KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Carroll, Doug – “Animal Sounds II” – [Self Produced]

lexi glass   7/31/2018   A Library, CD

Local cellist and composer Doug Carroll has been carefully and lovingly recording the sounds of animals – at home, in zoos, and in the wild – for decades. In 2010, he compiled thirty of his favorite recordings and released them on Animal Sounds, wildly popular when we added it to our library here a few years ago. Now, eight years later, we have the second volume. In this menagerie you’ll hear sea lions, lorikeets, laughing kookaburras, as well as KFJC airsound staples, frogs and cats. Still no foxes – fingers crossed for volume 3?

Bronner, Dr. E. H. – “Sisters & Brothers” – [Dr. Bronner’s]

Naysayer   7/31/2018   12-inch, A Library

Yes, this is Dr. Emanuel H. Bronner of Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap. His story is fascinating. Born in 1908 in Heilbronn, Germany of the German-Jewish Heilbronner family of soap makers, Emanuel learned his trade of soap making and earned a degree in chemistry. Emigrating to the USA in 1929, he dropped the Hiel from his name due to associations to Nazism. He begged his parents to come with him but they did not and were eventually killed in the Holocaust at Auschwitz and Theriesenstadt. He continued his trade as soap maker eventually creating the Dr. Bronner’s soap we know today. He adopted the label “Doctor” to his name. In the mid 1940’s, either while at the University of Chicago, invited by a student group, or not invited by a group, or on a street corner, Dr. Bronner was arrested for speaking his “Moral ABC” (some reports say vehemently) and institutionalized at the Elgin State Insane Asylum. After shock therapy treatments, Bronner escaped from the asylum. He blamed his eventual blindness on these treatments.
His soap business grew, with his famous label espousing the tenets of “Moral ABC” and “All One God Faith”. He worked toward what is now Green ideology, with his business focusing on ecological awareness and sharing profits with workers. It continues to this day.

“Sisters & Brothers” is a compilation of Dr. Bronner’s beliefs in achieving Moral ABC. Influenced by the writings and teachings of Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Paine, Hillel the Elder who supposedly taught the teenage Jesus, Mohammed, Jesus Christ, Confucius, Buddha…. , he came up with his philosophy of All One God Faith as the only way to achieve harmony on earth. These recordings made between 1968 and 1988 on “a variety of home recording devices” (i.e. tape recorders), show a man determined, obsessed even, with getting this point across of helping others, showing kindness, sharing, as a means to cure all. What is wonderful about these recordings, though, is the way they were made, and his tone. These are done on tape recorders so we constantly hear the clicking on and off of the recorder. There is some background noise and several of the selections start off or end with selections of, I think, Strauss, even once or twice with Dr. Bronner whistling and then testifying. And the testifyiing: his cadence is dynamic, taking on an almost Hitleresque Nazi tone. There is a dynamism, an affect, a determination that almost crosses over into demanding the listener. Screw free choice – you will do it. There is repetition: Moral ABC is stated repeatedly. so basically, not that it’s a problem, but Dr. Bronner had some mental health issue stuff going on, right? From the outsider art presentation style of his famous label, to manic proselytezing, to institutionalization…. But whatever, he made it work and his product run by the family continues to work in positive directions. Listen, learn, convert, follow, listen, learn, convert, follow, listen, learn, convert, follow, listen, learn…….

Boys Next Planet, The – “Animal Fanny” – [Post-Materialization Music]

Naysayer   7/31/2018   A Library, CD

The Boys Next Planet is a collaborative project between Phil Monopolka and members of Ceramic Hobs, both noise maestros in their own right. Initially released on Monopolka’s side label Emerson, Lake and Headache, rereleased here on PMM, this 60 minute experiment is an endurance test in mundanity. I have listened to it straight through 3 times and my sensibilities have shifted a bit. What you get is recorded sounds of someones home life with their baby: crinkling paper, things being moved around, no real spoken words except for the occasional radio or tv voice. And then there’s the baby or babies or baby recorded numerous times with recordings played over each other. The constant gurgling, attempts at communication, cooing. No real crying, just continuous babbling. And the sound of children’s toys: the cheap electronic talk of toddler play seats and walkers, plastic animals, objects, just repeating over and over and over and over its seconds of dialogue that the baby activates by hitting the buttons again and again and again. It’s fascinating and maddening in its stupendous boredom. But such is life. Those momentous memorable moments are few and far between. This is the stuff of the everyday that we do not remember. This is what got us to where we are today as adults. Child rearing is hard. Life is hard. A superb conceptual work and the best birth control around.

