KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Kretek – "Car Samba" – [Downsall Plastics]

aarbor   4/14/2021   12-inch, A Library

Kretek is a pair of Belgian musicians Olivier Abbeloos and Maxime Lenssens. Olivier is a DJ with several aliases, who has played with a bunch of musical outfits. Maxime is a drummer who can be heard playing in a variety of bands and in the European jazz scene. He also has taught in African and Asia. As Kretek this is the 2nd of 3 releases they produced on Downsall Plastics, this one is from 1998. The 3 tracks have very prominent driving drums, with Drum Fire, the longest being the most aggressive. Despite Samba in the title – these are not dancey tracks although they are well worth a play. AArbor

Como Mamas, The – "Get an Understanding" – [Daptone Records]

aarbor   4/14/2021   12-inch, Soul

In 1959 Alan Lomax visited Como, Mississippi and recorded some “porch sessions” with Miles Pratcher and his friends. In 2005 3 guys returned to Como on a trip to the South to film a documentary about local musicians. They discovered the angelic voices of Miles Pratcher’s granddaughters Della Daniels and Angela Taylor who with their friend Ester Mae Smith became The Como Mamas. This live recording was made on June 4, 2005 at their church. The stories of these 3 women are classic: poverty, hunger, clothing from flour sacks, ruined dreams… their singing helps them deal with the trials in their lives. They sing like angels. AArbor

Gravkvade – “Grav|Aska” – [Avantgarde Music]

whngr   4/13/2021   12-inch, A Library

In the village of Uddevalla, Västra Götaland lies a terrible beast. Veiled in darkness, misery seeps from its horrible maw, declaiming the brilliance of mercy and espousing the merit of suffering. No quarter will be asked… nor given.   The black metal of one Ezra Nattkaos (Nihilistic Pain) is cold, unrelenting, and isolated. Dreary atmospheric interludes cling to the tracks like frost on the skeletal limbs of ancient forests forgotten by man. 

Released in 2018, with chilling shrieks provided by Domedag (Svältvinter, Vomitrot, On the Altar).

The mirthless tale of Grav|Aska is bleak and sorrowful. An empty landscape where despair reigns evermore in a twilight realm of bottomless woe. 

Russom, Gavilan Rayna – Secret Passage – [W.25th]

cinder   4/9/2021   12-inch, A Library

Gavilan grew up in Providence, Rhode Island in the 70s and 80s. This release is recorded in remembrance of East Side Rail Tunnel, which ran for one mile underneath the city, and the people she spent time with there (the names included on each track). It’s synth heavy, in the experimental, explorative way. Woven throbs, haunting undertones, tape hiss, pulsing swells and echoed swirls. The tunnel had a bend in it, creating total darkness if you were to get to the middle of it, which often resulted in hallucinations as you lost sense of any surroundings. The acoustics also played a big part of her liking – “long natural delays and harmonic reinforcing reverberances.” Unfortunately, the tunnel has been inaccessible since the 90s, the result of urban development and gentrification….booo.


fun facts!:

Is the synth player from LCD Soundsystem

Played/jammed a lot in the earlier years with Brian Chippendale of Lightning Bolt (track 4 is for him)

Came out as transgender in 2017

Did a few releases with Delia Gonzalez on DFA

Pierson, Dax – Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Dissatisfaction) – [Dark Entries]

cinder   4/7/2021   12-inch, A Library

Underground Oaklander, Dax Pierson’s debut solo release. He lives life as a quadriplegic, but that doesn’t stop him at all at slaying the electronic sounds! The vibes here are like a mash of gurgled up computer processed bloops and bleeps, with vigorous rhythms, semi cinematic flairs, shards of trap style beats, and tough edges. A bit of Pantha Du Prince meets Autechre… last track turns the notch down a bit and voids out. Cover art by Pierson’s partner, artist Chuck Nanney, and the back is a photo of his wheelchair.    


