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Bren’t Lewiis Ensemble – “Casino Sordide” – [BUFMS]

casino sordide

Lucian Tielans and Gnarlos (Seymour Glass from Bananafish) and their many collaborators are the Bren’t Lewiis Ensemble. Founded in rural Norcal in the 80s, BLE released a handful of cassettes under the freak flag of the Butte County Free Music Society. After a “brief” 20+ year hiatus, the group reunited in 2009 and began playing shows and putting out new material once again. This 2016 CD collects new work as well as tracks from the first of those 80s tapes, 1984′s Make It Stop (T9 – so good and T12).

The all-star lineup includes Tom Timpson, The City Councilman, Lindy Lettuce, Limphoma, Babuna Virus, Lily McBilly, Fuzzy and Mr. Dolphin, who contribute to improvised works made with detuned stringed instruments, various household objects (zippers, pushpins, cat toys, one of those giant exercise balls, etc) and god knows what else. At first, the sounds roam alone and freely, scraping by on dry land or slithering in primordial slime (or is it aloe vera gel? – T6), but through chance meeting they self-assemble into primitive songs (T9, T13, T15). Interspersed throughout are tape collage interludes, with found sounds from shitty self-help cassettes, televangelist sermons, public access interview shows spliced and rearranged for maximum yuks (T1, T10, T17). Much more musical spasticity from these local legends can be found in our library, including 2016′s Cavoli Riscaldati and Occupy Infantry, that together with this release form an “interconnected trilogy”/sordid sandwich.

  • Reviewed by lexi glass on October 31, 2017 at 6:18 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Four Lost Souls – “Four Lost Souls” – [Bloodshot Records]

    fourlost souls

    “These songs aren’t going to sing themselves” (from “Poor Valley Radio”). And count your lucky stars that Jon Langford (who wrote and sings the songs along with Bethany Thomas and Tawny Newsome) and his band (rounded out by skilled guitarist John Szymanski) found themselves in Muscle Shoals, Alabama to sing the great Americana songs contained on this CD. Yes, the sobering election of 2016 made them feel lost, but they stepped up to the plate and responded with these sometimes rocking, sometimes ballad-y songs. Be sure to read the poem in the sleeve.

  • Reviewed by humana on October 28, 2017 at 4:42 pm
  • Filed as CD,Country
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  • Kleenrz, The – “Season 2″ – [Self Produced]

    kleenrz

    Witty, dark, gritty, post-apocalyptic horror-core hip-hop. The beats are bangin’ and the rhymes are crammed in there with baffling complexity and frequency. The one or two duds are a small price to pay for the rest of the album.

  • Reviewed by milo on October 25, 2017 at 9:42 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Hip Hop
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  • Los Siquicos Litoralenos – “Sonido Chipadelico” – [Sham Palace]

    SONIDO

    Los Siquicos Litoralenos (The Psychics of the Literal) present homegrown rural psychedelia from Argentina on “Sonido Chipadelico”. This collection was pulled from various releases and recordings made between 2005 and 2010; all cuts are relatively short, enjoyable, and would serve as an adequate bridge between multiple styles of music. Sounds range from rock-opera-ish to dubby, experimental, and lo-fi.

  • Reviewed by milo on October 25, 2017 at 9:24 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,International
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  • SharkiRoma – “Vayu Sharki” – [Self Released]

    SharkiRoma is a band of Japanese gypsies from Tokyo. This “original Gypsy style unit” is anchored by Violin, oud, and hand percussion and supported by guest musicians on accordion harmonica vocals and violin. These guys play belly dance shows in Tokyo Live rooms. Track 10 is a take on Wagner’s Walk??re.

  • Reviewed by Hemroid The Leader on October 25, 2017 at 3:49 pm
  • Filed as CD,International
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  • Corigliano, John – “Conjurer/Vocalise” – [Naxos World]

    To John corigliano the problem with writing a percussion concerto was that “the very thing that makes it the perfect accent to other orchestral sonorities makes it unsatisfactory when it takes the spotlight in a concerto.” To write Conjurer, he distilled his concept into wood, metal, and skin. Profoundly deaf Scottish percussion Master Dame Evelyn Glennie introduces the 3 choirs via cadenzas which are taken up by the orchestra.
    In Vocalise, a singer and Philharmonic Orchestra begin acoustically and amplification and electronics are introduced.

