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Thurston Hunger

Kill Yourself “Soft Touch of Man EP” [Gringo Records]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Three piece from Leeds, heavy with middle names, but lean
with lancing guitar rock. James Richard Islip fights the
drums, roundhouse cymbal crashing and below-the-belt toms.
Lurching along with punch-drunk guitar staggers from Giles
Edmund Joseph Bailey, those drums get KY’s dukes up like
early Don Caballero. Meanwhile bassist Andrew Derek Ross
Abbott is impervious to any of this, steadfast and stolid
he keeps each song on its legs. Thick unflappable songs
that have no problem supporting a ragged, jarring guitar.
Each cut leaves a similar metallic taste in your mouth,
this gang of three seems to have plenty of bite. 80’s
scrape with those always-welcome angry Anglonized vocals
from Bailey. Remember sneering started in Britain. Meat
and potatoes, cooked over an open fire on barbed wire.

Kazumoto Endo “While You Were Out” [Box Media]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Singles collection from Kazumoto Endo released in 1999.
I know KFJC’s own Nancy Reagan proclaims noise will be
at the top of the pop charts in 100 years…but why
wait? This is an album that is bursting with sound,
from the first track that has a throbbing pulse under
the metallic screech of train wheels grinding sparks
out on tracks. A lot of the noise on this has that
almost Godzilla like quality of shearing metal, and
lest you think noise is just random sound, try to
create such gorgeous tortured structures yourself.
In noise, I’m a big fan of the chasm…the space
between the sputtering…and Endo uses that well on
this. Sometimes slipping some J-pop or disco ditty
into those spaces, as if to contrast their week
meekness with his arcing cathodes of sound. Those
moments also hint of digital hardcore, but make no
mistake, this is noise at its most extreme, most
powerful and most glorious. Each time I’ve listened
to this I am struck by the diversity of the din that
Endo commands.

Kalaparush and the Light “The Moment” [Entropy Stereo]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   CD, Format, Jazz

Grant Kalaparush his new name, Maurice McIntyre
must seem like another man, a lifetime ago.
In his lengthy absences, one assumes lesser
musicians would have vaporized into myth. But
this CD proves he’s very much alive, indeed
these are all live recordings. Thus fidelity
is okay, but the fluidity is assured. Even
at his speedier cycles, Kalaparush has an
unshakeable lyricism. Thus as he near 70 years
of age, his playing here is fresh, driving. He
is rarely resting now once he’s going, this
makes a nice workout for young tuba player,
Jesse Dulman. Dulman huffs and puffs, and
gets whoops of encouragement from Kalaparush
at times. This release seems to ride on
Dulman’s back…when he’s on the album
succeeds (check the end of #5) but when he
gets soggy, it slogs.

Jucifer “Calling All Cars on the Vegas Strip” [Capricorn]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

NOTE: This is their debut release and it came out back
in 1998, but aside from jabs at Tabs (Tabitha Soren on
“Hero Worship”) the shelf life on this is still active.
A peachy pair of Georgians, when her ire is up vocalist
Amber Valentine’s sounds a little like fellow hellish
belle Jarboe. Her partner in sound and crime is drummer
Ed Livengood, who provides a lot of colosseum whack to
their attack (he sneaks in some scratching as well
here.) Amber also pedal-pushes guitar distortion we
get something like pop metal with an aroma of glamour.
Amber’s voice can shapeshift nicely: whispery coquette,
hoarse hellion, “rock star” (allegedly the words
tatooed across her knuckles.) This album is prettily
produced, a lot of overdubs…especially with vocals.
I’m not sure how that will translate to their leaner
live set. To their credit, this album gets weirder
as it goes along, and they’ve escaped $ucce$$ so far.
Anthemic anathema from Athens.

Josephine Foster and the Supposed “All the Leaves Are Gone” [Locust]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

These songs embrace their pain. Well really more than that
they admit the pain…and tower above it. Foster’s pipes have
the warbling ache of a silent movie actress speaking after so
many years voiceless. The leaves are gone like Garbo. While
Josephine may also be a “Born Hell(rais?)er” her stylized
soprano is stirringly at home guiding cautionary folk with
scattery treble guitar. I suppose that the Supposed may turn
some people off, notably Goodman’s noodling may seem thin
and tweaky to some, but I *really* like its chaos clashing
into these simple strum-along songs. And the percussion that
Rusty Peterson contributes is what gives this album its
unbreakable backbone. Evidently this was originally created
as a rock musical but the songs stand firmly alone, alone
without a lover, alone without forebears (as the poignant
“Deathknell” decries), but powerfully alone.

