RedGreenBlue – “The End and the Beginning” – [Astral Spirits]

Thurston Hunger   12/6/2022   CD, Jazz

Note for the Goodwrench DJ Review send two KFJC boxtops to the station…

You could start at the Beginning, side A listen for a few minutes to the upright bass question mark, over organ drone and gong/rim-shot/tap of drums, and take a guess where they are from. The land of Art Ensemble, of Underground Duo/Quartet/Orchestra Something about Chicago that produces the slinkiest, suavest grooves. This album feels like a separated at birth twin to Joshua Abrams’ “Represencing” – mystical winds blowing in off the Lake? Charlie Kirchen’s bass leads the meditation, Ryan Packard’s percussion is aquatic, but keep an ear on Paul Giallorenzo’s keys which hit your BuddhaMachine right on the third eye towards the end of this side long piece. Or perhaps start on the flip side with “The End” where Kirchen is more insistent, but still a man making a bass statement. His mates are joined by Ben LaMar Gay who percolates on his cornet for 10 or so minutes before Giallorenzo’s organ shimmers in for a calming respite. The quartet spends some time in a darker place before rising radiance before a solemn end to “The End.”
-Thurston Hunger
PS Hah, looking up Ben, he’s connected to the Natural Information Society helmed by Abrams. Chicago improv scene a small world with big sound!

Akusmi – “Fleeting Future” – [Tonal Union]

Thurston Hunger   11/30/2022   12-inch, A Library

J’accuse Akusmi as Pascal Bideau behind Big Ben with the candleabra. But the album has a whirlwind of world winds, Pascal plays a bunch of diverse instruments and enlists Berliner Ruth Velten to help share sax duties. Add in some trombone from Florian Juncker, and a dash of drums from Daniel Brandt, and the album feels like a larger group, in part due to the multi-work of Bideau. There are clues of Philip Glass on the minimalist beach here, maybe recorded in part in Indonesia, thought I tasted a bit of Brazil, German precision on the arpeggios. All instro, with piano and other percolating percussion. This LP slightly reminds me of Club Foot Orchestra meets Bang On A Can with Arnold Dreyblatt cracking the baton/whip. “Neo Tokyo” builds a cartoon cityscape before your eyes, really all tracks have that bustling urge. Hyper clean recording, this Future feels uplifting.
-Thurston Hunger

Sunfear – “Octopus” – [Dark Entries]

Thurston Hunger   11/30/2022   12-inch, A Library

I was digging out behind the back of One Eyed Jacks looking for Laura Palmer’s real diary when I found this pristine 12″ record buried beneath the clumps of mud and whiskey-soaked weeds. Turns out “Sunfear” is Eylul Deniz, and this is one sweet soulache of bedroom fi beauty. Drenched in reverb and multitrack mystery, enjoy a girl and her best friend, her guitar. When things move smoothly, Slowdive vibes arise. When things are pretty but broken, Julee Cruise’s profile emerges on a full moon. This is a Dark Entries entree, but not one plucked from long ago, Deniz is a current poet/artist/singer/songwriter out of Istanbul. She may have a doppelganger DJ bumping beats in Berlin’s Boiler Room, I think I saw her there or maybe that was Maddie Ferguon? Anyways this album is slow-core supreme. I was almost shocked when a drum-machine stuck its tentacles into the title track. The leadoff instro dips your ears into the waters, which return later with vox punched in between waves. The lead track is called “Dokun” which apparently translates as “Touch” in Turkish and while that as a tactile found sound swirl, the
low-fi slow pop here is ethereal.
-Thurston Hunger

Niton – “Cemento 3D” – [Pulver Und Asche]

Thurston Hunger   11/30/2022   A Library, CD

From musique concrete to prog cemento? Niton is a three piece (we have their “Tiresias” also at KFJC), in the center is Swiss cellist Zeno Gabaglio – his bow/scrape done on an electic instrument, joined by Italian soundscapers Luca Xelius Martegani and El Toxyque (who apparently performs and bathes in a beautiful blue and silver helmet). This is a remixing of their 2021 Cemento, re-poured through samples, filters and odd audio processors. In 3D! Gabaglio’s e-cello serves as fiber for each piece, “Asmant” & “Maas” have pulses added for percussion. I was trying to listen to some of the original Cemento and at times had both that and this playing (worked as a form of “Mixed Cemento”?). The recordings are atmospheric enough, but more active than drone. Kind of a Cluster booster. Electro-acoustic sound clashing too at times, I don’t think those are synthetic chains scraping sepulchral. Other samples and/or voices are spliced in as well. “Baylanis” holds a portal for our myriad metal-heads. The cello groans, electronics wince. Zeno’s conscience elevates this album, gorgeous sharp slices on “Shuini” w/ some astral vox and perhaps found flute. Track titles are not Magma-fied, but instead translate to cement through-out the world. This really grew on me, and comes with a clever flexi we will also add.
-Thurston Hunger

