KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Sun Ra – “Media Dreams ” – [Art Yard]

Hunter Gatherer   4/23/2005   12-inch, Jazz

This is a live recording of Saturn native Sun Ra in Italy one January evening in 1978. He is playing with Michael Ray (trumpet), John Gilmore (tenor sax), and Luqman Ali (drums). Originally issued on Sun Ra’s Saturn label, this is a limited re-release by the UK Art Yard label.

The album opens with A1: Saturn Research, in which Sun Ra has his electric organ set on ‘stun? as he takes the audience through highly abstract patterns and cosmic greetings.

There are two long tracks that must be heard: A2 Constellation starts with the rhythm machine channeling Surfin’ Bird by The Trashmen as a trumpet, sax, and then organ rip through it. B1: Media Dreams goes from the sublime to the bizarre.

The last two tracks B2 and B3 sound downright conventional after listening to the tracks that come before it. Sun Ra is on an acoustic piano for these songs.

Thanks to Art Yard for reissuing this rare album that gives a glimpse of Sun Ra playing as part of a quartet. The mystery of why the Huygens probe photographed a mini-moog on Titan has been solved.

–Hunter Gatherer

Music of the Ashanti of Ghana [Ethnic Folkways]

outlier   4/21/2005   12-inch, International

Recorded in 1976 by Verna Gillis, 2 stellar percussion pieces, 5 perc w/ women’s voices and one outstanding guitar and perc song that brings the heart of Ghana to your ears. Historical relevance is obvious but the performances are timeless. All pieces are short and
have a lively sound that will uplift any accompanied selections. Rhythm is some high odd number over 4 with substantial butt-moving influence and the pieces carry emotion of a narrative of generations of people.
3w:African Heart Rhythm
– Outlier

Skygreen Leopards – Life & Love in Sparrows Meadow [Jagjaguwar]

outlier   4/21/2005   12-inch, A Library

Great granola pop of Donovan Quinn+Glenn Donaldson.
Distinctive jagjaguwar sound occasionally wandering into Barrett/Guild of Temporal Adventurers/Kendra Smith zone. Ranging from bright and upbeat to lush and contemplative, the songs breathe of simple but deep emotion like the clarity of childlike wisdom. Short, acoustic pieces with vocal duets offer temptations to intimately interpret these deceptively simple songs.
3w: Granola Folk/Psych Pop
-Outlier

Mouthus – Loam [Ecstatic Peace]

outlier   4/21/2005   12-inch, A Library

Simple structures of gtr, loops and drums reverberate and resonate into monstrous ultra-drone maelstroms. Guitar overtones with soft hum feedback, loops and Sleep-like drum phrase timing emit sonic turbulence that gives the feeling of your world shaking at the foundations. Like early Gate (Julian Dashper w/more feedback and space or maybe an angier, more articulate Thela). It could be a group fronted by Morley’s bastard son.
3w: Jaw Dropping Shit
– Outlier

Ahmed Abdul-Malik – The Music of [New Jazz]

outlier   4/21/2005   12-inch, Jazz

Conversational, sociable, ‘happy ending? jazz where all turns out as expected and all the dinner guests behave. What saves this from Blue Note boredom is the uniquely North African (Sudan) influence on the song structures. Andrew Cyrille on drums and Calo Scott on cello give a lively, upbeat accent to the Arabic and calypso tunes. Abdul-Malik also plays oud to further accent the international flavor of the album.
3w: happy ending jazz
-Outlier

Dredd Foole?A Long Lost Battle With Eloquence and Intimance [ecstatic yod](33rpm)

outlier   4/21/2005   12-inch, A Library

Soul searching songs of lost love, second-guessed lifestyle and reflections on mid-life memories in an acoustic guitar and voice setting. An honest and fallible sound that is both haunting and cleansing. If its been awhile since you’ve examined your life, sit back and let this troubador of emotional journeys relate his undefined, incomplete wisdom with you. It’s not about hitting the right notes, its about striking the right chord of emotions and
Dredd Foole does with unashamed, intimate openness. Strength comes from confronting weakness and here is a performer that is willing to do the heavy lifting for you, open up and live.
3w: Foole for love
– Outlier

