Beatty, Robert – “Soundtracks For Takeshi Murata” – [Glistening Examples]

Thurston Hunger   10/1/2015   A Library, CD

Robert Beatty, who carries a badge with the band Hair Police, goes
on squiggle patrol for digi-media US artist Takeshi Murata
A UFO fleet of synthesizers sweep through these five instro tracks, the
lead off number sounding like a futurist alarm, but eventually erupting
into analog chaos. #2 is a robot spa and sauna, very refreshing,
human trace voice echoes through-out. We are the ghost in the machine.
#3 is maybe a galactic space-port number, much of the album has a
sci-fi vibe, despite the horror film image of Murata-wolf on the cover.
The big hitter, “Pink Dot” steps up at #4, here’s part of the
videon online. It feels to me like a Philip Glass composition,
going Koyaniscrazy, there’s a slow subtle warp to it, but when I
first listened, it left me cold (and my work-neighbors thought
something was wrong with my laptop). Then I popped it in a CD-Walkman
and kinda cruised around the office, and outside and it weirdly
heightened everything. So certain listeners may find this
exhillirating as they are stepping through life. Lastly #5 is
descending electrochime noises why something burtles beneath.
Keys in the life of songs. -Thurston Hunger

Voicehandler – “Song Cycle” – [Humbler]

Thurston Hunger   10/1/2015   A Library, CD

Wow, excellent local Oakland duo on the Humbler label.
Jacob Felix Heule, no stranger to KFJC nor to strangeness,
teams up with Danishta Rivero. Rivero is more than just
a pretty voice (although her plaintive song and scratchy
ch-ch-choked up parts make for an enchanting intro. She
also (wo)mans the Hydrophonium, an experimental instrument
of her own design apparently.
She gets pretty Shelley Hirschy, and Heule bows on things
without strings for “empty and without pain.” Rivero’s voice
is often the focused approach, but Heule’s backing plunky
percussion and deft electronics are not deferential. “a
meager labyrinth” is a drift with sonic fog, “mi falible
mano” has Rivero doing the vocal histrionics of either
the avant garde or a demonic possession. Ideally both.
The album ends with bang, not a whimper or an exorcism.
Heule’s percussion more present, with cymbal and snare,
Rivero, tracked into the machine and overdubbing, is
this a re-mix of the earlier pieces? Everything all at
once, forever? While I’m not sure I follow the text
through the cycle, their reading list (Borges, Burroughs
and Hamsun) is on the money for me (check liner notes).
SF Arts felt proud of this duo too, aiding this Humbler
work with a 2012 grant. Listen up!
-Thurston Hunger

Kaiser, Henry/ Noyes, Charles K. / Park, Sang-Won – “Invite The Spirit” – [Celluloid]

Thurston Hunger   10/1/2015   12-inch, A Library

1984 collaborasion with Bay Area guitarist Henry
Kaiser and kayagum mind-bender Sang-Won Park.
The slipperiness (and ebow and other tricks
of the fret) from Kaiser are so soul=Seoul
compatible with Park. The Kayagum can do try
high-pitch tickles, deep whammy bends, slow
slides through a pitch or two…perhaps more
of this speaks to Park’s skill, but the
instrument comes across as amazing. Park also
adds some flutterin’ flute on “Pah” and rich
resonant vocals to launch the stunning side-long
“Sinpuri.” Toy Killer and tripmaster/trapmaster
Charles K. Noyes sketches in percussion, never
dominating the strings, but filling out the
airy sound, without ever coming across heavy.
Apparently these are all improvisations, which
for spontaneity’s sake is crucial, but Park’s
playing and the yes, exotic, sound give it a
feeling of ancient ceremony. You could have
told me this was part of some sacred court
greeting song, and I would have believed you.
Well, maybe not on “Tah” where Kaiser gets
all electric squiggly and the 1980’s flanges
its way into the illusion. “Sansoo” has
more Park singing, and feels like a bamboo
meets bayou slow-drip blues, Park’s tanso
flutters back in on this as well, dejectedly.
The closing track, Kaiser volume pedals
like a pump organ, and Noyes could be building
a scuffling stairway in the distant, closes
the album with a sort of buoyant happiness.
KFJC MD lucky to score this original vinyl
(we also have the trio’s Tzadik 2006 reunion
in the library). Refreshing riffing here!
-Thurston Hunger

