KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

DJ Shadow – ?Mashin? On The Motorway/Walkie Talkie? – [Island] – (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   2/27/2005   12-inch, Hip Hop

This is a double 12″ single released in June 2003 and consisting mostly of remixes of tracks by DJ Shadow. Oddly enough the title tracks (and the only two radio edits) are on sides B and D.

This is turntable-ing, MC-ing, and remix-ing at its finest. If you like hip-hop even a little, then you will find something to like about this release.

Be sure to check out the Soulwax remix of Six Days (D1), which is almost a DJ Shadow/B-52s mash up, and D4, which is a fast and funny track that would work well on a drive shift.

C1 stretches out a bit, starting with a sample of DJ Shadow from the excellent Scratch documentary, then taking a detour into techno, then back to the turntables. For a more dark, techno vibe, check out B1.

Language: A1 (Check the title), B2 (Though it is a ‘radio edit,? the word motherfucking is barely concealed. I had to listen carefully to hear that the word was scrubbed.)
–Hunter Gatherer

James White – ?Flaming Demonics? – [Ze Records] – (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   2/27/2005   12-inch, A Library

James White (a.k.a. James Chance n’e James Siegfried) has great taste in suits and oh, by the way, is one of the main characters associated with the late 70’s/early 80’s No Wave scene in NYC.

This album, released in 1983, is his last studio release of five (if you count his LP with the Contortions and the 4 tracks on the No New York compilation, which we have in A on 12″). Ze Records was recently revived and moved to France by label co-founder Michel Esteban, who provides excellent liner notes that are definitely worth a read.

The music is demented, cacophonous, and chaotic. Most tracks find the rhythm and horn section working a minimal funk riff, while Mr. White wails away on his tenor sax frenetically. He sings too.

This is an incredibly energetic album. At least one track will have you dancing around like a maniac. Like he shouts in another song: ‘Try being stupid instead of smart.’ Good advice for us and advice he takes as well.

Three word review: VOODOO DISCO JAZZ
–Hunter Gatherer

Hood – ?Outside Closer? – [Domino Recording] – (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   2/27/2005   12-inch, A Library

This is Hood’s sixth full-length release and their first one in four years. But the Leeds, UK-based quartet have released some singles and EPs in that period.

The music is beautiful and smart indie pop, equal parts natural sounds (guitar, vocals, drums, violin, piano) and electronic sounds (sampled vocal loops, beats, synth). It sounds like it has less electronics than it really does.

It may take a few listens to get through the shiny finish. Though each song is it’s own creation and has its own sound, the entire album hangs together.

Each side starts off with an upbeat track and then unwinds into an introspective vibe. I really like this album.

Language: B1 (‘fuck’)
–Hunter Gatherer

Underground Resistance – “Return of Acid Rain Ii, the ” – [Underground Resistance]

Hunter Gatherer   2/27/2005   12-inch, A Library

By the time this EP was released Underground Resistance was just ‘Mad? Mike Banks, the two other co-founders, Jeff Mills and Robert ‘Noise? Hood, having gone off to explore other opportunities. It was released in 1994.

UR, always the political group, is warning us about the perils of acid rain, a particular problem in Detroit it seems. You need to read actual album to find this out, for it is impossible to deduce this from the music.

And the music is Detroit techno. The versatile Roland 303 is the primary instrument, and it is being put to good use creating lots of good acid-y sounds. The tracks are short-ish — for techno anyway — ranging from 2:20 to 4:19.

My only complaint is that the tracks seem to end just when they are getting a groove. Maybe the acid rain got them.

–Hunter Gatherer

Kirk, Roland “I Talk with the Spirits” [Limelight]

Thurston Hunger   2/13/2005   12-inch, Format, Jazz

Pre-Rassan flute frenzy… Kirk as accustomed to blowing many
minds at a time as he was accustomed to playing 2 or 3 saxes
(or flutes) at the same time, relaxes and struts here with
a sweetheart of an album. Still there’s some fierce blowing,
from shrill squeals, to raspier reed-rattling. His breathy
grunts and choked chuckles are all mic’d up tight…and you
can hear him singing right on down and out the holes. Bobby
Moses drops in on some tracks with vibes that work so well
with the flute… One track, “Fugue’n and Alludin'” is gone
too quickly but the title track with Miss C. J. Albert
harmonizing along with them both is hauntingly captivating.
The short solo from Kirk on that begs to be turned up loud
to catch every nuance of sound that this blindman could pull
out of the dark center of a flute (or a sax or a trumpet or
an unique horn made just for him…but here he is confined
to flutes). The music box of “Ruined Castles” pitches an
almost gamelan shadow and that tinkering (Moses?) lingers
on into “Django” before the piano and bass take over and
we get a more standard combo toe-tap tour. Kirk’s exhaled
his last in 1977, but this 1964 album still breathes fine.

