KFJC 89.7FM

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Straight Panic – “Satanic Verses, The” – [Phage Tapes]

lexi glass   9/18/2017   A Library, CD

Thomas Boettner is a prolific noisemaker (with his solo projects Fire Island AK and Family Planning and the group GASP.), the founder of several labels (Minneapolis-based Fuck Mtn. and now the New Orleans cassette label Jouissance de Rien), and an advocate for queer experimental musicians. Boettner’s power electronics project Straight Panic deals with the persecution of homosexuals, beginning with its origins in the ancient texts of nearly all major religions to the vicious treatment throughout history that continues today. Released in 2017 on Phage Tapes, The Satanic Verses is “a treatise on the defense and protection of all queer bodies in the face of theocracy under capitalism.”

Boettner uses samples to recount this bloody history – passages from the Quran (T2), sermons on the Book of Leviticus (T3) and from an Arizona pastor who calls for the execution of “filthy faggots” (T5 – FCC), hymns and military songs (T3 and T1) – all ravaged by distortion to magnify their ugliness. The noise comes in machine-gun bursts (T6), screams of rage (T2), waves of pain (T5, T4, with a sample from the 2015 film The Witch – witch hunts are a recurring theme), but there’s also moments of mourning and even hope (T7). Ruthless work that spits in the face of god.

Chaitanya Hari Deuter/ Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh – “Kundalini Meditation” – [Self Produced]

lexi glass   9/11/2017   12-inch, A Library

Georg Deuter is a major figure in krautrock and new age music, but this record is something else entirely. Recorded in 1975 and released in 1979 (though never in the US until this 2016 re-release), Kundalini Meditation is the result of a collaboration between the German multi-instrumentalist and guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the spiritual leader of an ashram in Pune, India that Deuter discovered and joined during his wanderings through Asia in the early 1970s.

In the 1980s, members of Rajneesh’s commune, by then relocated to rural Oregon, would be convicted of bioterror attacks and assassination plots, while Rajneesh himself made a daily habit of parading in front of his adoring disciples in one of his many Rolls Royces. But in India in the 70s, Rajneesh founded a philosophy called neo-sannyasa, a mix of Hindu, Buddhist and Western ideas, with intensive meditation as a central component of the lifestyle. Deuter, who took the name Chaitanya Hari Deuter and became the resident musician of the ashram, designed these pieces in collaboration with Rajneesh to promote the meditation practice.

The pieces engage the mind and body in four successive steps: three musical stages of “shaking,” “dancing” and “witnessing,” and a fourth stage of meditation in silence. This LP contains the music of the first two stages. In the first stage (A1), rapid, repetitive, xylophone tones melt into a harmonious, ambient texture, until about six minutes in when electronic synthesis emerges and vibrates in parallel; soon, you become the shaking. In the second stage (A2), the droning strings of the tambura, flute, and percussion find an energetic rhythm inspired by Indian dancing music. Later, quiet chanting and guitar melodies add to the magical atmosphere. Entrancing work that could easily step over into new age cheeze but never does. Abandon yourself, totally.

Golden Oriole – “Golden Oriole” – [Drid Machine Records]

lexi glass   9/5/2017   12-inch, A Library

New strangeness from Stavanger courtesy of Drid Machine, the label founded by friend of the station Kjetil Davies Brandsdal (Noxagt, Ultralyd). Golden Oriole is the new noise rock project of guitarist Kristoffer Riis and drummer Thore Warland from Staer, picking up where they left off with that band’s last release, the 2016 EP “Collapse of Ancient Funk.” But you wouldn’t guess that from the first few moments of this slab of white vinyl (“The Approaching of the Disco Void”, T1), as twisting metallic echoes, like they were ripped from a dark ambient record, set a mysterious mood. But out of nowhere, the drums and guitar kick in, riding a deranged groove until the six minute mark, when the duo shifts into higher gear with faster percussion, eerie electronics, and repetitive, rough-edged guitar work. In “The Chrysopoeia of the Trilithon Ass” (T2) Riis sustains a driving, prog-precision rhythm as Thore’s guitar swerves and snarls. “The Pyrite Wink” (T3) begins with electronic tones before the drums and guitar come crashing in again from all angles to wage an extended onslaught. Alchemical transformations of noise, prog, blues, ambient, jazz, and psych into pure Norwave gold.

