KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Mason – “Concrete Mirror” – [Oxen]

Lord Gravestench   9/7/2018   A Library, Cassette

Yet another deprogramming session from LA’s Harsh Noise dealers at Oxen, the label run by Unsustainable Social Condition and Leah P. This time our contestant is Abe Mason from N. Carolina., his mouth full of dust and tape. There are two tracks on side A and 3 on side B of this 2018 scorcher, and both ten-minute sides track together (wink). Side A is skittery and explosive, like coming down from methamphetamine (I’m told). Small movements in dim corners of abandoned factories. Suddenly the broken machinery springs to life; splats, tearing. Side B grinding rattling creaking, electronics and metal and a continuation of the general ‘cut-up’ theme also explored recently by Japan’s Scum on this same label.

It all seems to be pretty intricate sound design work even by the standard Oxen enforces. Very much in stereo, and kind of like a child “with ADHD” (cough) it can’t settle on any noise texture for more than about half a second. I dunno if it’s improvised or composed or waddaya waddaya, but I declare it truly impressive noise. Apparently Mason has also released quite a bit under the name Thirteen Fingers.

Pure electronic harsh noise devastation chopped into breathless adrenalin bursts. The only recognisable human sound anywhere is a brief sample of maybe a standup comic on the final track who pops in to say “It’s all just a waste of time… doesn’t matter.” Indeed.

Crazy Doberman – “Live Fall 2017” – [Easy Listening]

lexi glass   8/14/2018   A Library, Cassette

Inzane Indiana trio of Drew Davis, Tim Gick, and John Olson of Wolf Eyes. This cassette collects recordings of live sets from around the Midwest during the Fall 2017. The first two tracks on Side A are slow burning, late night jams recorded at some dude’s apartment. Droning horns, temple chimes, and what sounds like a harmonium give these tracks a heavy, ritualistic feel. The next two tracks are live recordings from one of Olson’s infamous Psy Jazz nights at Trixie’s bar in Detroit. The first is a thick, twisted throng of brass sounds (T3) while in the second, deep electronic drones and distorted recordings of chanting provide the backdrop for the horns in the foreground (T4). The final track was recorded (secretly?) in the Japanese gardens of Michigan State University, with the chanting voices and echoing sax rising again from the dark mists of Lansing. Now That’s What I Call Psy Jazz!

Kole Galbraith – “PANNA I” – [Self-released]

lexi glass   8/14/2018   A Library, Cassette

Two longform hallucinations from Seattle-based sound artist Kole Galbraith. Our copy of his latest cassette release found its way to the station during his visit to the Pit in June 2018. On each side of the tape, Galbraith uses an electric guitar with effects to create two contrasting scenes. The earth rumbles in “Cordilleran Rupture” (A), as rough electronic sounds collapse into a massive drone sinkhole. Justin Lazar and Paul Walsh assist with noise on the track. “Burnt Hair on Disautel Pass” (B) is a desolate landscape, swept by roaring winds, with chimes and blunted guitar plucking appearing like distant points of light. His first release (here) can be found in our library.

Uneasy Chairs – Everything You Need To Know About Nothing You Need To Know About [Self-Release]

mickeyslim   8/1/2018   A Library, Cassette

On the list of inspirations for this album that includes Keiji Haino and Syd Barrett, Patrick Neill Gundran cites, “that scene in Aliens when one of them gets shot in the head by Lt. Vasquez and writhes around in that air duct” as another major influence. This album is two 19-minute long tracks of subtly fluctuating improvised wall of noise. Recorded on high bias cobalt tape, this 2015 release will be the perfect accompaniment to your morning commute.

 

(((vol max)))

Grim – “Discharge Mountain” – [Athanor]

lexi glass   7/31/2018   A Library, Cassette

Grim is the Japanese industrial/power electronics project of Jun Konagaya. Previously, Jun worked with Tomasada Kuwahara in White Hospital, releasing one full length album, 1984’s Holocaust (in our library), before parting ways. The first Grim album followed shortly after in 1986, the incredible Folk Music. Jun continued releasing work throughout the 80s (including some surprisingly gorgeous folk), and then took an extended break to pursue his tenkoku practice. He returned to Grim in 2013, and his new material caught the attention of Tesco Organization, who released 2016’s Orgasm and brought Jun to Europe for his first international shows. Since then, both his old and newer material have been more widely released and his work has deservingly found a larger audience. This cassette EP was originally released at a show in Tokyo in Spring 2017.

