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Brahms, Johannes – “Brahms Concerto No. 1″ – [RCA Victor/ BMG]

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Piano and orchestra. 3 movements, 50 minutes. Took Brahms 5 years to write this, completed in 1859. Vigorous, learned, and uncompromising. “The Texan Who Conquered Russia” — Van Cliburn on the ivories. Give it a spin!

  • Reviewed by Hemroid The Leader on June 27, 2017 at 11:23 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Classical
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  • Kelley, Greg – “Trumpet” – [Meniscus Records]

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    Solo trumpet. Non- musical approach. Gaseous outbursts from the release valve. Mouthpiece makeouts, valve thumping, brassy breathing, soft frantic knocking. Auto mechanic’s friend. Every once in a while it will startle you. Some tracks very quiet. Can you hear that noise?

  • Reviewed by Hemroid The Leader on June 27, 2017 at 10:45 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Walker, Florence / Phil Walker (Recorded By) – “Sounds From The Archipelago Vol. 1″ – [Shiok! Records]

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    Son of the German Diplomat to Moscow at the outbreak of the first World War, Walter Spies was a primativist painter who drifted eastward into Bali in the 1920s. He brought Balinese culture to the west and had a great influence on modern Balinese art and music.
    In the 30s Spies and the Indonesian dancer Wayan Limbak adopted ketchak, a Balinese trance ritual, into a drama and dance intended for performance before Western tourist audiences. The syncopated Ketchak chant can be heard in Satyricon, Akira, and Blood Simple.
    This is an example of what James Clifford describes as the “modern art-culture system” in which, “the West or the central power adopts, transforms, and consumes non-Western or peripheral cultural elements, while making ‘art,’ which was once embedded in the culture as a whole, into a separate entity.”
    The Ketchak chant can be heard on Side A, Band 6.
    This record is an uncredited reissue of 1961′s music of Indonesia produced by Henry Cowell and released on Smithsonian Folkways. The Shiok! label is based in Singapore.
    Regardless, these recordings are great quality and very compelling, gamelan and wood flute. Indonesian lutes, vocal and violin. A ceremonial tone pervades throughout.

  • Reviewed by Hemroid The Leader on June 27, 2017 at 10:35 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,International
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  • Vitriol – “I-VII” – [Neurot Recordings]

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    This 2001 CD from Neurot Recordings is the sole release from Vitriol, the solo project of Ben (G.C.) Green, the bassist from Godflesh.

    Vitriol is an archaic term for sulfuric acid, (the word derives from the Latin vitriolum, “of glass”, as crystals of metal sulfates resemble colored glass). The substance was central in alchemical practice for its transformative powers, its importance reflected in the alchemist’s motto “Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem” – “Visit the interior of the earth, and purifying it, you will find the hidden stone.” Green pursued this message, and this album is an account of his personal inward search. Recorded from 1995-1996, these tracks were made during a year long retreat to the mountains of Wales, where Green lived and worked in solitude. “Visita” (T1) opens with beautiful drones looping in reverse. Many of the tracks focus on abstract, textured noise, with additional elements like heavy distortion (T2), bell-like drones (T4), rushes of water and driving pulses (T5). There’s the sounds of the paranoia that sets in during extended periods of isolation: deep voices rising up from the mountains (T3), imagined footsteps echoing in an empty house (T6). The album ends on a (somewhat surprising) peaceful note, with beautiful reverberating guitars (T7).

  • Reviewed by lexi glass on June 27, 2017 at 9:39 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Tolimieri, Quentin – “Prepared Piano” – [Creative Sources Recording]

    tolimieri

    This one pretty much writes itself. Eight self-describing pieces for prepared piano from NYC composer/improviser and CalArts grad Quentin Tolimieri. The piano is stuffed with various objects, then bowed (T1), plucked (T3), and hammered. Chaotic and bangy at times, smooth and melodic at others. The works each have a unique structure and pace which doesn’t dawdle and stays relatively busy, expect for the sparse one (T5). Best just to let everything flow over you, and not get too caught up in the notes. All tracks are under 6 minutes, except for the long one (T4).

  • Reviewed by Louie Caliente on June 27, 2017 at 7:42 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Dodsmaskin – “Fullstendig Brent” – [Malignant Records]

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    This is the physical debut of the Norwegian duo whose name translates as ‘Death Machine.’ They call their music ‘noise-oriented drone’ and Malignant calls it Scandinavian Death Industrial. Both these descriptions are accurate.