K2 – ‘Molekular Terrorism’ – [Self Release]

Lord Gravestench   7/30/2018   A Library, CD

K2 is the Harsh Noise project of Japanohumanoid Kusafuka Kimihide, terrorising audiences since 1983. This CDr release is probably the artist’s own reissue of the 1996 album: fucked if I know.

A necropolis that never sleeps and never shuts the fuck up, blowing hot farts of scrap metal out of its torn asshole at all of hours of the night. The hammering shrapnel destroys transients and stray animals like insects, splattering blood and offal across the irretrievably filthy pavement.

This nightmarish cockophany reminds me for some reason of ‘80s B-list creature features set in vaporous Lower-Manhattan Bedlams, e.g. ‘C.H.U.D.,’ ‘Wolven,’ and (my personal favourite), ‘Breeders.’

Yes it is similar to Macronympha, Taint maybe even a little Haters

Mostly scrap metal. Some screaming/singing-like sounds that will make you think of the scene in ‘Candyman’ where C.M. cuts off the retarded kid’s junk. Electronics are punctuation. You wish this was just or even mostly electronics: no such luck, cuck.

Four tracks but who cares, it might as well all be one. Go nuts.

Everett, Wayne – “Kingsqueens” – [Northern Records]

Naysayer   7/27/2018   12-inch, A Library

Wayne Everett’s “kingsqueens” is a sweet, well-played piece from 2002 that fills up so many of the wonderful sounds of the mid to late 1990’s and early 00’s that some of us once felt too above to like, but now can appreciate. Coming from a number of groups out of the So. Calif. Riverside, Huntington Beach scene, Everett’s work is influenced by shoegaze, Elliot Smith, Apples In Stereo harmonies, Spiritualized and dare I say, Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds”. These are all great things and Everett captures them full on and makes them his own. He sings, plays drums, guitar and percussion all along with a full band, some of which are friends from previous projects. Medium paced pop tomes about love and change and distance and a bit of positive are conveyed through interesting lyrics. Some selections are wonderfully orchestrated with a bit extra from harp and horns as well as strong backing vocals. A lovely entremets or aperitif to add to heavier sets of radio sound. Cleanse and feel refreshed.

Tons [coll] – [Lgn]

Louie Caliente   7/24/2018   12-inch, A Library

Kompripiotr / Chopstick

Dark ambient noise drone split/collab from Kompripiotr (Peter Holzknecht of Bolzano Italy) and Chopstick (Andrew Wayne of Sacramento), released on LaGrind Noire label which Holzknecht co-runs. The two artists met in 2015 at NorCal NoiseFest (co-organized by Wayne), and bonded over music and Ethiopian coffee.

Full-spectrum sonic radiation exposure. Powerful yet calming. Heavy buzzing whirring humming, and slow penetrating pulsations. Oscillations of every stripe.

Side A is two equally-menacing tracks, one from each artist.

Side B is a collaboration between the two. Wayne recorded first, and sent the tapes to Holzknecht, who plays an old JVC radio/tv tuner, twisting antennae and searching for signal.

Only 100 made.  50 in EU, 50 in USA.

PLAY AT 45.

Water Lilly – “Sensory Stretcher” – [Mental Groove Records]

lexi glass   7/24/2018   12-inch, A Library

Dark electro beats from Water Lilly, aka Monica Montesinos, a Swiss DJ/producer. This 2003 EP comes from the Geneva-based label Mental Groove. Driving minimal rhythms, seductive spoken word vocals, and the icy chill of that synth pop sound that was all over the place just after the turn of the millennium. The A side holds the two strongest tracks, the ominous opener “Process Engaged” (A1) and the “The Sound of Your Kisses” (A2), with an infectious phased synth hook. Flipping to the B side, “Where Do You Feel Me” (B1) keeps the energy high with analog sounds, “Champagnized” (B2) marches on with deep bass pulses, and electric guitar stabs echo through finale “Playette” (B3).

Hennies, Sarah – “Embedded Environments” – [Blume]

Phil Phactor   7/24/2018   12-inch, A Library

Sarah Hennies is a composer and percussionist currently based in Ithaca, NY. She is a part of the long-running experimental percussion trio Meridian, alongside Tim Feeney and Greg Stuart. She writes:

“Percussionists are unique not because we lack ‘an instrument,’ but because we are the only instrumentalists with the freedom to define ourselves. In this malleable space lies a commonality between percussion and queer/trans identities in that they are most easily defined by what they are not. A queer person is not straight, a percussionist is not a cellist, a transgender person is not cisgender.”