*’Dax’s guiding mantra throughout this journey has been a quote from choreographer Martha Graham: “No artist is pleased… There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”’

Ah-mer-ah-su – "Star" – [Dero Arcade]

aarbor   4/7/2021   12-inch, A Library

Ah-Mer-ah-su is a (Black) Transgender Woman from Oakland. This is her debut release from 2018. It’s 13 tracks: 3 spoken word and 10 music. The spoken word tracks are 3 different (trans? pre-trans?) people talking about how they feel about who they are and how life has treated them. The album showcases Ah-Mer-Ah-Su’s imagination, audaciousness, and her personal journey to self-acceptance. She says: “I think the true issue is that trans people are often dehumanized, and our experiences are Othered. People in power choose not to disseminate [our] message to wider audiences, because they don’t see themselves in transgender creatives. They believe that music from LGBTQ artists are specifically for LGBTQ people. Once people realize that they can identify with someone else’s experience, regardless of their differences, we will have more diversity in the music industry.”

The spoken word tracks are very authentic. The music is a bit heavy-handed, not subtle at all. The record itself is beautiful raspberry colored vinyl. AArbor FCC on track A1

Here’s a Billboard interview with Ah-Mer-Ah-Su: https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/pride/8468535/ah-mer-ah-su-interview-star-album/

Spectrometers, The – "Dead Soul Music" – [Decasian Records]

aarbor   4/7/2021   12-inch, A Library

The Spectrometers is Fred Duverge. This is his first release from 2008. Curiously it is the only release on Decasian Records. Discogs describes the music as: leftfield, electro, experimental, minimal, industrial. Leftfield – which btw means unusual, quirky or weird – yes definitely, not like other artists. Experimental, minimal, industrial – yes. Electro? – occasionally. I liked the B side better – slightly more tonal. What do you think? AArbor

Fontän – “Polar Star EP” – [Höga Nord Rekords]

SlartiBartfast   4/4/2021   12-inch, A Library

“Polar Star” is a delicious mix of rock melodies, electronic dreams, and ever evolving, rhythmic pulsations. Fontän, which is spear headed by the Swedish duo of Jesper Jarold and Johan Melin, provide one of the many musical road maps that blend modern electronica, prog, and traditional psychedelic music into a cocktail of head pleasing proportions. With a history influenced by a bit of Bo Hansson and Träd, Gräs o Stenar, as well as Johan’s Nationaleatern lineage, this 2016 Hoga Höga Rekord’s release is sure to keep your mind wandering while your heart and soul keep to the rhythm.  

A/LPACA – “Make It Better” – [Sulatron Records]

SlartiBartfast   4/4/2021   12-inch, A Library

Hypnotic Krautrock, psychedelic, post punk/new wave dance beats from A/LPACA. Hailing from Montova, Italy, this 2021 release from A/LPACA takes you on a musical journey through an imaginary “beat club”. A place of liberation, fun, and communal congregation. “Make It Better” leads you through that journey into a world of refuge, of reflection, and becomes a musical diversion from the stinging realities of the modern world. A/LPACA began recording this release pre-pandemic and finished recording in July of 2020. They blend heavy beat driven rhythms with just enough electronic and guitar fuzz to keep your mind pleasantly searching for those new musical  horizons.

Saturnia – “Stranded In The Green” – [Sulatron Records]

SlartiBartfast   4/4/2021   12-inch, A Library

Fantastic, pulsating, smoky, psychedelic music from Lisbon’s own Saturnia. This 2021 12” is Saturnia’s 8th full length release, and a first for Sulatron Records. “Stranded in the Green” is an album that takes you on a psychedelic musical trip between quiet surreal whispers to driving heavy rock rhythms framed by lyrical vocals that guide your mind’s journey. Formed in 1996, Saturnia is the creation of multi instrumentalist Luis Simões from Lisbon Portugal, and was initially intended to be a communal musical collective. Since then Luis has kept the Saturnia spirit alive and well and collaborated with such musicians as Daevid Allen of Gong, Nik Turner of Hawkwind, and Stefan Kolek of Color Haze. Sit back, relax and enjoy this superb musical trip from the outer layers of your consciousness to the inner depth’s of your mind’s eye. 

