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Chaos Butterfly + Biggi Vinkeloe – “Live at Studio Fabriken” – [Eld Records] (CD)

Chaos Butterfly (Dina Emerson doing vocals, wineglasses, harmonica & computer AND Jonathan Segel on guitar, violin & computer) collaborates with the sax, flute, and vocal skills of Biggi Vinkeloe in this live recording from Sweden circa March 2005. The female vocals are usually wordless utterances, getting crazier on track 3–on which track the sax is particularly hectic too. Clicks and scrapes and beeps make for an intriguing experimental release with improv jazz moments.

-Cynthia Lombard

  • Reviewed by lombard on November 30, 2005 at 2:10 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Phosphorescent – “Aw Come Aw Wry” – [Misra] (CD)

    Matthew Houck is the guy behind Phosphorescent and this is their 3rd release. He has a pleasant, cracking vocal style and the music has a slow, somber feel to it, with the nice addition of horns, pump organ, piano, pedal steel, and accordian. Aspects of this also have the emotional grandeur of Neutral Milk Hotel, while still retaining the folky core that is Phosphorescent.

    -Cynthia Lombard

  • Reviewed by lombard on November 30, 2005 at 2:08 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Mi and L’au “self-titled” [Young God] (CD)

    Beautiful, spare folky music can be found here, created by this couple who resides in the woods of Finland. Mi (short for Mira) is Finnish and L’au (Laurent) is French. When they sing together I’m reminded of some of Bill Callahan’s collaborations with girlfriend-at-the-time Cynthia Dall, as the tracks have the same sense of isolation.

    -Cynthia Lombard

  • Reviewed by lombard on November 30, 2005 at 2:05 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Martin, Caroline – “I Had a Hundred More Reasons T ” – [Smalldog Records]

    Bristol UK-based songwriter has the distinction of having recorded
    a John Peel session prior to having ever played live in front of an
    audience (and since has recorded four live sessions for Radio 1,
    including one for Rob da Bank), based solely on her self-released
    ???Young Tender Rabbit??? EP from 1998. Darkness accompanies
    this work, both in the melodies and stark lyricism of intimate,
    insular loss and careless simplicity. CAROLINE MARTIN dwells
    on unrequited love, dogs, guns, disillusionment, subliminal yet
    ever present emotional violence, & inexorable desolation ??? all
    with a Sahara-dry & self-deprecating wit informed by weariness
    and a perverse sort of optimism that caresses even as it laments.
    MARTIN???s second ever live gig was at Glastonbury, and she has
    since toured solo and in support of NINA NASTASIA. Fine simple
    material effective and affective.
    MITCH November 2005

  • Reviewed by mitch on November 16, 2005 at 12:45 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Calla – “Collisions ” – [Beggars Banquet]

    September 2005 release finds core trio (front man
    Aurelio Valle, Peter Gannon & drummer Wayne
    Magruder) upgrading to major label for this fourth
    LP, with Chris Zane again producing. Austerity and
    Muted anger win the day (best on # 1, 5, 9), with a
    host of Valle???s desolate images contrasting a more
    upbeat sonic set design (bits of harmonica, organ &
    tambourine glimpse through the foliage from time
    to time) of stridency + hooks. Is this what they would
    have recorded for ? Most likely, though
    it might not have sounded so tenuous???.
    CALLA may be leaving the indie ranks, but at least
    it is on their own terms.
    MITCH November 2005

  • Reviewed by mitch on November 16, 2005 at 12:43 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Deerhoof – “Runners Four, the ” – [5 Rue Christine]