Jojo s/t [Alchemy]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Fuzz bluster rock from the master magician of Alchemy. This
album launches from zero-to-90 mph with the first freeway
rocker, a two-chord lane changer that even hits a classic
Hijo-hijacked searing solo. On #2 the rust still doesn’t
sleep…don’t miss the great ggggaarrrr screams. #3 stops for
air and a twinkling delay number. Next up a surprisingly pure
garagey power pop. #5 has a tense sort of glam rock build up
into a power-sludge of divine distortion. #6 a cool feedback
statue is carved, with dry patting drums at its base. Only to
be followed by a trip to janglesville. #8 provides bursting
psych with gut-punched oomph vocals… #9 has a nice bouncing
bassline over a little slice o’ bliss. #10 leaves us wanting
more with sticky, staticky eruptions of effect-ladenn guitar
with Jojo howling what sounds like “More my brothers…more
my brothers.” You’ll be screaming for more too!

Rose, Jack “Apocalyps. X.” [Eclipse]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

Rose continues his path from Pelt straight to the heart of
a twelve-string soul. The A-side featues a darker current,
thick ropes of vibration…bubbling up the neck of the
guitar on the lower deep end strings. Near flamenco finger
flicking starts “black pearls from the river.” On “tower of
babel” the frenzied fingers give way to bouncy swipes at
the end of that track. On the B-side, it seems like a Rose
made a conscious effort to work the upper strings more, the
sound is brighter, but still brass rattling. With the higher
notes, we can hear the sympathetic halo of echo shining
through easy. As the record spins towards its end, Rose
chose to slow down his playing…the earlier fast ripples of
arpeggios now separate into more distinct drops of guitar
rain, beads of sound. Thornless and acoustic black.

Illoin “Pinafore” [Notenuf/CollisionCollider]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library

Pronounced “ILL Owen” but the guy’s name ain’t Owen it’s
Andrew Ryan from a chilly part of Philadelphia. Most
cuts have quick-click ticking percussion in them, which
contrasts the slower pulling of chords from synth and
accordion. I actually like it when the bullet-train
metronome ticking cuts out…usually at song’s end. But
then on the title cut, we just have the electric piano
sans *any* beats, and that was far worse. It plods
towards prehistoric New Age. My favorite was “Ask the
Dust” (possible John Fante tribute?’), it was the most
upbeat of these otherwise beat-up and iced-down pieces.
It and the initial track only have vocals. “I Am Never”
replaces the clicks with cricket samples, and a gentle
guitar instead of keys. “Starmaps” has a Raymond Scott
twinkle to it, overall the latter half of this CD works
best. While I enjoy “bleakbeat” music, it’s a simple
pleasure. By the time an album passes, I want to go out
and hug a drummer.

I Remember Syria

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   CD, Format, International

More sublime slide shows of sound, this time with some aid
coming from Porest’s Erik Gergis. Besides dizzying cultural
doppler effects, this release is strengthened by some man in
the street recordings. Bizarre bazaars, popular politics
and mucho mujahadeen. On the road to Damascus we get what
almost sounds like a rap over machine gunned beats; sirens,
cellphones and other forms of prayer; transactions and
transglobal underground conversations and middle-eastern
sonic youth radio. The excerpts of young boys singing are
just tough and vibrant. The deeper in, the Greater Syria
you get. Outstanding pop pieces, outspoken Arab Women in
Focus and a not-so-out aleppo sitting in cinema. Radaio
Tartus sounding like a cross-over point between worlds
and frequencies created naturally. There’s more unnatural
doctoring on some of the tracks, but scintillating…
Ali Dada.

Hood / Themselves – split “You Shins Break My Heart” [Rocket Racer]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   7-inch, A Library, Format

Further fruits from the cross-pollination of Hood with the
cLOUDDEAD heads. We get more solid drifting vortex pop from
Birmingham’s Hood…a constant state of exhallation. Breathe
out…breathe out again. Repeat until you pass out blissfully.
Themselves (aka Dose One along with Jel and Dax) then take
that track as inspiration and P.U.S.H. it up with their tiny
trademark martian vocals and their own sped up swirl of
sound. Only seven inches, but seventy layers of sonic veils
wrap this little picture disc gem.
Streamy dreams of subconciousness.

