour without letting it trouble their benign, Nordic composure (many of them are secretly chaos wizards in disguise). In Oslo, Nelson’s black brooding countenance must have come to the attention of Lasse Marhaug, a known magnet for freaks.

This is my way of explaining the release of first on Lasse’s Pica Disk label. It’s an intense marathon of remorseless, slow, torture…somewhat like enduring a disc-grinder applied to your skin in slow motion. Yowch. Stylistically, Nelson professes an interest in “reductionistic” techniques for electronic music, which is a fancy way of saying he’s doing as little as possible and peeling away any extraneous effects, leaving nothing but a coarse and ragged bone behind. In terms of his compositional approach, his starting point involves all sorts of discomforting ideas, including “perception of time”, “interference patterns”, and “hearing fatigue”. He’s also preoccupied by the idea of rooms, in this case meaning a room which you can’t bear to be inside, and wish to leave as soon as you possibly can.

In fine, Nelson is out to punish the listener six ways from Sunday…using every possible perceptual sense against you, turning your hearing against you, and inducing states of claustrophobia and psychological anxiety. Hard to credit he cites Eliane Radigue as an influence, since her minimal drones are usually so benign and meditative, where Nelson is clearly out to destroy the human frame with his pathological ways, and won’t leave you any room to think while he’s doing it. Matter of fact he’s proud to abandon all of that airy-fairy “pseudo spirituality” as he calls it, and won’t let the listener off the hook with “passive listening”. No curling up on the big cushion for you…you must face the harsh truth of this “objective listening”, which resolutely refuses to become transcendent art in any shape or form, insisting on its own coarsely textured materiality.

Nelson is also a trained cellist and lent his bowing skills to Cold Pin, a composition by fellow New Englander Eli Keszler. Since discovering his taste for severe electronic drone, he self-released a few items on his own behalf, with foreboding titles such as Life In Blue and Gray and Heat Field Modulation For Pathetic String And Electronics…there was also a very limited cassette called Two Rooms For Four Tones. But these weighed in at 30 minutes. If you want to experience the full hour of death by abrasive noise, then First is the one for you. When I put it like that, it’s hard to resist, isn’t it? All black CD presented in a near-black cover, where only the author name and title are barely visibly printed in varnish. A drone to destroy all drones…buy it now and never smile again. From 9th August 2016.

Benjamin Nelson’s Soundcloud page

Four Walls Recorded

Here is the latest release from Crustacés Tapes, sent to us from Montreal – an art-tape label whose understated releases usually arrive with a printed card that’s been hand-decorated and the minimal text has been applied on with a John Bull printing set. Ryoko Akama is a new name to these pages, but she’s a well-respected composer and sound artist who runs a label of her own, Melange Edition, and also co-edits a publication with the foreboding name of Reductive Journal. She’s extremely minimal; proud of her “almost nothing” aesthetic, her plan is to create small sound events which I suppose are taking place on the fringes of human perception, often using small everyday objects (toys, balloons, bottles) to trigger them.

In the case of Hako To Oto (CRUSTACÉS #8), the small object in question is a music box. If you spin the tape, you might hear the occasional note issuing from said box within the confines of the “rural hotel room” in Portugal where it was recorded. Mostly though, you’ll hear a lot of silence, a lot of room tone…this is also part of Akama’s plan, creating “situations that magnify temporal/spatial experience with silence, time and space.” I found this release very testing, with nothing in the way of aesthetic enjoyment to reward one’s patience. But I expect I’m approaching it all wrong. It’s very clear she has virtually no interest in the music played by that music box, and wants the sound to break up the silence, or to punctuate the silence in some way. Maybe she intends this punctuation to take place on a grand scale, as though drawing a map of the hotel room, using sound as callipers.

