KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Snowboy Presents – New Vintage Volume 1 [coll] – [BBE]

aarbor   11/25/2020   A Library, CD

21 versatile tracks of “New Vintage” Jazz, Latin, Swing, Funk, Rockabilly, Mambo and Northern Soul from a wide range of artists assembled by Snowboy to accompany the Vintage festival in the UK. The musical experience at the Vintage Festival covers decades, genres and styles that have affected Britain over the years. They even have Vintage Nightclubs to suit all musical tastes  AArbor 

Haare – “Brain” – [Aussaat]

lexi glass   11/25/2020   A Library, CD

Ingest the pyromaniac manna of the underworld hosts and sink into the slimy depths of Brain. This newest album from Haare (Ilkka Vekka of Hämeenlinna, Finland), a melding of blackened noise and heavy psychedelia, surely would have found a spiritual home mixed into one of Cy Thoth’s Firebunker superimpositions. Twisted melodies and churning feedback storms from effected guitars, uncurling reptilian feelers, and howling voices make up the psychic disturbances, building towards a final solemn procession of flute, drums, bells and gongs that signal the arrival of a fearsome supernatural presence. Our first addition from the German industrial label Aussaat.

Greenleif, Phillip – "Bellingham For David Ireland" – [500 Capp Street Foundation]

humana   11/23/2020   CD, Jazz

This is a fascinating jazz experience made richer by reading the liner notes as you listen to the 60+ minutes of jazz diffusing throughout the David Ireland House (which is an art installation created by the late artist David Ireland) in the Mission District of San Francisco. Greenlief composed this map-work, which, if you look closely at the album cover, is just that–a score based on the jigsaw pieces of maps of Bellingham, Washington, where Ireland grew up. The live performance was based on the score, but also on the conversations among the musicians placed in various locales of the house, along with the ambient noises such as sirens coming from both the inside and outside of the house. Greenlief set up in the entryway with his sax where he hoped to be able to hear the gongs, percussion, contrabass, violin, voice, tuba, and electronics emanating from different rooms in the two-story house. This is an ineffable aural treat.

Dilloway, Aaron / Turman, Robert / Wiese, John – "Electronic Extension" – [Helicopter]

cinder   11/18/2020   A Library, CD

A cacophony of electronic destruction, manipulated and tortured over 2 lengthy tracks. High hisses, low ghostly echoes, thrashing clashes, ear aches, migraine fuckery. They’ve all partaken in many acts of the noise realm… Wiese has dabbled in Bastard Noise, Smegma, Sissy Spacek, etc… Dilloway is a founding member of Wolf Eyes…. Turman has relations with NON and Boyd Rice. These 2 tracks are intriguing and quickly take sharp turns down a mysterious maze, it’s not just one loud blast of unintelligible frequency.

Lunca, Gabi – “Sounds From a Bygone Age, Vol. 5” – [Asphalt Tango Records]

aarbor   11/18/2020   CD, International

Gabi Luncă (born in 1938) is a Roma (or “gypsy”) Lăutari singer from Romania. She was a very charming performer and became a favorite of Romania’s communist ruler Nicolae Ceauşescu and his wife Elena. She is also known to be a committed Christian, in a place and a time where this was a difficult position to take. In the Bucharest of the 1980s there were two different worlds: Official state folklore with songs of the golden era proclaimed by Ceausescu, and lively suburban music (muzica de mahala), which at that time was played at private parties. Gabi’s voice is remembered in Romania. Her songs are the quiet, melancholic songs of passion and yearning for one’s home, mother, or sweetheart; songs to lift the weight from one’s soul. Included among Gabi Luncă’s greatest hits are: “Omul Bun n-are noroc” (The good have no luck)  track 1, and “Superata sint pe lume” (I am sad in this world) track 7. Her silvery, lightly strained singing was often copied, but never equaled, although as the accordion player Victor Gore remembers, she “always sang slightly out of time”. AArbor

