Music Reviews

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.

Obeast Mixtape Vol 1 [coll] – [Obeast]

humana   3/20/2012   A Library, Cassette

This compilation of fuzzy, droning, whirring, mechanical, feedback laden noise will be right up a lot of folks’ alleys. I have selected the ones with melodies going on within. Sometimes there are voices speaking or humming, and sometimes there’s a bird singing. Mostly, though, it sounds like washing machines whirring and chain saws screeching. Enough to set your teeth on edge as you go racing for the Advil.

Satoshi Kanda / Nick Hoffman [coll] – [Pilgrim Talk]

Thurston Hunger   2/29/2012   A Library, Cassette

Cassette release from adventurous Pilgrim Talk label,
with the label leader Nick Hoffman delivering the
heavy duty b-side. A 22+ minute wandering number in
the electronic wasteland, where the sun hums and
the birds are static clicks that flutter by. Lots
of silence between sonic valleys, so be prepared to
be soothed, even the the start which delivers more
industrial sizzle has a rough but reassuring texture.
The Kanda pieces I need to understand more about.
I dig the first movement, with it’s shrill blasts to
separate the meat from the bone of your inner ear.
A switch is thrown to connect the charge, over a
steady drone for most of the piece. Kind of feels like
metal dragging behind a car, making a circuit for
the louder sounds, but tinkling at other times. I
think it stops at 6:30, unless there are canine
frequencies after that. Then the second movement just
seems to be a constant hum, with more than 2X the
length, so not sure about the simulataneous nature of
it. Is it the 2nd derivative of the 1st at half speed?
Formulas may be at work, but evaded my ear/mind.
Dig the first and the last though.

-Thurston Hunger

Robair, Gino – “Noisebox (e.11.b)” – [Holy Cheever Church]

Grizzly Adam   2/17/2012   A Library, Cassette

Rotatables, rotor sparks, spit sounds from a straw in low
soda and exhaling. Tufts of air. Creaky hinges, space
sound efx for play miniatures. Mighty mountain men mine.
Toad’s wild ride on car and galloping horse. Emulating
expensive electronics via simple acoustic exploration
of Modern products for home, office, sport, business,
recreation, and entertainment. All your most annoying
poor table manners rolled into one cassette double
sided janus faced object collage, musical play room.
Kids would dig it, so can you. Compositionally noise
as diverse as a purist might make. A branch against
a fence as you walk by, a strong twig against the steel
poles of a fence as you walk by. A blender with ball
bearings inside set on super low speed. Sputtering
alien babble.
-Eveningly Infinitely Wipes Scrub Sonny Atoms Grizzly

Hands to – “Cicuye” – [Yugen Art]

cinder   2/16/2012   A Library, Cassette

Super headphone music. Natural field recordings from various monuments in Arizona, Utah and Colorado. Navajo Indian Reservation, Sunset Crater, Battle Rock , etc. What you have is pretty much what sounds like someone accidentally hit record on their Walkman and left it in their pocket. The sound of the clear skies blow across the microphone, giving it that wide open space feel. Footsteps, and moving of the recording device are the only other sounds that are really prevalent. Possibly some camping gear. It’s interesting from a voyeuristic point of view.

Coxhill, Lol – “Bald Soprano Companion, The” – [Tak Tak Tak]

mickeyslim   2/11/2012   Cassette, Jazz

Coxhill is a prolific solo soprano and sopranino sax player. this album is supposed to accompany a book of the same name, which is a biography of Coxhill’s life. Half of the songs were written for the album, others were recorded live or come from soundtracks.

The music changes from groovin boppy sax riffs to wonky squeaks and high pitched expirimentation. Very versatile player. Feels like a “best of” album. Long tracks good for mixing since it’s all solo saxophone work. Great expirimental imporv here.

mickey slim

White Gourd – “III The Empress XIV Temperance” – [Self-release]

Grizzly Adam   2/1/2012   A Library, Cassette

Is there a live chicken in the house? Probably just effects, yet this and a percussion introduction brings out the village in the city, the wilderness into downtown. A speaker who might be announcing grand day, as a ringing metal instrument marks the sound jovial as in a church with music accompaniment. Sudden hair rising and blood curdling voice enters, and still in time we return to a tranquil garden in sound-oppolis, where there are animals stirring, friends lounging around reading, piano, guitar, and sax played by Suzanne Stone who also vocalizes, making dinosaur voices, chant, and languid, has words to say. Track 2 is in parts a horrific sound scape, and in others the sound of a heritage festival. Some accordion in here as well. Nice.
-Eveningly Infinitely Wipes Scrub Sonny Atoms Grizzly Adam

