KFJC 89.7FM

Gibson, John – “Traces” – [Innova/American Composers]

Naysayer   1/3/2017   A Library, CD

John Gibson is many things: musician, composer, multi-instrumentalist, professor, winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship among many other awards, academic. He is interested in electro acoustic sounds and their interplay. “Traces” is his recording looking at 12 years of his work and ideas. The seven selections are like listening to a kaleidoscope, if that was possible, with shards of sounds flashing past or gently merging into one another. At moments it may pause, affording a look, a listen to grasp what is heard. Then it moves on again, unique but with a connection to what was heard before. The selections use a variety of sounds, some from piano, trumpet, strings, trombone, the electronic manipulation of these sounds and fragments of these sounds or fragments of sounds interplaying with the acoustic instruments, electronic glitches and swooshes. There are samples from nature and from urban settings mixed in and played along with. It is all so very complex, sharp, crystal like. Pristine in its haunting beauty. Superb.

Collezione [coll] – [Edizioni Mondo]

Naysayer   1/1/2017   CD, International

Italian music is strange. From giallo soundtracks, to Italdisco, and mondo soundtracks, things are always just a bit off center. “Collezione” from the label Edizioni Mondo is a collection of four artists/groups who are playing a 21st century type or style of electronic experimentalish cocktail lounge music, some with the sounds of animals howling and birds chirping as well as ocean waves gently crashing. Electronic beats guide each piece while background sounds fill out the lounge quality. It’s very chill, but Italian chill. It reminds of this Italian disco I went to in Firenze in the mid 1980’s. The Italdisco beats were pounding, fog machine was on, VERY chic well dressed Italians sat around sipping cocktails until it was time to dance: a very controlled, stylish sweatless dance. So amazing to watch. Like this. Great to listen to. Great for beds or just kicking back. Sweatless kicing back.

Foxes Fox – “Live At The Vortex” – [Emanem Disc]

Naysayer   1/1/2017   CD, Jazz

Excellence sometimes hits you directly in the face, or in this case, in the ears directly to your heart. Jazz improvisation has a big field of players. Many do it but few do it superbly. From the first few notes of this cd of three sets by Foxes Fox, the listener knows this is the real deal. Evan Parker on saxophone, Steve Beresford on piano, John Edwards on double bass and Louis Moholo-Moholo on percussion do not hold back for a moment. There is no leader here. All are on a par with and sounding comfortable with each other. There is rare pause. The instrumentation is TIGHT. The musicianship is superb. All instruments perform together with rare moments of solo work. Each is a supreme example of mastery of that instrument and could be a solo piece in and of itself, but put together is a sound so rich and so full. Beresford pounding out the low and high register at the same time with equal force gave me chills. Parker’s sax floats, punches, jabs around and through, while Edwards works his own logic with bass lines coming form everywhere. Maholo-Moholo’s percussion work does not hold down the work but makes it explode even more. How many ways can you say outstanding?

Pets – “Get Turned On” – [Sacramento Records]

Naysayer   10/24/2016   12-inch, A Library

Life is good sometimes. Simple things: good cheese, the car starting right up, Pets. “Get Turned On” by Sacreamento’s Pets is a fuzzed out, pounding rock pleasure that even my partner likes, and she hates most music. Allison on vocals and guitars and Derek on vocals and bass have been doing this since 2003. This album has Lucy Giles (Dog Party) and Kepi Ghoulie joining in on drums on all the songs. Sorry for the comparisons but when I first heard this I thought, “oh my goodness, Jesus and Mary Chain and The Vaselines”. Wahoo! Fuzzy fuzzy guitars. Big guitars. Bass sometimes strummed. Echoey drums. Boom boom boom boom. Sometimes monotone vocals which switch back and forth between gal and guy. Lyrics about many things, often dark, but good, you know, like: I’m dead, You bow to my orders, You think it’s love but it’s hate under green eyes. Not so simple. A reference was made to them sounding like they came out of the Brill Building. I hear that. Dark pop rock you can trust. Soooo good.

Brel, Jacques – “Infiniment” – [Universal]

Naysayer   10/19/2016   A Library, CD

Jacques Brel is an institution. Initially a French institution, by the 1970’s the passion was worldwide. Brel sings chanson, that very specific impassioned French song style which tell tales of love, loss, the trials of the worker, the beauty of one’s home, the loss of one’s home, patriotism, etc, etc, etc. Brel’s voice is rich and full of emotion, leading the listener down his path. Accompanied by bold orchestrations to smaller musical couplings, Brel is able to maneuver the terrain brought by each production. On the few live recordings in this collection you can feel the intensity of the audience as he sings. The audience breaks out in near riot when he finishes. In these instances, one realizes this is more of a movement than just some guy singing French standards. Let go and fall into his magic.

