KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Hauff, Helena – “Discreet Desires” – [Werkdiscs]

Kai Sync   4/20/2016   A Library, CD

 

Helena Hauff is an electro revivalist techno DJ, her background being DJ at Hamburg’s Golden Pudel (a punk venue repurposed as a dance club.) Discreet Desires is her first full-length album. She’s a die-hard hardware only sequencer producer so most of the tracks are machines put into motion with murky, dark, cinematic and opaque sequenced soundscape jams. There are traces of lo-fi electro, stiff and slap-dash acidic-techno , and even John Carpenter style sequencer film dramatization. The West Coast Hague sound is also present (post-punk meets raw techno.) When this all does not work is when she let’s the machines loose and they take over their destination. When the album works is when unexpected elements brought forward by a human curries the music. The melodious songwriting parts also surprise in this age of more industrial techno being the norm.

Hennix, Catherine Christer / The Deontic Miracle – “Central Palace Music From 100 Model Subjects For HegikanRoku” – [Important Records]

abacus   4/19/2016   A Library, CD

Hennix is a Swedish artist, poet, composer, and philosopher who was an early experimenter in computer-generated music in the 1960s and by the 1970s was a central figure in the Downtown School along with La Monte Young and Henry Flynt, drawing inspiration from Xenakis, Stockhausen, Japanese Gagaku music and 13th-century vocal music. featured here is a previously unheard piece taken from a festival in 1976 performed at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm featuring an ensemble of Catherine on custom sine wave generators and renaissance oboe, Peter Hennix on renaissance oboe, and Hans Isgren on sheng (a mouth-blown free reed instrument with vertical pipes-one of the oldest Chinese instruments). the group employs ‘just-intonation’, a pure form of tuning in which the frequencies of notes are related by ratios of small whole numbers or fractions, or more simply put a tuning of purely consonant intervals. how this manifests is in glistening harmonic divinity, oboes serenading over the majestic veil of perpetual reed vibration and sinewave drone. the feel of a raga blossoms from the soul of this 45 minute piece, consonance evolving into atonality as the tension builds and tones are stacked methodically before evaporating at the end. perfect for mixing but a powerful piece to stand individually if your patience can stand for it; a challenging but rewarding listen from an influential figure in the avant-garde minimalist movement. breathtaking singularity of tone.

Regler – “Regel #5” – [Nueni Records]

Louie Caliente   4/17/2016   A Library, CD

40-minute abstract and overwhelmingly silent piece composed by Manfred Werner and performed by Mattin and Anders Bryngelsson of Regler.

The entire score consists of the following quote from an essay by Walter Benjamin:

“through excessive fatigue i had thrown myself on my bed in my clothes in the brightly-lit room, and had at once, for a few seconds, fallen asleep”

The duo of Relger take this score very literally. In the first few minutes, they can be heard quietly setting up their equipment and getting comfortable. Stools squeak and instrument cases open and close. They stretch and cough. Then, they fall asleep. The rest of the piece consists of slow breathing, moist lips opening and closing, the occasional sigh, and the sound of the room.

The work blurred the boundaries between my listening environment and the recording itself. At multiple times I had to check my CD player to make sure it was still on. Did somebody’s hand just fall to their side (that would be exciting!), or was it my cat in the next room? What is that faint rumble? Is it just my neighbor’s AC unit? Or maybe an ungrounded wire in my stereo. I notice the sound of my own breath, and the saliva in my mouth, and it is deafening.

Groult, Christine – “L’Heure Alors S’Incline…” – [Metamkine]

Louie Caliente   4/17/2016   A Library, CD

 

A 19-minute track from the “Cinema pour l’oreille” (cinema for the ears) series, dedicated to Italian avant-garde composer Luigi Nono and recorded in 1991 shortly after his death.

The piece is a slow-burn of musique concrete with a distinct cinematic feel. It starts very quietly with breathy wind instruments and barely-there bowed strings, like waves on a distant shore. The strings build at around the 4 minute mark into long drones, as orchestral voices fade in and out of existence. Later, whirling sounds almost like sirens. Harps zip, gongs crash, and manipulated tape sounds confuse and disorient the listener. Around 10 minutes in, the piece sounds like a jungle, full or cicadas, crickets, frogs and streams. The final minutes are full of suspense.

