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Mezzacappa, Lisa – “AvantNOIR” – [Clean Feed]

Unknown

A great record. It may as well be subtitled “People Up to No Good in Sketchy Locations in San Francisco at Night” because that is exactly what it sounds like. A high concept record–music composed by bassist/bandleader Mezzacappa as accompaniment to (and extension of) noir literary works and films that she found intriguing and inspirational. Her detailed liner notes lay it all out. The music is skillfully realized by an ensemble of first-rate local jazz/avant-garde players. It twists and turns, making the listener wonder what is waiting in the next dark alley. Snippets of film dialog pop up here and there, and I like the way the electronics of Tim Perkis add a sense of subtle unease throughout. An evocative ride through nighttime SF more than a few decades ago… Fillmore Street, Army Street (not Cesar Chavez), Green Street, etc.

  • Reviewed by Max Level on October 17, 2017 at 9:36 am
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Een, Robert – “Mystery Dances” – [Starkland]

    Robert Een (b. 1952) is a composer, vocalist, and cellist best known as part of Meredith Monk’s ensemble. Sounds like Philip Glass playing belly dance. Several of the works were composed for a 10-man dance ensemble. Dirge for Julius is for Julius Eastman.

  • Reviewed by Hemroid The Leader on October 11, 2017 at 2:33 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Grill, Stanley/ Diderot String Quartet – “At The Center of All Things” – [Innova/American Composers]

    String quartets of the American composer Stanley Grill performed by the Diderot Quartet on gut-stringed instruments. Grill was raised in the Bronx and went to the Manhattan School of Music. Recalls Early Music vocal harmonies. Contemplative, peaceful, and beautiful.. quartets were composed 2012 and 2013, recorded July 2016.

  • Reviewed by Hemroid The Leader on October 11, 2017 at 2:04 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Kucharz, Larry – “Piano Etudes: Imitations & Tracks” – [International Audiochrome]

    piano etudes

    This might look like a harmless modern classical record, but it scared the living shit out of me, maybe more so than anything else I’ve ever reviewed for KFJC, and that’s really saying something. I’ll explain.

    Larry Kucharz is a classically trained pianist and minimalist composer who has been working in NYC since the 1970s and releasing music under his own label International Audiochrome. But I didn’t know any of that when I first put on this CD while alone in my apartment. The disc opens with a long piece of atmospheric synthetic strings (“Imitations 1″, T1), kind of a Badalamenti feel. The next track is the first in a run of four piano etudes, that focus on lively repeating figures (T2), slowly unfurling arpeggios (T3), dark waves rolling up and down the keyboard (T4), blinking broken chords (T5). The electro-orchestral ambience returns in “Imitation 2,” a more dramatic version of the first track that focuses on a descending scale (T6).

    At this point I felt like I had a pretty good sense of what the CD was all about: a hybrid of traditional and electronic sounds in fairly traditional modern classical pieces. So when I wandered back into the living room during “U343″ (T7), I thought someone had broken into my apartment and swapped out the CD for a different one. I panicked as a pulsing techno beat shook the floor, then became frantic that maybe I somehow fucked up the CD as the energy climbed higher during the drum-and-bassy “Highway 37″ (T8), with its quick electric piano melodies like a distant reminder of the earlier piano exercises. I finally figured out, sometime during the final pachinko-core track (T9), that Kucharz got into electronica sometime in the 90s, bringing a classical influence to the pieces – T8 for example is inspired by Corelli. So don’t freak out like I did, and check out the many different styles featured on this album, as well as the others we have from Kucharz in our library already.

  • Reviewed by lexi glass on October 10, 2017 at 8:54 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Centazzo, Andrea/ Sakata, Akira/ Fujiwara, Kiyoto – “Bridges” – [Ictus]

    162fr

    Reeds/drums/bass exploration recorded in Milan in 2012. Although Sakata has worked with both Bill Laswell and DJ Krush, he stays well within the free jazz idiom herm, with a soulful, searching sound that recalls both Ornette Coleman and Steve Lacy. What really makes this album special, however, is the near-telepathic communication among the band members, all the more remarkable given that this was their first meeting. The first track begins with the players quietly testing each other, but they quickly cohere around a common thread and move through a variety of spaces. The second track is quiet and contemplative, with Sakata switching to clarinet, Centazzo dazzling us with an array of bells and chimes, and Fujiwara drawing out tones with his bow. Track 3 picks up the pace again, and then on track 4, we’re in for a treat as Sakata puts down his horn and grunts and growls his way through a Damo Suzuki-esque dirge. The last track is based on Stella by Starlight and sees the drums and bass play it (relatively) straight while Sakata blows over the top. Overall, well worth your time if you’re into this sort of thing.