Tango Lesson, The [coll] – [Sony Classical]

aarbor   11/18/2020   CD, Soundtrack

This is the soundtrack to Sally Potter’s 1997 semi-autobiographical film The Tango Lesson. Sally, a filmmaker and screenwriter suffering from writer’s block, is dissatisfied with her film project, a murder mystery called Rage, which features the fashion industry. Taking a break, she travels to Paris, where she sees the dancer Pablo (Pablo Verón) performing tango. She becomes obsessed with the dance and offers Pablo a part in her film in exchange for dance lessons. The music is both traditional Argentinian tangos [tracks 5 and 17 are iconic] alongside tracks by Fred Frith which are stylistically very different. AArbor 

Sissy Spacek – “Featureless Thermal Equilibrium” – [Helicopter]

whngr   11/13/2020   A Library, CD

Another aural atrocity from station associates and friends Sissy Spacek FFFFFEEEEAAAAATTTTUUUUUUURRRRRIIIIIIINNNNNGGGGG their signature freak-out sound, a cacophonous assault on the lobes that employs Blast-beat Interruptus. A misery inducing barrage of chaotic drumming, throat rending roars, and ear piercing noise in a clean, alluring package that is, to my tastes, a compelling dichotomy with the horrific sounds contained within this stately and understated multi-fold digipak. Heavily represented in the library, Sissy Spacek is/was exactly the kind of project I would have scoffed at in the past… no composition, no orchestration, no virtuosity, no thank you. However, due in no small part to the time spent with kfjc (corrupting my mental faculties), I have come to understand that this may not be the case at all. In fact, as unlikely as it sounds, every note, every pause, every blast of unfocused mayhem may be a highly honed and polished effort that took countless takes to get… perfect. And now that I have been transmuted into a soul that can appreciate horrendous asymmetric dissonance, I might suggest that you play Featureless Thermal Equilibrium for your mother as you explain that college tuition would be wasted on you. That you are a true artist whose interests and trajectory are beyond the scope of mere plebeians. Or to simply bum (the fuck) out of any soul who hasn’t developed the thick skin, tinnitus, or demented sonic sensibilities of a dedicated KFJC volunteer.

A white hot release from J. Wiese (bass, tape, vox) and the current complicit cast including Charlie Mumma (drums,vox.), Mark Alan Miller (Eng.), and Jay Randall (vox.) recorded at Sonelab (Western Mass.), 13 June 2016.

Dimuzio, Thomas – Balance – [Gench Music]

Max Level   11/8/2020   A Library, CD

Wow! Local sound wizard Dimuzio has always been known for his collaborations as well as his solo work, and here is a triple-CD overview of ten years of collaborations 2009-2019, all of them live improvisations recorded at shows. Dimuzio takes his Buchla synth rig and his sampler and hooks up with a roster of artists that goes on and on… Matmos, Nick Didkovsky, Beth Custer, Alan/Anla Courtis, Aurora Josephson, Wobbly, Phillip Greenlief, Scott Amendola, Emily Hay, Gino Robair, Tom Nunn, Ava Mendoza, to name just a few… in duos, trios, and various combinations. A wide range of sounds are offered, from pleasantly musical to drone to quirky spoken word to moderately harsh noise. It’s all here. The final track on CD-3 was recorded by KFJC in 2010 at Cafe Du Nord in SF and it has that electric-Miles rock/jazz fusion thing going on. Dimuzio is a good friend of the station and always a force to be reckoned with. He curated these tracks, did the editing and mastering, and even the package design. Dive deep into this one!

Low Jack – "Breizh" – [Hospital Productions]

cinder   11/4/2020   A Library, CD

A lovely riddim tornado of dancehall beats fused with electric industrial rhythms. Sizzling underbellies, mega bass red levels, gritty and heavy. Originally produced digitally for the Hospital Productions CDMX earthquake benefit showcase in Mexico City in 2018. Rough n tough!