MW Ensemble – “Music For Piano Transmission” – [Ionik Recordings Company]

lexi glass   8/29/2017   A Library, CD

The mw ensemble is the New York-based duo of Nancy Wheeler and Mike Winters. They create minimal compositions for piano and sometimes cello, and also use field recordings and electronic treatments in their work. On this 2017 release, we hear several instances of two solo piano pieces as they are broadcast over unassigned carrier frequencies and played back through a Crosby AM/FM receiver. The two short compositions begin with beautiful, repetitive, somewhat conventional playing. But dissonance finds its way in, and by the end, entire swathes of keys are mashed at once. The transmissions alter the signal in different ways, adding fuzzy distortion (T1) or noisy horror (T5). Conduct your own experiment with the source tracks (T3 and T6) or let the waves of the west rip apart what’s left of the broadcasts, and wield the awesome transformative power of terrestrial radio!

18th Annual San Francisco Electronic Music Festival [coll] – [Self Produced]

lexi glass   8/22/2017   A Library, CD

Compilation showcasing the artists performing at the 2017 SFEMF, Sept 8-10 at the Brava Theater:

01 Suki O’Kane Local composer/percussionist, performs in Dan Plonsey’s ensemble and many other SF groups. Synthetic water sounds and blurred bright drone.

02 Las Sucias Oakland industrial/reggaeton/riotgrrl duo of Danishta Rivero and Alexandra Buschman. This banger was on the Ratskin Records Sentient Solder II comp from last year, but you should definitely play it again now anyway

03 Aaron Dilloway Track from the ex-Wolf Eyes member’s new release The Gag File. Trash cans banging, distorted voices, ghostly whistling from back alley

04 Dax Pierson Bay Area underground hip hop musician/producer who hasn’t stopped making art since a car accident in 2005 left him paralyzed from the chest down. Starts out like a 70s new-agey synth theme song, but then the beat kicks in, the synths doubleback, and it all mutates into something completely and unexpectedly different. lexi g’s pick!

05 Kaori Suzuki Synth builder at Magic Echo Music and musician, Oakland-based by way of Tokyo and Seattle. Binaural waves expand, develop from smooth to sawtoothed and back again

06 JH1.FS5 Our first library entry from the new duo of Puce Mary and Liebestod (Frederikke Hoffmeier and Jesse Sanes). Waves of static, repetitive bass pulses, ropes on the verge of snapping as Puce Mary mumbles about being tied up.

07 Beast Nest Oakland-based musician Sharmi Basu. Spaceship computer, alien symbols on the control panel, blinking light bulbs.

08 Waxy Tomb Jules Litman-Cleper from SF. Mishmash of electronic sounds, warped vocals, almost recognizable elements of hip hop, huffs of vaporwave.

09 Suzanne Ciani Electronic music legend, Buchla synth master. Excerpt from a January 2017 performance in Stockholm. Layered, complex but not busy, pinpoints and echoes, otherworldly – her live performances are astonishing. See the full performance here.

Ear Spray – “Live Sprays” – [Self Produced]

lexi glass   8/14/2017   A Library, CD

Ann O’Rourke, Carlos Jennings, and Mark Pino have been performing together as Ear Spray since 2010. This self-released, hand-painted CDR collects recordings of the noise trio’s live performances from 2014-2016 at local venues The Stork Club (T1), LCM (T2), and the Second Act (T3).

