KFJC 89.7FM

Winderen, Jana – "Heated: Live In Japan" – [Touch]

humana   9/13/2021   A Library, CD

Even though this was performed live in Japan, the sounds captured on this disc by Winderen are a balm for our times. This Norwegian seeker of the hidden sounds found in glaciers and oceans gives us a treasure trove of sounds that refresh us in times of drought, creak through our souls, and wash away our angst like so many tears. The first track is a vocal introduction by musician Tetsuro Yasunaga. Ambience and field sounds at their best.

Miralia / Stranahan Duo – "S/t" – [Self Release]

humana   6/6/2021   A Library, CD

These are three long forays that will take you through aural images of whale song and have you experiencing exactly what the terms “crescendo” and “decrescendo” mean. Percussionist Paul Stranahan and electro-acoustic artist Lisa Miralia have composed a sound on this release that ranges from the first metallic sounding cries (that must be one agonized whale!) through delightful atmospheres created by bells, Tibetan singing bowls, and gongs to an cacophonous freak-out of sound that gradually and soothingly diminishes into a dream of wind chimes. Perfecto!

Jeanrenaud, Joan – "Metamorphosis" – [New Albion Records, Inc]

humana   3/14/2021   A Library, CD

Cello lovers are in for a genuine treat with this first release of music played by Jeanrenaud after gracing Kronos Quartet for 20 years with her cello. Called “metamorphosis” to symbolize the change of path in her career, the pieces are contemporary pleasures mixed with that ineffable quality that only a cello can bring to music. So, whether you are listening to the comfortingly familiar-sounding Metamorphosis Four by Philip Glass (which was written as soundtrack for a play based on a story by Kafka) or the Jeanrenaud composition Altar Piece that contains the rather unsettling sound that goes right along with viewing Day of the Dead altars that inspired Jeanrenaud, you will see how successfully she is in transitioning to a solo path. The loops of herself on cello layer the music, enriching it with her estimable experiences.

Sashash Ulz – "Pingvinia" – [No Part of It]

humana   2/14/2021   A Library, CD

I read that this music is Russian experimental folk. The first track starts and ends with what may be field sounds, and they bookend a repetitive theme that is not unpleasant. The second track is a soothing and folkloric-feeling palate cleanser, while the third track is an uplifting hazy-vocal surf-reminiscent outing. Tracks 4 and 5 are definitely folksy, and Track 6 is upbeat strumming. Tracks 7-9 are the noise tracks, while 10 is a field sounds collage. Track 11 gets back to a more melodic sound (sort of like the soundtrack to a spy movie), while 13 and 14 bring back the pleasant haze, and the final long track is a long reverie appropriate to its name, Cannabis.

Quintron & Miss Pussycat – "Goblin Alert!" – [Goner Records]

humana   12/30/2020   A Library, CD

This is incredibly upbeat, catchy dance music with just the right amount of cheesiness added by the Hammond B3. The drum machine has been replaced by a drum kit, and it will all leave you wondering just how awful a baby must look to earn a comparison to a WMD (Stroller Pollution), and also chanting “Alchemy and accessories” (Weaver Wear) while you wear holes in your socks as you bop to the music. Personally, I’d love to hear a new Halloween soundtrack that included Goblin Alert as a featured song. Have fun with this one.

Left Outsides, The – "a Place to Hide" – [Feeding Tube Records]

humana   12/30/2020   12-inch, A Library

Some things that are left outside suffer from the experience, but this is definitely not the case with this London-based husband wife duo of Mark Nicholas and Alison Cotton, especially in the case of this folksy, heartening, yet often yearning release. Taken from a warmup to a live show in October of 2018, these songs feature drones, clear, lovely voices, violins, harmonium, and lyrics full of imagery that are the perfect accompaniment to a winter’s afternoon. You’ll want to play this to summon an idyllic atmosphere from another time.

Greenleif, Phillip – "Bellingham For David Ireland" – [500 Capp Street Foundation]

humana   11/23/2020   CD, Jazz

This is a fascinating jazz experience made richer by reading the liner notes as you listen to the 60+ minutes of jazz diffusing throughout the David Ireland House (which is an art installation created by the late artist David Ireland) in the Mission District of San Francisco. Greenlief composed this map-work, which, if you look closely at the album cover, is just that–a score based on the jigsaw pieces of maps of Bellingham, Washington, where Ireland grew up. The live performance was based on the score, but also on the conversations among the musicians placed in various locales of the house, along with the ambient noises such as sirens coming from both the inside and outside of the house. Greenlief set up in the entryway with his sax where he hoped to be able to hear the gongs, percussion, contrabass, violin, voice, tuba, and electronics emanating from different rooms in the two-story house. This is an ineffable aural treat.

WOW – "Come La Notte" – [Maple Death]

humana   11/23/2020   12-inch, A Library

“Like the Night” is the translation of “Come La Notte”–and the sounds of this Italian “garage-pop” duo definitely give off the nocturnal vibe. I put “garage-pop” in quotes because it is as good a label as any, if you have to put a label on it. China Now is the percussionist and vocalist, and Leo Non is the guitarist, and together they create an atmosphere that does sound like their experimental night club Bad Peace. The pace picks up with the last track on Side A, and the first track on Side B sounds like surf guitar at the beginning. I encourage you to experience the music for yourself before boxing it into any genre.

