KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Abdul-Rauf, Leila – “Diminution” – [Black Horizons]

whngr   8/15/2020   12-inch, A Library

Haunted dreamscape of longing, sorrow, and regret by one Leila Abdul-Rauf of Oakland’s death metal projects Vastum and Hammers of Misfortune and previous member of Amber Asylum and Bastard Noise.

Trumpets echo over barren landscapes, piano reverberate through open spaces as flakes of snow, or maybe ash, fall gently from the heavens. Shimmering abstractions entwine with wistful reflections of loss. Chimes dance slowly in the wind as a ghost train bellows in the distance. Smokey, delicate, and beautiful, Diminution is like a specter in the burned out rafters of unrequited love.

Dream Skills – “Vol. 3 Signal & Decay” – [Fortissimo]

whngr   8/14/2020   12-inch, A Library

Quiet-minimalist-cerebral-electronic-ambient-birds-beats-bedlam. 

Brooding, bizarre, uplifting, sad, strange, a curious thread that ties (binds) then relinquishes. An interesting dichotomy unfolds, both soothing and slightly abstract. Solo project by Donald Grant Mills, founding Member of U.K.’s Action Beat, forgoes guitars in this sultry and intimate slide into synthesizer based sounds. I’m thinking Mobius Strip, Cinderaura, I’m feeling chill, relaxing in sequestration. I’ve got my head right, my solitude, and my wandering inner dialogue. Minimal vocals, some found sounds, weird levels, and a slightly unnerving tempo with varying moods though all of them feel very personal and introspective. A sprawling review can be found on the Dream Skills b-camp for those that are seeking a more exhaustive perspective. 

Müller, Anne – “Heliopause” – [Erased Tapes Records]

Medusa of Troy   8/12/2020   12-inch, A Library

He·li·o·pause   /ˈhēlēəˌpôz/

noun ASTRONOMY

: the boundary of the heliosphere.

noun MUSIC

: a new album by Berlin-based cellist and composer Anne Müller with 6 tracks that she wrote, recorded, arranged and produced. Müller takes her cello beyond the boundaries of classical music to something trance, chill, ambient. Transcendentally experimental, especially Track 1, “Being Anne,” which is played on a broken piano, combined with cello and drum loops. All of them are good, a personal favorite is Nummer 2 (track 3)- in this time of social isolation and uncertainty, it has the power to slow thoughts, deepen breathing and unknit tense muscles if you give yourself over to it. Don’t fight it, surrender to the strings and beats – you may end up in an entirely new headspace.

Mommy – “Songs About Children” – [Toxic State]

whngr   7/19/2020   12-inch, A Library

The debut LP from New York City’s Mommy is a bitter and personal foray into metal-health failure by a three-piece that could be considered “hardcore punk” but is a little too weird for such easy classification. Not to imply that this is at all complex, this is base, instinctual, and of the viscera. Featuring red-lined bass, trash(ed) kit pummeling, and the rants and ruminations of vocalist Mike Caiazzo (Dollhouse). Driving the listener through a horrible tunnel of despair and tragic reflections on mental illness and the casualties incurred by our broken psychiatric institutions. Heavily distorted bass guitar (and drums) reflect the sickness of the narrative. Lo-fi and fugly sounds from the lords of lunacy at Toxic State.

Wood, Hank and The Hammer Heads – “Hank Wood and The Hammer Heads” – [Toxic State]

whngr   7/12/2020   12-inch, A Library

Nihilistic garage/punk rock n’ roll outta NYC. Scene builders, heart breakers, and soul stealers since the early tweny-teens. Strut, stomp, long organ pulls, up-strokes, down-strokes, “ungh”, all the way up, dirty lust with abandon, builds, bends, breakdowns, and hooks to the heart. These guys grew up in New York City playing in bands with a close-knit group of friends who would put enough english on tried-and-true form to garner some considerable attention and produce some fucking excellent releases primarily off’a Toxic State. And they seem get around, playing in Murderer, Dawn of Humans, Cheena, Fur Helmet, She Could Be King, anna buncha others.
However, despite how great this album is, it makes me hurt. It reminds me of when I still wanted to take a big bite out of the world. Getting wasted and being in love with falling in love. Daydreaming about the things I could do to, and with, the object of my desire, pining for a romantic maelstrom with my partner-in-crime and ruling the world with our passion. I want to say, to hell with my highly erratic brain chemistry and the misery that I can dispense liberally to those I am closest to despite my best intentions. I miss living for tonight and destroying tomorrow with the chaos that would explode after last call… but I can’t anymore. That ship has fucking sailed. I’m done. My destiny is to wither into dust… alone, hopeless, and hopelessly alone. But I’ll be doing it listening to this, feeling the pulse of their youth, trying feed off their vitality like a fucking pathetic vampire.

