KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Soil Bleeds Black, the – “Mirror of the Middle Ages ” – [The Fossil Dungeon]

Max Level   1/2/2006   12-inch, A Library

Self-described Medieval Music. Dead serious. TSBB’s sound is built of flutes, pipes, vocals, hand drums, guitars, dulcimers and a touch of organ. The material –some of it composed recently, some of it from the last couple of centuries, some of it profoundly ancient– draws from a deep well of pagan, sacred, occult, and folktale sources. They’re all here: peasants, high priests, alchemists, and storytellers. A dismal arrangement of “Ring Around The Rosey” confirms its origins as a child’s rhyme from the time of The Plague. Just the thing for your Saturday night/ Sunday morning Black Church gathering.

Nao Wave Revisited [coll] – [Man Recordings] – (45 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   12/30/2005   12-inch, International

This is a follow up to the excellent Nao Wave: Brazilian Post Punk 1982-1988 collection that we added to the library earlier this year (A/CD). It is also released by Germany’s Man Recordings.

On this EP four tracks from the Nao Wave compilation are remixed and reworked by four European electronic artists: The Glimmers (Belgium), Munk (German), Tim ‘Love? Lee (England), and Marco (German).

The artists take what they want from these songs, editing them with an eye on the dance floor. The resulting sound is familiar and strange, retro and futuristic at the same time. Thanks to Man for finding these recordings and showing that they are still relevant.

–Hunter Gatherer

Antennas Erupt – “Magical Energy ” – [S-S Records]

Max Level   12/28/2005   12-inch, Jazz

Crazy skronkadelic material from this Sacramento quartet with an unusual sax/sax/cello/drums lineup. Even though the music is completely wacky –imagine a circus parade led by a rainbow-colored clown jalopy towing a dumpster full of sax-playing chimpanzees– it’s easy to hear what good players these guys are; they’re as comfortable with the tightly arranged sections as they are with the freaky free jazz parts. While the saxes dominate, the cello pops up now and then to remind us it’s there. I like the drummer a lot, he’s loose but kicks plenty of butt. Tracks are mostly in the 4 to 6 minute range. The final track (B3) is 11 minutes long, including a silly sax line repeated for 3 or 4 minutes at the end, and afterward there’s about a minute of silence before the run-out groove. I read on the label’s website that this group broke up in late 2004. If so, this limited (500 copies) edition LP is a fine way to go out. Glad we got one.

Leprechaun Catering – Kumquats and Lychees – [Heresee & Ehse] – (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   12/28/2005   12-inch, A Library

Baltimore’s Leprechaun Catering is comprised of Jason Willett, Tom Boram and a shitload of electronic devices. And they live together! Just like The Monkees! This album was released in early 2004. Only 300 were made, but we managed to get one.

The album starts out with a semi-normal funky guitar rhythm. A synth joins in, and before long everything is dismantled. Electrons are ripped from their atoms like wings from a fly. The nuclei that remain are pulverized into quarks. Inside the quarks are multidimensional vibrating superstrings. The question becomes How does one mic subatomic particles?

The music is cacophonous in a humorous, good way. Synthesized sounds and samples are looped and set against each other. Then the whole thing is left alone to work itself out. It’s the electronic music version of intelligent design. If the music thing doesn’t work out, these guys could make a fortune selling cell phone ring tones.

Inside the album is a lyrics sheet, even though there is no language on this (except for a few words at the end of the Kumquat side). Feel free to declaim the lyrics in a loud voice as you play this, but make sure the microphone is off.

Scientists believe that in approximately 20,000 years humans will have evolved the ability to understand and appreciate this music. It will be several tens of millennia more before humans have the physical capability of dancing to it.

–Hunter Gatherer

Brunn, Benjamin – Music Under Pin – [Bine Music] – (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   12/28/2005   12-inch, A Library

Released in June 2005 by prolific electronic musician and trained civil engineer Benjamin Brunn, this is one of at least three releases from him this year. The album has 4 new tracks on side A and on the other side 4 tracks from his previous album Konig und Drache remixed by friends and labelmates Move D, Scanner, Thomas Touzimsky, and Wendt.

Mr. Brunn is definitely of the ‘less is more? school of music. The songs slowly build by adding electronic squiggles and beats that fill in various frequency ranges. It sounds deceptively simple. A little glitchy and not very dancy, the music is sort of like being bathed in warm radiation that raises your cognitive abilities as well as leaves you with a nice tan.

