Music Reviews

Flower-Corsano Duo – “Halcyon, The” – [VHF Records]

Thurston Hunger   4/12/2022   12-inch, A Library

Two side-long koans. guitarist and Vibracathedran Michael Flower rejoining forces with drum roller
Chris Corsano. KFJC has no fewer than 12 Corsano duos (including “The Four Aims” with Flower) and
additional 10 trios with Chris’ sticks. Like 2009’s “Four Aims” this is jazz-inflected free rock. Flower’s guitar shimmers, high-note, high-frequency arpeggio cycling that keeps cresting upon itself. Corsano equally fervent, but with cymbals to cool the process down. To me this is like hyperdrone music, such a consistent scramble of surging sound it has that calming drone vibe. Hence the LP title perhaps, although it is a kind of crazy calm. Hell-cyon?!? Actually side B does have a pretty chill section guitar wise starting at about 9:20 in, slow rise refueling back Meanwhile the song titles could refer to Cuyahoga and Werner Herzog’s “Fitzcarraldo” …but probably not. As exhilarating as the playing by both, their efforts on recording/mixing are just as crucial. Every trill, every fill is alive here. When Flower’s electronics fritz you can almost smell the crisp electric singe. Talk about a smoke break….fire this up!
-Thurston Hunger

Latishia’s Skull Drawing – “Romanticized” – [Iron Lung Records]

whngr   4/6/2022   12-inch, A Library

Bastardized Rock-‘n-roll Upheaval

A pounding and screeching anxiety medication for the terminally depressed, or an up-tempo hardcore threnody with atypical elements and instrumentation. Allusions to psychedelic drug use coupled with mental illness, precision drum assault, derelict distemper, feedback, downstrokes, and delirium.

Once from Providence and Philadelphia, one can only assume that the band could not sustain itself with such sickening and debilitating afflictions.


Rimbaud, Robin / Op de Beeck, Hans – “staging silence” – [Sub Rosa]

whngr   4/6/2022   12-inch, Soundtrack

Quiet, pensive, and dream-like, these compositions are accompaniments to an interesting series of desaturated theater productions in miniature where hands noiselessly stage sets of many disparate scenes. Beautiful and haunting with a few brief passages of whimsey, these recordings are gentle and thought provoking, like an instrumental interpretation of Robert Frost or maybe a winter scene of a midwestern city at night laden with snowdrifts, the deserted streets illuminated by the sparse light of lonely streetlamps.

Primarily a keyboard and piano score with many varied themes and tones though none of the tracks share identical voices. There is, however, a propensity toward strings and minimal percussive qualities. Not drone per say but may imbue similar qualities to your erudite and refined evenings.

Robin Rimbaud (aka. Scanner and member of Githead with Colin Newman from Wire) is an electronic musician and producer based in London. Hans Op de Beeck is a Belgian artist who is best known for his sculptures and installations he calls “proposals”, which are often of a large scale, and have garnered many commendations and accolades internationally.


Soft Shoulder – “Formerly On Fluorescent Paper” – [Gilgongo Records]

Thurston Hunger   4/6/2022   12-inch, A Library

Rock has not been exterminated, and Mark E. Smith’s sneer lives on in many throats including here via James Fella. James is the fella behind the mighty Gilgongo label, for now he is the sole Shoulder carrying the load. Well, he’s got his trusty drum-machine along as a side-kick-snare. Voice often run through a distorted auctioneer’s megaphone via landline in the basement. We recently added his collab with Gabriella Isaac which is a ear/skin/soul noise-ball shredder. Quite a contrast to this song-strong lp with trace elements of punk country…okay definite accent on the former. I think it’s just how the strings slide around that feel like a lap-steel in trouble (or that kind of Spray Paint galloping guitar vibe). Something here makes me think about a Texas Funeral (viva Jon Wayne) even though it is closer to a sweltering swamp cooler (I think Fella’s a permanent Tempe type). Don’t sleep on his spiraling sax screeches
in “Child Not Listing” and “No Magic Dirt” and the hit single (in my ears at least) “Half Wall Bleed.” Or put on “PO Box 7455” and work your dance moves (it ain’t ESG but it’s got a groove). All tracks are short to really short, so unless it’s a Two-fer-Tuesday get something queued up pronto, bucko. Worse things could happen, really digging the punchiness of this record, hope James finds a band to flesh the songs out live. Maybe Deerhoof’s John Dieterich well lend a hand as he mastered them for the record.
-Thurston Hunger
PS Finally looked up where the name Gilgongo apparently came from, even more to love.