  • Reviewed by Phil Phactor on October 4, 2017 at 6:12 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Rodrigues, Ernesto/ Greenlief, Phillip/ Swafford, Tom – “Sidereus Nuncius” – [Creative Sources Recording]

    The track/album name comes from a 1610 astronomy work by Galileo. Sidereus Nuncius is often translated as “Starry Messanger”. Here it is a highly improvised musical work for viola, violin and tenor sax. Very breathy, wispy, fluttery and delicate. Recorded live in Seattle in 2006.

  • Reviewed by Cousin Mary on October 4, 2017 at 3:10 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Winslow, Conrad – “Perfect Nothing Catalog, The” – [Innova Recordings]

    Conrad Winslow is a composer working in Brooklyn from Alaska and has studied at NYU and Juilliard. The group is violin, flute, cello, and percussion. It’s got that fun silence silence silence then crash John Cage feel I personally enjoy. The whole thing is also a performance piece with costume and candles and choreographed ritual-like movements. Very brainy High Art kinda stuff.
    -Billie Joe Tolliver

  • Reviewed by billiejoe on October 4, 2017 at 2:37 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Conjoint – “Conjoint” – [KM 20]

    R-62080-1166447752.jpeg

    Purveyor of groovy ambience David Moufang (perhaps better known as Move D) adds live guitar and vibes to the mix and… nothing much happens. But perhaps that???s the point? The album meanders through the sleepy back alleys of dub, electronica, jazz, and trip-hop. Highlights include Tee Dum (T5) which marries Bill Evans harmonies to an exceedingly chilled electro beat and the beatless Boards-of-Canada-esque closer Concessions (T9).

  • Reviewed by Phil Phactor on October 2, 2017 at 8:04 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Reutoff – “Gute Nacht, Berlin!” – [Hau Ruck!]

    Reutoff_berlin CD

    Reutoff is a post-Industrial trio from Russia. An occult approach (somewhat similar to Coil’s), combined with a sinister inscrutability, makes them intriguing but also difficult to describe. This 2003 release came out on Hau Ruck!, the Tesco sublabel curated by Der Blutharsch. It’s a unique take on dark Industrial, with a strange and lasting appeal.

    The music is very abstract, sometimes verging on ambient techno. The second and third tracks are the most beat-driven, the rest is hazy (especially near the end). Loops upon loops of noise and synthesizer. Cinematic bummer atmosphere. Understated melodies. Pulsing machine sounds. Martial salutes to the host label. Steam hiss. Voices: some of them are historical samples, some of them may be from a band member, it’s frustratingly difficult to tell in some cases. I don’t speak Russian. There is a historical theme, I’d wager centering on the Russian sack of Berlin in 1945. Like a lot of Reutoff’s work, there seems to be a riddle here, but I’ll leave it to someone else to figure it out. A spooky album.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on September 28, 2017 at 10:37 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Machine Listener – “Sentient System” – [No Part of It]

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    A wide range of sounds across the Noise spectrum. There is a sort of “musical” element to some of the tracks–musical as in minimal melodies and drones and repeating patterns of notes, and Tracks 4, 5, and 7 are probably more power ambient than noise. You’d still want to file this under Noise though. The first track starts off gently with a soft drone but not long after the one-minute mark the thing suddenly jumps the rails and starts throwing alarming noises at you. Machine Listener is a solo project by Matthew Gallagher. It’s quite interesting, actually.

  • Reviewed by Max Level on September 26, 2017 at 9:12 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Atrax Morgue Featuring Morder Machine – “DeathShow” – [Slaughter Productions]

    morder

    Marco Corbelli AKA Atrax Morgue AKA Morder Machine AKA Atrax Morgue Featuring Morder Machine. He founded Slaughter Productions, perhaps the most influential Italian label specializing in Industrial Noise.

    Beginning in 1992 Atrax Morgue was the primary outlet for Corbelli’s Death-Industrial atrocities until he committed suicide in 2007, at the age of 37. Along with groups like Brighter Death Now and The Grey Wolves, Atrax Morgue was essential to the development of uncompromising anti-commercial Industrial music as an art form. Corbelli was obsessed with necrophilia, serial killers and cross-dressing. He wore his damaged psyche on his sleeve.

    This 1998 album is a lo-fi, nasty, analogue synth journey through the psychopath’s hell. Monotonous pulses and chirping oscillators, heavily distorted. It really does sound like a murder machine, with each track comprising a set of repetitive electronic sounds grinding along in unison. There is a subtle build to each song, though, except the last one, which is truly monotonous and empty. Corbelli’s inhuman shrieks, squeaks and whispers of pain, run through heavy delay effects, drift like thick smoke across the scarred wastelands of the first five tracks. In most cases title=lyrics.