    ‘Fullstendig Brent’ (‘Competely Burnt’) is a concept album about the worst of the Norwegian witch trials. In December of 1617, the men of Vardo, in the far-Northern part of Norway, were deep-sea fishing en masse when a sudden storm appeared, drowning most of them. The blame for this and other local disasters was eventually laid at the feet of local women, who were accused of witchcraft. In 1621, Mari Jorgensdatter confessed that she had flown with a friend to the summit of Lydhorn mountain the previous Winter, where, alongside various neighbours magically disguised as animals, they had drunkenly celebrated Satan’s Christmas Party. She also claimed that many women in the area had been copulating with demons while their husbands were out at sea, and that other witches from the area had caused the storm of ’17.

    Her confession was of course extracted under torture, and it implicated many others. From Vardo, the craze seems to have spread to surrounding parishes, with about 150 executions (Sami men as well as Norwegian women) taking place in Northern Norway by 1663. Many victims were publicly burnt alive. According to Wikipedia, the state shared some of the blame (Denmark-Norway had issued new anti-witchcraft laws in 1620), but much of the blood was on the hands of Lutheran clergy who taught rural Northern Norwegians to fear their folk traditions, alleging that evil blew down into Christian Europe from the North (how Black Metal is that?). Dodsmaskin seem to make no bones about assigning blame on Christianity, their liner notes quoting Martin Luther as having said “Devil’s whores shall burn” in 1537. Luther has many misattributions, and I could not find the source of this one, but there’s little question that the founder of Protestantism did indeed believe in witches and call for their execution.

    Dense synthesis, ranging from ethereal chords to glasses-shattering noise, is tied together with loop-driven rhythms and augmented with programmatic samples (weeping or screaming women, crackling flames etc.) and found sounds. This album is a beautiful, extensively-worked-over piece of sound design, but it’s also a genuinely unsettling simulation of a particular type of madness, despite having no vocals or anything else to give overt context. Somber and wrathful electronics recommended for devotees of Mz.412 (Dodsmaskin have actually collaborated with Nordvargr), Asmorod, Megaptera or T.O.M.B.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on June 27, 2017 at 2:37 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Galbraith, Kole – “Alptraum” – [Self-released]

    From Washington. Poem about birds and soft dark nights.
    One 30 minute track sounds like humming. Drone. Ambient. High frequency. Guitar flickers and crackles and tones. Becomes more chaotic as it goes on.
    – BJT

  • Reviewed by billiejoe on June 21, 2017 at 5:19 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Subotnick, Morton – “Music For The Double Life of Amphibians” – [Wergo]

    LA experimentalist. Long moody tracks from different times and recordings. Sounds like abstract stringed instruments. Some quiet moments. Mostly you can really zone out on this rollercoaster.
    – BJT

  • Reviewed by billiejoe on June 21, 2017 at 5:18 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Ikeda, Ryoji – “0 Degrees C” – [Touch]

    Japanese sound scientist. Sounds like glitchy upload download fast forward symphony radar bloops chimes skipping static no signal. Short to medium tracks. Blends well so would recommend continuous play.
    – BJT

  • Reviewed by billiejoe on June 21, 2017 at 5:15 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Uthana-Eise – “G.d.g.r” – [Halbwelt Organisation]

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    Halbwelt (‘HalfWorld’) Organisation is a now-shuttered German label with only 8 releases to its name. This was the sixth, from 2005. Testoterone-poisoned harsh Death Industrial from a man who possibly goes by the name ‘Husen.’ He has no identity, no country, no race, and probably no girlfriend, but he wants extreme population reduction and he wants it now. Anyone who’s shopped at the Los Altos Whole Foods can hardly blame him.

    Fascistic drum machines stomp-stomp-stomping along in time with mangled buzzing synths constitute a self-conscious imitation of automated death: slaughterhouses, concentration camps, abortion clinics. Sterile Mengelian vocals delivered through a loudspeaker instruct you to poke and to prod your most uncomfortable impulses with the scalpel. OK, so it’s not the most original pallet ever (Genocide Organ? Brighter Death Now? Thorofon? Folkstorm?) but that’s not to call it totally formulaic. Its crunch-march repetition (perhaps with elements of Powernoise) is great for numbing oneself into a state of disregard for outdated conceits like humanism, conscience and moral relativism. Kill!

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on June 21, 2017 at 3:35 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Long Distance Poison – “Twin Lights Twin Lights” – [Prison Tatt Records]

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    Nathan Cearley and Erica Bradbury have been composing analog synth works as Long Distance Poison since 2010. Most of the releases from this Brooklyn duo are on cassette (though the only one we have so far is a 12″ single) including this 2015 tape from Prison Tatt.

    Each side of Twin Lights Twin Lights holds a sidelong track. “Mosa” (T1) immediately swells into a vicious surge of sound. At the center of the piece are heavy, earth-shaking pulses, but as it unfolds, subtler details begin to emerge. There’s tones twisting outwards, insectoid flourishes, bizarre melodies that hiss, crawl, breathe. The piece includes hydrophone recordings of the East River. “Infra Viam (Live At Death By Audio, 9/19/12)” (T2, Cearley and Bradbury are joined by Casey Block on a Micromoog), a live track from the now shuttered NYC studio/venue, feels like the afterimage of the first side: we hear settling dust clouds, smoldering remains, piano-like notes blurred beyond recognition, glowing embers, droning echoes, absence. Recommended if you enjoyed getting lost in the void of Zaimph’s latest work.

