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

Soft Shoulder – “Formerly On Fluorescent Paper” – [Gilgongo Records]

Thurston Hunger   4/6/2022   12-inch, A Library

Rock has not been exterminated, and Mark E. Smith’s sneer lives on in many throats including here via James Fella. James is the fella behind the mighty Gilgongo label, for now he is the sole Shoulder carrying the load. Well, he’s got his trusty drum-machine along as a side-kick-snare. Voice often run through a distorted auctioneer’s megaphone via landline in the basement. We recently added his collab with Gabriella Isaac which is a ear/skin/soul noise-ball shredder. Quite a contrast to this song-strong lp with trace elements of punk country…okay definite accent on the former. I think it’s just how the strings slide around that feel like a lap-steel in trouble (or that kind of Spray Paint galloping guitar vibe). Something here makes me think about a Texas Funeral (viva Jon Wayne) even though it is closer to a sweltering swamp cooler (I think Fella’s a permanent Tempe type). Don’t sleep on his spiraling sax screeches
in “Child Not Listing” and “No Magic Dirt” and the hit single (in my ears at least) “Half Wall Bleed.” Or put on “PO Box 7455” and work your dance moves (it ain’t ESG but it’s got a groove). All tracks are short to really short, so unless it’s a Two-fer-Tuesday get something queued up pronto, bucko. Worse things could happen, really digging the punchiness of this record, hope James finds a band to flesh the songs out live. Maybe Deerhoof’s John Dieterich well lend a hand as he mastered them for the record.
-Thurston Hunger
PS Finally looked up where the name Gilgongo apparently came from, even more to love.

Mouchoir Etanche – “Une Fille Petrifiee” – [Cellule 75]

Thurston Hunger   4/6/2022   12-inch, A Library

On first overall listen organs in elegy resonated most; after reading some online notes those sounds felt tied to the loss of livelihood in general during the pandemic and in painful particular to the artist’s Mother dying. Marc Richter is Mouchoir Etanche, he is also familiar to KFJCers as Black to Comm and for running the stellar Dekorder label. The album announces itself with “Enter Mirror Hotel” and the obviousness of samples are present, tight loops of arias and orchestral mini-flourishes, human and yet not. As the album progresses there is more blur between sample and source sounds, like life during the pandemic one wonders what is real/unreal. On A4, is that a siren or a bagpipe strafing a stately locked organ slice. In looking at at titles like “Le Temps Isolee” and “Menschen Im Null-Raum” hard to not hear this as a quaranteen-aged release in any language. Still plenty of grace and even a sliver of hope on “Secheresse” (drought) which recalls jubilant and children frolicking in your speakers. The first two tracks do floor me, but I wonder if the title track was also considered as an opener, starburst organ grandeur. I may be wrongly accenting the Nurse with Wound tending your Covid bedside here; listening now to Black to Comm’s “Alphabet 1968” there were solemn organ drones and disembodied voices even there, so it might be a part of a more pervasive nostalgia for Richter (et moi).

FWIW the project name translates as “waterproof handkerchief” so maybe there is an element of immunity to sorrow built-in. Independent of the name and the times, a very deft and beautiful weaving/mix/making of sounds.
-Thurston Hunger

J.R.C.G. – “Ajo Sunshine” – [Castle Face Records]

Thurston Hunger   3/15/2022   A Library, CD

Justin R. Cruz Gallego (seen elsewhere in KFJC’s library in Dreamdecay where he is one of two drummers and a howler of a lead vocalist) works under his own initials here and mostly by himself. A few guests including the face of the Castle Face, John Dwyer, help out but while Dreamdecay provides storm clouds of septet sound, those thick jammy clouds part on “Ajo Sunshine.” (Prounced Ahh-Ho, maybe “garlic” en Espanol, or maybe just a feeling?) This album has a little bit of a Bowie-in-Berlin soundtracky feel for me especially the opening/closing and other tracks like “Holy Hope” which feature Gallego’s Dad’s field recordings from cemetery announcements I think). But there’s also plenty of percussion, not always from Gallego’s drums, sometimes the synths provide it, sometimes the samples are chopped up for a form of beat-speak on “De La Frontera” and “Brother Was a Bull Rider”. Something about the keyboard chords can give a hint of the walls closing in, augmented notes keep stacking on top of notes. Hard to pin down a simple genre for this, at times the album feels like cold wave and prog rock had an affair. Nah, that’s not right, and it ain’t Tortoise meets The Faint either…those solar flares of guitar on the title track obliterate that. The title track starts the most Castle-Facey (with imitation mellotron?), but it explodes with a drum and siren breakdown/jam-out to finish. That song and the album are a nice, but warped, ride!