Frkse – “Desecration Anxiety II” – [Iron Lung Records]

whngr   4/4/2021   12-inch, A Library

Saffron robes smolder as the wounded ascetic continues his wretched search for a subversion of enlightenment amidst pensive strings, smoldering synthesizers, and a staggering array of percussive elements. Rhythm is the structure and drone the glue employed to construct this tremendous sonic stupa. Thigh trumpets wail behind down-tempo beats, conjuring images of the sprawling shadows of the Himalayas. Cloaked in a caul of schism, piercing eyes beam from inky darkness. They hold the terrible truth, a great lie awaits… For you… have faltered. Though your sins aren’t aberrant. They are in fact expected… and the charnel grounds await… 

Though this record is slightly outside the normal purview of my sonic interests, it is profoundly appealing and captivating. Tranquil yet unsettling,  a marriage of both ancient and modern sound construction. Purchased on a whim to flesh out an order from Iron Lung and by the grace of Kali we have been rewarded with a stunningly beautiful album with scope, vision, and an untitled, mind bending locked groove (untitled B9) that has opened strange new crevasses in my brain allowing for wider appreciation of sound and the possible merits of intermittent blind faith.

Frske is one Rajen Bhatt Residing in Jamaican Plain, a neighborhood in Boston, MA and formerly of Reno, NV. Formerly performing as Rajbot, and having ties to west coast powerviolence and Black Lung Records, as well as links to Italian hip hop and apparent rivers of disparate contacts and artists, as well as operating his own label, Divergent Series. Material that I have found on and by Bhatt has provided insight to a remarkably well rounded, prolific, and interesting individual that if Mahakala wills it, will be joined by its many brethren in our library in contributing upending our listeners’ labyrinthine path to spiritual illumination.

Oily Boys – “Cro Memory Grin” – [Static Shock]

whngr   4/4/2021   12-inch, A Library

Abrasive noisy psy-core-rock outa this raging Sydney four-piece. Copious waves of feedback weave through pounding, knuckle dragging bombast. Sweat, incredulous fury, regret, woe. Warped tape, an effect laden guitar howl through gravel strewn cries, a trumpet weeps behind the title track reminiscent of Dan Raberg of Brain Bombs, calling to mind a disaffected stroll through city centers crawling with wasted, wrung-out rejects of society. Travis Bickle on bad dope or Wendy O Williams walking into the woods one last time.  

Proclamation – “Messiah of Darkness and Impurity” – [Nuclear War Now! Productions]

whngr   4/2/2021   12-inch, A Library

Seminal beastial black metal, Spain.

Guttural bellows, blast beats, profane proclamations, and seething heresy, trem-bar abuse. Wallow in, and rejoice in the infernal inception of the infra-genre. Originally released in 2006, Nuclear War Now! Productions continue in redoubling their efforts in tearing open the earth to release the plague demons and the blood soaked anti-heralds of corrupted souls and the withering damned.

Haare – “Tantric Noise” – [Influencing Machine]

whngr   4/2/2021   12-inch, A Library

Esoteric and enthralling Buddhist themed mid-weight noise. 

Strange and subduing yet slightly unsettling and delirium inducing drones and electronic abstractions. Whirs, crunches, echoes, whistles, and cyber purrs. Tantric Noise includes a message on the reverse, In Memory of William Burger. May he rest in a parabolic continuum of anti-suffering.
Haare is one Ilkka Vekka of Hämeenlinna, Finland.

Disguise – “Signs of The Future” – [Static Shock]

whngr   4/2/2021   12-inch, A Library

Acerbic Assault on Apathy  

Dublin, Ireland 2015. Hammers drop on mirth and joy, crushing aspersions to indoctrination by a horribly sick society. Thrashing drums propel squealing guitar feedback and guttural expulsions of fetid, reeking breath permeated with rage. Pure, murderous dissent. Embrace the terror of human existence as you plunge your bloody fists into a wall of complacency and lose control under a sonic spell of berserker rage. Hardcore punk meets crusty grindcore on this E.P. that lacks recognizable language, no Fcc’s, no dreams, hope, or ability to cope .