Throughout Jun’s works, extremely harsh electronic sounds, aggressive rhythms, and confrontational vocals mix improbably with traditional folk sounds and even beautiful melodies. On this tape, Jun uses acoustic instruments like Tibetan shaman’s bells, drums, Indian pugi, and guttural vocal, almost throat singing techniques. The title track (T1) sets a dark, droning temple atmosphere, “Summons” (T2) drives with an fierce tribal rhythm with ringing bells, “Goddess Moth” is beautiful unfolding synth piece, and “Nine” finishes with ruthless screamed vocals. It’s over much too quickly, so I hope we can soon get our hands on more of this consistently terrifying and beautiful work.

Vradiazei – “Vradiazei” – [Self-released]

abacus   7/18/2018   A Library, Cassette

cascadian doom folk of the apocalypse, this group of ladies from Olympia perform acoustically and by candelabra because when the end comes there will be no electricity. somber, sparse yet uplifting in the most dismal of outcomes, vradiazei literally translates from Greek to “getting night” or “darkness comes” they lost their banjo/bouzouki player to motherhood, life eats away at us all one by one. vocals on the B side

Synanon – “Angels At The End of The World” – [Dead Accents]

Lord Gravestench   7/17/2018   A Library, Cassette

One-man noisegrind from music journalist Shane Mehling, also of the WA post-hardcore band Great Falls. Bandmate Demian Johnston (see also: Sutekh Hexen, BLSPHM, noise work under his own name) runs the label.

Side A = Blown-out mathy bass assault, probable drum machine doing the full blast thing, Pig Destroyer style hardcore vocals. The last track resolves itself with about one minute of feedback.

Side B = Single piece of nearly unlistenable feedback manipulation.

A sleek and deadly example of a confrontational genre, somewhat akin to the more musical excursions of longtime KFJC favourites Sissy Spacek.

The original Synanon was a drug recovery program founded in Santa Monica that turned into a criminal mind-control cult. Couldn’t be cultier than 12-step, though (rimshot!).

Both sides about 5 minutes. The label founder says: “I am hoping to release some more of his stuff but it’s impossible to get him back in the damn studio. He spends all his time battling blackberry bushes.”

Lemones – “Parasites By The Trashboard Side” – [Post-Materialization Music]

Louie Caliente   7/10/2018   A Library, Cassette

Way-too-short EP from Belgium’s Lemones. Originally released in 2016 on clear vinyl 7″, and recently re-released by Moscow’s Post-Materialization Music label. This cassette is one of only 50 copies.

Lazy lo-fi shouty noise-rock. Thick and crumbly beats that go everywhere and nowhere. Plodding baselines and meaningless lyrics. “Young Professionals” (T-3) is the fan-favorite, but all four the tracks have something unique to offer.

Kakawaka – “KAssette KAssette WAssette KAssette” – [Monopolka]

Louie Caliente   7/10/2018   A Library, Cassette

Limited edition cassette from Christoph Petermann out of Berlin, released on Russia’s Monopolka label.

Solid weight heavy noise, but not overly harsh or hateful. The tracks are all pretty short for easy consumption (most clock in at a *exactly* one minute).

Static blasts under layers of reverb. Unintelligible screams and wails. Broken electronic toys. Crunching looped annoyances.

I wouldn’t call the music “funny”, but Petermann’s sense of humor clearly is clearly evident. He performs in Bermuda shorts, a leopard vest, sunglasses, and inflatable swimming pool arm bands.

Macronympha/din-i-ilahi [coll] – [Bizarre Audio Arts]

lexi glass   6/26/2018   A Library, Cassette

This 2018 release comes to us from Bizarre Audio Arts, a label that often pairs up some of the major names in noise/experimental music for split cassettes. The label’s founder, Leo Sabatto makes up half of the current lineup of the enduring Pittsburgh noise project Macronympha, with founding member Joseph Roemer. Their track is on Side A of this glitter-flecked cassette, and on the flip side is din-i-ilashi, the solo project of Japanese electronic artist Osamu Kishimoto.

“Sure Thing to Do” (A) begins two parallel layers of corroded sound – whistling feedback and wandering dark melody. Six minutes in the track arrives as the sounds launch into a massive and teeming wall of noise. The real centerpiece of the track is the breakneck blast beat that emerges about halfway in, takes center stage, and then pummels its way through screams, sparks until the tape runs out. The B side track, “Non-Doership” as you might guess from the title never reaches the same level intensity. Instead Kishimoto pursues dynamics and flow, with ringing carnival tones moving into unpredictable whorls of static, feedback, laser beams and buried songs.