Wired – Free Improvisation (MYA – Europe)

outlier   2/9/2005   12-inch, A Library

Wired – Free Improvisation (MYA – Europe)
Legendary free music release on Deutsche Grammophon, recorded between 1970-73. Gtr-org-bs-perc-elec combine spontaneously, transporting you to a destination of sonic bliss. A rather consonant free music exploration of the acoustic analog variety with smart electronics in supporting role. Not afraid of space, the quartet’s delicate communications interchange and disperse with timeless agility. Rare moments of clash mark climax and redirection that is woven into a fabric of sonic wonder. Subtle yet powerful- Dense yet never cluttered. Final recording opens with war sirens to marvelous dramatic effect. Ranta collaborated with Harry Parch, Bottner played in Stockhausen’s ensemble, Lewis studied under Dvorak and Plank is considered among the premier German producers. This document is the work of masters in an offering to the Gods – and the Gods looked down and smiled.
– Outlier

Deerhunter – s/t

outlier   2/9/2005   12-inch, A Library

Deerhunter – s/t (Stickfigure Records)
Tight and dirty rock sound with standard song structures delivered with undoubtedly above standard, angry and pissed off vocals. Riffs reminiscent of SoCal early 90’s rock (Drive Like Jehu’s 1st, Distorted Pony) are hypercharged by the vocalist’s undying conviction that everything is still fucked – thus the necessity for a refrain of the straight ahead pissed off rock sound. 2 gtr-bs-dr with some other stuff occasionally dubbed on top, this foursome from Atlanta definitely give an urgent sound to otherwise familiar structures in this debut release.
3w: Repenting is Weakness
– Outlier

Odean Pope “Almost Like Me” [Moers]

Thurston Hunger   2/3/2005   12-inch, Format, Jazz

1982 sounds like next week. Pope’s tenor pumps
nectar over Cornell Rochester’s passionate
percussion and Gerald Veasley’s force-to-be-
reckoned-with electric bass. You heard me,
electric…normally that sends a shiver in
one ear, down the spine, back up and out the
other ear…electric bass in jazz can sound
like a rubber tree in a cartoon. The range
and expression of the upright tower over its
cousin. But this is exceptional, Veasley is
nimble, from deep-fried rumble to lighter
than air harmonics. This release should get
some nice crossover on plenty of shows. At
times there’s a manic power that makes you
think of Japan’s Ruins. Besides a secret
tunnel to rock, there’s another big one to
funk. Still the thrill to the ride is Pope’s
sweet sax sermonizing, matched by his often
heart-stopping (and in some spots heart-
shattering) composition. Drums were recorded
a bit flat…but everything else soars. This
is a blessing from on high.

Phillip Ranelin/Wendrel Harrison “A Message from the Tribe” [Tribe Records]

Thurston Hunger   2/3/2005   12-inch, Format, Jazz

A hippy vibe with Black Pride coming from the flip side of
Motown Records. This album oozes “lanquidity” coasting from
note to note. I preferred the first side, guided by label
co-founder and trombonist, Phil Ranelin. He keeps bassist
Charles Eubanks popping, and then adds vocals from Jeamel
Lee on two tracks to pour a little Angela Davis gasoline
on the simmering warmth. By the time that side ends, he’s
built up a firecracker of a number with “How Do We End
All Of This Madness” on which he sings as well. Ranelin’s
trombone adds to the curvaceousness of this release, only a
few moments of Wendell Harrison’s sax spike up out of the
mellifluous melange. What holds this all together, and
maybe holds the spiking solos back, is the omnipresence of
electic piano. It’s just an instrument that fills, often
prettily, but rarely commands. It is more dominant, along
with some flute on the side that Harrison composed. Some
30 years later, Ranelin is still rolling, co-creating his
own label with artistic control back then showed a lot of
foresight and soulful sound.

Merzbow “Frog” your choice rpm [Misanthropic Agenda]

Thurston Hunger   1/30/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

Croak and dagger noise from Masami Akita. Rolling out the
limited (1/1000) “frog-colored” vinyl smacks of crafty
merchandising, but the album smacks of pain that you would
hope for. The concept could be as simple as Merzbow himself
dialing the resistors just right to get a virtual frog
sample that belches forth on the A-side, but I prefer to
think the “Frog” monniker is to represent an amphibious
nature to this release. There are moments that this almost
leaps out to the dance floor, geiger click, hep repetition
and jackhammer isometrics create a sort of tadpole techno.
There’s some faux locked grooves, but grooves nonetheless.
But then we get a cathode-arcing bipolar blitz, sheer
shrieking audio assault. Side A takes a while for the hail
of electric fire to rain down, it ends with a sputtering
disintegration. Those merciless moments subside on the
B-side, not that it’s unnoise; it still annoys but the
presence of Rana rhythm over the dank clank of dungeons
provides for vivid sections. Seems like he’s tossing in
reversing sounds as well. Merzbow’s white noise is the
sum of a lot of colors.

