Music Reviews

Los Venturas – “Miles High” – [Green Cookie Records]

Cousin Mary   7/20/2016   12-inch, A Library

This fine Belgian surf band is back with another winner – 11 new songs to show off their variety of sounds – I hear psych, reggae, Middle Eastern, Bollywood, spaghetti Western and more – with original use of effects and fine playing. Some wink-wink innuendo about the Mile High Club. Solid, great fun!

Bezier – “Cosmologist EP” – [Honey Soundsystem]

Kai Sync   7/20/2016   12-inch, A Library


California producer Bezier from the Honey Soundsystem collective is a hardware synth fan so this 2016 EP has pretty much the soundscape of hardware synths with tentacles towards more modern synth disco without getting too deep into the Italo or Norwegian disco genres. We are talking about arpeggiators and synthesizer melody motifs, with influences from house, 8-bit music and simpler techno. Wish he was a even more adventurous but if doing progressive electronic disco you need to know the limits and as so this EP has moments of wonder. Last track even has parts of virtuous synthesizer jazz soloing which usually is rare with electronic music releases.

Regler – “Regel #6 (techno)/Regel #7 (drone)” – [Quemada Records]

Kai Sync   7/20/2016   12-inch, A Library


Regel #6 and #7 are the continuation of Mattin and Anders Bryngelsson’s Regel project where the concept is to take the essence of a musical genre by distilling and mimic:ing it into the core meaning of it’s conceptual music, or the rule of the music style addressed. This time they attacked techno (on A side) and drone music (on B side.). Basically you take the intrinsic meaning of the style and follow it’s guiding principles with the bare minimum parts, as long as possible. It might sound academic, or even repeat-full boring, but at the same time it’s a fascinating attempt to create art of art itself into what is the meaning of it. To some degree, the listener might even get disoriented due to the repetitions with subtle changes that might be heard at the third listening.

Logan, Giuseppi – “…and They Were Cool” – [Improvising Beings]

Max Level   7/18/2016   CD, Jazz

Saxophonist Logan was a respected, though erratic, figure in the early days of free jazz. He only made a couple of records and played with a small number of notable musicians, and then pretty much disappeared for decades. With a great deal of support from admirers, he seems to be making somewhat of a comeback and that’s a good thing.

This CD is an airy, spacious affair featuring Logan on sax and solo piano (track 3), Jessica Lurie on sax and flute, and Larry Roland on bass. No drums. Guitarist Ed Pettersen (who also produced the CD) plays mostly subtle textural /looping things underneath, which gives the music an interesting flavor. My favorite parts are when Logan is on sax and Lurie is on flute–we hear some truly inspired conversation.

The liner notes tell us the story of how Logan was tracked down and brought into the studio to record this CD.

75 Dollar Bill – “Wood / Metal / Plastic / Pattern / Rhythm / Rock” – [Thin Wrist]

Thurston Hunger   7/14/2016   12-inch, A Library

Man, I so want to enter this into KFJC’s “blues library”
although it also looks well past our own country’s
muddy deltas and Bo Diddley beats to points much further
east. Some of those mantra riffs are akin to ancient gnawa
spirals from Africa or a breeze off the Sahel Sounds
(desert scorched electric guitar). Che Chen who has summoned
Tony Conrad and other power players on violin in the
past takes up the sizzling six strings here. His rudimentary
and insistent playing does feel raw and instant, so maybe he
didn’t just disassemble Agadez djinns, but stumbled upon ’em
himself, either way it’s just great. The faster, the more fury,
for me the better (“Cummins Falls” and “Beni Said” woohoo!).
Rick Brown is on the other side of this funky bill, with home
slapped together percussion and some handbuilt horns which add
a charge to Chen’s guitar. Sometimes Brown fits right into the
overdriven halo of sound so tightly that you have to listen
twice to pluck the horn out, other times it sounds like Brown
is wounded over behind a mountain as on “I’m Not Tryting To
Wake Up.” Despite the comparisons, Chen and Brown have their
own brand of beauty going on, and while it will hit bliss for
fans like me of Joshua Abrams’ guimbri bumblebees, I love the
idea of some Junior Kimbrough fans swarming to this modern
duo by way of KFJC’s buzzing hive and archives.
-Thurston Hunger

Biarritz Boys, The – “Come Enjoy The Hip Slick Super Sexy Ultra Violent Surf Sound” – [Self Release]

Cousin Mary   7/13/2016   12-inch, A Library

Biarritz is a French seaside resort on the Atlantic Ocean, but the Biarritz Boys are a surf band from the Netherlands. This outstanding LP has all original songs, originally and well played. All the good stuff – tremolo, double picking, good energy with a bit of dark side. Guitars, bass, drums with keyboards and trumpet thrown in here and there. Another stunner from a European surf band.