Niton – “Maas (flexi)” – [Pulver Und Asche]

Thurston Hunger   11/30/2022   7-inch, A Library

Companion “record” to the excellent Cemento 3D cd. This has an excerpt of the audio sculpture “Maas” from Niton, a 3-piece electroacoustic project that straddles the Italo/Swiss boundaries and sonically straddles prog/industrial regions. Other pieces on the full length have more prominent electro-cello, this is more pulse/wave/squelch electronics. Really could serve as a stellar sci-fi soundtrack to alien animation. Well crafted sounds, and the clever craft continues in fabricating this medium. Sure, it is a flexi, but it has grooves on the see-through packaging, and the cardboard disk inside is just a decoy that you must take out to get the square outer record to spin round on the turntable. On the evil genius seismograph, that rates pretty soundly, glad we have the full length as hopefully this entices KFJC DJ’s to pour out more
Maas! The full length 3D is well worth a foray!
-Thurston Hunger

Onodera, Yui and Celer – “Generic City” – [Two Acorns]

Thurston Hunger   11/30/2022   A Library, CD

Natural squonk to start, a flock of feathers lays down in a bed of synth drone. That is the recipe here a blend of found sounds and ambient tones, for this 2010 release. Celer these days is Will Long operating alone out of Tokyo, where collaborator Yui Onodera runs the Critical Path. They are joined on this by sounds and images echoes of Danielle Baquet-Long (once Celer dweller and partner of Will) who sadly died in 2009. The blend of who-provides-what is hard to separate, the generated sounds often a halcyon tonic to the samples (loose notion of air, from the opening flock to a Calgary boarding call for a jet?). Or maybe with the album’s name and Dani’s photo (city all in silhouette, the space surrounding emphasized over buildings and people) maybe that is a theme? Yui adds some excellent guitar sputter on #3, and don’t miss the chant (Shingon?) ascends towards the end of #4 before disappearing into a pure electronic drone.

-Thurston Hunger

Flowertown – “Half Yesterday” – [Mt.St.Mtn.]

Thurston Hunger   11/30/2022   12-inch, A Library

SF duo, Karina Gill and Mike Ramos are Flowertown. If you dug their previous eponymous lp, (or Gill’s other project Cindy) this follows suit. The masks are off, the gloves still on, the guitar with sleep in its eyes. On some tracks the tambourine heart machine serves as pacemaker for gentle drums. The songs use two or four chords to keep the female/male vox aloft like Zoloft. Lofi bedframe bedroom blooms – tunes that might make your old Tascam recorder weep tears of joy if it were not sent to the local chop shop to be cannibalized into an e-bike that drove itself off the cliffs into the Sutro Baths. To be fair, at times the sun breaks into the Fog City Flowertown neighborhood, like on the title track and for “Beachwalkers” but the sonic weather overall is overcast. Note clear vinyl, if you want to look through these indie rock waltzes as life spins past.
-Thurston Hunger

Plus Instruments – “Februari – April 81′” – [Domani Sounds]

Thurston Hunger   10/25/2022   12-inch, A Library

Truus de Groot is Plus Instruments, still to this day and she was back in 1981 when this was issued by the
Kremlin (label). Rising today from the Netherlands on a Domani (!!) reissue. Superb art-damaged keyboard kookie cuts, it’s mostly a one-woman project, but a Sonic elder back in his Youth helps out here and there, you can hear Lee Ranaldo’s staccato vox on “Between the Wars” adding Ace Frehley rock riffs, while de Groot’s synth bubbles up over a frisky drum beat. He’s also rant-grunting on the track after that, with an old rap beat and recorded beneath a NYC manhole cover. But the album excels with Truus at the mic, is the first song a take on the “Profumo” affair? For me it is. Is “Rush Hour” an instro-homage to Neu? For me it is. “Things” has toy piano over dingey synthy beats, moments later that sweetness dissolves into the sweaty panic of “Freundschaft.” “Cannot” comes with no safe word, great whacks and bursts of sound as TdG wails her words on top. There are some songs about war on this, but I declare Truus the victor. Indeed she’s still waging weird work to this day. Like this album, aging very well!
-Thurston Hunger

PS Looks like she’s long since transplanted from Eindhoven to San Diego, it would be nice to have her come up the freakway to perform live on air soon. Stir in some Bosko too!

