KFJC 89.7FM

Sigh – “Scorn Defeat” – [Peaceville Records]

whngr   9/21/2022   12-inch, A Library

Early Black / Avant-garde / Doom Metal / Thrash with Dungeon Synth, Classical Piano, Harpsichord (?), flute (?), and other enigmatic behavior adjacent to Death Metal from this Japanese three-piece.

This album predates the well beaten tropes of Black Metal and would fail to slide easily into any categorization in any decade. Originally put out on cd by Deathlike Silence (this release wears a dedication to Euronymous on its back cover), it has been pressed and repressed in dozens of iterations over the last nigh on thirty years while remaining relatively cvlt. The influences are apparent, Venom, Celtic Frost, Mozart, Mayhem or Gore perhaps, but this album veers aggressively into and through so many different genres it is likely to be ignored or dismissed by both the purist and the poseur. Many varied compositions with even more varied instrumentation, it isn’t blindingly fast or technical (except the dizzying piano passages), nor is it sludge, it isn’t “lo-fi”, it isn’t satanic (it does, however, allude to the wrathful side of the Buddhist pantheon), and it isn’t even in Japanese (all tracks are in a relatively well pronounced [but not “clean”] English [no FCC’s]). Though it might be “cold” and “grim” at times, it can be flowery, delicate, and atmospheric as well. It also benefits from a slightly quaint quality, so young and fresh of corpse-paint laden face were they, and though Sigh would go on to much more flamboyant and progressive albums, this one (their first full-length), is stretching to find its voice, fingers curling around an identity, in an effort to establish itself with wildly different tones and moods while somehow remaining at its foundation, Black Metal.

Sigh is helmed by Mirai Kawashima (bass, keyboards, vocals) which began as Ultra Death in 1989. “Scorn Defeat” was recorded with two of his cohorts, Shinichi Ichikawa (guitar) and Satoshi Fujinami (drums, percussion) and would make up the core of the band, though Fujinami would abandon the drum throne in 2001 and take over bass duties. Also of note is the early photograph (inner sleeve) of “Shinichi” in full Black Metal regalia by some unknown lake, in broad daylight, nestled in some little park somewhere near or within the sprawling metropolis of Tokyo, with a flaming glove held aloft while wielding a katana, harkening back to a fledgling, far more underground, and perhaps more innocent BXM scene. 

Tokyo – 1993

Cold Storage – “Fractures” – [Rural Isolation Project]

whngr   9/21/2022   A Library, CD

Slow Miserable Avalanche

If Br’er Fox chased  Br’er Rabbit into the briar patch and couldn’t get out for twenty-three minutes and twenty-nine seconds and affixed to the thorns of the briar patch were contact mics, his blood was white-noise generators, and if poor Br’er Fox were strapped to a broken modem (on battery power) from 1997 you might be approximating “Fractures” by Cold Storage. Not the harshest noise but not at all comfortable either. Put it on at the end of your set to avoid spreading any residual strains of plague that might have collected in your reeking facemask and delight in the discomfort of the next volunteer and/or listeners that stumble upon the charred remains of your normally delightful and eclectic sets.

I could find absolutely nothing on this project other than it may have been recorded in Texas, just the way I like my abstract and unsettling artists…. invisible and mysterious.

West Texas – 2022

Ulthar – “Providence” – [20 Buck Spin]

whngr   9/14/2022   12-inch, A Library

Lovecraftian themed technical Death Metal three-piece execute their demented crawl through a deranged gauntlet of sonic malevolence with considerably complex arrangements and deranged psychedelic and doom elements. Frenzied and precise, many of the medium length compositions plough through more notes than centuries Cthulhu has slept. Do colors exist at hyper speed or do they melt like the mind of a lunatic in the presence of the Old Ones? Does the syrup fail to drip as winter descends on New England?

Members of Pandiscordian Necrogenesis, Vale, and Vastum among others.

