KFJC 89.7FM

Intenta-Experimental & Electronic Music From Switzerland 1981-93 [coll] – [Les Disques Bongo Joe|]

Thee Opinataur   7/31/2022   A Library, CD

There are tunes here for the dance floor as well as plenty to chill to in the after-hours lounge. 

The compilation covers a period of transition: When synthesizers and samplers became DIY music-making. The beginning of a movement that slowly gave way to the embrace of acid-house, rave, and techno culture in Switzerland. This album mines the outer fringes of a scene yet to be. These artists, working in isolation before the time of the connected world were creating something all their own without the influences of social media. – Thee Opinataur

#Minimal wave|#synth-pop|#Experimental|#Proto-house|#Electronic|#Techno-pop

Naked Raygun – “Over The Overlords” – [Wax Trax]

Thee Opinataur   7/31/2022   12-inch, A Library

Age has not tempered these Chicago punks as the album showcases that distinct mix of raw Windy City underground, with lyrics addressing numerous social ills with a sense of humor that flippantly belies a greater significance. While it’s melodic punk in genre, there are subtle post-punk tones that make the music more atmospheric and tonal rather than building everything over a catchy chorus. It’s punk, but it’s also complex and thoughtful, which means it takes a little longer to seep into the listener’s consciousness, and it also seeps in a little deeper, leaving a lasting impression, because of this. 

Released in 2021, this is the band’s first album release over 30 years. Formed in 1980, disbanded in 1989, they reformed in 2006 and have been active since. – Thee Opinataur

#pop-punk/ #punk/ #post-punk /#melodic punk 

Bullwackies All Stars -Dub Unlimited – [BCP]

Thee Opinataur   12/31/2021   12-inch, Reggae

These dubs are from some of Lloyd ‘Bullwackie’ Barnes’s earliest recording years at the original White Plains Road studio in NY. Most of them reworked singles from various labels with the core rhythm tracks straight from Jamaica. The sound quality on all of these is good, clean, solid sound. But I sense they may also have lost some of the original grittiness in the digital transfer. Good track diversity, with soothing, relaxed dubs and hypnotic rhythms to fat & funky chill-out beats. Two to four-minute dubs to mellow out and lay back to.

Originally released in 1976 on his Senrab label (Barnes spelled backward) Re-released in 2006 by Berlin duo Moritz Von Oswald & Mark Ernestus via Basic Channel.
Barnes was a protege of Prince Buster while in Jamaica and played his engineering roots at Treasure Isle studios before moving to New York. Wackies was one of the first Reggae labels based in the US and is still going strong today.- Thee Opinataur

Kennedy, Jon – We’re Just Waiting For You Now – [Tru Thoughts]

Thee Opinataur   11/29/2021   A Library, CD

Released in 2001, ‘We’re Just Waiting For You Now’ was Jon Kennedy’s first and only album for Tru Thoughts. Jon was a drummer and multi-instrumentalist before he began experimenting with samples. His take on downtempo breaks is unique, combining elements of jazz, sitar, ambient techno, live breakbeats, guitars, abstract vocals, and melancholy samples. The album is a chill-out, funky production, laying cool melodies over laid-back beats.  

Born and bred in Stockport, UK, Jon was discovered by Mr. Scruff who in turn introduced him to Tru Thoughts. Fast forward 20 years and Jon is now residing in Prague running his label The Jon Kennedy Federation. 

Thee Opinataur

Godspunk Volume Nineteen [coll] – [Pumf Records]

Thee Opinataur   11/25/2021   A Library, CD

Yet another fine compilation, straight outta the northern seaside city of Blackpool. Produced by PUMF records founder Stan Batcow who also performs with Howl In The Typewriter on this comp. A very diverse set of tracks with varying styles consisting of Electronic, NeoFolk, Experimental, Techno, Prog Rock, Spoken word, sound collage, psyche rock, abstract and more. Palate of many colors, surrounded by a considerable amount of melancholy. Bands/Artists: UNIT, AWARE, Nil by Nose, Dr. Awkward, The Golden Gonk, Flux of Yellow Daisies, Shy Rights Movement, Howl in the Typewriter, The Large Veiny Members. 