Okay, but what does it sound like? This LP is made up of two sidelong pieces for four percussionists. Side A, “Foragers,” is the quiet side, beginning with a soft, low rumble that continues…and continues…and continues. Other sounds emerge, twinkling, outer space sounds that could be electronic, but they’re not. And then the whole thing fades away. Side B features the title track and is the loud side. Much more obviously drum-derived, this is crashing and cacophonous but somehow also calm and meditative. Both pieces were recorded in a large grain silo, which subsumes everything in a massive, cavernous wash of reverb. Fascinating stuff.

Reverbivores, The – “Orbit to Intercept” – [Self Released]

Cousin Mary   7/21/2018   A Library, CD

This is the debut CD from the Reverbivores, an instrumental band from the San Francisco East Bay. All original compositions except for one David Bowie song – excellent playing, interesting arrangements. A couple of nice slow tunes, others have good energy. Hurray for another fine surf band in NorCal!

Marduk – ‘Viktoria’ – [Century Media]

Lord Gravestench   7/18/2018   A Library

Sweden’s Marduk, founded in 1990 and named after the patron deity of ancient Babylon, is truly one of the ‘O.G.’ Scandinavian Black Metal bands. Despite many lineup changes, the core brand has been preserved, and pressed ever forwards, by guitarist ‘Morgan’ (real name Patrik Niclas Morgan Hakansson)– who, by the way, allegedly still possesses skull fragments from the suicide of Mayhem’s vocalist ‘Dead,’ which were mailed to him by that band’s guitarist Euronymous.

Marduk have shown a more-than-passing influence in Third Reich history for a long time, perhaps culminating in 1999’s divisive ‘Panzer Division Marduk,’ an album of start-to-finish, hammering ferocity and speed that declared Marduk’s intention of being the world’s fastest Orthodox Black Metal Band. With each album since that time, Marduk seem to have gotten faster AND more politically provocative; and like Slayer before them, every album has had to have its ‘Nazi’ song, e.g. ‘The Hangman of Prague,’ the masterful opener of 2004’s ‘Plague Angel.’

Vocalist (since 2004) ‘Mortuus’ has said: “A band that claims to play Black Metal must always have Satanism and nothing but Satanism as the highest priority in their music and concept as well as in their personal lives.” The occult cannot be political. The brutal experiences of German soldiers during WWII (such as half-German Morgan’s grandfather) seem to be the focus on this album. The Nazi Total War machine seems to resonate with the band’s Satanism, and they’d hardly be the first.

When Marduk announced a gig in Oakland in 2017, the Bay Area Antifa all got their periods at the same time. Some of these sad individuals (none of whom would have lasted five minutes on the eastern front) must have even gotten it into their heads that Marduk are in the propaganda business. Anyway, the cows mooed, the AK press paperbacks fluttered, and the show (to which we did have tickets) was cancelled by Oakland PD following threats against the venue.

As if in defiance, this new album is a cold-blooded killer, incorporating absolutely merciless pummelling of the kit and pithily original riffs that flicker across the surface of the battlefield, bloody shreds of Beethoven scores repurposed as munitions. Iron-throated Mortuus also manages to growl melodically on t.2. Air raid sirens and falling bombs both make appearances. The last track is CyThoth’s favourite. Marduk have always approached their sound like a Death Metal band, prioritizing hyper-disciplined musicianship and polished production, an approach that works very well here.

Tl;dr: this is ruling traditional Black Metal and a slow/painful/non-negotiable death to all members of Bay Area Antifa.

Subterranean Transmigration [coll]

abacus   7/18/2018   A Library

split pairing of Andrew Quitter on anxiety electronics and Egan Budd on metal/junk percussion; its all just a bunch of noise tbh, compositions of cinematic destruction, confrontational yet distant; transdimensional death industrial gutting up against cavernous tonal primitivism. like getting sucked thru a black hole and landing in a boneyard of crumbling architecture. Andrew brings more bleep bloop space travel sounds (especially on Devil’s Icebox, despite the subterranean field recordings) while Egan feels grittier, raw (except Mineral Resurrection gets pretty synthy and Coffin Dust is raw af). if the heat gets any more oppressive this will sit nicely otherwise these are some icy fuckin sounds.

Fascinating Creatures of The Deep – “Float On Forever” – [Self Released]

Cousin Mary   7/18/2018   A Library, CD

This Santa Cruz surf band just gets better and better.  This EP, released in anticipation of an epic summer performing at the Surfer Joe Festival in Italy and the Surf Guitar 101 Convention in Los Angeles, has five lush well played tracks.  Tracks 1,2, and 3 have fast energy –  4 and 5 are slow and lovely.  Track 5 was written in honor of their drummer (and former KFJC DJ) Stretch Riedle, after his heart attack.

