Harsh noise wall split cassette from two Seattle noise artists. Peter Keller (also working under the names Bacillus, Dirac Sea and others) is Condo Horro, a project that combats “the effects of gentrification and soulless development” by building some walls of his own. It’s actually a pretty funny concept, so I’m glad Seattle’s sweetheart Felicia Gaggins aka Masturbatory Dysfunction, got him to lighten up a bit with this release, from the cover art collages of oiled up porno dudes with space needledicks to the suggestive track titles. The Condo Horro side is a 30 minute slab of crushing static that keeps feeling heavier, while Gaggins follows it up on side B with another half hour of filthy friction. From Seattle to Silicon Valley, we’re all getting fucked!
Relive KFJC’s summer vacation in Reykjavik with this cassette compilation accompanying the release of the second edition of MYRKFÆLNI, a zine that spotlights underground Icelandic artists. The founders of MYRKFÆLNI (Icelandic for “fear of the dark”), Kinnat Sóley and Sólveig Matthildur (in the punk trio Kaelan Mikla), were our gracious hosts for our two-day live broadcast Live from the Icelandic Underground in September 2017. Many of the artists from that festival appear here: World Narcosis with dissonant despair (T1), IDK IDA with an ethereal ballad (T2), Holdgervlar with cold melancholia (T13), and crowd favorite Godchilla, with a heavy tribute to Akira (T12). There’s new stuff too, including dark synthy dance tracks (T3, T5, T7, T11), metal (T4, T8), ambient (T9), hardcore (T10), and even a punky Christmas carol (T6). Limited release cassette that came with the first 200 issues of the zine, both now a part of our library.
John Balistreri is Slogun, a Brooklyn-based power electronics project founded on a simple premise: PEOPLE ARE TRASH! Originally recorded in 1997, this early work was remastered and re-released in 2015 by the Ukrainian label Old Captain. Heavy electronic confusion, from high end blasts to metallic infernos to more subdued suspenseful rumblings. Sometimes hints of sampled songs or reverberating voices can be heard somewhere in the uproar. All of it surrounds Balistreri’s savage vocals: the cries of anticipation of a murderer planning the next crime, the taunts of a torturer as he abuses his victim, the growls of a racist confessing his disgust for the drug addicted and the poor (T2, T10), the screams of a rejected stalker that resorts to self-immolation as a final romantic gesture (T6). A real “achievement,” in that is hard for me to imagine a purer expression of hatred, and because it absolutely delivers on its title (this filth completely spoiled for me a beautiful spring week and my birthday, as I’m sure the artist intended). Therapy through violence!
FCCs on every track except maybe T7
I nearly lost it when I heard that two of my favorite musicians had been collaborating on a record for over ten years. So my expectations were probably unreasonably high for this one, and on first listen, I prepared to be blown away. That didn’t happen, but over multiple spins, I arrived at something much more satisfying – an appreciation for the craft of two brilliant electronic artists working at the top of their game.
My first impression was that you can really hear Daniel’s influence – it’s that rhythmic Matmos sound they’ve perfected on albums like A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure and Ultimate Care II. Here, complex collages are arranged from sonic fragments – blasts of noise, snippets of static, deep bass tones – elements you might hear on Wiese’s harsher records. Painstakingly composed, apparently without the use or sequences or samplers, but the result isn’t fussy or difficult. Layers of rhythm easily move with a dancefloor energy (T2, T4), march to a beat (T9, T10), ascend stepwise up the rungs of a ladder (T7). The precision gives way to more fluid tracks (T5, T6, T8, T11), with long drones, loud muck, whistling tones and sweeps of plucked strings (T11). The album builds to a final horrific conclusion, that ends not with a bang but with a – surprise! – chomp. Mastered by our friend Thomas Dimuzio. Excellent.
Fun in Latex is the noise duo of Joseph Gates and Vanessa Gates, from one of the (unlikely) capitals of the genre, Houston. Both Gates’ have played in several projects (Peiiste, Vargrwulf, etc), run cassette labels, and worked alongside hometown heroes like Priest in Shit and Black Leather Jesus. This 2013 CD-R comes from their own label Vulnavia Editions and holds two long tracks of live recorded samples, amplifiers and tapes that deals with “captivity, comfort, claustrophobia, and the undeniable feeling of being watched from a young age.” A loveless mother, distant and unintelligible voices, scalding static, a incessant suffocating roar – the long slow punishment you deserve for a lifetime of whining.
Torturing Nurse, founded by Cao “Junky” Junjun, is the band at the center of the Chinese noise scene, releasing a slew of material since 2004 (much of it on their own label Shasha) and collaborating with the likes of Government Alpha, K2, Macronympha and others. This 2017 cassette comes from the excellent Russian purveyor of sonic dementia Post-Materialization Music. The tape opens with a short track, with foreboding synth tones (Carlos’ The Shining theme) announcing the final descent into oblivion (T1). Two long tracks follow: the first, “Is sleeping,” is a lo-fi filthy rainbow roar (T2), “My Glue” moves to a higher key with surges of sound that grab onto each of your ears and pull, stretch, skew whatever’s in between them (T3). The track ends with convulsions and slobbering that moves into the live track “Co-Taeyang” (T4) with screamed vocals and sneakers squeaking around unidentifiable metallic clashes. More Shanghai noise!