In a way I have to admire Ryoko Akama’s determination to refuse conventional “beauty” in this work, and it obstinately declines to become anything more than just a tiny music box making occasional sounds in a silent room; no existentialist “meaning”, no transcendence through repetition, no deep listening, not even an appreciation of the silence, which Francisco López might once have insisted on. If any of this is near the mark, then it’s possible that Ryoko Akama is setting out a new benchmark for what minimalism might mean in the area of sound art. For more of her compositions, text-scores, installation pieces and so forth, see her site; she has performed Alvin Lucier’s Music on a Long Thin Wire, but that composition seems positively eventful compared to this. Arrived 29 July 2016.

From Marne To Seine

Pascal Battus is the French performer who is renowned for “playing” his rotating surfaces and his ability to squeeze sounds out of non-musical, inanimate objects – such as lumps of plastic, styrofoam, polystyrene and paper, all substances which, as it happens, appear on Pascal Battus / Dafne Vicente-Sandoval (POTLATCH P116), his new two-disc album which features a number of duets with Dafne Vicente-Sandoval playing her bassoon. On disc 1, Marne, the small objects have contact microphones to amplify them; on disc 2, Seine, it’s a set of all-acoustic performances. Battus unplugged. I suppose the first thing to note is that this is quite some way from “conventional” free improvisation, and in addition is rather a non-musical set. Dafne Vicente-Sandoval, who we have heard on the 2013 Remoto album on this same label, makes low purring and droning sounds on her bassoon, but is not here to play tunes or demonstrate her extended technique; what she provides is one more fabric in a sea of fabrics. A minimal sea. The textures of the waters, if we can put it like that, are both viscuous and airy. In fact we’re not even talking about water, and neither Battus or Vicente-Sandoval are in a boat. Got me?

So far you may wonder what’s the appeal of this rather empty-seeming process record…well, for one thing there’s this air of exploration to the work, lending the album a slightly mysterious quality; neither of the players seem quite sure where this is going to lead. I kind of like this. It isn’t to say they are hesitant or tentative, but neither are they trotting out their well-worn riffs and tics in anticipation of familiar results. It’s clear that Battus is adept with his rotary devices (whatever they may be), yet his rotations and scrapes produce sounds quite unlike the (very few) other players who use comparable techniques in this field. One of them is A-F Jacques, the other is Alfredo Costa Monteiro. In a blindfold test, you’d easily be able to identify the inert metallic and plasticy scrapes produced by Battus. Yet he’s not playing a musical instrument. That alone may tell us something.

Another observation we could make concerns the variety in the volumes and flavours of the sounds, now loud, now soft…but that’s a totally fatuous remark…at any rate neither party is intending to bore themselves or the listener, and of course they wish to explore and push for changes wherever possible, ever given such an evidently limited set-up.

Hmm, I seem to be pushing Dafne Vicente-Sandoval to a secondary role in all this, which is not the intention…it’s harder to identify her contributions, so a more careful listen is needed. One reason for that might be her own use of mics and a mixing desk, although that isn’t to say her sounds are being filtered. Wherever there’s a trace of human breathing, even if it’s just the patterns of breathing, she will be there. I hope so anyway. It’s beginning to feel this music is so alien that we can only understand it through abstractions, through reflections, models that are drawn on a piece of plexiglass. Dafne’s contributions are more evident and apparent on the Seine disk, where the all-acoustic setting is much more natural for her bassoon’s growls, purrs, and extended sighs. Sound-generation is still her main task, probably exerting a huge amount of discipline just to avoid making recognisable notes or patterns that would make a human being feel more at home. Here, the sounds of the two players interlock much more successfully, becoming a tight wafer of rigid drones. At this point the record is starting to become like sleep-walking, a mysterious trance state – both for the players, and for us. The ultra-slow pace and the gentle, gradual movements, add to this impression; the whole body swathed in bandages, stumbling awkwardly but silently towards its unknown destination.

I was almost ready to dismiss this item on first spin (it left me infuriated), but I think it was worth persevering. From 16 May 2016.