Brel, Jacques – “Infiniment” – [Universal]

Naysayer   10/19/2016   A Library, CD

Jacques Brel is an institution. Initially a French institution, by the 1970’s the passion was worldwide. Brel sings chanson, that very specific impassioned French song style which tell tales of love, loss, the trials of the worker, the beauty of one’s home, the loss of one’s home, patriotism, etc, etc, etc. Brel’s voice is rich and full of emotion, leading the listener down his path. Accompanied by bold orchestrations to smaller musical couplings, Brel is able to maneuver the terrain brought by each production. On the few live recordings in this collection you can feel the intensity of the audience as he sings. The audience breaks out in near riot when he finishes. In these instances, one realizes this is more of a movement than just some guy singing French standards. Let go and fall into his magic.

Brel, Jacques – “Infiniment” – [Universal]

Naysayer   10/19/2016   A Library, CD

Jacques Brel is an institution. Initially a French institution, by the 1970’s the passion was worldwide. Brel sings chanson, that very specific impassioned French song style which tell tales of love, loss, the trials of the worker, the beauty of one’s home, the loss of one’s home, patriotism, etc, etc, etc. Brel’s voice is rich and full of emotion, leading the listener down his path. Accompanied by bold orchestrations to smaller musical couplings, Brel is able to maneuver the terrain brought by each production. On the few live recordings in this collection you can feel the intensity of the audience as he sings. The audience breaks out in near riot when he finishes. In these instances, one realizes this is more of a movement than just some guy singing French standards. Let go and fall into his magic.

Brel, Jacques – “Infiniment” – [Universal]

Naysayer   10/19/2016   A Library, CD

Jacques Brel is an institution. Initially a French institution, by the 1970’s the passion was worldwide. Brel sings chanson, that very specific impassioned French song style which tell tales of love, loss, the trials of the worker, the beauty of one’s home, the loss of one’s home, patriotism, etc, etc, etc. Brel’s voice is rich and full of emotion, leading the listener down his path. Accompanied by bold orchestrations to smaller musical couplings, Brel is able to maneuver the terrain brought by each production. On the few live recordings in this collection you can feel the intensity of the audience as he sings. The audience breaks out in near riot when he finishes. In these instances, one realizes this is more of a movement than just some guy singing French standards. Let go and fall into his magic.

Surachai – “Aeon” – [Make Noise Records]

Naysayer   10/18/2016   7-inch, A Library

Two glorious sides of chaotic electronic blips bleeps blonks. Surachai makes a sort of gloom electronic music.
With this project from Make Noise Records, Surachai created the two pieces using the Make Noise Shared System modular synths made by the independent synth makers. The list of oscillators, pressure points, wogglebugs etc. etc. used is huge. Complicated sounds bending in and out with pitches shooting back and forth in and out. Tweak out.

Terminus, Dan – “Wrath of Code, The” – [Blood Music]

Naysayer   10/18/2016   A Library, CD

YAHOO WAHOO!!!!! Just speeding around at night in my 1980’s Pontiac Trans Am, going fast and just crazy. It’s all dark, mysterious, dangerous and so good. Speed. Dan Terminus is synthwave/futuresynth godhead, cranking up the orchestrated melodies to a darker intensity than usually found in this genre. The connections to 1980’s synth themes like “Knight Rider” are just a stepping stone for Terminus’ exploration into intense, dark, throbbing, pulsing synth outrageousness. There are so many layers to these pieces one could get lost in their headphones, and that would be all good. It does take you to a place that seems familiar but then isn’t. It’s just more dangerous. 13 tunes of such pounding synth bliss. Man the drum machine. Pound it out on your leather steering wheel. Chop a line and hit the nearest aerobics class.

Infinite Plastic Internal – “Music for Waiting Rooms” – [S/R]

Naysayer   10/18/2016   A Library, CD

Mark Pino is a drummer and electronic sound experimenter extraordinaire, performing with numerous projects, especially in the bay area. Infinite Plastic Internal is his solo project of electronic drone and percussive sounds.
“Music for Waiting Rooms” is like a series of 21st century ragas for the waning blue collar middle class. Electronic drones set the stage and mood for each piece. Enter clanging metal like chains being rubbed or jangled, scraping against metal objects, muted and slightly distorted tabla like drumming. It is all so oddly soothing
like the new post-industrial. Kundalini John Deere meditation music. Ohm.