3 Moons – “Almanac of The Dead” – [Psyop Recordings]

Grizzly Adam   2/1/2012   A Library, Cassette

Folk pop. Actual swamps and instrumental #4. Well trodden paths and LANGUAGE #5. Upbeat #2. Instrumental #8. Like the Mumlers? #1 and #3. Nice accordion #9. For the living and then maybe the dead. Donated from the Fake Hospital group, which #10 reminds me of.
LANGUAGE Track 5 – shit

-Eveningly Infinitely Wipes Scrub Sonny Atoms Grizzly Adam

Haptic – “Scilens” – [Fss]

Grizzly Adam   2/1/2012   A Library, Cassette

First Note: “Mingus Plays Piano”.
Exterior grooves in fist-sized metal clang when struck, being thrust downward to bang on it’s symmetrically opposed double. Some that are actual used sources; Sewing machine, location recording (field recording or found sound.) Clanky in the construction. Over blown horn squeak, air flow fault, cavernous or in closure surround sound water and trickle inside the piano with a scrape object with a little piano unikey expression upward increasing dynamic, sound of cylindrical air tubes, blow horn, a distant thunder heard from inside faint. Breathing, breathy word mutter and less than a minute inside. Violin in a slide technique, only a few are done and in a just as much done still fewer in a small range. Emulating boat creak, a process, massive object, and slow to change. Heart pound bass sudden, accompanies with fainter drum from tom tom or the like
(parade drum). Wind in rain, tapping a window. A fairly encircled tonal range, trebly. Fuzz from the cassette originals comes to the front and gets accompaniment. A loose cling together is once again encircling. This time a higher pitch tonal area is revealed as being with more drone elements than done so for the crinkly start and progressions. Near nothing yet it might be an organ, of what sounds like a chord, you can spot it out. And 10 minutes in, the sound dissipates into a few closing notes on drum. That was track 1. #2 Bass to rumble, wind against glass, and muted snare roll builds to be the largest sound until dissonant harmonies come up quicker than a lab grows cultures. A very loud track. Manual alarm to sudden quiet and electronic invis-a-drone. Folds into clock seconds, tick tock and end. #3 More like the guitar drone stuff of frontier. Pulse active, trance sleep and evening, at night, calm collected, doing sewing grinding etc. The more liminal stuff that goes with a band like Gog. There is a coda ending this piece where
some creative use of silence was done so be aware. #4 More of a noise piece, with longer, more sustained, noise sources. Flickering, scanning, and printing. Pan percussion or cymbals. To ambient electronica. Sudden silence here too, and on into a piano coda. #5 Skipping portable CD player. Rain noise (almost) humming acoustic sound, and screechy electronics that drone. Fire crackle, and marbles.
-Eveningly Infinitely Wipes Scrub Sonny Atoms Grizzly Adam

White Gourd – “Unprotected Sax” – [Karamazov Tapes]

Thurston Hunger   12/14/2011   A Library, Cassette

Fall-out from the recent Fake Hospital check-up. and fantastic
fall-out at that. If you’re the kind of person who would walk
over white-hot coals in pursuit of Grouper, Weyes Blood sort
of sounds, prepare for the smell of burning flesh. White
Gourd is apparently Suzanne Stone, her tarot workout includes
loops of synth, spell-bound sax, and echoes of her voice
in mirrors. She can get abrasive too in bursts. Screams aboard
the alien abduction on “Clever Clux Twins.” Shrill vox in the
“Ice Caverns” are going to cave them right in.?? But most of this
is really pretty in that raw blitzing way. It’s a great kitch
sinking with the television on, and cheap elecrtric
birds short circuiting, and her high priestess-ness getting
higher in waves of sound. Inspired lunacy, do not leave this
Stone cassette unturned.

Tart tantrum tantra
Tease tenseness to tinnitus
Tarot cards on fire

Cazukay – “Untitled Cassette 2009” – [Scotch Tapes]

Grizzly Adam   12/3/2011   A Library, Cassette

1 – Industrial, Sudden Infant, backyard percussion, pvc pipe, wood shingles, ceramic pots (with mics inside), chimes played like a gamelon. 2 – Aquarium bubbles with an underwater mic. Surface blops, and the oxygenator, eye liminals outer edge most flickering tears of perceptual reality and ultimate light (always away from what you are looking at.) Snow winds, slope sport ready conditions. Hiking down to a ravine in a canyon, watery overflow as you prepare a bucket of soap to wash your car (which, if you ever wanted to listen to for hours on end, here is your chance.) 3 – A further inside sound, if 2 was feet into the earth, this is a mile into the earth, if you have such a tunnel machine. Calls back saying “Hey Hey.” Mostly the sound of open mics (if I’m not mistaken, perhaps just the cassette hiss.) Definitely evokes mining and tunnel travel to me as you hail those you pass going on the cart tracks. These don’t track through too. Zooming by too quick for your eye to hold onto anything. Or maybe like a stomach churning. Towards the opening towards the end of the ride is the gateway, announced by a timpaniesque pounding, a plodding rhythm by a slave master. 4 – Space take off, jets and fuel burn. Earthy, pouring of dirt, highly amplified. Inner chambers of still further sound. 5 – Waterfall with successive putting into the water and out of the water like a towel. 6 – Electro-acoustic performance, laptop as well I suppose. Showering the audience with sounds from washing clothing by hand with a wash board, to closing. -Eveningly Infinitely Wipes Scrub Sonny Atoms Grizzly Adam

