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Hypnopazuzu is a newish project by legendary David Tibet and Youth (Martin Glover, bassist of Killing Joke and other projects and producer). Supposedly this project was in the works for years, at least on a conversational level. Youth and Tibet are highly intimidating men so it is interesting on how to approach this big work. Musically, it is lush, rich and full, with stunning orchestrations combining strings and moog, synthesizers, guitar and percussion. All pieces are slow but never dull. Always moving, flowing, changing from quiet to full sound, contrasting and playing with Tibet’s vocals. Tibet has a unique, distinguishable voice, known immediately by those who are familiar with his work. His singing style is reminiscent of ancient church choral work, sometimes chant-like, always captivating. The songs are about… the hell if I know. Even reading the lyrics lost me. Which isn’t bad, they are just deep. Tibet is influenced by or follows and studies esoteric Christianity as well as sects of Tibetan Buddhism, ancient literary texts, gods and Gods both light and dark, magick and themes of apocalypse. Mix that up with older children’s tales, experimental sexuality, and selections from Gilgamesh and you have an idea of the range of topics being sung. Intimidating but heartfelt and sincere. This CD is a stunner and would work on almost every show at the station. Don’t be intimidated.
Black metal split with two two-man bands that share one drummer (Nemesis Infernum), and that guy really likes drums. Drums are very prominent throughout.
Velonnic Sin seem like they might put a little bit more thought into their songwriting, but that’s just speculation. Velonnic Sin is pretty at times, but those times are surrounded by more traditional metal riffs and growl-screaming.
Sin Origin is more driven and has eviler vocals, but the long song durations feel unnecessary at times. The insert under the tray describes them as “corpse-painted Darkthrone worship with ultra-long Black Metal conciertos[sic]“.
This 2010 CD is the most recent proper album from Anti-Free-Speech Action’s favourite gay, vegetarian, British-working-class, pro-Israel neo-Nazi.
Douglas P. is a legendary figure and voice in the post-punk scene, and as a matter of fact, KFJC co-presented his last show in San Francisco, where a small and rather pathetic congregation of picketers made known their displeasure with the artist’s consistent use of Third Reich imagery, as well, I’d imagine, as his refusal to disavow his own curious brand of New Right/Post-Left (but hardly Hitlerian) politics. His outlook and uniforms are an uncomfortable combo to be sure, but I wonder if that’s the point… Gee whiz…
Another point: there is and shall be no band in the world like Death in June; furthermore, Death in June has never been a political band per se. The artist’s interrogation of modernity’s numerous betrayals (on the personal and international scale) certainly lends itself to political analysis (e.g. t.1), but ‘Peaceful Snow’ is essentially distilled from the thoughts and feelings of a poetically-inclined gay man facing old age on his horizon and with a lifetime of refusal to compromise at his back. Although there is some bile here, in many ways it is the most tender album he has ever done, summoning the inevitable spectre of his old group, Current 93 (‘Soft Black Stars,’ anyone?) in its sober treatment of lost connections and truths long tried by the passage of time; you could say there’s some Leonard Cohen in there too, actually, whose body of work is an apter point of reference for Di6′s than one might think.
The songs are all enriched and expanded by Douglas’ newest collaborator, Neofolk neophyte Miro Snejdr (he has a Death in June tattoo), who transcribed them from guitar to intricate and fragile piano passages, somehow evoking both Burt Bacharach and Ozymandias.
I was a fool not to have checked this out sooner, because it was easily the best Death in June album since ‘Operation Hummingbird.’
French composer Wilson Trouve and Alameda’s Time Released Sound bring us 11 tracks of ambient piano, field recordings, guitar, and synthesizer swells, all processed and encased in layers of shellac. Romantic and pastoral impulses dominate. The piano work is tonally related to minimalism, but uncharacteristically, it brings a romantic sentiment to the proceedings
2 CD’s, 2 long slow-moving tunes, 63 & 53 mins from Australia’s The Necks. CDs mix together nicely. Repetitive piano and sidewinding bass phrases, some electroacoustic and film sample sounds. Drum machines. 88 BPM. Made me want to go out at night and repossess some vehicles. 6 minutes in, “Can I get a beer?” You’ll need one. 15 minutes, a guy gets roughed up. 37 minutes in, this lady gets thrown out a window. Ambulances wail, the crime scene photographers do their job. Let’s go on a stakeout.
Brooklyn’s Grant Cutler recorded musicians improvising to delayed recordings of themselves, building odd warm drones. The compositional process is guided by the dumb logic of delay, and the results are anything but. Klangfarbenmelodie colors, shifting terrain, structures constructing and desconstructing simultaneously. 8 short tunes 3-7 minutes each. We have another Cutler 12″ in the library.