The remixes on side B are busier than the tracks on side A but retain the warm feel. Tarmac gets a nice groove going. Cool Ist Hier is my favorite track because of its shimmering beauty.

This is our first Binemusic addition to the library. I hope that we can add more soon.

–Hunter Gatherer

Theus, Fats – Black Out – [CTI Records] – (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   12/28/2005   12-inch, Jazz

This is the first release by tenor sax player Fats Theus. Originally released in 1970 on Creed Taylor‘s CTI label, this album was quite hard to find until it was re-released in 2000. Mr. Taylor also produced this album.

Session players include Grant Green, who plays some excellent guitar, Hilton Felton and Clarence Palmer on organ, Jimmy Lewis and Chuck Rainey on bass, Idris Muhammad on drums, and Eddie Moore, who plays a saw solo(!) on Bed Of Nails.

This album is all about soul-jazz. It’s heavily blues and soul influenced. If Booker T and the M.G.s went to jazz camp every summer in their youth, this is what they might have come up with.

The various players have opted for a smooth and mellow sound rather than cutting loose. The over all feeling is restrained and even respectful, sort of like music played when a talk show breaks for commercial. I found myself wishing that they would throw down at least a little.

All instrumental.

–Hunter Gatherer

Bey, Faruq Z. W/Northwoods – “Rwanda ” – [Qbico]

Max Level   12/28/2005   12-inch, Jazz

Gorgeous, earthy, unhurried Mother Africa jazz here, deep and dark, mysterious yet reassuring. Sax/flute master Bey leads a superb group of like-minded story-tellers; together they bring forth a kind of ancient knowledge I can’t begin to understand. Long journeys unfold before us? our guides are bass, drums, saxes, flutes, bass clarinet, and vibraphone/marimba. Along the way we meet shenhai, zola phone, and bone guitar. Night comes in and spirits visit and we are at peace.

Rogers, Lee – Sock Some Love Power To Me – [Soul-Tay-Shus Recordings] – (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   12/27/2005   12-inch, Soul

Lee Rogers (1939-1990) is a soul singer from Detroit who never strayed far from his gospel roots. (Don’t confuse him with KSFO morning man Lee Rodgers.) Soul-Tay-Shus Records (part of Tuff City Records) has re-released 14 of his tracks that were originally released on 45s.

The majority of his career is covered in this compilation. The earliest tracks ’64-’66 were released on D-Town records. Later releases (’66-’69) came out on Wheelsville and Premium Stuff. On the back of this release I indicated the labels, date, and which side the track was on as best I could find out.

Proud of his roots as a gospel singer, Mr. Rogers said in an interview that the only difference between the singing he did in church and the singing he does on his records is that he wears a more expensive suit when he sings on his records.

These songs have a much rougher production than the tracks of a certain other Detroit-based label, and the sound is much more authentic as a result. On some of the D-Town singles, the instrumentals were recorded ahead of time and when Mr. Rogers would come in from touring he would record the vocal tracks separately. The instrumental track would be played over the loud speakers (no headphones in Detroit?), which would bleed through the mic as he sang. It gives these tracks a muddy sound, particularly noticeable at the end of You’re the Cream of the Crop (A4). These tracks clearly weren’t recorded with posterity in mind.

The highest charting single here is I Want You To Have Everything, which hit #16 in Jan ’65 on the R&B chart. This is the slickest track on the album. I prefer the more raw sounding Love For A Love (A3) and How Are You Fixed For Love (B1) and in particular the horns on ‘I’m A Practical Guy (A1). All tracks are short; the longest one is 3:02.

–Hunter Gatherer

Harris, Eddie – “Electrifying Eddie Harris, the ” – [4 Men with Beards]

Max Level   12/25/2005   12-inch, Jazz

Tenor saxman Harris (1934-1996) and his classic 1966 Atlantic instrumental date, reissued in 2001 by 4 Men With Beards/Rhino. “Electrifying” refers to his pioneering use of electronic devices to enhance the sound of his instrument. But the enhancement is fairly subtle by today’s standards; just a thickening of the tone, no wah wahs and crap like that. That came later. Here the band is funky, in that familiar ’60s soul/jazz/groove/cowbell-boppin’ way, on “Sham Time” and the hit “Listen Here”. The two “Theme” tracks are slow and pretty. “Spanish Bull” is a stab at Coltrane’s new modalism. Harris produced a handful of popular things in about a 10-year stretch and didn’t do a whole lot afterward. So what? This record is cool and it’s good to have it back.