Million Brazilians – Red Rose & Obsidian – [Lullabies For Insomniacs]

Thee Opinataur   11/25/2021   12-inch, A Library

Psych-folk, experimental underground, neo-folk, mystical soundscape, 

Red Rose and Obsidian, released in 2017 is yet another genre-bending experimental installation from Million Brazilians, originating from Portland, Oregon, and now thriving in Maine. This is their first release on the Dutch label, Lullabies for Insomniacs, and it is masterfully mixed and recorded by Big Blood’s Caleb Mulkerin. It is an esoteric soundscape influenced by the rugged coastlines of their home in Maine. It is a heart-rending interpretation of a stark, treacherous sonic landscape, that permeates your spirit.

As usual with this group, there is a wide array of instruments of traditional, ethnic, self-made as well as a healthy dose of creative electronics. It’s a fascinating evocative improvisational trip that will leave you wanting more. 

Suzanne Stone – voice, bass, khene (Lao mouth organ), Alto Sax

Grant Corum – Tin whistle, balloon flute, conch, Tarka (Andean Flute), trumpet, vocals

Bob New – Drums, keyboard, lap steel, vocals

A1 – When the Ship comes in

Swirling, thick, open, haunting siren-like vocals .. thick luscious beats underscore, woodwinds meandering through the fog. Minimal chaos echoes as the captain attempt to steer the ship through the shrouded fog. Stone on bass and voice is slow and steady, ensuring the ship to safe harbor amongst the jagged cliffs, in the cold stark darkness of the remote port. conch/balloon flute. Slow, steady…mooring.

A2 – Dark Clouds Gather

 serves more like an interlude, and the instruments almost create the image of overlapping waves, while Stone’s voice, this time in a more Germanic vein, and seems to hover above it all. Towards the end, Stone’s voice is complemented by a male ethereal voice.

A3 – Red Rose and Obsidian

Slow and steady jamming with a psychedelic intervention. lap steel. Stones voice is yearning for a clear landing, but she is adrift, meandering. (Tarka) sweet, and hypnotic, plays in tune with Stones vocals. Just a sweet, psychic, slow, and steady meandering trip. Calm, reassuring, until the distorted end, radio wave break up.

B1 – Geodelphic Empathies

Khene/alto sax combine opening framing the stark, grey, jagged cliffs.

Toussaint St Negritude’s Poetry is featured, behold, behold…..

 Tin whistle meanders along with the mountainscape, stars reflecting on the dark waters.

B2 – Traversing The Violet Skies

Congas, Khene…beautiful starlit Autumnal evening at sunset, orange/red reflections off the granite, a prism of colors illuminate the setting. Deep breaths of cool air blow through the skies, 

B3 – Behold

Timing changes, things pick up… trumpet, Bass and drum keep things moving, but not too fast. In fact, it slows down steadily. Stones Vocals once again appear to bring to a close this psychic trip, Chanting echos with Corum joining in, woodwinds, achingly support, voice strong, confident. Once again, things pick up again and fade to a close. The Journey has ended.

-Thee Opinataur

Black Joker – Watch Out- [Pacific City Sound Visions]

Thee Opinataur   10/13/2021   12-inch, A Library

Side 1 – Untitled

Opens with tribal drumming, adding high timber beats beginning the long quest upon camels in the fictional Chalisa Desert, circa 2027. This must be a long incessant dream of the artist ‘Black Joker’ 

Desert flutes romance the listener in the next stage of the quest, whose destination is unknown, and creates tension amongst the clan as to its purpose. Yet they continue along the windswept dunes. Their spirit is uneasy, yet this is who they are…tradition, culture, routine.

Mind spitting intermittent pings, relentlessly, over and over, as the sweltering heat overwhelms them, their minds are melting, yet the camels know the way, they have been here before.

Evening approaches, awakening from the unconscious spell, realizing their predicament, the pursuit of rest is near, and there’s a feeling of hopefulness, joy, that begins to awaken the spirit within.  

