Two discs of underworld explorations from Teatro Satanico, the Italian post-industrial group that dates back to the early 90s. The current lineup is a trio that includes founding member Devis Granziera, accompanied here by members of Novy Svet, Le Cose Bianche and other shadowy figures of the European underground. This album draws from the writings of occultist Kenneth Grant, who described the Tunnels of Set as “a dark web or nocturnal network of paths” that extend through the subconscious mind. The album traces these twists and turns, with each track named for an ancient spirit that resides within the tunnels. Dark ambient echoes, chanting voices and psychedelic synth tones ring through the chambers, as ritualistic rhythms, from slow pulses to dark techno beats (found on T3, T7, T12, T16) quicken the step through the passages. On the final track of the Omega CD (T22), two minutes of silence precede the arrival of a final evil presence. A 2019 release on Old Europa Cafe.
As Himulkalt, Nevada visual/sound artist Ester Kärkkäinen relates her experience of female sexuality as “a feedback loop of misery and desire.” In her visual work, xeroxed grayscale photographs of bodies are cut and superimposed in repeating patterns, as if her subjects were reflected in a shattered mirror. Her power electronics work could be heard as the sonic analogue of these images: on Vulgar, jagged, repetitive rhythms are layered with blasts of noise, while Kärkkäinen’s whispers, moans, and screams are fractured by effects and static. A creeping menace builds through the tape, suggesting a scene of violation that we finally witness on “to whisper intent” (T8). A violent reaction follows on “not in this body” (T9), exploding into the ecstasy of revenge on the final track “want you to see me” (T10). Originally released in 2017 on No Rent Records and reissued this year on Found Remains.
Twisted turntable insanity from AMK, the SF-to-LA-based noise artist who has conjured chaos from old record players and cut-and-pasted discs for nearly four decades. Intended to be played in random order, these tracks are utterly unpredictable, from the short segments of silence or surface noise on the untitled tracks, to the stack of thrift store records tossed into a blender and set on puree on “Jamboree” (T3) and “Calypso” (T11), to the simmering noise of “La Post” (T4) or the bounce and blast of “Bull Weevil” (T16). “Il Dome for the Bird” (T18, a live track with assistance from Damion Romero, Geoff Brandin, Erik Hoffman, Jorge Martin, and Bob Bellerue) is a springtime daymare where bright birdsong shapeshifts into an alien avian cheerleading squad that makes perfect dreamlogical sense with the accompanying narration sampled from nature documentary voiceovers. Released in 2007 on the even noisier sublabel of Troniks, PacRec.
Seeded Plain are the local electroacoustic duo of Jay Kreimer and Bryan Day (of Collision Stories, and the head of the new music labels Public Eyesore and eh?). Over the length of this C60 tape, we’re drawn into a strange sonic realm made entirely from a collection of original homemade instruments invented by the duo. The devices used on this recording aren’t specified, but Day’s creations have names like Magnetoselqier, the Rotowhisker, and the Sputterphone, vivid titles that give clues to the origin of the unique sounds found here. At times they have a familiar counterpart – a plucked string, a toy piano, a vibration from a gong, a hiss of an insect. But others are utterly alien: the whistles, whirrs, and warbling tones from another dimension that melds with and subtly transforms our own.
Angelwings Marmalade is one of the many incarnations of Chicago-based experimental electronic artist Angel Marcloid (see her other projects, the fantastic Fire-Toolz and Nonlocal Forecast, in our library). She describes this working name as “the catch-all moniker for sound collage, noise improv…I used to work a lot with hands-on electronics, cassette players, loopers, stuff with contact mics on it… that ended up evolving into Angelwings Marmalade when I began incorporating software into the experiments.” This 2019 cassette is a wild found sound timewarp where tribal percussion and drum machines, computer chimes and singing gongs, smooth jazz sax and pitch-shifting synths, demonic incantations and throat singing chants, harsh noise and muzak are sonicated and synthesized into a coherent vision of unrest, a scene of dissolving predictability that seems just right for the moment.
