KFJC 89.7FM

Louie Caliente

Sickness – “Fuck Your Punk Rock” – [RRRecords]

Louie Caliente   9/18/2018   12-inch, A Library

Old school american power electronics. A relentless, fast-paced assault of scorched samples, blown circuits, and human misery. Not a continuous wall of noise, but still fairly impenetrable.

Machine gun static screeching blasts, pummeling and painful. Conjuring up images of car wrecks, difficult dental work, and close encounters with heavy machinery.

Sickness is Chris Goudreau, who’s been active in the noise industrial scene since the mid 80s. Despite being fairly prolific, “Fuck Your Punk Rock” (RRRecords 2004) is only the second full-length to enter the KFJC library.  There are apparently 7 tracks on this album, but it’s difficult to tell them apart, and the picture disk makes it impossible to cue anyways, so just drop the needle and let it ride.

FIRST AND LAST TRACKS ARE LOCKED GROOVES!

Noertker, Bill / Oi, Mark – “nOOi” – [Edgetone Records]

Louie Caliente   9/18/2018   CD, Jazz

San Francisco bass + guitar duo pushing boundaries of compositional technique via telepathic improvisational dialogues, and “the blurring of standard electric guitar/electric bass roles”.

Intricate, interconnected noodling. The pair are not afraid of a melody, but not afraid to stretch it into new dimensions either. A variety of moods on display here, from the playful Primary Colors (T-8) to the melancholy Krystyna’s Theme (T-7), reminiscent of Lonely Woman. Things get a little strung-out at times, like on Idee Fixe (T-3), but nothing that’s going to hurt you.

Skadne Krek – “Schjesslips” – [Skussmaal]

Louie Caliente   9/18/2018   12-inch, A Library

Heavy-duty bass-driven prog-rock grooves from these Norwegian Noxagt-Neighbors. Their name means “damaged jerk”, and this is their second album, released on guitarist Gaute Granli’s Skussmaal label.

Gut-blasting bass lines, pounding yet precise drumming, looping synths, and scraping vocals. Repetitive poly-rhythmic grooves being hammered into your skull.

Granli lends his avant-garde guitar skills to the mix, but the sound is meaner and more aggressive than what we’ve heard before, but also more diverse, featuring tweaked-out post-punk jabs, psychedelic wailing, and even some scorching metal riffs.

SEF III – “Selling SEF III” – [Ehse Records]

Louie Caliente   8/14/2018   12-inch, A Library

A science fiction narrative told through sound from SEF III, a trio composed of Duncan Moore, Max Eilbacher, and Alex Moskos. Composed in a barn in rural Virgina and recorded in Montreal, Selling SEF III tells the electro-synthetic saga of Phil and the SEF III computer.

Introductory Remarks (T-1) is an instrumental preview of the sounds and structures that will be on display through the rest of the piece. Meticulously unorchestrated glitch, floaty musique concret, and slooowwly tuned radio dials.  Layers of bugs and buzz-saws.  Lots of attention to static and its subtleties.

Most of the vocals are are dispassionate descriptions of scenery, stage direction, and monologues. The very notable exception are the two Machine Themes (T-2, T-11), which feature deep perfectly pitched harmonies and smooth melodies.

What I assume is the climactic battle between Phil and Sef III takes place in T-10. It’s a dizzying 6+ minute instrumental of mechanical tapping, blasting ray guns, crickets, horns, and eerie metal-machine wails. The return to the Machine’s Theme in the following and final track suggests that things do not work out well for poor Phil.

Fail Association / The Cherry Point – [Tronix]

Louie Caliente   8/13/2018   7-inch, A Library

Ouch! Two quick hits of roaring blasting screaming screeching noise wall from A Fail Association (Gregory Babbitt) and The Cherry Point (Phil Blankenship).  A single-sided 7″ released back in ’03 on Blankenship’s Tronix label.  Only 178 were made.