Earthmonkey – “Audiosapien ” – [Beta-Lactam Ring Records]

Max Level   12/25/2005   12-inch, A Library

Deep, trippy excursions from Nurse With Wound alumnus Peat Bog. As Earthmonkey, he brings forth long, semi-droning, meticulously-assembled sound constructions. Intriguing textures are combined, phased, echoed, and looped; musical patterns repeat hypnotically; an occasional jazzy sax or wah wah guitar drops in. Also in the mix are children’s voices, backwards stuff, Middle Eastern hand percussion, harmonica, drum machine, throat singers, a million mysterious sonic fragments of who knows what… Assisting with this magnificent madness is NWW colleague Steven Stapleton, and possibly a few other folks as well. Among the tracks are 14 and 18 minute pieces.

Waldteufel – “Heimliches Deutschland “

Max Level   12/24/2005   12-inch, A Library

Strangely beautiful and beautifully strange. Markus Wolff (drums, vocals, lyrics) and Annabel Lee (violin and accordion) perform songs and recitations, all in German, based on Northern European myths and sagas from centuries past. Well, I read an article that says that’s what the songs are about anyway. Accompanying Wolff’s vocals are simple percussion, rough-edged violin, far-off horn blurts, and the like. Guests add percussion, flute, various sounds, etc. Quite an exotic listening experience, evoking singers and storytellers gathered around a fire, in a clearing in a deep dark forest, about 500 years ago, telling tales of great battles and the like; however, it was recorded in Portland OR in 1999-2000. So a nice job of transporting the listener.

Six Eye Columbia – “Frowny Frown ” – [Douche Bagophon]

Max Level   12/24/2005   12-inch, A Library

Creative and very well done cover versions. SEC is an SF quintet, evidently around since 1997 but this is my first exposure to them. Make no mistake, they can write and play their own “rock” material just fine, but this LP has a different agenda: it’s chock full of completely bent arrangements of songs by The Stranglers, Motorhead, Guided By Voices, Roxy Music, Hall & Oates, and a few others. Track 1 is a simple distorto-rocker similar to Coachwhips. Track 2 is an acoustic hoedown take on a speed-metal classic. Track 3 is a fairly straight reading of a Portishead song. Track 14 is an angelic acappella doo-wop version of a Descendents tune. High points for me: Track 7 applies the junkyard sound of Swordfishtrombones to a Black Flag number, Track 8 (written by Dr. Seuss!) is torture chamber sludge, and Track 12 is an amazing marriage of Roxy’s “Casanova” with Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”. Don’t miss this record. Every track a winner!

Qbico U-Nite, New York [coll] – [Qbico]

Max Level   12/23/2005   12-inch, Jazz

Free jazz, soundscapes, and various combinations of the two, recorded live at NYC’s Tonic in early 2004. Steve Dalachinsky kicks Side A off with a short excerpt from one of his twisted poems, followed by a long free jazz excursion from drummer Andrew Barker and hornmen Charles Waters and Daniel Carter. On Side B, clarinetist Perry Robinson and bassist Shanir Blumenkranz join the previous three for some lively dialogs. The soundscape elements arrive on Sides C and D, with the inscrutable Arthur Doyle performing both solo (on sax, recorder, and vocals) and with his Electro-Acoustic Ensemble (adding drums, bass, electronics, synth, and turntables), bringing us his distinctive outer space brand of jazz tribalism. Many fine moments. A most enjoyable record.

Submission Hold – “What Holds the Elephant Back ” – [G7 Welcoming Committee]

Max Level   12/23/2005   12-inch, A Library

Appalled by a world gone mad, this Vancouver BC band lashes out in all directions, reminding us how far out of control we humans are. Religious/political oppression, media brainwash, enviro-destruction, sexual inequality, etc., why do we allow them to continue? This band has something to say, and I like the way they say it with lyrics that are just abstract enough to let us interpret them more than one way. Vocalist Jen sings in a tender, resigned voice, then screams at us to see the madness and help stop it. Sounds to me like at least some of the lyrics may have existed before being set to music; the rhythm of the words sometimes clashes with the musical flow as though the words are being forced to live there. Appropriate conflict results. The band shifts gears constantly, churning out slow, heavy grind, uptempo ska-beat, high-energy thrash? Many classify them as a punk band but musically SubHold are well beyond that. They are, however, idealistic, strong-willed, pissed off, and 100% sincere, as are the best punk bands.

