KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Fossil Aerosol Mining Project – "Scaath Catfish" – [Afterdays Media]

cinder   9/23/2020   A Library, CD

A densely fog covered trip down the rivers of an ancient faux bayou. This is Fossil’s ode to the water, mud, muck and scum of the twisted veins of aqua throughout the lands. Post-industrial sound design, field recordings, found sounds, static tones, distant birds chirping….a collage of ambient distortions and harmonic strings. Alien creature sightings and fluttering drones.

Calle 13 – "Los De Atras Vienen Conmigo" – [Norte]

aarbor   9/23/2020   CD, International

[Cah-Yay Treh-seh] is a Puerto Rican band and this is their 2nd release from 2010. The band consists of 2 half brothers and their step sister. The lyric style is sarcastic  and satiric. Poverty is a topic discussed in the lyrics here. The sounds include cumbia and Eastern European stylings. This was a very popular album and won a Latin Grammy. AArbor  

Siti Muharam – "Siti of Unguja (Romance Revolution On Zanzibar)" – [On The Corner Records]

aarbor   9/23/2020   CD, International

Siti Muharam is the granddaughter of Siti Binti Saad, an early 20th century singer who pioneered a new style of taarab featuring female singers. Taarab had been formal court music that combined Arabic and Swahili lyrics paving the way for a new generation of female taarab singers. In this her debut album, Muharam further reimagines the taarab tradition into a style very comfortable to modern Western ears.                                                           Zanzibar is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean just east of Tanzania and South of Kenya. Unguja is the large island just north of the Zanzibar archipelago. Historically these islands have been meetings place of cultures: the Indian spice trade/the African slave trade… Muharam’s music, which includes Western instruments along with traditional ones (oud and tablas), it reflects the Eastern Indian and African influences resulting in a smokey, delicious sound.  AArbor

Taha, Rachid – "Made In Medina" – [Mondo Melodia]

aarbor   9/23/2020   CD, International

This is Rachid Taha’s 3rd album from 2001. The first track Barra Barra appears in the trailer for Far Cry 2 a computer game, and 2 movie soundtracks: Black Hawk Down (2001) and The Hunting Party (2007). The musical sound combines his Algerian roots, techno, early rock and punk. Taha was influenced by the band Galactic and guitarist Steve Hillage at the time of this recording. He wanted to record in New Orleans because he saw parallels between African and American music and between the music of the African slaves who came to New Orleans and that of the Gnawas, the black desert tribes who became slaves of the Arabs in North Africa. New Orleans is like Algiers, both French colonies at one time. He thought that some of the local Louisiana Zydeco drum patterns are remarkably similar to Rai. His next album after this one is considered his bestseller, Diwan. Sadly Taha died of a heart attack in 2018. AArbor

Toned – “Private Sector” – [Shhpuma]

Max Level   9/22/2020   A Library, CD

Abstract pieces by this electroacoustic trio featuring alto sax, electronics, and drum set. Often crazy, jagged, blurting, and in your face, other times more restrained and seemingly thoughtful. I especially enjoy it when Tom Weeks uses his sax to make unusual sounds—squeaks and pops and flutters. Track 5 has a different flavor than the rest— it starts quietly with what could be water sounds but may be electronics; about 2/3 of the way into the track things get louder with something that sounds like train noises but who knows what it actually is, and then it ends quietly. There are a couple of tracks with snippets of conversations added, and those don’t do a whole lot for me. I like this release because it’s weird and messed up, but I hear it as mostly coherent sound—which is good—rather than random stuff thrown in just to be weird and messed up.

Pantha Du Prince – "Black Noise" – [Rough Trade]

cinder   9/18/2020   A Library, CD

Gorgeous third release from this German producer. Said to be born out of a period of musical exploration in the Swiss Alps, his sounds are often labeled as minimal techno. This is so full of sound though, very earthy and rich. Lush electronics, intriguing dance-able beats, organic instruments, field recordings, bells, tropical flairs. All instrumentals except track 4 which features vocals by Panda Bear (Noah Lennox of Animal Collective), and track 7 also has vocals but I’m not sure who, himself perhaps? It’s optimistic and beautiful!    