Ambarchi, Oren / Berthling, Johan / Werliin, Andreas – “Ghosted” – [Drag City]

Thurston Hunger   10/25/2022   12-inch, Jazz

Clearlight dawn, open freeway, gas tank filled, mind empty but lucid and ready for the road. This Drag City lp embarks in pristine manner. On the flip side it travels at night, headlights off easing up on the accelerator. Exquisite drone/jazz/rock ragas for a three piece, although the mesmerizing lead-off track features a guest passenger riding shotgun on the ngoni, Christer Bothen. Bothen is no stranger to playing with Fire! And 2/3 of that Swedish project are here as the engine, Johan Berthling on bass and Andreas Werliin on drums. (Side note: KFJC has an Oren + full Fire! trio 2012 release including a flaming Mats Gustaffson). The entire album is a smooth ride from start to finish, merges lanes with The Necks in that vivid hypnotic. Ambarchi through-out adds treated guitar vapors, almost there/not-there, like the air with the windows down, or the freeway vanishing on the distant horizon.

-Thurston Hunger

Knurl – “Final Decisive Moment. The” – [Oxen]

Thurston Hunger   9/6/2022   A Library, CD

Noise concrete. Mic technique on display in the junkyard garden of cement and steel. Gear grinding of crashed cars, listened to this in part while reading “The Atrocity Exhibition” seemed like a good fit. I preferred “Prime” “Adjustment” and especially “Inferior Elements” – all tracks where some silences serve as shock absorbers or audio igniters. “Inferior Elements” had parts that felt like a better take on Godzilla groans. If you want a more persistent electric feel to the non-organic crash, “Abstraction” might give you that buzz. Knurl is Alan Bloor hailing from Toronto and whaling on disembodied equipment since 1994. Not sure if here he used a bow (seems likely) or effects (maybe not?) here are some videos of earlier performances by him
This was a live 2022 recording, file it under Metal, Actual Metal.
-Thurston Hunger

BeNe GeSSeRiT – “Fashion Is a Dirty Word” – [Domani Sounds]

Thurston Hunger   6/21/2022   12-inch, A Library

A completely tweaked treat from 1987 Belgium via Alain Neffe. Here Alain is “Benedict G” synthing his way around and besides his wife Nadine Bal (aka “B. Ghola”). Things start with a mirror world take on G-L-O-R-I-A but the whole album is glorious with some songs taking longer to read their titles than to actually listen to them. Check out #2 like a shot of la-la-las in a bar from Blade Runner. Nadine’s imbalanced vox are so perfect, often in a kind of clipped and buzzed English. Insane Music for Insane People is not just an appropriate assessment, it was the title for Neffe’s series of collections in the 80’s. Kookoo keyboards, drum machines with dimples, occasional sax/clarinet squalls, brief processional guitar. But mostly the analog keys carry the sound for art-inflected minimal music, which is not afraid to
be catchy at times. Or to be imitation Chinese or an Xmas carol in exile. “You Can Dance If You Want To” is like the Waitresses meet the Kinks. Things are definitely kinky strange through-out, but less red-light district and far more playful wonder for your inner child bouncing on a trampoline of reverb.
Forget fear, Fun is the mind-liberator.
-Thurston Hunger
PS KFJC has a Feeding Tube Bennie & the G lp for further frolic

Pond, The – “Turchesi Miracolosi” – [Syrphe]

Thurston Hunger   6/21/2022   A Library, CD

Syrphe’s up! Killer label, and this duet falls in line with femme freq fatale work from Iva Bittova to Fovea Hex to Anna Homler and beyond! Elisabetta Lanfredini might be classically trained, but also might have just grown up singing in dark German forests. Multi-lingual, and multi-tracked, her voice is soothing and strange. Nicolas Wiese as her electronic accompanist is subtle and deft, almost like providing the lighting equivalent for these musical mini-movies. Lanfredini’s voice can glide gossamer as on the opening track, or she can shout out like a barker at a knight’s hard day duel as on “Cavalleresco.” That song alternates with her also whispering and singing lullabye-like. The next track, she summons English as her voice is burst into chords and she speak sings a diary of rebirth if not emancipation. Two short improvs invoke
voice-triggered percussion. In the end, close your eyes and mind your head for “Salome” – a different kind of doom. Quite an inspiring swirl-wind of a voice/electronic release. Don’t miss!
-Thurston Hunger

