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Recalling my first reverse echo takes me back (forward?) to a Whole
Up and coming surf band from Orange County – great playing on mostly original tunes. They hit many surf influences such as outer space, Mexican sports, horror, Spaghetti Western, and soundtracks. A few spoken word snippets are thrown in. Fun!!
This 4-piece surf band from Mexico performed at the Surfer Joe Summer Festival on the night preceding KFJC’s live broadcast in 2016. True surf sound, well played, choice of tempos from slow to rapid fire, some unusual harmonies for surf. Track 12 is a very nice vocal in Spanish.
When Helge Siehl departed Dark Ambient trio Maeror Tri in 1996, effectively breaking up the group, the remaining two members, Martin Glitschel and Stefan Knappe, continued as the dizzyingly prolific Troum (‘Dream’). I don’t know how to effectively distinguish between the oeuvres of the two projects, except to say that the Troum stuff has tended to embrace rhythm more than Maeror’s pure drone sound. Even so, on this 2015 CD, there’s plenty of the gossamer floating, deep prehistoric bass rumbling, and off-kilter meandering chord progression that characterized the older group’s occult sound; the tribal percussion I most associate with Troum only kind of rears its head here, on the epic final track’s Gog-like Doom Metal drum pattern. Otherwise it’s pretty pure Dark Ambient textures, sans beats, with a deceptive lightness.
At low volume these tracks are relaxing, but turn them up and you may discover layers of cosmic anxiety. I think of life forms in other galaxies, or of Ray Bradbury’s short story ‘The Sound of Thunder.’ The sounds are always in flux, so don’t come here expecting simple drone pieces. From the insert: “Everything recorded & mixed endlessly through the years 2007 – 2015. Used and abused: electric and acoustic guitars, voice, field recordings (Monte Pisano, La Gomera, Hamburg Landungsbrucken), instrumentum primitivum, flute orientale, cymbals, metal objects, tapes.” I would have though there was synthesis going on, too, but I suppose not… From the eldrtich strains of the evocatively titled first track through to the inconclusive hissing finale of the last, this is a pretty outstanding Dark Ambient work, created by German obsessives who helped found the genre and continue to push it forward.
Richard Streeter is associated with Butte County Free Music Society, the collective of Norcal noisefreaks that brought us the Bren’t Lewiis Ensemble, the great Bananafish zine, and other local underground institutions. As The Viper, Streeter brings us his straight-to-boombox recordings saved from his teenage years growing up in suburban Livermore in the late 70s. Noisy tape doodles (T2, T3, T4), a lo-fi drum spazzout with sis on backup vocals (T1, dredged up a memory of one of my old favorite Space Ghost numbers), a truly sweet little instrumental hippy dip folk pop tune with lilting piano and violin (T5), and a band practice outtake with strange, clashing chords and bluesy riffs (T6). Former high school weirdos that burned time until graduation nerding out over music (I’m assuming that’s all of us) might be delighted by this weird little mixtape.
Jazz piano trio with a viola instead of bass. Drummer Whit Dickey is here searching, and expansive. Matthew Shipp’s piano is lyrical, more melodic. Maneri’s viola tone catalyzes. This is great date – something notable is happening.
The Xenakis Ensemble is a Dutch ensemble dedicated to the performance of contemporary classical music. Based in Middelburg, it is known as one of the few ensembles specializing in the works of the composer Iannis Xenakis (YAWN-iss zen-KNOCK-kiss). Many Xenakis titles in A library. 3 long (20mins) and 1 short (3:30).
Opens with a Xenakis composition featuring the signature sound of percussionn and horn blasts alternating with horror string glissandos.
Japanese madman Ichiro Tsuji runs the UPD Organization label. He has also been releasing outsider Industrial music as Dissecting Table since 1986, evoking a motley pallette of Western projects founded before and after (Foetus, Skinny Puppy, Coil, Einsturzende Neubauten, Mz.412, Nocturnal Emissions, Test Dept, Scorn) and the sincere weirdos of Japan’s own experimental scene (Zeni Geva, White Hospital).
This 1999 3xCD compilation contains more Dissecting Table than you could every possibly want, bringing together 1986′s ‘Ultimate Psychological Description’ 7″ (t.s 1.1+1.2), 1987′s ‘Ultra Point of Intersection Exist’ debut LP (t.s 1.3-1.9) and collection/previously unreleased tracks (discs 2 and 3). Only t.s 1.1+2.1 can already be found in KFJC’s library, on old collection CDs.