Homework 102: US DIY/Punkwave and Postpunk [coll] – [Hyped2Death]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

From the masters of Messthetics, comes another sloppy second
serving of records that KFJC didn’t hit the first time round.
Proof that innocence and cynicism can mix, that might be one
theme I can pull out of this alphabet slice of history and
hysteria. Another theme might be the importance of DEVO?
While the hairspray might be on too thick on #6 for my liking,
maybe that’s your favorite. My favorites…even without the
connection to Swill Radio – #12 rolls like a bowling ball.
#17 has a crisp surfishness to its SanFrantic sound. #8’s
T-wrecked homewrecking. #11 has a duty then for the future
now. #16 marks X’s old spot, well in the vocal heteroplay.
#24 is spastic with a sublimely retarded brief guitar solo.
#20 can be used to drive someone insane, tell them it is a
cover of a TV theme (it isn’t) and ask them to name it; with
their every guess, say “Closer…” #4 borrows a riff and
accidentally hits some vocal harmonies. #21 has a nice
oom-pa-pa chorus and wiggily keyboards. #9 has wonderfully
defective electrones. Check the liner notes for info, and
reps and Repp. Test out of advanced displacement.

Him “Lila” [Galaxia-Platform]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Rob Mazurek coronet-crowned cornet hornpainter is held aloft
here by Him’s drums and Fender Rhodes. Doug Scharin, aka Him,
creates a swirl of soul, with deft afrobeat accents. At 21+
minutes, this flows smoothly, evaporates almost too quickly.
I hear mbira, or is that just an incredibly gourdy Rhodes,
resonance unparalleled. On “the lila” at about 2.5 minutes
in, we get doppler tranced vocals from Christian Dautresme,
and there’s rippling kora underscoring that second piece as
well ultimately leaving an angelic aftermath. The swelling
sweep of Scharin’s polyrhythms interact near perfectly with
Mazurek’s cornet: its dips, mellow mutes and sparkling
bursts, all enveloped in a rich mantle reverb. Add in some
subtle guitar juju from Joe Goldring and Griffin Rodriguez
on bass. This EP takes on a deceptive vibe of effortless
grace, a queen walks among her people and alongside Him.
One wishes she could stay longer, but perhaps that would
detract from the majesty.

Gerald Hawk “The Honey Guide Bird” [Abduction]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Miss those voices inside your head? Fear not, they were
summoned by the musical magnet that Gerald Hawk operates.
Plentiful odd vocalizing on this dangerous disc o’ din.
First we had thousands of god-fearing folk who realized
that listening for Backwards Masking was as much fun as
self-flagellation with spiky switches. More recently all
the cool kids are going cuckoo over Reverse Speech. But
both of those processes require you to manually play a
medium backwards. That can give you Carpal Tunnelvision
in your ears. Hawk’s message is messed up straight from
the get-go to save you time and get to the important job
of hearing communiques from deities, aliens and your
deceased guinea pig. All scrambled by what sound like
civil war era submarines, shoddy gardening pipes and
some sort of space elevator. The pieces often are put
together with abrupt links, like a lion’s head on a
lamb’s body. The tail of track #2 is mesmerizing, an
angel singing the lost Conet Bible. Loops are used to
the point where ears begin to blur and you hear a phrase
change. Like magic, only it’s real. I thought I heard a
“fuck” on #5. but it’ll probably morph by the time you
play it. There’s water on Mars and this too!

Hannah Marcus “Desert Farmers” [Bar/None]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Gorgeous album of glass-blown ballads. Hannah’s vox are
metrosexual and meticulous. Languid but not anguished.
The lyrics feel as though they are an oblique slice
though intricate novels. Indeed two songs are cobbled
from author Rick Moody’s work. Sonic streakings from
two God Speeders highlight the music so well, never
obliterating or interfering with these stories of
people in motion. Working against the odds, against
the heat, driven into dead ends…they persevere.
Piano is telescoped, far-away on many tracks. Acoustic
guitar blends so well with her singing. Wistful and
wishful meet and marry. This is a good album to take
your time to.

Julius Hemphill “One Atmosphere” [Tzadik]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Elegant austere treatments of Hemphill compositions. All
recent realizations of pieces. Tense start w/ suspicious
strings and inquisitive piano, a lot of pressure for
“One Atmosphere.” Next “Savannah Suite” has percussion
unlike the other pieces here; Pheeroan Aklaff’s rattling
and rolling and hi-hat/cymbal riding hit the spot. That’s
the most this release swings…everything else is stately
and cerebral. It is nice how the Marty Erhlich’s playful
flute on “Savannah” hands the torch over to the more
somber flutes that commence “Water Music”. The second
suite section with its array of horns recalls the World
Sax Quartet (founded by Hemphill) and is reminscent of
ROVA too. By the third section, a thick driving groove
of saxes marches in beneath a return of the flutes, and
rides that rhythm till its squeak and flutter finish.
The “Backwater” closing has a last call boozy flavor
though still poured into a crystal champagne glass.
Hail Julius, RIP April 2nd 1995.

