Fucked Up – “Year of The Pig EP ” – [What’s Your Rupture]

cujo   6/17/2007   A Library, CD

Truly, not as fucked up as I expected.

Though on a new label (What’s Your Rupture?), FU continues to release albums 2 songs at a time.

The 18-minute title track, a twisted punk waltz, is the meat of the release. A girly doll voice alternates with lead singer’s throaty warble for dominance of a gentle 6/8 waltz. The 6/8 signature gives them the standard room to play with hemiolas (cross-rhythms, for those of you who skipped music appreciation in high school). the singer wants so badly to have one of those soulless hardcore rasps but is really too chained to the melody to succeed at fully alienating. The juxtaposition of innocent female & corrupting male vox builds to a frenzy, where the tension is ratcheted by diminution (two- or more-fold reduction in speed, for those of you who skipped music appreciation in high school; a favorite technique of Brahms and Philip Glass). From the slowdown they close out the last half mostly instrumentally in some 4/4 chords.

There’s no fancy guitar work – just pounding chords and drums. So why release this? I think it has to do with the lyrics, which I can’t understand too well. If you pay close attention you can figure them, but I doubt they’re pleasant. My best guess is that the evil guy wants to skin and roast the innocent girl. There are some bad words: “whore” early on, “shit” near the end.

The 4-minute 2nd track, “the Black Hat” is more straight ahead common time rock. A “bitch” is let out about 10 seconds before the pieces fades out — just fade early if you’re afraid of the b-word.

*Fucked Up plays the Hemlock Tavern on July 4th*

-Cujo, KFJC, June 2007

Chacon, Raven – “Beesh Naalnishi ” – [Dineyazhe]

cujo   6/13/2007   A Library, CD

Look this youngster up and see what others have found to say about him (member of the Navajo Nation), his projects (Kleptones?), and his pedigree (Tenney, Subotnick, Mosko?); his own information, including this disc, is cryptic if not cryptographic (symbols? white-out? hand-written?).

This is woodwind-driven chamber noise, extra heavy on the flutes. Most of all, this is all very stop-and-go. Instruments play, pause, play, pause in varying degrees of purposefulness. One aleatorish extreme is on track 2, the other mechanical extreme is on track 5, which is like someone turning the volume dial rapidly on and off on a Charlemagne Palestine-like string quartet drone. Except I think it???s conducted/performed that way, not dialed.

This is a unique vision indeed, and I’m still rassling with myself as to whether I enjoy it. Certainly it’s deserving of our library. Those seeking to clear out the room of normal life should turn to track 5.

1. Solo alto. Possible flute doubling
2. Solo flute with supporting players
3. Cymbals and tamtams showpiece. No voices actually, as indicated by the title.
4. The whole chamber ensemble stops and gos.
5. Nails on a chalkboard.
6. The flute???s back! Multiple false endings.
7. Longer chamber group, with a little more direction.

-Cujo, KFJC, June 2007

Nono, Luigi – “20 Jahre Inventionen V ” – [Edition Rz]

cujo   6/13/2007   A Library, CD

If the wealth of recent KFJC library acquisitions (Guaccero, Berio, Maderna, Scelsi, Patrucco, etc and further back to Casavola and his futurist ilk) hasn???t convinced you yet that writing for the female voice is an innate ability for Italians, this one will. Don’t forget that 100+ years ago, their females ruled the airwaves: Verdi, Mascagni, Puccini… And don???t you forget that it was the Italians that started the whole fad of dramaticizing human conflict through singing (especially by women!) in the first place ??? point your browsers to Monteverdi and the Concerto delle donne. I proudly present another phenomenal disc of Luigi Nono???s music mostly featuring the female voice.

Quando Stanno Morendo (diario polacco no.2) (37:25): ???When They???re Dying (Polish Diary #2)??? for five female voices, bass flute, cello, and live electronics. A protest piece from 1981 reworking the first polish diary from 1969. Divine singing eventually yields to instrumental and electronic rustling.
Canciones a Guiomar (9:47): for solo soprano, 6-voice female choir, and instruments. More radio-friendly, but only for reasons of length.
Omaggio a Emilio Vedova (4:53): Nono’s first purely electronic composition, realized in 1960 at Milan’s Studio Fonologica (founded by Berio & Maderna). A fine listen, one that lets you appreciate how masterfully Nono would come to combine electronics with instruments and protests in the 1980s.

The singing overall is of a fuller quality than the Voices Of Protest Nono disc, but just as engaging, unsettling, and ultimately enrapturing. All other instruments, tape sounds, and electronic manipulations fade seamlessly and purposefully in an out like the best character actors.