Dawn of Humans – “Slurping At The Cosmos Spine” – [Toxic State]

whngr   7/10/2020   12-inch, A Library

Hardcore pvnk ravvk from the buroughs. Nawt narmal, guttural growls from the gutter, noisy, nasal, lo-fi, low-brow, ugly, and hurt. Members of Murderer, Hank Wood and the Hammerheads, Warthog, Cheena, Perdition, etc. New Yawk. Toxic State. Inscestual scene. Raw. Neanderthals of bitter, biting, noisy rock. For plotting revenge on your enemies or receiving an astral-plane communion from a 9 pound telepathic rat that you met in Queens one night after getting fired from one of your jobs as a 24-hour hospital supplies delivery driver for taking amyl nitrite and using bandages to do your route as a “mummy” with that medical “honey”.

Irkallian Oracle – ‘Grave Ekstasis’ – [Nuclear War Now! Productions]

Lord Gravestench   7/7/2020   12-inch, A Library

Irkallian Oracle is a Swedish black/death metal band active since 2012. Supposedly the group has six members, but I think there were only three people onstage when I saw them live a few years ago. In any event, the roles performed by all six people are given as ‘various’ on the web, so perhaps we are dealing with an amorphous collective of some kind. Ambiguous though the actual lineup may be, there is real personality and clarity of vision to be found on this 2013 debut album, which was probably one of the cooler new releases I heard that year. 

In I.O.’s musical balance of doom elegance and death metal lycanthopy, as well as in their dead-serious thematic focus on the occult (that’s magick, not satanism), I perceive a fondness for the German group Necros Christos. Also comparable are Nuclear War Now!/Iron Bonehead labelmates Grave Upheaval, Sinistrous Diabolous, Temple Nightside, and Vassafor. In fact, those latter four bands are interconnected via an assortment of overlapping members; and for that matter, at least one sometime-player in S.D., T.N., and Vassafor has also been part of Irkallian Oracle in the past.

In the company of such projects, we find ourselves squarely in the territory of what the contemptible metal journos of seven years ago were known (perhaps jokingly, as if that were any excuse) to term “murkcore”– the implications of which term may include cavernous production, often-lengthy songs, hypnotic repetition of lead riffs, and a poised, serpentine, slow-burning sense of ritual. One could also trace aspects of  this record’s atmosphere back to classic groups like (for instance) Beherit, Order From Chaos, and Mortuary Drape, but seven years after its release I’m prepared to admit that this particular crystallisation of black and death metal aesthetics was of its own moment in time. 

‘Grave Ekstasis’ achieves a really satisfying balance of  implied menace and outright aggression, conjuring esoteric mystery and bestial savagery with equal aplomb. It is sinuous grey smoke from the fading embers of a massive sacrificial pyre, rising to spell out hidden glyphs in the near-complete darkness of some long-forgotten underground vault. Grab hold of its eldritch sigils if you can.

Minus 8 – “Remixes Part 2” – [Compost]

aarbor   7/1/2020   12-inch, A Library

Minus 8 is Robert Jan Meyer from Zurich, Switzerland.   The remixes are by Dr. Rockit (Mathew Herbert), Les Gammas, Tiny Trendies (Adam Goldstone from NYC who died at Burning Man in 2006) and Zimpala.  This record is from 2001 on Compost, very early in his career. These days Minus 8 writes soundtracks and other high profile music. All tracks worth a spin.

AArbor

Laureate – “Eurekaphilia” – [Hospital Productions]

whngr   6/28/2020   12-inch, A Library

EN/PE from Jim Haras (Deterge, Winters In Osaka, Urth, Ilsa), associate of Hospital Records and Fusty Cunt.

Futuristic sonic warfare with asymmetric dissonance.

Atmospheric falling rain, static and electronic effervescence. 

Crunchy simmering white-noise-wall evolves into dark engine chants.

Dirge

Drone 

Despair

Waveform abuse becomes cyber spasms of robot rage

Dismay

Deep

Drop

of the beat. Murdering hard house. Apocalyptic squeals to ritual patricide.

Subsonic. Strobes. Nexus-8 sharpens its android fangs.

Whorls of demonic static. Curious clatter.

A horrifying declaration before The God-head’s admonishments amidst pyrrhic aural Armageddon. 