Minutiae – “Plane Sight” – [Stunned Records]

cinder   4/28/2011   A Library, Cassette

Spacey, floaty ambient planetarium in the aquarium music. Electronics and more. A glitch element is had… Definitely has a beat, but you can’t dance to it. Rainforest dreams and bird chirps on track 8! Track 9 has the most rhythmic beat. Some have abrupt endings, so beware. Very nice and high on the chill out factor. Good summer breeze music. Originally on cassette.

Red Math – “Unhinged” – [Digitalis Industries]

Belladonna   4/27/2011   A Library, Cassette

aka Lance Dibblee. I hated this at first. Its a perplexing mix of harsh noize, bleeps, “industrial dance”, glitchy frenetics and techno. So you can see why I was confused. It has a hollow analog quality that bugs me and I wish it wasn’t so noize-y. The choices are noize or beats and nothing in between it seems. I preferred the simple nature of tracks 6 & 10 but I think there is definitely something to be found for everyone.

Goldmann, Stefan – “haven’t i seen you before” – [Tapeworm, The]

Thurston Hunger   4/20/2011   A Library, Cassette

First I got to get something off my eChest. I find the cassette
revival frustrating on a couple of levels, from sound quality to
just the drag of getting them into KFJC’s airstream. Hell, images of
the loose tape spewing out a car window have returned like killer
whales to my nightmares…and inserting a pencil into my mind to
rewind away the pain does not help. That being said, yes I get the
anti-piracy attack, (and thank you pirates for making vinyl more
viable). Or course counter-coolness of the underground badge factor
connects (but please let us avoid 8-tracks) and of course I can
easily come to grips with the old Mishima notion that lo-fi flaws
accentuate high-art beauty… I guess I would rather see more
artful packaging for dread CDR burns, or wearable musical memory
sticks of something…

But now turning to this release in proper…it is perhaps the
paramount example of why one should love cassettes. Goldmann has
concocted a moebius mind trip of looping, that relies upon the
inherent two-way nature of cassettes. His notes state “Press REV on
your autoreverse deck at any time to enter the loop.” So that son of
an ourobourus has got a reversible release (which is even better
than the old cassette thing of stop/rewind/replay for your sonic
addiction). The work here has an “Evening Star” kind of stillness,
clean ringing guitar, doubly amped taking cues of percussion
from the immediate interaction of player and instrument as well
as the softer soundwaves. Gotta to love the heartbeat/railroad
clicking/tapping tracks 3/8. Other sections have what I first
though were micro-sample delays, till I read more. There is a very
intimate tactile presence on this solo guitar work, but upon
checking Tapeworm out it is not necessarily immediate. Evidently
Goldmann (who is the same DJ behind beat bopping techno), fumbled
his way on guitar to generate massive material, and then took his
ear and editing expertise to hand-craft this. Thus making the
title even more genius than the nod to the love of the loopy
cassette. I do think the release stands fine as it is, and have no
qualms with the genitive splicing myself (this tops a lot of Derek
Bailey for me, even if it ain’t improv by the book…it’s improved
improv). Pretty damn classy in conception and construction.

-Thurston Hunger

Stern, Marnie – “Demo” – [Dog Daze]

lombard   4/5/2011   A Library, Cassette

On this cassette release simply titled Demo, we get a chance to hear solo demo recordings recorded at home by Marnie Stern back in 2006. Released just a few months back in January 2011, this cassette showcases Marnie Stern’s talents before she was signed to Kill Rock Stars in 2007. Instrumentation can be quite hectic, calling to mind Melt-Banana’s frenetic guitar genius in places. Yet it can also be poetic with spoken word-style lyrics, along the lines of Miranda July or Bongwater. There are also more melodic parts to this, illuminating her lovely voice.

Pushkin, A. – “Figure, The” – [Avant Archive]

Belladonna   3/23/2011   A Library, Cassette

aka Alexey Pushkin, also goes by the name of “Analog Concept”. This is an unusual combination of raw and crunchy beats with moments of menace and of cricket hums, then techno-y beats and rounded out with lovely and melodic ambiance. There are moments of all of my favorite electronic elements, there is something for everyone which makes it excellent.

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