KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Ames Sanglantes – “Chindia Tower Impalements” – [Hospital Productions]

Lord Gravestench   8/13/2018   A Library, CD

Quebecois Pierre-Marc Tremblay is internationally recognised as half of the Black Metal project Akitsa, founded in the late ’90s. What perhaps fewer fans may know is that he has been equally renowned in Noise circles for about the same span of time under the name Ames Sanglantes, trans. Bloody Souls. A.S., long a member of the Hospital Productions ‘inner circle’ roster alongside like minds such as Prurient and Alberich, is genuinely one of the harshest and most difficult Power Electronics/Noise projects your reviewer has ever encountered.

The project’s releases often seem to be intended as abstract representations of physical violence – in KFJC’s library already are albums called ‘Street Violence’ and ‘Le Cri du Pendu’ (‘The Hangman’s Cry’). This 2018 reissue of a 2015 cassette release is in a similar vein, as it were…

Inspired by European folk hero, whoops I mean infamous sadist and tyrant Vlad The Impaler, this is Slow Execution Electronics, or as the artist would have it, ‘Ancient Blood Soaked Architectural Column Noise,’ a nod to Vlad’s starkly fortified Chindia Tower, which stands to this day. Each of the 3 CDs in this attractive edition houses two basically endless Harsh Noise tracks reminiscent of Vomir, Richard Ramirez, Maurizio Bianchi, and Whorebutcher among others.

What’s so fascinating about this album is how it manages to create the impression of a continuous, crushing wall of noise, when in fact it has many changes happening all the time, just not obviously. To a casual listener it may create the impression of Harsh Noise Wall, but up close, the very gradual variations in the pulsing electronic tones, buried samples and crumbling distortion create an incredible sense of slow, agonizing progress, rather akin to an iron stake gradually working its way up along the spine.

Play this if Brighter Death Now’s ‘May All Be Dead’ or Will Over Matter’s ‘Power Dances’ had just a little too much going on for you. Layers upon layers of ravaged electronics create maniacal nightscapes where you’ll encounter screams and sadistic laughter (1.1), night birds ousting day birds (1.2), thunderstorms (2.1), hissing dungeons (2.2), wolves, some of which may be human (3.1), and full-on burning, twisting synth impalement (3.2). Each track is a mystifying gem of the deepest blood red. Most will drive a certain kind of KFJC listener absolutely nuts; if you’re dumb enough to pick up the studio phone please remind them that they are not actually being impaled on an iron spike and that it’ll be OK. Also recite the following: “Hail Dracul! Hail Wallachia! Hail the Underground! Hail Darkness and Oppression!”

Big Chief Ellis – “Big Chief Ellis” – [Trix Records]

humana   8/9/2018   Blues, CD


This is a slice of blues history (first released in 1976) that is a great addition to our library. All compositions created, played on piano, and sung by Big Chief Ellis, with Tarheel Slim, Brownie McGhee, and John Cephas on guitar. Be sure to read the liner notes that describe how Wilbert Ellis, despite his religious parents’ mandate that forbade music in the house, got his aunt to let him play her piano by mowing her lawn. His clear, strong voice, and his sure-fingered piano work make this a must-play for any blues show.

Kilgour, Hamish – “Finklestein” – [Badabing Records]

humana   8/9/2018   A Library, CD


Hamish Kilgour (of The Clean) composed these songs about the kingdom of Finkelstein for his son, Taran. They were intended to be the soundtrack to a story, and that is still the intention. I’d say that, given the story contained in the songs themselves, and the cheery way they spark your imagination, the story has almost written itself. The CD art is reminiscent of that for the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine,” and you’ll just have to try this out to see how the whole experience works for you.

Asteroid No. 4, The – “Collide” – [13 O’Clock Records]

humana   8/9/2018   A Library, CD


This psych/shoegaze music sounds as cool as the art on the CD sleeve looks. Celebrating their 20th anniversary, Asteroid No. 4 brings you this release of extra-aural pleasure that is sometimes mellow, sometimes intense, with bird sounds introducing “Weeping Willow” (which is graced by a lovely female voice). The rest of the vocals are male, hazy, and worth listening to. “Sagamore…bring the village to the shore…” Are they talking about the bridge to Cape Cod, or something else? Enjoy.

Crash Syndrom – ‘Postmortem Solutions to Mundane Issues’ – [Obliteration Records]

Lord Gravestench   8/7/2018   A Library, CD

C.R.A.S.H. Syndrome (AKA M.A.S.A. syndrome) is a rare X-chromosome-linked recessive neurological disorder, characterized by Corpus callosum hypoplasia, Retardation, Adducted thumbs, Spastic paraplegia, and Hydrocephalus. To the lay-observer, the condition would likely seem a case merely of R., and that’s what they call a synecdoche.

Crash Syndrom, meanwhile, is a Japanese Grindcore band with two members (I hear they recently added a chick bassist, but anyhow it’s just two guys on this CD). Their drummer is Japanese and their vocalist/guitarist seems to be an immigrant of Ukrainian origin. Together they make beautiful traditional music. Bitch-mutilation and whore-embalming are the general themes encrypted in the bloody gargles. The guitars are surprisingly ‘wanky’ at times, but a little flourish can go a long way in this kind of thing. A nice balance of brutality and panache on this 2018 CD, their first album, with traces of the guts of Repulsion, Exhumed, Wormrot smeared here and there. The duo display tight synchrony, but not in a gay way.  Deadpan nurse sampled inscrutably on t.14, which, at 3m27s, is about a minute longer than the second-longest song.

