KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Sshe Retina Stimulants – “Krionika Soshiki” – [Urashima]

lexi glass   10/28/2020   12-inch, A Library

Vinyl reissue of a 1995 Slaughter Productions cassette from SSHE Retina Stimulants, the solo project of Paolo Bandera, one of the founders of the 1980s Italian industrial outfit Sigillum S. Heavy, hallucinogenic electronics emitting fluctuating patterns, rumbling melodies, trailing visions and scintillating tones, like a primitive consciousness emerging from a dense network of fried synapses, furiously dreaming. Limited edition of 99 from the excellent Italian harsh noise imprint Urashima.

Ljain – “Endasalmar Og Klofnar Tungur” – [Signal Rex]

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

Ljáin (Lē- yaw-in [scythes]) are an abstruse Icelandic black-metal project and this release is (originally from 2016 released on vinyl [currently in your trembling claws] by Signal Rex [Lusitania]).

The intro is a murky, haunting choral affair that segues into a brief echoing church bells before the avalanche of low fidelity metal ensues. A turgid, miserable flow of hollow wails, reverberating guitars, and buried, ugly drum assault. So murky and cacophonous that it could almost be atmospheric at lower levels but surely that is not the intent of Ljáin. In the red, all the way up, chaotic barrage of untethered rage sprinkled with spooky back tracked interludes. The vibes are of doom, terror, misery, death awareness, death longing, murder-lust, shivering spectral dissonance, famished troll worship, sweeping landscapes of jagged rock and ice…

Karpenter, Al – "If We Can't Dream, They Won't Sleep!!" – [Ever / Never]

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

Bizarro, deconstructed, confused, experimental, angry, delirious, ASMR, damaged.Cast of characters include Spain experimenters (Mattin, Joxean Rivas, and María Seco), early Fushitsusha drummer Seijiro Murayama, Lucio Capece, and Chie Mukai.
Skittering electronics, sloshy cymbals, jangled guitar, sloppy garage rock spurts, quivering sax, drunk drums, repetitive words.  

Incognito – "Get Into My Groove" – [TalkinLoud]

aarbor   9/30/2020   12-inch, A Library

Incognito  is  a British Acid Jazz band the track Get Into My Groove is from their 1999 album No Time Like the Future. This is 2 lovely remixes of Get Into My Groove by Jazzanova – one instrumental and one with vocals.         Here are the lyrics to the first stanza:  (which seem apropos right now)   Politicians knocking at my door   Heads of nations rotten to the core   Tell me how are you gonna change the world   When you haven’t got the love…  AArbor

Alizadeh, Saba – "Scattered Memories" – [Karlrecords]

aarbor   9/30/2020   12-inch, International

Saba Alizadeh is  an Iranian composer of electronic and experimental sounds. He curates a website called Noise Works and a concert series called Aural events. On this record Saba plays  kamancheh ( Persian bowed luted related to the rebab), kalimba (thumb piano) and laptop. This is not traditional Persian music – it almost reminiscent  of  Muslimgauze – Bryn Jones – definitely worth a spin! 

AArbor 

Terrorama – “Horrid Efface” – [Nuclear War Now! Productions]

Lord Gravestench   9/30/2020   12-inch, A Library

Founded in 2001, Sweden’s Terrorama play a pretty even melange of black, death, and thrash metal. This superb 2004 LP was their first proper album. From the inimitably vicious opening riff of the first track to the head-bifurcating feedback drone that finishes off the closer, the project’s well-developed, expressive take on extreme metal shines darkly here, conveying an appreciable mixture of anxiety and murderous intent. 

Vocals are straight-up black metal hate-shrieks, while the instrumentals navigate between distinctly black-, death-, and thrash-influenced parts, often over the course of the same song. There’s a punky rawness to the material, but it never crosses over into sloppiness; indeed the fact that it’s actually very tightly played makes the loose vibe quite impressive. It’s definitely that great Nuclear War Now! sound you’ll hear on this album, but with enough eccentricity and zeal to handsomely distinguish Terrorama from the rest of the label’s gasmasked legion. Some aspects reminded this reviewer of Cadaver (the Norwegian one) and the mighty Aura Noir. B2 is a cover of 80s Los Angeles thrashers Holy Terror.