Go Right- Jazz From Poland 1963-75 [coll] – [Jazzanova Compost Records]

Naysayer   10/16/2016   CD, Jazz

“Go Right” provides an interesting look at a period and place for jazz musicians and fans: Poland 1963-75. A LOT was going on in Poland during this time, including a very controlling government that watched out for cultural “appropriateness”. You can’t rock the boat that hard, or you need to be very subtle about it. The groups on this compilation are extremely talented, playing strong, solid, pretty straight ahead jazz. With the occasional title about revolution. A lot of it sounds like great soundtrack music or the best of studio musicians which requires superb musicianship. But the centerpiece of the collection is the introduction of the Novi Singers to the rest of the world. WOWSA. I mean, quality. The first thing I thought was The Double Six of Paris and Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, classic jazz vocal groups of such power and skill. Novi Singers rank equal with them. A quartet of vocalists, one female and three male, the outcome is so stunning, so smooth it gives me goosebumps. Lots of scat singing, in harmonies that break my heart, with amazing jazz instrumentation accompaniment. It might sound kitschy to some. It is not. It’s a tradition of singing that many attempt but few can pull off. Plus there is that wonderful 1960’s feel to so much of it. Stellar and just so enjoyable. Bee buh dee do wop yah.

Psychic TV – “Force The Hand of Chance” – [Angry Love Productions]

Naysayer   10/15/2016   12-inch, A Library

What becomes a legend most? This is the true question to ask of this 34 year old work which some call a masterpiece and the best Psychic TV album. For me, Psychic TV have always been the band I love to hate. I’ve seen them perform four times, all during different stages of their journey. They have always scared me. The hardcore fans, who are like post punk Deadheads, have scared me. I always feel a bit overwhelmed by the feeling that to fully appreciate them I have to give in to them 100%. I don’t care enough about anything, nor trust anything enough to give 100% and hence my feelings of being an outsider when presented with PTV. But….
Listening now in 2016 to “Force the Hand of Chance”, their first album, I may be able to understand it. At least appreciate it. This came out one year after Throbbing Gristle quit (the first time). PTV were one half of TG – Genesis P-Orridge and Peter Christopherson plus Alex Fergusson. TG fans were desperate for more industrial, but what a surprise. The first track on “Force…” is this sweet folk lullaby to Genesis’ new baby daughter. WHAT? Where’s the screaming and metal, as in machinery. And it continues in this way. English folk influences. Nods to spaghetti western themes. Orchestrated strings. Lush instrumental pieces. Songs that are almost ballads. Genesis actually sings. The listeners went bonkers. Some were pissed. Others embraced. And for good reason. This was something so new and challenging in it’s approach and style. Today, it’s hard for me not to get a chill at Marc Almond’s guest vocals on “Stolen Kisses” and “Guiltless”. My foot starts tapping at the pre-Acid House PTV dance number “Ov Power”. The lyrics tell stories. Underlying darkness is there, for sure, but the beauty of the whole production is stunning. The spoken word piece, “Message From The Temple”, is read by Mr. Sebastian, notorious London S&M and body manipulation practitioner. It is the manifesto for PTV’s Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth. This is all essential stuff, for understanding PTV and much of the music played at this station. Stunning. I finally get it.

Din a Testbild – “Programm 1” – [Mannequin Records]

Naysayer   10/15/2016   12-inch, A Library

Germany. 1980. Dieter moves. Electronic. Synth. Drum machine. Duo. Serious. Angular. Robotic. Wear gray.
The past is always present. And pertinent. The first of the Din A Testbild Programm projects. It was dance. It was performance. It was industrial. This is still so enjoyable. Old machinery makes for great backgrounds.

Herndon, Holly – “Platform” – [4AD / Beggars Group]

Naysayer   9/26/2016   12-inch, A Library

Holy holly cowabunga! If this is the future of “pop” music as many are saying, let me in and get the hell out of the way while I push you down. Herndon hails from CCRMA out of Stanford University. A composer, electronic musician and sound artist, “Platform” is Herndon’s second album. It comes with much critical praise, and well deserved, but possibly not a huge listenership, unfortunately. New is difficult for folks. Ten compositions, eight with lyrics one of which is a spoken word ASMR type experience (“Lonely At the Top”), two instrumentals. Production values are supreme. Tweaked twisted turned around glitch click blurp electronic madness. Lyrics may start out smooth but become blasted, distorted, split apart. Sound bites bytes spin pppunch in and speed out quickly. Vocals get distorted. Electronic beats go on then explode. Herndon’s child like voice may be punctuated by shards of glass of metal bits scraping. Breathing. Feet pounding. The future is now and it is full of information that fills our heads, ears and hearts. Quality.