Mouchoir Etanche – “Une Fille Petrifiee” – [Cellule 75]

Thurston Hunger   4/6/2022   12-inch, A Library

On first overall listen organs in elegy resonated most; after reading some online notes those sounds felt tied to the loss of livelihood in general during the pandemic and in painful particular to the artist’s Mother dying. Marc Richter is Mouchoir Etanche, he is also familiar to KFJCers as Black to Comm and for running the stellar Dekorder label. The album announces itself with “Enter Mirror Hotel” and the obviousness of samples are present, tight loops of arias and orchestral mini-flourishes, human and yet not. As the album progresses there is more blur between sample and source sounds, like life during the pandemic one wonders what is real/unreal. On A4, is that a siren or a bagpipe strafing a stately locked organ slice. In looking at at titles like “Le Temps Isolee” and “Menschen Im Null-Raum” hard to not hear this as a quaranteen-aged release in any language. Still plenty of grace and even a sliver of hope on “Secheresse” (drought) which recalls jubilant and children frolicking in your speakers. The first two tracks do floor me, but I wonder if the title track was also considered as an opener, starburst organ grandeur. I may be wrongly accenting the Nurse with Wound tending your Covid bedside here; listening now to Black to Comm’s “Alphabet 1968” there were solemn organ drones and disembodied voices even there, so it might be a part of a more pervasive nostalgia for Richter (et moi).

FWIW the project name translates as “waterproof handkerchief” so maybe there is an element of immunity to sorrow built-in. Independent of the name and the times, a very deft and beautiful weaving/mix/making of sounds.
-Thurston Hunger

Pupillo, Massimo – “The Black Iron Prison” – [Subsound Records]

mickeyslim   4/6/2022   12-inch, A Library

Moistened tendrils tickle your oft-neglected meningeal spaces with lavish whispers. An entire planet’s worth of purring and droning spaced ever so meticulously over its surfaces. Acidic cirrostratus rain clouds swept above by a single, solemn current. Is it a storm brewing? Or is it the sounds of a supra- or trans-temporal constant?

Surrounded, once again, by the iron walls of a prison, no one inside aware of anything.

Renowned collaborator/experimentalist/bass-player Massimo Pupillo (of numerous projects, most notably, Zu) in what appears to be his second solo project. Recorded in complete solitude at Thighpaulsandra’s Aerial Studio in Wales, using heavily processed electric bass, synthesizers, and a sampler, this album takes inspiration from the relationship between Gnosticism, alchemy, and Philip K. Dick.

Excellent album on smokey black and gray vinyl! Three bowls!

Dream Shake – “Ride The Disease Vol. 34” – [Rescued From Life Records]

whngr   3/30/2022   12-inch, A Library

Classic Psychedelic Rock-n-Roll 

If you’re from the gutter, dug your heels into 1986-7, and like your trips on the soft and drippy side then this is your ice cream. Except these guys are wicked fast… and a little scary. But they do like some echo on the vox… so you know they’re on drugs. Well rehearsed (tight as fuck), high energy, and not too cheery… except the bass player who seemed to be really enjoying himself while everyone else wrung themselves out on their instruments… not that he didn’t, he just looked like he liked it… while the other lads were there for war. 

