KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

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 Japanese group Dowser (T2), 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. The final two tracks are more straightforward covers: “The Gift” (T3) sets Lou Reed’s comedic tale to an electric keyboard/bass groove (T3), 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”.

Bongolian, The – “Bongohead/ Farfisian” – [Blow Up Records]

Kai Sync   7/12/2018   7-inch, Soul

Can’t go wrong with bongo drums and Farfisa organ for a soul warm-up party with bottom jeans and floral everything. This is actually Nasser Bouzida from Wales who has produced retro-soul material used for hip-hop and funk 45 DJs. A side Bongolian has some surprising echo chamber effects, B-side Farfisian is an organ jam fest. Can you dig it?

Duncan, George – “Mondegreen” – [Kinda Is Records]

Phil Phactor   7/11/2018   A Library, CD

Lo-fi bedroom shambles from the mysterious George Duncan and an array of fellow travelers. Lots of jingle-jangle guitar along with banjo and tambourine and a sort of studied sloppiness that brings to mind nineties slacker rock or maybe Sunburned Hand of the Man at their most subdued. Duncan’s voice is a bit of an acquired taste: nasal, often trembling, sometimes reaching for an intensity it can’t quite pull off. (So, par for the course.) The mood is mostly hushed and confessional, with some goth moments as well as the occasional acid flashback. Tracks 3, 10, and 14 feature some quite beautiful string playing. FCC on 2.

Romus, Rent-Life’s Blood Ensemble – “Rogue Star” – [Edgetone Records]

Max Level   7/10/2018   CD, Jazz

No matter which of his many musical endeavors Rent Romus is presenting, it’s always solid. His music invokes solid musical traditions—raging bebop, free jazz, tight ensemble compositions with tasteful solos, and various ethnocultural musics to name but a few, yet he’s always looking to blaze new trails into the future of jazz. His Life’s Blood Ensemble is a perfect vehicle for his vision. Sprawling, multi-faceted jazz sounds here, brought to life by saxophones, flute, e-trumpet, vibraphone, drums, and two double basses. The sounds are from distant galaxies and at the same time are clearly of this earth. Listen and stretch your jazz mind. Track 8 is traditional Finnish music.

Lemones – “Parasites By The Trashboard Side” – [Post-Materialization Music]

Louie Caliente   7/10/2018   A Library, Cassette

Way-too-short EP from Belgium’s Lemones. Originally released in 2016 on clear vinyl 7″, and recently re-released by Moscow’s Post-Materialization Music label. This cassette is one of only 50 copies.

Lazy lo-fi shouty noise-rock. Thick and crumbly beats that go everywhere and nowhere. Plodding baselines and meaningless lyrics. “Young Professionals” (T-3) is the fan-favorite, but all four the tracks have something unique to offer.

Kakawaka – “KAssette KAssette WAssette KAssette” – [Monopolka]

Louie Caliente   7/10/2018   A Library, Cassette

Limited edition cassette from Christoph Petermann out of Berlin, released on Russia’s Monopolka label.

Solid weight heavy noise, but not overly harsh or hateful. The tracks are all pretty short for easy consumption (most clock in at a *exactly* one minute).

Static blasts under layers of reverb. Unintelligible screams and wails. Broken electronic toys. Crunching looped annoyances.

I wouldn’t call the music “funny”, but Petermann’s sense of humor clearly is clearly evident. He performs in Bermuda shorts, a leopard vest, sunglasses, and inflatable swimming pool arm bands.

Invenciones [coll] – [Munster Records]

lexi glass   7/9/2018   CD, International

Two CD compilation of experimental sounds from Latin America from 1976-1988, selected by Luis Alvarado of the Lima-based label Buh Records. The artists here incorporate the new sounds of punk, electronic, and free improvisation with traditional music of their home countries, all against the backdrop of political upheaval and cultural repression throughout the region. Dark electronic sounds (A1, A6, B2), avant-garde collages (A2, A7, B3, B4, B6), free jazz (A5, B1), and even some Mexican proto-Industrial from ’77 (B5). Highlights for me were Miguel Flores’ fantastic guitar piece “Pachacuti” (A3), where feedback-drenched free improvisation meets traditional Peruvian folk, “Variaciones de Amauta” (A4), from Amauta, a group of Chilean musicians that fled Pinochet for Ecuador, with a beautiful flute dance that twists into something weird and proggy, and the psychotropical tribute to folk singer Victor Jara from the Chilean band Malache (A6). Alvarado provides great detailed liner notes in Spanish and English with more information about each project.

Oku Shareh – “Oku Shareh Turtle Dance Songs of San Juan Pueblo” – [New World Records]

humana   7/8/2018   CD, International


These four songs are rather long and give you time to get caught in the trance of the percussive (drums, bells, shakers, and more) beat that accompanies the deep, clear vocals of the Tewa speaking Native American inhabitants of the Pueblo of San Juan, which is found in New Mexico. It is whimsical and magical to imagine turtles dancing, and these songs incorporate that whimsy and magic.

Kitka / Varimezova, Tzvetanka – “Sanctuary a Cathedral Concert” – [Diaphonica]

humana   7/8/2018   CD, International


What a soothing CD this is! This music was recorded in St. Stephen’s Church in Belvedere, CA “with the intention of creating a sonic sanctuary, a place of refuge where the spirit can soar.” The heartening voice of Tzvetanka Varimezova, Bulgarian folkloric soprano and coach of Kitka, resonates throughout these songs. Kitka formed as a grassroots vocal ensemble that sought to share the “resonant strength of Eastern European women’s vocal traditions.” Under Varimezova’s guidance, they do just that.

Scene Club, The [coll] – [Charly Records]

humana   7/8/2018   CD, Soul


This is a great compilation giving you a slice of life from 1963-66 in London at the Ham Yard, where American soul made its way to the UK in a former basement jazz club. The acts on here are classic (including early Ike and Tina Turner and songs such as “Ol’ Man River”). You can’t go wrong anywhere on here. It’s distinctive soul of the time and place, and the liner notes are very informative.

Doubling Riders, The – “Garama” – [Time Released Sound]

humana   7/8/2018   A Library, CD


The Doubling Riders are an Italian group that first released this album in 1991. The music is imbued with the spirit of the Garamantes described in the songs–these were the predecessors of the Tuareg tribes, the ones who carved the roads that became trade routes and then thoroughfares for revolutionary tribes seeking independence. Piano, synth, percussion create an ambiance of another time and place, and guest musicians add their voices and instruments to make this a worthy re-release.