I was initially drawn to this release by the cover art by one Ian Miller who captured my youthful but critically scarred heart when I fell under the spell of the table-top strategy war games of Games Workshop in the late 80’s and inspired and corrupted me further into the decrepit realm of the Chaos Legions. He was an incredible influence on my developing brain and an excellent match for this album, which in my opinion, would be more than suitable aural backdrop for a hardcore miniature painting session. 

 Oakland, CA / Alexandria, VA – 2020

Nortfalke – “Seefonkjuenderee” – [Dunkelheit Produktionen]

whngr   9/7/2022   A Library, CD

Frisian Dungeon Synth

Cold air curls off the northern coast of Holland and seeps into the weeping stone foundations of citadel Nortfalke. Slightly eerie ambient swells amid rising plumes of sound. Often having a gentle and lilting foreground with booming thumps below that add an element of percussion to the longform synthesizer forays through drafty catacombs occasionally illuminated by the glow of the moon. Minimal and lush these three tracks explore slightly different moods that are not necessarily dark, the compositions and mood feel more contemplative than emotional. More cerebral than visceral, a philosophical expression of a mage as he plots his next maneuvers toward mastery of the occult.

Nortfalke (Northern Falcon) moniker of Swerc (aka Maarten), co-owner of Aratron Productions, mastermind and contributor to numerous Black Metal projects including Afvallige, Asregen, Gheestenland, Standavast, et al.

Northern Netherlands – 2021

Greyhound – “Scorched Earth” – [self released]

whngr   9/1/2022   A Library, Cassette

A Hardcore Punk vignette etched in Power Violence and old-school metal.

An impassioned sonic treatise on survival in a system designed to crush the individual, the iconoclast, and the marginalized, with a bit of genre cross pollination and a furious delivery by their powerful and very present front person who espoused an unrelenting spite for the crumbling empire. Greyhound opened for Negative Approach a little while back and I was impressed by the intensity of the performance by Ry, who was the embodiment of ferocity before a ragtag group of misfits who clearly appreciate some of the musical arenas I had orbited in my youth. Kinda felt like the old days, sans emphasis on adhering to scene approved costumes. My assumption is these weirdos don’t give a fuck about your fashion sense, they play fast, hard, and mean with only a single song that might be considered vulgar by the…

FCC on Track 11 (B6) “Sorrow/Pain”: “… give a fuck…”

Though the use of prolonged guitar feedback might be dissonant or even distasteful to some; it is hardly obscene, nor will it incur fines, and sounds, to this miserable volunteer, like heavenly minstrels rejoicing in the divine light of pure, eternal, unconditional love.

*All proceeds (of the cassette) go to Self Help Hunger Program’s Temporary Housing Fund in Oakland*

Oakland – 2022

Faceless Entity – “In Via Ad Nusquam” – [Altare Productions]

whngr   8/18/2022   12-inch, A Library

Low fidelity atmospheric Black Metal dirges from the Netherlands.

 Cold, grim, cvlt. Murky. Wailing, bellowing, shrieking. Forlorn caterwauling float above the primarily low to mid tempo marches that conjure imagery of forests cloaked in impenetrable shadow, spectral figures lurking in the periphery, and hollow stares from legions of cursed skeletal remains. Bookended by sullen guitar intro/outro tracks to chill the marrow on wicked nights lit by ghoulish lunar crescents enshrouded in ominous fog.

Little is known about this mysterious three-piece (perhaps now a duo) though there was a tour with Dödsrit and Lamp of Murmuur that included this year’s Roadburn Festival in April of 2022.

Somewhere in Holland – 2017

Radiophonic Workshop, The – “Possum” – [Room 13]

whngr   8/18/2022   12-inch, Soundtrack

Beautiful and melancholy score to a surreal film that employs sound as an intrinsic element of plot development, has more suspense stuffed in its creepy leather bag than story that is able to be followed, and a direct link to an important pioneer of electronic sound production, one Delia Derbyshire.

