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The source material for these two side-long tracks was first recorded by Sult, an acoustic improv trio known for amplifying the micro-tonal sounds of their instruments. Sult is Havard Skaset on guitar, Jacob Felix Heule on percussion, and Guro Skumsnes Moe on the contrabass. The sounds were then destructed, chopped, blended, and reconstructed by Norwegian sound artist Lasse Marhuag.
Have your Dramamine handy for this one. A disorienting jumble of grinding metallic sounds, like a rusty, salt-soaked steel ship battered by waves, careening rudderless through a maelstrom, helpless against forces of nature infinitely more powerful than it. Dense layers of whirring, wheezing, and sputtering. Pantry shelves collapsing, sending pots, pans, and cans tumbling, crashing against floor and walls. A few fleeting moments of repetitive bass thumps on the end of side A provide the only solid footing in the entire album, and leave you desperate for more.
The Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77, was composed by Johannes Brahms in 1878 and dedicated to his friend, the violinist Joseph Joachim. It is Brahms’s only violin concerto, and, according to Joachim, one of the four great German violin concerti.
The Piano Quartet in A major, Op. 26 by Johannes Brahms, for piano, violin, viola and cello. It was completed in 1861 and received its premiere in November 1863 by the Hellmesberger Quartet with the composer playing the piano part.
“Isn’t he racist” Yes, and a confessed murderer too (of an arguably better musician), and an arsonist of cultural heritage sites, and the holder of all manner of extremely bizarre views besides. Take an honest look at the stone in your own eye, thou hypocrite, and you may find out you’re not doing so hot yourself. Anyway, I think it’s safe to say all honkies are “racist” nowadays, whether we like it or not: that is at least so far as the, ahem, cultural hegemony is concerned.
Recorded in 1992 by one man, under a full moon, at the Grieg concert hall’s studio (where Emperor also made albums), and originally released on future victim and Mayhem founder Euronymous’ Deathlike Silence Productions, Burzum’s debut didn’t invent Black Metal but it did pioneer the style most often associated with the genre: call it the ‘dark forest’ sound. Its inhuman vocalizations, sickly, buzzing guitar tone, flurried drumming and mournful atmosphere were very influential on the development of the ‘raw’ and ‘depressive’ scenes: see Forgotten Woods, Ildjarn, Ulver and Mutiilation for more information. Contrary to what you may have read on any number of clickbait websites, there’s little here that could be called political content. The lyrics are adolescent (nineteen-year-old) fantasies of violence and power. There are also settings of an ancient Sumerian invocation (A2) and a spell intended to destroy the world (A3). If you want my opinion (and you do, right?), Dungeons and Dragons and Tolkien (‘Burzum’ is Black Speech for ‘darkness’) are more important thematic influences here than Wiligut. This Back on Black reissue also includes the tracks from 1993′s ‘Aske’ (‘Ashes’) EP on the D side. Technically it’s a reissue of the compiled ‘Burzum’/'Aske’ release on Misanthropy Records from 1995. B1 and C2 are ambient and B3 and D2 are instrumental guitar tracks.
The truth is, it doesn’t really matter how you or I may feel about Varg Vikernes or Burzum now, because the movement he started that night at Fantoft Stave has achieved its own momentum, and we will win :-)
Necrot! The destiny of this Oakland Death Metal band has been intertwined with KFJC’s ever since Number Six acquired a copy of the first demo back at Deadfest 2012. You can find evidence on Live From The Devil’s Triangle Volume 16 of that same year’s Firebunker live mic session. Just in time for their scheduled second appearance on our airwaves comes this LP, mastered by Dissector of Ghoul, which compiles all three demo tapes released thus far. It’s true that our library has two of the tapes already but look a squirrel.
For their first two tapes (A1-B1), both released 2012, Necrot was the duo of cadaverous Italian growler/guitarist Luca Indrio (Acephalix, Vastum, Lawless) and San Jose local Chad Gailey (Bruxers, Caffa, Vastum, Rude, Atrament) on the hammers. In 2014 their third release (B2-B4) brought in Sonny Reinhardt (Saviours) to play lead guitar, with Indrio sticking to bass. It’s probably easier to play live with three members.
In their search for the dankest chainsaw riffs yet unheard, Necrot embrace a stripped-down, sometimes grooving sound, kind of raw in a way that approximates Gothenberg Death Metal superheroes like Dismember and At The Gates, cept in their young daze before they all went to shit. It’s NOT sloppy, but it does have a studied looseness and a haphazard race-for-the-end quality that will appeal to fans of Punk. They might be less excited about dying than some bands. That said, it’s Death Metal through and through, baby. All hail.
Prolific artist from Arizona. Sounds like tones, knocking, buzzing, and noise crunch.