Meirino, Francisco – A New Instability – [Helen Scarsdale Agency]

cinder   3/31/2021   12-inch, A Library

A 2019 release from Swiss power-acoustic musician, Francisco Meirino. Unsettling high pitches that induce migraines (half of side A), mixed with field recordings from a martial arts dojo in his hometown of Lausanne. Electro acoustic rumblings, electronics in a subdued state. Creaking floors, rotating and rustling sounds. Slaps, hits and cheers & jeers from fights linger in the background. Experimentally visual. Cobra Kai!  

Yaz and Miko – "Late Spring Ep" – [Ascend Recordings]

aarbor   3/31/2021   12-inch, A Library

Yaz and Miko are DJ Yaz (Canada) and Tarik Alj (from Morocco) now both working in Canada and founders of the Edit Recordings label. This release from 2002 is among their first. Described as tribal and techno, it is pounding beatsand none of the subtlety and melodies which Tarik Alj
weaves into his own music. AArbor.

Cyrnai – “Charred Blossoms” – [Dark Entries]

lexi glass   3/30/2021   12-inch, A Library

As a teenager in the Bay Area in the early 80s, Carolyn Fok was painting, writing poetry, experimenting with synthesizers and reel-to-reel recorders, and getting deep into the local post punk scene. Her many artistic influences came together under the name Cyrnai, beginning with the release of her debut album Charred Blossoms in 1985, now reissued by Dark Entries. The record is gorgeous; a collage of industrial rhythms mixed with instruments like flute, piano, saxophone and mandolin and her surreal spoken word poetry. As Cyrnai describes it, “the sounds on the record are depressive, yet should fit perfect in a bouquet of flames,” and if that isn’t the most spot-on description of a typical KFJC set I don’t know what is. Cyrnai went on to release several more solo albums and to play in other Bay Area groups including Rhythm and Noise, Trial, and A State of Mind, whose records can be found in our library.

Thuja – “Hills” – [Rose Hobart]

whngr   3/26/2021   12-inch, A Library

Languid Arrhythmic Hum Gentle washes of various drones and myriad traditional and found/constructed percussive elements that will lull you into a slightly twitchy narcoleptic repose. 

Minimal.

Serene.

Reflective.

Thuja (a variety of cypress tree) are a group of avant-garde creators of sound that are self styled “organic drone folk-noise” and employ myriad natural found-objects in their improvisational sound and aesthetic. San Francisco (one currently the other formerly) sound explorers, sculptors, naturalists, and two parts of Thuja, Loren Chasse (The Blithe Sons, The Child Readers, Of) and Glenn Donaldson (The Skygreen Leopards, The Blithe Sons, Flying Canyon and his solo projects The Birdtree and The Ivytree) were the backbone of an entity once known as Jeweled Antler, a collective of friends and musicians bound by an ephemeral and conceptual yet “methodically constructed” aesthetic that contain “hermetic symbolism and mystical nature imagery.”

Yevtushenko, Yevgeny – “In Readings From His New York and San Francisco Concerts” – [Columbia]

whngr   3/22/2021   12-inch, A Library

Readings in English and Russian by acclaimed poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko with friends on both American coasts ca. 1972.

Exploring themes like the Vietnam conflict and genocide, Yevtushenko was criticized by fellow Russian poets for working with the Communist Party.; allowed to travel extensively during the Cold War and often critical of the West, Yevtushenko was able to forge new ground, delivering passionate, compelling, and rousing performances while casting dispersion. Though the topics are well tread in 2021 and can feel a bit trite at times, they are nonetheless, valid criticisms of some of humanity’s darkest days. However, the performances by all parties are what makes this recording engaging. The meter, and projection is fierce, words as weapons with lashing tongues rolling ‘r’s like vitriolic peals of thunder… barring Allen Ginsberg who really seems to struggle with the emotional depth of the suffering conveyed by all the other performers… including the heckler on Babi Yar (B3) whom Yevgeny shuts down just prior to his performance, eliciting a round of applause from the audience, who I gather were communist sympathizers and anti-empirical yet far too soft and weakened by capitalism to survive in Mother Russia… besides their political radicalism was merely a phase and they probably became a bit complacent after profiting greatly through their early investment in Apple™.

Yevtushenko passed in April 2017 at the age of 83, a resident of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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