Varg – “Ursviken” – [Northern Electronics]

Thurston Hunger   10/1/2015   12-inch, A Library

DM without the sparkle? Or maybe a dark sparkle? Often slow
rhythms from Swedish one-man outfit, call it downer beat?
If the drum machines move quickly, they do so in a sort
of Joy Division programming. Jonas R??nnberg is Varg, and this
is NOT the metal project of the same name. Here we have
industrial leaning techno with occasional hints of what
feel like IDM relics in the cockpit. Mesmerizing overall,
“Sharins Soner” elevates soft white noise, and buries the
beats beneath it. “Raggarsvin” stomps out a beat but
drags other creaks through reverb with some noise chirps
and breathy voice slices. “Ohn” discards beats for an off-world
landing on a shadowy planet, the album has its spacey ambient
stretches as well. Varg is most happy on “Asocial 46”
which may say something emotionally, assuming those 808 twinks
count as a form of happiness. But the double lp ends with a
sequence of a village without hope. Overall undeniably bleak,
but engagingly depressive instead of oppressive. If online
translating can be trusted, this is a release of “unalloyed”
(so no overdubs) electronic music. Also two of the track titles
“Ohn” and “Agngatan” are places near Jonas’ hometown,
where he intends to live and ultimately be buried. Hopefully
no time too soon, with plenty more sounds to come!
-Thurston Hunger

Hmmm, google translate is always a risk but the liner notes may
translate as

We have, I think, unalloyed arranged for the most part.
There are almost everything we need. I will live the
rest of my life , nothing should be done differently.
I have told them at that day when I go away , I want
them to put my ashes over Ohn . Where should i get end
my days . At the shipyard and the rock below Agngatan.
I think it is possible to live has , I know you can do
here, too.

Baczkowski, Steve / Corsano, Chris / Nace, Bill – “stolen car” – [Golden Lab Records]

Thurston Hunger   9/22/2015   12-inch, Jazz

Title track is a side long impressionistic
improvisational powerhouse. Like a stolen car, it’s
got rushes of excitement, elements of risk, it
moves a little fast and out of control at times,
but there is a kind of focused center to it.
Corsano drums’s are just a wonder to chase through
the sax and guitar traffic. Nace’s guitar often
adds an atmosphere that makes Baczkowski’s tenor
shine all the more. “Keep From Freezing” is a
prime example of Nace’s subtle strength while the
Bacz sax is building a fire in its bell. That
one fades in fog. “The Ringer” starts with a
sax spree and then firing line drums from Corsano,
it’s not a game, it’s a race. And yet, I, the
mere listener, wind up out of breath. Definite
Borbetomajesty on that one. The trio wrap up by
rolling the “Closing Credits” a shimmer ghost
of a piece, the “Stolen Car” of the title/first
piece drives off a cliff and suspends in air for
what feels like a mini ebow’d infinity, the car
horn a lonely high drone, that splits into notes
as it lands, sounding like a primitive taps
howled in metal. It ends with the radiator
cracked and whistling sax, and Nace’s guitar
dialing in a dying car radio. Screw the seat belt
on this one, hop in and let’s go for another spin.
-Thurston Hunger

Sherwood, Adrian and Pinch – “Late Night Endless” – [On-U Sound]

Thurston Hunger   9/22/2015   12-inch, A Library

Putting the wise in dubwise, Adrian Sherwood’s
fresh 2015 collaboration with UK producer Pinch
will sit side by vinyl side with his recent
collection of early cuts from 1979-84. That’s
some heavy years, and this is some heavy dub.
Bass thick and thicker, plenty of guests
including reggae royalty on the apt-named
“Music Killer Dub” which rolls some sticky
herb samples into its mix. A trippy hippy chick
waxes psyche-philosphical on “Wild Birds Sing”
and samples often share the spotlight with the
low end signals. Some snippets will trigger
the synapse for a whoop there it is flash.
Side A felt more spooked out dubstep, Side C
has the ladies. “Stand Strong” has a great
discombulated beat before Temi “Queen” Odeyale
sings syrup into it. “Run Them Away” brings
Bim Sherman back for another run, reminded me
of the “Isolationism” days of dub. Nice! Audio
candy of bits and bytes dropped in are no doubt
tasty, but the meal is in the bass and
reverberations. -Thurston Hunger