Cunts – “Your Wife” – [Self-release]

lexi glass   6/26/2018   A Library, Cassette

Self-released 2017 EP from this Japanese grindcore duo of Fuckin’ A and Frozen Panty, not to be confused with the other Cunts in our library. Drums and vocals ONLY. Drummer Fuckin’ A delivers total destruction, alternating his playing from machine-gun precision to a total sloppy mess, while Frozen Panty howls, slobbers, speaks in tongues like a raving lunatic. Each side of the tape is a quick blast of projectile vomit and other bodily fluids – within five minutes the load’s blown.

Huxley Anne – “Illium” – [Dome of Doom]

lexi glass   6/12/2018   A Library, Cassette

Illium is the 2017 debut release from LA beatmaker and producer Huxley Anne. Genre-wise this is all over the place, with elements of hip hop, techno, noise and new age, and, sometimes, the unfortunate aftertaste of forgettable fads like dubstep or witch house. But I can get past that because these tracks hit hard, with heavy, warehouse-shaking bass pulses roaring throughout. While “Aphro Dye” (T2), “Nin” (T3), and the aggressive “Ashes” (T4) seem made for the club, on other tracks the beats are paired with unexpected elements: laid-back guitar loops on “Celadon” (T5), mystical drones and harp on “Igredo” (T6), sitars and chants on “Aesop Fable” (T7), and music box chimes on the downtempo “Dragoon” (T8). Released on the LA experimental/hip hop label Dome of Doom.

Blodfest – “Krakes Blod” – [Night Birds]

lexi glass   6/5/2018   A Library, Cassette

Self-released 2006 album from this rotten Danish black metal project, with members from Solhverv, Wolfslair and Luciation and others, re-released on cassette on the Ukrainian label Night Birds. The first thing that struck me on opener “Stenknivens Blot” (T1) was Bestial Butcher’s absolutely inhuman drumming. He races along at an vicious speed, but then shifts into different rhythmic patterns. The variety in the drumming – aggressive churning, dramatic sweeps – add different dimensions to the tracks, and give the album real complexity, but without crossing into overly technical prog territory. I liked the first track so much that it took me awhile to get into the rest of the album, but when I did noticed the melodic elements throughout – hardly pretty and still pitch black, but really appealing. Take the descent-into-madness guitar on “Crimson Spirit” (T4), or the main theme of “Den Naadesloese” (T5) that had me banging my (non-metal) head on Caltrain. The lyrics in Danish glorify the kings and warriors of the Viking era, though a few tracks are in English, including T9 and T10 with FCCs. Couldn’t really make out the lyrics on T4 and T11, so play at your own risk.

MAP 71 – “Gloriosa” – [Fourth Dimension Records]

Jim Hunter   5/23/2018   A Library, Cassette, CD

Anne Clark meets Martin Rev at the local poetry slam to create something
original? Indeed! Map 71 is the two piece Bristol UK duo consisting of
percusionist Andy Pyne and Poet Lisa Jayne. 7 tracks of oscillating reverby
percussion combine with Jayne’s inflectionless spoken word musings on topics
such as controversial dance moves and psychedelic waiting rooms to create
something unique and interesting. Real or halucinogenic? Every track will have
you pondering. Elements of Industrial, Ambient, Avant-garde and Post-Punk all
coalesce harmoniously without sounding pretentious or self indulgent. There is
a consistent feel to all presented here but Track 5 is my favorite.
Available as a CD or Cassette.

Oso Blanco – “Heartbreak Kid” – [77Rise Recordings]

lexi glass   5/15/2018   Cassette, Hip Hop

Beats to buck you up when you’ve got the blues, from LA producer Oso Blanco. Flipping a soul sample is a tried and true, and sometimes tired, beatmaking formula, but it’s done really well here, at times with the creativity of the legends themselves, Dilla and Madlib. There’s also weird touches that give this a sound all its own – glitches and skips, blasts of electronic noise, samples that dissolve into sine waves or swerve off the rails like they’re being played on one of our ancient tape decks (don’t worry I checked, it’s supposed to sound that way!) – that will either catch your interest or harsh your vibe. Still there’s some good, head nodding sections, and I might’ve stood up and danced when one of my favorite jams came into the mix about 20 minutes in on the A side. Though the tape’s instrumental, there’s lots of samples from (mostly breakup) movies, some with dirty words, sooo: FCCs on both sides.

