2018 7” EP from Oakland post punk trio of Max Nordile on sax, Alejandra Alcala on bass, and Sam Lefebvre on drums. Four energetic tracks of logical chaos, wacky vox, rhythmic contortions. There’s nothing new about this no wave, but that’s quite alright – you can hear they’re having fun and it’s hard not to laugh along with them. From new local label Fine Concepts.
Pretty cool find – 7″ EP released sometime in the 80s from America’s Greatest Noise Artist himself, Emil Beaulieau (the alterego of Rrron Lessard of legendary label RRRecords, but you knew that). Four short tracks with all the trappings of power-drill-to-the-forehead harsh noise, but the experience of listening to this disc isn’t quite like that. Maybe it’s because within the clipped blasts are mysterious drones (T1), whistling melodies (T2), distorted guitar and whimpered vocals (T4) – you know, that velvet touch. Emil hopes you like it, but if not, well…
2007 7″ single from New Zealand experimental artist Campbell Kneale (see also Our Love Will Destroy the World and metal-influenced Black Boned Angel). One five minute track that tells a strange little tale, beginning with a noise collage of vibrating metallic sounds, like wire cables being wrapped, stretched and strained. But then the abstraction gives way to something more defined: a driving guitar and drum rhythm, a thick drone fog, and a monstrous swarm of chirping frogs. Together, the sounds paint a scene of headlights approaching in the dead of night.
Tom Djll is a local experimental musician whose work throughout his decades-long career is well-represented in our library, from his solo work to his ensemble projects Grosse Abfahrt, Tender Buttons, and many others. This release, part of Other Minds‘ 2018 Modern Hits series, collects recordings from the early period of Djll’s career in the 1980s, as he was just beginning to assemble his own Serge Modular synthesizers and use the instrument to accompany, or process, the sounds of his trumpet.
In these seven works, trumpet tones bend and stretch into space age sine waves, periodic pulses, blasts of noise, and other surprising sounds. But they’re arranged in different ways: in “popcorn music” (T3), “Pair Time,” (T5) and the understated “Francine” (T6), as a evolving improvised sound collage (those last two, featuring percussionist Ross Rabin, especially call to mind Tender Buttons), in “schitzo-analysis” (T2) or the centerpiece “FAT” (T4, an excerpt of an hour long piece), as intense, luminous drones, and in “Tombo” (T1) and “Seattle 1988” (T7), while Djll claims he was inspired by punk and noise, I hear them as a warped, funhouse mirror reflections of free jazz. More information about the recordings and some nerding out over Serge modules in the disc’s liner notes.
Live recordings from 2004 from avant saxophonist Paul Flaherty, drummer Chris Corsano, and C. Spencer Yeh aka Burning Star Core. Flaherty and Corsano had been developing their high energy free jams as the Flaherty/Corsano Duo for years before these sessions, and here Yeh adds violin and vocals to the mix. Yeh’s distorted playing moves in parallel with Flaherty’s white hot saxophone solos, like a form and its fuzzy shadow that follows along until it suddenly finds a life of its own. At times Yeh escalates the intensity into some Flynt-style fiddling freakouts. Corsano’s drumming is, as always, a total pleasure to hear – thoroughly precise and powerful, but still free, artful, brilliant. When he steps away from the action in the middle of T2 and T4, it feels like being in the eye of a storm. Yeh’s vocal stylings – from his throat-scraping utterances in T2, crazed yelps in T4, and last dying gasps in the final aftermath of “Swamp-Like Heartache” – add another weird dimension to the tracks. I’ll stop now and refer you to the much more entertaining track-by-track liner notes from Johnny Coorz, aka John Olson, who got to know the trio well when they toured with Wolf Eyes (and Prurient, damn… and that probably explains the title of T2) in 2005.
Inzane Indiana trio of Drew Davis, Tim Gick, and John Olson of Wolf Eyes. This cassette collects recordings of live sets from around the Midwest during the Fall 2017. The first two tracks on Side A are slow burning, late night jams recorded at some dude’s apartment. Droning horns, temple chimes, and what sounds like a harmonium give these tracks a heavy, ritualistic feel. The next two tracks are live recordings from one of Olson’s infamous Psy Jazz nights at Trixie’s bar in Detroit. The first is a thick, twisted throng of brass sounds (T3) while in the second, deep electronic drones and distorted recordings of chanting provide the backdrop for the horns in the foreground (T4). The final track was recorded (secretly?) in the Japanese gardens of Michigan State University, with the chanting voices and echoing sax rising again from the dark mists of Lansing. Now That’s What I Call Psy Jazz!