With this 2019 double LP set, Vinyl on Demand resurrects the sole pair of recordings from the Two Daughters. Known only by their first names, Anthony and Paul, the mysterious Brixton duo worked on the fringes of the early 1980s weirdo English experimental universe inhabited by Industrial Records and United Dairies artists. There also may be a connection to Simon Fisher Turner: the Two Daughters could very well be the muses for Turner’s later experimental ambient project Deux Filles, whose reissued work was recently added to our library.
LP1 features the duo’s first self-released cassette, 1980’s Ladder of Souls. Fragments of twisted chanting voices, haunting melodies, simple guitar patterns, and tribal percussion are looped and layered into minimal ambient works. On some tracks, the repetition can become tedious – like the siren-like wailing that carries on for ten minutes on “Return Call” (T5) – but overall, it leads to a captivating, hypnotic effect. Especially effective are the works with percussion: “Drums” (T6) sounds like it could be on rotation at the Kluba Cupol.
LP2 holds their first full-length LP, Kiss the Cloth/Gloria, released in 1981 (and reissued later in ’87 by United Dairies). Here, the ideas found on the first cassette come into full realization. The rhythms have a larger, richer sound (see the ecstatic “Gloria II”, T13), and the vocal chants are clear and strong. Layered with these sounds are lush strings, echoing gamelan, choral hallucinations, and even samples of Bowie.
Like a tube ride straight into the depths of hell, Mind the Gap is loud, unsteady descent into mechanical mayhem. The three tracks on this 1996 Haters album consist of the sounds of records being stapled together with a staple gun. Each pull of the trigger is amplified beyond recognition, and the noise – continuously spinning in repetitive cycles – seems to rise from the locked groove of a patchwork staple-sutured frankenrecord. On “Mind the Gap #6” (T1), a low sludgy bass pulse hums beneath metallic rumbles. “Mind the Gap #8” (T2) brings in the ambient blur of distorted voices. Just when you thought things couldn’t possibly get any worse, luckily for you, “Things Can Only Get Hater” (T3); the closer stitches the elements of the first two performances together into a hypnotic, twenty-seven minute trance.
Primitive Isolation Tactics is the alias of Taylor Geddes, of the Montreal-based distributor of fine noise, Scream and Writhe, and the Absurd Exposition label. This 2019 c20-length cassette on Oxen is his second release under this name. A massive storm slowly approaches at the start of “Alienate” (A) and sweeps us into its turbulent core. High speed winds kick up swarms of scrap and debris, until we reach brief moments of charged stillness, a dead calm. A heavy, smoldering pulse weighs down “You’ll Burn. You’ll Burn. You’ll Burn” (B) as an inferno of electric shocks, high-pitched squeals, strangled moans and searing noise flares, and, finally, flames out.
This 2017 LP marks the revival of JFK, the solo project of Anthony Di Franco (of Ramleh and Skullflower) that dates back to the mid 80s. Nganga is the word for a cauldron used in the ceremonies of the Afro-Cuban religion Palo, used by practitioners to capture and control the spirits of the dead. To play this record is to descend into this magic vessel and face the furious energy within its iron walls. Much of the album is driven by the violent rhythms that suggests JFK’s later work (such as 2018’s Weapon Design, in our library), from the relentless bombardment of “The Scythe” (T1), to the fiery maelstrom of “Star-Killer” (T2), to the bloody grind of the war “Machinen” (T3), to the gut punches of the title track (T4). The final tracks preserve this intensity, but the fearsome chorus of “Zarathustra” (T5) and the radiant tones on closer “Minerva” (T6) transcend the terror.
