Music Reviews

Sutherland, Randy Lee – “Lip Music Swamp” – [Underwater Experience]

Thurston Hunger   7/18/2012   A Library, Cassette

Feels more like Eno than Evan Parker. Randy Lee Sutherland
whips his winds across multitracked landscapes. Each piece
feels mathematically similar; featuring a lot of notes,
and yet achieving a drone-like effect. Even though the same
notes are scattered rapidly in a stochastic manner.
Hyperdrone? Sutherland does mix in different instruments
(the whistle on A3 tilts that piece towards a calliope, on
other pieces the alto sax provides the more swampy vibe of
the title.) This cassette has a consistent feel, but each
piece has its own unique personality, or at least flavor.
The multitracking of similar note patterns feels like rain
drop ripples on a lake. At other times, like the outset
of B3, it sounds like the chattering of a flock of birds.
Might even be some timing algorithm underneath it all? The
random nature defies the tranquility of more typical drone.
Sutherland achieves an odd blend of easy and uneasy, and a
paradox of static sound built from a lot of movement.
Another fine experience from Patrick Mullins’ Underwater
Experience label.

-Thurston Hunger

3 Moons – “Kult Ur O Man Cor” – [Psyop Recordings]

Max Level   6/26/2012   A Library, Cassette

Drone-based musical adventures, layered and overdubbed on a 4-track Tascam. You’ll hear some noise elements, scrambled sounds, and messed-up vocals now and then, but for the most part this seems to be guitars and other instruments playing patterns and making textures. Tracks 3, 7, 8, 9 and 10 are pretty laid-back; the other tracks are more on the fidgety side. Nice concepts here. I think this is a one-man project but I’m not sure.

Woolen Men – “Hair of The Night, The” – [Eggy]

Thurston Hunger   6/20/2012   A Library, Cassette

So excited on first hearing this at http://woolenmen.bandcamp.com as I wrote to Raf who runs the label and drums in this band, there are many great things at play here. Bassist Alex Geddes is so crucial, he’s neither bored nor boring. Once you get past the excellent Sun Ra-esque overloading keyboard vamp on the first track, Geddes bassline for “West Coast” latches on like a leach to your ears and will not let go. Why isn’t there more pop music as driving and catchy as this? The song-writing is right on as well, bits of Nothing Painted Blue or the Wedding Present or Smog but bottled up by a New Zealand kind of glistening vibe.They improve upon the Flamin’ Groovies’ “Over My Head”, keeping all the innocence while cranking up the jangle. And they take The Fairytale’s “Guess I Was Dreaming” and make it less smooth more driving and kniving, but keeping the piano droplets. On all tracks a dirty, but dappled, production adds character. There even a few souped-up, psych’d out harmonies. Really a diverse showcase of solid song-writing, this hit me at the right time in the right spot, and keeps on delivering with each replay. Can we skip the heavy metal revival, and jump to infectious addled pop that tastes like it was made from scratch and not out of glossy cookbooks. Hell, the Woolen Men are there already. This is one golden Eggy!

-Thurston Hunger

Drainolith – “Ain’t No Sunshine” – [Sun Ark]

abacus   6/19/2012   A Library, Cassette

No direct relation to the classic Bill Withers tune, but this debut solo release from AIDS Wolf guitarist Alexander Moskos does have some soul! We have the jarring angularities that made his previous work so painfully pleasant, but with a much more constrained, personal approach. The first two tracks are a little deceiving, with sparse, jilted tonalities and awkwardly paced drum machine hiccups but then we fall into warped guitar noodlings that are much too?? soggy to be outright blues, but maintain a distinct twang and blues phrasing. The fuzzy, muted distortion gives it a claustrophobic, trapped in plumbing, feel, where the twisted guitar tangents swirl into the sewer depths with all the other human waste. Only 150 copies and out on Sun Araw’s Sun Ark label.