O’Rourke is a percussionist, vocalist, and video artist who came to the world of free music later in life, discovering her love for strange sounds by playing drums in a free jazz group, taking operatic voice lessons, and singing in the Cornelius Cardew Choir, an SF-based experimental vocal ensemble. She brings all of her talents to this project – from the wails, yelps, and rapid-fire utterances of her voice, to the riotous tumbling percussion, to the live video projections that react to the music during the Spray’s shows. She is joined by Jennings on turntables and electronics and Pino on additional percussion (Infinite Plastic Internal, McCaslin/Reed/Pino Trio, Surplus 1980, etc etc etc and a good friend of KFJC).

Each performance is a very different experience, each an adventure. The Stork Club track (T1, ~20m) is an ecstatic meditation on the looping mantra: if a thing loves it is infinite. The LCM track (T2, ~18:30) begins with a twisted reveille – you wake up, but you’re still in the dream. The Second Act (T3, ~20m) is an underworld haunted by electronic ghosts. Together, it’s the sound of an artistic spirit finding her wild, fearsome voice. Spray it loud!

Herbst9 – “Usumgal Kalamma” – [Loki Foundation]

lexi glass   8/6/2017   A Library, CD

Herbst9 is the dark ambient project of Henry Emich and Frank Merten from Leipzig (they also work under the name Land:Fire). This 2011 release from Loki Foundation is a 2X CD concept album inspired by the Sumer and Akkad, the world’s first civilizations – from the cuneiform symbols and mythological imagery that make up the cover art, to the vocals in the ancient Akkadian language, to the ceremonial rhythms and instrumentation. The first disc opens with “She Filled the Wells of the Land With Blood” (T1), with ringing gongs and the chants of a vengeful female spirit (Andrea Sinclair provides vocals in Akkadian, also on T7). “Napissunu Mutumma” (T2, “Their Breath is Death”) is a 15-minute epic with a dramatic battle scene bookended by beautiful, mysterious passages with harps and chimes. “Ludlul Bel Nemeqi” (T3, “I Will Praise the Lord of Wisdom”, the title of a poem that reads like a Babylonian version of the Book of Job) is a fitting soundtrack to your upcoming solar eclipse sacrifice. “The Sage Lord Asimbabbar” (T11) is another highlight, with violin, lute, and chimes. Along with the dark ambient shadows and the acoustic instruments, loops of spoken word are used – some times well, but other times to confusing and even annoying effect (like the guided meditation spoken word on T2, for example). But that aside, there’s hours of excellent dark, mystical atmosphere on this release.

Compile – “Ten Wolves End” – [Private Archive]

lexi glass   7/30/2017   A Library, Cassette

This release from NYC’s Compile, one of our first adds from the Boston cassette label Private Archive, holds two sidelong sound collages (supposedly two separate tracks, but I can’t hear the division). “Drone’s on Fire/Ten Wolves End” (A) is a collaboration with Article Collection (C. Latina of the group Private Archive and label co-owner). Chopped and screwed voices – possibly ripped from Youtube videos with views in the single digits or surveillance camera footage – describe survival on the streets and the pathetic daily life of a vlogger broadcasting for the first (and probably last) time. Underneath the samples are synth sketches, heavy bass pulses, tumbling metal, high pitched ringing, hovering drones. The piece degenerates into a finale that is both hilarious and terrifying. In “Compile/Did you really have fun tonight?” (B), recordings of domestic disturbances and an informational video about violent behavior steep in a nauseating brew of chants, drones, metallic echoes, and squirming synthwork. The cameras are everywhere, pointed at you, and the images captured are an infinitely scrolling reminder: there’s nothing in there.

FCCs ON BOTH SIDES

Ima – “Garden of Memory 6.21.17” – [Self Released]

lexi glass   7/23/2017   A Library, CD

Ima (“now” in Japanese) is an Oakland-based electro-percussion duo who have been performing since 2013. Amma Ateria (Jeanie Aprille Tang) is a composer and artist who works with field recordings and an instrument made from electronic hardware, contact mics, and plexiglass. Nava Dunkelman is a percussionist who has performed in several local groups, including the improvisational group DunkelpeK. This live CDR recording of their performance from the 2017 Garden of Memory at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland was burned and released on the spot at the event.