Lou Harrison “Drums Along the Pacific” [New Albion]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

A collection over time and timbre of Harrison’s
percussion music. Extremely melodic (often tuned
instruments, percussive and otherwise) give flesh
to these soothing numbers.) William Winant leads
his group through some numbers that are fun to hum
along to, honest. Gamelan flavors come through on
various works…as does an air of celebration.
Harrison worked on the left coast, Santa Cruz as
a “maverick” composer long before that tag gained
any sort of notoriety and evidently was quite
supportive of many musicians, local and worldwide.
Sadly he died earlier this year, the music here
will be around long after his demise…indeed, it
seems almost as if it existed long before him as
well…he merely was able to help it flourish
within chamber captivity. This music will grow
vines over speakers in harsh climates…

Grubbs, David “A Guess at the Riddle” [Drag City]

Thurston Hunger   1/27/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Quizzical vocal phrases mix with metaphysical lyrical daze
to create an album that attains greatness, at its own pace.
The master Gastr del Sol still shines, joined by a bunch of
guest angels dancing on the pins and needles he calls songs.
His guitar sort of scribbles away, busy not furious. His
piano is like really nice ice water, nothing fancy but
mighty refreshing. It gets poured on more during the second
half of the album. His vocal delivery is wild-eyed while
relaxed, just the right pitch for the wonder of his words.
He’s working here some with Hannah Marcus, whose recent
effort was awash in its own charm. Maybe she’s functioning as
his muse, who knows? But this album with every listen casts
the longer and longer shadows of masterpiece.

Gregorio, Guillermo “Otra Musica” Atavistic

Thurston Hunger   1/27/2005   A Library, CD, Format, Jazz

John Corbett’s gotta feel proud about unearthing this sonic
document for his Unheard Series. Check out the release notes
that trace Guillermo back to his Argentinian beginings, very
informative. The album itself is wild and wooly, with the
latter third a foray into the familiar unfamiliarities of
free jazz…including two splendid multitrack excursions
(#15 – the sax piece seems to fight against itself, while
#14 – the clarinet seems to be one mind with many mouths)
The first third of the CD showcases a gritty Pierre Schaeffer
in-flux-uence. Scrapey and tink-plinky under-the-hood
piano on #1, tape time travel of bells on #2, on #4/#5 the
star is not the clarinet or voice so much as the sounds of
40-year-old tape, and the slipperiness of its sound. The
middle third is my favorite, as we get various eclectic
ensembles making music in micromoments. #6 verges on non-
existence, but #7 after a raspy start gets into hiccuping
percussion and then drunk strings, then some hummingbird
sax. #8 is a spooky spine-tingler, #9 is muy guapo with a
probable cello-player and haunting vibes/accordion action.
#10 fits between musique concrete, Albert Ayler & Caroliner.
Music from the planet of Outer Otra.

Bijma, Greetje “Sit Down, Listen…” [Bvhaast]

Thurston Hunger   1/27/2005   A Library

You’ll think this Dutch doll had more than one mouth after
listening to this series of solo renditions of songs/poems.
A couple of covers that are definitely her own, including
the Joan Baez number at the end that makes this a really
personal release; a lullabye for the exhausted mother. Plus
a cover of Abbey Lincoln is always going to be a winner. On
other tracks she tweaks her tonsil like a koto (#4) or gets
breathy whispers like a bansuri flute (#5) or brraps like
a muted trombone (#9). A vocal master of impersonation.
Things get a touch Tuvan at parts, and well a touch touched
at times too…but NEVER touched up. As far as I can tell
somehow Barend Minks dropped some mics down into the
acoustic caverns in Greetje’s soul…whole lotta room, and
a whole lotta reverb down there. Get in, shut up, sit down
and listen…

Get Hustle “Live at the Little Fawn” [self released]

Thurston Hunger   1/27/2005   A Library, CD, Format

our-only CDR for this Los Angeles three piece/no peace. They
whip up relentess rock led by Mac Mann’s electric piano which
undergoes cardiac arrest. Ron Avila (Holy Molar, Chromatics)
whips up a percussion slugfest. And there’s blood spattered
all over the sneering tough-enough-for-one-g girl singer (as
in one who singes) Valentine Falcon (nee Husar?). She’s got
a sort of drooly swagger kinda 70’s dirtbag rock. Apparently
they have frightened off all guitarists who normally pine for
such rock, well that’s a good thing..but Get Hustle might pay
too high a premium for authenticity, sacrificing any semblance
of polish. The songs here are sweaty, exhorting, gamey and a
bit samey. They are all live, which can attribute to that. My
favorite section on each tends to be the opening where they
let the stormclouds brew, Mann’s piano gusting some reverb
feedback, and sort of hovering before the huffing-and-puffing
kicks in and they kick out the family jams and jewels.

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