Grubbs, David / Howe, Susan – “Souls of The Labadie Tract” – [Blue Chopsticks]

Thurston Hunger   9/22/2015   A Library, CD

1694 Dutch utopians fled to Maryland, included among
their beliefs was a renunciation of marriage, the
liner notes (also spoken by Howe on the first track)
provide some illumination. The sect all but vanished
by 1722, but somehow linger on like the forms of
drone delivered here by Grubbs (of the mighty
Gastr del Sol and label leader of Blue Chopsticks).
Grubbs greets us first, with a striking, but not quite
piercing pitch from a form of kheen. Less percolating
then its use in Molam music, here it is contemplative
and more akin to a pressure cooker. He adds overtones
but mostly allows Howe’s litany to own the audio
spotlight. Her initial section, is a sensible
synopsis, as time unravels, she spins a poetic yarn.
“We’re the past, we’re too close to covet”
Her voice, stark but not icy or distant, like a
favorite college professor you sense is a lot weirder
outside of the classroom. She doesn’t sound 70 (her
age when this was released) she sound both much
younger and much older. Perhaps like the Labadie.
Grubbs is subtle but strong in his support, at times
resigning to silence. Turning the page in a way.
On first listen, I found his tone shrill, now it
feels perfect. May send some KFJC listeners dialing
away, but others will be transfixed. Echoes of
lost lives found…. “loose ramshackle poem”
-Thurston Hunger

Second Layer – “World of Rubber” – [Dark Entries]

Thurston Hunger   9/11/2015   12-inch, A Library

Tracks from a Uk duo circa 1979-81, from the newsprint
insert, a quasi-disparaging review refers to this music
as “Gloomerama.” Which to me is both apt and a compliment
of nearly the highest calibre. Unfortunately it is
tempered by the fact that one of the two gents in this,
guitarist/basist/singer Adrian Borland, took his own
talented life in 1999. He had flirted with fame with
a somewhat successful project, The Sound (KFJC has a
bunch of their older material). Honestly this Second
Layer work gets the first seed for me. Borland and
bandmate Graham “Green” Bailey, who was also in The
Sound, refer to this project as “fun” contrasted to
work in The Sound. The lower case sound here is quite
varied. “I Need Noise” (a KFJC plea, if ever one was
uttered) well preceeds more notable noise rock. “The
Telephone Call” is a Negativland/Scanner phreaklet.
And followed by a delightful “Deadly Norweigian Attack
to boot, more tape-play and Gysin splicin’. There’s
often a dismal thread in some of the lyrics, both
political and personal, but the album does have a
playfulness that buoys it along. Blowing off steam
away from the big label dreams (and pressure).
With some synth, and 80’s drum machines, this fits
with the Dark Entries menu, but it’s far from icy
minimalist or bleak dance floors. I think the key
here is Bailey gets to tweak out, and Borland’s ear
for a sweeter tune is often embedded in a more
sour sound. Fans of that ol’ Cherry Red flavor
will not be disappointed by the first record, some
really crisp cuts. But if you like more raw gritty
rawk, previously unreleased “Split Screen” and
“Death Process” await you. If the proposed Adrian
Borland documentary gets off the ground, I sure
hope they cover this “Layer” to him (and accent
the impact of Bailey on it!). -Thurston Hunger

Lateef, Yusef – “A Flat, G Flat and C” – [Impulse C/O Mca]