A solid disc. “I deserve it. I deserve it. I deserve it. I deserve all the pain.”

Clock of Time – “Pestilent Planet” – [Static Shock]

whngr   9/26/2020   12-inch, A Library

Berlin Garage Death Rock.

Downstrokes, chorus, reverb. Nihilistic doom rock for the tail end of “Civilization” propelled apathetically in an English accent. You can hear the sneers and feel tears. Drape yourself over a wrought-iron fence of hopelessness and weep for humanity. Or just play this between Christian Death and Joy Division. Whatevah.

Geld – “Beyond The Floor” – [Static Shock]

whngr   9/26/2020   12-inch, A Library

Australia’s Geld is a blistering  hardcore band with metal leanings. They call themselves Psychedelic Hardcore but… though there is a little flange on the guitars, I wouldn’t drop a tab and listen to this. Too negative. Too miserable. Too much rage for lysergic and too much cynicism for psilo but that’s just me. Knock yerself out… with a impact driver to the temple.

Nghtcrwlr – "Let The Children Scream" – [Dero Arcade]

cinder   9/23/2020   12-inch, A Library

Solo project of Iranian chick Kris Esfandiari, who was the front woman for metal band King Woman for over 10 years. This is definitely nothing like that though! It’s got industrial beats, noise elements, 808s, sound clips, and a tough edge. She sings/screams/deadpans vox, which have a sometimes have distorted or echoed ghostly manner. She opened for Boy Harsher in 2019, and finally has made her music available on physical format. It’s haunting, sinister, twisted and nefarious… but slightly sweet. ‘Firestarter’ is a Prodigy cover (wooooo, ’90s!)

Zeroh – "BLQLYTE" – [Leaving Records]

Thurston Hunger   9/23/2020   12-inch, Hip Hop

Zeroh (aka Edwin Liddie Jr.) sure adds up, when he sings “We are one but not the same” he’s talking about the message and the means at work here. During the sonic storm of “Sworn Free” a lion’s voice rises above to howl “Who am I?” If his identity follows the tricky steps of his voice, then the chase is on. His vocals get stretched, flexed, multiplexed and digitally pockmarked, he pulls the bass down a lot, but can lift up his falsetto and sting. The album has flow, but it’s a darker ooze that floats all tracks, the album does not come up for breaths from one track to the next. Like the world, it can almost pull Zeroh and the listener under. The fluid nature features trace elements of Detroit techno where Zeroh spent time as well as puffs of Los Angeles psychedelic smog-hop post that Project Blowed helped huff and where Edwin is currently flipping lids. The lead-off title track is a dizzy blender of sample and sound, by the time we hit “Hydro” the sound is spun backwards, dammed and damned with scorpions, ninjas and Julie Andrews all drifting between the tick and tock waves, he shipwrecks hard from that into choppy vox and rocks of percussion. Then submerges into a void before emerging into an amazing quick breather “You Can’t Unsee It.” Another high point : “The Lord & Nature” which feels like a Conlon Nancarrow rip, check out how Zeroh rests it but then cardiac arrests it. The album has definite psychoactive elements, CIA burnt spoons and shroom in ashrams, holy smoke and Ras G (RIP) residue. The lyrics are a swirl of consciousness and again spun through vocal/robo filters. Zeroh speaks of being “blessed by predecessors” and winds up “reflecting on the water like a buddhist” his stirring of beats pours out a worthy weird elixir, lyrically he looks to turn the tide. Clarity in murkiness.

Zeroh Won, count on him. Sidewalk Surfer grinding on these grooves.