  • Reviewed by lexi glass on June 20, 2017 at 9:14 pm
  • Filed as A Library,Cassette
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  • Ordeal – “Traumende” – [Eibon Records]

    ordeal

    Project of Gabriele Santamaria of Italian death droners I Burn, with some assistance from the other guy in I Burn.

    Unlike I Burn, Ordeal plays ultra-dark Shoegaze with Industrial and Neoclassical undertones. Shimmering LSD therapy guitars via Lycia, Slowdive or ‘Disintegration’-era Cure, dense keyboards, programmed downtempo beats, meticulously arranged. Spare vocals appear in the form of over-the-top, piercing operatics (female) and meaningful whispers (male). The cryptic lyrics deal in some lushly decadent religious mysticism, where it’s not quite clear what is meant but a clear mood does emerge all the same, a hopelessness redolent of kinky sex and grand cathedrals. The Qliphothic atmosphere of this 1997 release perhaps overlaps with Gabriele’s post-Industrial peers in Ain Soph, Skrol, and Sanctum, to name a few. The name of the album might mean something like ‘Dream’s End’ in German.

    Slightly over half the tracks (1, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10+12) are instrumental. Some of the shorter instrumentals are more experimental and could be I Burn outtakes.

    Definitely gloomy, but also beautiful, like a fallen angel. “Visions of Hell, they are hope.”

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on June 19, 2017 at 11:49 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Luciation – “Darkened Apocalyptic Occult Goat Ritual” – [Posh Isolation]

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    Nothing nice or musical about this. It’s inexplicably on Denmark’s hippest Industrial label (home to Damien Dubrovnik and Puce Mary), but it’s not Industrial.

    Four lugubrious Black Metal Noise stews of sulphur, encrusted feces, Cthulhu jizz and the high-proof juice of wrung-out livers. Guitar feedback, splattery cymbals, distant riffs and choking. They suck, in a good way, a la fellow travelers Sutekh Hexen, Smoke and Enbilulugugal.

    Luciation is an Order of the Nonagram band, which means it features members of Blodfest, Wolfslair, Offerkult, Nastran et al. Anonymous lead guitarist ‘Voktor’ may be a moonlighter from the Noise scene. Who knows?

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on June 14, 2017 at 1:57 pm
  • Filed as 7-inch,A Library
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  • Baraki – “Colony Laspberry” – [Worm Interface]

    Baraki: a Pashtun tribe, a village in Afghanistan, a village in Poland or Iran, a commune in Algeria, a Belgian insult for a slob.
    This Baraki, wherever the name comes from, is an accomplished musician out of Kyoto. “Colony Laspberry” is his master class in many styles of electronic dance music, so well done that on a continuous listen, one wonders if this is many groups/projects instead of just one. It’s just one: Baraki.
    Each track is a unique sound: “rock “n job” starts off like classic Japanese electronica pop from the 80′s/90′s. From there it takes off. We get IDM, drill ‘n bass, environmental ambient, rave pounding beats, freak out spinning electronic bouncy mumble, squelch. All the sounds are here. Wow wow wow. Head spinning yes please.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on June 14, 2017 at 12:03 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Orb, The – “Alpine” – [Kompakt Schallplatten]

    Does it get much more lovely than this? Maybe, but grasp this while you can. Three pieces of mood by the dynamic duo of Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann, one piece – Dawn- selected as part of Kompact’s POP AMBIENT 2016. The stunning cover of the Matterhorn as double sets the mood for these three contemplative selections. “Alpine Morning” is a meandering electronic soundscape with backward tracked voices, like music for getting ready for a stroll in the great outdoors. “Alpine Evening” sets the beats, distorted sounds and even some squelched yodeling, for a dance club in Zermat, looking out on the famous natural attraction. “Alpine Dawn” starts out with cow or sheep bells, just what one would hear in the small farms surrounding the alpine fixture and then floats, twists and turns luxuriously – music for watching the sun rise? Or maybe it has nothing to do with the Matterhorn at all. Whatever, it’s gorgeous.
    Enjoy.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on June 13, 2017 at 11:31 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Bren’t Lewiis Ensemble – “Cavoli Riscaldati” – [BUFMS]

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    A cavalcade of odd sounds, the origins of which are difficult to discern. Are these machines? Organic things? Electronic glitchery? Tape manipulation? Samples of who knows what? Probably all of the above. The first track starts with weirdly percussive monotone vocals and then moves into snippets of dialog about being sick and not wanting to live and bum trips and such. Then you’re in for a treat: two marathons (34 minutes and 25 minutes) of layered sounds that twist and turn and evolve and go all kinds of places and just work really well. The final track is 17 seconds long and totally unnecessary. Inscrutable material overall.