Trou – “Grjóthaugr” – [No Part of It]

whngr   9/17/2020   A Library, CD

“Trou” (pronounced trū ), french for “void” is the mysterious and prolific  rhythmic noise, harsh industrial project from France ca. 2012 to present. Three gloomy tracks of mind wipingly repetitive dark ambient/industrial fare suitable for the final round of stripping your captive of their ego. Apply liberally to the feeble minded in order to gain control and begin supplanting capitulation for autonomy as you guide them towards self destruction and they bend to your terrible will. Originally self-released on cassette in 2017 this outing is another delectable/detestable disc from Chicago label No Part Of It.

Nital Etch – “Simalacrum” – [No Part of It]

whngr   9/17/2020   A Library, CD

Eerie Cinematic Vignettes.

Haunting, serene, and at times unnerving like dreams of lovers long passed, entropy, and the death of hope. A collection of modulated strings, samples, and ambient sound collage by Washington state’s Kevin Lewis culled from unreleased selections by this magnificent composer, released August 2020 by the label No Part Of It  (Chicago). In a word, perfect.

Alefa Madagascar! (Salegy, Soukous, and Soul From The Red Island) – [coll] – [Strut]

aarbor   9/16/2020   CD, International

An outstanding 2019 release from Strut which showcases the popular music of Madagascar during a heyday of Malagasy popular music. Most recordings from Madagascar are traditional instruments and music, this one is not. Salegy is a fast tempo local dance based on 5/8 and 12/8 rhythms [tracks 1, 4]. Soukous  is from the Congo, brought into Madagascar’s music in the ‘60’s via the radio,  along with music from Kenya, South Africa and Mozambique.  At that time the newer styles and instruments replaced many of the traditional ones. Be sure to check out the Behind the Scenes Alefa Madagascar! Video on Youtube. The liner notes give a very rich and well researched guide of music in Madagascar. AArbor    

 

   

Cafe De Los Maestros – [coll] – [Surco Recrods]

aarbor   9/16/2020   CD, Soundtrack

The soundtrack to a documentary movie directed by Miguel Kohan featuring interviews with  musicians and singers from Argentina’s Golden Age of Tango ( 1940’s and ‘50’s – before Astor Piazzolla). Uruguay’s Lagrima Rios appears here on the 2nd track on both CDs. Two CDs worth of lovely antique tango music, the grandmother musically speaking of what you hear from Gotan Project, Bajofondo and others these days.

AArbor

Mogerman, Sol – “Wishbone Bridge” – [Self Release]

mickeyslim   9/13/2020   A Library, CD

I’ve been sitting on this doulbe CD release for something like 6 years. I don’t know why I never opened it. I don’t know where it sat all these years, but after I found it when I moved back to the Bay, it STILL sat, unlistened, for two years. So sorry, folks…. Simply put, this is amazing. Amazing music from an amazing musician with an amazing story.

This album was recorded well before Mogerman moved from California to British Colombia in 1985, when he ended up having a stroke due to a terrible car accident that made him unable to play guitar for twenty years, making this possibly the only recording/release of music before his accident. He has gone on to become a clinical counsellor, specializing in restoration of self-image after brain injury and trauma. Aside from being a musician, he is also an accomplished author and artist

Half of these 20 tracks are quick, fast-paced acoustic guitar songs with witty lyrics taken from on his wife, Gundula’s, poetry. The other half are improvised, jazz-ic, acoustic, living-room jams. Even the composed tracks have a freeform feel. Enjoy!

Floral – “Floral LP” – [Choke Artist]

mickeyslim   9/13/2020   A Library, CD

a washed out daydream
just beyond the greying clouds
find its way out of the rain.

a hurried pitter patter on
eaves, beating as if a
morse code from the heavens
is finally saying,
“… maybe not one day.”

a knock at the door,

a bird finding sanctuary
underneath your windowsill,

nighttime arrives
and, now, rain
drifting off,
the moonlight glistens
off the puddles
from
the cracks
in the sidewalk.

Mountain View math-rock duo. Beautifully melodic syncopation from Nate Sherman on guitar and Ty Mayer on drums. Delicate, masterful, stunning.

Vapourspace – "Themes From Vapourspace" – [Full Frequency]

cinder   9/11/2020   A Library, CD

Mark Gage is the man behind Vapourspace. He’s been recording since the ’80s, but his first release didn’t come out until the mid-90s. When he moved to NY, he called Plus 8 label-head Richie Hawtin (aka Plastikman) and eventually signed a contract, releasing his debut 10″ and eventually touring with Orbital, Moby and Aphex Twin in 1993. This album is his first full length release. Killer mid-90s techno, acid and dance (my personal favorite era for it). There’s some more mellow, abstract ambient alien spaceship trax in there as well, so pick your bpm and let’s gooooo!