The pace quickens and is consistent as the drudge of the daily routine wears off and they inherently know who they are. The beauty of the blackness of the sky, the stars sparkle with the illumination that they not only seek but crave. 

Side 2 – Untitled

Another day continues similar to the last, methodical beat of the camels’ pace, and there’s a new inspiration unlike before, as a mirage appears in the distance. Even the knowingness of this false hope, the spectacular vision of the distant mountains lets them know they are closer to their destiny and offers a sliver of hope. 

the rhythm of the caravan is comforting to the soul and they know who they are…

Disruption and confusion enter in suddenly, as there is a treacherous path to climb, and it is the urging on of the leader that this is but temporary. The desert wind blows its might, but alas they are through it. Press on, press on, upward, onward….the destination is just over the summit…and it is clear, their journey is near the end. Excitement builds, as the overwhelming sandscapes begin to lessen and reveal the lush life approaching. We began together, this odyssey, wandering through the sand, and as the cool evening descends upon our arrival, we know this is just a temporary pause; we have not yet reached our final destination

Experimental musician Black Joker, aka Spencer Clark, The Skaters, Fourth World Magazine, Monopoly Child Star Searchers, Vodka Soap, 

abstract – ambient experimental, Desert atmospheric soundscape, hypnotic , tribal 

No Silence – Sounds of The Underground [coll] – [Psychic Eye]

Thee Opinataur   10/7/2021   A Library, CD

Released in December 2020, this compilation is jam-packed with 43 bands, heavily steeped in Oakland’s Darkwave and Punk scene. Curated by Akiko Sampson, the founder of Psychic Eye (who also performs in Yama Uba and the post-punk band Otzi) we find bands representing all regions of the US. Great care went into mastering these tracks by Michael Daddona of Ratskin Records who also contributed with his band Malocclusion. 

While many of these bands may not necessarily be familiar to KFJC, there are several, Anarchy-punkers Resist and Exist out of SoCal, Cold-synths L’avenir, from Baltimore, hardcore from Iconoclast, tripped out galaxy girl Maya Songbird and of course our dear friends Moira Scar.  

A wide range of genres fills this album, with large doses of Darkwave and Post-punk, as well as Dark punk, Goth, synth wave, cold wave, funk, hip hop, and more. It’s hard not to like any of these tracks, and I’m careful not to list favorites as there are far too many that simply stand on their own.  

Akiko Sampson’s motivation for this compilation was to raise money for two relevant organizations that effectively push for institutional change in hostile local environments; BLM Louisville and The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, which represent migrants in ICE detention centers. Great music, even greater cause. – Thee Opinataur

O’Seis – Suicida/Apocalipse- [Mr Bongo]

Thee Opinataur   10/5/2021   7-inch, A Library

Both of these songs are drenched in morbid humor (see lyrics below). The record features anthemic, psychedelic rock undertones on ‘Suicida’ with deeper, tripped-out Brazilian Tropicalia folk, with mellow, sweet, harmonies, feel-good, vibes, on ‘Apocalipse’.   

Originally released in 1966, it was one of the rarest and most sought-after records. Re-released by Mr. Bongo in 2018, It was their only recording before three of them, Rita Lee and the Baptista brothers would go on to form Os Mutantes who went on to spearhead the Tropicalia / Psyche-rock explosion in Brazil a few years later. – Thee Opinataur

Sucidia

I scared out the other day and wanted to kill myself
I went to throw myself off the Tea Viaduct
The passing class didn’t want to leave
Life for my side was bad
Heavy conscience told me to jump
Heavy conscience told me to jump

So I decided to jump
The passing car I flattened
My head’s shaved
And the chauffeur inside screamed

The viaduct broke
Or someone crazy got
On top of the bonnet my body lay
And by my face the blood was dripping
They called my father but my aunt came
Take it to the morgue she wanted

For I no longer lived
Another useless man died

The next day the funeral came out
For the Fourth Parade he was heading
A black flower my coffin covered
Cold tomb the earth covered
It was another one that left
I was buried in my uncle’s shirt

It was midnight when I wanted to leave
The pit was tight for me to sleep
I was a ghost and I wanted to talk
With someone who was sitting smoking