D-Vices, The – “Adequate / Modern Boy” – [Celluloid Lunch Records]

Thurston Hunger   6/21/2022   7-inch, A Library

Bass bopping driving no wave from Montreal 1980, freshly reissued in 2022. Was stoked to see this in Cinderaura’s recent haul for KFJC, as by chance I had recently heard the American Devices “Gory Story.” (Gotta give props to Tremendo Garaje for that.) The D-Vices are an earlier incarnation still with an accent on Vivce, featuring Phil Nolin on vox/guitar. Nolin’s guitar brings a sort of Television-style search-and-slash-and-destroy. Nolin’s vox are full of piss and vinegar. These two short blasts really stand up over time, “Modern Boy” could get people Contorting on the dance floor. Nolin’s lyrics are delivered like body blows, at times his guitar and voice step back to let Rick Trembles bass and Guy LaPointe’s drums cruise for a few measures. Maybe live those measures would stretch out for minutes, it’s a pretty gritty groove. Trembles was the only Canuck to stick with the American Devices phase.
-Thurston Hunger

Dosenoffner – “Das Neue Normal!” – [Self Released]

Thurston Hunger   6/21/2022   A Library, CD

It takes two to make an umlaut, two to spread a disease and two might be a key formula for noise albums at least for my jaded abnormal ears. Too often one person can just go knob-wild, and record till the “tape” (or disk space) runs out, but here Peter Keller and Casey Jones collaborate to serve up pretty tasty byte-sizzled tracks. Plenty of good old scorching waves of power electronics. Hum along with your air conditioner (#1), or go from popcorn microsynthwave to missile command (#7). The hit track is “Sprinkler Kitty” with a photo inside. Cute, with chopped vox, and it does have some of that squelch that sounds like a sprinkler. Several siren-scapes where one oscillating wave towers over everything. KFJC DJ aBacus donated this & dug #4 trust him…always! I’m fine w/ #9. Backyard Covid BBQ cookoff? Seattle experi-sonic slaw.
-Thurston Hunger

Coral Club – “Turn To” – [Not Not Fun Records]

Thurston Hunger   6/21/2022   A Library, Cassette

Alexander Sirenko’s sophomore NNF release as Coral Club. Aquatic washes of sound, seabird samples. Floatational drone, waves of synth. From the color trio, “Red” had a light Terry Riley flair to start, more keys and even drum machines get stacked on top. “Turn To Blue” evolves into the most tense of the tracks. “Spectrum” with little ticker-tocker techno trills dives back into the aquatic. When percussion shows up on the cassette, it’s pretty non-intrusive and this is largely all about a warm chill and drift.
-Thurston Hunger

Brandsdal, Kjetil and Warland, Thore – “Stavanger 11/12.6.2021” – [Drid Machine Records]

Thurston Hunger   5/25/2022   12-inch, A Library

If you were to tag this as experimental trip hop I don’t think the genre police would pull you over. The turntable has been drinking, not I. Kjetil runs this fine label (and has committed Noxagt acts on KFJC in the past) pairs up with drummer Thore Warland (Staer and Golden Oriole) and they spin out two sides that sound the way the marbled grey vinyl looks. The material is taken from the debut performance in Norway of the duo working together and is part of a new lp  series/art packaging on Drid Machine. Danceable musique concrete floor on side A gives way to a sort of Sun Ra funk eclipse on a cold meteor on the flip. Definitely more spacey on Part 2. Both sides deliver an outsider turntablism tribe vibe, with Warland not simply pummeling away on percussion (and he adds his own odd electronics). Oddly chilled and refreshing, like napping on a mortuary slab. Recommend setting your life support here to 45 rpm, but you can turn the turntables on Kjetil and pitch it down or up as the sonic spirits move you.