  • Reviewed by Hemroid The Leader on October 25, 2017 at 3:37 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Tahiti – The Gauguin Years: Songs and Dances [coll] – [Nonesuch Records]

    Before westerners brought their diseases to the island, Tahiti’s main problem was overcrowding. An extremely rigid caste system kept everybody in place. Supernatural tabus hovered overhead. No mistakes were made, existence was predetermined. Genealogies, war stories, talisman chant, percussion, and dance reinforce the social structure and warded off bad vibes. Some hula and beautiful and then some very primal.

  • Reviewed by Hemroid The Leader on October 25, 2017 at 3:31 pm
  • Filed as CD,International
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  • Deathprod – “Treetop Drive” – [Smalltown Supersound]

    deathprod

    Deathprod is the noise-ambient project of Norwegian artist Helge Sten, who is also a member of the avant-jazz group Supersilent. Sten uses the term “audio virus” to describe the variety of sound sources used on this album, including “old tape echo machines, ring modulators, filters, theremins, samplers and lots of electronic stuff”.

    “Treetop Drive” was originally released on CD in 1994 and has been re-mastered by Rashad Becker and re-released on double LP just this year (2017). The sounds are as infectious as ever.

    The first three tracks comprise three movements of “Treetop Drive”, and share many thematic elements, although the moods are quite different.

    Treetop Drive 1 (A) is built around dramatic strings and synths, featuring the violin work of Hans Magnus Ryan. Solemn, repetitive, and trance-like waves washing ashore. Slowly shifting over times, growing more distressed and urgent as the feedback and distortion intensify, and then letting go, returning out to sea.

    Treetop Drive 2 (B) contains the same pulsing overwhelming rhythm, but now harsh and machine-like instead of organic. A call-and-response with metallic grinding shrieks and sub-harmonic bass blasts.

    The last movement, Treetop Drive 3 (C) has a faster pace, almost frantic in comparison with the previous parts. Like a windy, rumbling tornado, and equally bleak. It includes a quick clip of some anonymous conservative ranting about schools today teaching “death education”, likely a PSA for Teachers AIDS.

    The final track, Tugboat (D), is colder and more barren than the rest, like floating far out at sea. The rolling black waves are still present, more still than before but no less ominous. Over time, the danger of the situation unfolds.

  • Reviewed by Louie Caliente on October 25, 2017 at 12:56 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
  • 4 comments
  • Hone, Logan – “Variety Show” – [Wellness Association of Los Angeles]

    Phew!!!!!! Wow!!!!! Man!!!!! Not quite outsider but sort of because of production values and oddness. A+++++++. Mostly solo, multi-instrumentalist. Neurotic and sane songs of love and life. Beats sound like the 1980′s sometimes. Instruments sound like from the 1980′s sometimes. Hints of Eno. Hints of post-punk. Hints of pop. But wait…. it is all so TWISTED. Track 1, “I Miss You”, starts out with a drum beat that feels j..u..s..t.. a bit tooooo slow. In comes a familiar guitar riff, then an electronic piano blurble, vocals sounding a bit like a chant, some off the wall guitar, more electronic mistakes, and full up rockestra with instruments that seem to have been found at the local thrift store. YEP!!!! With a big smile on my face I settled back in my old ’97 Lexus and scuttled down the black as midnight hwy 280, blasting this audio gem. Each track is like it’s own sonic universe: tweaked enough to be unique from the last track but familiar with the Logan Hone thread. Superb lyrics made me laugh out loud more than once and had me nodding in agreement. “Get In the Car” may be my favorite pop number of the month because it goes for it and then churns it up. Bravo for something so familiar and yet so beautifully strange. Refreshing. It gives me hope for new sounds.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on October 24, 2017 at 10:20 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Adams, Steve / Perkis, Tim – “a Few Eccentricities” – [Self Released]

    a2246047469_10

    This is delightful. Check out Adams (ROVA Saxophone Quartet) on various saxes and flutes playing duets with electronics master Perkis. On some of the pieces the two players work within the same timbral environment and pitch range, rendering the line between the two less than clear. But not always– sometimes it is quite obvious who is doing what, just as one would expect with duets involving such dissimilar instruments. Each piece explores different terrain and they are all compelling and fun to listen to. A great release from two local musical treasures.