It was an ordinary skull
You can’t even a**ustar me

Apocalipse

I’ll have the world in my hands (anytime I want)

And I want it all to end

My power will not be in vain (I destroy what comes)

The world will end

Everyone tries to escape

But it’s useless to live

Everything will be annihilated

And humanity perish

With screams of terror

They won’t know where to go

But only I know

That the world will disappear

Now I’m so lonely (and the world finished)

Without having someone to talk to

I then keep meditating (if I did something wrong)

And with the world ending

(If I did something wrong)

everyone tries to escape

But it’s useless to live

Everything will be annihilated

And humanity perish

with screams of terror

won’t know where to go

but only i know

that the world will disappear

Now I’m so alone (and the world is over)

not having someone to talk to

I then meditate (if I did something wrong)

And with the world ending

Pom Poko – Cheater – [Bella Union]

Thee Opinataur   10/5/2021   A Library, CD


A hyper-energetic noise- pop, surrealist art-punk, math rock, and grunge with offbeat song structures. You never quite know which way any of these songs are going to swing throughout the album.

Feminist lyrics, incessant energy, chants, bright falsettos, sharp diction, yelps, and guttural Bjokian snarls, comprise lead singer Ragnhild Fangel’s voice, and it makes for infectious ear-candy.
Martin Tonne’s heavy guitar riffs, jagged jazz-grunge guitar work contend against bassist Jonas Krovel and drummer Ola Djupvik’s funky rhythm section.

While the frenzy of rock ‘n’ roll guitars is the fuel behind the band’s songs, Fanglel’s strong voice powers along during the unprocessed rock instrumentation in the first 6 tracks as well as the more contemplative nuanced tracks in the last few songs on the album. – Thee Opinataur

Watch How The People Dancing [coll] – Unity Sounds from the London Dancehall 1986-1989 [Honest Jon Records]

Thee Opinataur   9/22/2021   12-inch, Reggae

These singles and instrumentals show no-name locals rocking mics over the toy-store electro-beats that marked reggae’s transition into modern-day digital dancehall. 

Presented as a next-generation companion to London Is The Place For Me: the mood is more defiant — a Jamaican secession from London — with themes of inner-city sufferation running alongside hymns to the dancehall & herb. Spot-on mastering from Moritz von Oswald. 

Tunes you would expect at the closing hours of the afterparty of a Jamaican dancehall mix. 

In the ’80s, when reggae was changing from roots to dancehall, the Unity sound system was already a big player in London. And when the digital sound started, they were inspired to start making their own tunes, instead of simply playing others. Using a Casio and a four-track cassette recorder, they laid down the rhythm tracks, then went into a real studio to add vocals and overdubs. On the majority of the vocal cuts, an instrumental “version” is appended (just as it would have played on a sound system). The result is true street-level British reggae from the dawn of the digital era, and all surprisingly good, given that none of the people involved were musicians — they all worked for Unity Sound, except for some of the singers. – Thee Opinataur

Crayola Summer – I Know Who We Are – [Emotional Response Recordings]

Thee Opinataur   9/22/2021   7-inch, A Library

Released in 2017

Psyche pop/ Indie Pop, Starts with head-bobbing rhythm fuzzed-out guitar-driven, Voxed out psychedelic trip. A thick and throbbing summer drive, top-down, cruising the PCH, playing it loud, great road trip music.

The artist known as Crayola was born Simon Williams in Leicestershire, United Kingdom.
Since the mid 80’s he has performed with numerous bands most notably, The Colgates and Sarandon.

Martin, Sara -1922-1928 – [Wolf Records]

Thee Opinataur   9/22/2021   12-inch, Blues

These recordings are a mixed bag of recording quality from track to track. Some lyrics are difficult to hear clearly, some fuzzy static which adds a nice raw element to these early blues.  

This album captures a wide range of Sara Martin’s vocal capabilities, from the higher range Achin’ Hearted Blues to a deeper more sensual register in Death Sting Me Blues. While her voice is solidly classic blues, in some of these tunes, she sounds unrelaxed and a bit uptight. She is at her best when she reflects her personality which comes through in ‘Taint Nobody’s Bus’ness If I Do’ and ‘Hole in the Wall’. A couple of nice duets with Clarence Williams, I’m Cert’ny Gonna See ‘Bout That’ and ‘Squabling Blues’ brings out her sassy personality.