Both minimal and lush, meandering and terse, conventional and nonconventional instrumentation, there are several aspects of this soundtrack that exist in stark contrast but all of them contribute to an experience that is eerie and unsettling, perhaps most notably is the incredible variation in volume. Long quiet passages that pulls the listener/viewer in, so hauntingly austere that one might soften their breath to catch the delicate nuance before a subsonic rumble begins, synthesizers swell briefly and culminate in a piercing stab of feedback or (if you’re lucky) a brief snippet of reversed (possibly antique) analog tape potentially soaked in fox blood. Keep your eye on VU and finger on the fader. It’s going to get hairy for dj’s with sensitive proclivities. Or just let ‘er rip, but know this, if it sounds good and is just peaking into the red… it is very likely about to clip severely, with malice aforethought, potentially harming your unsuspecting fragile (especially in headphones ) tympanic membranes. Our listeners will be fine, but you my dear, are perched precariously on the precipice of aural trauma. Proceed with caution. For the record, this is even more true for the film whose protagonist mumbles quietly just below coherency… unless he is whimpering in pain which sadly, is not represented on this bizarre double LP.

What is represented are sounds donated from the Delia Derbyshire Archive to The Radiophonic Workshop for manipulation and inclusion on the soundtrack of this extremely strange and slightly challenging film. Derbyshire is best known for her work with The BBC Radiophonic Workshop on Dr. Who and more specifically credited with the creation of  (though she did not compose) the highly recognizable and light-years ahead of its time theme song. Which is, perhaps intentionally, though to a lesser degree, true for Possum; playing either A1 – “Verse 1 And Main Title” or D9 “Opening Titles (Early Mix)” will result in a simple yet hauntingly familiar sounding theme akin to Goblin or Fabio Frizzi.

Also of note is the unnerving insert containing a nursery rhyme from the film that was, for this miserable volunteer, perhaps more disturbing than the film itself. Imaginations being what they are…

Ruin Lust – “Ruin Lust” – [Psychic Violence]

whngr   8/3/2022   12-inch, A Library

N.Y.C. Death Metal

Furious gnashing teeth, tar paced passages, and catastrophic detonations of primal focused vigor. Deep wells of suffering and ability from members of Yellow Eyes, Morhoraam Atta, Vanum, Mróz, et alia. Bellows, gallows, wails, and snails’… pace… progression. Some pinch harmonics on track B1, “Skin Hunger” that doesn’t enthuse this volunteer but the composition is varied and interesting enough that I am willing to allow it… this time. And though I tend to prefer the onslaught/optimal carnage passages to the glacially paced doom element, I do appreciate the contrast. I can get behind a slower-than-everyone-else and faster-than-everyone-else ethos on a single 13 minute side-long track… that also culminates in a glorious atmospheric locked-groove. 

All FCC’s, if they do indeed exist, are entirely unintelligible.

New York – 2013

La Misma – “Negociacoes De Paz Continuam Como Fazem As Fabulas” – [Toxic State]

whngr   8/3/2022   7-inch, A Library

Low Fidelity female driven punk rock from NYC.

Up-tempo jangly guitars, over simple yet energetic rhythms, riffs and youthful, laryngeal vocals in Portuguese from this vibrant four-piece (perhaps three-piece, possibly defunct).
The title of this 7″ might be translated as “Peace Negotiations Continue Like Fables Do” and seems to be in line thematically with the other projects from Toxic State; the youth are dispossessed and they’re gonna rock the fuck out about it.

New York City – 2018 

A Darker Shade of Grey [coll] – [Prank]

whngr   7/27/2022   A Library, CD

East Bay Crust Lords do battle with New Mexico Legends… everybody wins

Absolutely crushing Hardcore Punk / Thrash with Doom and Metal elements by two projects from New Mexico that were adapting exceptionally well to the changing sonic landscape. Grimple takes the slightly more conventional (at the time) approach with a blistering attack, mind shearing aggression, and shredded throats. Logical Nonsense unleashes a more technical offering with especially compelling (at the time) vocals that utilize the one shrieking, one bellowing mode made popular By Neurosis a few years prior with a bit of clean vocals and a single spoken word track (Track 16 “Untitled”) that provides an interesting though emphatically nihilistic palate cleanser after the barrage of suffering and malice unleashed by these two underground juggernauts.