Da-Sein are the Madrid-based electronic duo of Fernando Paino and Kas Visions. Mirror Touch is their second release on Galakthorrö, the German industrial label run by Mr. and Mrs. Arafna, whose groups Haus Arafna and November Növelet (in our library, a personal favorite) define the label’s despairing, yet seductive sound. Da-sein continues in the Arafna aesthetic, with deviant dance rhythms and minimal analog synths providing the backdrop for Kas Visions’ cold, empty vocals. “Marazm” (A5) hovers with a lethargic beat, “Beauty for Ashes” (B1) has a driving pulse dusted with noise, the title track (B2) picks up on a dead dial tone melody and Kas’ distant voice arriving over a bad connection, while her voices is twisted and tattered on “King ov Pain” (B3). Her lyrics, in English and Polish, are included on the LP’s sleeve.
Mysterious cassette of dark ambient electronics from a one-man project out of Cincinnati. Corroded drones layered atop venomous synths and ringing echos. Five tracks that seep slowly into intimate spaces, until the plug is pulled for an abrupt ending. Digging for the dirt on this tape didn’t turn up much – it is the sole release on Skaven Electric, apparently an Ohio label/dealer of “scrounged up goods for audio rats” – but that’s enough to know its waves will infest the playlists of KFJC’s more sinister shows.
This limited-run 2019 compilation was released at the 23rd Norcal Noisefest, the annual celebration of crazed cacophony that’s terrorized Sacramento every fall since 1995. Curated by noisefest mainstay Instagon, the comp features new works from the artists that performed at the 2019 event. So, of course, you’ll find strange sounds of all stripes: the layered womens’ vocals of Mourning Dove (T1), the binaural buzz of Chopstick (T3), the bright blips of Thirteen Hurts (T6), Mini Mutations‘ spoken word stream of consciousness (T7). Novacain sickens with sax, piano and a deadbeat drumbeat (T10), Seattle’s rEEk delivers strikes supplanted by silence (T13), SF’s Filthmilk has a metal breakdown (T16), Crank Sturgeon‘s trapped in a tangle of live cables (T19), while Crank Static offers some unique Valentine’s ideas for you and Your Baby (T20 – FCCs). The comp rounds out with the toasty crunch of a bowlful of Microwave Windows (T24), an easy listening FM radio station possessed by demons courtesy of Xdugef (T26); finally, Infinexhuma abandons us in the void (T27).
Z.Y.Q. – a self-described “useless man” from Fuzhou, China – finds a use for the sounds from several genres of extreme music in his musical projects. As The Silent S, he explores lo-fi folk, dark ambient, and harsh noise, while his newest project Before the Revival alternates between pitch-black glitch techno and depressive black metal. On this 2019 debut cassette from BtR, the glitch sound is at the fore, with nine doses of bleak beats and low-end rumbles that together “describe a series of deep void and cruel universes inside his brain.” Once again, WV Sorcerer, the label headed by Chinese experimental artist ruò tán, delivers the desolation.
Filmmaker is the alias of producer Faunes Efes of Medellín, Colombia. Unregulated, one of a slew of releases Efes issued in 2019, showcases his hypnotic take on dark electro. A slow, sludgy beat drives the killer lead track “Federal Bestiary” (T1). The pace quickens with the strobe light rhythms of “Unnatural Sciences” (T2) and the twisted synth stabs of “Inbred Indigo” (T3), and continues building with the driving “Dreamland Ops” (T4), and the high speed chase of “Bot Cells” (T5). The tape runs out too soon, fully dissociating into the hazy sunrise comedown of “Fading Life Drop” (T6). A 2019 release from Opal Tapes.
Written and recorded in the industrial zones near North China’s Bohai Bay, Love Songs in Disillusion is the debut cassette from experimental singer/songwriter Wang Zijian. A deep longing lies within these eight twisted love songs, composed of guitar and synth melodies, despondent vocals, spoken word poetry, and heavy industrial rhythms that might spring from the wasted oil fields where Wang lives and works. The heavy mood gently lifts at the tape’s end, with a dreamlike serenade (T7) and the cosmic visions of the epilogue (T8). Released in the Summer of 2019 on the French/Chinese experimental label WV Sorcerer Productions.