-Cujo, KFJC, June 2007

Berio, Luciano – “Complete Sequenzas & Alternate Sequenzas & Solo Works ” – [Mode]

cujo   5/17/2007   A Library, CD

Luciano Berio (1925-2003) wrote 14 tour-de-force solo instrumental works for 14 different instruments between 1958 and 2003. Some of them were reworked into alternate versions for different instruments. They are modern, technical, emotional, theatrical, and canonic. He called them Sequenzas. On this Mode set (DG and Naxos also have sets) they are prefaced by matching couplets of Italian poetry by Berio’s friend Sanguineti. Mode also has the keen insight to include all alternate versions plus complete non-voice solo works. Mode has also seen to it that three of the Sequenzas are performed by those musicians that Berio actually wrote them for (viola – Knox, trombone – Dempster, cello – Rohan).

I cannot speak highly enough of Berio and/or the Sequenzas. Why don’t you try below….

-Cujo, KFJC, May 2007

Fjellestad, Hans – “Snails R Sexy ” – [Accretions]

cujo   5/10/2007   A Library, CD

You know that moment when you’re on an airplane taxiing out of an airport and it pauses at the beginning of the runway for just a few seconds before taking off, when all the turning and rolling noises stop and all that’s left is the corporeal, mechanical, strangely periodic humming of the jet engines?

This album is that precise moment blown up and musicified on a magnificently large scale.

Slowly swirling synthesized doppler shifts (some krafty work) combine with the pulsing, throbbing, testes-tingling vibrations. Later on, occassional control tower communication glitches and humanoid sine wave complaints invade your headphones. Even later on, things get spacier, as if your fuselage is now orbiting a synthy Saturn and the glitchy complaints coming from Houston are all the more frantic and abrasive.

Can’t figure out yet how the dreamy toy-piano track “Ex Vivo” fits into this analogy…

-Cujo, KFJC, May 2007

Habarigani – “Two ” – [Hat Hut Records Ltd]

cujo   5/10/2007   CD, Jazz

What’s the news? KFJC has finally acquired Habarigani’s 2nd release (also on HatArt) from 1995 (recorded in 1990). The personnel are the same:

Hans Kennel, trumpet & flugelhorn
Roland Dahinden, trombone (we just added the Mode disc of his string quartets in December 2006; click HERE to read Thurston Hunger’s review)
Thomas Eckert, clarinet & bassclarinet
Hans Hassler, accordion & clarinet & bassclarinet

The concept is the same: only compositions by the band members, with the exception being made for the Monk cover/contrast (Kennel’s pointillistic “So Evidently”), and a tight balance across the disc between the hazy, breathy soundscapes of a pneumatically-driven quartet and cooler jazz bops and riffs. I must warn you, though, as is the nature with brass & woodwind ensembles, if you stop paying attention this can become a drab wind-blown drone that goes in one ear and out the other. Fortunately, if you do pay attention, you Mats remember that the bass clarinet is awesome, and you will gain a deeper respect for how critical a role an accordion can play in a chamber environment. A few notable moments:

*accordion fantasy on Eckert’s “Games”
*dueling bass clarinets on Eckert’s “Sabina and Piselli”
*flugelhorn ballad on Hassler’s “Kein Schnee” (no snow)
*finger-snappin’ trombone solo in Kennel’s “Hoi Hoi”
*avant-klezmer on Kennel’s “Extra Goodies”

-Cujo, KFJC, May 2007

Ungvary, Tamas – “Ite, Missa Est ” – [Fylkingen Records]

cujo   5/8/2007   12-inch, A Library

Tamas Ungvary is a Hungarian who settled in Stockholm decades ago and has been making the Electronic Music Studio there his home.

Melos No 3 (1982): Rimma Gotskozik of Tashkent is the funerary violinist who travels to Sweden and takes a tour of Ungvary’s murky electronic music studio.?? She drowns in his drones.?? Who will play at the funerary violinist’s funeral?

Interaction No 2 (1979): Torsten Nilsson of Stockholm is the native mad organist who duels with Ungvary’s tape sounds for indistinguishability.?? The first in several of Ungvary etudes blending/expanding the organ.

Traum des Einsamen (1974): Do ring modulators dream of electric sheep??? Here is a picture of the lonely Ungvary working at EMS, which surely must inhabit a dark room 10 stories below the Stockholm Central Station.

Ite, missa est (1982): The most cohesive and even narrative offering on this LP.?? The low rumbling and oscillations are still present, but there are warmer layers offered, sliding around like trombones, or like dedicatee Rudolf Maros (Ungvary’s teacher?) calling from the afterlife.