Robert Moran’s music on this CD exists in two modes. Driving, rhythmic, high energy (Open Veins & 32 Crypptograms) or tragic elegy (Arias & Stimmen). The tragedy of AIDS is never far away. This “disgracefully pretty” Minimalism offers seductive critique.
Marta Mist is a trio from Leeds, and there’s not much more information out there about them than that. This 2015 release from local label Time Released Sound is their first since 2012′s Industries. We received our copy when Naysayer hosted the label’s founders on the air in January 2017.
The album contains two ~20-minute pieces, each divided into three sections that move through a variety of styles:
“Scavengers” (T1) begins with a duet between strings and an echoing piano; later, angelic choral vocals join in. A drum beat surfaces followed by distorted guitars, (~6:00), and the piece takes on a darker, more menacing tone. The third section (~13:00) introduces a brilliant drone and electronic rhythms, and before fading away, returns to the sound of the piano.
“Hunters” (T2) begins similarly, with a string-focused section – think Philip Glass meets Dirty Three – while a subtle beat lurks in the background. Then, the string arpeggios turn into bold strokes in the dramatic second movement (~7:00). Finally, jazz-inspired drums lead into a guitar section (~12:00) that reminds me of all those post-rock bands from the 90s, like Tortoise or especially Do Make Say Think.
This is beautiful work – play an entire track, or scavenge excerpts for your show.
Masked and anonymous quintet of serial killer worshipers from the United Kingdom. This is their second full length release, from 2012. It is really one 40-minute song, but the CD version divides it into three tracks. The first part is basically instrumental rock with wandering guitar and funerary violin, like a more evil Godspeed You Black Emperor. Parts two and three are Black/Death/Doom Metal monstrosities of unforgiving heaviness with demonic shrieks and crushing guitar vortices. Shreds of Bolt Thrower, Bethlehem, and Portal surface. All three parts feature samples from interviews with famous psychopaths, sometimes buried in the mix like on that one shitty Pink Floyd album. I think Dragged Into Sunlight are one of the sickest Death Metal bands around today, and they definitely push the genre to its limits here. Very evil, in a timeless way. The “widowmaker” myocardial infarcation is the occlusion of the anterior interventricular branch of the left coronary artery, which causes a massive and lethal heart attack, which means one less carbon footprint and one less boring opinion.
Swiss artist Meirino joins forces with the Bay Area’s own Wittmer (aka Misanthropic Agenda) to bring us a foundation of distant hums, rumblings, gurglings, and notes veiled in deep layers of corrosion. Closer up in the mix we hear all manner of glitchy sounds, static, labored breathing, sometimes voices. The overall impression I get is that we have somehow stumbled into a place where terrible things happen and we do not know the way out. This disturbing, evil CD would have been right at home on ‘Radio Free Hatred.’ The artists specify that all three tracks (11 minutes, 8 minutes, and 14 minutes) are to be listened to in one continuous session.
Miya Masaoka was a pianist who took up the koto – a 21-string Japanese harp. The principal is jo ha kyu – prelude/breaking away/hurried. It essentially means that all actions or efforts should begin slowly, speed up, and then end swiftly. The great Noh playwright Zeami viewed it as a universal concept applying to the patterns of movement of all things. Like shakuhachi, this is meditative improvisation.
In 1993 Francis Wong was director of Asian Improv Records. He said at the time, “there has never been an Asian American exclusive form.” Hopefully we will get more from AIR, a scene that probably best correlates to AACM. Masaoka was in the process of obtaining a Master’s degree from Mills College. In her words, it was “an exciting time for the Asian American music scene. It was small, fragile, underground, and we had a mission and our bonds were strong.”
Track 7 is an Ellington tune. Track 8 features wood flute.
Influential Darkwave from New York City, closely associated with Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s Projekt Records. This album is from 2012, recorded in Germany and Texas. Active since 1999, Unto Ashes is the pet primarily of Michael Laird. Delicate Neoclassical and ‘Dark Folk’ arrangements with male and female vocals, more Dead Can Dance than Sol Invictus. Other possible influences in the Gothic vein include Ordo Equitum Solis and Jarboe. Furthermore, a solid streak of Psychedelic Pop runs through this CD, bringing up associations with Syd Barrett and others of his ilk (‘Pilzentanz’ indeed).
Much of the material comes from other sources, including theology (the 12th Century Apocalypse of Golias), poetry (Ambrose Bierce, Robert Frost, Cicely Mary Barker) and other bands (Apoptygma Berzerk, Van Halen) but the interpretations are quite brilliant and form a cohesive statement here about aging, regret and death. You and everyone you love are on the graveyard train. BTW there is bagpipe on some tracks. Respect the bagpipe.