Boris- ?dronevil? [Misanthropic Agenda]

outlier   4/21/2005   12-inch, A Library

Guitar-driven evil and dark, resonant drone are the two sides of Boris. The drone disc is a 21st century take on Tony Conrad’s minimalist works: 1 is a hollow, cavernous, reverberating, eternal gong vibration thing, 2 is dark, ringing siren sounds. The evil disc is an exercise in hypothermal headbanging; 1 is a Skullflower at 16rpm start, then a kind of ambient interlude finishing with a headbanger in full rage at 16rpm. 2 is a 4-note descending sequence drenched in feedback and hum. Like a hovering spacecraft beaming extra-sensory information directly to your central nervous system with sonic sorcery,
inducing a slow-motion whiplash of endorphine releasing motion.
3w: Hypothermal Hypnotic Headbanger
– Outlier

Gang Wizard – “Jeckyll Loves Hyde” (Ecstatic Peace)

outlier   4/10/2005   12-inch, A Library

Filthy, destroyed, early Sonic Youth influenced NY gtr sound. A tight unit that thrives on a bent rhythm playing off the higher frequency guitar attacks with momentum building convergence and space creating divergence. While they cast their shadow on the lo-fi, igno-rock sound, GW smartly explore percussive possibilities within the hard-driving outside rock sound. Clashing, driving, pounding structures ride the waves with an aggressive, instinctive posture that the ultra-meter drumming makes wholly fucked (in a good way !).
3w: Filthy Destroyed Frequencies
– Outlier

Morris, Butch – “Homeing” (Sound Aspects)

outlier   4/10/2005   12-inch, Jazz

Dense tapestry of orchestral sounds that displays wondrous collective cohesion in a multi-directional, multi-dimensional work. Improvised symphonic group exploration led by the master vision of Morris. Cacophony never results from the mass layering of sounds that rise from each wave. 12 musicians that sound like a full orchestra with musicianship that rivals any classical artists. Each movement flows into the next seamlessly, making the sonic voyage an inspiring flight over what would seem an exhausting path of musical destinations. Recorded live in Berlin 1987, this work is an undeniable masterpiece.
3w: STRAVINSKY WOULD DIG
– Outlier

Flow Dynamics — ?Live In The Nation? — [Invada Records] — (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   4/9/2005   12-inch, Hip Hop

This 12″ single contains two nearly perfect songs recorded by Australia’s Flow Dynamics. It’s almost as if someone hooked me up to electrodes and used bio-feedback to carefully calibrate a song to my musical taste (or lack thereof).

You could drop these tracks anywhere short of a nursing home and all available floor space will be filled with people dancing. In fact, I heard that they played this for the pope to confirm that he was dead.
Flow Dynamics is Dave McKinney, who gave up a promising career in marin biology to explore Brazilian drumming and co-found Rhibosome.

These tracks are blessed with a disco-funk beat from the 70’s, samples, flute, horn stabs, turntablism, big-sound production, and a singer named Sunny Amorganda who sounds just like James Brown.

They have a full-length coming out later in 2005 that I am looking forward to hearing.

–Hunter Gatherer

J.C. Davis — ?A New Day!? — [Cali-Tex] — (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   4/9/2005   12-inch, Soul

36 years ago, tenor sax player J.C. Davis and his band went into the Mus-I-Col Studio to record a few tracks. The results of this session have been re-mastered by Josh Davis (aka DJ Shadow, no relation) and released on his Cali-Tex Records.

J.C. Davis would be completely obscure except for the fact that he led James Brown’s Famous Flames for a few years. Four of the tracks on this album were released as 45s, which are highly sought after and can be had for a few hundred dollars. Only 1,500 of these were pressed, so this album will become a rarity as well ‘I’m sure.