False Flag – “Metal Birds” – [FTAM]

Louie Caliente   4/17/2016   A Library, CD

 

3″ CD containing 7 tracks of experimental harsh noise from Justin Mark Lloyd. A powerful static sonic blast of crunches, scrapes, and glitchy broken electronics layered with distorted vocal screaming.

Heimat – “Heimat” – [kill shaman]

Thurston Hunger   4/15/2016   12-inch, A Library

If Nico was your last cigarette, is Heimat your first
lollipop? Armelle Oberle’s vocals have that shouty Teutonic
chill, like someone warning you about an avalanche (and
maybe actually triggering the avalanche) but in a weird way
much more playful. Olivier Demeaux (from the excellent Cheveu)
creates keys and sample-laden soundscapes that while synthy
are more microwave popcorn than chill wave sunglasses. On
“Dein Arkitekt” he mixes a rollicking gamelan sample with
some happy marching barks. Singing in German, but thinking
in French maybe is what makes this a sort of fun outing. For
KFJC insiders, if Belladonna hosted Neung Phak would it sound
like this? There are beats and the songs are kinda catchy, but
I don’t see a lot of dancing happening. “Trocadero” has a
sassiness that’s not far off Klaus Nomi’s sensibility. The
instro after that “Flutath” flutters by too quickly. “Pompei”
is the band at its most ostentatious, and Armelle soars and
almost yodels on the choruses, while Olivier’s sound is
Cecil B. Demille sized. Heimat translates a “homeland” but
this strange duo will be strangers in most land’s though not
our fine museum of audio oddities. Don’t miss!
-Thurston Hunger

Fluwelen Koord – “Luxe Poesje” – [Ultra Eczema]

Thurston Hunger   4/15/2016   7-inch, A Library

Spazzy, strident and a little sweet punk.

A-side :Boozy guitar, howled vox (he eventually barks at
the end) and a bassline that wants to be a metronome. Some
times two notes is enough for a bassist, maybe more than
s/he can handle. A little synth whispers on what I guess
passes for a break in this simple art-damaged punk slow-dance.
Other reverby percussion, not really drums, more like
dropping a silverware tray nicely. Beasts from Belgium
and while I thought the title might mean something like
“the light of poetry,” online translating came up with
“luxury pussy.” So kinda the same thing? Both are found
behind a “velvet rope” (which is the apparent translation
of the band name.) On the flip side, “Ingeblikt Miszprijzen”
creepy crawls its way to start then moves into a three chord
charger with more of those yelping vox. Does it translate
as “Canned Disapproval” or is that just what I had for dinner?
Love the flat-tire e-string guitar riff to start and then set
up the climax end of the song.
-Thurston Hunger

Big Bang, The [coll] – [Ellipsis Arts…]

Thurston Hunger   4/15/2016   A Library, CD

From various drums to your eardrums, stretching expansively
from insects to ancients to jazz fusion. This came out in
1994, with sounds spread all over time, adding it to KFJC
in part as our MD happened across a used copy of this suave
package (with a booklet thicker than all three discs). But
also in part to say thanks to Ellipsis Arts (and Jeffrey
Charno who ran it) for some lovingly compiled releases
(two of my faves are “Gravichords, Whirlies & Pyrophones”
and the mesmerizing memento mori “Dancing with the Dead.”)
Like that latter release, a global perspective comes with
the program, and as this aims to give the drummer more than
some, the project is huge in scope. Jorge Reyes’ galloping
clops and flying flutes nice and weird. Gamelan chimes in
here and there, and folks with maybe more conventional rep
like Carl Palmer, Jack DeJohnette, Richard Flatischler,
Terry Bozzio and ummmm Mickey Hart appear alongside the
Baka Forest People, Hestra of Chinese Central Music College
and the LCO Soldier’s Drum. That last one is from a Wisconsin
reservation, those wavering vox over the insistent hand
struck drums. So powerful to me. Bernie Krause stitches
the CDs together with opening and closing tracks, the very first
leadoff with some Tanzanian Chimpanzees on the mic! Plenty of
other primal primate singing/shouting/exhorting throughout.
Ritual rhythms and celebratory sensations, with plenty of info
in the 64-page booklet to share with listeners. Drop the laser
anywhere but don’t drop the beat! -Thurston Hunger
We have 14 of the Ellipsis Arts releases, they stopped back in 2005
Charno runs guided meditations these days through mindbodysessions.com