Deo Gratias!?????? -Cujo, KFJC, May 2007

Forward Energy Trio – “FE3 Oakland ” – [Edgetone Records]

cujo   3/27/2007   CD, Jazz

This is the followup to their Where Are They? CD, except ‘they’ don’t include the guests from the earlier effort, and this is an all-instrumental all-improvized affair. Stephen Flinn on drums, Scott Looney inside and outside the piano, and Jim Ryan on winds. Most of this album has a pretty fantastic manic energy to it. Imagine it being the soundtrack to the ever-bustling basement Acme mailroom, with those cool pneumatic tubes and whatnot. The resulting music approaches mechanical motion – Looney’s tinkering and Flinn’s drums combined approach a fascinating Nancarrow-ian effect. I know it’s difficult to play that way on the piano, much less improvise it (much less on the drums or sax). The prime example is on track 9 of 10, Meatloaf. Unfortunately, Ryan’s flute that appears on a few tracks is really flat and energy-draining and retracts from my fullest endorsement of the album. Nevertheless – you try and keep up this energy and precision for 60 minutes.

Mush Mush! Forward Energy!

-Cujo, KFJC, March 2007

One A.M. Radio, The – “this too will pass ” – [Dangerbird Records]

cujo   3/20/2007   12-inch, A Library

“Singer/songwriter/composer/beatmaker” Hrishikesh Hirway is back with another handful of songs revealing the world of introspection available in the microcosm of a single memory. Recorded all over the world over the last three years, many ingredients are pieced together, especially: cello, lonely drums, some laptop beats, horns (the ones he brought for his KFJC live set in Spring 2006), some Santaolallian guitar picking, and hefty servings of wordless Aaa-aaa-aah choruses. See the opening track for the deftest combination of all of the above. His voice is cool and quiet, and doubled or tripled to soften it up even further. To demand more in the way of vocal delivery would be to pull the songs out of their ambiguity; are we eavesdropping on Hirway’s regrets or is he sharing life/love lessons with us? No doubt, his heart is on his sleeve. This is what the French would call pathetique.

picks: 1,3,7,8,10,12

-Cujo, KFJC, March 2007

Branca, Glenn – “Indeterminate Activity of Resultant Masses ” – [Atavistic]

cujo   2/28/2007   A Library, CD

1981: Branca “writes”, records (with help from Thurston Moore) Indeterminate Activity of Resultant Masses for 10 guitars and 1 drums/tympani.
1982: John Cage, a living idol, attends a new music festival in Chicago, hearing all 100 concerts. He singles out Branca for derision, going on record as labelling IAoRM as portentous of the “end of the world” during the course of So That Each Person Is In Charge Of Himself, a recording of Cage’s responses. This causes a scandal.
1997: Tensions over Cagegate flare up again, this time between Branca and online Cageheads.
2005: Branca is still bitter, and releases IAoRM and STEPIICOH on Atavistic, with the piece Harmonic Series Chords as filler. OK, I’m exaggerating the drama, but Atavistic’s packaging sure makes it seem like Branca is overcompensating, which makes me want to think that Glenn should be thankful that his piece was good enough to attract Cage’s attention, even if Cage misreacted like a crazy pompous ass.

Indeterminate Activity of Resultant Masses: 10 guitars and some drums & tympani in a slowly oozing rhythmic sludge. Think Dreyblatt without the math (though this well predates Dreyblatt) with a hefty dose of metallic Lucier resonance. Nice.
So That Each Person Is In Charge Of Himself: Supposedly an interview between Cage and Wim Mertons (author of American Minimalist Music), but mostly Cage does all the talking on Navy Pier. He talks crazy for 20 minutes, ragging on Branca, throwing out absurdities, and also showing some world-artist-weary insight. I’d never heard him talk before; he’s so effeminate!
Harmonic Series Chords: 7 minutes of a series of harmonic series chords. Filler only; not the best Branca out there.

-Cujo, KFJC, March 2007

Charles Wuorinen “On Alligators” [tzadik]

cujo   2/27/2007   A Library

A mixed-bag 2005 release from Tzadik featuring the music of Charles Wuorinen (b. 1938). Wuorinen is known for writing lots of serial music and for being the youngest winner of the Pewlitt Surprise (in 1970 for the electronic work Time’s Encomium).

Title Track: shrill instrumentation and poor miking/mixing make for an awful chamber work.

4th String Quartet: apparently an academic triumph, but this expansive, breathy work is a bit of a yawn.