Tsuji’s singular style basically consists of frantic, tribal sequenced beats and instruments, weird Power Electronics textures and developmentally disabled Grindcore grunts. At times it’s like a poorly programmed AI trying to reproduce Death Metal with machines (and a captive howler monkey), but it never quite sounds fully musical.
Disc 1 is mostly vocals, beats, synth noise and samples. Disc 2 adds sequenced ‘Classical’ instrumentation and music box insanity into the mix for a tortu(r)ous Winchester Mystery House experience, and includes a couple pieces on the more abstract side (t.s 2.2+2.4). Disc 3 is completely different: one ultra-long ‘Test Work’ from 1985, an Aeolian harp of crackling and grinding pedal distortion that barely changes for 48 minutes. The birth of Harsh Noise Wall?
Solid gold from the always-reliable Crowd Control Activities label. Our copy (#15/500) is autographed.
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.
The Infected Mass is the first release from Matthew Patton’s project Those Who Walk Away. Patton is a composer from Winnipeg, whose previous works include the score for the 1988 dance performance Speaking in Tongues. This new work deals with the grief surrounding the death of Patton’s brother, who was killed in a plane crash. The pieces feature string and choral arrangements performed by players from Winnipeg and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, who are credited as the “ghost strings” and “ghost chorus.” The strings are slowly bowed, creating reflective harmonies (T2, T4, T6), while distant voices echo in a mournful chorus (T1 and T7). Filling in the empty spaces, there is a quiet roar, like an icy wind, made from the sounds of circulating blood. And then, jarringly, we are presented with the black box recordings recovered from two fatal plane crashes (T3 and T5). “The recordings are very disturbing,” Patton says, “as we listen to these cockpit voice recordings, real people are about to die. I don’t know why I am doing something that feels so wrong. But I am.” Maybe it’s also wrong to drop art that is so personal and so harrowing into the middle of a dumb radio show, but I’ll leave that for you to decide.
Dust-To-Digital is a one of a kind label, focusing not only on quality collections but making sure packaging and information is as exquisite as the sounds. “Longing For the Past, The 78 RPM Era in Southeast Asia” continues this tradition. 78 recordings from the early 1900′s through the 1950′s, taken from Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam cover all ranges of music and styles from these countries at these times. Court music, wedding songs, instrumental pieces both solo and groups in all configurations, folk songs, known and unknown performers, village music, leaders chanting and on and on. So many sounds caught on 78′s and still intact to preserve a selection for us to hear on 4 CD’s. Initially this music was recorded merely as a means to sell Victrolas to a new market. You won’t buy it if there is nothing there to hear. European salesmen went out and recorded just about anything that moved. The selection in incredible. The accompanying book is a comprehensive review of how this started, who did it, where they went, the types of music and their history, notes on instrumentation and history of instruments and artists. Each song has three to five paragraphs of thorough explanation. Dive in, learn and enjoy.
Hoosier Hot Shots ??? ???Everybody Stomp/Hot Lips??? ??? [Proper Records]
The Hoosier Hot Shots were a four piece swing, jazz, corn pone, 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 high pitched kind of hillbilly accent. And don???t forget the penny whistles. Once beyond the goofiness, 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.
WOW. 4 CD’s. 103 tracks of protest in early American blues and gospel. Time period: 1910′s to the late 1930′s. We know the sound. No need to restate. So many artists, some well known and others obscure. Solos, choirs, groups, bands. But this is music of protest, some stated blatantly, others sung with humor, many layered with symbols and meaning to hide the target. These are songs, angry songs, desperate songs about abusive and oppressive conditions created and maintained by the white population relentlessly directed toward the black population. Despicable working conditions, police brutality, forced labor, prison horror. Continuous abuse and exploitation of one group of people by another. The variety of reactions to this oppression are as varied as the artists performing the songs. From thoughts of suicide to attacking and killing “Mr. Charlie”, from looking for the fabled promised land to all out revolution. The conditions and situations today of mistreatment and persecution are frighteningly and disgustingly no different then they were 100 years ago. These are essential tracks to play. Utilize this superb collection.