I still haven’t been to the Chapel of the Chimes, but the sounds on this record match the image of it I have in my mind: beautiful, maze-like, heavy with the presence of those laid to rest. Echoing through the chapel’s halls are the rumbles of gongs, ringing bells, metallic clashes, crashes, whispered phrases that are looped and processed. “Notion of Time” (T1) is a short spoken word introduction (in Japanese). In “Lift” (T3) a dark, deep drone pulses throughout. The album concludes with the exquisite “Eline” (T5) with chimes glimmering in the dark. Stunning.

Carroll, Doug & Nunn, Tom – “Twine #20” – [Self Released]

lexi glass   7/11/2017   A Library, CD

Tom Nunn and Doug Carroll are improvisers who have been working and performing in the Bay Area for decades. In the early 00s, the duo met weekly to make and record improvised sound art and released the results on homemade CDRs under the name Twine. This CDR, recorded in February of 2002, is the 20th volume of this project. Nunn builds his own original instruments (he has made over 200), including a series called electroacoustic percussion boards, wooden boards fitted with sound generating objects (nails, wooden sticks, strings) and amplified with pickups. We hear several of these inventions, such as the Octatonic T-Rodimba, in this work. Doug Carroll is a cellist and composer. Here, he plays a Zeta electronic cello using non-traditional techniques.

The CDR opens with a long, curious piece. Nunn’s playing is like listening to an crazy Rube Goldberg machine: I imagine twine being drawn through pulleys, marbles rolling around chutes and down wooden ramps, rows of dominoes falling, scrambled tones like a cartoon computer crunching numbers. Carroll’s playing moves through this maze of sound with plucking, bowing, and guitar-like strumming. The electronic treatments give the cello a coarse, lo-fi edge, and adds woozy slides between the notes. On the second track, Nunn introduces some questionably traditional percussion – a driving, deeper beat accompanied by an melodic, bell-like rhythm, as Carroll’s cello growls. The remaining three tracks combine Nunn’s sound effects of T1 and the rhythms of T2, and we hear the two improvisors exploring this wholly original world of sound.

Glochids – “Ni Fila” – [Ascetic House]

lexi glass   7/4/2017   12-inch, A Library

Glochids is the project of James Roemer, a sound artist from Arizona currently working in Oakland. We received his new LP from Ascetic House during his Mayhem 2017 performance in the Pit, during the fourth and final installment of Teachers AIDS’ and James Livingston’s Black Horizons Mayhem.

Ni Fila explores a variety of weird, dreamlike environments over eight tracks. The A side holds five pieces that build on a central idea and with additional electronic and acoustic elements: in Mossoão (T1), a languid synth melody backdrops mechanical grinding, in “Expense One” (T2), a gently glowing drone anchors twisting, stretching electronic sounds, a looping melody underlies blooms of distorted noise in “Comma Loop” (T3), constantly blinking synths are overtaken by metallic rhythms and someone fucking with the pitch shifter again on “Washir Pulse” (T4). “Village” skips through a long-form ambient soundscape with the fast-forward dial (T5). The second side gives way to longer sound collages that incorporate unusual sounds, such as the bell-like bonang and field recordings from the streets of Guatemala (“Net” T6), a marimba mirage on “KPOCC NO2” (T7), bleary organ tones on “Net (Orgel)” (T8). There’s more Glochids in our library by way of Weird Ear, hear here.

Vitriol – “I-VII” – [Neurot Recordings]

lexi glass   6/27/2017   A Library, CD

This 2001 CD from Neurot Recordings is the sole release from Vitriol, the solo project of Ben (G.C.) Green, the bassist from Godflesh.