Two CD collection of works prepared for the 2nd Deep Wireless Festival of Radio and Transmission Art in 2005, organized by the Canadian group New Adventures in Sound Art.
Collages of spoken word, including Gregory Whitehead’s reworking of Rumsfeld’s infamous “unknown unknowns” speech (CD1-T2), Toronto artist Marjorie Chan’s language lies (CD1 – T5), Katharine Norman’s unsettling nightmares (CD1-T3), Milena Droumeva’s cellphone soundbites (CD2-1), Audrey Churgin’s Arctic travelogue (CD2-T3), Pamela Z reading a page from a catalog (CD-T7).
Art made for radio, including a special for The Harvey Christ Radio Hour, a weekly sound collage show on Montreal’s CKUT (CD1-T9), a monologue about first teenage love from Aura Bogado, who Pacifica listeners will recognize from Free Speech Radio news (CD2-T8), or just the radio waves and transmissions themselves (CD1-T8, T11).
Field recordings and found sounds left as is or transformed into new sonic shapes (CD1-T4, T6, T7, T10), from movie theaters (CD2-T5) or university hallways (CD2-T9) or mixed with traditional percussion by Debashis Sinha (CD2-T2).
More information on the works can be found in the notes, and many of the artists here also appear on the Deep Wireless 5 compilation in our library.
Scathing is the harsh noise project of Austin-based artist Kenny Brieger (also in Architeuthis Dux); this 2018 cassette is his second release under this name. Two ten minute breakneck cut up pieces. Side A is total implosion, I trace its source possibly to a mutilated rock song. Voices singing, feedback from microphones or guitars, even remnants of song structure, with a bridge of tense holding pattern rhythm that transitions between the two halves of the piece. Side B is total explosion, high and piercing, barreling with barely a breath until the final second. Another punishing release from Oxen.
Mattin is no stranger to the KFJC airwaves. In our library you’ll find a ton of his work, under his own name, with the projects Billy Bao, Regler, Josetxo Grieta, and Consumer Electronics, and in collaboration with many artists… even Junko! This CD is the fourth volume of his Songbook series of improvised works recorded in 2006 in Tokyo. It lists six tracks, though my CD player reads only one long 22 minute track that contains the entire performance. Mattin is on vocals and guitar and is joined by a full band: another guitar, bass, piano, and – from over in the toilet – saxophone and Tomoya Izumi’s screaming. Dissonant guitar violence, driving rhythms propelled not by drums but by bass thump, piano keys stumbling around and clashing with guitar strings.
It all surrounds Mattin’s distorted, disturbed vocals that he claims are inspired by Lou Reed, but I hear more Damo Suzuki, Alan Vega, or someone more deranged. His performance is at once a parody of and a tribute to the underground rock show: the avant garde artist defying conventions with raucous noise and screamed lyrics, his back to the audience (or is he just a talentless asshole?) and the adventurous audience members engaged and rapt (or are they just pretentious snobs?). Mattin begs his audience for forgiveness (“I wanted to please apologize for my lack of talent”) or confronts them directly (“your expectations are the worst nightmare any human being could have”). It’s all pretty uncomfortable, and you can hear the tension in the stunned applause from the four or five people that showed up to the gig. Strange, vicious, and hilarious. WHY DO WE LET HIM DO THIS?
FCC at ~6:00 “this is another fucking lie”
I get how you might not be totally jazzed to return to dungeon synth, but it’d be a shame if you passed on the deliciously warped sounds on this split cassette. We last heard from Romain Perrot working under his most well known alias Vomir, among the most infamous HNW projects going. Here, he appears as Free as Dead, working with a completely different palette of sounds: a possessed organ, the notes twisting and distorted into beautiful, demonic hymns. If you love the Solo Organ stuff we’ve been playing consistently for the past two years, give this creepier version a spin. On Side B, we have six tracks from Bride, a side project of T.O.M.B., that attempt to capture electronic voice phenomena, or the sounds of spirits affecting electronic signals. Textured field recordings, unintelligible voices, ringing bells, dark piano melodies, and synth drones wind and warble through ancient speakers. Beautiful nightmares.
Painted Caves is the electronic side project of Barn Owl Evan Caminiti. On this 2013 release, Caminiti uses modular synths with tape loops and digital effects to create a sense of pervasive paranoia. Tense beats and minor-key synth drones, as cold and soulless as the AI algorithms methodically sifting through your email, location data, and camera roll. Ranges from intrusion into quiet, intimate spaces (T1, T2, T5, T6, T7) to massive data collection on a national scale (T3, T4). But just when no escape seems possible, there are brief moments of strange beauty, hints of warmth. Limited release from the fine French label Shelter Press.
