KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Venetian Snares – ?The Chocolate Wheelchair Album? – [Planet Mu Records] – 33 rpm

Hunter Gatherer   10/4/2005   12-inch, A Library

Venetian Snares is Canadian producer Aaron Funk. Released in October 2003, this album was originally titled The Stupid Chocolate Wheelchair Album for some reason by Mr. Funk but cooler heads prevailed.

The music on this release is not at all like the music on the Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett that we added earlier this year. This is drill ‘n? bass glitch-core, with messed up beats that have been crumbled, fractured, rubbed in static and glued back on the vinyl using a combination sequencer/Uzi for your listening pleasure. This is angry, violent, frenetic, and somehow clean music that doesn’t make you want to smash things so much as take them apart carefully piece by piece.

Some highlights: A1 features a sample of X-Ray Spex Oh Bondage, Up Yours. A2 is a Motley Crue song that has been taken apart and put together with some pieces left over. B1 is named for a paper by Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen that predicted wormholes in space-time. C1 has a messed up Sesame Street theme song lift at the end. All tracks feel like they are jammed with an album’s worth of ideas.

–Hunter Gatherer

Look Records Sampler 2005 [coll] – [Look Records] – 33 rpm

Hunter Gatherer   10/4/2005   12-inch, Hip Hop

This is a sampler from the San Francisco-based Look Records offerings for 2005. It features three solid underground hip hop songs from three local artists: A.G. a.k.a. Andree the Giant, DJ Design, and Grip Grand.

A1 Take A Ride (A.G.) – Produced by Madlib. This track begins with a woman winning some Cincinnati marijuana then a fuzzy riff with some very funny laid back rhymes on top. For example, they rhyme Mexican with sex her friend. Isn’t that what it’s all about? 100bpm

A2 Get On The Floor (Design) – Produced by DJ Design. Energetic rap with pulsing electronics underneath in which the protagonist persistently (and rather ungallantly) asks a woman to get on the floor. Heavy breathing sounds. 112bpm

A3 But Anyway (Grip Grand) – Produced by Grip Grand. This one starts out with the same horn flare as Insane In The Membrane but then settles into its own groove. A second sample with soul singing (There’s one thing that ‘I’m sure of) is featured on the chorus. Fanfare ForThe Common Man by Aaron Copeland has yet to be sampled if I recall correctly, but that’s neither here nor there. 100bpm

It’s all clean! I think A3 is my favorite.

The B side contains instrumental versions of A1-A3.
–Hunter Gatherer

Murphy, Roisin – “Sequins ” – [Chrysalis Records Ltd.]

Hunter Gatherer   10/4/2005   12-inch, A Library

This is the first of three limited edition EPs (500 pressed) by Roisin Murphy (formerly of Moloko) co-written and co-produced by Matthew Herbert. Some members of his Big Band are helping out as well. All four songs on this EP can also be found on her latest LP Ruby Blue.

Ms. Murphy has a beautiful, soulful voice that is somewhere between sultry and nutty (both of which are extremely sexy especially when coming from a redhead). The backing music has looping electronics and loping brass, with discernable elements of Northern Soul, Tom Waits, electronica, and jazzy lounge.

The lyrics are about breaking up, bitter recriminations, and looking back on your former lover and wondering just what the hell you saw in that person. This makes the album just that much more accessible.

The more I played it the more I liked it. Cool.

–Hunter Gatherer

Live Human – “Elefish Jellyphant ” – [None]

Thurston Hunger   10/1/2005   12-inch, A Library

Well, if their earlier releases have not
already captivated you, the Charles Ives’
quote ought to convince you….this trio
with deck-wreckin’ able-turntabler DJ Quest
leading the search is quintessential KFJC!
Wax was made to melt, and Quest burns thru
Chinese opera, old-school rap, educational
and other odd records…adding his own freaky
tweaks and FX. He’s got such a quick ear,
and quicker hands…he locks on creates
fiery inspiration. Mathias and Kushin add
sturdy yet flexible support…Kushin’s bass
in particular branches out a little more on
this release…like Quest, I think they both
could scrach more than the surface. Hard to
complain after checking disc 2 here.

Wickham-Smith, Simon – “Giladji ” – [Giardia]

Thurston Hunger   10/1/2005   12-inch, A Library

Temporarily cleaved from Richard Youngs,
Simon Wickham-Smith delivers two side long
ice drones for ice harmonica. Overtone nodes
fringe and add depth to the subtle stillness…
tension not unlike Morricone’s remarkable
soundtrack to The Thing remake. Vary the pitch
as you see fit, faster RPM’s tend toward a
more coherent sound, played at the speed of
light – undoubtedly we’d hear the Aum tone of
the universe. Keep it slow, and you can
enjoy the microtonal multiverses.