Sound In Space

Here’s a cassette tape / download release from A Guide To Saints, a new child label of Lawrence English’s Room 40 label. White On White (SNT016) is a mega-drone special by An Infinity Room, one of the projects / aliases of Julian Day. Day is not only a composer, but also a writer, artist, and broadcaster – who has appeared on BBC Radio 3 over here, but also has his own show on ABC Classic FM, called New Music Up Late. He’s interviewed a number of important and influential contemporary musicians.

On White On White, his debut recording under this project name, we have three pieces he recorded in Sydney, made using analogue synths which are yoked together to produce rich and sumptuous drones. I think the main thing is that the work is supposed to be played in a room space, and there’s a sizeable list of various art galleries and contemporary art spaces and music venues where An Infinity Room has manifested itself. “Rooms within rooms”, is how he summarises the aim of these long-form drones; it’s something to do with charging the air around the room with “highly active vibratory fields”. As with many such large-scale, real-world art pieces, it really needs to take place in a large physical space, and might not successfully translate onto CD, let alone a cassette, but the music is still pleasing to listen to even if it doesn’t manage to “power up” your room space. On the other hand, if played loud and long enough, the desired results may yet be achieved. At over 45 minutes, the first piece ‘Intercessions’, which occupies all of side one of the tape, stands a good chance of shifting your body into the zone.

Day achieves this through something to do with geometry and numbers. The drones are generated using “simple algorithmic patterns” to trigger the notes on the synthesizers, a process which is explained here in any depth, but may involve an understanding of arithmetic or number theory. Musical historians have long understood the proposals of Pythagoras in this context, and numbers have formed the basis for the entire Western system of tuning, at least until the 20th century when various conceptual mavericks (Tony Conrad, La Monte Young, Harry Partch) challenged it. Julian Day would be happy to achieve a “turbulent geometry” in the room when he plays back his long drones, a fanciful concept which to me suggests that even the rules of architecture are being undermined in some way.

These ideas are interesting, but White On White is far from an essential listen on today’s spin. Day doesn’t improve on the work of the American Minimalists, and indeed his rather tentative and twee-sounding chords with their highly synthetic sound might be seen as something of a backward step. None of the pieces develop at all during their long duration, apart from some very subtle changes in the patterns of notes, and I’m not feeling the sublimation of transcendence, still less the “deeply embodied psychoacoustic experience” promised by the press notes. From 27 June 2016.

Lightweight Distro


Excellent set of minimal electronica-glitch computer music things from Phil Maguire, an English musician who has been quietly seeping out the odd cassette and Bandcamp release since 2014…this this (LINEAR OBSESSIONAL LOR 078) is one of his rare physical releases and in some ways an unusual item to find in the LOR catalogue. The album collects two “suites”, the five parts of the highly alien minimal buzz-drone of “This This”, and the even more dry, desolate and stark purrings of “th at ti me wh en”, which originally emanated in 2015 on his own This This Recordings imprint.

Maguire’s sound art is notable for originating mostly in the guts of a Raspberry Pi, which is the cheap circuit-board miniature computer that’s been creating quite a stir in the world of “digital” these days…a versatile piece of kit which even I can operate (I made mine into a media player) and features in a small range of dedicated computing magazines in the high street, full of articles suggesting DIY projects and teach-yourself-coding exercises. Maguire plays the Raspberry Pi to create wholly abstract and non-human noise, but somehow this this is not a harsh or hostile release, and it doesn’t take long at all for the listener to become acclimatised to its strange tones and start to enjoy or appreciate the textures and patterns inside this tiny world. It may feel sealed off, claustrophobic even, but it’s a good zone to visit for four or five minutes at a time.