T.s 1 and 15 are proggy guitar instrumentals. T.17 is an a capella cover of Taylor Swift’s ‘Should’ve Said No’ sung by a young female wearing loud headphones. An older brotherly clandestine recording prank perhaps? Regardless, it may be the most blood-curdling thing on here.

Inutili /Hallelujah! [split] – [Aagoo Records]

Max Level   8/7/2018   A Library, CD


Scum rock. Hallelujah! is an Italian trio and I think Inutili may also be an Italian trio. Blasting guitars and pounding drums giving us energetically repetitive sludge. The vocals tend to be buried in the mix and the lyrics are generally hard to decipher, although there are several clear FUCKS on Track 4. And on Track 1, the lyrics mostly go like this: “MICE MICE MICE MICE MICE MICE.” Track 2 is around 7 minutes long and goes through a few sections with different dynamics, heavy on guitar. The tracks are all pretty rockin’. I can’t say that most of them offer much in the way of redeeming social value, and I suspect that’s pretty much what the bands had in mind.

Pia Fraus – “After Summer” – [Clairecords]

Naysayer   8/5/2018   A Library, CD

Estonias own iconic dreampop, shoegaze master’s album from 2008 is a lush, gorgeous treat for the ears and senses. Ten tracks flow beautifully from one to the next, with the stand out guitar work guiding the listener through each song. Harmonies abound with exquisite exactness, pristine in their execution. Lyrics, sung in English, have that dreamy nature, about things that seem like floating or slipping in and out of sleep. I missed the whole dreampop/shoegaze thing when it hit, my ears being somewhere else. DJ Slowdivine continually persuaded me to get with it and finally I have. This is superb work of a sound that is unique yet familiar, haunting yet comfortable.

Meat Katie FabricLive 21 [coll] – [Fabric Records]

Naysayer   8/1/2018   A Library, CD

Part of the stupendous Fabric mix series, “Meat Katie FabricLive 21″ is a full mix set by Meat Katie. Meat Katie is Mark Pember, English electronic musician and DJ who created a style called tech-funk which is a mix of techno, tribal, hip hop, breakbeat and house music. It all fits in these 17 tracks and man is it fun, fun, fun, fun. There was this famous club in LA that we used to go to after hours called Jewel’s Catch-One. It was the scene and had THE best music around. You were meant to dance there. House music with the simple repeated phrases or whoops, yells, operatic diva trills played over and over pulsing through your sweaty body. This is what Meat Katie’s mix reminds me of. I have played this so much before reviewing it. (That’s why the cover is trashed.) It’s a continuous mix so you could just let it play all the way through, though each song stands on it’s own. The opener, ” Banned Practice” samples Bauhaus” “Kick In the Eye” and that starts the mood. The Diva voices are there. The testifications are there. The beats are there. The mix is smooth, clean and phresh. Get ready to sweat. Yet another on my list of “This Is The SHIT!!!!!!!”. Work it.

Xu/Xu – “Alma” – [self]

Phil Phactor   8/1/2018   A Library, CD

Xu/Xu is apparently pronounced “FuckYouSlashingFuckerYou,” and is the alias of a certain Hidinori Noguchi from Japan (no relation to the coffee table, I presume). A palette of clattering, claustrophobic percussion, deeeeeeeeep rumbling bass, glitched-up white noise, and cavernous reverb undergirds these three very satisfying tracks of post-Basic Channel technoise experimentation. The middle track (Concha) is the funkiest of the three, bringing to mind an especially-deranged Vladislav Delay, but none of these are going to fill a dancefloor. A jagged edge of an EP, that stabs you at every opportunity, and is over far too soon. (Limited edition of 10 CD-Rs with hand-painted aluminum plate.)

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?

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.

Tinh Co Gai Hue (Calculate The Girl Hue) [coll] – [Trung Tam Du Huong]

Naysayer   7/29/2018   CD, International

My understanding of this is limited due to language barriers but I think I have pieced together a general understanding of what this double CD is about. “Tinh co gai Hue”, roughly translated as “Calculate the Girl Hue”, is a Vietnamese TV show from Saigon, 1975. I think. Or it takes place in 1975. This is the soundtrack to part of the show. What I found on the computer was over 2 hours long. It is in the style of Cai Luong which is modern Vietnamese folk opera blending South Vietnamese folk songs, classical music using traditional instruments, hat tuong or classical Vietnamese opera or theater based on Chinese opera and modern spoken drama. Basically it’s a 1975 modern day soap opera with music, dialogue, interludes, etc. Just listening and not understanding is a bit disconcerting because you never know where you are, what’s happening, why the music is coming in, why they are singing. It’s a lot. Which is wonderful
A bit of history is that after the Vietnam War, the North, then in charge, used this style of theater for television as a means to bring the South Vietnamese back to a way of life they led before. It was popular in the South starting around the 1930’s but the tradition of Cai Luong as a nostalgia for the past as well as a way of showing old style morals, proper relationships, love stories, etc. was a way of trying to get control over the people of the South. This version we have is also Hai Huoc which roughly translates as comedy and burlesque.
Perfect for mixing. Or play it straight to throw the listeners off. A really unique piece of sound recording, of which there are hundreds.

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!

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.

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.

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.