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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.
Idelsohn Society For Musical Preservation (or in this case, Reboot Stereophonic label) continues to amaze with its focused and in depth look at American Jewish music and its influence on others. This release, “God Is A Moog” is a full collection of “the electronic prayers of Gershon Kingsley”. Kingsley is best known for bringing us the electronic pop culture AM radio wonder “Popcorn” as well as co-writing, with Jean Jacques Perrey, “Baroque Hoedown”, the theme of Disneyland’s Main Street Electrical Parade. But like many intensely creative people, he is much more than the sum of his parts. The book included in the double CD package gives incredible depth and insight into Gershon, his influences, his knowledge, his expertise, his values, his politics and his drive. “God Is A Moog” is heavily driven by all of these things, but with a uniqueness of character that makes these pieces so entertaining. Mixing his love of Moog and his love of Jewish prayer and holiday ritual, Gershon creates a Moog modern take on prayer and worship.
The Hoosier Hot Shots were a four piece swing, jazz, cornpone, hillbilly country outfit from Indiana. Steeped in the tradition of vaudeville, the group took parts of the U.S. by storm with their weekly radio broadcasts, their stage presence, their prolific recording career and their continued appearance in Hollywood westerns. This collection, “Everybody Stomp” is a 4 CD set of 100 Hoosier Hot Shot delights. The guys were multi-instrumentalists, playing a variety of brass instruments as well as guitar, string bass (various), clarinet and some unique handmade instruments including the Zither and the Wabash Washboard. It consisted of a corrugated sheet metal washboard on a metal stand with various noisemakers attached, including bells and a multi-octave range of squeeze-type bicycle horns”. Also, slide whistles are in most numbers. The Hoosiers selected many standards and familiar songs of the time to cover with a jaunty, silly twist. Vocals include conversation between the musicians, with some of the singers using this hight pitched kind of hillbilly accent. And don’t forget the penny whistles. Once beyond the goffiness, though, take a listen to the amazing musicianship between the members. It’s quite impressive. A fun addition, fitting many of the styles of our station’s shows.
As soon as I began listening to this CD, my spirit was saying yes. Trance, shoegaze, elements of rock and psych, and fascinating lyrics (which are kindly printed out for you on the liner notes) all combine to make this a truly enjoyable musical experience. Ingrid Luna Blue’s voice masterfully guides you through the shifting depths. Be sure to try out “Lost Garden Gnome Hotline” (3), “Aviatrix” (7), and “Purple Mushroom House” (9).
Thomas Ades (rhymes/w Jon Faddis) b. 1971, London. 45 Year old British composer. Recorded 95&97, released 98. 5 pieces over 24 tracks. Track singly, grouped by piece, continuous- all good.
1-8 Living Toys ’93- Chamber orchestra London Sinfonettia. Extended technique, performers slap their instruments from behind. Giant extinct bull- death of HAL- lifeless gongs- Juanito’s dream of a heroic life.
9-15 Arcadiana ’94- Endellion string quartet. 7 movements. Free. Track 12- Tango mortale. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios.
16-19 Sonata da Caccia ’93- Hunting Sonata – Oboe, horn, and Ades on harpsichord. Baroque sound turns modern in the final 2 movements.
20-23 The origin Of The Harp ’94- Chamber ensemble work for 10 players, commissioned by the Halle Orchestra. It premiered in 1994 at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester under the baton of the composer himself.
24 Gefriolsae Me ’90 (at 19 years old) – Haunting penitent chorus.
Recorded February 17th, 2014 at Cal’s Center for New Music & Audio Technologies.
Florence Price is an early, lesser known 20th Century composer of classical music, whose style is often referred to as being in the nationalistic style. This recording, by The Women’s Philharmonic, shows off three of her works. At times sounding like Aaron Copland and Tchaikovsky, with hints of southern spirituals, these pieces offer a full symphonic range of sound and feeling. At times there are melodies that seem like they could be used as early soundtracks to cartoons, where the tunes do not flow quite so simplistically. Why she is an important addition to our collection is because Florence Price was the first African American woman to gain acclaim nationally for her music and to have it played in symphonic halls. At a time when racism and sexism held back and destroyed millions of people, acceptance and appreciation of her and her music was a profound action by a country divided. Listen and celebrate our elders.
“An explicit odyssey into Swedish agricultural sounds.” 1999 2CD compilation on Cold Meat Industry showcasing 24 Swedish projects on the Death Industrial, Power Electronics and Rhythmic Noise spectrum. Sweden is pissed.
1.1+1.2: NOD, real name Daniel Wihlstrand. Demonic copy machines and a poetic intro mixed low to blow out speakers. Great mood-setter for the rest of the tracks.