-Thurston Hunger

An Anthology of Greek Experimental Music [coll] – [Sub Rosa]

Thurston Hunger   1/24/2022   12-inch, A Library

2017 collection covering artists’ pieces ranging from 1966 (Michalis Adamis) to 2017 (Ilan Manouach). Nearly all artists making their KFJC debut here, Iannis Xenakis (RIP 2001) is an exception having been spun hundreds of times at our station, from his drum-driven work to orchestral to electronics (like his “Voyage” here to lead off side D.) That is followed nicely by a blitzy electronic noise-fax from Marinos Koutsomichalis. There is definitely a sense of the curation in the *lp* track segues, even as the detailed liner notes discourage any sort of specific “flavour” to the works. Ending side C, the connection from an almost hiphop “BRUT” (and brut-al in its cutting up Billy Holiday to a Holocaust theme) followed by a gorgeous somber tonic from Panayiotis Veliantis – like a sonic canopic Grecian urn. Side A launches a long form with a chime-y vortex of oscillation by Anestis Logothetis and ends with an aptly titled “Sense” by Panayiotis Kokoras – where mere sound is used to mirror touch/taste/sight and a whiff of a nature walk. Side B covers much territory drumming a wind-up monkey on meth, through a guitar piece like a slow homage to old no-wave Theoretical Girls, over to Manouach and a sax-tet calliope before a scraping meeting of minds before ILIOS sends barking dogs into an electronic hive mind and Side B then closes with Michalis Adamis and what feels like EVP for ghost birds. Just a whole lot of diversity, even more if we include the MP3 download boni. Sub Rosa further uncovers the weirdness of the world!

-Thurston Hunger

Two Synths A Guitar (And) A Drum Machine [coll] – [Soul Jazz Records]

Thurston Hunger   1/23/2022   12-inch, A Library

Vibrant fun from Stuart Baker’s mighty Soul Jazz label. The album title spells out the formula for the songs, but how the artists titrate that formula is captivatingly diverse. This album will put KFJC’s Reject Girl on the Soul Patrol dancefloor, and happily so. I’ll be over in the corner watching Mills College wonder-weird woman Marina La Palma rant far from the maddening mirrorball (her band Ixna from the 80′ we have two of their old 7″ records). Spliff chilling in the melodica dub haze of Niagara. Nearly all the Sounds here are recently from the Universe. The leadoff side has the most driving guitar pieces, while that side also teams up Fab 5 Freddy with Vex Ruffin for a 2016 strive at positivity on “The Balance” – even more valiant mantra these days. Taiwan’s “Black Deer” sprinkle acoustic guitar on their beat-based entry. Maybe not them, but I suspect many of the artists here have an ESG record or two in their personal collections. Reviewing remotely I’m not sure if KFJC’s vinyl is colored “Neon Green” like the title of Tom ov England’s disco dub dish o’ porridge. All tracks tasty in any color.
-Thurston Hunger

Spllit – "Spllit Sides" – [Feel It Records]

Thurston Hunger   1/23/2022   12-inch, A Library

Together Ronni Bourgeois and Matthew Urquhart are Spllit. One “L” for each side of this Baton Rouge band adds up for a big “W” on this tremendous record. Short songs like pleasant panic attacks, trace elements of no wave, lyrics burst from grad school dissertations found in the trash cans. One moment they are creating “Next Level Music” (where Urquhart intones like Rod Serling) but a few itty-bitty ditties later they tell it’s all just for fun during the robo-puppet beginning of “The Joke (But Who’s Laughing)” I think it’s all seriously fun, cool dorky guitar, detached yet devoted vocals. “Urq’s Heart” spelllls out the band’s name and hints at Ken Nordine elocution. Lots of bizzy bass and ray-gun electronics. Planet Split is further out than Planet Claire, viva art damaged pop.