Allerseelen – “Schwartzer Rab” – [Aorta]

Roland Blunt   6/13/2012   A Library, Cassette

Schwartzer Rab (“Black Raven”) is a circa 1989 performance by Allerseelen (“All Souls Day”): Austrian musician Gerhard Petak (aka Caedmon). Inspired by nature, alchemy, ritual, as well as the existentialist, nihilist, anarchist, and reactionary writing of Friedrich Nietzsche, Ernst Junger, and Julius Evola, this sonic material emanates a reflective, brooding, post-industrial, dark ambient moodscape. Apparently, this recording was actually a shamanic ritual disguised as a dramatic act…its reverance focused on the role of the raven in mythology as a messenger…trixter…creator…destroyer…a mediator between spititual and material realms. Track 1 consists of the background music that was implemented during the main performance, and Tracks 2-6 are related material recorded the same month. Each subsequent movement utilizes a similar deployment of synthesizers, samples, loops, effects and live intrumentation as the primary piece…but with varied mixing and concentration of sound.

Track 1 (29:47)…entrancing, distraught, numinous, oblique and gloomy. An aural harbinger fraught with a gripping cadence, trembling notes, and reiterate screeches.

Golgotha Communications LTD. – “Diet’a z dobrej rodiny” – [Scotch Tapes]

Roland Blunt   5/23/2012   A Library, Cassette

Circa 2009 cassette issue by Philadelphia, PA trio…Josef K, Greco-Norwegian, and Penny Petticoat…recording as Golgotha Communications LTD. An enthralling necromantic synthesis of dark ambience, mangled voices, samples, noise, electronics, effects, tape manipulation…neoteric in their exploitation of silence, repetition, pattern, inversion, accumulation, and the gross amalgamation of sound incidents from track to track…mellifluous, disturbed, solemn, introverted, peaked…slanted more so toward classical musique concrete than modern industrial wanderings. Hypnotic disseminations from a tenebrous cabal that sagaciously crack your attention. Decant this potion into your earhole, forthwith. Side A/Side B both approximately 22 minutes. “Diet’a z dobrej rodiny” means “Child From a Good Family” in slovak…and he’s apparently concerned with the problem of sex…

Nodolby – “Eggy 17” – [None]

cinder   5/21/2012   A Library, Cassette

Three tracks of supreme noise. Rushing electronics and ear twingers. Don’t judge a cassette by its cover – the Alice in Wonderland tea and biscuits type table artwork is lovely, but the sounds are more like the Mad Hatter can’t find his sugar cube and decided to through his robots in the blender. Harsh noise for those who love to be face grated. If you need a more mellow meld, the last track is actually quite different, more of an ambient melody floating through the industrial chimes.

Das Energi – “Recitations” – [Sonic Meditations]

mickeyslim   5/16/2012   A Library, Cassette

Sonic MEditation is a very appropriate label name for these folky acoustic acid jams from Steve Lande. Melodic, sparse, and spacey, the guitar and electronics mixture sounds like Abacus and Ann Arbor’s airchecks mixed together. Creepy but strangely uplifting.

U.X.X. – “instrumentals” – [Self Released]

abacus   5/16/2012   A Library, Cassette

Collaboration between local noise artists (members of Riqis, Al Qaeda, Sutekh Hexen) Psychedelic mixture of organic and synthetic sounds with sax, synth, voice and computer beats augmenting the scene. Track 1 starts as a wavering synth drone that moves between an empty warehouse and a quivering tone before a rumbling takes over and the bottom heavy, broken hip hop beats take over. Feedback oscillations abound in the thunder only to be broken by a sudden broken glass as a glitched, factory beat sets in and we’re absorbed in a bouquet of noise. Voices echo from nowhere, augmenting the ethereal feel until suddenly prayer bells signal a move to an oceanside gathering of tribal dragonflies and a peaceful drone fighting an incessant feedback. Track 2 drops immediately into some deep hip hop instrumentals amidst a background of screeching and bass reverberations all warped like its encapsulated in a bubble. A fog washes over and we’re dropped into an ice cavern deep inside a mountain where every sound is amplified in the endless reverb. There, with all our senses deprived of stimuli except the freezing cold echoes we sink into a dreamworld, launching out to the edges of the universe. There we meet a series of chopped up beats that culminate in a fury of noise and then cut out very suddenly. Self-released tape produced for Amnesia’s last noise show 5/15/12. Amazing live!