Thurston Hunger   9/11/2015   12-inch, Jazz

1966 originally issued, and added to KFJC now via the good
graces of the Jack Diamond collection. Sharp liner
notes with details on every track, including the musical
costume changes Lateef seeks via different musical instruments.
His breathy, talking flute on “Nile Valley Blues” is one
highlight. But check out his efforts stepping away from his
more typical flute and even saxophone. He starts and
closes “Chuen Blues” on a “Chinese lute”, one of the more
shadowy numbers, and with Roy Brooks on “water drums.”
“Sound Wave” is likely what drew Diamond’s certification
with its mighty theremin. Reggie Workman’s bass work on
that “Wave” is also outstanding. The piece after, “Kyoto
Blues” has a bamboo flute almost echoing the last notes
of the theremin. Brooks (of the mighty Artistic Truth
project) really cooks on “Feather Comfort.” Blues in an
array, of mostly resolving and warm tones. Check out
the weirder wonders. -Thurston Hunger

Senga Etna – “Senga Etna” – [Zesde Kolonne]

Thurston Hunger   9/11/2015   12-inch, A Library

I reviewed Woorden a few weeks back, and this is sort of an
illegitimate grandson if you blur your ears. Both going
Dutch and into the happy end of the weird wading pool.
Drummerkind Rik van Iersel, gathers friends and musical
styles here and gets fun to funky with them. The lead off
track is dedicated to dutch painter Rene Daniels (van Iersel
is also a painter), but it could almost be a seen as a
testament to Don Cornelius and Jah Wobble about 2 minutes in,
they hop on a squishy Soul Train rhythm and rides that for a
good six minutes. But before you can say Carl Craig, this album
moves from a techno groove to a breathy “City Walk” with
Kathy Ziegler singing softly over pizzicato cracks in the
violin sidewalk and a ghost of Sun Ra’s drums? Next, #3 is a
bluesy roadhouse vamp and exhortation with drunken slide
guitar. “Johnny Dowd’s Artistic Statement” is a tongue (and
cough) in cheek spoken word prepared statement where
he goofs off until Truus de Groot comes in and tilts
at the “Windmills of your Mind.” “Don’t Shoot the
Piano Player” is van Iersel without any friends, just
a wandering piano tone-crossing improv. “Ping-Pong
Flipside” starts with chimes and then more sound
collisions percolating, layers of Rik and one other
water drummer. Lastly the eponymous, “Senga Etna”
may be the most coherent, but still colorful crazy,
beat and noise number. At play with a pretty full
palette (and artistic license to laugh).
-Thurston Hunger

N.E.W. – “Motion” – [Dancing Wayang Records]

Thurston Hunger   9/11/2015   12-inch, Jazz

London’s N.E.W. sound is
Noble (Steve) on drums
Edwards (John) on bass
Ward (Alex) on guitar…
And let’s start with Ward first, some of thee finest (to
my jaded ears) fire jazz via guitar in a long time. He’s
just an excellent communicator with a vast vocabulary
(and more than a few handy pedals, that he never over
deploys). Apparently he’s a clarinetist, and maybe any
sax envy he got on that more pleated reed helped inspire
him to tear the stitches out of his six string electric
guitar. Furious scurries, half-chord halos, on the
lead off track a bout with oblique bop, the flip side
though is where he cranks up more of the blister action.
A few hints of Hendrix at times, and he has a picking
style (some of the time, again he’s all over the fret
board) where its quick little brittle bursts, call it
circular picking maybe. And the whole trio is excellent
and on the same page. Edwards bass on “How It Is”
felt like a gyuto monk in disguise, he’ll bow to break
or get some slap strength tossed in. Noble on drums
just sounds like he’s having fun, dig how the album
starts “Betting on Now” with a energetic launch.
On “Tall & True” there’s a nervous frittering with
almost no-wave panic attacks before winding up in a
quasi-bluesy gutter. Dancing Wayang delivers the goods
(although there’s a weird blemish or something about
2 minutes in on “4th and Three” but the team is still
going for it). Side A absolutely slayed me, repeatedly!
-Thurston Hunger

Gangrene – “You Disgust Me” – [Mass Appeal]