The music is not as funky or outrageous as one might expect from someone who led James Brown‘s band. There’s plenty of funk and ‘I’m sure we’ll be hearing the breakbeats from these tracks on future recordings that we add. The band sounds relaxed and disciplined at the same time. (Maybe they are relieved that they aren’t going to get fined for coming in late or missing a note, like JB used to do.) Shelly, notable for its unselfconscious singing, and A New Day (is Here at Last) are the slowest tracks.

The recording quality is amazing. I wouldn’t have known that this was recorded 36 years ago unless it said it on the back of the album. The drums sound fat and Mr. Davis‘s sax in particular sounds full.

–Hunter Gatherer

Time Machine — ?Grime Machine? — [Glow-in-the-Dark] — (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   4/9/2005   12-inch, Hip Hop

Released in 2/2005 on their own label, Glow In The Dark Records, this is Time Machine‘s latest offering. It is comprised of three songs in various forms. Time Machine is DJ Mekalek, Jaysonic, and Comel. They work closely with producer Stoerok. Based in LA now, they formed in Washington DC and lived a while in Rhode Island.

The three songs have a different sound:

A1: Mind In A Spin (clean) – Heaviest of the three about how the streets are a particularly unpleasant place to be. Features a cool sample of How Can You by Third World, which gives this track a reggae feel.

A2: Caught On Tape (clean) – A cautionary rap warning us that there are cameras about. Various people famous for being on tape like Tommy and Pamela, Paris Hilton, etc. are name checked. The ‘808? referred to is a police code for disturbance of the peace, not the Roland TR-808 synthesizer.

A3: Matter Transporter (clean) – A playful rap about how cool it would be to have a matter transporter so that they could beam themselves to their next show rather than having to drive by van. Moving is very stressful and it appears that the trauma of moving from DC to RI to LA has left a mark on their psyches. This track wouldn’t sound out of place on De La Soul‘s 3 Feet High and Rising.

The other tracks are dirty, instrumental, or a capella versions of one the tracks above.

Also check out the cool cover by LA artist D.W. Frydendall. Let’s get him to do an artist T-shirt.

N.B.: After track A4 there is a :12 snippet of another song before the A side runs out. Don’t let this trip you up during your back announce.

–Hunter Gatherer

Volga Select “The Unconditional Discipline of the Bastard Prince” [Output Recordings]

Thurston Hunger   4/7/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

Parisian pair Ivan Smagghe and Marc Collin hook up for this
2003 top notch tour de fanny. Heavy thudliness reclaims the
dance floor, the bottom line is the bottom end. You can set
your oil derrick to the pound of the title track; discipline
indeed the beat never strays, never breaks. There’s a nice
fuzzy morse code squiggle rhythm on top as well, it closes
out the piece too. Additional bubbles of analoguery get
dropped in here and there, Things really lock in step with
“Sister Poverty.” Superfat synth oozes on top of jackbooty
basslines, with those searchlight pitchwheelin’ and dealin’
keys whirping in on top. Drum-machine gets in some solid
face slapping as well. But it’s the gladiator chords that
give “Sister” her blister. The EP closes with “Joie de
Vivre #1” which feels more like foreplay than aftermath,
a little more motorized movement to this piece (instead of
the megathick marching on the first two). Slippery servo
snippets and a sort moebius soundstrip make this piece
less dancey, but dodgey…in a good, evasive way.

Lekan Animashaun — ?Low Profile (Not For The Blacks)? — [Honest Jons] — (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   3/20/2005   12-inch, International

This is classic Nigerian Afrobeat music by baritone sax player and then leader of Fela Kuti’s Africa 70, Lekan Animashaun. Originally recorded in 1979, this LP was re-released by Honest Jons Records in 2004. Copies of the original album are exceedingly rare because harassment from the Nigerian government delayed its release and when it was finally released it wasn’t promoted very well.