A1: shit – A5: asshole, fuckin’, shit – A6: shit – A12: fuck – fuckin’ – B14: asshole – B15: shit – B17: shit – B18: fuck – B20: fuckin’

Houston – 2021

Permanent Collection – “Nothing Good Is Normal” – [Strangeway Studios]

whngr   3/30/2022   12-inch, A Library

Dispassionate vocals drone methodically over detuned downstrokes, 90’s punk rock drums, insistent but slightly buried bass, and almost sickeningly woozy guitar solos. Effects abound on this once local project (currently residing in Seattle, fittingly enough).

This EP is retro in the wrong way, so thoroughly reminiscent of the grunge of my youth that it was utterly dismissible on first blush… but the hooks. Christ! I got a little mad at the music department (I thought you fucking knew me!?), had a little issue digitizing the recording and decided, it must be an ill-fated omen, it doesn’t even want to be in the library… so, I decided not to review it… and I walked away. However, it stayed with me. Those hooks were in. Still are. A powerful formula that my mind decided we were keeping, perhaps not entirely with my permission. I know this will be mostly panned by fellow volunteers and it has some bothersome issues (recording is way too polished for my taste and I am not enthused by the new direction the project has appeared to adopt) but this album is quite good and though admittedly it will likely remain a guilty pleasure, here it is… in the library of the illustrious and revered KFJC, ready for you to cue up to regale our listeners with our oblique and often absurd air sound. 

Permanent Collection is one Jason Hendarty (and cohorts) formerly of the San Francisco peninsula – 2020

Dorotheo/Como Es

carsonstreet   3/27/2022   12-inch, A Library

Heavy doom meets colorful psychedelia meets swirly shoegaze on this release from Guadalajara group Dorotheo. Do we also detect Krautrock influences? Dorotheo was formed in 2011 in Guadalajara, Jalisco by Benjamín Zárate (guitar, vocals, synthesizers) and Otto Malgesto (drums, percussion, vocals). A veteran of the local scene including a stint in Antoine Reverb, Zárate shared some personal demos with Malgesto during a break from a musical outfit they both played in and they decided to launch the new project together.

Carlton Melton/Microwavelengths

carsonstreet   3/27/2022   12-inch, A Library

Carlton Melton (Andy Duvall, Rich Millman, and Clint Golden) are great friends of KFJC and we are great friends of theirs. Just drop the needle on this new EP and you will know why. Carlton Melton formed up along the Mendocino County coastline in Northern California in 2008. The idea to play live, loud, improvised, experimental, instrumental, psychedelic music in a geodesic dome had been discussed for many years prior to this date. The opportunity came to fruition after the Dome was completely rebuilt and the acoustic sounds inside were fully realized. This music is recorded live inside the Dome to analog and digital sources using carefully placed omni-directional microphones. All music is improvised. This EP was recorded before Mind Minerals and after their EP Hidden Lights both of which are in our library. This is a five-track excursion into free form psych, hazy drones, and all out fuzz freakouts. If you like this check out the other Carlton Melton albums in our library.

/A\ //A\

carsonstreet   3/27/2022   12-inch, A Library

/A\ is Emilie Zoé, Franz Treichler and Nicolas Pittet. The seven tracks in their debut album are the result of a series of jam sessions. From one track to the next a series of strange and perfect hybrids combine harmonically rich pop with driving rhythmic patterns. /A\ multiplies different energies and dynamics: the warmth of a migratory blues (Hotel Stellar), cat-like, undulating post rock (Grain Sand and Mud), low-tempo machine-like fury (We Travel the Light), a pale morning atmosphere (Count to Ten), mutant trip hop (The Leaves), an idle climb to Golgotha (Our Love is Growing). These trailblazing ideas follow each other with an incredible sense of naturalness. Released June 18, 2021.

