KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Baby Dee – “Regifted Light” – [Drag City]

Thurston Hunger   12/30/2016   12-inch, A Library

—————————————————
2011 release, almost feels like it could be a
Christmas special (maybe cuz we’re adding it in
Dec 2016?) But there’s a consistency to this,
sealed in like a shaken snowglobe with beauty. Baby
Dee has a cagey stagey voice, something between
gentle and forceful, verily both at the same time
as befits this self-professed “bilateral hermaphrodite.”
Ornate piano, oft featured on instrumentals (and
friends with a bassoon!) flourishes. Check out the
perky “Yapapipi” which feels like the epiphanous
soundtrack selection for a coming of age movie,
or maybe a nature documentary when hibernation
is over. “Horn Pipe” is jaunty but a bit hesitant,
perhaps like Baby Dee during her days as a tree
climber. There’s a quasi-religious aire, what do
Church of England hymns sound like anyways? Dee’s
vocal transformations are more transfixing for me
than any gender bending…swinging from a gutty
mutter to almost soaring sacred. Her voice sheds its
John C. Reilly american bland talking and gets a high
British rebirth. Amidst all this there’s goofballs
wrapped in furs like “The Pie Song” and the snail
hailing lead-off to the B-side (the latter possibly a
free David Tibet dedication?). “On the Day I Died”
hits some high and hallowed notes. Cleveland does
plenty more than rock thanks to this artist and
this lp. -Thurston Hunger

Bookstaber, Rafi – “Late Summer” – [Woodsist]

Thurston Hunger   12/30/2016   12-inch, A Library

Seasonal sounds that I slept on, sorry. One or two
chord mantras, with some psych guitar noodling,
but drenched in belt-gaze (shoe-gaze cranked up to
your waist) production. Songs are like jammy
pajamas for the nudist colony at the beach. Loose
fitting. The lyrics slip away into the shimmery
mix, but printed out so you can at least read
the third generation hippy strain if you don’t
actually feel it, man. A mellow that can only
be harshed by some severe mixology? We don’t
have any of Rafi’s other stabs at sound, but
from what I’ve checked out, fans of this could
take an easy chance with Death Chants. And hard to
resist the Woodsist gist.
-Thurston Hunger

Consumer. – “rB>C” – [Sadodamascus]

abacus   12/25/2016   A Library, CD

thrashing primitive soul and dance through vocal loops and an antagonistic drum machine, Portland’s Mall Palenske is everywhere in the City of Roses, crashing every experimental show he can with his lopsided frenetic party music. joyous seizures of acid glitch hop that jerks and jumps all over the floor. originally from Michigan then Chicago, Matt’s been jamming PDX since 2013 and seems to have endless shows on the circuit. shake, rattle and roll

Young, Andrew Scott – “Warm White Light” – [Baked Tapes]

abacus   12/25/2016   A Library, Cassette

Seattle’s Andrew Scott Young is creeping up to be a heavy hitter in the free improv experimental world, hitting the scene playing alongside Weasel Walter’s ‘American Free’ release in 2009 and steadily giggin around the country since. here we have a 2013 release that strays from his usual extended technique free-scrape for some out-of-genre experimentation. the A-side opening with sawed bass string bird calls and spiderleg piano mashing, a tribute to his HS music teacher this feels a sort of new-classical tribal-ritual; blistering reeds sing a windsong with buzzing voices mumbling along and a Himalayan clatter of percussion explodes into a fireworks finale. the B-side plays around electronics, squelchy circuit beats with a parent’s garage sort of lo-fi feel in an 80s action flick aesthetic. the title track seems to have lost the beat and got fixed on a groove skipping about a bit before catching the glitch again. not enough recorded works yet but definitely a name to keep an eye out for.

Mendelssohn / Ravel / Rubinstein, Heifetz, Piatigorsky – “Trio / Trio In a Minor” – [RCA Victor/ BMG]

Hemroid The Leader   12/17/2016   12-inch, Classical

Arthur Rubinstein – piano
Jascha Heifetz – violin
Gregor Piatagorsky – cello

Released February 1951. Heavy vinyl, well-loved condition. In his lifetime, Ravel was dogged by critical and public opinion that regarded him dismissively as a follower of Debussy. Mendelssohn’s trio is so idiomatic as to be playable by third- and fourth- year students.