I *think* it’s supposed to be played at 33, but to be honest I couldn’t tell much of a difference vs. 45. I also couldn’t tell much of a difference between the two tracks, but in a good way, since both are balls-to-the-wall take-it-to-eleven total aural scorchers.

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.

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.

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.

Smell & Quim and Onomatopoeia – “Fanny Batter” – [Cheeses International]

Louie Caliente   6/11/2018   A Library, CD

 

A fine collaboration between two UK absurdist noise champions. Smell & Quim hail from Leeds and have been making unsettling lo-fi performance farts since the late 80s. Here they join forces with Bournemouth native and Head Cheese of Cheeses International, Steve Fricker aka Onomatopoeia. Fricker claims to only collaborate by mail, mixing and remixing each other’s works to create the perfect abomination.

Unlike other Smell & Quim releases which rely heavily on smutty and/or violent vocal samples, the tracks here are more “traditional” noise: pulsating electronics with low-frew rumbles and grumbles and only the occasional hellish gurgle. Don’t expect a wall-of-noise, though. Fluctuating dynamics evolving rhythmic patterns permeate these two pieces.

Appeasing The Great Porn God (T-1) is fairly pulverizing. Disorienting and discomforting, with transient pounding rhythms and guttural groans.  Semi-subliminal themes of pornography, masturbation, and S&M.  Nothing too overt or overly-discernible, though, so it’s safe for daytime.

Symphony in Labia Minor is an act in three parts, each featuring sonic baths of piercing static. Part I (T-2) is the longest and the most aggressive, but blends into an almost ambient swirl, not unlike a dishwasher. Part II (T-3) is the shortest and most pleasant of the three. A nice palate-cleanser of sorts before painful shrieks signal the beginning of Part III (T-4). The final track is a return to the harsher sounds of Part I, but for the first time we get a whiff of *actual* instruments, like a guitar and some sort of drum. The drastic dynamics and binaural brain-beating are both on display in the final act, making it my favorite of the three.

Ashley, Robert – “Improvement” – [Elektra Nonesuch]

Louie Caliente   12/12/2017   A Library, CD

OK, I’ll admit it. I was pretty skeptical of this one. I mean, of course Robert Ashley is a genius, but a mid-nineties made-for-TV opera? And what’s up with the Victorian steam-punk woman on the cover. There’s just no way this thing is gonna be hip.

And I gotta say, after listening to the first few tracks, I was EVEN MORE skeptical. It really is an opera! Full of synths and bizarrely layered vocal arrangements so hard to follow that I had to read the liner notes just to understand. I didn’t think I was going to make it all the way through both CDs.

But then something happened, and I understood.

It wasn’t the plot that hooked me, because not very much happens. Scenes take place in mundane settings, like doctors’ offices, cars, and airline check-in counters. The main theme of the second act (as far as I can tell) is an enumeration of the contents of the main character’s purse.

It also wasn’t the very conceptual and supposedly deep symbolism, which I found strangely overt yet utterly confusing. The liner notes clearly explain that this whole thing is an allegory for 1492 Spain, and that characters represent concepts including “America”, “The Roman Catholic Church”, “Integrated Philosophy”, and “The Descendants of Jews and non-Jews (i.e. us)”.

No, it was something about the cold electronic minimalism that finally got to me. The staccato whispers and monotonous choral unison. Highly uncomfortable, but before long it becomes your world. It is all you know. How could music ever have been any different?

The fragmented points of view and sometimes unreliable narration of Ashley himself. Monologues cast out into the ether. Call-and-response dialogues that subsume themselves, crossing the threshold of tolerable similarity. Honest contemplation of the situation at hand.

The importance of eating pasta at every meal.

If you are looking for a “song”, drop the needle on Tarzan (cd2-2). It’s pretty catchy, although the protagonist hates it, and features Ashley narrating the lyrics while the are being sung below.