Hamburger, Neil – “Left for Dead in Malaysia ” – [Drag City]

Thurston Hunger   10/1/2005   12-inch, Comedy

What separates some stand-up schmuck from
the superstars of comedy? With the latter
you get a small glimpse of the ironic dark
wells of pain obscured by the limelight
and the laughter. Here, if you listen
carefully through the zingers, you can hear
the confession of a tortured man in a bad
suit…well, almost if Neil would quit
milkin’ your funny bone. Sure there’s one
or two klunkers here, as Neil deals with
the minor travails of the travelling comic-
the irate then awol manager, the interrup-
tion of the bar jukebox, the fact that the
audience doesn’t speak a lick o’ English…
but in the end, the great ones triumph. And
when Neil says, “Am I through?” You pray to
HBO he isn’t? The silence would hurt too
much. Fuck dentists, I’m a Hamburger Helper!
-Thurston Hunger

Oneida / Plastic Crime [coll] – [Brah]

Thurston Hunger   9/22/2005   12-inch, A Library

Oneida (and this is the first imprint of Oneidan Fat Bobby’s
label) get a rustic rhythm going up and over the levee
with tub-thump drum and dangling banjos…on top of it a
drifty falsetto riding the rails of this railroad car rock.
About two thirds of the way, all the strings pile into
the caboose and cut loose from the insistent percussion.
Modern minstrel mode, but Bobby sends a synth pulsar in the
stead of the heavy beat, every bit as hypnagogic.

Chicago’s Plastic Crimewave Sound’s “End of Cloud” may be
mistitled. As this number to me sounds far more terrestial,
like a pounding, probing tunnel to the center of the earth.
Relentess dum-drum thwack attack and magma-coated guitar
sparking along the sides drive this deeper and deeper. At
some time, a sort of chanting is “unearthed” are we going
to reaquaint ourselves with the Residents Molemen? Are we
going to find an alternate university with members of Gong
forever youthful?’ Or are we going to hear some scattered
and slow-slurred poesy? Ah, ya peeked…

Mccombs, Cass – “Prefection ” – [Monitor]

mitch   9/16/2005   12-inch, A Library

Juggling fact and fiction via the arching use of
slowcore-inspired organ/keyboard/guitar textures
of repetition, CASS is back ??? good news for fans
who favor rough-edged yet pretty pop???.???Equinox???
opens things with a ringing guitar pattern/swelling
keyboards/syncopated bass notes, each given a
turn at carrying the melody???

???Of all the creatures in the wood /
one law is perfectly understood /
Deep in the heart of Fountainbleau /
The marriage of a whore and a Jew /
the bride???s true dowry black rocks??????

???Subtraction??? builds on a frenetic drum line & one-note
bass???.extra clean guitar work on ???Sacred Heart??? lights
dark lyrical corner with bright musical fa???ade???.???Cuckoo???
is a sulking slouch of perverse moodiness, grey with
foreboding?????????Tourist Woman??? finds MCCOMBS calling
the kettle black with ???.???Romantics are doomed / and
that???s a good thing???.??? Elusive, allusive, high concept
and obscurantist, CASS MCCOMBS (best on # 1, 2, 5,
6, + 9) continues to produce high-quality indie pop.
MITCH September 2005

Handsome Boy Modeling School – “So…How’s Your Girl ” – [Tommy Boy]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   12-inch, Hip Hop

Prince Paul (so you know it’s goofy) and Dan
Nakemura aka The Automator…so you know it’s
tight. The constructed sound-beds rule above
even the clever lyrics, the super-star cameos
(Paula Frazer of Tarnation briefly, El P from
CoFlow sizzles, Biz Markie fizzles, Guido
Sarducci offers the final benediction) the
funny samples (God Bless Chris Eliot and his
all too short-lived TV show). But aside from
good ol RuPaul ribaldry…the sample/turntable
work here is decked out to the nines. Especially
on the track where DJ Shadow drops his diamond
cufflink needle into the fray. Fun and
fashionable…try on the PJ’s first and then
mix and match and accessor-super-size.

Joos, Herbert – “Philosophy of the Flugelhorn ” – [Japo Records]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   12-inch, Jazz

Vienna Art Ensemble loony flugelbirdhornman
with an old lp where he does the one-man,
many-tracks overdub creation. Sustained
horn drift that all your Space-y Heads
dig…definite alien landscape jazz, but
with a friendliness. Lazy me, I wish I’d
written this review back when we added
this album and all the things I liked about
it were fresh in my mind. It’s solid european
jazz…more math/melody, plenty of adventure,
less aggression than US jazz which I also
dig. Respect to all multi-instrumentalists!
Lucid Joos

Schwermut Forest – “Sort of ” – [Kollaps]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   12-inch, A Library

German Engineering rock like clockwork.
The promise of the 7″ has been traded
in for pretty straight ahead rock here
w/ no subtitles. Cool horn flavorings
help keep the motors running, and at
times there’s a sense of ska riding on
the back of a Tortoise. Little tangly
guitar lines (no-wave echoes?’) and
crisp percussion keep this on ze Autobahn.
There’s not many detours into peculiar
places, it’s a sunshiny seatbelt drive.
I might’ve been hurt by high expectations,
your mileage may vary.