Side A – Ravel – Piano Trio in A Minor
Side B – Mendelssohn – Piano Trio No. 1 In D Minor, Op. 49

Thug Entrancer – “Death After Life” – [Software Recording Co.]

Kai Sync   12/14/2016   12-inch, A Library

 

Ryan MacRyhew, or Thug Entrancer, is the story of an experimental producer that moves to Chicago and discovers electronic dance music and changes his tune to fit this form. This is his first 2014 full-length album, even a double album. The tracks are roman numerically named to give the listener space to figure out the meaning behind each track. The style is techno but also has subtle influences from juke (footwork), computer games, dub dubstep, acid and other intelligent dance music genres. The patterns are frantic but sometimes restricted, giving each track some isolation from each other. Part V spirals up to the 160 beats per minute world. It might be a studio jam due to some repetitions happening, but fortunately each tracks gives the album a distinct flavor. This certainly is more adventurous dance music.

Lindberg, John – “Trilogy of Works For Eleven Instruments” – [Black Saint]

Hemroid The Leader   12/14/2016   CD, Jazz

Lindberg was in his 20s, had played bass in the Anthony Braxton quartet from 79-85, this 1984 date features Braxton conducting. Recalls Mingus, classical. “Holler” theme echoes Peter & The Wolf. “m to M” builds from bass-xylophone duet into trumpet&sax split-channel solo over lush backdrop. “Dresden Moods” passes thru bombs to rebuilding. Ensemble passages, duo and trio vignettes, intense, serious, impressionistic.

“They Will Kill You, If You Cry” [coll] – [Glitter Beat]

Hemroid The Leader   12/14/2016   CD, International

Khmer Rouge killed almost 1/4 of Cambodia in five years 1975-9. If you dug the “Hanoi Masters …” comp, this time Glitter Beat goes Cambodian. Machete-wound shrapnel blues singers, produced by Ian Brennan (Tinariwen, TV On The Radio). They play the two string long-necked Cambodian lute in a minor pentatonic scale like blues and Saharan desert music. Hand claps, women singing in hypnotic unison. Drums. Cambodian is a musical language, the same word can have a dozen meanings, depending on inflection.

Besatt – “Impia Symphonia” – [Red Stream]

Rat King   12/14/2016   A Library, CD

Besatt are a four-part Polish black metal band, but their name means “possessed” in Swedish and Norwegian (hero worship, probably). Besatt have been around since the late nineties, and Impia Symphonia was originally put out on Warheart Records (Perdition, Graveland) in 2015, but we’ve got the Red Stream, Inc. reissue. That’s Hollee Hazard/Hazzard/Kohl on the front, by the way- credit where credit is due.

The whole thing starts off with wind noises, which is a good sign in my world. The wind is joined by guitars, then a wolf howling, and then drums. I hear it’s cold in Poland. There is at times a somewhat unusual, more traditional “rock” sound to the guitar work. Besatt features some instances of male vocal harmonising (chanting on track 2, singing on t. 5), but it’s mostly guys yelling in/at snow. The guitar parts can actually be quite pretty, especially on t. 3 and 5. Addicts of necrotic sound might find this album unsatisfying, but creatures who seek out more depressive stuff should do alright. The songs are all in Polish, but I’m pretty sure they’re largely about Satan. There are lyrics in the booklet, so you can just look at the pretty pictures and tell people that you did your homework.

Funk Inc. [s/t]

milo   12/13/2016   12-inch, Soul

This initial 1971 offering from Indianapolis’ Funk Inc features wonderful interplay between organ, tenor sax, drums, congas, and guitar. Like so many “first” releases, tracks on this LP come loaded with a fierce, raw energy. “Kool is Back” (A1) is an epic funk journey that you’ll want to play again and again, while “Sister Janie” (B1) offers a more relaxed approach, and “The Thrill is Gone” (B2) has Steve Weakley channeling BB King and Stevie Ray Vaughn. The band put out 4 more releases on Prestige through ’74 before disbanding in 1976.