This split was integral to my experience of life in the South Bay circa 1994. It is impossible to separate these tracks from my experience on this planet. So strong is the link of sound to memory, I am unable to stop from being propelled back in time. Just out of high school and overwhelmed with the gravity of adulthood, the miserable economy, lack of opportunities, and the ferocity of the music in “my scene”. I had taken 8 hits of liquid the summer of Junior year and my brain was absolutely fried. I had to abandon the drugs that had been my primary motivation for the few years prior and find whatever solace I could in the music that seemed to speak for me. In 1994 we were just post “Souls At Zero” which simply decimated the sonic landscape. Stripping bare our skeletal frames, our flesh turning to dust in a blast furnace of aural, and perhaps, cultural cataclysm. It was readily apparent that the future could never be the same and many of the musicians, bands, and artists felt that this was a changing of the guard and that intensity was the currency that provided salience. The gauntlet was at our feet and you either sat the fuck down and enjoyed the show, or your dug deep and stepped up to toe the line. I believe this album is an important response to a transformation happening in the scene, with both Grimple and Logical Nonsense answering the call to arms with their respective take on Crust/Hardcore Punk which, coincidentally, was something that Neurosis was moving away from. But we still wanted it. Christ, we needed that link to the past that was being torn asunder. Anarcho/Peace/Crust or whatever (Crass, Discharge, Rudimentary Peni, Extreme Noise Terror, Nausea, Amebix…) was a language we knew and trusted.. and we were not letting go… not yet anyway. Reveling in the visceral and evocative pushing of air and the dissemination of beliefs that were at merciless odds with the status quo and the “System” and musicians simply dripping with technical prowess. We worshipped at this altar. And however bleak the world was, however hopeless our lives were, no matter how far we might fall into this life devoid of meaning and filled with iniquity, crushed by a society that had no place for us, and doomed to fail in a ruthless game where the cards were stacked so high against us… we could put on A Darker Shade of Grey and feel just a little less alone. And we did. Over, and over, and over again. We would also see them when they rolled through or in Grimple’s case on the rare occasion when they would cross the bridge (so feverish was their East Bay pride and their Hispanic heritage) at a time when Oakland offered a very clear and present danger to punks, but they would cross the bridge on occasion, and they would slay… along with Logical Nonsense who were/are also of indigenous ancestry, contributing to the legitimacy of a message of oppression and of suffering. Something that was deeply respected in a scene built on woe. I didn’t intentionally stop listening to these bands but I had wallowed in these kind of sounds for years, neglecting compelling and incredible facets of a diverse sonic tapestry that I needed to explore… (curiosity killed the crust-punk) and contributed (unintentionally) to becoming a slightly more balanced human being, less bitter, cynical, and hopeless. Besides, I was thoroughly steeped in misery… absolutely fluent… and besides, this album was in my marrow.

Oakland / Santa Fe -1994

Fccs:

Track 1: fuckin’

Track 3: fucker, fuck, fuckin’, shit, bitch’

Track 4: fuckin’, fucking

Track 6: fuckin’, fuck

Track 7: fuckin’

Track 9: fuck, fuckin’

Track 10: fuckin’

Track 14: fuckin’, fuck

Track 15: fuck you (pig), fuckin’ (swine)

Nordvargr – “Pyrrhula” – [Cold Spring Records]

whngr   7/27/2022   A Library, CD

Haunting Dark Ambience

Medium to short length foreboding drones, creepy minimalism, and spooky abstractions from one Henrik Lennart Nordvargr Björk, who’s prodigious output under various titles (Pouppée Fabrikk, MZ. 412, All Hail the Transcendent Ghost, et al.) and genres has spanned more than three decades. Björk explores many different themes but appears to gravitate towards the turmoil of Europe in the 20th century and does so through myriad stylistic tributaries often employing electronic and synthesized sounds though he has stated that he prefers to record more traditionally, being drawn to the sounds of pedals and instruments over computer rendered audio. All tracks are heavy, deep, and quiet but if you’re not in the mood for stabbing into the darkness, might I suggest track 7, “Aryana of the Open Wound”.

