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Thurston Hunger

Faint, the – “Danse Macabre” – [Saddle Creek]

Thurston Hunger   8/14/2001   A Library, CD

Slap a retro-EARGASM sticker on this nugget. The
best new wave album to come down the pike in some
time. The panicky lead singer (Todd Baechle), the
sense of detachment, the air raid “subtlety” of
synthesizer, the little machine gun guitar rounds,
unabashed drum machines w/ their insistent slap
of digital ass. This supernovas on the promise of
their early (and excellent) 7″ split “Brokers,
Priests, Analysts” I am an unfair judge because
right now I’m 100% infatuated with this. “Control”
(about orchestral conductors in the dark) is a
massive masterpiece. Killer treated vox thoughout,
add some cello for the ultimate in pop. Omaha,
where infection meets confection.

-Hunger

Benjamin, Sathima Bea – “A Morning in Paris” – [Enja Records]

Thurston Hunger   7/30/1997   CD, Jazz

Quite a story from ’63: a Nazi’s secret tape, a young chanteuse takes a chance, the Duke helps and heralds here husband’s (Dollar Brand to-be Abdullah Ibrahim) combo and we’re the happy ending when we play these refreshing trad ballads. Sathima’s voice is satiny, evoking a soulfulness beyond today’s brand of vocal cords on steroids. Makaya Ntshoko’s drums are mic’d as pure fountains of cymbals with soft, splashing snare. Svend Asmussen pops champagne violin bubbles. Ellington guests on two of his pieces, Billy Stayhorn adds a pair working the lower 44, and Ibrahim fills the rest with subtle strength. On all cuts, you can hear the space between their fingers. For a one-day session of one-takes, this is remarkably relaxed. Soothing and lucid as a clear mind in dawn’s light.

-Thurston Hunger

Bryars, Gavin – “Jesus’ Blood Never Failed… ” – [Point Music]

Thurston Hunger   7/13/1997   A Library, CD

A simple sampled tramp’s prayer song unravels to reveal an amazingly rich orchestral life. Casual listening will miss the gradual momentous emotional shifts. This is actually a recreation/re-issue of the original sparked by fan and guest vocalist on the epilogue – Tom Waits. An excellent library add, excerpted overplay wouldn’t do this justic, invoke occasionally for lengthy stare-at-the-ceiling existential crises or fill an absent Public Affairs slot with this gorgeous listener epiphany generator.

-Thurston Hunger 7/13 1997

Sun City Girls – “” – [Majora]

Thurston Hunger   2/3/1997   7-inch, A Library

The mandala mandate continues. It may have started out as a crash hash course, but at this point one assumes the Girl’s devotion pure. “Borungku Si Derita” is one of them thar A-minory ballads which, despite achingly anthemic vocals, tastes like Middle-Eastern Meatloaf to me. “Abydos” however is a fine Hindu-Flamenco Locomotive Surf instro and “Carousel Tapsel” spins a Ferris prayer wheel of vocals chasing guitar melody chasing percussion slaps of the acoustic melody. Hello Dalai Lama.

Thurston Hunger

Part, Arvo – “Litany ” – [Ecm Records]

Thurston Hunger   10/23/1996   A Library, CD

Technically black is not a color, but the absence thereof. Similarly, silence is not a sound, but its absence. And yet silence is critical to Arvo Part’s sonic palette. Aural afterimages echo as quiet caverns of drone. Dissonant tension stretches taught across gaps between notes.

Arvo Part is dynamics. Stark yet strangely serene solitude. Quiet majesty. Ethereality. “Litany” is an epic offering, English lyrics transcribed from prayer are felt rather than heard, thanks to the Hilliard Ensemble’s “volume pedal” grace. “Psalom” is a latticework of breaths on strings. “Trisagion” is the sound of a high priest walking at midnight among the dead upon a battlefield in a religious war. Faith and doubt commune. Music for epiphany.

Thurston Hunger 10/23 1996

Tinklers, the – “U.F.O.’s” – [Frownland Recording]

Thurston Hunger   6/18/1996   7-inch, A Library

A concept 7″ exploring the vast reaches of sci-fi B Movies – mixing
levitation and levity with just enough fi, detuned guitar and detoxed
vox. “Comrade Cosmonaut” parallels the former Soviet Union with a
former red giant star flamed out into a flickering white dwarf. “Bad Aliens”
takes an eastern scale and sketches worst possible scenarios for
close encounters. “Galactic Living Family” is like the anthem for an
inter-species, outer-space equivalent of the Indian Guides. Complete
with too many words stuffed into the hilarious couplets…and ocarina too!

The truth ain’t out there, it’s right here.

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