Sara Martin (b1884 – d1955) was a well-traveled singer on the African American Vaudeville circuit in the early 20th century. Known as the ‘colored ’ Sophie Tucker’ and The Famous Moanin’ Mama” she was signed by Okeh Records in 1922 and recorded dozens of songs accompanied by the most accomplished musicians of the day including Clarence Williams, King Oliver, and Fats Waller. – Thee Opinataur

Yeats, William Butler -Poetry of Yeats: Read By Siobhan McKenna & Cyril Cusack, – [Caedmon]

Thee Opinataur   9/22/2021   12-inch, A Library

Recorded in 1958

Side A – read by Cyril Cusack – a famous Irish actor of his day, albeit South African born which can be detected in his voice.
These poems drip with a self-examination of human life and death, as Yeats spent much of his life examining. Threaded with somber tones and melancholy, he wastes no words in bearing his true inner self to the listener.

Side B – Read by Siobhan McKenna – Irish stage actor – born in Belfast
This side is filled with many of Yeats romantic and intimate poems of love and sensuality and is beautifully interpreted.

Yeats’s poetry reflects his sheer beauty of words and phrases. Many of his poems were meant to be chanted or sung.

Yeats, in addition to writing some of the best Irish poetry of his day, was also a well-established playwright being co-founder of the Irish National Theater society. While a self-professed Irish protestant, he shared a fascination with occultism and spiritualism which influenced much of his poetry. – Thee Opinataur

Baraka, Imamu Amiri -It’s Nation Time – [Motown Records]

Thee Opinataur   9/22/2021   12-inch, Jazz

Pan-African-themed concept album recorded in Harlem in 1972. Re-released in 2018, Segues between free jazz, R&B, and African drumming. There is a cover of the Supremes song ‘Come See About Me’, (A4), with Baraka adding a spiritual call to ‘Allah’. 

By far the most thought-provoking and articulate, well post-civil rights black awareness album I think I’ve ever heard. Amiri Baraka successfully imparts his message just direct talking politics and beliefs that don’t seem any less relevant listening now than when they were recorded in ’72. The music on here is fantastic too. There is some real sweet Motown soul, deep heavy Afro-centric jazz, not to mention the endless percussion and backing rants vocals and interplay. Poetry is rooted in Black-centric politics, positive and uplifting. Anyways, this blew me away and almost made me a card-carrying member of the Black Nation. Not just a spoken word album, much more, much respect to how the album draws upon jazz, R&B, and Soul that makes everything sound easy. It continues to crescendo into a higher and higher gear. 

Black people from all walks of life get up and get busy to cultivate the consciousness and commitment to come together to build Black institutions, mobilize and organize movements and fight for our liberation “by any means necessary.” It was an “all Black hands on deck” call to action for Black people to join the Black Freedom Struggle and to use whatever we had to achieve victory! and nearly 60 years later, many of these topics are still relevant. – Thee Opinataur

Perry, Lee ‘Scratch’ – Black Ark Classic Songs- [Ariwa]

Thee Opinataur   9/22/2021   12-inch, Reggae

Released in 2016 to commemorate Lee’s 80th birthday

Here we see yet another great collaboration with Lee Perry and Mad Professor giving us some classic Perry cuts a dub over. Cuts are re-recorded, re-vamped, and refreshed Lee has some fun with ‘No More Roast Fish’,  a play on his classic ‘Roast Fish and Cornbread’. Doctor Shit‘ sees Lee re-visit an old Ska classic ‘Doctor Dick!’

Many believe his Black Ark years were Lee’s peak period of creativity, and this album is a great representation with a fresh 21st-century facelift making it all brand new again. 

Amazing career, amazing life until the very end, RIP Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, 1936- 2021. 