Sweden – 2008

DJ Female Convict Scorpion – “A Taze Against Rhyme” – [Self Released]

whngr   7/27/2022   A Library, CD

Sound collage for the adventurous, dosed, and adventurously dosed. Colorful and composed.

A genuinely inscrutable sound buffet that defies all categorization though a tenuous thread of “jazz” seems to tie these heterogeneous tracks together. Soft trains, choral elements, film score, whimsical electronic musing, pitch shifting, sad smoky horns, echoes, swells, jabbing stoner bass, psych guitar, gentle latin jazz percussion, simulated (?) sitar, sad and subdued blues guitar, sullen violin, Nico (?),  and on, and on… Volunteers who enjoy eclecticism and the perversely atypical will revel in these profoundly odd but also seemingly refined tracks. Drugs? No drugs? The choice is yours, dear listener, but if or how one chooses to modulate their biochemistry they will find themselves on an unusual and fascinating journey. It is one with abstract twists and acute turns but there isn’t even a hint of sadism from Josh Pollock (3 Leafs, Daevid Allen’s University Of Errors). Like a coyote during a peyote voyage he will guide you through strange realms but offer no cruelty, not a hint of sadistic sentiment will be felt… until the final track (Jazz Losin’ It) when we are struck by a massive detuned threnody for fourteen seconds of doom before pitching us abruptly into some ragtime shuffle bits, overblown horns, more obtuse angles and aural genuflection.

San Francisco – 2021

K2 – “Demokratika Spastika” – [Rural Isolation Project]

whngr   7/27/2022   A Library, CD

Diverse Electronic Disorder

A wide variety of unsettling abstractions that feel like the dreams of a spiny lobster soaking in ice water in its final moments of life. Jarring yet psychedelic. A sense of foreboding, an eagerness for it to end, and a masochistic urge to hear what might happen next.

K2 is one Kusafuka Kimihide aka Gewaltische Anus and Sakishima-no-Labia has been active since the early 80’s, has over 200 releases credited to him, and currently resides in:

Shizuoka, Japan – 2022

The Burning Reprieve / Shifting Transcendental [coll] – [Martyrdoom Production]

whngr   7/27/2022   7-inch, A Library

Death Doom Deities

Witchrist of Auckland, NZ are, along with Diocletian, one of two bands that comprise a (sub)genre of Death Metal that they have deemed Doom Cult. Brutal, guttural, and low-end, Witchrist state that they are less musicians than practitioners of a “dark ritual” that is thematically centered around Hindu mythology, a theology that was part of the band’s upbringing. This is the murkier of the two sides, raw and without relent, sorrowful howling guitars add a haunting atmosphere to the sludge that rides just above the battering of double drumming and trash cymbal crashes. Occutorture (gtr) is also a member of active and excellent Death Metal project Distant Fear.

Antediluvian are a three-piece from Edmonton, Canada conceived of by Haasiophis (gtr/vx) and Mars Sekhmet (drms) in 2006. Guttural, brutal, and while very low-end employ more guitar slaying than the project on the reverse side of this 7″ (and the globe). Frenetic trem-picked runs soar and dive over a distinctive diaphragmal bellow. Haasiophis has an academic background and a profound interest in history, archaeology, and theology which informs the themes that inspire the un/holy direction of this project. Worthy of note is that Mars Sekhmet is also Nebel Torvum and that she has several compelling medieval/dungeon synth releases under this alias and Haasiophis is also known as Raphaim Specter in the project Black Death Cult, an active Black/Death/Doom project with interesting electronic accompaniment.

CA/NZ – 2014

Bad Acid Trip / Benumb [coll] – [Agitate 96]

whngr   7/22/2022   7-inch, A Library

Nor Cal vs. So Cal Power Violence / Grind 

Explosions in the key of neural meltdown.