    Hitomi sounds like your childhood imaginary friend. Why
    can’t everyone see her over there, that 4 1/2 foot bunny,
    and why isn’t that bunny gnawing on a grammy like a golden
    24K carrot? Oh, I know that Deerhoof always packs enough
    oddball into their ouvre to put the bastions of boredom on
    red alert, but at the same time each album is laced with
    breathtaking pop/rock/sound that should be covered by
    armies of teenage garage bands. This album in particular!
    (Although under torture I could see how some folks might
    see this as the equivalent of Sonic Youth’s “Dirty” for
    the hoven ones…but I still think “Dirty” is damn good!)
    Greg is still playing his minimal kit like a pack of pop
    rocks (check out “Running Thoughts” it’s like a candy
    version of Close to the Edge. This band is so sneaky good
    in addition to that tasty outer crunchy layer. Both John
    and Chris can go from super hero high-wiring to rock-solid
    soldered rhythm guitar and brazen blues swagger, check
    the choruses of “Wrong Time Capsule.” To me one big key
    is the mingling of the Hitomi’s cheeriness with the
    acidic dissonant tones the band can muster. But then how
    can one explain “Odyssey” and its David-Grubbs-in-a-bottle
    tossed in the sea sort floatation or “Bone Dry” and its
    fairytale charm or the Horton-hears-the-Who altar boy
    innocence of “You Can See” all vocally 99% Hitomi-free?’
    And yet still tremendous. Deerhoof have cranked their
    concupiscence up to pure irresistability.

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on November 11, 2005 at 11:27 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Thollem/Rivera – “I’ll Meet You Half Way Out.. ” – [Thollem]

    Thollem McDonas has already logged a solid solo outing at
    KFJC, on this release he’s paired with drummer Rick Rivera.
    Thollem’s hands on the piano are active, but also he’s got
    rants in pants. The songbook meets the angry poet’s notebook;
    the best thing about this pairing is how spontaneous their
    union feels. Haunted by jaunty melodies, Thollem’s ponderings
    avoid being overly ponderous. His philosopher’s stone goes
    skipping over waves of piano and the 0-60 rapid eruptions
    that Rivera quick-shifts on his kit. Rivera corners so well
    and his rimshots hit every rimtarget, that I’ve got to believe
    this was a lot more reheared than it appears. Thollem’s voice
    never really sings, but exhorts in a pleasant way through
    a variety of suns shining through a variety of worlds in
    the super-singularity of a life. Death is present, but often
    the straight man for McDonas musing. So while he asserts that
    “I’ve Confused myself For You” and “i Am Lost in my thoughts”
    I think he actually knows the lay of the land there pretty
    well. I enjoyed my visit, even more as I stayed longer (and
    my appreciation for Rivera definitely grew with listens as
    well.)

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on November 11, 2005 at 11:27 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Id and Sleeper – “Displacement ” – [Mush]

    Duo from Lawrence, Kansas. While I’m sure inflatable people at
    all the posh clubs are gonna ask to check the iD first, still
    please don’t sleep on the Sleeper. He sets up well-camoflauged
    beat-traps like he’s channeling SeeFeel, his drum machinery
    has got a dark reeling ride to it. Listen to it trip and
    stagger on “Entropy.” His production is very akin to the old
    curtains-closed-tight-in-the-middle-of-the-day mystery that
    used to be prescribed on KFJC’s Sonic Pharmacy. But the
    “Chemical Burn” delivered under the counter here is
    definitely its own trip. Ironically, “Hungry Ghost” is the
    least spectral of the audio holodecks Sleeper conjures up.
    On the MiC, iD delivers anger and disapproval along abstract
    lines that might not connect on the visceral plane, but
    actually run perfectly parallel to the hypnagogic-a-gogo
    Sleeper has assembled. Often times iD’s verses get reverbed
    or redoubled to add to the headtrip, the sound of his voice
    and the counter-percussion it adds is crucial to the effect
    here. Whoever selected the few spoken samples from the intro
    “Idea” on in did a nice job as well, they often add a trace
    of humor to some otherwise austere lyrics that seem to go
    down a philosophical rabbit hole chasing the shadow of a
    self-flagellating Stoic. Not without self-awareness though
    as “Vague” indicates. Experi-meant-all.

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on November 11, 2005 at 11:26 pm
  • Filed as CD,Hip Hop
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  • Wu Man – “Wu Man and Friends ” – [Traditional Crossroads]

    Insert “I am Wu Man, hear me roar” joke here. I’m sorry, but
    ever since I first heard about this talented musician (back
    when she stole Derek Bailey’s stringed thunder) I always
    crack a smile. And while this album definitely has serious
    and serene petals-on-the-stream beauty, it also comes with a
    warm sense of humor. Even without the one-minute mouth-bow
    zinger of an intro, “Old Joe Clark” taps an Appalachian funny
    bone to sex and drugs and rock and roll. Or zen and moonshine
    and bluegrass? Track 4 offers more country music (although
    the country might be US of Banjo, or maybe the Pipa’s Republic
    of China). This album seems loosely joined hither and thither
    by brothers and sisters of the zither, and showcases a fine
    range of sound. “Raining” is an apt title/theme for much of
    the quick picking on this CD, it features Wu Man singing in
    addition to ripples of string. Julian Kytasty also displays
    his excellent voice, check out “Cossack Lament.” A pretty
    picture of what life at the Crossroads can offer. Now to get
    Mono to cover the closer, “Night Rider”