Primordial Wound – “Pure Blight” – [Oxen]

lexi glass   5/1/2018   A Library, Cassette

Primordial Wound is the project of Seattleite Dan Fried. Two sidelong pieces made from “shortwave radio, field recordings, tape, synth, effects, and feedback.” Each track follows an arc, moving through a range of sounds: the opening collage of radio broadcasts on the title track, extended blasts of metallic noise propelled by human screams – the rot coming from within – and sparser passages of ringing, drones, and forgotten remains. A hybrid of harsh noise and electroacoustic sound art, this is another unique new release from Oxen.

Phallitecture [coll] – [Petite Soles]

lexi glass   5/1/2018   A Library, Cassette

Harsh noise wall split cassette from two Seattle noise artists. Peter Keller (also working under the names Bacillus, Dirac Sea and others) is Condo Horro, a project that combats “the effects of gentrification and soulless development” by building some walls of his own. It’s actually a pretty funny concept, so I’m glad Seattle’s sweetheart Felicia Gaggins aka Masturbatory Dysfunction, got him to lighten up a bit with this release, from the cover art collages of oiled up porno dudes with space needledicks to the suggestive track titles. The Condo Horro side is a 30 minute slab of crushing static that keeps feeling heavier, while Gaggins follows it up on side B with another half hour of filthy friction. From Seattle to Silicon Valley, we’re all getting fucked!

Myrkfaelni #2 [coll] – [Myrkfaelni]

lexi glass   5/1/2018   A Library, Cassette

Relive KFJC’s summer vacation in Reykjavik with this cassette compilation accompanying the release of the second edition of MYRKFÆLNI, a zine that spotlights underground Icelandic artists. The founders of MYRKFÆLNI (Icelandic for “fear of the dark”), Kinnat Sóley and Sólveig Matthildur (in the punk trio Kaelan Mikla), were our gracious hosts for our two-day live broadcast Live from the Icelandic Underground in September 2017. Many of the artists from that festival appear here: World Narcosis with dissonant despair (T1), IDK IDA with an ethereal ballad (T2), Holdgervlar with cold melancholia (T13), and crowd favorite Godchilla, with a heavy tribute to Akira (T12). There’s new stuff too, including dark synthy dance tracks (T3, T5, T7, T11), metal (T4, T8), ambient (T9), hardcore (T10), and even a punky Christmas carol (T6). Limited release cassette that came with the first 200 issues of the zine, both now a part of our library.

BLSPHM – I Can’t Die Here – [Dead Accents]

Lord Gravestench   4/28/2018   A Library, Cassette

BLSPHM is the solo project of Demian Johnston, Sutekh Hexen member and resident of the Pacific Northwest. While the smashed mandibles on the cover, like something recovered from the site of a plane crash, suggest extreme violence and depravity, this is not harsh industrial music but creepy cinematic drone. Slow-bleeding delays smooth out voices, single keyboard notes, strings or ???? into minimalistic soundscapes, soundtrack to torpid evil in desolate places, like the wind whistling through the empty crypts of a long-abandoned castle, or a massive shark drifting on the cold currents of mid-oceanic depths, or a mutilated body decomposing in an unmarked grave. Shuddering low ends and electronic moans. Play with TenHornedBeast, Deathprod or the more subdued utterances of Gog. That kind of effluent malice and impending violence, subtle dissonance anticipating a jump scare that never happens. I’m not sure how many tracks it’s supposed to be but both 15-minute sides feel continuous. Maybe the B side progresses more. Now go to bed.

Torturing Nurse – “Coveryeye Is My Co-Pilots” – [Post-Materialization Music]

lexi glass   4/4/2018   A Library, Cassette

Torturing Nurse, founded by Cao “Junky” Junjun, is the band at the center of the Chinese noise scene, releasing a slew of material since 2004 (much of it on their own label Shasha) and collaborating with the likes of Government Alpha, K2, Macronympha and others. This 2017 cassette comes from the excellent Russian purveyor of sonic dementia Post-Materialization Music. The tape opens with a short track, with foreboding synth tones (Carlos’ The Shining theme) announcing the final descent into oblivion (T1). Two long tracks follow: the first, “Is sleeping,” is a lo-fi filthy rainbow roar (T2), “My Glue” moves to a higher key with surges of sound that grab onto each of your ears and pull, stretch, skew whatever’s in between them (T3). The track ends with convulsions and slobbering that moves into the live track “Co-Taeyang” (T4) with screamed vocals and sneakers squeaking around unidentifiable metallic clashes. More Shanghai noise!