“The Doctor” (cd2-4) shows Ashley’s unique dialog style, in a form that is still intelligible and occasionally musical. For slightly more difficult listening, check out the Airline Ticket Counter scenes (cd1-2, cd1-6). But honestly pretty much every track is worth playing. Or maybe none are. I can’t tell any more.

Davis, Brian Joseph – “Definitive Host, The” – [Blocks Recording Club]

Louie Caliente   11/15/2017   A Library, CD

A collection of recordings from Canadian sound artist and film-maker Brian Joseph Davis. Most of the songs utilize pre-recorded material from other artists, manipulated or recast in interesting ways. The album deals with themes of copyright and censorship.

Rather than being meticulously orchestrated, the works rely heavily on randomness: CD player skips, destruction by fire, and highly-fallible human memory. Unlike many other conceptual works, these are very entertaining to listen to, and cover a wide range of genres including choral, glitch, spoken-word, pseudo-punk, and the overwhelming ambient noise hell-scape that is the final track.

The liner notes on the back provide a pretty acurate description of what’s in the package, but I’ll summarize here:

Eula (T1): The Sony End User License Agreement sung by a choir.

Five Box Sets Played on Fast-Forward, Then Edited Into Songs (T2-T6): This one is self-explanatory. Metal, soul, and other indescernibles.

Ten Banned Albums Burned, Then Played (T7-T15): Yup. Beatles, Sex Pistols, Mahler, Prince, Louie Louie, and more.

Voice Over (T16): A script composed from 5000 film taglines.

Yesterduh (T17-T18): What happens when you pay people on the street $5 to sing “Yesterday”, then mix the results. The second version is a particularly inspired solo.

Minima Moralia (T19): Theodor Adorno’s Minima Moralia as a punk 7″.

Greatest Hit (T20): All the tracks on a greatest hits album, all at once.

Homler, Anna & Moss, David/ Kommissar Hjuler & Mama Baer [coll] – [Psych.KG]

Louie Caliente   11/1/2017   7-inch, A Library

This crystal-clear lathe-cut 7″ is part of the FLUXUS +/- series of recordings put out by Kommissar Hjuler on the Psych.KG record label. One of only 25 that were produced.

The A side features two stunning collaborations from Anna Homler and David Moss. Homler is a visual, performance, and vocal artist known for using imaginary languages to explore meaning and communication. Moss is a composer and percussionist who has also developed a unique vocal improvisational style.

“Steel Drum Song” (A1) features Homler’s characteristic vocals, soothing and strangely exotic, coupled with Moss’s faster and more rhythmic and utterances, almost like frogs or crickets. A steel drum melody serves to bridge the two worlds.

“Conversation” (A2) is just that — a passionate improvised conversation in two unreal and alien languages. The mood starts hectic and argumentative, but changes pace as Moss becomes low and guttural while Homler becomes more dulcet and comforting.

The B side contains the work of Kommissar Hjuler and his wife Mama Baer. Hjuler is German sound and visual artist, film maker, and police officer.

“Coming Undone” (B1) is a lumbering lo-fi free-folk-rock jam. Polyrhythmic bangs and whistles. Lyrics in English with German accents. Mama Baer is solo on “Mikrooganismus” (B2), a 40 second warbling screech and scream, maybe some footsteps?

Deathprod – “Treetop Drive” – [Smalltown Supersound]

Louie Caliente   10/25/2017   12-inch, A Library

Deathprod is the noise-ambient project of Norwegian artist Helge Sten, who is also a member of the avant-jazz group Supersilent. Sten uses the term “audio virus” to describe the variety of sound sources used on this album, including “old tape echo machines, ring modulators, filters, theremins, samplers and lots of electronic stuff”.

“Treetop Drive” was originally released on CD in 1994 and has been re-mastered by Rashad Becker and re-released on double LP just this year (2017). The sounds are as infectious as ever.

The first three tracks comprise three movements of “Treetop Drive”, and share many thematic elements, although the moods are quite different.