Rose, Jack “Apocalyps. X.” [Eclipse]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

Rose continues his path from Pelt straight to the heart of
a twelve-string soul. The A-side featues a darker current,
thick ropes of vibration…bubbling up the neck of the
guitar on the lower deep end strings. Near flamenco finger
flicking starts “black pearls from the river.” On “tower of
babel” the frenzied fingers give way to bouncy swipes at
the end of that track. On the B-side, it seems like a Rose
made a conscious effort to work the upper strings more, the
sound is brighter, but still brass rattling. With the higher
notes, we can hear the sympathetic halo of echo shining
through easy. As the record spins towards its end, Rose
chose to slow down his playing…the earlier fast ripples of
arpeggios now separate into more distinct drops of guitar
rain, beads of sound. Thornless and acoustic black.

Ethiopian Modern Instrumental Songs – coll [Buda Musique]

Thurston Hunger   1/25/2005   12-inch, Format, International

Another intoxicating reissue of Addis abadass
Ababa sounds. We get more music-to-slink-to
this time cut off from the vocal gyrations
that the other Ethiopique collections carried.
The rhythms have quick ebb-and-flow feelings,
the scales used seem to always push the
listener towards a resolution while at the
same time away from that tonic note. The
second side here moves out of the shadows
into a more jovial, or more plain ol’ R&B
area of import/export. We have many of
these renditions in alternate (somewhat
more powerful if you like those wailing
vox) versons. Still this is a quick exotic
trip. Eat it with your fingers and ears.

Songs From the Entoptic Garden Vol. 1 – coll [Time Lag]

Thurston Hunger   1/25/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

The initial release (we already have V2) for this series
and for this label run by Nemo Bidstrup in Maine. Lovers
of lexicon note that ENTOPTIC as you might guess refers
to objects situated within the eye; esp. relating to the
perception of objects in one’s own eye. On this “loose”
tribute to Popol Vuh, Drona Parva (aka label captain
Nemo) offers a solitary mote…stationary drone made
warm by the Hammond organ. On the flip side, Texas’
Ultrasound beams with two pieces, the first a true
Popol Vuh cover. Shimmering yet very simple piano (is
lingering pedal and sustain the key to the late
Florian Fricke’s success?) The second maintains that
spell-binding dignity, but again I’m a bit pressed
to figure out its source. A melody is repeated with
a lot of space and very subtle variation from point
to point. There again does seem to be a halo around
the sound (harmonium?). At least Ultrasound gives
the Popol what they want.

Mr. Bambu — “Did Some Remixes…” — [Organik] — (33rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   1/9/2005   12-inch, Hip Hop

This is an EP of four instrumental hip hop remixes by a mystery man named Mr. Bambu from Gainesville, Florida. It was released 6/2004. (This is his 2nd EP after The Disconbobulation EP.)

Tracks A1 and B1 are remixes of a song by fellow Floridians Burgundy Romance. The first one features rock guitar. The second one is longer and more down tempo with electronica sounds, including that Roland cowbell sound.

A2 is a remix of a song by Mercury Program (also from Florida and sharing a member with Burgundy Romance) that is abstract and appropriately spacey.

B2 has a harder sound with fatter drums and a rock/funk vibe.

All remixes are instrumental, and the more I listened the more it grew on me. Check it out!

–Hunter Gatherer

Artanker Convoy “Ocean Parkway EP” 33rpm [Social Registry]

Thurston Hunger   1/9/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

It’s a pretty big blender to swirl here. An easy drifting
mosaic of music. The rhythms ride strong, so many people can
hop on board from dance stop to dance stop, but the bus is
crowded with Frippy guitar and a fuzzier frappe as well. At
times electropianopuree (“Carb”) and horncrush (“Crown Vic”)
give this light jazz flavors, but psych washes on “Backfires”
could as easily launch you right into rock central. Descending
wooshy waaahs and revving up beat on “Crown Vic” are about as
high as the energy gets, by the way, are those roto-toms?’ On
all cuts prominent basslines unite and push all wallflowers
into the spinning disco mirror light. Secret ingredient is
the crunchy guitar riffs dropped into the various groove
valleys. The remix by Sasha Crnobrnja tries for an aquatic
dub, but spends a little too much time in the bathtub, and
left me pruney. Even infrequent muttered vocals could not
rescue that track from decrepetition.