Bad Luck – “3” – [Tables & Chairs Music]

Thurston Hunger   4/15/2016   12-inch, Jazz

Fantastic sax and drum duo from Seattle. KFJC DJ/MD
aBacus Finch said they are even more potent live which
is high praise voltage considering this 2014 recording.
Their album is bristling sharp percussion from Chris
Icasiano, his snare is crisp and he’s more about tight
rhythms than florid free-for-all bursts. Iscasiano likes
to shadow his tenor partner Neil Welch on staircase sax
runs. Welch’s style is often staccato and sweet, and
he augments it all with outstanding electronics. A high
drone sample piercing over the top on “Power Ballad”
during breaks is one example, it ends in a dark alley
where you night bump into Der Club of Gore. Most of
side B has a charged distortion bucking at your ears,
makes that feel like it could plug right into an old
Pop Group ditty. “Tour Song” rises and falls, with some
silence at times, it’s like the duo are playing on
a nuclear sub during a meltdown. I’m not sure if it’s
the electronics or Welch’s compositions (quick flicking
melodies) but this jazz vinyl flat out rocks. More swinging
than Zu, but it’s got that similar brash appeal. Welch’s
use of effects is seamless and spectacular. The duo
ends the album with a short smoldering “Heart Machine”
and then a cover of the Art Ensemble’s “Nonaah” that
palpitates and thumps in cycles. If it weren’t for
Bad Luck our radio station would be a little less lively.
-Thurston Hunger

Bookwar – “Obryv” – [Post-Materialization Music]

Thurston Hunger   4/15/2016   A Library, CD

Ivan Bookwar or Chitai Bookwar with industrial beaten
hip-hopaganda. Made from nothing but the finest Soviet
era instruments (Polivox, Altair 231, Ritm-2) and drum
machines. You definitely get an abandoned factory vibe
especially as songs usually start with quite a bit of
the machines alone warming themselves up before Ivan
comes in with a very metered flow, lyrics pumped
po-russkie and delivered with a monotone hammer and
sickle cycle. “Lapta” (“Bat”) has some cool echolocation
squiggles flying along the mix (man I wish I spoke
enough Russian to have a semblance of understanding
on these tracks, instead every 11th word triggers
my broken Broca vocabulary like a land mine of
unintelligible recognition. But the detachment
of the singer is universal. Fits with dark-wave
dreary fears quite nicely, but at the same time
there’s a kind of spirit to the dinginess. The way
Alan Vega still gave a damn while spitting out
suicide lines. “Obryv” (like a steep slope I think)
sways between bass fuzz pulses and eventually
incorporates disconsolate la-la-la-las behind the
ironic curtain. “Bezymyannaya Voda” (nameless
water) could be a Dark Entries find from the 80’s
but it’s just the drip drop of Xmas 2014. It’s the
catchiest and shortest of the three tracks, but
still warped by chords of decommisioned equipment
(our CD appears to be missing “Crowdfunding” by
the way) As Prurient goes with a Vatican Shadow,
Bookwar looks sharp and shattered in Kremlin Mascara.
-Thurston Hunger

Framework 500 [coll] – [Framework Editions]

abacus   4/13/2016   A Library, CD

framework is a radio program dedicated to the art of field recording and its application in composition, operating on submissions by recordists and sound artists from around the world and curated by Patrick McGinley (aka Murmer). this collection commemorates framework’s 500th radio program, bringing together a wide array of pieces: in some like les gardens or what-happened the field recording is the center focus, transporting you to other environments, or others where the recordings, signal from the dam or mycelial path, figure amidst lush collages transporting to you complete other psychic states. some track titles denote sources within the overlap, like ascenseur or milking a camel; whereas others describe the recordings themselves, such as the first and last tracks of the compilation recording the sounds of the milling of the paper and the letterpressing of the liner notes. a beautiful selection of familiar yet otherworldly recording, collages, drones and even musical pieces; hours of material to lose yourself endlessly

Null, KK – “Edging” – [Nux Organization]

billiejoe   4/13/2016   A Library, CD

Soundtrack for dance theater piece is the title and probably true and a good description of what it sounds like if you were to drop acid and dance on Mars.
Sounds like field recordings and synth. It takes a couple slight electronica turns and is quiet to near silent at moments particularly the last minute.
Really though it is industrial ambient noise electronic experimental and very environmental. One long piece that lasts fifty three minutes and ten seconds.
— Billie Joe Tolliver