Two longform hallucinations from Seattle-based sound artist Kole Galbraith. Our copy of his latest cassette release found its way to the station during his visit to the Pit in June 2018. On each side of the tape, Galbraith uses an electric guitar with effects to create two contrasting scenes. The earth rumbles in “Cordilleran Rupture” (A), as rough electronic sounds collapse into a massive drone sinkhole. Justin Lazar and Paul Walsh assist with noise on the track. “Burnt Hair on Disautel Pass” (B) is a desolate landscape, swept by roaring winds, with chimes and blunted guitar plucking appearing like distant points of light. His first release (here) can be found in our library.
Grim is the Japanese industrial/power electronics project of Jun Konagaya. Previously, Jun worked with Tomasada Kuwahara in White Hospital, releasing one full length album, 1984’s Holocaust (in our library), before parting ways. The first Grim album followed shortly after in 1986, the incredible Folk Music. Jun continued releasing work throughout the 80s (including some surprisingly gorgeous folk), and then took an extended break to pursue his tenkoku practice. He returned to Grim in 2013, and his new material caught the attention of Tesco Organization, who released 2016’s Orgasm and brought Jun to Europe for his first international shows. Since then, both his old and newer material have been more widely released and his work has deservingly found a larger audience. This cassette EP was originally released at a show in Tokyo in Spring 2017.
Throughout Jun’s works, extremely harsh electronic sounds, aggressive rhythms, and confrontational vocals mix improbably with traditional folk sounds and even beautiful melodies. On this tape, Jun uses acoustic instruments like Tibetan shaman’s bells, drums, Indian pugi, and guttural vocal, almost throat singing techniques. The title track (T1) sets a dark, droning temple atmosphere, “Summons” (T2) drives with an fierce tribal rhythm with ringing bells, “Goddess Moth” is beautiful unfolding synth piece, and “Nine” finishes with ruthless screamed vocals. It’s over much too quickly, so I hope we can soon get our hands on more of this consistently terrifying and beautiful work.
Local cellist and composer Doug Carroll has been carefully and lovingly recording the sounds of animals – at home, in zoos, and in the wild – for decades. In 2010, he compiled thirty of his favorite recordings and released them on Animal Sounds, wildly popular when we added it to our library here a few years ago. Now, eight years later, we have the second volume. In this menagerie you’ll hear sea lions, lorikeets, laughing kookaburras, as well as KFJC airsound staples, frogs and cats. Still no foxes – fingers crossed for volume 3?
Dark electro beats from Water Lilly, aka Monica Montesinos, a Swiss DJ/producer. This 2003 EP comes from the Geneva-based label Mental Groove. Driving minimal rhythms, seductive spoken word vocals, and the icy chill of that synth pop sound that was all over the place just after the turn of the millennium. The A side holds the two strongest tracks, the ominous opener “Process Engaged” (A1) and the “The Sound of Your Kisses” (A2), with an infectious phased synth hook. Flipping to the B side, “Where Do You Feel Me” (B1) keeps the energy high with analog sounds, “Champagnized” (B2) marches on with deep bass pulses, and electric guitar stabs echo through finale “Playette” (B3).
Live recording from a February 2018 performance from this new experimental Japanese quartet. Fronted by Fukuoka Rinji (guitarist/vocalist from the psych bands Overhang Party and Majutso no Niwa, both in our library, and founder of the Pataphysique label that released this recording), with vocals and theremin by Koichi Nakaya (Nasca Car and Hijokaidan), bass by Luis Inage and keyboards/samples/vocals from Itsuro Sugiyama.
The four pieces here center on text borrowed and translated into Japanese from Antonin Artaud (T1), The Velvet Underground (T3), Suicide (T4), and Guy Debord (T4), performed as a “respiration of poetic oscillation” by Rinji. “Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu” (T1) is a reworking of a 1947 radio broadcast, the final crazed work of the French poet Artaud, accompanied by rumbles of bass guitar, electronic chirps and theremin wails, the swell of a chorus singing the opening verses of the American nation anthem. Heavy, plodding electronic rhythms and bass thumps drive T2 with lyrics from the Japanese group Dowser. The final two tracks are more straightforward covers: “The Gift” (T3) sets Lou Reed’s comedic tale to an electric keyboard/bass groove, and the final medley track is a Suicide seance. All the meaning of the lyrics is lost (to me) in translation, allowing the language and sound to flow into a continuous stream of nothingness.