  • Reviewed by Max Level on June 13, 2017 at 9:39 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Samartzis, Philip – “Mort Aux Vaches” – [Staalplaat]

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    Philip Samartzis is an Australian sound artist, composer, and professor in Sculpture, Sound and Spatial Practice at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He and Andrew Curtis formed the group Gum in the late 80s to explore broken, looped, and layered vinyl. Samartzis’s solo work focuses digital processing of acoustic and found sounds to construct abstract sound environments.

    This 2003 release — part of Staalplaat’s Mort Aux Vaches series — contains three pieces that mix synthesized and natural sounds in unsettling and often jarring ways.

    Variable Resistance (T1) begins with disorienting binaural clicks, slowly tweaked. The sounds come into focus, crisp and precise, but only briefly. Before long some comforting and reverb kicks in, and more natural noises appear. Echoey drips, gasps, and rasps, like wandering through dark wet steam tunnels with a faulty flashlight. Ends with the sounds of a rough pummeling and wailing, as the track skips and glitches to a halt. The CD is not broken.

    Deconstructed Windmills (T2) is calmer, starting with a long high-pictched buzz, giving way to sterile pulses and tones, like hospital equipment. This is replaced with ominous thuds, algorithmic blips and bloops. Brief interludes of glitchy static puncture the overwhelmingly vast drones.

    Soft and Loud (T3) draws the most on acoustic sounds and recordings. The first movement alternates between crunching, bending, scraping, screaming metal, and utter silence. Organic sounds like gurgling water and crinkling fire mix with synthetic sine wave drones. Low vibrations like bad fluorescent lights. Broken voices. Drum ratatatat. Some moments are actually musical, with rich harmonies and quick repetitive glimpse of a melodies, but there’s always something off — the instruments are not what they seem, almost a mirage.

  • Reviewed by Louie Caliente on June 13, 2017 at 8:51 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Solenoid – “Bike/Ingrid” – [Audraglint]

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    Two short tracks of electronica. Bike is jaunty, while Ingrid is intense and beat-driven. Ingrid is my preferred track.

  • Reviewed by humana on June 13, 2017 at 7:28 pm
  • Filed as 7-inch,A Library
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  • Lockwood, Annea – “Breaking The Surface” – [Lovely Music Ltd.]

    breakingthesurface

    These are two epic-length tracks, the first commissioned by Thomas Buckner and composed by Lockwood to showcase her vocalizations that call to mind shamanic chants with a large glass gong, wind, and a Cameroonian rattle, among other instruments. Track 2 records the voice of sculptor Walter Wincha, interviewed by Lockwood just over a day before he died at age 30. Interspersed with the interview are field sounds of running on a track. The entire experience is cathartic and mesmerizing.

  • Reviewed by humana on June 13, 2017 at 7:20 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Marchetti / Noetinger / Werchowski – “Marchetti / Noetinger / Werchowski” – [Corpus Hermeticum]

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    Live recordings of two half-hour performances of improvised electronics and violin, released in 2000 by the New Zealand label Corpus Hermeticum (run by Bruce Russell of the Dead C). Lionel Marchetti is a French musique concrète/electronic composer who creates studio pieces and improvised live works. This release is an example of the latter, with Marchetti using microphones, tape recorders, radios, and loudspeakers strategically placed to complement the acoustics of the performance space. Jérôme Noetinger is also a French sound artist; both he and Marchetti were students of Xavier Garcia, and have been frequent collaborators since the early 90s. Here they are joined by violinist Mathieu Werchowski. The CD includes an essay from guitarist Michel Henritzi that casts the performances as radical acts: “two concerts that are imploding limits within which our listening is held by the dominant discourse of our market-led era.”

    The Lille performance (T1) opens with a sweep of the tuner dial on an antique radio – sometimes the hint of a broadcast fades in for a moment through the static and woozy, theremin-like feedback. When Werchowski joins in, it kicks off an ongoing exchange between the violin and electronic sounds for a place in the foreground. His frantic, repetitive bowing builds into a fury; later, blares of microphone feedback, blotting out everything around it, dominate as Werchowski brushes on muted strings. An extended lull gives way to another build-up with long pulls of the bow on dissonant double stops and wild electronic chaos. The Turin performance (T2) has many of the same elements, but it is the darker and queasier of the two pieces, with high-pitched whistling and droning feedback creating a persistent tension. Intense listening.

  • Reviewed by lexi glass on June 12, 2017 at 9:28 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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