    Sleazy, wretched, hateful, superb.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on September 24, 2017 at 7:31 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Drudkh – “Eternal Turn of The Wheel” – [Season of Mist]

    Old Man Winter

    Drudkh are a band of four Ukrainian black metallers, active since 2002 (with some changes in lineup). Their current lineup has been in place since 2006. Drudkh has disavowed any political or ideological associations with their music, but it does have a strong thread of Ukrainian nationalism running through it, manifest in their use of Ukrainian poets’ work as lyrics, particularly that of Taras Shevchenko, as well as Ukrainian folkloric themes. They are proud Slavic heathens, often writing about nature. I would guess that they are not fond of Russia. The meaning of the word drudkh is unclear, although it may be a romanisation of a Sanskrit word for wood (as in “a block of wood”).

    Their 2012 album “Eternal Turn of the Wheel”, released on Season of Mist, has a theme of changing seasons, with one track for each season as well as an instrumental introduction. Apparently every season is cold in Ukrayina.

    The introduction lasts little more than one minute and consists of wind noises and acoustic guitar. The season tracks are somewhat long, running about eight to ten minutes depending on the track. Drudkh’s sound is guitar-based, with riffs rather on the melodic side, but they also love synth keyboards, which moves it into solidly atmospheric territory. The drumming is usually quite slow and nature sounds (more wind, thunder, some birds of prey) are a recurring feature. It’s a funerary procession in the cold woods featuring a man screaming in Ukrainian. You can hear bells in spring.

    The lyrics to spring mention water still sleeping under a sheet of ice, dead trees and snow, while summer is foggy and still. Autumn sees rain, wind and grassfire. Winter mentions darkness, snow and ice. Fairly straightforward.

    Hail the Great Wheel.

  • Reviewed by Rat King on September 24, 2017 at 7:00 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Black Whispers – “Shades of Bleakness” – [Prison Tatt Records]

    blackwhispers

    Black Whispers is a Depressive Black Metal band from Costa Rica. Kjiel (the girl) seems to be from Italy. Multi-faceted frontman/multi-instrumentalist JF is only 20 years old (born in 1996).

    The self-mutilating edge of these fine tracks is somewhat dulled by narcotic Slowdive synth patterns and a general pink haze. It’s definitely not orthodox in sound, although there is a definite connection to bands like Sortsind and Hypothermia, actually track 5 is a cover of the Hypothermia-affiliated Swedish band Life Neglected.

    This is ‘night thoughts’ music that is not quite Heavy Metal but definitely possesses a thick and viscous shoegaze glaze.

    Kjiel contributes some ghostly ‘clean’ vocals, not operatic, but warm lullabies of self-orchestrared demise. And then the screams of agony, which are good. Lying with Clair Cassis and Sleeping Peonies in a soft bed for a comfortable death.

    Speaking of which, this 2015 CD is one of the last things sent to KFJC by Prison Tatt founder Wm. Berger, now deceased. It’s exactly the kind of outsider Black Metal he loved and tirelessly promoted. Rest in Power, Wm.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on September 21, 2017 at 10:14 pm
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  • Nerftoss – “Maiden Powers” – [Ehse Records]

    Nerftoss, the solo project of musician John Jones is a pleasure from a variety of styles pulled together to make a unique, infectious sound. “Caliber” one of the few tracks with vocals, feels like post-shoegaze, with the vocals quieter than the bass, indistinguishable yet domineering. Many of the tracks are a type of loop of rhythmic beats or hypnotic drone and psychedelic patterns, pumping, pumping, pumping forward while odd rhythms and chords pop in and out commenting to each other while the loop continues forward.
    New Psychedelia transforming your head. Turn on.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on September 19, 2017 at 10:35 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Morgen Wurde – “Brach Auf” – [Time Released Sound]

    Morgen Wurde is Wolfgang Rottger from Kiel, the German port city on the Baltic that was a major manufacturer of subs and boats during WWII. It was also mostly destroyed by bombing during WWII. Does this matter? I think place and history affect artistic creation one way or another. With references to fire, whether it be destructive or transformative, the 11 tracks present a fluctuating tone of electronic swirl and percussive tone reminiscent of Tangerine Dream and other such groups but with an obvious 21st century bent. Propulsive yet ambient, electronic in a space journey type of manner. Flow over, through and beyond the space portal.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on September 19, 2017 at 9:50 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Mezei, Szilard / Guazzaloca, Nicola – “Lucca and Bologna Concerts” – [Amirani Records/Amirani Contemporary]