Schrock, Jake – "Omnibus" – [Medical Records]

humana   8/24/2020   12-inch, A Library

Schrock’s songs on here will please anyone who enjoys electronics, synths, and music that flows sometimes like a river and other times has a more staccato beat. They have been characterized as dream gaze and futuristic, and there are certainly elements of both on this album. Listening to it is like feeling a refreshing wash of cool air on your skin after a blistering hot day. Enjoy.

Swoop and Cross – "Stories of Disintegration" – [Time Released Sound]

humana   8/24/2020   12-inch, A Library

Ruben Vale is the composer and musician creating the absolutely lovely music on this album. Portuguese but based in London, Vale has constructed a haven of simple beauty, where piano and other sounds surround you and pluck at your heartstrings in a way that suggests more a coming together than a disintegration, unless it’s a breaking down of barriers. These soundscapes are comforting in a quiet, epic way.

Leya – “Flood Dream” – [NNA]

humana   8/1/2020   A Library, CD

Lugubrious music perfect for midnight hauntings from ghosts who mean no harm. Marilu Donovan’s harp and Adam Markiewicz’s violin and vocals combine in unsettling fashion to create a somber atmosphere that will echo long after the last musical note has sounded.

Brooks, Jeffrey – "Passion, The" – [Innovation Records]

humana   8/1/2020   A Library, CD

Minneapolis composer Brooks offers us three tracks featuring Bang on a Can All-Stars and Contemporaneous (both of which are New York City-based ensembles). Each of these works, one considerably longer than the one preceding it, is lively, jaunty, cutting-edge, intense, and adrenaline spiking in the same way you would imagine the sounds of New York City to be. Sonic dissonance that resolves into a creative amalgamate as individual as the listeners taking it in. It will inspire passion, just as the title of the third track promises.

Mr. Elevator – "Goodbye, Blue Sky" – [Castle Face Records]

humana   8/1/2020   A Library, CD

Hazy vocals float up through pleasant synth fogs and transport you to a simpler time where mellow pop vibes suffuse your consciousness and relax you. It’s easy to see Donovan’s influence on Tomas Dolas (Mr. Elevator) and his music. There are some slower songs on here, and they’re fine, but try “Alone Together” and “Anywhere” first.

Foon, Rebecca – "Waxing Moon" – [Constellation Records]

humana   8/1/2020   A Library, CD

There is a simple beauty to these songs composed and performed by Canadian cellist Foon. She is as adept at creating the mellow soundscapes of tracks such as “Ocean Song” and “Pour” with her piano, voice and drones as she is with her signature cello (heard to great effect in “Ocean Song”). We have releases by Esmerine, one of her finer collaborations, in our library, and this is an excellent addition as well.

Metzger, Paul – "Tombeaux" – [Nero's Neptune Records]

humana   5/24/2020   12-inch, A Library

Metzger’s creativity permeates this release, from the modified 23-string banjo he designed to his compositions and arrangement of Debussy’s “Beau Soir.” The tone might be guessed from the album’s title, which means tombs, but even “Sepulchre” is not as doomy as you might expect it to be–there is a hopeful intensity to each of these compositions, and they last long enough leave you feeling satisfied.

Haslinger, Paul – "Exit Ghost" – [Artificial Instinct]

humana   5/24/2020   12-inch, A Library

What sheer loveliness this album is! Haslinger, composer, keyboardist, guitarist, former member of Tangerine Dream, has created a scintillating aural delight for us with this one. Violins, cello, violas, bass, guitars, piano, keys play our emotions quite nicely. Exit Ghost itself sounds like staticky radio on top of s synthy bed. I love this.

Adele H – "Civilization" – [Psychic Sound Recordings]

humana   5/24/2020   12-inch, A Library

Adele H is an Italian experimental vocalist and percussionist (as may be gleaned from the picture of Rome on the album cover). Grant Corum joins her on drums, flute, and harp on a couple of the songs. Her voice is pleasing and the songs are mellow and spirit-expanding. The track titles mirror what the songs sound like. Enjoy!

Dechirico – "Kumamoto/Kumaso" – [Jacktone]

humana   5/24/2020   7-inch, A Library

Bubbling, energetic electronic happiness emanates from both these tracks, the first of which was inspired by a place in Japan badly affected by an earthquake after the music was written. Play it to honor the place, play it to raise your spirits, play it to free yourself from the cage you may be in.

Minadeo, Joseph & Brown, Curt – "Wood Land" – [Infraction]

humana   4/28/2020   A Library, CD

These are lovely, spare, melodic atmospheres that are warm enough to bring tears to your eyes. The words printed in the booklet insert offer poetic guides to what you are hearing, and occasional vocalizations seem like features of the overall ambience. There are sounds of piano, bells, and electronics, and it is all beautiful.

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