Vradiazei – “Vradiazei” – [Self-released]

abacus   7/18/2018   A Library, Cassette

cascadian doom folk of the apocalypse, this group of ladies from Olympia perform acoustically and by candelabra because when the end comes there will be no electricity. somber, sparse yet uplifting in the most dismal of outcomes, vradiazei literally translates from Greek to “getting night” or “darkness comes” they lost their banjo/bouzouki player to motherhood, life eats away at us all one by one. vocals on the B side

Abou-Khalil, Rabih – “Arabian Waltz” – [Enja Records]

Hemroid The Leader   7/18/2018   A Library, CD

ENJ-9059 2

Born in Lebanon, resident of Germany&France since ’76. Well known world/jazz/classical fusionist does not disappoint., joined by great Michel Godard(tuba) Nabil Khaiat(frame drums) & the Balanescu Quartet. Abou-Khalil shreds. Tuba adds great texture, solos on 5.

Synanon – “Angels At The End of The World” – [Dead Accents]

Lord Gravestench   7/17/2018   A Library, Cassette

One-man noisegrind from music journalist Shane Mehling, also of the WA post-hardcore band Great Falls. Bandmate Demian Johnston (see also: Sutekh Hexen, BLSPHM, noise work under his own name) runs the label.

Side A = Blown-out mathy bass assault, probable drum machine doing the full blast thing, Pig Destroyer style hardcore vocals. The last track resolves itself with about one minute of feedback.

Side B = Single piece of nearly unlistenable feedback manipulation.

A sleek and deadly example of a confrontational genre, somewhat akin to the more musical excursions of longtime KFJC favourites Sissy Spacek.

The original Synanon was a drug recovery program founded in Santa Monica that turned into a criminal mind-control cult. Couldn’t be cultier than 12-step, though (rimshot!).

Both sides about 5 minutes. The label founder says: “I am hoping to release some more of his stuff but it’s impossible to get him back in the damn studio. He spends all his time battling blackberry bushes.”

Dolce Suono Trio – “American Canvas” – [Innova Recordings]

Hemroid The Leader   7/17/2018   A Library, CD

Innova 991

Flute, cello & piano new chamber music trio premieres 4 works by American composers. Mimi Stillman-f (artistic director), Charles Abramovic-p (Temple University), Nathan Vickery-c (NY Phil), joined by Soprano Lucy Shelton and cellists Gabriel Cabezas and Alexis Pia Gerlach.

Pro Et Contra – “Pro Et Contra” – [Pataphysique Records]

lexi glass   7/16/2018   A Library, CD

Live recording from a February 2018 performance from this new experimental Japanese quartet. Fronted by Fukuoka Rinji (guitarist/vocalist from the psych bands Overhang Party and Majutso no Niwa, both in our library, and founder of the Pataphysique label that released this recording), with vocals and theremin by Koichi Nakaya (Nasca Car and Hijokaidan), bass by Luis Inage and keyboards/samples/vocals from Itsuro Sugiyama.

The four pieces here center on text borrowed and translated into Japanese from Antonin Artaud (T1), The Velvet Underground (T3), Suicide (T4), and Guy Debord (T4), performed as a “respiration of poetic oscillation” by Rinji. “Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu” (T1) is a reworking of a 1947 radio broadcast, the final crazed work of the French poet Artaud, accompanied by rumbles of bass guitar, electronic chirps and theremin wails, the swell of a chorus singing the opening verses of the American nation anthem. Heavy, plodding electronic rhythms and bass thumps drive T2 with lyrics from the Japanese group Dowser. The final two tracks are more straightforward covers: “The Gift” (T3) sets Lou Reed’s comedic tale to an electric keyboard/bass groove, and the final medley track is a Suicide seance. All the meaning of the lyrics is lost (to me) in translation, allowing the language and sound to flow into a continuous stream of nothingness.

Novak, Yann – “Future Is Forward Escape Into The Past, The” – [Touch]

Louie Caliente   7/15/2018   A Library, CD

Rich but minimal low-frequency drone. Heaving tides of blissed-out noise and field recordings of trickling water, smoldering fire, and birds. Deep sonic wavelengths written as a quadriptych study of our relationship with the passage of time. Turn it WAY WAY up and feel time’s heavy presence, both pinning you in place and slowly, glacially, pushing the entire universe forward.

Surfer Joe – “Swell of Dwell” – [Dionysus Records]

Cousin Mary   7/14/2018   A Library, CD

Surfer Joe – aka Lorenzo Valdambrini – is known as the International Ambassador of Surf Music and puts on the Surfer Joe Summer Music Festival every year in Livorno, Italy.  This album shows his talent and hard work as a musician and a composer.  Perky, fun melodies give a nod to his Italian nationality and to his recent tours of Japan.  All original compositions.  As Lorenzo says, “stay stoked”.