-Thurston Hunger

Miller, Adam – “Gateway” – [Inner Magic]

Thurston Hunger   5/24/2022   A Library, CD

Clean gentle guitar instros that feel from a different planet than Miller’s work with The Chromatics. Volume pedal fades, some very chill reverb, and occasionally a ringing flanging. Lot’s of 1-5-9 sprawls and calm apreggios. You can taste the Fender endorsement in the sound before you read it in the liner notes.
Speaking of those liners, they also mention “Gateway was inspired by true events” which makes me think
Miller went through one of the most pure and pleasant alien abductions ever. And did his captors have a mellotron on board, ask “The Painted Boy.” Music to advance masked to? Quickly though, most tracks are short… a couple felt a little like “gateways” back to Kramer-era Low, sans the pleasure/pain of vox.
-Thurston Hunger

Exek – “Advertise Here” – [Castle Face Records]

Thurston Hunger   4/12/2022   A Library, CD

Oz-balls. with Albert Wolski’s languid vox on top of awkward pop songs. The drums want to party, the rest of the band is fine just chill’ing in a post-Clean lighted synth space. The CD beings and ends with brief palette cleansing instros. Wolski steps to the mic and on toes on #2 with “You’re looking pregnant, are you pregnant?” If this album took a paternity test, it might indicate Cueniform and Flying Nun as label parents. Ben Hepworth’s bass is a stand-out, check him out as he boogies his was from “Sen Yen For 30 Min of Violin” on into “Beyond Currency.” Ben straight up pumps up the sonic tent for synth/piano to breathe and for the occasional guitar Fripp-flare or trumpet squoom. Is Valya YL Hooi the trumpeteer? She also guest sings briefly on “Unseasonable Warmth” – her 2021 “Untitled” album is a nice drifty, dizzy dream of an album btw. Back on the Exek summary, not sure what the title means (nor sure about a lot of Wolski’s words) but it’s a pretty smooth ride.
-Thurston Hunger

Scissor Girls, The – “Scissor Girls, The” – [Jabs (2)]

Thurston Hunger   4/12/2022   12-inch, A Library

Origin story for Scissor Girls, once upon a cassette (circa 1992) now a slab of vinyl. Azita Youssefi’s vox nicely mixed btw, percussive with that punk swagger stand out. She’s no girl in trouble, she IS trouble. Sue Anne Zollinger on guitar is sharp and slashy, those brittle distorted chords and some of that math-by-odd-numbers note playing that are part of the no-wave vibe. Discordant and more abrasive at its time, 30 years later it feels like home, to me at least. Heather Melowic ties it up with a Ramones-y approach to the drums. As befits its humble demo beginnings, this album is pretty short and stripped down. On “Riveted” there’s a hint of the art damage that would be added when the band got Load-ed to a (pretty amazing) label back then.

One aside about the Jabs label, run by Ethan Swan it’s interesting in an era where one hears about nano-pennies per play on various streams, that he’s striving to be super transparent on production costs and profits. It ain’t a Rochester-to-Riches tale, but as labors of love go especially in an internet world where everyone is watching/listening/creeping, it’s laudable.

This EP is a cool artifact, and for some maybe an introduction to Chicago No Wave and beyond (connecting to Bulb Records, Zeek Sheck, Weasel Walter as Zelig and more). Dig in, despite what Azita assails on “Gamma E-Ray-Ser” there is a victory of sort.
-Thurston Hunger

Flower-Corsano Duo – “Halcyon, The” – [VHF Records]

Thurston Hunger   4/12/2022   12-inch, A Library

Two side-long koans. guitarist and Vibracathedran Michael Flower rejoining forces with drum roller
Chris Corsano. KFJC has no fewer than 12 Corsano duos (including “The Four Aims” with Flower) and
additional 10 trios with Chris’ sticks. Like 2009’s “Four Aims” this is jazz-inflected free rock. Flower’s guitar shimmers, high-note, high-frequency arpeggio cycling that keeps cresting upon itself. Corsano equally fervent, but with cymbals to cool the process down. To me this is like hyperdrone music, such a consistent scramble of surging sound it has that calming drone vibe. Hence the LP title perhaps, although it is a kind of crazy calm. Hell-cyon?!? Actually side B does have a pretty chill section guitar wise starting at about 9:20 in, slow rise refueling back Meanwhile the song titles could refer to Cuyahoga and Werner Herzog’s “Fitzcarraldo” …but probably not. As exhilarating as the playing by both, their efforts on recording/mixing are just as crucial. Every trill, every fill is alive here. When Flower’s electronics fritz you can almost smell the crisp electric singe. Talk about a smoke break….fire this up!
-Thurston Hunger

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