Vitriol is an archaic term for sulfuric acid, (the word derives from the Latin vitriolum, “of glass”, as crystals of metal sulfates resemble colored glass). The substance was central in alchemical practice for its transformative powers, its importance reflected in the alchemist’s motto “Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem” – “Visit the interior of the earth, and purifying it, you will find the hidden stone.” Green pursued this message, and this album is an account of his personal inward search. Recorded from 1995-1996, these tracks were made during a year long retreat to the mountains of Wales, where Green lived and worked in solitude. “Visita” (T1) opens with beautiful drones looping in reverse. Many of the tracks focus on abstract, textured noise, with additional elements like heavy distortion (T2), bell-like drones (T4), rushes of water and driving pulses (T5). There’s the sounds of the paranoia that sets in during extended periods of isolation: deep voices rising up from the mountains (T3), imagined footsteps echoing in an empty house (T6). The album ends on a (somewhat surprising) peaceful note, with beautiful reverberating guitars (T7).

Long Distance Poison – “Twin Lights Twin Lights” – [Prison Tatt Records]

lexi glass   6/20/2017   A Library, Cassette

Nathan Cearley and Erica Bradbury have been composing analog synth works as Long Distance Poison since 2010. Most of the releases from this Brooklyn duo are on cassette (though the only one we have so far is a 12″ single) including this 2015 tape from Prison Tatt.

Each side of Twin Lights Twin Lights holds a sidelong track. “Mosa” (T1) immediately swells into a vicious surge of sound. At the center of the piece are heavy, earth-shaking pulses, but as it unfolds, subtler details begin to emerge. There’s tones twisting outwards, insectoid flourishes, bizarre melodies that hiss, crawl, breathe. The piece includes hydrophone recordings of the East River. “Infra Viam (Live At Death By Audio, 9/19/12)” (T2, Cearley and Bradbury are joined by Casey Block on a Micromoog), a live track from the now shuttered NYC studio/venue, feels like the afterimage of the first side: we hear settling dust clouds, smoldering remains, piano-like notes blurred beyond recognition, glowing embers, droning echoes, absence. Recommended if you enjoyed getting lost in the void of Zaimph’s latest work.

Marchetti / Noetinger / Werchowski – “Marchetti / Noetinger / Werchowski” – [Corpus Hermeticum]

lexi glass   6/12/2017   A Library, CD

Live recordings of two half-hour performances of improvised electronics and violin, released in 2000 by the New Zealand label Corpus Hermeticum (run by Bruce Russell of the Dead C). Lionel Marchetti is a French musique concrète/electronic composer who creates studio pieces and improvised live works. This release is an example of the latter, with Marchetti using microphones, tape recorders, radios, and loudspeakers strategically placed to complement the acoustics of the performance space. Jérôme Noetinger is also a French sound artist; both he and Marchetti were students of Xavier Garcia, and have been frequent collaborators since the early 90s. Here they are joined by violinist Mathieu Werchowski. The CD includes an essay from guitarist Michel Henritzi that casts the performances as radical acts: “two concerts that are imploding limits within which our listening is held by the dominant discourse of our market-led era.”

The Lille performance (T1) opens with a sweep of the tuner dial on an antique radio – sometimes the hint of a broadcast fades in for a moment through the static and woozy, theremin-like feedback. When Werchowski joins in, it kicks off an ongoing exchange between the violin and electronic sounds for a place in the foreground. His frantic, repetitive bowing builds into a fury; later, blares of microphone feedback, blotting out everything around it, dominate as Werchowski brushes on muted strings. An extended lull gives way to another build-up with long pulls of the bow on dissonant double stops and wild electronic chaos. The Turin performance (T2) has many of the same elements, but it is the darker and queasier of the two pieces, with high-pitched whistling and droning feedback creating a persistent tension. Intense listening.

Maldur Atai – “Borgata” – [Autarkeia]

lexi glass   5/30/2017   A Library, CD

Formed in 2010, Maldur Atai is a three-man industrial ambient project that comes from an emerging experimental scene in Lithuania. This 2012 CD, their fourth album, was released by the Vilnius label Autarkeia.