  • Reviewed by Max Level on October 24, 2017 at 7:56 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Pikacyu-Makoto – “Galaxilympics” – [Upset The Rhythm]

    Guitarist Kawabata Makoto of Acid Mothers Temple (oh…my…god) and drummer/vocalist Pikacyu of Afrirampo (OH…MY…GODDESS). That should just about do it. Nine songs of psychedelic madness, some with vocals, some with growls, some with calm, some with guitar and drum onslaught, all with an amazing interplay of rhythm, riff and raw vision. This is a trip without the tab. Check out their live sets on YouTube. Yes please. Explode your head.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on October 24, 2017 at 12:25 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Cremator, The [coll] – [Finders Keepers Records]

    Czech New Wave Cinema of the 1960′s had some pretty twisted, beautifully filmed and challenging films, many of which were not seen for decades due to the government banning them. Juraj Herz’s “The Cremator”, from 1969 is one of these. The tale of a cremator who is obsessed with the Tibetan Book of the Dead and the passing of the Dalai Lama, who is influenced by Nazi sympathizers (it takes place in the 1930′s) who talk to him about the importance of his partial German heritage, his half Jewish wife who is the mother of his two sons, his eventual spiral into madness as he realizes it is his purpose to send people back to the dust from which they came… let’s just say it won’t end well. It’s described as a horror comedy. Well, if anyone can make Nazi’s funny, the Czech’s can. A film with this overwhelming storyline needs a strong soundtrack and classic Czech experimental soundtrack composer Zdenek Liska does the trick. Moving away from his usual found sound and re- sampling type style, Liska goes orchestral for this endeavor. Rich, haunting orchestral pieces with soprano singer Vlasta Soumarova Mlejnkova chanting out vocalizations of sounds, not words, fill the spaces. Think echoes in large abandoned cathedrals where sounds bounce around, “celestial choral” sections accompanied by chimes and bells. Think giallo richness. Think old school haunted houses where strangeness lurks. Beautiful moody settings, perfect for a crematorium. Indulge. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on October 23, 2017 at 11:49 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Soundtrack
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  • Mimmo, Gianni – “One Way Ticket” – [Amirani Records/Amirani Contemporary]

    Gianni Mimmo is that unique musician/artist that is so dedicated to his craft, his art, that he really lives it to the fullest. “One Way Ticket” is a solo project for this soprano sax jazz improviser, but here the improvisation is with a twist. The fifteen selections, bookended by spoken word, include original compositions and eight interpretations of classic works by artists including, Mingus, Lacy, Monk, Webern, and Ellington. On the international jazz circuit, Mimmo is compared to Steve Lacy in his skill and expertise. It shows here. Interweaving such an array of sounds and tones Mimmo plays with ideas, elongating sounds and then switching shape with lightening speed. The recording is so intimate that we hear Mimmo’s breathing, his buzz into the horn, his fingers pressing the keys and the keys moving on the saxophone. These sounds become faint, but continuous percussive additions to the sound of the sax itself. Unique, challenging, elegant. .

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on October 23, 2017 at 10:26 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Sea Moss – “Bread Bored” – [Crash Symbols]

    seamoss

    Debut cassette from the DIY-electro-noise punk duo of Noa Ver and Zach D’Agostino, released on Crash Symbols. Sea Moss recently came down from Portland to play some California shows, including a set at this year’s Norcal Noisefest that I luckily made it to Sacramento in time to catch. D’Agostino’s drumming (a welcome change of pace from all the static and drones at the Noisefest) can be energetic and wild (T6, T8), angle into a groove (T1, T3, T10), or pour on the sludge (T5), and filtered through DIY devices, the rhythms take on an 8-bit dimension. Ver brings her vicious walkie-talkie vox and teeming tidepool of homemade electronics (spotlighted in T2 and T7), reminiscent at times of Quintron’s swamp tech sound. Weird waveforms that will leave you anything but bored.

  • Reviewed by lexi glass on October 23, 2017 at 9:31 pm
  • Filed as A Library,Cassette
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  • Flamin Groovies – “Fantastic Plastic” – [Sonic Kicks]

    flamin_groovies_fantastic_plastic

    They’re back and better than ever! What a fun and enjoyable collection of brand-new rock songs penned by Cyril Jordan and Chris Wilson! These are uptempo songs and smooth ballads by this group whose origins are in San Francisco. Each song is great in its own way, but “She Loves Me” and “Lonely Hearts” are two of my favorites.

  • Reviewed by humana on October 22, 2017 at 3:16 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Seafang – “Solid Gold/ Stardust” – [Emotional Response Recordings]

    R-10787038-1504322793-6471.jpeg

    Of course I love this 7″ dimension of wonder because it’s shoegaze from a quintet in St. Petersburg, Florida. “Solid Gold” is an upbeat, fast-paced number, while “Stardust” is a bit slower, but both are fine examples of lovely haze with Heidi’s pretty vocals backed by the band’s energetic guitars, drums, and bass. Think Go-Gos KFJC-style.