Ewen, Sandy – “You Win” – [Gilgongo Records]

whngr   6/27/2020   12-inch, A Library

A member of Weird Weeds (R.I.L.) and an architect currently residing in Houston, Texas. Fingers tremble with amplified arthritis. A string quartet perform while being hung from the neck. Improvisation. Loneliness and reflection. Interdisciplinary collaboration. Nickel plated wind-up hummingbirds imitate death. Graphic notation. Distant pianos explode from the from the ruined towers, falling. Extended guitar techniques. A detachment of forklifts in maneuvers somewhere below. Feedback. Quietly wringing one’s hands with razor wire. Understated. Intimate. Prepared guitar. 

Brown Angel – “Shutout” – [Sleeping Giant Glossolalia]

whngr   6/26/2020   12-inch, A Library

Strange stranger strangler
Angular angry avante
guardian of harmonic despair
or resonate with east coast dissonance?
Repetitive and minimal.
Irreverent irrelevance?
Limited technical range leads to emotive
and hypnotic revelry in the wrong?
(Bndcmp) autobio:
Brown Angel is a post-everything trio from Pittsbvrgh, PA, U$A. RIYL noise rock raga, teutonic industrial aesthetic, Hellhammer-grade weaponized dub.
Donated by:
whngr
A record I paid for but didn’t choose. It grew on me… perhaps because I allowed it.

Sunn Trio – "Electric Esoterica" – [Twenty One Eighty Two Recording Company]

Thurston Hunger   6/24/2020   12-inch, A Library

Joel Robinson is the center of this Sunn (and no band connection to Sunn 0 btw afaik lmnop). On these guitar-fueled instros, he’s joined by drummer Andrew Flores and bassist Paul Borman. Phoenix-fired but other Suns in other lands are worshipped. It may be too simple to say Robinsun sic-ly shines a black path through surf and metal, but like any holy Book of Lies, verily that holds some truth. “Alhiruiyn” smacks you both with a flair of misirlou and the dungeon air of a guitar chained in reverb. Other tracks like “Kunz-Pnjua” sweep through sustain, the Robinson’s guitar goes from a whisper to a screaming dune of sound, Borman drops a bolero for the bassline. On later listens to this, Flores really stood out….just chase him through a song like “Eye of Apopis” and “Tantric Feedback Resistor” (which may be a nod to Flores’ work with Destruction Unit?). While the band walks as a trio, a fourth shadow appears before them – Sam Plattner adds fx to the mix, really adds a different lustre, and those who eschew the guitar can appreciate his shortwave (on the closing “Evocation”) and long game in other spots, he dominates “Ilm Au-Huruf” before a stringy sting of improv at the end. Moments like those, as well as the shifting “Majoun,” the tasty “Taqsim for Atargatis” and the droney “Japa III Aiwass” give this album much breadth and room to breathe. While looking at the cabala under the djellaba, it seems this work may be blessed by Bishops, there is some sort of misty mount meru hop-scotch at play, but this heat-seeker of an lp would have wandered its way to KFJC no matter what. If/when they visit our pit, my inner Aladdin wishes for Plattner to be conjured incarnate.

-Thurston Hunger

Rites Of Thy Degringolade – “An Ode To Sin” – [Nuclear War Now! Productions]

whngr   6/11/2020   12-inch, A Library

I dub thee: Metal of the Flies.

Lurching, lumbering, Canadian (Edmoton) death metal  ca. 2005 repressed in 2015 by the illustrious and never missing Nuclear War Now!.

Gravel throat, killing layers, wicked timing, endless doom, abrupt despair, and cascading wrath. Blast beats, trashcan cymbals, grinding, burrowing, retching, riffs, slaughter, shredding. Track three is the stand out, with its killer hook, slashing solo and sickening time changes but there is much diversity on this album. Is that scratching on Thyhathbecomehim (A4)? Mysterious synth sounds, majesty, and misanthropy. It starts with noise, ends with flies, and left me aching… for MORE!

Thank you, Sir AIDS. Might I have another?

Resuscitator – “Iniciation” – [Nuclear War Now! Productions]

whngr   6/10/2020   12-inch, A Library

Early (1994) stripped-down black metal from southern CA (Downey). 

Slow single note bends, cave toms, guttural breath, ugly death, crystal meth… Actually sounds more like beer and weed to this miserable volunteer but it is hard to know as this project is veiled in mystery like a proper black metal band of yore. Eschewing high production and virtuosity for atmosphere and anonymity. Not plowing any unfurrowed earth but pleasantly dark and morose like a well-worn flaxen cloak of eternal darkness, soft and saturated for decades with your own heretical musk. Sometimes you don’t want to be tested, sometimes you just want to embrace the night, raise your crooked hand to the moon, and scowl like a goblin. Probably the most unique thing about Iniciation from the perspective of 2020 is a slightly naive note of the theatrical; sounding like it they recorded their live set in a garage, including a bit of in-character stage banter which feels a little like meeting a smokin’ hot goth girl (in the early 90’s) who knows as much about Middle Earth as you do (nerd love being the sweetest, least judgmental, and most deeply binding emotion of them all) who then returns your awkward advances in kind. Like a soothing elven balm rubbed into the chaffed and bleeding fissures of your soul.