Munition is the alias of Dexter Outhit, a noise artist from Toronto. This cassette is his second release, and KFJC’s second library addition from Montreal-based label Absurd Exposition. Gaze/Gauze would stand well alongside the first Absurd Exposition release that we recently added, the excellent Base Waters LP by Rusalka; both works draw the sound of ocean waves into enveloping expanses of composed noise. This Munition version has an anxious, suspenseful feel, as deep pulses surface and mobilize into martial rhythms. The marching beats summon visions of ancient voyages, hunts on the high seas, naval warfare. One ~15 minute piece that repeats on Side B of the tape.
Headboggle, aka local experimental synth wizard Derek Gedalecia, is no stranger to the station – a small slice of his sizable discography lives in our library, and he recorded a session in The Pit back in 2009 – but for the unfamiliar, this 2019 Ratskin Records release provides a full immersion in the bizarre, beautiful Headboggle universe. Polyphonic Demo holds 44 one-minute tracks, each a tiny, wonderous world of electronic sound. Put the disc on shuffle – maybe you’ll land in the rough, bluesy groove of “Sister Synth” (T44), the mechanical march of “Stomp Ya Down” (T14), the ragtime piano and squishy beats of “Piano and Polyphonics” (T22), the minor key fanfare upon entering the “Buchla Club” (T26), or the slo-mo surge across the finish line in “Marathon Man Dance” (T7) – and catch a different glimpse of a facet of this strange gem of a record.
Rusalka is the project of Vancouver noise artist Kate Rissek. Her work over the past decade includes several solo cassettes and split releases (with MK9 and The Rita, among others), and now in 2019 her first full-length LP washes onto KFJC shores. On Base Waters, Rusalka uses a theremin and electronic effects to harness the power of the seas on two sidelong pieces. A sunken ship ascends back to the ocean surface on “Sinking Blood Deep” (T1). The vessel’s weathered hull – massive walls of corroded noise – rises from the depths; its horns sound, lights flare, and engines roar once again. On “Reflection Underneath Waves” (T2), field recordings of waves transform into massive columns of noise standing amid powerful swells of sound, a raw expression of the creative and destructive forces of the sea. Beautiful, compelling work, released on Montreal label Absurd Exposition.
Linekraft is the solo project of Masahiko Okubo, “junk-metal noise master” (his percussion work can also be found on recent releases from GRIM) and head of the Japanese noise label Three Plugs. On Subhuman Principle, Linekraft confronts the horrors of the Khmer Rouge, the communist regime that murdered millions of Cambodians during its rule in the late 1970s, and arrives at a final conclusion: “Human beings are animals. They can’t form a perfect social group.” Thus, he creates a “soundtrack for subhumans,” a devastating record that follows the regression from man to beast. Air raid horns, wailing sirens, military marches and gunshots dominate the first half of the tracks, but as the album plays on these traces of society disappear, leaving only chaos. The return to the primitive is reflected in the effects that are reminiscent of early electronic/noise music, like warbling echoes and overdriven distortion, and crashing metal sounds. The full bestial transformation is realized on the horrifying “Non Human Animal” (T5). Exceptional.
Obsidian Needles is the Olympia-based industrial noise project of Clare S. This 2019 cassette, released in advance of her U.S. tour with Oakland’s Crawl of Time, contains two harrowing longform works. “keep my sufferings & desires from being violent” (Side A) alternates between uncomfortable stretches of subtle tones and textures and violent blasts of noise, with crushing industrial rhythms and distorted vocals. “good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere, honey” (Side B) forces us to eavesdrop on a conversation between a young sex worker and her customer. A sustained, throbbing pulse builds and vicious processed vocals rise up, as if in response to the disturbing scene. A quiet emptiness follows, and within that void the strength is mustered for a final, terrifying expression of rage.
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