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on November 11, 2005 at 11:25 pm
  • Filed as CD,International
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  • Animal Collective – “Feels ” – [Fat Cat]

    The phrase “Desert Island Disc” is a cliche, but something
    about this feels like it was recorded on such an island…
    instead of the hallowed hazy cozy confines of the church of
    Scott Colburn. Or maybe it’s that in listening to this
    an island sort of springs up around you, and damn if the
    natives are giddily gleeful. Seriously this album is happy,
    as paradoxical as that sounds since happily this is not a
    serious album. It is a lush one; hell a toy zither sounds
    like it’s pouring down from the clouds. There’s a lot of
    stutter-stepping guitar laid down through-out this, and
    lyrics have a nice impulsiveness to them. Like a friend
    who wants to tell you all the details of a dream, but is
    hurrying up before the best parts evaporate especially as
    “someone in my dictionary is up to no good.” You gotta
    love that line, and this album…it’s the kind of album
    that a lot of people are going to get crushes on.

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on November 11, 2005 at 11:25 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • 2 comments
  • Palestine, Charlemagne – “Schlongo!!!Da Luv Drone ” – [Cortical Foundation]

    When I first listened to this (before reading any of the liner
    notes, etc…) my initial thought was this is what churches
    should become. No sermonizing wise guys, no proseltyzing from
    the pulpit. Just let people sit and think with a larger-than-
    life organ sending sound waves through their souls. Reflect.
    Then I find out this WAS recorded in a church, and better yet
    between the hours of 1:15-2:30 am!! And very well-recorded at
    that, aside from a surprise spine-snapping shot at 25:56; was
    that someone leaving and letting a door slam? It shattered my
    reverie like a bullet…but within time I was able to rebuild
    my castle in the air. This piece just seems to accumulate
    waves and force and volume and mass, all the while keeping
    entropy at bey. That’s I think the spiritual side of this, a
    sense of order. With a sound that sustains so well and one
    marked by magnificent order , drone is elevated to something
    approaching the divine, especially in a world of chaos and
    noise (which of course we need as well). Only after 70 minutes
    do we feel the veils and keys lift, the vortex thin, and our
    feet return to earth. And our minds return to the liner notes,
    where we see the man behind the keyboard curtain, a sort of
    happy-go-hippy…and the perhaps the key sorceror, engineer
    Tom Recchion.

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on November 11, 2005 at 11:24 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Nautical Almanac – “Cover the Earth ” – [Heresee]

    Power triad of Baltimor-phiends delivers harrowing sonic
    hallucinations. On the hands-side, I could have sworn I saw a
    gorilla come in and beat up a couple of kids playing a video
    racing game. Then someone tripped a shimmer alarm which caused
    the peeling of skin from Lurch (of the Adams’ Family fame).
    Actually all of that happened in the space of “Megacorps”/
    “Leviathon” which track together. “Try It 2wice” has all hands
    on percussion decks and a goofball cartoon violin punchline in
    the mix. That violin gets the last eternal laugh via a
    seamless locked groove!! On the flip side, “Rolling in the
    Green” has a rubber-band porch-fi-fried feel while Carly
    Ptak’s voice serenades in stacks. Almost song!?! Summarizing
    these sounds is tough in text, but you can sure smell the art
    oozing off this black vinyl. I guess on this release I could
    say there is a loose feel of intercepted transmissions crashing
    with primitive noise attacks. Tastes like surveillance at times.
    Also they are not afraid to deploy SHRILL power. On the other
    end of frequencies, “Twenty Twenty” escapes too quickly as it
    implants a killer furrowing dub. The record ends with a
    “Clump Clump” clutzy New Year’s Eve parade.

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on November 11, 2005 at 11:23 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Pelican / Mono Split [coll] – [Temporary Residence Ltd.]