Kichert Mit Freunden [coll] – [Self Release]

billiejoe   7/13/2016   7-inch, A Library

Translates to “giggles with friends.” Came with nice note from <3 Howard mentioning that his group is on On The HiFi Vol. 11 and it is coming soon and thanking us for our support of vol. 10 last year. First tracks on either side are Lo Fi sounds of folk electronic melodies with fuzzy beats and second tracks are straight up rock folk.

BHZ – “Total Harmonic Distortion” – [Innova Recordings]

billiejoe   7/13/2016   CD, Jazz

Snappy twirly jazz. Track two is more serene than the others. All nice medium length tracks. Crashing percussion and twittering horns. Newly formed group of Brigid Burke on clarient, Steve Hall on pianio, and Mark Zanter on guitar.
— Billie Joe Tolliver

I.B.M. – “From The Land of Rape & Honey (The Suppressed Tapes) 1995 -” – [Interdimensional Transmissions]

Kai Sync   7/13/2016   12-inch, A Library


A double-album with restored tapes from Jamal Moss’ Insane Black Man (I.B.M) period of 1995-2005 — murky, murky industrial dance techno with continuous patterns swirling and swirling and less interest in developing tracks, where the beginning and endings are simple fade in/fade outs. Jamal himself describes his music as “post industrial angst in an urban environment.” It’s like Kraftwerk moved into the ghetto and took on a new muddy warehouse music persona. The machine-sounds compete with human angst and frictional pulses with half-manic aggression — chaos out of music and back into semi-temporal pulse patterns that throb on like a factory line. Technology noise transcending into oblivion. It’s human but it’s not pretty.

Friction – “Zone Tripper” – [Tzadik]

Kai Sync   7/13/2016   A Library, CD


This is Friction’s 1995 album release, Japanese pioneer and long-running alternative rockers meet seventies riff rock and throw in experimentation such as drumNBass and techno beats sometimes into the mix. The singing – mixed as half-manic singing eq:ed like a megaphone – works wonders on these tracks. The lyrics are a mixup of Japanese and English words with some logic but who knows. A lot of guitar riffs are actually loops which throws in a hip-hop like wrench into the mix. As such this 1995 release pioneered a lot of the concurrent guitar-trio techno sound that is happening. Most tracks are hard-edge noisy riff hook songs with an anarchic feel. Some tracks are here released as alternative, refreshing and experimental remixes. This album is a good example of the Friction sound of the nineties where the band has constantly evolved and released diverse material along its career.

Erl – “Erl” – [Erl Records]

Louie Caliente   7/9/2016   12-inch, A Library

ERL is a record label run by Dave Belem and Jack Wingate out of Albany NY. ERL is also a band on that label, and that band’s first full-length release is titled “ERL”. It sounds to me like a guitar trio, but I can’t find any information about the personnel, other than a cryptic note from “Squealer” included with the vinyl.

Limited to only 100 copies and packaged in a spray-painted recycled record sleeve, the album contains two untitled sidelong tracks of Dead-C-esque free-improv guitar rock. Jagged riffs drenched in feedback and reverb, heavy droning chords and frenetic noodling. A definite crowd-pleaser!

FCC ALERT: Side B starts with a very short track of looped vocals containing repeated “ASSHOLE”. Drop the needle after that and you’ll be fine.

Infinite Plastic Internal – “Radioactive Cloud Alert/ Spectrum Studies 1” – [Self Produced]

Louie Caliente   7/9/2016   7-inch, A Library

Released in 2014, this is the debut 7″ from Infinite Plastic Internal, a project of Mark Pino of San Diego. This release incorporates drums, ring modulator, synth pedals, and a unique home-made instrument Pino calls the “Pan Feedback Flute”.

Radioactive Cloud Alert is a free-yet-groovy thumping drum solo over faint warbling synths.

Spectrum Studies 1 is noisy and droney. Heavy machinery sounds: grinding gears, hydraulic forklifts, humming conveyor belts. Bowed metal and screwy scribbly electronics.