Thurston Hunger   9/11/2015   CD, Hip Hop

Filthy, let me count the ways…not just the FCC plunger
with f-bombs backing up day time pipes, not just the
beats (“The Scrapyards” “The Man With The Horn” and of
course the leadoff track, “The Filth”) but also in
some of the lyrical and topical treatments. “Better
Things” starts with the shit flying verbally all over,
DeNiro cruises by the track before in his taxi with
a famous sample. Dirty rats, nasty-ass backed up toilets
(with a hair dam included) so the poop troupe can
get down and dirty with that stuff, and there’s other
adolecenct putrefaction at play here, including a
“reverse Bill Cosby the ho” on “Gluttony” and two
super doofuses at the end of “Sheet Music” and an
excitable gonad of a guy at the end of “Better Things”
(honestly his sample cracks me up every time…)
Between the the bombast and the ass blasts, and the
mandatory sped up gremlin vox (“Flamethrowers Pt. 2”)
if you want to be offended, go ahead, but you’re
missing out on some stupid fun (where else can you
find Ken Griffey and GG Allin in the same line-up).
Plenty of friends want to play in the muck with Oh No
and the Alchemist. -Thurston Hunger

Equilibrium – “Liquid Light” – [Songlines Recordings]

Thurston Hunger   9/11/2015   A Library, CD

Euro-trio of voice, guitar and clarinet. The discord they
often tap is often dissolved by the immaculate production
and the airy performing of the three artists. Let’s open
with the mouth, miss Sissel Vera Pettersen as several of
the pieces have titles that are inspired by the simple but
beautiful act of singing… “Praha” “Eupnea” “Air” and
“Respire.” The last being a still solo, a jazz light yodel
sung into a rich echo chamber. The melody she follows is
similar to the guitar spidery chords strung by Mikkel
Ploug. On pieces like “Oslo From Above” you hear him
pull apart arpeggios almost to the breaking point but
then letting them return to resolution. On “Motels Mono”
his steel acoustic takes a half-step slide towards Derek
Bailey but gets blown back to Windham Hillville. He washes
up volume pedal chord waves on “Sweep” where Joachim
Badenhorst’s clarinet asks questions of Pettersen’s wordless
vocals. Badenhorts’s bass clarinet hums harmonizing with
Sissel, almost turning her into a didgeridoo. The album
shifts between pretty weird and weirdly pretty, but its
gentle playing and production keep it heavily accessible
even in its light nature. More electronics manipulation
next time around, like on “Statolith” and the heroic “Hiro” please?
-Thurston Hunger

Art Zoyd – “Generation Sans Futur” – [Sub Rosa]

Thurston Hunger   9/10/2015   12-inch, A Library

Reissue of 1980 album by this French collective, with a sound
that slips through easy encapsulation nets. Tremendous violin
throughout from Gerard Hourbette give this a modern classical
or dark chamber flavor.A focus on technical proficiency, notably
guitarist Alain Eckert’s quick zig-zag composed flights on a very
clean sound summon the spectre of prog or Rock-In-Opposition.
Indeed Daniel Denis from Univers Zero chimes in with percussion
on the closing and title track. A piece that balances a slow breath
of chord rising at falling, interspersed with a busier sections of
rush-hour horns, piano and strings for a cinematic ride, Gilles
Renard screeching around corners with the window open and
his sax accelerating. That piece along with the outstanding “La
Ville” were my favorites, longer pieces allowing for segments
and themes to come and reprise. “La Ville” also features some
brief vocals, exhortations frothy with exceitement. The piece
feels like a maniacal hunt, where moments of respite come in
before the flight re-engages. The following track, “Speedy
Gonzales” while a separate composition by a separate musician
feels like a natural sonic chaser to the “La Ville’s” chase.
A blend of serious and strange….from A to Z.
-Thurston Hunger

