KFJC 89.7FM

Yokota, Susumu – “Magic Thread ” – [Leaf Label Ltd]

loun   9/6/2006   A Library, CD

The latest from Yokota-san is hardly the latest from Yokota-san. This CD was actually recorded in ’98, and is just making its way into our library now. Herein lie an agent’s dozen (11) of sonic wonderments. The sounds are very well crafted and textured, but the songs seem to be lacking somewhat in depth. Perhaps they just aren’t meant to be songs, but soundscapes. In any case, your ear will snuggle up to the carefully crafted sounds and purr, even if your brain gets a bit impatient waiting for them to do something. Perhaps this is the intended didactic of minimalist techno…’

3-5 minute tracks, no words means no dirty words, and the sounds are soothing. Good on most shows – give it a spin!

-LouN

Yermo – “Yermo ” – [Last Visible Dog Records]

loun   9/6/2006   A Library, CD

Who are Yermo? Well, Chris Moon is rumored to be the head of Last Visible Dog. Dean Thompson may or may not be the subject of the MCMS track “Dean Thompson, Killer of the Living?. Both were probably actually part of MCMS. So who are they? I have no freakin’ idea.

What do they do, then? Well, that I may be able to help with. On this disc they serve up a tasty double-splortch of loopy, driving, grinding, elusive, persistent, symphonic, melodic noisecore that will leave you alternately ripping off the headphones and drooling for more – sometimes mere seconds apart. The title track is by far more notable, grinding its way into your skull, then unexpectedly flitting about before grinding some more. It moves in multiple scales, and rewards repeated listens, but the 50 minute length may be offputting. The second track just feels less substantial next to the sonic colossus that is yermo, but it has merit, too.

Suggestion: scan a random time into track 1, pot up, then pot down when you think they’ve had enough.

-LouN

Neuburg, Amy X – “Residue ” – [Other Minds, Inc.]

loun   8/9/2006   A Library, CD

Modern musical sensibility collides with unorthodox Judaism in this epic battle between woman and herself from which she emerges bloody but unscathed. Although she has recorded before, this is effectively Amy’s debut, and she does almost everything – all the writing, performance, and recording plus the bulk of the production. Each of these skills has its moments to shine, and she proves herself talented at all of them. Solid, original, deep, creative, with excellent variety – pick tracks at random, ‘cuz there’s not a bad one on here. Levels are even on all tracks, although some tracks start soft (especially #6 – don’t adjust or you’ll clip badly).

3WR: vibrant self dialogues

-LouN

Partch, Harry – “Bewitched, The ” – [New World Records]

loun   7/19/2006   A Library, CD

In what may be his defining work, the prodigal son of American music, Harry Partch, deeply examined the interactions of music, dance, and theater, in the context of both society and individuals. In a time when American arts were completing their sgregation into isolated component forms, Partch looked back in time and saw the integrated whole from whence they had come, and mourned the loss of gestalt. “The Bewitched” is the dance/play/opera/musical production that both celebrates the potential of iintegrated arts and realizes it. By itself, the soundtrack still retains much of its power, since it is rooted in deep conviction. The sound is unmistakably Partchian, as almost all instruments are of the composer’s design. Most tracks are in the 4-6 minute range, and are musically self contained. The tempo is lively enough to make this appropriate for almost any show. As with all things Partch, I am inspired to contemplate the limitations of my ability to appreciate it, and in so doing, begin to break them down. Play, and be enlightened!

-LouN

Pestrepeller – “Isle of Dark Magick ” – [Important Records]

loun   7/12/2006   A Library, CD

The third release from a collective that may be more famous individually as graphic artists than collectively as musical artists, this disc, dedicated to the fantasy and horror writers H.P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith, as well as to the magician Austin Osman Spare, does not suffer from the artists’ other pursuits. This is a well crafted soundscape of harsh drones with disturbingly pleasant overtones. All the songs sound very deliberate, as if the artists deliberately intended to wedge a sonic crowbar into your brain and lean on it, slowly exposing your consciousness to daylight and your subconscious at the same time. Sonically, the phrase “dark squeal drone” will have to suffice, except for track 5, the only track with lyrics, which seems to be a gentle reminder not to take the CD too seriously. This disc is good medicine: it’s a little tough to swallow, but you’ll feel better for it. Brilliant and masterful.

-LouN

Masada String Trio – “Azazel ” – [Tzadik]

loun   6/14/2006   CD, Jazz

Klezzical music! Masada, John Zorn’s musical hydra, raises its stringiest head and glares at us with baleful eyes of Classical and Klezmer. We cannot look away, and gaze deep. They are identically mismatched, these two, like twins conjoined in different places, an odd couple whose charm is in the reconciliation of idiosyncracies. With Zorn writing and conducting, diversions into more freeformed music are inevitable, and these make nice punctuation to the effort. With somnolent dischord, the Masada String Trio civilly assert that rock and roll may no longer be the music of revolutionaries. The beast gazes deeply into us, and we cannot turn away, for we are klezmerized.

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