Strangeness (Bass breakdowns). Spit (Back of the throat). Some hooks (Bait the hook, catch a listener). Samples (B.A. Baracus). Short (Be diligent).

California – 2000

Basinski, William – “Silent Night” – [2062]

whngr   7/22/2022   A Library, CD

Synthesized Solstice Somnolence

Dulcet electronic hymns and loops that bathe the listener in angelic washes of sound that float and fade… but will leave you as unstained as the Virgin Mary’s britches…   and taper off entirely at 40 min 50 seconds giving us space and time (about 20 Minutes) to reflect on the remote sound of chirping insects, providing a kind of asymmetric cadence to the lilting and tranquil drones.

This “meditation on the birth of Jesus” is entirely composed on a Voyetra 8 synthesizer which apparently includes the (very convincing) mating sounds of insects. Which, unlike Mary, are able to exercise free will, allowing them to attempt to satiate their primal urges and conceive without divine intervention. This album could be subtitled: The Cricket Christ.

Slightly spooky cover art by James Elaine.

Texas – 2004(?) – 2014(?) – 2018(?)

Raw Radar War – “== (Double Equals)” – [Land O’Smiles]

whngr   7/15/2022   12-inch, A Library

Doom Sludge Hardcore. 

Four young men smash genres, colliding in an onslaught of contemptuous vengeance and unfettered spite. Blaring guitars wind between ejaculations of anger, detuned grooves, smashing percussion, and some intermittent noise elements primarily bookending tracks.

Sweaty bodies writhe with vigor. Danger pervades. The odor of vagrants. Blinding white light, an elbow to the face, you’re falling. Bodies swarm around you as unknown hands slide beneath your arms; you’ve been erected. Guitars push the fetid air over your ringing ears. Your lungs heave as unknown moisture spatters your neck and hand as the maelstrom resumes in the key of despair.

Lazy dj’s beware: much tracking / short intervals between songs and several very short songs.

FCC on B5 Your Prime Directive: “Fuck You”

Boston – 2007

Braindead – “Priest Killer” – [Feast of Tentacles]

whngr   7/15/2022   7-inch, A Library

HXC / Power Violence / Thrash

Suspended by his own viscera amidst flying buttresses and blood spattered idolatry , the priest has joined his father in heaven amidst staccato rhythms (less 4/4 and more pour gore), guttural bellows, primal screams, frenetic guitar, and samples that malign and denigrate the Christ. 

Credited to One Rob Tyers of Moloch (UK), Perspex Flesh, Arson, and most recently Whipping Post.

U.K. – 2006

Body, The & OAA – “Enemy of Love” – [Thrill Jockey Records]

whngr   7/6/2022   A Library, CD

Transient two-piece crushes detuned sludge with un(der) mic’d screeches and visceral hollering over industrial noise. 

Like a cursed beast eternally fleeing its own shadow, The Body (Portland, OR) maintains a tour schedule that has perhaps few rivals and appears to be modeled after an escaped criminal on the run while the law incessantly nips at their heels. This unhinged behavior looks like a malady, a curse, or an incurable disease; embracing the serpentine and convoluted life of the road while completing an astounding amount of releases and collaborations with myriad projects such as, Lingua Ignota, Big Brave, Uniform, and most recently OAA.

OAA is producer and musician AJ Wilson currently residing in L.A. whose Industrial electronics can veer into the harsh and perverse part of the red and is an excellent accompaniment to Lee Buford’s low-end drum bombardment and Chip King’s grinding guitar and scathing, hollow shrieks. Dylan Walker (Full of Hell) lends his inhuman, tortured vocals on perhaps my favorite track (7) “Barren of Joy”.

If you missed the beginning of The Body’s tour in Oakland on the fifth of May, you can rest assured that they will shoot through the Bay Area soon enough as they continue to evade capture and the atonement for their crimes against aural decency.

Everywhere – 2022

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