Treetop Drive 1 (A) is built around dramatic strings and synths, featuring the violin work of Hans Magnus Ryan. Solemn, repetitive, and trance-like waves washing ashore. Slowly shifting over times, growing more distressed and urgent as the feedback and distortion intensify, and then letting go, returning out to sea.

Treetop Drive 2 (B) contains the same pulsing overwhelming rhythm, but now harsh and machine-like instead of organic. A call-and-response with metallic grinding shrieks and sub-harmonic bass blasts.

The last movement, Treetop Drive 3 (C) has a faster pace, almost frantic in comparison with the previous parts. Like a windy, rumbling tornado, and equally bleak. It includes a quick clip of some anonymous conservative ranting about schools today teaching “death education”, likely a PSA for Teachers AIDS.

The final track, Tugboat (D), is colder and more barren than the rest, like floating far out at sea. The rolling black waves are still present, more still than before but no less ominous. Over time, the danger of the situation unfolds.

Extreme America 3 [coll] – [Knot Music]

Louie Caliente   10/1/2017   7-inch, A Library

Compilation 7″ showcasing the wide variety of extreme sounds emanating from the West Coast (of Michigan) during the late 90s. From power electronics to skronk-rock to more power electronics, this little record has it all!

Each song has a distinct feel, but they all track together. Good luck playing just one!

A side.
OO Species: Sirens, grinding metal, wailing static.
Walled Lake: Low-frequency rumblings, train blues, Americana guitar, hypnosis. Bonus fact: Walled Lake is named for the backwoods town where Louie C used to buy alcohol, cigarettes, and fireworks as a teenager.
Flutter: Pure electronic cacophony, oscillator scribblings, overloaded circuit bending.

B side.
Lockweld: More distorted electronics and machine noises. Liner notes indicate “vocals” but they are unrecognizable.
Audible XXY: Semi-cinematic samples, electronics, and ominous tape loops. Like walking down a long dark hallway.
Better Disease: Good old fashioned Michigan skronk-rock. The best kind. Guitar, drums, sax, and screams.

G*Park – “1983-1988+” – [Tochnit Aleph]

Louie Caliente   7/26/2017   A Library, CD

G*Park is Marc Zeier, the most obscure member of the already obscure Schimpfluch-Gruppe. His solo work is a surreal blend of field recordings, musique concret, and tape loops.

This box set (1 of only 77) contains CD reissues of 5 of G*Park’s earliest cassette recordings, along with one CD of previously-unreleased improvisation with Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock. Also included are a glossy booklet of artwork and a bag of tea.

Lots of loops and layers going on here, a rich collage flowing directly through the sub-conscious (or un-conscious) mind of the listener. Flittery bird calls and heavy machinery, like a field trip through an under-construction menagerie. Ominous tones, drones, and groans confuse and disorient.

Quasi-rhythmic scrapes and clangs. Heavy breathing, snoring, gurgling. Dreamy nitrous-oxide induced bliss. The dental chair and all its drills, picks, blood, and bright lights feels so far away.

Hazy radio transmissions pulled from the ether. Distant memories of high-school football. Crunches, crashes, and sharp staccato piano snap you out of it, and take you somewhere else, somewhere darker.

Tolimieri, Quentin – “Prepared Piano” – [Creative Sources Recording]

Louie Caliente   6/27/2017   A Library, CD

This one pretty much writes itself. Eight self-describing pieces for prepared piano from NYC composer/improviser and CalArts grad Quentin Tolimieri. The piano is stuffed with various objects, then bowed (T1), plucked (T3), and hammered. Chaotic and bangy at times, smooth and melodic at others. The works each have a unique structure and pace which doesn’t dawdle and stays relatively busy, expect for the sparse one (T5). Best just to let everything flow over you, and not get too caught up in the notes. All tracks are under 6 minutes, except for the long one (T4).