Solo debut from the guitarist from Pelican. Also associated with RLYR and Chord. From Chicago. Sounds like humming buzzing tones from a chord organ with occasional acoustic and electric guitar, keyboard, vocals, and cat collar. Moody. Layered. Dramatic. Chill. This is one of my favorite kinds of rock n roll. Vocal on track 3. Spacey basey on track 4.
This mostly instrumental album (1972) was Cale’s second solo effort, and it’s a transitional work in that he had been writing songs for a while–”Vintage Violence” was his previous solo record and that one was all songs–but he was not ready to leave behind the 1960′s avant-garde instrumental sounds he had been known for before the Velvet Underground came along. So there is some of that here. Cale was also classically trained on viola and piano, and that’s another influence that plays a big part on this record. There are three nice, medium-length piano pieces, and The Royal Philharmonic appears on an 8-minute orchestral suite on Side 2 and then joins Cale on the final track. There are a few oddball tracks: “The Philosopher” is all slide guitar, trumpet, and junk percussion; “King Harry” has actual lyrics but Cale delivers them in a creepy whisper; and there is a track on Side 1 that features Legs Larry Smith (of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band) giving instructions to someone at a television studio with Cale’s overdubbed violas underneath. Ron Wood appears to be on this record someplace. I wouldn’t call every track strong, but if you’re a Cale fan, or even just curious about him, you’ll find some things to like here.
Kleistwahr is the solo electronic project of Gary Mundy, of the legendary industrial/power electronics band Ramleh; his work under this name dates back to a pair of Broken Flag cassette releases from 1983. Mundy has returned to this project in recent years to create a series of intensely beautiful noise records that share a common theme of modern despair, including 2014′s The World Is Not My Home, 2016′s Over Your Heads Forever, and now this 2017 LP from Cairo’s Nashazphone label.
Music for Zeitgeist Fighters holds two sidelong tracks, “Music For Dead Dreams” (T1) and “Music For Fucked Films” (T2), composed from relentless guitar feedback, ghostly voices straining to be heard through the distortion, hazy piano melodies, droning organ, and blistering noise. Blasts of harshness coexist with tragic beauty in a way that is so effortless and so authentic that it is immediately clear that this is work of a master. Philip Best wrote of this record: “Really don’t want to ruin the fun and generally I’m up for anything but this fucking shit cannot go on, can it?” In these deeply fucked times, music this blazingly powerful stirs the will to keep fighting.
Holy crapola. Power punk is alive and well, thank the gods. My neck still has a kink in it from flipping my head around so much to this album by the Uranium Club (a.k.a. Minneapolis Uranium Club). Eight cuts of right on, 21st century nihilist punk songs filled with snark and futility due to the world’s current situation. Smart, young dude intelligent lyrics about god, earth destruction, messed up relationships: we are living the dream. May I state my references/what I hear when playing this for the fifth time: early fast Buzzcocks, early Devo, Steve Albini/Big Black, Gene Wilder Willie Wonka. Great guitar work. Strong bass lines. Powerful straight ahead drumming. Three of the four guys take on vocals. Track one is spoken word “ad” about the band. Track eight is a quick instrumental. Play it LOUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Der Plan Der Plan Der Plan. Du bist wunderbar. Considered to be the originators of Neue Deutsche Welle, Der Plan, from Dusseldorf, began in 1979 as more of an industrial band but moved into the electronic beats that make them famous. They incorporate puppets, masks, wild costumes, home made sets, all looking like a kindergarten class taking on “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”, along with the angular, electronic driven “simplistic” synth sounds. In 1984, they made a video and LP called “Japlan” which led to a successful tour of Japan. The album did very well there but was not released in Germany. Until 2013.
The Kreutzer Sonata is very demanding. It is emotionally varied, technically difficult, and long (performances can last 40 minutes.
Composed 1797-8, published in Vienna 1799. At the time of publication, Beethoven thought these were his best works. The musicologist Gerald Abraham has remarked that in terms of their style and aesthetic value the string trios of Op. 9 rank with Beethoven’s first string quartets which ousted the trios from the concert halls.
Beethoven’s late quartets were written in failing health in April 1825. Considered among the greatest works of all time, Beethoven composed these in almost total deafness. In his words, B2 is his “Holy song of thanks (‘Heiliger Dankgesang’) to the divinity, from one made well.”
Josef Van Wissem is a Dutch minimalist composer and lute player who won the Cannes Soundtrack Award for the score to “Only Lovers Left Alive”, the second film collaboration with film maker Jim Jarmusch. “Concerning….” is his first collaboration with Jarmusch, who also plays guitar on the five track album. Five quiet, mostly somber extended pieces of truly minimalist lute playing. Simple repeated plucking of several strings, with repeated chords against a backdrop of Jarmusch’s guitar feedback and wall of drone. Lushly contemplative, moody and dark. Track five is a minimalist lute solo with the title spoken as lyric at the end of the song. Gorgeous alone or perfect for mixing: I hear wind, the sound of children, waves, someone crying, laughter in the distance, power tools. It all works.