    Battle of the behemoths, and the winner is….James Plotkin.
    He zaps in with a remix of “Angel Tears” going well beyond
    glitch into *splotch*. It’s still got Pelican’s anchor of
    bloodied bass and battered drums, but before we get the
    chrome choruses of recognizable guitar, we traipse through
    a nice minefield of minced meatiness. Plotkin leaves it
    alone for a few bars of lurch and torch, but some speaker
    squelch starts to re-infect it, and then he starts picking
    at the whole scab leaving whorling chunks and a crisp cold
    end. Pelican’s “Rain Amber” starts with an escher staircase
    of organ, and moody bassy piano with (intentional?) ripples
    of psuedo-vinyl warp…then come the burnished guitars and
    cymbal shining drums and a comfortable anthemic march.
    Japan’s Mono fires up the ol’ wind-tunnel dynamics machine
    better than any non Black Emperor’s going. They stoke it
    with hyper-arpeggio guitars with tight galactic reverb…
    ….ahhhhhh. The piece has a near-death experience about
    half-way through, you can see the life-line in the vinyl,
    but then guitarists Takaakira Goto and Yoda soon clamp
    jumper-cables to your auditory nerves. Mono definitely
    delivers an invisible soundtrack beckoning a film to be
    made…nice work from all camps.

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on November 11, 2005 at 11:23 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Mudboy – “This is Folk Music” – [Last Visible Dog] (CD)

    Raphael Lyon plays a modified organ and operates from Providence, Rhode Island under the moniker of Mudboy. This release is experimental, but with nods to classical composition along the lines of Philip Glass (or even Tangerine Dream). The organ makes it feel more spiritual and mystical. It’s all instrumental and very moody, yet it doesn’t verge on creepy electronics that you’d hear in a haunted house or at a carnival, as his playing has an inherent optimism to it.

    -Cynthia Lombard

  • Reviewed by lombard on November 10, 2005 at 4:02 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • 2 comments
  • Bunyan, Vashti – “Lookaftering” – [diCristina] (CD)

    What a treat to hear a new release from British folk artist Vashti Bunyan. After the buzz surrounding the reissue of 1969′s “Just Another Diamond Day,” she was sought out by many labels interested in her beautiful voice and folk sensibility that had attracted many new fans. On this 2005 album she sounds just as fresh as in the 1960s. Joanna Newsom also guests on harp on a few tracks. Gorgeous!

    -Cynthia Lombard

  • Reviewed by lombard on November 10, 2005 at 3:58 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Kudo, Reiko – “Rice Field Silently Riping… ” – [Majikick Records]

    Longtime avant garde Japanese psych scenester Reiko Kudo presents this beautiful solo release, with some help from husband Tori Kudo (Maher Shalal Hash Baz) and others. This is subtle, folky beauty with spare vocals, piano, bass, and some harp, strings, percussion, trumet, clarinet, guitar, and euphonium. The female vocals call to mind a Japanese version of a stripped down retro folk artist ala Vashti Bunyan. Simple lyrics create an understated mood. Quite lovely.

    -Cynthia Lombard

  • Reviewed by lombard on November 10, 2005 at 12:06 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • William Parker Violin Trio “Scrapbook” [Thirsty Ear]

    Billy Bang being the violin frontispiece. Parker’s bass
    is as buoyant as ever. The lead off track is jaunty and
    lets Bang run with his country-fiddle/religion-revival
    style. The next piece has a finger-snapping vibe with
    a finger-thrumping bass repetition for three minutes at
    the beginning then Parker wanders off that well-trodden
    path while Bang soars jaggingly to places most people
    cannot even imagine. On “Singing Spirits” we hear how
    Bang really can pull voices from strings, he gets this
    high-pitched laugh/cry that always stuns, also healthy
    scraping roughage on this piece as well. “Dust…”
    is as happy as a rooster that wakes up early, later
    it clucks along with some pizzicato pluck. “Urban”
    moves away from the deceptive folksy simplicity to
    a rush hour race packed in to 7 minutes. After that
    dizziness, we relax with a sweet ballad. Hamid Drake’s
    lyrical drumming deserves more praise. Parker’s liner
    notes do more justice than I can…

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on November 5, 2005 at 1:25 am
  • Filed as Format,CD,Jazz
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