Borgata is a concept album that takes its title from a biography of Italian intellectual and director Pier Paolo Pasolini that explores the mysterious events surrounding his murder on a beach in Rome in 1975, just before the premiere of his infamous film Salò. I can’t find anything about this biography other than the lengthy synopsis from Autarkeia. But if it does exist, it sounds like a pretty decent read: it reveals that Pasolini was killed by operatives of a secret global conspiracy, that includes high-ranking members of the Vatican clergy, whose goal is to prevent the unfolding of ancient prophecies of an obscure Buddhist cult called the Maldur Atai, the details of which Pasolini planned to expose in his next film.

The album follows the twists and turns of this convoluted story. It opens with beautiful ambient sounds mixed with samples – grim news reports, screams of horror, discussions of psychedelics, voices of possessed children. These clues deepen the mystery, and the sounds follow, becoming darker, hollow and expansive. As we near the truth, the tracks become heavier, louder, and distorted, almost sounding like a noise record (T5, T7, T11, T12). Finally, we arrive at some kind of solution to the puzzle, with a guitar-based Italian folk ballad, Apollo 11 flight recordings, (T13) and a mystical vision appearing at the close (T14).

Dommert, Frank – “Kiefermusik” – [Pacific City Sound Visions]

lexi glass   5/16/2017   12-inch, A Library

Frank Dommert began experimenting with tape music as a high school student growing up in Cologne in the 80s. He reached out as a fan to Christoph Heeman of H.N.A.S. (Hirsche Nicht Aufs Sofa, their early work came out on United Dairies) and soon became a collaborator. After releasing a string of cassettes on his own label Entenpfuhl, Dommert made this record, his first LP, in 1990, with Heeman as producer. The circle of musicians Dommert encountered during this period went on in the 90s to form the group Kontakta, the Sonig label and a-musik, which became the center of the experimental scene in Cologne. This 2016 reissue of Kiefermusik (“jaw music”) comes to us from the now Belgium-based label Pacific City Sound Visions, run by madman Spencer Clark (he’s calling himself Typhonian Highlife lately, also known as Fourth World Magazine, half of the noise duo The Skaters with James Ferraro, the Monopoly Child Star Searchers, and more).

Kiefermusik contains two sidelong tape experiments that warp and wind fragments of recorded sound into a seamless dream sequence. In “Neum” (side A), dueling cycles of sound, one a loop of tape static churning in a constant rhythm, and a parallel loop fluctuating in pitch and volume. Echoing conversations, a distant accordion serenade, blistering noise, a ticking second hand (I had a traumatic flashback to Clocker, now finishing up its rotation in our current bin), and end-of-the-cassette crackles all move into awareness before the tape flies off the reel. “Uwverschmuschupi” (side B) begins with a sample of sped-up circus music (perhaps the roly-poly fish heads on the album cover?) that returns like a chorus throughout the piece. Voices and their chemtrailing echoes, planes flying overhead, radio news reports rumbling underneath, comic book laser beams, clips of film dialog and violin solos. Totally demented and sublime.

 

Orchestra of Futurist Noise Intoners, The [coll] – [Sub Rosa]

lexi glass   5/8/2017   12-inch, A Library

Luigi Russolo (1885-1947) was an Italian Futurist composer, occultist, and designer of a family of musical instruments called the Intonarumori, or “noise intoners.” In his 1913 manifesto The Art of Noises, Russolo argued that traditional music could no longer capture the senses and imagination of the modern listener, a city-dweller surrounded by the constant cacophony of “noise sounds.” He envisioned a new kind of orchestra, composed of purely mechanical instruments – the Intonarumori – that each created a sound from one of six “families of noise” (roaring, hissing, scraping, etc.) that resembles the sounds one encounters in modern life. The first orchestral performance in Modena in 1914, perhaps the first noise show in history, ended in a riot. Since then, many of the instruments were lost over the years, or destroyed during World War II.