Funkstorung – “Return to the Acid Planet ” – [K7]

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

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the existence of such a thing as Funkst’rung, they have released a double vinyl album containing 12 tracks some time in June 2005. Funkst’rung is a duo consisting of Michael Fakesch and Chris De Luca of Munich who create experimental electronic music. One interesting note about this album: it will only be released on vinyl and iTunes – no CD release.

The inspiration for this album came when they found some old tapes and vinyl around the time of their first releases in 1995 on the Acid Planet label. Without the original equipment to work with, they just ripped it to their hard drive and worked with the material that way.

The result is some great techno with bass synthesizers and acidy sounds that totally grooves and is mixed with a lot of wit and humor. Enjoy the familiar sounds of the Roland TB-303 and TR-808.

Particular favorites are Punk Motherfucker (watch the video on their web site) and Wearing Old Armani, which is undoubtedly a reference to Robert Armani, not the suit guy). AP1105 puts one in the mind of Venetian Snares. The Commodore C128D gets a name check.

By the way, the C-128D reference is an elaborate joke that might take too long to explain in a break: The Commodore C128D was banned because it caused too much RF interference. And interference in German is funkst’rung. And it also happens to be the first computer Mr. Fakesch used.

You don’t listen to this music so much as compute its Fourier transform.

–Hunter Gatherer

Nautical Almanac – “Cover the Earth ” – [Heresee]

Thurston Hunger   11/11/2005   12-inch, A Library

Power triad of Baltimor-phiends delivers harrowing sonic
hallucinations. On the hands-side, I could have sworn I saw a
gorilla come in and beat up a couple of kids playing a video
racing game. Then someone tripped a shimmer alarm which caused
the peeling of skin from Lurch (of the Adams’ Family fame).
Actually all of that happened in the space of “Megacorps”/
“Leviathon” which track together. “Try It 2wice” has all hands
on percussion decks and a goofball cartoon violin punchline in
the mix. That violin gets the last eternal laugh via a
seamless locked groove!! On the flip side, “Rolling in the
Green” has a rubber-band porch-fi-fried feel while Carly
Ptak’s voice serenades in stacks. Almost song!?! Summarizing
these sounds is tough in text, but you can sure smell the art
oozing off this black vinyl. I guess on this release I could
say there is a loose feel of intercepted transmissions crashing
with primitive noise attacks. Tastes like surveillance at times.
Also they are not afraid to deploy SHRILL power. On the other
end of frequencies, “Twenty Twenty” escapes too quickly as it
implants a killer furrowing dub. The record ends with a
“Clump Clump” clutzy New Year’s Eve parade.

Pelican / Mono Split [coll] – [Temporary Residence Ltd.]

Thurston Hunger   11/11/2005   12-inch, A Library

Battle of the behemoths, and the winner is….James Plotkin.
He zaps in with a remix of “Angel Tears” going well beyond
glitch into *splotch*. It’s still got Pelican’s anchor of
bloodied bass and battered drums, but before we get the
chrome choruses of recognizable guitar, we traipse through
a nice minefield of minced meatiness. Plotkin leaves it
alone for a few bars of lurch and torch, but some speaker
squelch starts to re-infect it, and then he starts picking
at the whole scab leaving whorling chunks and a crisp cold
end. Pelican’s “Rain Amber” starts with an escher staircase
of organ, and moody bassy piano with (intentional?) ripples
of psuedo-vinyl warp…then come the burnished guitars and
cymbal shining drums and a comfortable anthemic march.
Japan’s Mono fires up the ol’ wind-tunnel dynamics machine
better than any non Black Emperor’s going. They stoke it
with hyper-arpeggio guitars with tight galactic reverb…
….ahhhhhh. The piece has a near-death experience about
half-way through, you can see the life-line in the vinyl,
but then guitarists Takaakira Goto and Yoda soon clamp
jumper-cables to your auditory nerves. Mono definitely
delivers an invisible soundtrack beckoning a film to be
made…nice work from all camps.