    A brilliant recording by Hungarian viola player, Szilard Mezei and Italian piano player, Nicola Guazzaloca. These master musicians pair up for recordings at 2 concerts and give performances of improvisational bliss. From slow and quiet almost silence, to loud bursts of volatile sound, Szilard bows, scratches and engulfs his viola, nursing and cursing a rich array of sounds, even bits and hints of Hungarian folk tunes. Nicaola, plucks and strums the inside of the piano then moves to eloquent chords, patterns, trills and other innovations on the piano keyboard. The interplay between them is thrilling to listen to, hearing the two shadow and mimic each other, then explore around the other’s sounds. Serious for sure, but fun. Lots of fun from these improvisers.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on September 18, 2017 at 11:06 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Straight Panic – “Satanic Verses, The” – [Phage Tapes]

    Lucifer

    Thomas Boettner is a prolific noisemaker (with his solo projects Fire Island AK and Family Planning and the group GASP.), the founder of several labels (Minneapolis-based Fuck Mtn. and now the New Orleans cassette label Jouissance de Rien), and an advocate for queer experimental musicians. Boettner’s power electronics project Straight Panic deals with the persecution of homosexuals, beginning with its origins in the ancient texts of nearly all major religions to the vicious treatment throughout history that continues today. Released in 2017 on Phage Tapes, The Satanic Verses is “a treatise on the defense and protection of all queer bodies in the face of theocracy under capitalism.”

    Boettner uses samples to recount this bloody history – passages from the Quran (T2), sermons on the Book of Leviticus (T3) and from an Arizona pastor who calls for the execution of “filthy faggots” (T5 – FCC), hymns and military songs (T3 and T1) – all ravaged by distortion to magnify their ugliness. The noise comes in machine-gun bursts (T6), screams of rage (T2), waves of pain (T5, T4, with a sample from the 2015 film The Witch – witch hunts are a recurring theme), but there’s also moments of mourning and even hope (T7). Ruthless work that spits in the face of god.

  • Reviewed by lexi glass on September 18, 2017 at 9:12 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • 1 comment
  • Raison D’etre – “Mise En Abyme” – [Transgredient Records]

    abyme

    Peter Andersson (one of two men thus named who have done valuable work for Sweden’s Cold Meat Industry label) creates ingenious electronic music under multiple names, including Raison D’Etre, Stratvm Terror, Atomine Elektrine, Panzar and more. Under the Raison D’Etre name (est. 1992) he is a Dark Ambient legend, and KFJC has many of his CDs.

    This 2014 work is more recent and it exposes the crafted subtlety of Andersson’s tried-and-true approach to recreating complete emptiness and hopeless melancholia. Aching arrangements of deep synth drone, creaking metal and samples of Christian chant. It doesn’t get much better than this. Mise en Abyme is a French heraldic term meaning “placed into abyss,” and refers, among other things, to endlessly recursive images.

    The volume ranges from extremely quiet to very loud. T.2 has some particularly angry metal mingling. Embrace the emptiness within yourself.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on September 17, 2017 at 9:22 pm
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  • Angels In America – “Narrow Road to The Interior” – [Ehse Records]

    Wiped out, stoned, addicted, dusty, dirt, heat, squatting in infested broken down buildings: these are the feelings I get when hearing Angels In America’s “Narrow Road To The Interior”. Don’t get me wrong. I actually LOVE this sound, like walking through tar or muddy snow after eating something you shouldn’t have or didn’t know you had. Moppy Pont and Merv Glisten are the duo that make up this Baltimore based project, creating echoing vocals, kind of mumbled, sometimes just too tired to get the word out. Harmonies stumble through the sound infested background, filled with drones, lost choral repetitions, the sounds of detritus and wind, electronic surprises and irritants with guitar and maybe bass accompaniment, broken up beats, then a wail or scream. God, I love this so much. Kick back on your filthiest couch, listen and indulge in what feeds you. AIA rule.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on September 16, 2017 at 5:14 pm
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  • Perkis, Tim / Walton, Scott – “Applied Cryptography” – [Pfmentum]

    Upon hearing the first notes of this 2016 work by Tim Perkis (electronics) and Scott Walton (piano), I felt I was experiencing something bigger, something grander than many of the unique pieces of which I have the privilege of hearing. Perkis’ instrument is things electronic. Walton is a multi-instrumentalist, on this release performing piano. They are both skilled, knowledgeable and experienced performers. On this CD, something clicked, at least for me. An interplay of piano interludes, improvisations, arpeggios, and chords play with, around and against the electronic soundscape of blips, skronks, squelches, buzzes, hums and more. The piano is fully explored, even inside as wire is pulled and scraped. Or is that the electronics mimicking the piano? The quality of interplay between the two musicians and their instruments is stunning. The playing is shared with one not overwhelming the other but playing along side and in conversation with the other. Both may settle into quiet or one will dominate while the other supports or reacts. Sometimes they go in different directions, but they never get lost. Alas, the sound of experience and skill and creativity. If we did a top ten of the year, this would definitely be on my list.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on September 15, 2017 at 9:20 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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