Mezzetin still is a mystery. Who is He/They? Where from? Where is the label from? Possibly a one man project. “Odd Scene” might be Mezzetin’s 3rd release. It’s all great outsider rock. One of the more distinctive voices around, still off-keyish and repetitive. Lyrics of love and memories and lost things. Mezzetin is diving into more experiments in sound this time, which makes it all the more interesting. Jangly guitars abound, still off. Infantile drumming, but in a good way. Track 9, “Mingling Haus” is 4 minutes of one note strummed on the guitar with wank drums and no vocals. If this was being done by a female Japanese noise performance artist, we would all be losing our shit. He’s not that. You still should be losing your shit.
Holy f..in sh#t! Trying to find my head to reattach to my body after listening to this one. I feel like I should go smoke a cig or get electro shocked. Tom Jenkinson, aka Squarepusher, is a major player in IDM/EDM/whatever. I don’t need to tell you. He’s brilliant. And so is this album from 2001. It marked a change for him, a move away from the use of actual instruments and an experiment with digital, all digital. No computers on this album, though. It’s hardware: it’s samplers, sequencers, synthesizers and digital effects processors. All put to their amazing 2001 use. Many pieces are FAST: sounds reverberate back and forth and through so fast you would never be able to catch them. But the few “slow” pieces are equally sonically exciting. Effects come and go and then the drill and bass starts. Yes Yes Yes! Oh hell yes!
Crow Crash Radio are a Bay area group that combine extended psychedelic jams with surf influences and drone. With Mark Pino on drums, Andrew Joron on theremin and Brian Strang on guitar, these musicians create a soundscape that is hypnotic and repetitive in a good way. Pino’s constant beats guide the listener while Strang puts down layers of guitar sound, filled out by Joron’s theremin drone and warble. An exceptional take on a unique mixing of styles, going to show there is always a new way to interpret genres.
An exceptional talent, frighteningly underrepresented in our library, Terry Callier was a prolific musician and singer, performing blues, soul and folk songs. This 1964 recording live at Chicago’s Mother Blues folk club, offers an intimate performance of Callier, singing eight quiet yet moving folk tunes accompanied by his guitar playing and two acoustic bass players. The moment he starts to sing the audience goes quiet, except for the random plate or cup being moved. His voice is rich and powerful with so much emotion. It kind of makes you melt. It’s like loneliness and sex and strength and pain and kindness and sadness all wrapped up into one. Folk singers were true story tellers and Callier is right up there with the best, weaving his tales with assuredness and power. Your knees will buckle.
Modern free jazz pushing the boundaries of structure and technique. Propulsive but not explosive, these three accomplished musicians find a comfortable yet still edgy middle ground between sparse and skronk.
The songs have a tight feeling of cohesion not normally found in this kind of improvised music. It’s as if the works already exist out in the ether, moving along with their own internal shape and inertia, passing through the musicians who give them voice.
Hubweber plays the trombone like an alto sax, with long blasts of notes in between gasps and gurgles. Edwards scratches, bows, and thumps the bass, achieving some bizarre reverberations and harmonics. Lowens provides many percussive layers simultaneously. Playing skittery textures during the more abstract moments, but not afraid to lay down a bursts of driving rhythmic beat when the mood calls for it.
Abstract, spoken word, album released in 2009. BSP is Massimo and Pierce of Switzerland who are known for their live performances and underground porn. AKA Anarcocks. Worked with HR Giger. Denham is from England and has worked with Throbbing Gristle, Marc Almond, and Psychic TV. She is also a visual artist. Much like the album art I have no idea what is going on and that is okay! Lyrics about pain, trans soldiers, gender, despair, and hope.
Dimi Mint Abba was born in 1958 to a low-caste Mauritanian family specializing in the griot tradition. She is accompanied here by her husband Khalifa Ould Eide and her two daughters. Moorish music is highly structured improvised music, with intricate vocal and rhythmic interplay. Handclaps, rattle, hand drums, hammer-ons. She died in June, 2011 in Casablanca, Morocco. Her fans included Youssou N’Dour and Ali Farka Toure.
Tracks 1-6 feature tidinit/lute, 7-11 feature electric guitar. Fans of Gnawa and Saharan blues music will find much to enjoy.
She began her career in 1976 when she won the Umm Kulthum Contest in Tunis. Her winning song “Sawt Elfan” (“Art’s Plume” – Track 7) has the refrain “Art’s Plume is a balsam, a weapon and a guide enlightening the spirit of men”, which can be interpreted to mean that artists play a more important role than warriors in society.
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