Jahcoozi – “Black Barbie ” – [Kitty Yo]

Thurston Hunger   10/23/2005   12-inch, A Library

Man this is THUMPING music, maximus. Bound to provoke
involuntary muscle twitch, with an aroma of aphrodesia,
and occasional laughgasms. Something about this is just as
funny as it is sexy…and well super stupid. It’s not just
the work of vocal lolita Sasha Perera. The bass lines are
wide for the ride, the drum machines get giddy (especially
on “Tourist Guide”) On “Black Barbie” there’s this great war
whooping along with popping bubbles of champagne carbonated
with cartoon bullets bouncing around. The photo of this fine
picture disc is worth 1000 words and a couple of grams out
in the alley. This thing reaks of a party, that musty sweat
and stale beer scent, along with a general dizziness. In the
haze, you almost think you hear Santana getting copped on
the second version of “Black Barbie.” Look out towards the
end of that track (A2) it boops over to blooperville including
a fun and big ol’ “FUCK” that launches into a rapid fire set
of rhymes that takes the faux studio audience on a roller
coaster. Even more risky, if you play this at 33 instead of
45 RPM, you’re going to give Sasha a sexchange.

Bishop, Alan (Alvarius B) – “Blood Operatives of the Barium ” – [Abduction]

Thurston Hunger   10/15/2005   12-inch, A Library

The best bluesmen, they always had flies on their tongues,
and the best drinkers, well they swallowed the blood of their
young…childish gods among men. They spoke in riddles, and
choked metaphors in their beds till they lost their heads and
wound up like synecdoches running around like all hands on
deck. Alavarius B might be Alan Bishop of the Sun City Girls,
he also might be the cloaked figure prying open your bedroom
window to slip in beside your dreams…astride the corpses
there piling up like the murder ballads Johnny Cash is singing
in heaven before being resurrected as the very acoustic guitar
now crumbling in the hands of Alavarius B. Aurora ourorboro
Alice could have done so well to have fallen through a hole
into this wonderland of song and strummage. One foot in
courage, one foot in confrontation. Heads are gonna rock and
heads are gonna roll here. There are some bad words, there
are some worse people…they all show up here to look at you
in the mirror. This is Herman Melville’s favorite album,
and mine too right now.

Moncur Grachan III _”Aco Dei De Madrugada” [BYG Records (in collaboration with) Get Back] (33 rpm)

scrub   10/13/2005   12-inch, Jazz

(Out of sight) Jazz Lp
‘One morning I waked up very early[?]?
The architecture of the compositions feel cosmological, as if it were an ancient worldview, and as if in a place like hawaii where you can see the sun rise so much earlier, the title which translates as I quoted (and is on the cover), and which the adjacent front cover picture expresses quite well, that it seems the music was made, as the sun refreshes the sleep deprived when they are at their most fatigued, earlier than ever waking up for, and later than stay awake for, which seems to bind into certainly the motif of the starter track, also the title track, but also in the variations of that motif, in each following track. Of course the album is not as saddingly catchy as that first motif, and real as it is, with that folk, being old kind of sadness, that dependency in a melody, the sort of plaintive whistle of overwork and depressing relationships, the rest of the album is really great, phase developing, jazz. The piano, by Fernando Martins, who recorded this year, 05, under the Fernando Martins Trio, a self titled work, released on the DeLira Musica label based in Brasil (http://www.deliramusica.com/ , goto catalogo, which is the catalog of their releases simply enough, which is alphabetical, by first name of the band leader, which has two poor quality samples), has quite a Matthew Shipp “Pastoral Composure” (Matthew Shipp Trio, ’00, Thirsty Ear release), first impression (especially Ponte lo), but certainly the intent behind the repetition similarities, for example, are different, Nelson Serra de Castro (Drums) plays like he knows Martins does not want an over interpretation of his lines, although the piece does phase, and alter significantly, and although the pieces may be more preconceived prior to this record of the work as released. This is not difficult, but it is not predictable either. There is a strong groove to all four partitions. As to Moncur, this is certainly a place apart from (Moncur, Grachan – “Evolution” [Jazz][379010]) and “Echoes of Prayer”. This central divergence would have me recommend this as essential listening for a tour of Moncur’s output (you might want to check out this discography, http://perso.wanadoo.fr/hardbop/Moncur.htm ,but i don’t vouch for it). The title track I can not live without, but what melodies are personally strong for me, might not work for you.

Copyright © 2022 KFJC 89.7 FM
12345 S. El Monte Road Los Altos Hills, California 94022
Public Inspection File