Trio Linguae – “Signals” – [Origin Records]

aarbor   9/9/2020   CD, Jazz

Trio Linguae (lin-gwee) is trumpeter Kevin Woods, Guitarist John Stowell and pianist Miles Black. This is their debut release. It’s a collection of original works by Woods and Black and some others from the likes of Jobim, Wayne Shorter, Bill Evans and Harold Arlen.

AArbor

Trans-Global Underground – “Yes Boss Food Corner” – [Ark 21]

aarbor   9/9/2020   CD, International

Trans-Global Underground (or TGU) are from England. They are (by their own admission) “notorious from mixing musical styles and rhythms with a total disregard for musical genres, technological barriers and common sense. They create a unique space where cross-cultural musical diversity thrives.” Here the sounds are electronics with Asian and African music styles. This release is from 2001 and features Zulu vocalist Thobekile Doreen Webster [2,4]. Two British-born Asian musicians: sitarist Sheema Mukherjee and percussionist Gurjit Sihra are a part of the band’s lineup on this release. Natacha Atlas was off doing her own thing at the time of this recording.

AArbor

Kale, Karsh – "Liberation" – [Six Degrees Records]

aarbor   9/9/2020   A Library, CD

Born in England and raised in NY (Long Island), Karsh Kale (pronounced Kursh Kah-lay) became a drummer and tabla player, known for his “electric tabla”. He first came to my attention as a part of Bill Laswell’s Tabla Beat Science project (founded in 2000). He was the 1st ‘Indo-American” to be signed to a solo recording contract by a U.S. label. This is his 3rd full length album from 2003. The best known track is ‘Milan’ (Meeting of 2 Rivers) [4] which includes both Laswell and Zakir Hussain.

AArbor  

Crumer, Jason – “Self Titled” – [Breathing Problem]

lexi glass   9/1/2020   A Library, CD

Boundaries between the real and the imagined dissolve on this masterful noise work from Philadelphia-based artist Jason Crumer (also the founder of the outstanding experimental label No Rent Records). Sounds of within – deep drones, and high-pitched ringing – meet the sounds of without – field recordings of doors slamming, rusted hinges swiveling, street sounds of footsteps and traffic, pencil meeting paper to scrawl a letter – sometimes blurring smoothly together, other times cutting abruptly from one scene to the next. Following this trail of fragmented memories leads to a grotesque vision of madness itself, a wild blast of horns and noise. I also want to note the album’s strange and beautiful artwork, surreal images to match the disc’s sounds by painter Justine Neuberger. From the Austin experimental label Breathing Problem Productions.

M. Pluckett -“Monocle Eye” -[Self Release]

mickeyslim   9/1/2020   A Library, CD

M. Pluckett’s “Monocle Eye” is the project of L. Rossi, a musician and visual artist based deep in the woods of New Hampshire, who does all the instrumentation, recording, mixing, and artwork in this release of 100 copies.

Six, short tracks of garage-y noise rock. Ghostly found-sounds and washed-out vocals hidden away in dust-covered boxes. Lead vocals that sometimes seem to be sung across the room through a telephone. The smokey-stoney-bluesy jams, quiet wistful scrapings, and rock-fueled descents into a deteriorating psyche coalesce into what should be considered a single piece; a movement which one can only hope will become part of a larger concept.

Each track has its own distinct flavor, making this EP accessible to most DJs here at KFJC. Play with impunity.

“Nothing’s there unless you let it in.”

La Musica Della Mafia [coll] – [Pias America Classics]

mickeyslim   8/31/2020   CD, International

The song of a life of crime, tunes of prison life, music of the Mafioso.

This music here has been passed down for many generations. It was recorded and sold at open-air markets, which most Italians found offensive because it glorified mafia life. Kind of similar to the public outcry toward gangsta rap in the ’90s. At first listen, these songs feel like whimsical sometimes optimistic folk tunes, drifting from the beaches of Sicily, over the mountains of Calabria, to the gulfs of Campania.

Once you take a look at the lyrics sheet, however, you find yourself in back alleys, jail cells, and funeral processions. Whether singing of honor, family, or grief, these songs take you into an underground world filled with death and glory. The instrumentation takes on several forms, with any combination of guitar, accordion, tambourine, scacciapensieri (better know to us as a jew’s harp, a staple in traditional Sicilian music), and more.

Do not miss the liner notes with this release, if only for the translated lyrics. Enjoy!

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