Parker, William – “Stan’s Hat Flapping In The Wind” – [Centering Records]

Hemroid The Leader   4/13/2016   CD, Jazz

19 Songs about the mysteries of death and life as revealed to a Native American who’s hat began flapping in the wind. Between 5:00 and :22 long.
Music & Lyrics by William Parker. Sung by Lisa Sokolov. Cooper-Moore at the piano.
Sokolov does a great job interpreting and straddling the line between brassy Musical singing and more delicate Jazz vocals. The lyric is very well written.
16 (Prayer) & 17 (Invocation) deliver two different looks to the album. Reminds me of Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee which is
apropos because one of the songs mentions her.

Chippendale-Gustafsson-Pupillo – “Melt” – [Trost]

Hemroid The Leader   4/13/2016   A Library, CD

Recorded Aug 12, 2014 in East Berlin at Radialsystem. Brian Chippendale (Lightning Bolt) on drums vox & fx. Mats Gustafson (The Thing) plays a belligerent sax and live electronics. Massimo Pupillo (Zu) plays bass.
Two long tracks. For me the 2nd track between 18:30 until 30, or even 40 minutes was best. Brian tells about his first show, a Metallica concert. For Lightning Bolt fans this is a must. Chippendale is very energetic and tenacious as usual.

Melnyk, Lubomyr – “Rivers and Streams” – [Erased Tapes Records]

Hemroid The Leader   4/13/2016   12-inch, A Library

Shapes merge, multiply, fade, regroup, and fade again and again. Echoes and ripples. The surface of clear water makes the things inside dance and wobble, and flow around.
Meditative trio. “Continuous piano” arpeggiates and self-immolates. His hands become “Water, Air, and Stone … the three manifestations of he Continuous Technique.” Like Philip Glass.

30/4 [coll] – [Fragment Factory]

abacus   4/13/2016   A Library, CD

free channeling mind-fuck vexations – 30th release / 4th anniversary celebration of twisted tomfoolery from the Fragment Factory label based out of Hamburg, Germany operated by Michael Muennich. ranging from harsh to absent with all flavors of dirt-cut tweak, these cracked and fractured contributions are for true conNOISEurs: cut-up / field recordings / musique concrete / sound collage / prepared from and for the rubbish pile; delectables for the bent of mind and insatiable of souls. musically null and void

Moderat – “III” – [Monkey Town]

Kai Sync   4/13/2016   A Library, CD

Moderat on their third album are continuing on their track of developing European electronic music into a more soulful and emotional experience. The singing is even more prevalent on this album. The album has lots of modulating melodies combined with unexpected rhythms and synthesizer layers. Moderat is Modeselector (Gernot Bronsert & Sebastian Szary) that provides the rhythmic elements and Apparat (Sascha Ring) that contributes the more ethereal sections and the singing. I might say that the complex and bombastic tracks are more intriguing and the sparse songs more rich by hitting the sonic nerves — both angles work on this album. The singing fits really well within the vision of where the music is directed in forms of song-based electronic compositions. This is very modern music with unexpected arrangements borrowed from other genres and concurrent artists to form something unique. It definitely absorbs the willing listener, as well as provides Moderat with a path for future explorations into soulful electronica.

Venus Beltran – “Music For The End of The World” – [Turkish Delight]

Kai Sync   4/13/2016   A Library, CD

 

An EP worth of doomy, sloppy and experimental nu-gaze from Venus Beltran, a side project by singer/guitarist Dave Han of the San Francisco based Astral band. One might consider this music dystopian dream pop as well. Echoing and wallowing vocals are drenched between drifty guitar lines and sparse electronic drum machine beats. Some songs reminds me of a drony Jane’s Addiction performing while in sleep — in a positive way. The EP is splendid doomsday music for one of those days.

Belafonte, Harry – “Mark Twain and Other Folk Favorites” – [RCA Records]

humana   4/12/2016   12-inch, B Library

Belafonte keeps our attention with the skill of a true raconteur. These folk songs are classic and educational (I never knew the origin of the pseudonym “Mark Twain”). Read the liner notes to discover how Belafonte had to travel a tough path to success, largely due to his race. His honeyed voice is well suited to these songs, and his role is an amazing one in perpetuating the folk tradition.