A one woman band possibly named after Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film about the opening up of self-understanding through sexual encounter, sung in French, using post-post punk instrumentation and monotone speak singing? Sign me up. Track 1, “Let’s Start”, begins with a sound clip from Fela Kuti inviting someone, us, in to do what we came for. Sexual and more, almost revolutionary. And then the fun starts. Maisa D., who is Theoreme, sets up 9 tracks that are just discordant enough to be disturbing but beat driven enough to not necessarily make you dance, but make you stand sullenly in the dark club bouncing your head. Each piece is buzzy, as if the volume is up too high, or the cheap speakers can’t handle the bass. Very nice, like rusted wires scraped on your skin. It’s wonderful to hear something new, that references the past but sounds 21st century.
Concern is Gordon Ashworth of Portland OR, and “Caesarean” is the second full-length release under this name.
Three drone tracks composed with beautiful yet simple instrumentation recorded to tape (cassette and 1/4″), processed and layered. The tape artifacts (crackles, warbles, rumbles) are elevated and emphasized, forming an integral part of the rich organic sound.
Faded fidelity, warm and weathered, like a long-lost and long-loved cassette churning peacefully in the surf, slowly finding its way ashore.
A1 builds upon a broken piano loop, incorporating clarinet splices before giving way to a brilliant drone emanating from a shruti box (similar to a harmonium) with a glistening banjo gleam.
A2 holds more radiant bellowing drones from the shrunti box, sharper and more focused than before. The banjos have lost their sparkle, and are now pensive and melancholy. Less of a buildup, and more of a slow cathartic release.
B evokes a synthetic cityscape. Birds and bells, distant factories and passing cars. A mix of soothing piano and sinister hums. Building and dissolving multiple times, as if experiencing the world by train, passing through a series of foreign yet familiar towns, separated by long, dark tunnels.
Rashad Decker mastered this 2013 release, our local Drone Ranger’s only work on Mego to date. Don’t you dare call it noise, it’s “electroacoustic music”; after all it was created at the Djarassi resident artist’s program. Sweet Jimmy H. collected source sounds between 2007 and 2012 but says the only contexts he can remember are “the desolate howl of a metal screen activated by a desert wind, the hissing air compression from the cooling apparatus for a laser at [SLAC], and the tremolo rhythms from a thin wire” and yep that’s the vibe here, lonely desolate haunted sounds, part organic and part constructed, disconcerting even in lush moments. The two-track A side is more eventful, with dense rushes of startling static and crackling electroshocks speckling grinding gears and passing traffic. The B side is like a wide, windy, abandoned place where squinting reveals shuffling hordes of ghosts. Sometimes curiously sterile and sometime bursting at the seams with emotion, this collection of manipulated sounds is intended to convey “[e]xistential rupturing, the collapse of the self, the aftershocks of dark energy, and a belief in the hope for renewal.” A mesmerizing effort on par with Nurse With Wound (they have collaborated), Lustmord or Crawl Unit.
Rashad Becker is best known as a master of mastering engineering at Berlin’s Dubplates & Mastering. Over his 15+ year career at D&M, Becker has mastered over 1600 albums for an impressive list of experimental artists that includes many KFJC favorites. In 2013, Becker released (and mastered) the first album of his own, “Traditional Music of Notional Species Vol. 1,” a collection of compositions for the modular synthesizer (and other electronic instruments and software). This 2016 release is the second volume of this project, and it is extraordinary.
As on the first volume, the album’s tracks are divided into “themes” (T1-4) and “dances,” (T5-8) each running under five minutes. The tracks have the duration and structure of songs, in contrast to much of the current work coming from artists working with this medium, which usually inspires words like “soundtrack”, or “soundscape,” or something else apart from traditional musical forms. It’s a pleasant surprise to hear these instruments used to create a very focused statement. This is not to say that these works resemble any songs we’ve heard before: they’re composed from strange sounds, arranged in encrypted time signatures. At times, the sounds have character of something familiar, like a bell (T1), gong, or a human voice (T7, T8). But even when the sounds have a electronic, wormy quality, there’s a expressive feel that gives them warmth, like they were produced, maybe not necessarily by a human, but some sort of living, breathing species. As you might expect from an engineer, there is an incredible attention to details of the sound, from the smallest changes in dynamics, to rhythm, to sequencing, that I can only begin to wrap my head around. The more I listen, the more it pulls me in – is this the music of the future?
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