-Thurston Hunger

Alatas, Muchsin – "Pilehan Muchsin" – [MRC (Malaysian Record Company)]

Thurston Hunger   9/23/2020   12-inch, International

Sometimes you got to go out and find your own sublime frequencies. A 2019 trip to Singapore opened a portal to the past via Red Point Record Warehouse and sends us back spinning Indonesia in the 70’s. This choice “Selection” (Pilehan) of pop beauties showcases Muchsin’s velvet crooning over amazing orchestrations, percussion is at the driving heart, but swirling about it are flutes, melodica/harmonium, fuzzed out guitars, penting (like a mandolin). Extremely catchy, and the duets are superb. The two with Titiek Sandhora are a harmonious union that produced more than music, but a family as well. The album starts with a playful cat and bird duet with Anna Bahfen, “Jangar Gusar” (“Don’t Be Upset” – the album has plenty of “Cinta” (“Love”) and “Bahagia” (“Happy”) but it does flit thought the sweet and the sour on tracks like on this track and “Ku Berdosa” (“I Sinned.”) The guitar on both “Jangan Gusar” and “Magdalena” adds a “nice funky feeling” (as Mr Ong from Red Point said), and both songs have these little tantalizing trills that zip between the steady swing of the drums. Muchsin’s voice should not be overlooked, listen to his gentle wavering on the verses to “Semoga Bahagia” and then he soars on the choruses. I’m limited to google translating, but the conflict of desire comes through loud and clear.

-Thurston Hunger

PS : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVENdMtc3t8 Mr Ong interview

Dakim – "Youdecide" – [Leaving Records]

Thurston Hunger   9/23/2020   12-inch, A Library

Dirty pure swirl of vinyl and sound, green and purple growing and oozing from LA by way of Detroit and spilling all over the kitchen sync of so many samples. Oakland instincts in the sink too? There’s deep automotive bass lines, quick honks and a few karate cartoon chops a la MF Doom. All instro though, well kinda…. I mean on “shineversince” there’s this groggy voice muttering while an uplifting R&B clap-along sample gets phased. The track “rap” also has some minimal voice samples maximized, but Dakim does NOT get stuck on the sticky talkie stuff, and his attention spans crates upon crates of records. This was assembled in 2010 apparently by Dakim, waxed more recently and dedicated to Ras G (RIP July 2019) and it has that Oooooh Ras spirit (without the airhorn, but definitely some abrupt cuts). Anyways this is every bit an experimental record, drop it with your Christian Marclay art party and dance a little to “setside” and don’t fret the differences. “setside” really covers a lot of turf with a sorta sonic theme like kelp swaying in the ocean. Dakim does that well, maybe even adding some of his own keys on tracking, connecting dots on musical staphs that feel like a rough mix at first, but upon repeated listen they are just right. Notion : if Tom Waits wants to start his rap career, Dakim’s got him covered on the beats.

-Thurston Hunger

Hollander, Celia – "Recent Futures" – [Leaving Records]

Thurston Hunger   9/22/2020   12-inch, A Library

So Leaving Records gets a socially distant (350 miles) virtual slap on the socially distant back for being a pretty amazing and diverse label. Here we find Celia Hollander’s debut, Hollander an LA musician and erstwhile Dublab DJ. The lead off track uses a stringed sample for effleurage up and down your spine, short and sweet. More digital processing on the second piece with a hovering pulse, but then maybe she’s tapping on a piano keylid after awhile for percussion. Those manual beats question a twitchy drum machine and other tones. “Surround Sound Me” follows with a kind of gamelan waterfall, not gamelan per se but a soothing cascade of soft metal into a brief softer storm. The sound of ball bearings going to heaven? The piece that called me is “Big Talk/Small Talk” voice chat chopped so fine you cannot pull any words out, so it has the aura of Robert Ashley, but recalls Alessandro Bosetti’s talk-cussion or some art installation on the joy of information overload. I’m not a synaesthete, but this pushes those sort of buttons for me. This record exists in a space between drone and beats, which “Spared Time” illustrates very well. The concluding piece is my second favorite, elegance and elegy….simple piano wandering in between the magnetic fields. A stimulating release, I suspect there are detailed stories behind each pieces. A glistening electroacoustic listen.