Bergheim 34 – “Sechstrack ” – [Klang Elektronik]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   12-inch, A Library

Beyond the ol’ 1-2 of techno and taught post-
rock Tortoisology come Bergheim 34 (actually
it’s the street address of their recording
space.) Germane German elektroniks sprouting
in some fresh directions : the wrist-decoder
vox of “take my soul”, an elongation of time
feel to “minor throne” & “new ground”, the
digital stompometer unveiled on “the spy who
dubbed me.” Solid circuit tekno roots include
pitch-wheel glides, the cowbell patch, and
everyone’s fave : the synth’d hand-claps. Add
a point for a Steely Dan ref.
Boot-gaze over glazed beats?

Gustafsson, Mats – “Education of Lars Jerry, the ” – [Xeric]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   12-inch, Jazz

Eight-legged solo album of “that can’t be
a sax” sounds. A baritone barrage of audio
amazement: rocket launcher pfoots, morse
code mouthings, tone scraping baboonery,
filtered yelps, foghorn flutter, scrawing
(don’t know what it means, but I heard it)
sustained train brake whistle…and on.
Cool valve-popping exploding percussive
sounds throughout. Always inventive and
engaging, recorded with more dark reverb
than a Pole LP (and lot’s of Swedish body
English on that horn). Rec’d in splendid
spider-fi!

Valvola – “Teenagers Film Their Own Life ” – [S.H.A.D.O.]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   12-inch, A Library

Italian slow-mo espionage psych. The synths
have a squishy bloopiness, that you just
can’t digitize. So quit trying…goddammit..
…and enjoy this. Lyrics sung(and swallowed)
in English over friendly, familiar melodies.
Bathed in lava lamp electronics, reversible
drums, reverbed guitars. Not a lot of frenzy
coming out of Firenze, this is a relaxorama.
“End/Exploring the City of Ghosts” clearly
stands out with some fine pan craziness.

Drake, Nick – “Tanworth-In-Arden 1967/68 ” – [Anthology]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   12-inch, Blues

A bootleg album of home-cassette recordings
that probably should never have been made,
but then Nick Drake probably should never
have left this earth so abruptly, so young
and by his own hand. So we’re dourly blessed
with these 18 sparse solo selections. (Well
“All My Trials” actually features his sister
gently chiming in with him) The warble of
the tape (even bleeding through faintly at
times) add to the haunting quality here. I
remain amazed at the gentle quality of Nick’s
voice masking such a troubled soul.

[coll] The New Music [RCA]

Hunter Gatherer   8/23/2005   12-inch, A Library

In 1967 the Rome Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Bruno Maderna, recorded four atonal, serial, and/or aleatory works. Ignore the Fresh-Air-esque middlebrow notes on the back of the record sleeve and just drop the fukkin’ needle.

The four pieces:

Kontra-Punkte (Stockhausen, 1952) – It sounds like music being built from the ground up. Tones are clustered into molecules of sound called a ‘group.’ Tone, length, timbre are set against each other to give a feeling of conflict and restlessness. (Name drop! ‘I’m friends with the nephew of Frederic Rzewski, who plays piano on this recording.)

Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima (Pendercki, 1960) – Originally called 8? 37″, this piece starts off like those annoying THX promos they play before a movie. But then you are softened up with a light pummeling by blocks of string sound. This gives way to a dreadful silence that gradually fills in with ashes and embers of sounds scraped from string instruments. One last whack with a sound block sends you on your way to side B.

Available Forms I (Brown, 1961) – This piece is partially composed by the conductor because he can pick from events on the score in any order. I think this piece is about a big amoeba that keeps eating instruments it can’t digest. Or maybe that’s a book I read to my kids.

Rimes pour differentes sources sonores (Pousseur, 1959) – This is my favorite one. Here we finally get some electronic sounds from our electronic pioneers. Natural sounds are fixed up with electronically processed sounds by a mutual friend and wind up taking a white noise shower together on their first date. The second section, more of a coda really, has two sextets with brass and woodwinds scraping up against each other until they both disappear.

–Hunter Gatherer

Boom Bap Project, The ?Rock The Spot? [Rhymesayers Entertainment] (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   7/24/2005   12-inch, Hip Hop

The Boom Bap Project are MCs Karim (a.k.a Nightclubberlang), Destro Destructo, and DJ Scene. From Seattle, they are part of the Oldominion crew. This 12″ single was released in anticipation of their latest full length entitled Reprogram.