Alcapone, Dennis – “Forever Version” – [Coxsone]

Naysayer   9/11/2016   CD, Reggae

Rerelease of the first Dennis Alcapone album with six additional tracks. The early 1970’s were a transitional time in Jamaica, which Alcapone played an important part. Sounds were moving to bigger sound systems, deejays, using original tracks for new voices to interact with, an end of ska. U-Roy was the #1 deejay but big attention went to Alcapone who gave U-Roy a run for his money. “Forever Version” captures this time of transition. Some tracks are very much ska influenced or straight up ska. Others head toward the tradition of reggae. Most of the songs are about love, getting the pretty girl, partying at the dancehall and not the stuff of Jah and Sellasie. Dennis Alcapone has a distinct voice as he delivers his lyrics over the sounds of classics from the Heptones, the Wailers and others. He does have this unique, high pitched yelp that he drops in each song, sort of accentuating key parts. It’s clever and infectious when listening to one track. A fine addition to the library.

Novak – “Dumb Records: 1977-1979” – [Orion Read]

Naysayer   9/7/2016   12-inch, A Library

Power pop punky people rejoice: 1977-1979 is back and Novak is in force. Or at least he was anyway. Graduate of Mills in experiemtnal composition, studied under Robert Moog and John Cage, Novak had his credentials all in check. But he wanted to be a punk. Started his own label, Dumb Records and recorded Crime and The Nuns. And his own projects, Novak and experimental noise project The Survivors (with sound samples of Jim Jones, thank you very much). This LP is all the 45’s plus other recordings.
Power punk: synthesizer, jangly guitar, lyrics about models and getting into that girl’s pants. Oh those boys. Yummy, yummy, yummy velveeta and Farrah Fawcet. You get the picture. Mabuhay Gardens reunion album. It has a beat but can you pogo to it? HELL YEAH!!!!!!!!!

Duran, Manuel – “Golden Treasury” – [Spoken Arts, Inc.]

Naysayer   9/7/2016   12-inch, International

Ahh, the joy of spoken word, especially in another language that you may or may not understand fully or even partially. These 12 selections of Spanish prose, selected and read by the professor of Romance Languages, Manuel Duran, give a brief overview of some of the best pieces of Spanish writing from the last few centuries. Some of the authors may be familiar, others not as much. The beauty is in the lyrical quality of the words, the phrasing. Let them stand on their own or mix them in with other sounds. Enjoy.

Denham, Val – “I Saw Myself In Your Dreams Last Night” – [Vanity Case Records]

Naysayer   9/6/2016   A Library, CD

Val Denham is one of those unique persons whose story is rich and full and far reaching into so many aspects of life. Obsessive compulsive, artist, poet, transgender (which plays heavily into issues of duality), music cover artist, singer/songwriter, connected to Marc Almond, Coil, Genesis P. Orridge, O Paradis, and on and on. Renaissance person who moves to her own drum beat. A stunner.
“I Saw Myself…” is a 14 song testimonial to life, to a life well lived, to a life still living fully with all its ups and downs. The lyrics are stories of relationships that sometimes border on obsessive control or giving up control which is control. Decisions of powerlessness. Tales of loss and recovery. Negotiating in this modern world when having experienced so much. Coming to terms with achieving a seasoned status among the community. Tough stuff. Val’s voice is rough, folding in and out of the song tracks, sing talking as well as singing, making her own notes and meeting the rhythm of the track where and when she feels. It’s good.
The music is this eclectic, odd wonderful mix of guitar, synth, ukelele, trumpet. Track 1, “Nurse” is the best of late ’80’s angry rock done in a 21st century style. Gang of Four and The Ex would be proud. Great sounds.

Cooper, Mike – “Light On a Wall” – [Backwards]

Naysayer   9/5/2016   12-inch, A Library

All ageists bow down then take a back seat. Mike Cooper, age 74 as of this review, has put out a strange, challenging, intelligent, work of twisted electronic drone and squelch accompanied by stringent guitar work with his distinctive blues edge. Cooper’s musical history is illustrious: from his work in the 1960’s with blues guitar and the elite of the blues world, studying and mixing Greek string stylings with avant garde practices, incorporating electronics in experimentation with styles and sounds from a multicultural practice, and more, Cooper is the real deal. “Light On A Wall” is no exception. Cooper plays an electric Vietnamese lap steel guitar with sounds heavily processed through a Zoom Sampletrack looper and a vintage Kaos Pad. Alongside electronic squeaks, squelches, twists and drones, Cooper’s vocals (sounding somewhat like Scott Walker) sing tales constructed of chopped-up material from Thomas Pynchon’s novels “Gravity’s Rainbow” and “V”. “No chords, melodies or harmonic patterns for each song are planned prior to them being performed”, and therefore, each performance is unique. A true visionary whose work has become more complicated and challenging as he matures. Bravo. May we all be able to say the same as we grow older.

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