Two CD compilation of experimental sounds from Latin America from 1976-1988, selected by Luis Alvarado of the Lima-based label Buh Records. The artists here incorporate the new sounds of punk, electronic, and free improvisation with traditional music of their home countries, all against the backdrop of political upheaval and cultural repression throughout the region. Dark electronic sounds (A1, A6, B2), avant-garde collages (A2, A7, B3, B4, B6), free jazz (A5, B1), and even some Mexican proto-Industrial from ’77 (B5). Highlights for me were Miguel Flores’ fantastic guitar piece “Pachacuti” (A3), where feedback-drenched free improvisation meets traditional Peruvian folk, “Variaciones de Amauta” (A4), from Amauta, a group of Chilean musicians that fled Pinochet for Ecuador, with a beautiful flute dance that twists into something weird and proggy, and the psychotropical tribute to folk singer Victor Jara from the Chilean band Malache (A6). Alvarado provides great detailed liner notes in Spanish and English with more information about each project.
This 2018 release comes to us from Bizarre Audio Arts, a label that often pairs up some of the major names in noise/experimental music for split cassettes. The label’s founder, Leo Sabatto makes up half of the current lineup of the enduring Pittsburgh noise project Macronympha, with founding member Joseph Roemer. Their track is on Side A of this glitter-flecked cassette, and on the flip side is din-i-ilashi, the solo project of Japanese electronic artist Osamu Kishimoto.
“Sure Thing to Do” (A) begins two parallel layers of corroded sound – whistling feedback and wandering dark melody. Six minutes in the track arrives as the sounds launch into a massive and teeming wall of noise. The real centerpiece of the track is the breakneck blast beat that emerges about halfway in, takes center stage, and then pummels its way through screams, sparks until the tape runs out. The B side track, “Non-Doership” as you might guess from the title never reaches the same level intensity. Instead Kishimoto pursues dynamics and flow, with ringing carnival tones moving into unpredictable whorls of static, feedback, laser beams and buried songs.
Self-released 2017 EP from this Japanese grindcore duo of Fuckin’ A and Frozen Panty, not to be confused with the other Cunts in our library. Drums and vocals ONLY. Drummer Fuckin’ A delivers total destruction, alternating his playing from machine-gun precision to a total sloppy mess, while Frozen Panty howls, slobbers, speaks in tongues like a raving lunatic. Each side of the tape is a quick blast of projectile vomit and other bodily fluids – within five minutes the load’s blown.
Lenoci, Gianni – “Earle Browne – Selected Works For Piano And/or Sound Produci” – [Amirani Records/Amirani Contemporary]
Gianni Lenoci is an Italian pianist who tackles the challenging compositions of modern experimental composers. Here, he performs the works of Earle Brown (1926-2002), a composer that was a member of John Cage’s New York School, along with Christian Wolff, Morton Feldman and others. Brown was influenced by Cage’s philosophy of “non-intention” but also drew inspiration from the visual arts, especially the sculptures of Alexander Calder. Like Calder’s mobiles, Brown’s pieces consist of isolated forms – staccato blips or long presses of the piano keys – floating gently, unpredictably through time. Further, Brown’s scores were graphical, works of art themselves, with pitches and durations of notes written as bars of varying lengths and thicknesses (see one on the cover). All tracks are played on piano except for “4 Systems January 1954” (T9) that Lenoci interprets with electronics. More information – biographies of the composer and performer, a strange screed on the act of listening written by a philosopher of language, and the text to Robert Frost’s sorrowful poem “Home Burial” that inspired the first track on the album – can be found in the liner notes.
Collaboration between the anonymous masked maniac vocalist Blessed Blood Vulva and Japanese harsh noise artist Guilty Connector (aka Guilty C, aka The Skull Downpour Electronics, aka GxCx SKULL…). The first half or so of the tracks originally came out on a cassette release in 2014; these tracks plus some new and live material make up this 2017 CD release on SSSM, the Nagoya-based label run by Hiroshi Hashimoto, better known to us as Contagious Orgasm.