The release contains two songs about 11 minutes long, one on each side. Both tracks settle into a groove with scads of horns, scads of percussion, bass, guitar, and organ. Different instruments step forward to add their thoughts and then recede back into the music. Then some lyrics are shouted by men and answered by a female chorus. Rinse and repeat.

The lyrics are translated into pidgin English, which is to say enough English to get the point across.

The first song Low Profile (Not For The Blacks) is a reference to a statement by General Obasanjo. Commenting on a rise in robberies by armed bandits, he helpfully suggested that people keep a low profile.

Se rere is an exhortation to be good and act right, similar to what Dr. Laura does at the end of her show each day.

Three word review: Nigerian Soul Stew

–Hunter Gatherer

[coll] ?The Sound Of Philadelphia? — [Soul Jazz Records] — (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   3/20/2005   12-inch, Soul

Soul Jazz Records has put together an awesome 20-track set of songs from the mid-60s to the mid-70s when funk and soul recordings made in Philadelphia dominated the charts and airwaves. (This is actually part two of a series started with their Philadelphia Roots compilation, which we have in the Soul collections on CD.)

This Philly compilation differs from most in that it reaches beyond the obvious Gamble and Huff hits (though they are certainly present here) and includes more obscure tracks, especially ones featuring the session musicians that made the Philly Sound possible. They are listed in the liner notes, but since they only got union fees for their playing I will list them here as well: Ronnie Baker (bass), Norman Harris (guitar), Earl Young (drums), Karl and Roland Chambers (drums, guitar), Vince Montana (vibes), Bobby Eli (guitar).

Though one or more of these musicians are on almost every track, in particular check out A3, B3 (The Family is actually MSFB), and B4.

The music is varied and not laid out in a neat stylistic order, so you will have to bounce around to find a track that works for you. There is straight ahead soul by uber-foxes The Three Degrees and Frankie Beverly. There are proto-disco tracks like 100 South Of Broadway and Hot Pants. There’s some party R&B by Ruby & the Party Gang. There’s soul with fuzz guitar by Yellow Sunshine. All tracks are worthwhile, just bounce around and you’ll find something you like.

There is a little bit of confusion around two of the tracks by The Three Degrees: D5 is the instrumental version of B2. They both appeared together on a 7″ on Neptune Records. The A side (with vocals, B2 on this collection) is called What I See and the B side (instro, D5 on this collection) is called Reflections Of Yesterday. A minor point sure, but one that must be cleared up.

Instrumentals: A5, B3, B4, C1, D2, D3, D5

–Hunter Gatherer

[coll] The Music People [Soul Patrol]

Hunter Gatherer   3/13/2005   12-inch, Soul

This album is a collection of 12 deep funk tracks from the late 60’s and early 70’s. Released by the ‘Soul Patrol Corporation? in May 1998, these tracks are as infectious as they are rare. The original 45s for all these songs are regularly auctioned on rare record sites for more than $100.

Of course rarity is not a guarantee of quality, but I love every single track on this album. The obscure labels represented here are from a variety of areas like Indianapolis (A5), Milwaukee (A6), Texas (A4 and B4), and L.A. (B5), so it’s a great way to sample local funk sounds from around the country.

I wrote the track times and original labels for the 45s on the back. (Hey, I have to do something to earn the two hours.) Some corrections/additional information to the track listing on the back:

B1: Features Ural Thomas

B3: I also saw the artist listed as Eddie Bo with James K Nine

B5: The correct name of the song is I Who Have Nothing (Am Somebody)

B6: The artist is listed as Bob French’s Storyville Jazz Band on the original 45.