We all listen, like we die, alone. Please play this loud enough on your ear buds, so I can vaguely hear it through the walls in my pandemic isolation booth.
-Thurston Hunger

Dawson, Richard – "Peasant" – [Weird World Record Co]

Thurston Hunger   9/15/2021   A Library, CD

Behold, now you can hob-nob with the hob-jobs. Step into the tent for these 11 unleavened songs from 2017 by way of some Medieval village mill. Dawson is Superman in reverse, unearthly talented while cloaking his powers neath a hair shirt and hairier acoustic guitar plucklings. His guitar work feels like a finger or two might have been caught in
the gears of Derek Bailey, or John Fahey. Check the ripping outro of “Scientist” and then the opening of “Hob.” Dawson’s singing will trace the difficultly strung steps often as well. His phrasing and word-choice stray from expectation, and reward with a completely unbeaten path. A congenital affliction with eyesight seems to have only enhanced his insight. Is this folk, or folck, or fulk? He’s added avant minstrels to this release, including harp-warper Rhodri Davies. Lyric book included as part of vocational historical training for each job, granted the position of “No-One” is filled by a short instrumental on #10 before the towering cautionary tale of being a “Masseuse” to close the album. Richard Dawson may not be for everyone, but I strictly blame everyone. Top notch songsmith. Essential.
-Thurston Hunger

Cannell,Laura and Friends – "These Feral Lands – Volume 1" – [Brawl Records]

Thurston Hunger   9/14/2021   A Library, CD

Spoken word strung over strings. Violinista Laura Cannell who leads this project and label had previously recorded violin improvisations, called Buzzard A through H. Other sounds and importantly, recited words are then stretched over the dry bones of those improvs previously left for dead, and like a bog man come alive stepping out of the peat, the resulting movement catches our ears, eyes and breath. The words are steeped in history and lore, monsters stagger forth; men, wolves and professional wrestlers cast shadows over the spoken sections and down the side of the Wrekin (a hill in Shropshire, England). There is more than dirt in that hill, and plenty of fecund soil in These Feral Lands. I am not just talking about “Vessel” and its 20000 year old golem summoning. I was quite be-warlocked by (erstwhile comedian, but here he comes across like a one-eyed gin-soaked prophet/professor!) Stewart Lee, but the tracks with the ladies bewitch as well, often with looped recitations. The sliding strings weave a tense web of active drone to preserve the words. In my mind “Black Shuck” refers to the virus du jour, but apparently it was some dangerous beastie the size of Winston Churchill stalking those unaware in the English countryside.
-Thurston Hunger

Ocher, Mary – "Mary Ocher + Your Government" – [Klangbad]

Thurston Hunger   9/13/2021   12-inch, A Library

Reprint of 2016 album where the talented tweaker Mary Ocher pits herself between dueling drummers, Stefan Widdess and Oliver Rivera-Drew (aka Your Government) hard at work. The drums keep her grounded, and keep the bpm meter running. Things get off with a blast-off, “#&*” is like a space-chimp hyperventilating, Ocher’s voice often is a third percussive instrument. On other tracks, her voice has razor blade runner sharpness, cutting through spaced lady synths beneath the boys with the beat. Catchy art-pop that could fill the skies nicely next to old floating Silver Apples swarmed by Damaged Bugs. Little guitar strum on the swaggering anthem “The Sound of War” – a song with funk/fury and excellent cold stops. But mostly the music here has bloomed from her rock to artwerk krafted from keyboards. “Man vs Air” at 2:18 begs for a 12″ dancehall remix, synth slithers through the left and right channels. Her Dad reportedly was a voice (and puppet theater) actor! Her vocal gyrations would do her otyez proud! Check out “Now (Fear)” for crazy flair and a serious kookiness. If David Bowie hadn’t been eclipsed by that damn Black Star, she’d probably be opening his next tour (and they’d talk about how they both feel such happy discomfort recording in Berlin). Seems she goes through drummers like Spinal Tap (rough enough for Government workers).

Bonus tip: her evolving visuals won’t disappoint fans of these audio trips!
-Thurston Hunger

Ocher as in “Oh-chen” Horrorshow, my-ee droogs!

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