In 2009, Luciano Chessa (composer, multi-instrumentalist, and friend of the station – his most recent visit to The Pit was in Dec. 2016) resurrected the Intonarumori in a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Italian Futurism, in collaboration with Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Working from Russolo’s original designs, Chessa’s team constructed 16 replicas of the Intonarumori devices, large wooden boxes containing intricate mechanical noise generators operated by an external lever or hand crank, with a phonograph-style horn to amplify the sound. Chessa then invited his colleagues and friends to compose new works for the orchestra, to be performed alongside Russolo’s original compositions. The works were performed at several locations, including the Ex-Alumix factory in Bolzano, Italy, by the Trento Risuona Improvisation Orchestra (T.R.I.O.).

This 2X LP from Sub Rosa collects the recordings from this 2010 performance. Blixa Bargeld contributes a driving, droning piece (T1), Pauline Oliveros has the sounds scattered as they rise up from silence (T2), Margareth Kammerer offers a night-shift blues tune with female vocals (T12), Pablo Ortiz creates a wild, dissonant tango that you could almost dance to. Several pieces incorporate operatic vocals (T3, T5, T7, T11). Extensive liner notes are included inside the gatefold. In the hands of such brilliant musicians, these century-old instruments sound fresh, and somehow, from the grinding-gear sounds, they are able to generate a surprising variety of textures and moods. It’s all the more impressive that there isn’t an amp of electricity flowing. Russolo’s words resound today as strongly as ever: “Today noise reigns supreme over human sensibility.”

X Eyes – “X Eyes” – [Kitty Play Records]

lexi glass   5/2/2017   A Library, Cassette

X Eyes is the LA noise duo of Corissa Viveros and Travis Fargher (aka rehgrafsivart, also in Bastard Noise). They’re occasionally joined by their two talented kids, as in their live performance from the KFJC pit in February 2017. This 2015 cassette from Kitty Play Records finds the pair bending circuits to generate a warped interpretation of a Deep South tent revival. Bubbling up from the muck of swampy synthesis are swarms of giant buzzing cicadas, visions of snake-faced preachers (T1), a sermon from His Holiness Ornette Coleman (T3), the relentless sound of a downpour during a thunderstorm, blasts of crackling ringing and pulsating feedback. Press play and be healed.

Viper, The – “Art For Pain’s Sake” – [BUFMS]

lexi glass   4/23/2017   A Library, CD

Richard Streeter is associated with Butte County Free Music Society, the collective of Norcal noisefreaks that brought us the Bren’t Lewiis Ensemble, the great Bananafish zine, and other local underground institutions. As The Viper, Streeter brings us his straight-to-boombox recordings saved from his teenage years growing up in suburban Livermore in the late 70s. Noisy tape doodles (T2, T3, T4), a lo-fi drum spazzout with sis on backup vocals (T1, dredged up a memory of one of my old favorite Space Ghost numbers), a truly sweet little instrumental hippy dip folk pop tune with lilting piano and violin (T5), and a band practice outtake with strange, clashing chords and bluesy riffs (T6). Former high school weirdos that burned time until graduation nerding out over music (I’m assuming that’s all of us) might be delighted by this weird little mixtape.

Those Who Walk Away – “Infected Mass, The” – [Constellation]

lexi glass   4/16/2017   A Library, CD

The Infected Mass is the first release from Matthew Patton’s project Those Who Walk Away. Patton is a composer from Winnipeg, whose previous works include the score for the 1988 dance performance Speaking in Tongues. This new work deals with the grief surrounding the death of Patton’s brother, who was killed in a plane crash. The pieces feature string and choral arrangements performed by players from Winnipeg and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, who are credited as the “ghost strings” and “ghost chorus.” The strings are slowly bowed, creating reflective harmonies (T2, T4, T6), while distant voices echo in a mournful chorus (T1 and T7). Filling in the empty spaces, there is a quiet roar, like an icy wind, made from the sounds of circulating blood. And then, jarringly, we are presented with the black box recordings recovered from two fatal plane crashes (T3 and T5). “The recordings are very disturbing,” Patton says, “as we listen to these cockpit voice recordings, real people are about to die. I don’t know why I am doing something that feels so wrong. But I am.” Maybe it’s also wrong to drop art that is so personal and so harrowing into the middle of a dumb radio show, but I’ll leave that for you to decide.

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