Dead Drums – “Fashion Defense / Human Hair” – [Bathetic]

Thurston Hunger   5/9/2012   A Library, Cassette

Probably should not have fallen asleep in the bathtub
again, but this Dead Drums release on Bathetic definitely
drifts a body down, through the drain and into another
world. Steamy slurry vox sometimes, and that one-winged
chick, the pop priestess is summoned. Home-spun, with
tap-water guitar, and a clear murkiness to the production.
Results in a barbituate cassette. Lo-fi badge of courage,
and a MOR rock hangover, seeping into various karaoke dreams
(forever Everly on #6, and Nicks knacks on #9). Haze
on top of haze, with guitar as a mesh.?? Caleb Moore is
the Calgonian at work here, also in a band called Lands
and Peoples. The full (double EP) plays really well
in its entirety, a better chance for submerging. Track #13
is a two-fer, beware silence from 3:45 till 4:38. It has
a bowed start, and then circling bubbles of guitar. Bohren
and Der Bathrobe of Baltimore drip electic piano drops on
#7. Shoe gaze without the shoes? Sink into it…

-Thurston Hunger

[coll] Sagan Genesis – “Mollusk In Water” / Waxy Tomb – “Take One, Try All” – [Weird Forest]

Roland Blunt   5/2/2012   A Library, Cassette

Split cassette collection from, Sacramento-based, Weird Forest Records featuring two KDVS (UC Davis Radio/ TechnoCultural Studies) related sound artists: Sagan Genesis (John Brumley) & Waxy Tomb (Julia Litmer-Cleper). A subtly drastic synthesis of electronic signals, field recordings, voice, and noise elements deployed through explorations of avante-garde recording, editing, mixing techniques.

Side A – Sagan Genesis…(0:00-14:26) entropic, subaqueous plumes of resonate noise meander, pitch, squish, burble, brood, surge within an extramundane realm. (14:26-19:59) placid buoyant plashes surface. (19:59-23:46) precipitate toggle to an enchanted swell of chimes. (23:46-28:21) toggle to a blushing phlegmatic carousel of synth. (28:21-29:59) toggle to a country tune superimposed within a field recording of classroom lecture. *False ending @ 29:38*

Side B – Waxy Tomb…Ten tracked movements of psychoactive otherworldly transmissions…pulses, vibrations, squeaks, squelches, rumbles,??demented device noodling, mutated voices, eerie synth swells, eruptions of twisted electronics, rhythmic industrial leanings…warped narration of noise-powered contrivances struggling into motion.

Mullins, Patrick – “Farewell, Friend and Helper” – [Underwater Experiences]

Roland Blunt   5/2/2012   A Library, Cassette

Solo work from Patrick Mullins: former member of Burmese, and Orinoka Crash Suite. Delicate blend of field recordings, synthesizer, electronics, tape manipulation, acoustic and electric guitar. A mellow, captivating, deep listening experience…with select moments of resounding intensity.

Side A : Track 1 (0:00-04:03)…breathy ambient washes. Track 2 (04:03-10:55)…crickets, tones, eerie silence, fumbling, gentle acoustic strumming. Track 3 (10:55-15:30)..swirling acoustic melody surrounded by squishy, electronic muck…intensified noise-drone-tone transmission rises during the last 01:54.

Side B: Track 1 (0:00-06:43)…reprised acoustic melody transforms into electro-ambient submersion of notes, tones and grumbles. Track 2 (06:43-08:57)…acoustic noodling, noise washes, traffic, footsteps, birds chirping. Track 3 (08:57-16:15)…languid acoustic picking overtaken by persistent tone-drones swells, footsteps in wet sand/dirt guide you out.


Deep Magic – “Balance” – [Deep Tapes]

cinder   4/13/2012   A Library, Cassette

A fellow by the name of Alex Gray. Recorded using a laptop, drum machine, guitar, synth, and bamboo sax. Loops and magical sounding drones. Cassette cover features clouds with triangles and circle cut-outs, very representative of the sound. These are more uplifting, bubbly types of repetitive electronics – a sort of desert psych feel.