Russell, Bruce & Wood, Luke – “Visceral Realists” – [VHF Records]

cinder   3/23/2022   12-inch, A Library

Wailing, droning, efx’d and processed guitars and electronics layered over old, scratched records that have been spinning endlessly on the last edge. Sounds like the vinyl side ended, and they used that itchy looping rhythmic pulse as their underlaying beat. Pretty short, each track around 3 minutes long. You can find more Bruce Russell sounds from the band Dead C, and Luke Wood founded Ilam Press Records, both dudes hailing from New Zealand.

L’Honneur De Poetes (Four French Resistance Writers) [coll] – [Folkways Records and Service Corp.]

whngr   3/18/2022   12-inch, A Library

A quadrumvirate of French poets wax theoretic in a bid to entice fellow revolutionaries into the fray against their occupied oppressive Nazi regime.

Recordings from the 1940’s replete with patriotism, fervor, cadence, and perhaps ennui… that retains a vintage sound quality, or lack thereof. Amid the hiss, pops, and thick miasma of cigarette smoke that undoubtedly hung in the cafés sympathetic to the underground there is a sense of pride and entitlement, perhaps cognizant that their words would fall on the sympathetic side of history.

Not exactly my sweet spot for sound as my francais is just this side of non-existent. It would have been easy to employ antiquated pejoratives for the French to describe their nasal and haughty delivery reinforcing bygone tropes. However, intermittently there is a genuine allure to the meter, tone, and deep-seeded emphatic dissidence that appeals to this miserable volunteer… And I share Mickey Slim’s (the instigator of this LP’s add) enthusiasm for the human voice and sometimes non-accompanied recitation. Though in hindsight I might have done well to hand this LP over to a more qualified reviewer, on a disk that provided considerable reticence to be smoothly added to our library based on myriad and pervasive issues in the recordings and cataloguing (also I attempted to find a transcription of these poems online before discovering the six page insert. Ah, ma folie.) which would take an age for me to accomplish. One I have surmounted prior to Slim’s imminent return to his new/old home overseas and spurring my decision to complete our transaction as, the gauntlet had been thrown down… and I am not one to shy from a challenge.

France – 1944

Wallahi Le Zein [coll] – [Mississippi Records]

aarbor   3/16/2022   12-inch, International

Mauritania is in Northwest Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Algeria, Mali, and Senegal. It is one of the least densely populated countries on Earth. The Moors, who call themselves the Beydane, trace their ancestry back to the region’s original Berber inhabitants and to the nomadic warriors from the Arabian Peninsula. The Beydane are patrons to griot families called the iggawen who jealously protect and preserve their specialized skills and knowledge. Today this patronage system has changed and musicians are known as Vennane. They can be invited to play for an event (e.g. a wedding, or an evening at someone’s home) and paid. There is no music industry, in Mauritania. Music is very informal, participative, and difficult to record effectively. Most of the recordings don’t capture the multi-sensory experience of the music, the sensuality of the dancers, the extravagant behavior of the percussionists, the body heat generated by 50 people packed into a small room, the conversation, or the mint tea. The recordings on this record are probably the best available. The performances involve considerable improvisation and the quality of any given performance is largely determined by the dynamics of the event. A Beydane performance is like a pick-up basketball game. The sound: jackhammer riffs that stop abruptly, waves of blistering guitar runs, pushing against thundering drums, then mysteriously fizzle out, only to dramatically resurge, spurred on by enthusiastic shouting. Form? structure? the music ebbs and flows with dramatic spikes of intensity. AArbor

La Doña – “Algo Nuevo” – [Self Release]

puplaif   3/15/2022   12-inch, Hip Hop

La Doña is Cecilia Peña-Govea and she does exactly what she wants. La Doña operates across multiple spheres of influence, as a daughter, an educator, as an artist in a constant state of change.  Growing up in San Francisco, she started playing in her family’s mariachi band at the age of 7 where she learned to play trumpet.  La Doña is very proud to have self-released Algo Nuevo in 2020. 