 Thee Opinataur

Bright, Jeff & The Sunshine Boys -I’m Still Missing You – [Waggletone Records]

Thee Opinataur   9/22/2021   7-inch, Country

Western noir, a twangy blue, countrypolitan/cocktail country vibe.

Both tracks are moody mid-tempo numbers with earthy nuance. 

Catchy simplicity of traditional country and western with the cool, casual euro of a cocktail revival meeting. 

It was the Mid Nineties, San Francisco was in the midst of a Western Swing revival. Jeff Bright and the sunshine boys were part of that. This single pre-dates their full-fledged dive into Swing, instead, it highlights Brights lyrics of love, loss, and yearning, with a band backing of vibrato, slide, and shuffle. – Thee Opinataur

Harlem In Vogue: Poetry Jazz of Langston Hughes [coll] – [Fingertips Records]

Thee Opinataur   7/8/2021   CD, Jazz


This compilation consists of four separate recordings from 1958-60. . The first ten tracks
are Langston Hughes accompanied by Leonard Feathers All-Star Sextet. The next eleven
tracks are Hughes’s poetry with Charles Mingus & The Horace Parlan Quintet. Six tracks
of Hughes poetry follow, closing with two tracks from Bob Dorough’s interpretation of
Hughes poetry. While Hughes did most of his writings years earlier, these were his first
attempts to bridge the jazz and written word. The ‘Weary Blues’ with Leonard Feathers
Quintet as well as ‘Motto/ dead in there’ are some of the best works on this lengthy
compilation. However, while some of his most important works such as ‘I have known
rivers’ and ‘I too’ are wonderful to hear from the author’s own voice, they could have
used some accompaniment. The last two tracks put this otherwise fine collection to
shame as the quality of Bob Dorough’s interpretation of Hughes falls completely flat. A
fine historical piece overall – Thee Opinataur

Infantino, Antonio -Tara’n Trance- [Amiata Records]

Thee Opinataur   7/8/2021   A Library, CD

Antonio Infantino was many things in his home country of Italy, visual artist, musician, artist, anthropologist, and poet. For several decades beginning in the mid-1960s, he revived and popularized the traditional Tarantella music of southern Italy. 

The tarantella’s origin is connected with Tarantism, a disease or form of hysteria that appeared in Italy in the 15th to the 17th century and that was obscurely associated with the bite of the tarantula wolf spider; victims seemingly were cured by frenzied dancing. 

On this album, he collaborates with electronic master Eraldo Bernocchi creating a contemporary new spiritual rave. 

These tracks will get you out on the dance floor whether you like it or not. Staying primarily in traditional Tarantella’s 6/8 timing, as well as 4/4 it spans the centuries harmoniously, making the old new again. You can envision the rural ancient days of peasants crying out, delirious, upon being bitten by the wolf spider. Modern-day victims trance, spinning uncontrollably, aching to be relieved of the toxin flowing through their veins. Hypnotic voices pulsating throughout, Italian, English, Arabic, Hebrew, as well as other regional dialects. Lose yourself in its maniacal rhythm.

–Thee Opinataur

Montoya, Carlos -From St. Louis to Seville- [RCA Victor/ BMG]

Thee Opinataur   7/8/2021   12-inch, International

Carlos Montoya was already one of the world’s foremost flamenco guitarists in 1958 when he stepped into a New York studio to record this album with some of the top studio jazz sidemen. It is an album of two distinctions as the name of the album ‘From St. Louis to Seville’ simply states. Side one (Jazz ) highlighted by Handy’s ‘St. Lous Blues‘ is quite remarkable, as Montoya puts his unique interpretation on a classic. However, don’t sleep on Montoya’s original ‘Improvisation’ where he truly immerses himself in the fusion of jazz and flamenco. 

Side two (Flamenco) – While the underlying foundation is traditional flamenco on these tracks featuring several of Montoya originals. What is fascinating as you listen closely is how he shares the limelight with his rhythm section, a collection of some excellent musicians steeped in jazz. Collectively they bring an element of freshness to the traditional framework. 

Carlos Montoya– guitar 

Osie Johnson– drums 

Milt Hinton– bass 

Barry Galbraith– rhythm guitar 

-Thee Opinataur

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