The sleeve notes refer us back to the mid-1990s when, if you recall, “glitch” music was one of the big things in vogue. What I remember of it (and I do still enjoy the “genre”), a lot of glitch was associated with European labels and artistes, particularly in Vienna and Cologne. It may have had some lineage with Techno and dance music, and its production involved hacking into synths or (if feeling more radical) experimenting with sound files on a laptop. My verdict is that Maguire owes practically nothing to dance music, and has arrived at his extremely reduced and introverted abstractions by other means, perhaps more processed based methods. If I’m right about that, then Phil Maguire’s music might fit in on the Hideous Replica label in some ways, although I’m not sure if their aesthetic choices overlap exactly. As to the hardware and production aspects of glitch, evidently Phil Maguire has taken it further by bypassing musical instruments and keyboards altogether, and even surpassing laptop music, by working with such a compact and tiny instrument as the Raspberry Pi.

If we were going to start a cultural war of one-upmanship over this, it could be argued that Maguire’s exceptionally modest set-up makes the average laptop with its weighty OS, software bloat, and hundreds of MP3 files look like the excesses of a Rick Wakeman multi-keyboard array. Recommended…this release is a 50 copies limited press CDR with a Victorian photograph inserted, and a downloadable PDF of notes from the website. From 24 June 2016.



The latest item from UK’s Hideous Replica label is a CD called Bind (HR12), a collaboration between Phil Julian and John Macedo. Arrived here 24 May 2016. The front cover looks like a degraded photograph of some rocky outcrop, overprinted with a subtle green tint, suggestive of algae or lichen growing on those rocks. In like manner, the very abstract sound art we hear on the disc could be read as a form of digital micro-growth, organisms thriving on an inhospitable surface.

The prolific and highly able Phil Julian last showed up here in 2015 on Between Landing, an understated crackly record he made with Ben Owen, but he’s rattled his circuits with some of the best names on the mountainsides of avant-noise, and in many diverse contexts. John Macedo is a London sound artist who has released a few cassettes and CDRs, some on his own Black Plume Editions label, and owns himself a devotee of analogue electronics, hand-made devices, and close-miked objects to create his sounds. The pair performed together at Cafe Oto in 2015, the results issued as a live tape by Wasted Capital Since 2013, a sub-label of Hideous Replica.

Bind contains zero information as to how it was produced, other than the vague remark “recorded at various locations in South East London 2013-16”. Although generally a quiet and unobtrusive set of crackling squiggles, it offers a “continuous” experience rather than a disjointed one, continually drawing the listener in to its small confines, as we fall further down the rabbit hole and are squeezed along many narrow passages. There’s an eerie fascination to the subdued drones, the unexpected squeals and ticks; we might be watching small unknown life-forms multiplying in ways we can’t understand.

While most of the 11 track titles are utilitarian and provide few clues, I do like the title ‘Another Burden on the National Grid’, which suggests something about the excessive power consumption of this duo (despite the minimal audible output). It also passes on a wider awareness of how they see their activities plugging into a whole network of dependencies and resources. Perhaps they see their errant alien signals as ghosts in the bloodstream, humming along the cables from pylon to pylon, until they reach their intended destination.

Boxing Match


Has it Started?

Stefan Thut
Un/even And One
RUSSIA INTONEMA int018 CD (2016)

Swiss cellist Stefan Thut debuted his score Un/Even and One in St Petersburg in 2015 with a bevy of (somewhat more) local musicians who do a top job of sounding like they aren’t there. A short Youtube clip reveals much to this theory: for the 5-strong assembly, virtue is expressed in restraint from virtually any physical movement at all; just a young lady pushing a box around in the foreground while five instruments receive attention only spasmodically. I sense that the concept behind Thut’s scoring is one of meticulous refinement; that of distilling full bars and phrases into the merest of gestures, upon the blank canvas of near-silence. We should not be surprised to learn therefore of Thut’s affiliation with the Wandelweiser group, for whom such matters are a preoccupation.