Sea Zombies – “It Died In Africa” – [Digitalis Industries]

cinder   4/13/2012   A Library, Cassette

John Xela and Brad Rose (The North Sea) are the minds behind this terror. Two 20 minute tracks of darkness and despair. The first having a dirty drone with a man ranting on in a foreign language (African men speaking in French), sounds religious in the manner he’s speaking, and the title – repent – concludes that thought. He disappears about halfway through, the drone thickens, then he’s back to finish it out. The second track has a different approach, with a lighter, synth loop, but with the same man ranting and raving. Love how the music changes the way your perceive his speech.

Chapels – “That Incorrigible Death’s-Head” – [Robert & Leopold]

Roland Blunt   4/11/2012   A Library, Cassette

Droning, industrial noise-mospheric experimentation from Buffalo, NY-based artist, and force behind House Of Alchemy label, Adam Richards. Two, side-long compositions of abstract sonic creep-age that lurch, scrape and grub at your brainium. Acoustic feedback, delay loops, as well as live manipulation of equipment, objects and voice are exploited to fashion soundscapes that inspire an acute texture of distress.

Side A (19:46) – Ethereal, portentous, distrait, maniacal tinkering….as icy moments of deep, alluring dread linger before the act.

Side B (20:19) – Jovian scour for terrestrial sap induces a timorous relent to a psycho-sonic fugue.

Mad Nanna – “I Made Blood Better” – [Goaty Tapes]

mickeyslim   4/3/2012   A Library, Cassette

Mad Nanna is Michael Zulicki who runs the Albert’s Basement label outside of Melbourne, Australia, where he resides. From what I gathered, Mickey (as they call him!) plays his skewed take on “pop” music, getting together with random musicians who sometimes haven’t heard the music before. Mostly lo-fi recordings make the album seem very live, like its coming at you from your living room, and at times, sounds like it’s coming from someone else’s. Some tracks sound like they’re very stripped down; metal trash cans and plastic tubs drum set and one chord songs with crappy mic volume, daddy likey.

The volume likes to fluctuate, but it only gives it a grittier more homemade sound, which I approve of on this album. Sometimes bluesy, sometimes psychy, also some popy numbers, and drudgier stuff as well. His guitar feels thrown together in the moment, keeping you waiting for the next note, but played precisely in time. Track 2 and 7 are spoken and 7 sounds like it might have a “fuck you” on it. Mad Nanna has some 7″s?? out also, would love to see more of this group in the library! Eat it up!

PGM: track 7 (B3) may have a “fuck you” on it.

Monypeny, Derek – “Limerence” – [Underwater Experience]

mickeyslim   3/22/2012   A Library, Cassette

Limerence (n), term coined in ’77 to describe the strong romantic attraction to someone else, coupled with the obsessive need for the feelings to be reciprocated by the limerant object. This cassette will undoubtedly be the limerant object for many DJ’s up here at KFJC. Monypeny uses electric oud and the electric guitar, making this release less Middle Eastern influenced. The first track on side A starts off in the middle of a cloud of bees swarming around and around, distracting you from something. That something comes unexpectedly and sounds like a robotic Godzilla tearing apart cars at the junkyard. Second track is more of a lucid underwater naptime dream. Three is hypnotic ambient single notes until halfway it stops and turns into a handdrum jam.

Then turn this sucker over and experience the 17:00 long track. Sparse sounds warbling by, slowly building and building to drop back down, never really hitting a peak. Awesome job here, and I think many will enjoy, especially with all the love Don’t Bring Me Down, Bruce has been getting. Get your fix…

Mickey Slim

Winters In Osaka – “Mind Burrow” – [Self-release]

Laethaka   3/21/2012   A Library, Cassette

Two track self-released cassette from Chicago “creep ambient” band. Track 1 is pretty much a dub- undulating waves of noise for several minutes, maybe good bed music. Track 2 is the real meat- extremely raw and layered vocals over grating rhythms that get increasingly cut up by whines and impacts. More ambient black metal than most “ambient black metal”. Very strange but not terribly painful.

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