 

Parlet “Invasion of the Booty Snatchers”

milo   12/13/2016   12-inch, Soul

Interpretive: Funky situations, groovy syncopation. With gyrating hips, flailing arms, and stomping feet, greet your robot sex machine overlords.

Descriptive: This P-Funk spin-off is a female-fronted funk freakout for the whole family. “Ridin’ High” (A1) is a synth dance explosion sure to get you moving. “Huff-N-Puff” (B3) is a fun re-telling of the The Three Little Pigs vs. the Big Bad Wolf with spooky sounding keys, and showcases some solid musicianship. “You’re Leaving” (B2) is a vocal-led stomper that doesn’t seem to have a commitment to any key signature, but somehow works–I had to make sure there wasn’t anything wrong with my turntable for this song, but found it quite enjoyable when I just accepted this as fact. With sparse percussion and slinky bass work, “Don’t Ever Stop” (A2) is your sex jam. Warnings: “No Rump to Bump” (A2) is a snoozer, “Booty Snatchers” (B1) starts off with some odd vocals and has lyrics that don’t make a lick of sense.

Brief: It’s like Parliament, but they took the men out. “Par-let”

FCC: All tracks clean.

Controlled Bleeding – “Knees and Bones” – [Artoffact]

lexi glass   12/13/2016   12-inch, A Library

Controlled Bleeding, over 30 albums and nearly four decades, have explored an unbelievable variety of musical styles – from industrial dance to free jazz to dark ambient – but they started out making absolutely fucking devastating harsh noise. Knees and Bones, the band’s first full-length LP released in 1985 by Psychout Productions, is one of the defining records of the power electronics genre. This 2016 re-release (only 500 copies of the original were pressed) from Artoffact collects the original tracks, as well as extra material on to two tasty “swill-coloured” LPs.

The first LP holds the two sidelong tracks, “Knees” and “Bones,” (A/T1 and B/T2) from the original album. Founding member Paul Lemos is joined by Chris Moriarty and Joe Papa (a “three hundred pound scat singing eccentric”). Lemos is on guitar, bass and electronics, Papa and Moriarty are on percussion, everyone provides vocals. Not that you can really make out any of these individual sounds. As Lemos recalls, he hit record and started “smashing shit up, screaming my fucking lungs out.” Sounds of scrap metal, cement mixers, pneumatic drills add to the pummeling chaos. But we get moments of reprieve: creepy chattering, snippets of an aria, ambient lulls. By far the best interruption is when Paul’s roommate busts in bitching about their test the next day and “YOU DON’T GIVE A FLYING FUCK!!” (13 min into A/T1 and start of C1/T3) The obvious comparisons are to Lemos’ contemporaries (and friends) Whitehouse and Ramleh (W. Bennett and G. Mundy are credited in the notes), but what sets Controlled Bleeding apart is their hyper energy – like they just can’t sit still – that is as magnetic as it is terrifying.

The second LP contains bonus material. “Knees Power Mix” (C1/T3) an early, even louder take on “Knees,” “Dry Lung (excerpt)” (C2/T4) is another deafening work from 1985, “Swallowing Scrap Metal Pt. 5.5” (D1/T5) was originally released as the last track on the 1991 album Trial from Lemos and Moriarty’s Skin Chamber project. “Horsemeat Yak Trip,” (D2/T6) recorded in 2008, is a taste of the band’s later work as Breastfed Yak; it sounds like Captain Beefheart obscured by a massive wall of distortion and, well, noise.

Keep digging in our library – the outtakes for this record were collected and released in 1990 on an excellent CD called Plegm Bag Splattered, and Lemos compiled the Dry Lungs series, a definitive collection of work of industrial artists from this era.