Brown, James – “Nothing But Soul” – [King Records]

kev   7/6/2016   12-inch, Soul

This all-instrumental 1968 LP is sort of the missing link between the cheesy-but-enjoyable organ dominated records that James previously recorded on Smash and the crucial funk sides the JBs would turn out in the ???70???s. While the Smash LPs were mostly a side project (and a means for James to get around his measly vocalist contract with King records), this one seems like something taken more seriously???yet for once James submerges his ego. While there are a few short organ solos from Mr. Dynamite, he mostly uses it as a rhythm instrument (remember, in his world everything???s a drum) and lets others solo. No personnel is listed but Maceo and the chickenscratch guitar of Jimmy Nolan come through loud and clear. There???s noodling and meandering and they???re not quite there yet, but it???s a nice stop along the way.
Consider the time of its release, too. As the liner notes attest to, it was fresh off the killing of Dr. King and in the midst of all the other ravages of that shocking, often wretched year. The knee-jerk response of many musicians was to write dirges like ???Abraham, Martin & John??? and ???Hey Jude,??? sorta the ???68 equivalent to the current moments of silence after the latest slaughter. James and company chose instead to chill, and then move on. Worth playing.

Days With Jacques, The [coll] – [Sony Music Distribution]

Cousin Mary   7/6/2016   CD, Soundtrack

Recording of Japanese origin, apparently of the soundtrack to a documentary about or made by Jacques Cousteau. Music by John Lurie include piano, reeds. guitar, drum and more – very lovely, watery, and wistful. Jacques’ speaking tracks are inspirational. The tracks of whale sounds will work on their own or with layering – if the cats sitting with me are any indication, the whales will have an eager audience among our non-human listeners. Tracks marked M-1 through M-16 are instrumental music tracks.

SPLITSESSION 47 [coll] – [Shit Noise Records]

abacus   7/6/2016   A Library, CD

malevolant 4 way split session of mischievous nonsense makers from round the globe on hyperactive German SHITnoise label. HeidyYouko from Japan a gender stretching penis jiggler of muffled mumbling mambo beat smashing. from Ecuador I PORNO YOU aka herector espermatozombie opens with delinquent street yammering that erupts into hacked and mangled breakcore terror. the mysterious cyrillic translates to burning pinwheel, a duo of Henry C. Rial from Pennsylvania and Bee Spit from Minnesota: an overblown wall of grinding gray static. the final track from another mysterious group from who knows where with countless aliases including Asshawl, Flowerdiva and Transbreak Girlcore Queerbass brings one grueling long slab of minimal power electronics full of distant clatter and bang drowning in its own murky muck. all tracks pleasantly disruptive in their own way and a splendid introduction to this worthless label full of too many worthless releases.

Orion 70 – “Book of Rhythm” – [Deepblak]

Kai Sync   7/6/2016   12-inch, A Library


Orion is AYBEE’s (Armon Bazlie) moniker doing everything he loves about techno using this name. These tracks have beauty and mechanics, inter-dimensional tentacles and wonderment rippled inside the avant-garde productions. It borderlines with industrial techno, but is not sterile, neither future-shock centric. The drum machine beats take a back seat where the rhythms are created by generator-like synth pulses. The EP is a prime example of how techno as an electronic art is still thriving and developing in 2016, finding new avenues. This Oakland native now resides in Berlin where many techno artists end up — that’s their Silicon Valley.

Alaska By Laurent Garnier – “Returning Back to Sirius” – [F Communications]

Kai Sync   7/6/2016   12-inch, A Library


This 2003 EP release with the main track Returning Back To Sirius is considered one of Laurent Garnier’s best dance techno tracks ever. And it’s not hard to disagree, this track could be played next or after any of the tracks from bleeding edge UK techno labels such as Hypercolur and few would notice there’s a 13 year gap. Laurent Garnier (under his alias Alaska) is one of the most iconic French techno producers and DJs, spanning an incredible long career with lots of innovative releases. The B side track At Night also holds the standard up. The music here borrows a lot from Detroit melodic bass-line techno domain but still have a unique Garnier twist. Prime example where techno experimentation meets danceability.


World Will Never Know, The [coll] – [Sweet Farewell]

humana   7/4/2016   7-inch, A Library

For some reason this 7″ sat on my counter for weeks (just as it laid dormant somewhere since 2003), and when I finally listened to it, I was pleasantly surprised. Black death, I thought, looking at the titles on this Split EP and viewing the sepia-toned painting on the sleeve. But no, it is industial-type music, although I just think it’s cool. Reutoff, the “cult industrial Russian act,” on Side A and Totenlieder (a project of Sebastien Leduc) on Side B with a cover of a Janitor tune.