KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Black Spirituals – “Black Interiors” – [Ratskin Records]

abacus   2/10/2016   A Library, Cassette

Oakland duo collective rooted in the intersection of diversity and experimentalism: Zachary James Watkins cradles his guitar with an intense focus and yearning for tonality, no patience for weak timbre; Marshall Trammell embracing the drumset with comprehensive inclusion and a fluidity that thrives on constant derailment. an engagement with space, an ontology of sound, defining the effects of location / depth / placement / orientation on audio perception. recorded each solo, as opposed to previous works where interaction is key, the artists are allowed to examine their individual energies in isolation. don’t adjust your levels, the distant volumes are intentional in the exploration: meditations in resonance

HSDOM – “untitled” – [Phaserprone]

humana   2/1/2016   A Library, Cassette

This release from the Brooklyn step sequencer contains four tracks, composed mainly of sounds that seem to come from the field, and vocal echoes that seem to come from the nethersphere. There are subtle beats that can be felt in the subconscious, and synth sounds that are most pronounced in Track 3. It’s a primal electronic type scritching on the nerves and yet sometimes it’s comforting.

Nielsdottir, Sigriour – “Grandma Lo-Fi: The Basement Tapes of Sigriour Nielsdottir” – [Hornbuckle Records]

humana   2/1/2016   A Library, Cassette

The sweet story of Grandma Lo-Fi is best read while listening to this compilation of her songs. Turning 70 marked the start of a musical career in which she sang, used household sounds (including purring kitties) and various kitchen percussion and toys, and recorded them on cassette. Iceland has its unique musicians, but this one takes the cake. Makes you look forward to turning 70 and coming into your own. Her percussive rhythms call to mind tribal beats that span the globe. Enjoy.

Placazoa Dicatorship – “Photograph of Prisoner” – [Subruckus Collective]

abacus   1/28/2016   A Library, Cassette

chaotic noise/jazz layering from local boy Kevin Murray; short attention span overload extreme with tape manipulation/sampling, found percussion skittering and vibraphone improv all stacked together for both sides of this cassingle on his homegrown label Subruckus. Work Life shows no balance with some metal track (ID anyone?) thrown over the top for extra confusion. sounds like someone listens to too much KFJC…

Shit Metaphor – “Theme For a No Tmrw / No Tmrw Never Came” – [Great Plains Records]

abacus   1/13/2016   A Library, Cassette

ragtag soliloquies from east bay duo, indie punkers down and out with a vengeance; angst and alienation laden catchy tunes with impressive execution, fluid fingerwork and endearing vocals. the listening flows best all the way thru on tape, with the instrumental mock ending hidden between. it’s that frustrating time where nothing goes right and everything is slow and difficult and you don’t seem to go anywhere but you keep trudging along. can’t let the pressure keep you down in the pit as you climb out of your valley of shit.

Death Monk – “Live On KFJC” – [Golden Slipper Records]

billiejoe   1/13/2016   A Library, Cassette

Santa Cruz psychedelic funeral ritual sludge doom. They are Friar Eric on guitar and vocals, Friar Jeffery on bass, Friar Sleeper on organ and synthesizers, and Friar Samuel on drums.
Slow and basey it builds and then holds perfectly. Friar Eric shreds. Friar Samuel smacks hard. This is my new meditation soundtrack.
— Billie Joe Tolliver

Zylo, Arvo – “Sequencer Works, Vol. 2” – [Forever Escaping Boredom]

abacus   1/13/2016   A Library, Cassette

recorded between 2000-03 with Yamaha Rm1x sequencer in a closet or crawlspace. industrial cartoon mutations of layered loops and tethered chaos; much of the sequences took up the entire memory, full of arcade boss-level malfunctions, metal slug invaders. among Arvo Zylo’s most musical work, not harsh noise in itself but not easy listening either. compiled from dozens of hours of archives of limited and unreleased material. 9 fucks given

Enemie – “040615 & 042115” – [Uncle Daddy]

abacus   12/9/2015   A Library, Cassette

dubwise grime from mysterious electronic beatsmaker out of USA (i want to say it’s east bay but no way to verify). live recorded for grit production but slick beats nonetheless (in aesthetic, not quality). perfect for late night chinatown wandering, flashing lights abound; freeway traffic maneuvers and dizzy all-night haze. simmer and shake