Natural Fantasy: _now_ we’re getting somewhere… this is a fractally-inspired impromptu for organ. Delicious temporal liberties are taken. This is proof that pitch selection isn’t necessarily the most important thing in writing music.

3rd Piano Concerto: …and now we’ve arrived. Ohlsson surprisingly breaks out of the Chopin mold to deliver this work with all the thrust of your typical fast-slow-fast concerto, but with none of the melody or harmony. I believe this is what they call a good romp. Your ears also can’t miss the great percussion and trombone writing.

-Cujo, KFJC, February 2007

the Satoko Fujii Orchestra “Maru” [Bakamo Records]

cujo   2/27/2007   CD, Jazz

They’re good, really good! I get the impression all members are superlative instrumentalists possessing perfect control of fatness and squeal. What makes this stand out from recent big band additions? An undercurrent of funk, and a reliance on rhythms. Some standouts:

Track 1, Slip-on: It’s funky!

Track 3, Maru: A jangly electric guitar slashes its way through very martial rhythms & riffs.

Track 5, Bennie’s waltz: Japan-Sicily foreign exchange program!

Track 6, Sakuradori sen: totally tubalar intro (somebody light the Richoux-symbol!), a nearly epic trumpet/tenor duet, a drum solo fit for Max Level, and a collapsing wrap-up.

Booyakasha Maru!

-Cujo, KFJC, January 2007


sailordave posted this review on 03/09/07:

This is an upbeat hip fun to play fun to listen 6 song CD that I suggest everyone take a listen to. Track 3- MARU is catchy and has an awesome quick beat and tempo. SLIP ON is perhaps my favorite. All are worthy as I see all 6 tunes have been played on various shows. Some thing here for all to enjoy

Franziska Baumann “Eternal Ice Melts (Voice Sphere Remixes by Lull, Seetyca, Clemens Presser, and Submerged)” [soleilmoon]

cujo   2/26/2007   A Library

Well before you know what the ???gimmick??? is, this album is a keeper. It???s remixes from Baumann???s 2004 album Voice Sphere, which is music made by recording the sound of melting glaciers (stereo, zoom, contact mics).

Of particular worth is Track 3, which takes you on a spelunking trip through the human psyche. You wander through a cavernous human brain, observing drippy medulla oblangati, underground rivers of id, thunderclouds of doubt, and some husky song and crazed yodel. Left hemisphere and right hemisphere are explored.

This is brought to you by Mick Harris aka Lull, who also supplies Track 5, a basso profundo drone that will put your subwoofers to the test (mine failed).

The sound of glaciers melting is sterile, pure, and just a switch away from being foreboding. Even the techno/glitch beat that emerges on track 6 (which is in no way unwelcome) seems like it???s a ProTools click away from Venetian Snares destruction.

-Cujo, KFJC, January 2007

Moe! Staiano & his Moe!kestra “An Inescapable Siren Within Earshot Distance Therein and Other Whereabouts” [Rastascan]

cujo   12/11/2006   A Library, CD

Overture (track 1): Nearly 2 minutes of nearly silence opens to give you time to find your seat in the theater.
Scene 1 (track 1): At a seaside military airfield, lovers and seagulls give their goodbyes to the battalion as they prepare for a sortie
Scene 2 (track 2): As the planes get a final tune-up, a saboteur enters the hanger and pierces the fuel lines
Scene 3 (track 3): The big set piece: a Riefenstahlian glorification of our heroes as they fly a squadron of B-52s
Scene 4 (track 4, 5): Disaster strikes! The planes crash into the jungle! Our heroes must deal with the immediate perils of the undergrowth, which include 15-foot robotic ostriches.
Scene 5 (track 6): Fortunately, one of the surviving pilots is a drummer. An emerging leader, he (played by Kirk Douglas) fashions some drums and leads the survivors on a death march to escape the jungle. It isn’t long before the pace becomes frantic, and it’s even sooner that they break out in a dead run for their life. They burst out of the jungle—only to be presented with a more terrifying landscape before the curtain drops…

Tune in for more conducted improvisations next week!

-Cujo, KFJC, December 2006

CBD Trio “Suspension” [Rastascan]

cujo   12/7/2006   CD, Jazz

Chris Brown (yes, that one) on piano and electronics, Biggi Vinkeloe (yes, the one ‘singing? on last year’s Chaos Butterfly release) on sax and flute, and Donald Robinson (no, I know nothing about him) on drums. These three fill a recent void in KFJC acronymic improvisatory additions, giving you a taste of very uncategorizable sounds. The minute I call it sparse, they explode. The minute I call it ambient, Biggi’s flute grabs my attention. The minute I call it organic, Chris? electronics make me turn down the stereo to make sure it’s not my car making those noises. As a pianist, I appreciate the ease and speed with which Brown moves in and out of the keyboard for his explorations. Of particular note on this release is the 2nd track, which strikes me over and over as an excellent study of the free improvisatory crescendo. This would make a fine, long segue between some cool quiet jazz and some Brotzmannesque blowouts. And this was before I even realized what its title was.