Lee “Leech” Bartow made his name in the 1990s with the power electronics project Navicon Torture Technologies. In 2010, he began releasing less extreme but no less dark works as Theologian. This new cassette from Danvers State Recordings (the label run by The Vomit Arsonist) is described as “apocalyptic industrial for the end times,” which might as well be now. The A side begins with the slow building ice storm of “In the End Times” (T1), the industrial rhythms of “The Sisters” (T2), the unexpected dance beats from a miserable club in hell on T3, the suspense of “Spent Fuel Rods” (T4). The second side is where this work really stuns, beginning with the standout title track (T5) (with a grim chorus that returns in T8), the tragic vocals of T6, the annihilating ambience of T7. The four tracks on each side merge seamlessly into one another – play on continuous to track them all together into a long piece. So much more than just a spooky dark ambient soundtrack, this excellent release evokes scenes of genuine drama, beauty, and horror.
Botched Facelift gets a makeover in this debut cassette from Blood of Chhinnamastika, and it’s just as horrifying as you’d imagine. Local noisician Dario Puga’s new project is named for the fierce Hindu goddess of sex and destruction, who severs her own head to nourish her followers with the blood that springs forth from the stump. The A side is a single track that moves between dense layers of pulses to sparser passages where warped vocals cut into stuttering bursts of static, to somewhat nauseating effect. “See No Hope” (T2) sustains the intensity with tortured screams and mangled electronics, while the final track “Unreality Tortures” (T3) is over eleven minutes of uninterrupted searing sandblast. Drink up!
Live improvised works recorded during a 2014 performance from guitarist Henry Kaiser and drummer Scott Amendola. Throughout these six tracks, the local luminaries leap between strange styles in a single bound, from the psychedelic freakout and extended comedown of longplayer “Leaps” (T1), to the post-rock burn of “Door in the Light” (T2, that builds into something much heavier and wild), the tangled jungles of “The 14 Animals that Will Haunt Your Dreams” (T3), the rolling blues riffs and rhythms of “Sproing” (T4), the electronic abstractions of “Blinks and Blinks” (T5), and the seething skronk of “The Wrong Suit” (T6). Much more from these prolific artists in the A and Jazz sections of our library.
You know the drill. We have several (here here and here) of these compilations from the Blackpool UK artists’ collective in our library – now here’s Vol. 2 from 2004. Godspunk regulars Howl in the Typewriter bring seven minitracks, all named “Here Comes the Butterfly”, plus some fuzzed out rock (T1 and T34). Unit offers five hits of deranged art pop that reminded me of old Deerhoof stuff (T27-31), Pinkeye features female vox and weird electronics (T11-17), the Las Vegas Mermaids sing to some insect dance tracks (T8-9), LDB space out with melodic brithop (T2-4). Gays in the Military might have the best entry with a track of pissdrinking punk that should not be played during daytime (T6 – FCC).
Hype Williams is a joke band with a joke name, but it’s the 2010s, when jokes can lead the free world or make the Album of the Year list on your dad’s favorite alternative music website. This 2009 7″ from de Stijl brings us back to where it all began with Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland. Why music snobs lose their shit over these two is something I have never understood, and these tracks don’t really shed any light. The A side of haunted dub is the best, the B side is a lo-fi smoky synth melody with a fake ending. And the jokes don’t stop – play this 7″ at 33 1/3.
A one hour noise odyssey from genius of the genre Kimihide Kusafuka, brought to us by LA’s Oxen. In these three works, K2 finds a sonic idea, stays with it for a moment, then moves on to the next – the effect is like moving through the world with your senses amplified a millionfold. “Pollution with Huge Lies” (T1) builds from isolated drones and signals into massive torrents of sound and a sense of impending catastrophe. “MOX” (T2) explores rough-textured static, but later on almost melodic phrases appear. “Unpeaceful Song For Rainy Tritium” begins peacefully enough, like an unsuspecting nature scene, until it is slowly swarmed by radioactive plumes and ensuing mayhem. Masterful.
On this 2014 cassette EP, noise artist Josef Nadek draws inspiration from the ancient folklore of his native Austria. “Wâldgeischta” lures us into the forests, with field recordings of birds singing as dark ambient echoes settle in the trees (T1). This moves into the mysterious, minimal rhythms of “Nimma dâ” (T2) that blossoms into full-on seething noise on “‘s wilde Gfâhr” (T3). The dust settles on the final ambient track “D’ Bluatig’n,” (T4) electronic groans and growls from the spirits as they disappear back into the woods.
Analog transmissions from Head Dress, the project of Ted Butler from Los Angeles (he’s also behind the underground cassette podcast Norelco Mori). This 2017 cassette comes to us from the newish experimental tape label Castle Bravo out of Lafayette, IN.
Three modular synth works with a focus on rhythm and drone. Sonar pings from a black box on the ocean floor, repeating pulses like a code beamed from a distant source. Ringing drones that flow into beats from alternate dimensions mutating into minimal almost-techno by the end of “Blake’s Ridge” (T3). Disappear into the Devil’s Triangle.
Punishing power electronics on this 2016 release from Stress Orphan, the Baltimore-based project of Eric Trude. Global exploitation, mounting frustration, inevitable explosions. Calls-to-arms, guerilla warfare, howling sirens, nuclear attacks, shock waves, body bags.