Corrupted – “Felicific Algorithm” – [Cold Spring Records UK]

whngr   6/7/2020   12-inch, A Library

Totally unlike their early detuned doom-sludge works, this album (which has no suggested speed) seems to forgo their previous instrumentation for a more computer generated one to focus on drone and mid to heavy-weight noise. Some sources state that it may in fact be the work of Martin Bowes (previous member of Attrition, Pigface and Engram) though I have not been able to find much support of the theory (found on Juno Record’s website), it does seem plausible as these tracks fall well outside the purview of Corrupted’s previous releases.
Side A employs an extremely slow and long start of an almost sub-sonic signal that may rattle volunteers expecting dirge but will eventually erupt into harsh stabs of red-lined white noise, tumbling shards of glass, and feedback modulated for listener’s distress which just as suddenly evolves into meditative waves of low frequency relaxation.
Side B is notably less discordant, employing human voices buried within tides of computer generated drone and electronic bubbles over sonic curios.
I find this album compelling but I am doubtful that the source is truly from Japan’s Corrupted. Quite an oddity, this.

Smell & Quim – “Cosmic Bondage” – [Hospital Productions]

whngr   6/6/2020   12-inch, A Library

Abhorrent Abstract Filth

Seven tracks of anally fixated atrocities suitable for none but the most disturbed and maladapted. It is as if a young deaf boy discovered they could prolapse their bowels at will and while using their crusty child fingers to pack their lower intestine back into their torso decided to invent songs devoted to the confusing sensations of pleasure and pain pulsing from their distended rectum. Squeals of feedback and white noise, loops of butt porn, balloons squeak and expire, drones, and steel Chinese finger-torture traps that echo and tumble into a drawer of stolen pornography from the 60’s, whines of tinnitus mixed with tweaker toys. Hatchlings chirp, mechanical saws attached to novelty phalluses, Geppetto’s donkey puppet comes to life with sphincters for hooves and an insatiable appetite for rectal intercourse and with every thrust of its wooden mule-appendage develops an inarticulate eruptive vocabulary derived from sado masochistic ass Bukkake. Also of note, this double LP was originally released in 1995 as a limited (100) spray-painted gold cassette with a tethered Barbie™ doll sporting a proliferation of pubic hair, or perhaps a merkin, so that the extended track lengths don’t fit within the current (anal-log) format. Excellent and unique packaging from Hospital Productions though slightly sterile when compared to the painful and repellent sounds within and surely lacking the repugnant donkey-punch of the first release on Stinky Horse Fuck.

Hallucinator – “Another Cruel Dimension” – [Carbonized]

whngr   6/6/2020   12-inch, A Library

Oakland’s Hallucinator plot to upend your sanity with this, their second outing and first release on Carbonized. Less cerebral than visceral, more power than virtuosity though the technique is excellent, this album is more about impact. It’s Darkthrone inspired death metal with psychedelic interludes. Fucking crushing riffs, chug-chugs, ripping, rending, slaughter, battery and assault. Guttural, blast beats, shredding, horror, derangement, doom and despair, dungeons, and spooky synthesizer bookends. Refined production and excellent composition provide a familiar metal formulae with a spattering of genuine innovation. Looking forward to hearing more annihilation from these local long-hairs, though this LP sounds heavily scrutinized and polished (while still raw and powerful) that they would be forgiven if they want a respite before their next offering.

Les Yper Sound – “Explorations In Drums and Sax” – [Figure & Ground]

aarbor   6/3/2020   12-inch, A Library

Originally Les Yper-Sound (also sometimes called Les Hyper-Sound) was a fake band consisting of Michel Colombier and Pierre Henry. On this recording  (which was released in 2016) there are 5 tracks written by the originals and 10 written by Jas Walton [sax] and Miles Arntzen [drums] who are the current version of Les Yper-Sound. The “remarks” on each track will tell you everything you need to know. My favorite remark is “about the track Potato Brain: “Moroccan Qarkabeb. Dramatic. Lights off.” It’s playful, tongue-in-check and lot of fun, after all it’s on clear vinyl – do not miss this one!

AArbor

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