FCC on A/T1 and C1/T3 (the roommate)

Van Hoen, Mark – “Last Flowers From The Darkness, The” – [Medical Records]

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

 

This re-release of material from 1992-1996 is a fascinating and diverse soundscape concerning the 1990s UK electronic beat IDM scene covering even the ambient world of music. Producer and master music mind Mark Van Hoen is also known as Locust and Autocreation as well as a co-founder of Seefeel. The opening track 1967 uses a clever looping concept of a female voice which turns into its own digital language as the slower DrumNBass track progresses. The A side has faster, DrumNBass influenced material. However, when the B side kicks in, the tone moves into more introspective electronic dub and ambient techno. The C side then is dedicated to even more ambient looping material similar to Aphex Twin experiments. Last track on the D side is a long, beautiful and harmonic ambient piece which is perfect for ending a show.

 

Exillon – “No One Is Happy” – [Jacktone]

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

 

Jacktone was an San Francisco based label that moved to Berlin and Berlin where the pasture for modern electronic music resides. This Exillon EP showcases this contemporary merge of techno elements with mind-bending off-world productions. Especially enjoyable was the off-best breakdowns that didn’t follow the typical formulas designed for DJs. I heard also some James Holden influences on the B side track. If techno has to evolve, is has to pick up elements from other influences and as such Exillon manages this well to make two tracks that are as exiting as future time travel as well as still produces the music of the future which makes techno immune to staleness.

 

Black Dog, The – “Book of Dogma” – [Soma Records]

Kai Sync   12/7/2016   A Library, CD

 

Book Of Dogma is a set of re-releases of early day The Black Dog productions — an influential intelligent electronic music trio that later morphed into Plaid by some of the members. The first three tracks is their first EP called Virtual of which the title track has been present in many DJ mixes; instant rave de-ja-vu when listening to these early 1990s tracks. The other EPs present is The Ago Of Slack with electro samba and other whacked out electronic funk. The passage of time has dulled down some of the material such as the emulation of Detroit techno sounds and Kraftwerk blips. And some material is amazingly fresh like the Weight and Glassolalia that I would not hesitate playing at a modern club today. Some of the tracks also have a feel of early day Drum and Bass experiments that were then finessed by other UK producers. However, this is a good time capsule of an important IDM band who pioneered a lot of styles that were emulated, still today as an homage to the genre-bending tour-the-force which was The Black Dog.

Clash of the Irresistable [coll] – [Drunkabilly]

Cousin Mary   12/7/2016   A Library, CD

This is a split CD. Irish band Spellbound is categorized as punk rock and psychobilly – vocals on those first 6 tracks, good instrumentals. Brazilian surf band The Mullet Monster Mafia – a band KFJC met during the 2016 Surfer Joe live broadcast. If you like your surf music heavy, you are in luck – very intense surf mayhem!

Guerineau, Sylvain/Kent Carter/Itaru Oki/Makoto Sato – “D’une Rive a L’autre” – [Improvising Beings]

Max Level   12/6/2016   CD, Jazz

Free jazz sounds from this international quartet, all four members having been based in France since the 1970s and well-known on the jazz/improv scene. What we get here are wide-ranging workouts on tenor sax, trumpet/flugelhorn, bass, and drums. Plenty of variety in this music, with some quiet, ambient-ish sections contrasting with wild sections full of high energy blowing and banging. And of course, everything in between. Trumpeter Itaru Oki also plays a bit of flute. I especially enjoyed bassist Kent Carter, who is solid and also gets some unusual sounds out of his instrument.

Gengras, M Geddes – “Interior Architecture” – [Intercoastal Artists]

lexi glass   12/6/2016   12-inch, A Library

M. Geddes Gengras is an experimental artist working within the East LA underground since the mid-2000s (solo and in Robedoor and many other bands, and collaborating with artists like Sun Araw and The Congos) and a master of the modular synthesizer (here nerds). This 2xLP album, six years in the making and released this summer by Intercoastal Artists, left me floored. Where 2014’s Ishi explored open, expansive, ambient landscapes, the sounds on Interior Architecture envelop and surround the listener – or as Gengras puts it, it’s “like sinking into really warm quicksand.” Each of these four sidelong tracks foregrounds a central form, maybe a fountain or a staircase, that continuously moves and develops, while fainter micro-structures hover in the periphery. All of the intricate layers create a sense of depth – the architecture of the album’s title. There are so many brilliant moments and ideas packed into each minute of this record – choose a groove and land in one of the rooms of this infinite holographic fun house.