39 Clocks – “Subnarcotic” – [Luxury Products]

Thurston Hunger   8/23/2015   12-inch, A Library

Killer 1982 desolate rock out of Germany, two guys Christian
Henjes and Jurgen Gleue at the dark, bleak core but with
mellotron, damp drump machines, some drunk chamber musicians
(on “Rainy Night Insanities”) and melodica and just a great
overall vibe. They out-Lou Reed on parts…that deadpan
delivery, and they even drop a “Louie Louie” psych bomb
in the mix. We have that on a Louie collection and many
other tracks on the De Stijl CD reissue, but this is vinyl
and just tremendous. Call it proto-punk, although it
came after the official break, it has a deeper rancxd
garage depth to it. On “Dom” they strike a minimal wave
pose and guitars slash on through, as the lyrics keep
pushing things to an edge. Kind of hypno ragna vibe
to the songs, repetition is no stranger to Louie fans
but this offers so much more. And even in the songs about
rot and insanities, they often find a kind pep, maybe
craziness a la Clockwork Orange-flavored Tang? Check out
the “Virtuous Girl” (with its mellotron swirls, and
happy to be hated by said V. Girl). This is one sharp
black leather jacket of a record…wear it out folks!
-Thurston Hunger
PS Jurgen evidently connects to the recent Cocoon reish
we had as well, but this towers over that.

Krog, Karin – “Don’t Just Sing : an Anthology 1963-1999” – [Light in the Attic]

Thurston Hunger   8/23/2015   12-inch, Jazz

Norweigian vocallete chameleon, filing this under jazz in part
because of the company she keeps, not just her husband John
Surman and Dexter Gordon (both showcased on tracks here)
but KFJC to date has Karin only on a couple comps, including
a duet with the amazing Archie Shepp. She closes this gorgeous
gatefold with a take on John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”
vocals way out front, pleading spiritually and a lurking
liturgical keyboard beneath it. Her voice on that both
strong and searching, almost an Abbey Lincoln delivery.
Contrast that with her Karin Carpenter-esque pleasance on
“Break of Day in Molde” or the experimental chop and drop
lead-off “As a Wife Has a Cow” (tying her roots to Arne
Nordheim.) In a way this album reminds me a little of
Susanna Wallumrod and her confusing (to me at least)
Rune Grammofon albums. When I think I know where the album
is going it usually tricks me, so even when I don’t connect
with a choice, I respect it. It is a very pristinely recorded
album, although not without its weird ways. The aforementioned
“Wife/Cow” (a Getrude Stein poem Karin wanted to tackle and
spackle with samples) also two with Surnam “Images in Glass”
and “Cloud Line Blue” (where at the end his soprano sax
solo spirals off at the end when it had been flying between
Karin’s slow softly song notes and a kind of parade of
Terry Riley keyboard ripples). Her taste in covers is
pretty righteous the Coltrane, Carla Bley, Herbie Hancock,
a pretty straight take on “Ode to Billie Joe” and a very
re-phrased Joni Mitchell’s “All I Want.” An interesting
blend of ECM meets Impulse with a hint of Actuel-ization!
-Thurston Hunger

Repulski, Graham – “Success Racist” – [Self Released]

Thurston Hunger   8/15/2015   A Library, CD

It used to be I tried to sneak one of Robert Pollard’s
empty beer bottles to find the lyrics printed at the
bottom, but Mr. “Repulski” went one better, collected
some DNA samples and with some gene therapy and king
dice found the same magic. Book-worm wordplay? Check!
An undeniable ear for the pop hook? Check! An almost
British sensibility in sound? Check! Amps distoring
to the point of fuse suicide? Check! Short songs that
stick in your head a long time? Check! You used to hear
about people crawling into a suitcase to travel the
world, but they all died harrowing and suffocating
deaths. Emerging from the GBV suitcase, “Repulski”
has a strong heartbeat and plenty of wind in his
lung pipes. Even a child comes along, and he, can we
call him Drew maybe (I couldn’t quite listen to the
whole Flab interview), keeps up the dirty tasty pop
without missing a beat. I think his kid even appears
here on “White Soul Composition” uttering a simple “Stop”
at the outset. Welcome to the battle of wills, Dad! Me,
I want to set up playdates with your ditties and GBV
songbook shots, the excellent “Former Certainties Ending
In Doubt” meet “Cyclops” and so forth. I liked a lot of
the earlier Repulskities, but this album is chock
full of triumph. And Todd Tobias again along for the