La Doña boldly presents her feminist perspective through poetic, lyrical messages that cover topics from gentrification to the push and pull of love. Spanish is the dominant language throughout the album, with sprinkles of English on a few bilingual tracks. Set to genre-blending rhythms, La Doña incorporates elements of Bay Area hip hop, reggaeton, son jarocho, and more. The overall sound is catchy and highly dance-able. 100% hyphey maravilla. ¡Que la disfruten!

Moon Duo – “Occult Architecture Vol. 2” – [Sacred Bones Records]

Ms. Conduct   3/13/2022   12-inch, A Library

All of the signals for Moon Duo’s second volume of Occult Architecture suggest the recesses of a lunar netherworld: astral in origin, anti-gravitational and steeped in rune lore esotericism. The album, however, contradicts its namesakes and offers up a cheery sonic plane of yellow mellow psych rock wrapped in soft drones. Weekend plans? These are tunes for forest bathing in daylight. Bright atmospheres with a hint of Sunday sadness. On the affirmative side: Cannabinol elevation and solar spiritualism. For the low end: Happy dog photography & stealthy hymns for television’s commercial converts. —Ms. Conduct

Panfilov, Misha – “Repetitive Music Vol. 1” – [KJRPP]

SlartiBartfast   3/13/2022   12-inch, A Library

Panfilov, Misha – “Repetitive Music Vol. 1”

Another venture into the musical universe of Misha Panfilov. “Repetitive Music Vol. 1” is a beautiful ambient landscape reminiscent of Brian Eno or Harold Budd’s influential earlier works. Here, Misha creates a tranquil musical soundscape with exceptional attention to the minute details and compositional flow of the organic synthesizer produced ambient sounds of this solo work. All tracks were recorded in Tallin, Vaskjala, and Vaana-Joesuu Estonia during Covid lock down (2020-20212), and are presented here on a clear 11” vinyl release. Repetitive Music Vol1 just might be the calming ambient escape we all need to remind us of the beautify in our introspective moments. – Slarti

Leimer, K. “Irrational Overcast” [First Terrace Records]

atavist   3/12/2022   12-inch, A Library

Another installment from Kerry Leimer, released in 2019. Presented are beautiful, calming sounds that can turn an edge and towards the pensive. With the tracks spanning three to seven minutes, each is gifted with a propulsion to paint a landscape at a glance, or perhaps encapsulate a long narrative in a condensed space. Sparse sampling and swelling strings, exquisite renderings of winter landscapes lost. There is hurt at the heart of these tracks, a pervasive underlying anxiety. Delicate keys and electronics finding their way through dusk. “Weather on the Fen” is an early favorite, but they’re all equally worthy.

Bomtempo, Alexia – “Suspiro” – [Ropeadope Records]

aarbor   3/9/2022   12-inch, International

Sultry voiced Alexia Bomtempo was born in the U.S. (where her mother is from) but began her musical career in Brazil (where her father is from), and now lives in NY. On this, her latest release from April 2020, she sings in Portuguese, French and English. She believes that the world needs more bossa nova. All the songs have a Brazilian sensibility to them even though they originate in other countries. The whole idea behind this album was to do everything live, in the spirit of the old recordings that she loves, with the musicians playing at the same time. The arrangement was done on the spot. AArbor

Karloff, Boris – “More of Kipling’s Just So Stories” – [Caedmon]

aarbor   3/9/2022   12-inch, A Library

William Henry Pratt, best known by his stage name Boris Karloff is best known for his portrayal of Frankenstein’s monster in the various early Frankenstein movies. He was a horror film icon. Here he is the kindly British story reader of Rudyard Kipling’s well-known JUST SO STORIES. On this record from 1958, there are 4 stories: The Elephant’s Child (who has insatiable curiosity), The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo (who has a bit too much pride), The Beginning of the Armadillos, and How the Leopard Got His Spots. Kipling’s explanations of why these animals are the way they are. AArbor

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