Silence is, in fact, is one of two canvases common to Thut’s work. The other is ‘the box’. There’s one drawn on on the cover, with semi-explanatory text describing how Thut ‘joined the sounds from transcribed language played through the surface of a moving cardboard box’ to add to the enigma. As I understand it, the musicians’ fingers were prerecorded rubbing words into the surface of cardboard boxes, which recordings were played back during the performance, effectively encompassing the space in conceptual cardboard. The value of the symbol of the empty-box-as-pure-potential is appended by the actual movement of the box throughout the performance, its location at any given point conferring on each musician the right to play.

Over 40 minutes, silence intersperses with sounds barely identifiable: low-volume cello massage and rummaging beneath a layer of tape hiss; a mass of slippery shadows, exhaling emphysemically and pierced by sine waves in a dark basement that yawns with an ancient hunger. What the recording may lacks in terms of immediatism, it at least makes up for by stirring the imagination.


Is It Over?

Michael Pisaro
Mind Is Moving IX
RUSSIA INTONEMA int017 CD (2015)

Something of a go-to for less voluble composers, guitarist Denis Sorokin facilitates a recent work by another of the Wandelweiser composers, Michael Pisaro, for the novel combination of electric guitar, radio, stones and whistling. No prizes for naming the other, unnamed ingredient as silence (or a recorded approximation of) in immodest volume. The piece was refined in performances over two years (2013 to 2015) before being deemed medically fit for recording, in which: you’ve guessed it, the instruments/sound sources are addressed only sporadically between far lengthier and more considered pauses.

That the hapless listener might come unstuck is occasioned by the fact that the performer’s means of interpretation and the composer’s means of evaluation are equally nebulous. At what point is the performance deemed ‘acceptable’ and how is the listener to know when the standard has (not) been met? When the form of the piece stands so readily to baffle, it is difficult to gauge and this much is neither divulged nor easily relatable. However, one senses such judgements rely at least partially on attaining the ‘Goldilocks’ balance between pause and play that ‘the listener’ stops wondering whether the piece is contiguous and/or continuing. Reaching this sweet spot presumably necessitated a good deal of fine tuning of both composition and intuition.

Thus, the recording takes its place in Pisaro’s ever-satisfying catalogue, alongside fine companions such as 2016’s Melody, Silence by Cristián Alvear. Along with the Stefan Thut CD, it also brings further respectability to the Russian label Intonema, based in St Petersburg, where many of these performances are recorded. Limited edition run, needless to say.

Moon Madness


Obscure, puzzling and near-anonymous slab of “dark ambient” chill-mode minimal drone-a-thonnery from Poland…Nusthur (ZOHARUM ZOHAR 119-2) is credited to Kallee & The Lunar Trio, an extremely low profile act which seems to comprise Karolina Kallee and Mariusz Nantur Doering, the latter appearing here as Nantur. These two have appeared on the label before, on the 2-CD comp From Earth To Sirius released in 2011; since that comp was dedicated to the works of Robert Anton Wilson, our friends were clearly compelled to call their contribution ‘Sabbah & 23 Hashisheen’, adding to the weight of musical utterances inspired directly or indirectly by William Burroughs…this “old man of the mountain” stuff has clearly not outstayed its welcome…

Nusthur may be gunning for other fish, though. There’s a quote from Omar Khayyam inside the cover, something about sending the soul through the Invisible, and the cover motif of skulls and flowers is very far from being a Grateful Dead tribute. Kallee & The Lunar Trio want to induce “trance…meditation…a soundtrack accompanying the journey into yourself”, and are happy to be associated with sleep-walking as they make this trek into the subconscious. The first track ‘Nox’ is a horrible assemblage of drab, unappealing electronic drones, utterly shapeless; you may fare better, or worse, with ‘Nox-Lunaris’, over 19 minutes of barely-audible atmospheric effects, which might be mistaken for a thunderstorm in the far distance or a supernatural throb produced when the Northern Lights cross paths with a belt of UFOs. At least this overlong stretch of abstraction does manage to convey a “nocturnal” sensation, assuming that’s the point of including a reference to the moon in its title. I kind of get the meditational point, but ‘Nox-Lunaris’ is just too insubstantial to even make an impression.