Italian composer with two vocalists, percussionist, and a string quartet. Track one is your standard experimental strings. It’s so wild though I have a hard time imagining it being composed. Sounds like spacey screechy tones with operatic vocalizing on track two. Track three is male vocals and a little more dada and out there. Still excellent. Very long tracks let you really settle in for a transcending ride. My kinda jam.
Live performance concert in New York in the 80s. Big long synth freak outs. Cage voice blips and chanting in a non-language. Lots of silence. Untitled keyboard solo 3 and 5 are my favorite because they are nice and chaotic. We have the 12″ in the library but this has more songs. Not as many duets as I’d like but still very enjoyable. Highly recommended on continuous.
SSAB Songs is Brian Degraw (who would go on to form Gang Gang Dance) and film director Harmony Korine (just after the release of julien donkey-boy). On this 1999 album, the duo’s sole release, they’re joined by Tim Dewitt, Josh Diamond (both in GGD, Diamond later did a stint in Jackie-O Motherfucker), Gabriel Anbruzzi (The Rapture) and someone named Grimey (as he likes to be called?). Before disbanding, SSAB Songs performed once, opening for the Red Krayola in New York in 2000.
This album is one 27-minute sound collage. I kind of wanted to hate it – that last paragraph cited way more 90s/00s hipster cultural references than I’d ever thought I’d write in a KFJC review. And parts are definitely annoying (crusty drum circle jams, banjo) and dated (lo-fi Daniel Johnston/freak-folk warbling). But the sounds shift so often, that it’s not long before it moves into something interesting, like atonal folky guitar strumming, recordings of ballads, opera, or orchestras, buzzing drones, blasts of noise, free jazzy rumblings that sound influenced by No Neck Blues Band or the aforementioned JOMF – strange, inspired moments that make the whole messy thing worth it.
Sutcliffe Jugend was founded in 1982 when Kevin Tomkins was still a member of Whitehouse. William Bennett may have abandoned noise music for the sequenced Afro-worship of Cut Hands, but this offshoot project is still going strong. When you want to compete with Whitehouse you need to be pretty extreme, and Tomkins certainly always has been. Does he really hate women as much as he claims to, or does his career amount to 30+ years of serial-killer-themed performance art? I dunno.
Over the years Tomkins (also a painter) and co-conspirator Paul Taylor have gradually let slip the ultra-formalism of Come Organisation synthesizer torment to dabble in various experimental electronic styles, although retaining the core of extreme hatred that keeps emotionally unwell fans returning time and again. This 2016 album is one of four releases from last year, and it is definitely more traditional than the duo’s other recent releases on Cold Spring (e.g. 2012′s extraordinary death ambient opus ‘Blue Rabbit’). Here a robust mixture of digital and analog electronic tweaks (with hinted beats on t.s 3+4) back Tomkins’ profane, confessional prose poetry, delivered with the frothing impotence of a straitjacketed mental patient. Some of the invective may in fact be leveled against the consumer of industrial music, i.e. you. Tomkins is a pretty great improvisational vocal stylist, too. Listen and you’ll see what I mean. FCCs on all tracks of course.
Finnish Black Metal from a lone hatemonger going by ‘War Torech,’ the only other official member of Satanic Warmaster, where he used to play guitar. Torturium has not released anything since this 2006 album. These songs employ similarly ceremonial repetition but are generally more anguished and off-kilter than SW’s, and a little more baroque than Finnish BM in general (this 2006 release is on a French label). He’s a good guitarist with the strong fingers of a classical player, and the dramatic flourishes are appreciated. Unobtrusive keys dis-grace some tracks. The voice is a highlight, cracked and disturbing. Despite some moments of ‘Black Metal Deja Vu,’ (Dimhymn?) the riffs are generally fresh and compelling, conveying melancholy and delirium. Synth intro commences track one.
CD1: Summer smells / CD2: Winter smells
Hammer jammin dulcimer dudes pay penance for past performances with Phish? Perhaps.
Mimmo, Gianni & Sjostrom, Harri – “Live At Bauchhund Berlin 2010″ – [Amirani Records/Amirani Contemporary]
Out on Mimmo’s own label Amirani Contemporary, a duo of soprano sax natives Gianni Mimmo and Harri Sjostrom (ho-STROAM) performing live at Bauchhund Salonlabor in Berlin, June 4, 2010. Track 1 is a spoken intro. It was recorded on the anniversary of Steve Lacy’s passing, a fact mentioned in the intro. Lots of mouthpiece sounds. They get very into the instrument. Almost private. Track 9 features Sjostrom playing a special plastic cup.
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