-Cujo, KFJC, December 2006

Keiji Haino & Sitaar Tah! “Animamima” [Important Records]

cujo   12/7/2006   A Library, CD

1 90-minute track on 2 disks. This album doesn’t demand active listening, it demands deep trances of the kind where 50 minutes mysteriously disappear from your life. I’ve never done acid, but if I did, and I wanted some crazy hallucinations, I imagine this release would do it. While a bazaar of sitars wail in the form of sitar orchestra Sitaar Tah!, various stimuli slowly throb into your subconscious imagination: a mumble of voices, a flourish of flutes, or a patch of metallic screeches, and many other unmentionables/indistinguishables/inextinguishables all provided by Haino. It must be live; why else would the first 13 minutes be so tentative? After Haino and Sitaar Tah! get to know each other, though, this becomes an outstanding psychedelic droning freakout. Find the moments when Haino flutters on the flute, and you’ve found trippy heaven.

-Cujo, KFJC, December 2006

Gebhard Ullmann “The Big Band Project” [Black Saint]

cujo   12/7/2006   CD, Jazz

Music built on the ruins of swing, brought to you by reedmann Ullmann. He gets the reins of the NDR Big Band in fresh arrangements of some of his signature tunes, including two arranged by Satoko Fujii. Gebby’s saxes often get outnumbered and cut down in the crossfire: Wilkommen zu Big Bands! This is not to ill effect though; the ensemble manages to shine. About half the tracks are as easy as Glenn Miller (that is, if Miller were alive today and writing his style with a 21st century bent). The more happening tracks are what make the album recommendable. There’s a fun self-collapsing walking bassline in T? Lam which pervades it throughout in various dimunitions. Stephan Diez’s electric guitar shines briefly in D. Nee No. The final track is a long journey through the winds of the band as they swing their way through a slow blues number.

-Cujo, KFJC, December 2006

Krzysztof Penderecki “Symphony #7: ‘The Gates of Jerusalem'” [Wergo]

cujo   10/10/2006   A Library, CD

A new face to KP’s music is added to KFJC’s library here – and a very welcome one. MASSIVE vocal and orchestral forces combine in a typically Polish postwar lyrical idiom (see also Lutoslawski & especially Gorecki for contemporaries). It’s in 7 movements. See the excellent liner notes (you go, Wergo!) for details. The dramatic climax is in part V, but remarkable aural thrills follow through to the end.

Desperate but not frantic.

-Cujo, KFJC, October 2006

Chris Abrahams “Thrown” [Room40]

cujo   10/10/2006   A Library, CD

Imagine that Abrahams (he of The Necks repute) is your child’s 3rd grade music teacher, and this release is the annual holiday concert. These are light down-under drones provided by a chorus of tentative strigine recorders, a plunky piano, processed with electronics. Deep down, you should maybe know that the only sound sources on this album are piano, DX7 synthesizer, and a positive organ, but don’t let that on to your kid.

-Cujo, KFJC, October 2006

Franco Casavola “Futurlieder” [Salon/LTM]

cujo   9/20/2006   A Library, CD

One of the more obscure Futurists gets an entire album, most of which was thought to have been lost material. He was ‘discovered? by Marinetti in 1922 (‘we Futurists would be pleased if you would join our fight against obsolete ideas?) and spent the next 5 years rubbing shoulders with the big Futurist boys: Russolo, Casella, Pratella, et al. He broke with them in 1927 and focused on movie scores.

On this disc you will find advertising jingles, song cycles, lyrical pieces, and cabaret pieces (that sound surprisingly like Satie’s street caf? pieces). They date from before, during, and after his Futurist phase. All are short, melodic, lyrical, and pleasing.

All I can say is that the music is gorgeous and crystal clear. Rigacci’s voice is like pure cool mountain water to my ears. The selections are on the opposite end of the stereotypical noisy/mechanical Futurist offerings (although Casavola did dabble in that).

Goes hand-in-hand with the ‘Musica Futurista? and ‘Futurism and Dada Revisited? collections in the library. Brief bio and some translations provided in the liner notes.

-Cujo, KFJC, September 2006

Haiku Review:
Time circuits are on…
Italian songwriter goes
Back to the Future

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