-Thurston Hunger

Maximin, Bérangère – “Land of Waves” – [Karlrecords]

lexi glass   9/17/2020   12-inch, A Library

French sound artist Bérangère Maximin transforms an assortment of instruments – percussion, small objects, synths, guitar, and voice – into the Land of Waves on her sixth album. Over two LPs, we visit the imagined corners of this strange land, starting with its terrain: the underground drones and gemlike synths on “Day 41” (A1), idiophonic melodies emanating from deep caverns on “Kalimba Rough” (A2), the swarm of tremors on “The Broken Shoe” (A3). The B side sets out on a night time walk through an unusual wilderness, its sounds of glowing insects, wind-up birds, leaping fish, calls of owls and other unidentified creatures beaming through the darkness. “L’Echappee” (C1) begins at the edge of a dock before unmooring, drifting into a shadowy sidelong journey. The final D side holds some of the most exciting and varied tracks: “Walking Barefoot: Imaginary Quintet” (D1, a collaboration with Fred Frith on guitar and the Swibeckico Quartet on electronics) an eerily beautiful techno piece, “Des Tigres Multicolores” (D2) with its jeweled tones, purrs and growls, and closer “The Thread” (D3) where the most familiar of sounds, like a cell phone notification chime, are absorbed into Maximin’s dreamworld. More of her previous work can be found in our library, here and here.

De Sang Froid – "Vox Dei" – [Mannequin Records]

cinder   9/11/2020   12-inch, A Library

French minimal-industrial-electro tunes from A// aka Le Syndicat Electronique, French musician and performer. Minimal programmed synths sounds, rhythms and pulses with French vox and words. Cold, echoed and sharp. Issued on opaque raspberry vinyl!

Parisi, Alessandro – "Ascensione Progressiva" – [Medical Records]

cinder   9/11/2020   12-inch, A Library

Italiano producer, delivering some lush electro sounds. Has a soundtrack element to it, and veins of dark disco and electro-synth. Light airy female voices hover and suspend over the slower pounding beat, a perfect contrast. His bio includes: Influenced and enriched by mystical and esoteric experiences, has created a blend of retrofuture and dark-electro sound with references to past civilizations, harmonies and ancient sacred mysteries. You can definitely envision the UFO ideas this album projects.

Evicshen – “Hair Birth” – [American Dreams Records]

lexi glass   9/9/2020   12-inch, A Library

Evicshen is Victoria Shen, a sound artist working in Somerville, Mass. Shen began working with analog modular synths as an intern at Jessica Rylan’s Flower Electronics (Rylan’s work as Can’t most certainly can be found in our library), and later incorporated other homemade electronic instruments into her work. On Hair Birth, her first full-length LP, Shen extracts vivid psychedelic dreams from the Buchla 100 and Serge Modular synthesizers. Sustained tones, rhythmic sparks, blasts of coarse static, and bright electronic fizz all flow from the cables, and from the waves of synthesis her voice, distorted with effects, surfaces. Whirlwind tones and maniacal voices cast a dizzy spell “Funhouse Mirror Stage” (T4), and a creeping menace takes root on “Bolete” (T5). We’re flung along the twists and turns of the “Lissajous” (T6) before the final slow build to a “Fever Pitch” (T7). A wild ride, released on the Chicago experimental label American Dreams.

Toyota – “Toyota” – [Digital Regress]

mickeyslim   9/7/2020   12-inch, A Library

JD Power and Associates calls this San Franciscan project’s self-titled release the most monu-metal technological feat to date. Falling somewhere in-between Primus’ South Park theme song and the Revenge of the Nerds’ talent show performance, this nonsensical/mathy/punk-infused/wackiness is just what the witch doctor ordered.

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