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German reed player Gebhard Ullmann and pianist Achim Kaufmann meet for a highly improvised conversation. Difficult at times, but overall very emotionally and musically satisfying. Poignant quiet parts, shimmery bell-like sounds, original.
Los Angeles based Tikiyaki 5-0 is a combo of 4 musicians (bass, guitars, keyboards and drums) from the much larger Tikiyaki Orchestra. This EP features originals plus covers of Arthur Lyman’s “Taboo”, Les Baxter’s “Enchanted Sea” and “Song of Delilah”, and the surf classic “Shockwave”. Extremely good players and fine arrangements give us this wonderful intersection of Tiki and surf.
Gyorgy Ligeti (pronounced jurj LIH-geh-tee) lived from 1923 to 2006. His early life was in Hungary where his creativity was restricted by first Hitler and then Stalin. In 1956 he fled to Vienna and also spent time in Cologne. In 1972, he was a composer in residence at Stanford University. His music is heard in soundtracks of Stanley Kubrick’s films such as 2001. Considered one of the leading avant garde twentieth century classical composers, his work embraced 12-tone and electronic music, especially music made with conventional instruments made to sound like electronic sources. This 5-CD set is a treasure chest of various styles and includes a book where the composer discusses each piece. Many pieces are very spare, very high frequency notes played by strings give a signature sound not unlike a swarm of cicadas. Other pieces are lush and lyrical. Some vocals are playful, all are very original. Most is not all that accessible, so don’t expect comfortable soundtrack material.
PGM: Very great dynamic range, from almost silent to very loud.
The Gillbillies describe themselves as a three-piece instrumental outlaw gothic western surf-a-billy cowpunk band – they break the mold with their long beards, cowboy hats and choice of guitars. Frequent gigs in the San Francisco Bay Area and appearances at the last two KFJC Surf Battles have won them respect as showmen and fine musicians. Twangy, energetic new takes on some classic surf tune covers.
The title of this 4-track EP from Netherlands 3-piece band Stories from Shamehill probably refers to how it is grounded in traditional surf music but with a modern sound – the same but different. The band’s 2017 January/February tour in California gives them a chance to stop by the KFJC pit. All originals, well played, fun and energetic.
This surf trio from the Netherlands gives us a 2-track EP that is well played and recorded – nice bouncy energy on original tunes. They were in Livorno for the 2016 Surfer Joe Festival that was broadcast by KFJC.
This is a split CD. Irish band Spellbound is categorized as punk rock and psychobilly – vocals on those first 6 tracks, good instrumentals. Brazilian surf band The Mullet Monster Mafia – a band KFJC met during the 2016 Surfer Joe live broadcast. If you like your surf music heavy, you are in luck – very intense surf mayhem!
Do Tell is a cornet/tuba/percussion trio from New Mexico. This group of 6 Julius Hemphill compositions sounds rather good with this odd combination of instruments. The tunes are upbeat, happy, and bouncy with some nods to Hemphill’s avant-garde side. Who knew tuba in the right hands could be so graceful and compatible with a cornet?
Very interesting collection of songs from this duo that truly represent the American West. Some nods to rock, country western, and even cabaret. Excellent guitar, piano, and percussion work with delightful touches of lap steel, marimba, you name it. These fine instrumental tracks will have a place in many KFJC programs.
Experimental noise from a 2015 recording at Marlboro College in Vermont. Rustling, scraping, occasional chimes, subdued jack hammering, with a high pitched ear-piercing tone thrown in from time to time. Oddly quiet and appealing.
The El Caminos are a surf band from Kobe, Japan. They play many covers of surf classics, but their energy and stage presence are especially endearing. They were a big hit at the 2016 Surfer Joe Summer Festival. Remastered re-release of two El Caminos’ CDs from Sexcite Records 01-14 from Knock ‘Em Out and 15-28 from Surfers Lounge with 2 bonus tracks.
French 4-piece surf band that performs in togas with a nod to their namesake Agamemnon, known in Greek mythology as the commander of the united Greek army in the Trojan War. Excellent playing and composing includes spaghetti western, French pop, reggae, and twang. Of special interest is track 6, a cover of a French Renaissance piece by Lully: Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, LWV 43 – Marche Pour La Ceremonie Des Turcs.
Solo guitar from David First known for his work with jazz pianist Cecil Taylor and the psych punk band Notekillers. Non-melodic, minimal, repetitious drones. Nothing fancy or virtuoso. Are they called etudes because they are a study for the bit that is being repeated? Reminiscent of Bill Orcutt in that it starts by sounding weird but quickly becomes endearing.
What? Another fine surf band from the Netherlands?!! KFJC picked up this EP at the 2016 Surfer Joe Summer Festival. Fine playing, 4 good originals and 2 bonus classical tracks. Energetic modern surf 3-piece, some rockabilly mixed in.
Odd glitchy electronics meet organ, guitar, and piano and the result is very listenable and often lovely. Abrahams is Australian and is known for his piano work with the Necks. Very original and very beautiful – recommended!
Los Protones are a surf band from Peru with great playing, nice use of keyboards. Surf through and through with some horror, hot rod, rockabilly, exotica, and soundtrack influences. A nod to Peruvian Chicha in track 11.
Latest album from the Russian surf band that causes a buzz wherever it goes. Loaded with reverb and twang, Oleg’s fine playing is so impressive. Great bass from the lovely Zombierella. Horror surf with lots of humor and originality. Recommended!
Amy Beach (1867-1944) was an American pianist and composer and as such, is said to be the first woman to have had success with large-scale music works. Here we hear music for solo piano – no 12-tone from this 20th century classical composer, but strongly reminiscent of Chopin, Liszt, and romantic and impressionistic pieces. Lovingly and expertly played by pianist Joanne Polk. A bit of bombast here and there, but overall very enjoyable.
Very nice approachable jazz with especially fine performances from baritone sax and flute player Cecil Payne (1922-2007) and Duke Jordan (1922-2006) on piano. Sam Jones on bass and Al Foster on drums also excellent. Despite mainstream appeal and covers of jazz standards, this excellent 1973 recording belongs in the KFJC library.
Stripped down trio format, laid back, listenable, nonchalant. Paul Bley (1932 – 2016) was a Canada-born American jazz pianist known for his free jazz innovations and emphasis on trio playing. Italian pianist Cappelletti plays with DiCastri on bass and Ditmas on drums who had also played with Bley.
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