Samartzis, Philip – “Mort Aux Vaches” – [Staalplaat]

Louie Caliente   6/13/2017   A Library, CD

Philip Samartzis is an Australian sound artist, composer, and professor in Sculpture, Sound and Spatial Practice at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He and Andrew Curtis formed the group Gum in the late 80s to explore broken, looped, and layered vinyl. Samartzis’s solo work focuses digital processing of acoustic and found sounds to construct abstract sound environments.

This 2003 release — part of Staalplaat’s Mort Aux Vaches series — contains three pieces that mix synthesized and natural sounds in unsettling and often jarring ways.

Variable Resistance (T1) begins with disorienting binaural clicks, slowly tweaked. The sounds come into focus, crisp and precise, but only briefly. Before long some comforting and reverb kicks in, and more natural noises appear. Echoey drips, gasps, and rasps, like wandering through dark wet steam tunnels with a faulty flashlight. Ends with the sounds of a rough pummeling and wailing, as the track skips and glitches to a halt. The CD is not broken.

Deconstructed Windmills (T2) is calmer, starting with a long high-pictched buzz, giving way to sterile pulses and tones, like hospital equipment. This is replaced with ominous thuds, algorithmic blips and bloops. Brief interludes of glitchy static puncture the overwhelmingly vast drones.

Soft and Loud (T3) draws the most on acoustic sounds and recordings. The first movement alternates between crunching, bending, scraping, screaming metal, and utter silence. Organic sounds like gurgling water and crinkling fire mix with synthetic sine wave drones. Low vibrations like bad fluorescent lights. Broken voices. Drum ratatatat. Some moments are actually musical, with rich harmonies and quick repetitive glimpse of a melodies, but there’s always something off — the instruments are not what they seem, almost a mirage.

Bralove, Bob/Kaiser, Henry/Muir, Chris – “Positively Space Music” – [Fractal Music]

Louie Caliente   6/11/2017   A Library, CD

One synth keyboard and two guitars, in the hands of 3 close friends and master musicians. Guitarists Henry Kaiser and Chris Muir have been playing and improvising together for over 40 years (this album includes a track by the duo recorded in 1977). Here the pair are joined by keyboardist Bob Bralove who has worked as sound designer and digital music technician for Stevie Wonder and The Grateful Dead.

“Positively Space Music” is a genre-bending double CD packed with a wide variety of influences, including jazz, funk, ambient, and prog, all done in a very psychedelic spaced-out style. The trio fully embrace the wavy synth sound, and at times teeter on the edge of an 80s kitsch vibe. However, the group’s phenomenal musicianship and almost telepathic communication keeps things moving forward, pushing boundaries and exploring uncharted territories of Space and Music.

Grosse Abfahrt – “Luftschifffeiertagserinnerungfotoalbum” – [Setola Di Maiale]

Louie Caliente   5/17/2017   CD, Jazz

Grosse Abfahrt is a project started by Gino Robair to explore improvisation with large groups or musicians. The core of the group consists of Robair, John Shiurba, Matt Ingalls, Tim Perkis, and Tom Djll. On this album (whos title means something like “airship holiday souvenir photo album”) they are joined by Frank Gratkowski, Kjell Nordeson, Liza Mezzacappa, Phillip Greenlief, and John Bisschoff. The session was recorded at Mills College in 2009.

Given the nature of the group, and the wide variety of instrumentation (all kinds of wind, string, percussion, electronics…) I expected something pretty frenzied and cacophonous, but it’s actually quite subtle and delicate. The artists spend most of their time listening, and slowly build intricately layered soundscapes that breath and flow.

The album starts off sparse and droney, and slowly picks up some speed as it progresses. Tracks 5 and 6 sound are more energetic and skittery (although still short of cacophonous) than the others, as if the group took a quick espresso break before recording them. There is a brief frenzied climax on track 6 that really hit the spot, and then track 7 slowly unwinds, bringing us back to the vast, wide open spaces that characterize the first few tracks.