-Thurston Hunger

Allen, Cory – “Source, The” – [Punctum Records]

Thurston Hunger   8/15/2015   A Library, CD

While I’m not a fan of the CMJ divisions of music, it
might be nice to see this release chart in their rock,
jazz, country and even “world” bin$. Cory has concocted
a supremely stimulating series of drone driven pieces,
at times the bass walks just enough, and the drums
kick in just right to feel like a jazz composition
(which I think is where KFJC’s MD found this release
filed in Amoeba), but the violin can at times hit
ye olde tyme sorry strings, and the rattling of other
lutes/kotos/sitars has a porch-i-fied hi-fi vibe
that might feel like Pelt, if not Mark O’Connor
going for an avant Ashokan Farewell. And yeah amidst
the sympathetic strings gently weeping, the resonating
hints at middle east mysticism. Despite track 3’s
title, this is way less “Neon” and way more “Mandala.”
Angelic disembodied voices float in on the “Crown
Canal” (does this double as a doolah’s birthing tape?).
It’s just a beautiful release from start to finish.
Cory’s from Austin, TX (so let’s keep that state in
the union, no matter what they say), and he was either
a Healer or a Seeker on last year’s excellent release
with Duane Pitre. On this solo one, he’s clearly *both*
Don’t miss…
-Thurston Hunger

Oblique Quartet – “Tlaloc Beat” – [Alphatauri]

Thurston Hunger   8/15/2015   A Library, CD

Guitar Hero ain’t no video game. Ron Anderson started
from mere Molecules and has built a pretty heavy
catalog of blistering guitar-fueled rock and
experimental sounds. This quartet founded in
Mexico City flexes their muscles, delivering an
instrumental fusion fist of old school heavy metal
(the drums of Azael Gonzalez) and jazz jabs from
Carlos Fierro on a busy electric bass and Ron
running down Sonny Sharrock at times. The key
element though may be Carlos’ brother Marco (the
two launched the Alphatauri label for this). Marco’s
electronics from the get-go add a warping way to
the album that helps make the frenzy fresh. Often
times it sounds like he’s got a theremin being
chased by a radar gun. “Lluvia y Trueno” is one
song where they sort of drop a sludge blues bomb
onto the disk, it’s the most straight forward number
if you want to wade in to the disk, Marco does spin
the dials after a while on that one though. But why
not jump right into the fire with “The Great Temple?”
Or the closer, which could be Dazed and Contused, a
simple slow descending bass riff that eventually
swings with full force. “Tlaloc” as an Aztec god of
fertility, hopefully will give birth to more from
this OQ. Also of interest, digging up some old
Stalaktos relics from the Fierros!
-Thurston Hunger

Bukelman, Ido / Masel, Nadav – “Ground Birds” – [Out Now Recordings]

Thurston Hunger   8/8/2015   CD, Jazz

A sharp release, Bukelman’s steel string guitar and
mighty banjo often feel like they are instruments of
garotte wire. On the title track we hear some of
his angular, percussive and brittle playing we’ve
come across from him before (and not far off from
the knife-like Orcutt Bill guitar work.) It’s
deeply experimental while at the same time having
a sort of backwoods country hint….a small hint
but it’s there still the same. Now add in some of
his banjo work, and it really feels like moments
of avant garde on the farm, by way of Jerusalem
where the musicians reside and this way recorded.
The banjo adds to the bright nature of the playing,
almost shrill at times, but there’s also that
scuffling of the resonating body. And on upright
bass, Nadav Masel is all over his bass as well: slap,
clack and bow from him. On “Ground Birds II” he
walks the bass slowly alone to start, almost finds
a funk spot, and keeps on strutting. The closer
has Bukelman pulling the drone out of a somewhat
sympathetic banjo (and not that banjo-ey), pretty
fantastic. Along with Brandon Seabrook, a little
musical mutiny with the banjo (and Paul Metzger
before as well) really sliced my ear nicely.
-Thurston Hunger

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