Instrumentals: A1, A3, A4, A5 (with spoken intro and outro), B3, B4 (with spoken intro),

Misogyny alert: A2 (If you don’t get in that kitchen/’I’m going to break your jaw/’cause ‘I’m hungry)
–Hunter Gatherer

Grayskul — “Prom Quiz” — [Rhymesayers Entertainment]

Hunter Gatherer   3/13/2005   12-inch, Hip Hop

Grayskul is three gentlemen from the Pacific Northwest: MCs Onry Ozzborn and JFK of the hip-hop collective Oldominion and Rob Castro on bass. (They also have the alter egos Reason, Fiddle Back Recluse, and Phantom Ghost El-Topo, respectively.) Produced by Mr. Hill and Fakts One.

This release is a 12″ single promo for their 1st album Deadlivers, which was released 2/15/05. Rhymesayers is the same label that brings us MF Doom and Mr. Dibbs, both recently added to the KFJC library.

The music is doomy (goth?) hip-hop with clever rhymes that go great with the heavy beats and that point out (in case you hadn’t noticed) that the world is fucked.

Three songs on this 12″ single:

Prom Quiz (radio/dirty/instrumental versions) A ‘morality rap? about the pressures that young women face in today’s culture. Sympathetic or misogynistic? You decide. Catchy sample of a whistle or something.

Cursive (radio/instro versions) Features Mr. Lif helping out with some raps about how their raps are hard to understand like cursive. There is a sped up sample, so don’t be confused. 33rpm is the right speed.

Thee Adventures (clean) Bonus track not on Deadlivers with a catchy piano sample riff.
–Hunter Gatherer

Simon, Joe – “The Power of Joe Simon” – [Spring Records]

Hunter Gatherer   3/13/2005   12-inch, Soul

Country soul baritone Joe Simon is a powerful man with a powerful voice. The Power Of Joe Simon, released in 1973, is a collection of 10 of the singles that he recorded with Spring Records.

Working with a variety of producers and wearing his special purple pants and multicolored vest, Mr. Simon sings tales of love lost and found. This is deep soul, but country influences are also always present, though stronger on some tracks than others (esp on the last two tracks).

Many of these songs will be familiar, the biggest hit on here is Gamble and Huff‘s Drowning In the Sea Of Love (R&B #3), which pops up on most Philly Soul compilations. Step by Step was a hit in the UK.

Read the text on the back of the cover for an example of some crazy slang and some ideas for back announcing.
–Hunter Gatherer

Sun City Girls “Fresh Kill of a Cape Hunting Dog/ Def in Italy” [Eclipse]

outlier   3/12/2005   12-inch, A Library

1983-85 recordings that reinstall SCG as the grand shamen of anti-pop. 1st LP is a studio release with all the markings of SCG brilliance; a tale of cop corpse desecration, a stunning sound piece, snake-charmer guitar magic, cutup madness, mid-eastern weirdness, destroyed guitar blast and recoil…’I Told You So’ and ‘Nile Hilton Burning’ are destined KFJC classics. 2nd LP is live recordings of 1984 tour including an SF show. If I was Byron Coley I would drop in something about a cherry enema right about here.
3w: DON’T FUCK WITH
– Outlier

UNSANE “Occupational Hazard” [Relapse Records}

jack soil   3/6/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

12 inches, 13 tracks of unpure, untainted, unsane sounds.

This record kicks much ass. The vinyl is 1 out of 1000. It is a much louder,
harsher, “quicker” (maybe even more mature) sounding release than their last
effort, Scattered, Smothered & Covered (out on Amphetamine Reptile, 1995).

The NYC trio is celebrating their ten-year anniversary with an unrelenting release
out on Relapse Records. Unsane consistently delivers the goods on every track; you
won’t be disappointed. Chris Spencer’s aggressive vocals are nearly indistinguishable,
but if you’re into Unsane, this to be expected. Don’t let the lack of hemoglobin on the
cover steer you wrong. If blood covered record covers were the litmus test for an
Unsane record, Unsane should have filled the Hudson river with blood for the photo
on this monster. Track 13 appropriately leaves you wanting more; abruptly ending
in a rising wall of noise. This record will punish you and your listeners, and everyone
will be happy about it. Driving sounds, crushingly inventive rhythms. Unsane.

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