A combination of supershort grindcore blasts combined with harsh noise assaults and cut up collages – is this Japan’s answer to Man is the Bastard/Bastard Noise? It’s just as good, but way more deranged, so of course I love it. The first 26 tracks, and several throughout the second half of the album, are quick bursts of piercing feedback and BBV’s disturbed howls. “The Slow Kill in the Cold” (T26), a pause in the insanity, is a suspenseful snowy murder scene, “Hooded Men From Hell”(T30, see also T31-32) is a longer onslaught – Incapacitants/Hijokaidan legend T. Mikawa assists on the noise and you can hear his touch here. “In the Forest of Red Water” (T51) is a sparser track with rattles and thudding feedback, “The Evils Rules” (T53) is degraded electronic gongs ringing through dark tunnels. The final track “Angel’s Mother Is A Bitch (live)” (T65, yes 65) is 2:18 of silence followed by vicious feedback and screams. 20 seconds later, it’s all over.
Illium is the 2017 debut release from LA beatmaker and producer Huxley Anne. Genre-wise this is all over the place, with elements of hip hop, techno, noise and new age, and, sometimes, the unfortunate aftertaste of forgettable fads like dubstep or witch house. But I can get past that because these tracks hit hard, with heavy, warehouse-shaking bass pulses roaring throughout. While “Aphro Dye” (T2), “Nin” (T3), and the aggressive “Ashes” (T4) seem made for the club, on other tracks the beats are paired with unexpected elements: laid-back guitar loops on “Celadon” (T5), mystical drones and harp on “Igredo” (T6), sitars and chants on “Aesop Fable” (T7), and music box chimes on the downtempo “Dragoon” (T8). Released on the LA experimental/hip hop label Dome of Doom.
Steven Jansen is a sound artist from the southwestern US (NB “Not Steve Jansen from Japan, not Japan the country.”), who has collaborated with Jeph Jerman and James Fella. On this 2016 release, he uses field recordings, treated guitar, bass and saxophone, and electronic sounds in his work. The album opens with a longform piece “Short Change” (T1) with ghostly saxophone melodies that grow into a heavy, enveloping dronescape; this was my favorite track of the album. The following tracks are shorter collages assembled from a collection of strange sounds: magnetic tape slithering and screeching, doors slamming, metal sheets recoiling, plucking of rusted strings, scraping of small objects, long eroded tones. The album concludes with a longer track, “Member Calendar,” a (somewhat trying) study of the high-pitched whistles and chirps from the reed of the saxophone (T7). Released by Jansen’s own label That’s Cool records.
Finally! Our first addition from Phew, the project of Hiromi Moritani, that began in 1980 after Moritani split from the Osaka post-punk group Aunt Sally. Since then, she has collaborated with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Holger Czuaky and Jaki Leibezeit from Can, and many others. Around 2010, she transitioned from a guitar-driven rock sound into minimal electronics, previewing her new work at gigs around Tokyo and on small runs of homemade CD-Rs. This 2017 album collects the tracks from those releases. Everyone says this sounds like Suicide and that’s the first thing I thought of too, and so of course it’s excellent. The songs here are made from analog synth pulses, drum machines, and Moritani’s echoing spoken-word vocals. “New World” (T1) has a psychedelic feel, “CQ Tokyo” (T2) driven by intense, “Frankie Teardrop” drum machine rhythms, “Mata Aimasho” (T3) is smoldering dark ambience, “Usui Kuki” (T4) is a dream sequence driven by dissonant tones and a steady rhythmic beat, “Echo” (T5) pulses with aggressive, textured synths and wavering bass lines, “Antenna” (T6) concludes with brilliant metallic reverberations that softly fade away.
Jordan, Kidd, Fielder, Alvin Flutterman, Joel, Swell, Steve – “Masters of Improvisation” – [Valid Records]
Free jazz explorations from New Orleans saxophonist Kidd Jordan and his longtime collaborators, drummer Alvin Fielder and pianist Joel Futterman. On this release, trombonist Steve Swell visits from New York and joins the trio in the Crescent City for a performance of three improvisational works. “Expansion” (T1), the most bombastic of the three, is a wild tumble of color and energy, but still anchored by familiar jazz patterns, like recognizable chord progressions on the piano and steady drumming rhythms. “Residue” (T2), my favorite, begins with more subdued passages that builds into a soulful meditation; this wouldn’t be out of place next to the wonderful Alice Coltrane record in recurrent. “Sawdust on the Floor” (T3) ends with a wild frenzy, then a drunken march, and, for the finale, a loose, impassioned rendition of “Summertime.” Not totally facemelting, but there’s challenging ideas here, all the more impressive coming from the 81-year old Jordan.