On ‘Nox-Lux’, the musicians make some concessions to making themselves heard, and while the texture and surface of this 18-minute cut are hard to grasp (terms like quagmire, mud, swamp come to mind), at least the technique of irregularly-repeated patterns and loops starts to make some sense. Kallee & The Lunar Trio refuse any conventional manner of hypnotising the audience, and seem determined to get there in a very awkward, long-winded and unfriendly manner. The cabalistic rules governing this sect are impossible to fathom, and I’m not sure I even want to join. From 14th April 2016.

Ether Fields


I’ve been kinda intrigued by CoH (Ivan Pavlov) ever since hearing his IIRON album many years ago, but that’s because it was produced using guitars and to my rock-seeking ears resembled some sort of avant-garde, metaphysical take on heavy metal. In my rush to find a viable alternative to Sunn O))), I was overlooking the electronica drones and techno beats in the mix on that release, whereas it seems the latter music is broadly more characteristic of what CoH gets up to. Retro 2038 was an all-computer music record which I interpreted as a futuristic vision of how the disco-dancefloor would evolve over time (not that I really care much), while 2014’s To Beat was much more of a process exercise, composed from micro building blocks like pulses, tones, and sine waves, to create something akin to aural illusions of space and depth.

Well, now I’m facing the ultra-minimal and slow-paced throbulations and hummings of a new record called Music Vol. (EDITIONS MEGO EMEGO 222), and while this is far removed from my dream of intellectualised guitar rock, it’s still managing to cast a compelling spell of mesmerising wizardry using only the simplest of means, in an extremely unhurried fashion. There’s something calculating about the evil ways of this Soviet monster, a man who probably wears a grey business suit at all times to throw his unsuspecting victims off the scent, when in reality underneath that suit he’s got a torso of muscles rendered hard as steel from his years of dedicated exercise in an underground gym of brutality. The tracks here, languishing in the 7 to 8 minute realm, are almost like lullabies, soothing you into a false sense of security with their comforting, gentle rhythms and tiny, unsophisticated melodies. Yet there’s no disguising the sinister undercurrent; when you wake up, if indeed you ever do, you’ll probably find yourself with some vital organs missing, or you’ve been sold into slavery and sent back in time to serve a long term in the Gulags.

I’ve no idea how this diabolical and subversive music was created, but the press notes are blithering on about the “VOL.” part of the title, stressing this is the key to understanding all, and insisting that CoH is playing around with “volume” in some way. “Concepts of silence and sound…variations of volume…soft progressions of sound”. Good grief. As if classical composers have never used dynamics in the last few centuries. It’s true that the music seems to have been created and mastered to exist in some barely-there twilight of perception, so you have to crane your head forwards even to be sure you’re still alive, at which point the mastermind of the operation will sneak up behind you, cover you up with a black sack and slit your throat with his garotting wire.

When I was still an innocent fanzine editor, I used to enthuse about this ultra-minimalist thing in the early 2000s and even came up with my cute name for it – “Very Special Nothing Music”, used to describe the work of Francisco López, Steve Roden, RLW, and Bernhard Günter with his Trente Oiseaux record label. But somehow CoH is nothing like that. After all, these are still relatively conventional tunes and compositions on here, it’s just that they are forced into this low-key slow-moving profile through his very deliberate working methods. The punchline to this is that he’s got his own distinctive approach to using “volume”, not with pre-planned silences to create sensations of emptiness, but incorporating it into the blueprint of each piece in some way. Whereas RLW et al wanted us, I think, to “enjoy” the silences as if they were music, CoH is obliging us to pay more attention to his timbres, sounds, and atmospheres, forcing us into his cruel constrictive bubble of pain. Very good. From 14th April 2016.