Pekak! Indonesian Noise 1995-2015 [coll] – [End of The Alphabet Records]

abacus   12/9/2015   A Library, Cassette

musician/promoter Indra Menus spent 5 years compiling this glimpse into the Indonesian underground, documenting a history of noise from a scattering of diverse cultures comprising the archipelago. a vast variety of sounds, from standard HNW (1,2,5), to industrial noise (3), noise rock (4), noise drone (6,18), noisecore (9,12), noise glitch (13,15), and all sorts of unclassifiable variants of the noise genre; some of the tracks (8,10) definitely reveal their cultural influence more prominently and stand out as distinctly unique examples of sonic rarity. unheard sounds from a country notorious for its lack of documentation, this is a historical gem of musical documentation.

Nyodene D – “Bound Oak and Ashen Grain” – [Self Released]

Rat King   11/18/2015   A Library, Cassette

An aural tribute to history geekdom and environmentalist hipster rage. ‘Bound Oak and Ashen Grain’ is a compilation of two previous Nyodene D releases: the ‘Atop Masada’ cassette and ‘Mouths That Reap the Harvest’ LP. We currently have neither.

Sida A deals with honour and rebellion during the First Jewish-Roman War, with emphasis on the Sicarii and their weird obsession with killing people to spite the Romans. Side B is about humans (represented by rats) plundering Earth out of greed, and how they will inevitably get the devastating end they have coming to them. It also has an Elder Futhark runic divination theme. Lyrics for both sides are printed on the insert.

It’s death industrial: too structured for noise, too pretty for power electronics. Our test group described it as sounding like ‘being tuned between stations’ and ‘applause, but far away’. Long tracks, distorted dirge vocals, a little bit of melodic sensibility, and a preference for analog noise-tools and unusual instruments (Side A makes use of a mellotron, B3 has a trumpet).

Side A is the the more ambient of the two, and the long track lengths (about fifteen minutes each) allow enough time for sinking in, one way or another. They have a slow, sort of pulsing structure and crumbling, smoldering feel that can pull you in or make you sick. A2 (‘Sicarii’) is my favourite of the two.

Side B is a little angrier and ritualistic with its war-drums, layered vocals and shrieking synths, but it also feels more focused (and is preferred by yours truly). B1 clocks in at about 14:27, but B2 and B3 are more manageable at around seven minutes each. B2 has guest vocals by Stephen Petrus (of Murderous Vision) and employs the classic ‘we raped Mother Earth’ imagery loved by angry hippies across the musical spectrum. Again, B3 has a trumpet on it. Respect the trumpet.

Breathing Patterns – “All Beat Up” – [Self Release?]

abacus   10/26/2015   A Library, Cassette

self-declared experimental post-punk out of San Jose. teeth gritting guitar riffage and bellowing bass and drums accompany; snarling vocal delivery gives you that punk rock grimace with spacious song writing that still manages to move and change. these guys got skills and a sound all their own in a sea of same-sounding rock music (the 90s were pretty fuckin awesome though)

Cop Warmth – “Trash Gods” – [Self-release]

abacus   9/16/2015   A Library, Cassette

new ep from self-proclaimed Houston’s Most Hated – Cop Warmth return with their low-down-dirty-trash-punk-noise-rock. unrelenting riffage with more guitars (or guts) than you can fit in any college dorm room; thick viscous sound recorded like shit just like it deserves (maybe an FCC on B1 but the vocals are all mush anyways). Trash Gods might be a bit ambitious but trash kings I’ll give em. it’s a wonder In the Red picked up on them at all…

Dead Gakkahs – “Demo” – [Ormolycka]

abacus   9/2/2015   A Library, Cassette

feral female thrashcore trio out of Seoul pound out 7 track demo in under 7 minutes; blistering energy and broken faced dynamics, these quick blasts carry a lot of power and leave basements trashed around the globe.

Miscreant – “Birthright” – [New Forces]

abacus   7/22/2015   A Library, Cassette

hate crime manifestations from this San Jose powerelectronics duo. piercing squall of churning harsh feedback, the title track layered pandemonium while the untitled track is more of a calculated attack. what terror humanity is capable of

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