Each side contains a 1-clean, 2-street, 3-instro, and 4-accapella version of a track.

Side A: In Rock The Spot, BBP want you to know (1) that they are here tonight to rock the spot and (2) that they are adept at their hip hop craft and (3) that they are from the Pacific Northwest. It’s energetic hip hop that pays tribute to its roots. Produced by Jake One.

Side B: Wyle Out brings in ringer Gift of Gab from Blackalicious. The beat lopes along, almost comically, punctuated with a hook from a brass section. Mr. Gab lets fly with a stunning barrage of words that somehow rhyme and fit together. I can’t listen as fast as he can rap, so I have no idea what the text means. Check out the acapella version (B4). Produced by Vitamin D. Impressive.

A2, A4, B2, B4 – language
–Hunter Gatherer

Hezekiah ?Soul Music? [Soulspazm] (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   7/24/2005   12-inch, Hip Hop

This is a 12″ hip-hop single by Hezekiah – not the 8th century B.C. king of Jerusalem who banned idol worship, but rather the 31 year old MC/DJ/producer who grew up in rural Delaware and now lives in south Philly. This single was released 3/15/2005 in anticipation of his debut full-length release titled Hurry Up And Wait.

A1: The first song, Soul Music, is just the thing. It features Eleon singing soulfully, almost mournfully, in a baritone that ‘everybody needs a little soul.’ The singing is contrasted nicely with Hezekiah‘s beats and rapping.

A2: Next up is a remix of the previous song by Phase One, making it much funkier with falsetto singing, references to Soul Power, call and response, and of course grunting.

A3: My Life is way over on the R&B side of the R&B-hip-hop continuum. Also featuring Eleon‘s soulful singing, it has the over all mood of yearning or searching. ‘You got questions/You need answers,? say the lyrics. It gets a little Star Search-y at times for my taste, but it’s definitely worth a spin or two.

B1, B2: Instro versions of A1 and A2. A2 has vocal samples, so don’t use it as a bed. Focus on the beats and enjoy.

B3: Bonus beats! Called Three Crates Of Porn, it grooves and grooves then stops very abruptly. Very nice.

All tracks are clean!
–Hunter Gatherer

Exile w/Slum Village ?Time Has Come? [Sound In Color] (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   7/24/2005   12-inch, Hip Hop

Released on 4/22/05, this is a 12″ hip-hop single by LA’s DJ Exile (1/2 of Emanon) and Detroit’s Slum Village. The 2nd song features Blu.

The first song, Time Has Come, has a nice R&B feel with a bouncy piano, hand claps, and a touch of who’s-that-lady guitar. The rap is a reminiscence of growing up poor (‘drinking cherry Kool-Aid from a mayonnaise jar?) and fatherless.

The second song, Soul Provider, is straight-ahead hip hop with a self-aggrandizement rap by fellow Sound In Color artist Blu. He compares himself to Dolemite and brags about the number of back seats (?) he has seen. I can’t figure out what the crazy sample in the background is – the Three Stooges going whoop whoop whoop? Muskrat Love? It’s a mystery.

Both tracks are clean! The B side is an instrumental version of the A side. Enjoy.
–Hunter Gatherer

Cold Heat: Heavy Funk Rarities 1968 – 1974, Volume 1 [coll] – [Now-Again Records] (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   7/24/2005   12-inch, Soul

All hail Egon (nee Eothen Alapatt) for compiling this collection of rare funk music from the late 60’s and early 70’s and putting it out through his offshoot of Stones Throw called Now-Again. This is the official follow up to The Funky 16 Corners collection (which we have in Soul/12″). He also put together the compilation Third Unheard – Connecticut Hip Hop ’79-’83 (which we have in Hip Hop/CD).

Sadly this double LP didn’t come with the 28-page booklet of liner notes promised on the web site. (I’ll steal one from Amoeba the next time I go there, since that’s where I got this copy.) For brief bios of the bands, you’ll have to go to http://www.stonesthrow.com/nowagain/artists.htm

The sound quality is excellent, which sets it apart from most other funk compilations. But more importantly, the tunes are all smokin’ and funky as you might expect. Check out in particular the mellow middle section of Free Your Mind by Amnesty (A2) and the cover of War‘s Slipping Into Darkness by the Dayton Sidewinders (B3), and the alternate extended jam take of Mr. Chicken by The Soul Seven (D1). Most of the tracks were recorded in that hotbed of Funk known as the Midwest (OH, IN, MI, NE, KY) and a few were recorded in AZ and TX. It’s always interesting to hear the different local sounds.

Judging from the rarity of these tracks, maybe we should send Egon to Iraq in search of WMDs.
–Hunter Gatherer

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