The whole thing was pre-mastered by Peter Andersson… but which one? Most tracks are worthwhile. It will always be a mystery to me why Sweden has such a large and excellent Industrial scene. Get whipped by the Vodka Belt.
Raymond Scott was an American composer, band-leader, and inventor of electronic instruments. Although he never composed directly for cartoons, his music is most famous for accompanying countless Looney Tunes shorts, as well as more modern cartoons like Ren & Stimpy, The Simpsons, and Animaniacs.
Scott experimented with electronic sounds throughout the 30s and 40s, establishing Manhattan Research Inc. in 1946 to design and manufacture electronic instruments, such as the “Keyboard theremin,” “Chromatic electronic drum generators,” and “Circle generators.” He also invented the first device capable of playing a sequence of tones.
This CD is the first of a two-volume compilation tribute to Scott’s electronic work. 28 bands offer up songs channeling (in one way or another) Scott’s music. The tracks range from blippity-bloopity recreations, to poppy songs built on samples of Scott’s music, to entirely new pieces inspired by Scott’s imagination and experimentation. All songs are short, clocking in at 2 minutes or less, and provide a wide variety of interesting sounds.
Eeltis the second release from Spanish loud kids Absenta, released in early 2016. Absenta (unfortunately) describe Eel as “Post Black ‘n’ Roll Metal”. I was ready to cringe, but their apparent desire to let nature rise up and destroy mankind and retake the earth and seas was very compelling- this album is primarily concerned with the seas. Absenta’s brand of metal is a bit strange: the songs are written in English, but delivered in resonant growls and gruff singing and emphasised in a way that makes it difficult to understand the words- there are lyrics in the booklet. Eel is also a bit cleaner and more traditionally-mixed than most black metal, so it sounds sleek and a little creepy. The whole album sounds sort of like the soundtrack to an eel swimming through dark water, which is just fine with me. Drumming is sometimes rock, sometimes blast-beat, and sometimes a little martial. Synths are weird at times, particularly on the first track. There are also guitars, which go through various flavours of metal and rock. The overall impression is one of strange black metal, with a vague sense of worship but no references to Satan.
‘Burying Another Part Of Our Soul’ (track 2) is my favourite, largely due to the vocals, but ‘Eel’ (tr. 5) gets points for being about mutant eels taking their revenge for a human dam that disrupted their mating practices (“Clog all their pipes! Kill ‘em all!”).
More evil, ritualistic Industrial/Ambient sounds from Sweden. No Festival of Light is the duo of Erik Lundberg and Fredrik Bergstrom, once associated with the Cold Meat Industry scene of Megaptera etc. Originally a 1995 cassette on Slaughter Productions, this 1998 remastered CDr (#22/100) is one of only six releases from the Manteinance label.
Creeper loops slowly accumulate with repetition, loping beats stalk lush metallic synths and muttering Electronic Voice Phenomena stumble over one another in mechanical darkness. A few shorter tracks (1, 4, 7) have a grittier power electronics sound and t.6 flirts with techno. Minimal, challenging and quite unsettling, it’s yet another sinister gem from the Scandinavian experimental mines.
Industrial duo of Mike Williams (EyeHateGod) and Ryan McKern. This is the original CD release of the eponymous album, from 2010. Robotic beats, distorted manic poetry from Williams, washes of electric guitar, samples, power electronics, some real drums? In some ways this is just EyeHateGod reimagined as an orthodox Industrial project (Hunting Lodge, Master/Slave Relationship, SPK, Deviation Social) but it’s cool. The composition is sophisticated and often quite musical. The lyrics also have a lot of character, seeing Williams quote The Beatles (t.3) and some medical study about giving opiates to large felines (t.6). Terse and stubbornly nihilistic. Why doesn’t this project get more attention?
PGM: FCC t.2, t.5 instrumental.
Hangouts come and go but nowadays someone always has a recording to bring back the memories. Between 2006 and 2012 in New York City’s downtown, the restaurant/bar/hangout Mangiami (Eat Me) was THE place for clubsters, models, cool neighbors, freaks. losers and those in the know to hang out. On Monday nights local and international dj’s would spin records on the old Technics turntables set up at the bar and the place would supposedly ignite. This compilation of 8 tunes gives the listener the feel of what it was like. Dance tunes, some with simple vocals, create a constant beat to help you slug down the drink of the moment. Hinting at futuresynth ideas, also pulling from dance rhythms of the 1980′s and 1990′s, infused with a contemporary sensibility, this was the sound. The constant thump gets under your skin and soon your head starts rocking side to side. It’s a medium cool kind of beat, no HI-NRG here. Drop ins of electric piano riffs, vocal samples, bells, high hat. A little too slow for a jog around the reservoir, but perfect for strutting through the Village. On canstant play in my 1997 Lexus.
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.
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