Quantic – ?Apricot Morning? – [Tru Thoughts Recordings] 33 rpm

Hunter Gatherer   1/5/2005   12-inch, A Library

Apricot Morning is the 2nd full-length release by Quantic, a.k.a. UK-based producer and musical busy-bee Will Holland. This LP was released in 2002, when Mr. Holland was 22. (We have his 3rd LP, Mishaps Happening, in A on 12″ vinyl.)

In math a ‘quantic? is an algebraic function containing two or more variables. This seems appropriate to me because this release combines elements such as Latin and Afro beats, rap, and soul to come up with a music that is fresh and full of life.

Long-time collaborator Alice Russell sings on what I think are two of the best tracks on the album (B1 and C2). Aspects, a hip hop crew from Bristol, appear on B3. EQ appears on the Latin-inflected A3. His sisters, Jill and Lucy even help out with sax and double bass.

You’re sure to find something to fit your mood, as long as you are in the mood for dancing around.

Instrumentals: A1, A2, B2, C3, D1

(Other Will Holland projects include: The Quantic Soul Orchestra, Quantic Live, and Limp Twins.)

–Hunter Gatherer

Science Fiction – Walls Don’t Exist – [Third Earth Music] 33 rpm

Hunter Gatherer   1/5/2005   12-inch, Hip Hop

Science Fiction is Wale Oyejide, a hip hop producer who grew up in Nigeria, spent a few years living in UAE, went to college in Atlanta, and now lives in California. He has released two EPs and an instrumental LP before this full-length release. Before the hip hop bug bit him, he played guitar for an emo band and a Nirvana cover band.

This is instrumental hip hop. It’s spacey and soulful and a very personal album. Song titles like ‘Love Is A Cigarette In Gasoline Hands? give one an idea of what to expect.

Most tracks don’t have lyrics so much as fractured pieces of his interior monologue. After listening to it long enough I started to feel vaguely claustrophobic.

There is a bonus track not marked on the packaging (017), which is a remix of Hold On featuring MF Doom.

Future releases will be under his real name most likely. He has said in interviews that he finds the moniker Science Fiction ‘dorky.’ He adopted the name Sci Fi when starting out because he used to sample from B-movies all the time.

Play this album if it’s raining or if it’s too sunny.

–Hunter Gatherer

Relics: A Transmat Compilation [coll] – [Buzz] (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   12/1/2004   12-inch, A Library

‘From Belgium to Detroit – with respect’ it says on this LP, a re-release by Belgium’s Buzz Records of this compilation of early Detroit techno music.

It was originally released in 1992 on Derrick May’s Transmat label, and it covers Detroit techno from 1986 to 1990 with tracks from Carl Craig (Psyche, BFC), Juan Atkins (Model 500), and mostly Derrick ‘Mayday’ May (Rhythim [sic] is Rhythim [sic]) who has over half the tracks on this album.

Some of Mr. May’s tracks hadn’t been released before or even been given titles. They show up titled as ‘A Relic’ or ‘Another Relic.’ In between each track is a weird little ‘interval’ less than a minute in length performed by Messrs. May and Craig.

The artists on this album were influenced by Alvin Toffler, and in Detroit in the late 80’s the decline of the Second Wave was more than a abstract concept. Amid the decay they created a musicical version of the Third Wave, in which man and machine (in this case a Roland synthesizer) would merge and form something far funkier than the sum of its parts. The use of the word techno to describe the music was lifted from the techno rebels in Toffler’s book Future Shock.

All tracks are instrumental and entirely synth-generated. The beats are relentless, and everything else – melody, synth-strings, chords – are merely there to support the beat.

–Hunter Gatherer

Mono – “Walking Cloud and Deep Red Sky ” – [Virgin Records Limited]

Daryl Licht   10/4/2004   12-inch, A Library

Japan’s Mono returns for their third full-length release with only slight
refinements in their sound . Most tracks feature Mono’s characteristic song
structure: slowly building lengthy tracks, with delicate, icy guitar figures riding
layers of droning strings and thick distortion that increase in waves of intensity
and volume, until they explode in soaring crescendos of transcendent noise.
Their sound on this outing, however, is a little more lush, with a greater emphasis on
strings and more orchestral arrangements than previous recordings. There’s also a
couple of shorter, quieter, less dynamic tracks that failed to impress this listener.
For the most part, however, this is dynamic, almost sweepingly cinematic music,
that achieves Mono’s stated goal of evoking feelings and emotions via music that are difficult to capture and describe in mere words. Play! DL

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