  • Reviewed by humana on October 22, 2017 at 2:31 pm
  • Filed as 7-inch,A Library
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  • Oxbow – “Thin Black Duke” – [Hydra Head Records]

    “Thin Black Duke” is Oxbow’s 7th album in 30+ years and their first release in 10 years. It is a stunner. Like the bands Swans, The Fall, Psychic TV, and Half Japanese, Oxbow is in the category of having survived longer than possibly initially thought and yet still creating new sounds. They are not in the retro circuit. With age hopefully comes maturity in one’s art. Such is the case here. Eight songs of dense musical interactions with lyrical depth. Is this a song cycle? Is this Oxbow’s stadium rock album? If only stadium rock was like this. Track one starts out with a whistle then falls into a symphonic cacophony before the toe tapping song takes over. This sets the stage. Bassist Dan Adams, drummer Greg Davis, singer Eugene S. Robinson, and guitarist Niko Wenner work so well on these tales of observation of sadness, difficulty, challenge…..life. Song structures change mid song, going from symphonic to almost noise. Layered guitar drum and bass with piano embrace Robinson’s distinctive voice and vocalizations, interpreting the cinematic lyrics with growls, howls, whispers, purrs, hisses …. haunting and always keeping the listener on their toes. Musical themes run through the works, like leitmotifs. Multiple listenings are needed to gain interpretation. This is a work for contemplation. Enjoy.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on October 22, 2017 at 12:14 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Mezzacappa, Lisa – “AvantNOIR” – [Clean Feed]

    Unknown

    A great record. It may as well be subtitled “People Up to No Good in Sketchy Locations in San Francisco at Night” because that is exactly what it sounds like. A high concept record–music composed by bassist/bandleader Mezzacappa as accompaniment to (and extension of) noir literary works and films that she found intriguing and inspirational. Her detailed liner notes lay it all out. The music is skillfully realized by an ensemble of first-rate local jazz/avant-garde players. It twists and turns, making the listener wonder what is waiting in the next dark alley. Snippets of film dialog pop up here and there, and I like the way the electronics of Tim Perkis add a sense of subtle unease throughout. An evocative ride through nighttime SF more than a few decades ago… Fillmore Street, Army Street (not Cesar Chavez), Green Street, etc.

  • Reviewed by Max Level on October 17, 2017 at 9:36 am
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Luxury Apartments – “Luxury Apartments” – [Dead Cert]

    luxuryapartments

    Not the hideous live/work condos that they razed your favorite venue to build, but the lost experimental explorations of Dave Tyack, painter, mathematician, and indie rocker turned sound artist.

    Before forming this project in 2002, Tyack played in the Manchester indie pop groups Misty Dixon and his own Dakota Oak Trio, one of the first bands on Badly Drawn Boy’s Twisted Nerve label. After listening to these groups and then to this strange record, I can only conclude that Tyack must’ve had some sort of creative epiphany of “discovering KFJC” proportions. So it’s all the more tragic that a few months after finishing this album, he went missing for two years and was later found to have died in an accident in Corsica. Tyack left behind a large collection of unreleased material, and fortunately, Dead Cert shares some of it with us on this 2015 LP that holds two sidelong recordings. The A side finds Tyack’s wandering playing – a distant accordion, that beautiful, collapsing guitar sound that reminds me of Bill Orcutt, a clock’s tick-tock rhythm accompanied by chimes – lost in a dark ambient haze. Flipping the disc, the sounds shift from scattered to structured, with sweeping synthetic orchestration setting the backdrop for energetic passages, one with almost-techno rhythms and post-rock grooves like a fast-moving Tortoise, and another with a glitchy minimal beat, that finally dissolve into distorted darkness.

     

  • Reviewed by lexi glass on October 16, 2017 at 8:47 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Een, Robert – “Mystery Dances” – [Starkland]

    Robert Een (b. 1952) is a composer, vocalist, and cellist best known as part of Meredith Monk’s ensemble. Sounds like Philip Glass playing belly dance. Several of the works were composed for a 10-man dance ensemble. Dirge for Julius is for Julius Eastman.

  • Reviewed by Hemroid The Leader on October 11, 2017 at 2:33 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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