Alternate African Reality [coll] – [Syrphe]

abacus   11/4/2020   A Library, CD

comprehensive survey of experimental music scene from across the African continent and holy shit is this amazing. almost three hours of material from 32 artists and bands from 24 African countries and the diaspora, from Morocco to South Africa to Uganda, Somalia, Togo, Reunion, Madagascar and much more. there’s a huge variety of styles represented throughout: the first CD definitely starts off pretty beat oriented, and excels at that, floating through countless overheated dance floor club scenes and smoky clubs, we hit a couple rap tracks before getting some biopunk tech beats out of Mauritania and Senegalese instrumentals then the left turns are swirling: some vaporware pop synth from Age of Heroes and Lynchian musique concrete loops out of Cameroon. CD2 continues to get more spacious, tortuous sin wave stretching from South African Cobi Von Tonder then crackle-pop drone swells from Kenyan KMRU (who also has a new release on Editions Mego). we gets some chaotic field recording cutups out of Rwanda before the tracks take a more instrumental turn, even some contemporary innovations from Victor Gama and a blissful collaboration on “E”. as noted above there’s a huge mix of styles: beats, vocal loops, musique concrete, hip hop, drone and so much more. dig deeper into the label for some other amazing compilations of underground weirdness from other obscure parts of the globe as well.

Thirteen Hurts – "Threshold" – [No Part of It]

abacus   11/4/2020   A Library, CD

pedal noise project of Richard Adams aka The One Eyed Zatoichi for some odd reason, a veteran of the Norcal and Denver Noisefest circuits, apparently been making sounds since 1977. burbling gurgling harsh noise textures: overpowering megatons of aqueous feedback and swirl. this is a rerelease of a 2011 CD it seems, part 2 of a pair on Arvo Zylo’s No Part of It label. got some sonic treats with impressive dynamic shapes and studio tricks like stereo panning and soundscape layering. this aint no run of the mill HNW record, plenty of surprises to jump sizzle and scare.

itsnotyouitsme – "Fallen Monuments" – [New Amsterdam Records]

aarbor   11/4/2020   A Library, CD

Caleb Burhans and Grey McMurray are Itsnotyouitsme. This is their 2nd album. Everything on this release was recorded during a live performance, and not in the studio. Discogs classifies this release as “Classical”. I would call it “Lush Modern Ambient Classical”. They do a lot of improvising even in concert, the sound fuses minimalist chamber music with a lush, mesmerizing ambient sound. AArbor 

Collocutor – "Continuation" – [On The Corner Records]

aarbor   11/4/2020   A Library, CD

Collocutor means he/she who talks with another. Tamar Osborn  is behind all of the composed sections, she also plays baritone sax, clarinet and flute on various tracks. Collocutor is Osborn’s own project that she describes as “Instrumental model music with jazz and global influences.” She is involved in a variety of other projects including Dele Sosimi’s Afrobeat Orchestra, and Sarathy Korwar’s band – jazz with Indian and electronic influences. This is Collocutor’s latest release. The standout track is ‘The Angry One’ although the others are definitely worth a play. AArbor 

Moctar, Mdou – "Ilana The Creator" – [Sahelsounds]

aarbor   11/4/2020   CD, International

The first time we (at KFJC) ever heard of Mdou Moctar was on the 2nd volume of Music from Saharan Cellphones – which was how his music went viral in the first place. In fact he also has a track on the 1st volume and on the remix album. Moctar (b. Mahamadou Souleymane) is a Tuareg songwriter and musician from Agadez, Niger. He plays a left-handed Fender Stratocaster. This is his 5th album, recorded with a full band which increases its psychedelicness. [We also own a new 7” released this year.] If you like the other Sahel Sounds releases you’ll like this one too. Moctar also starred in the world’s 1st feature film in a Tuareg language (the English name is) The Color of Blue with a Little Red in it. It’s about a struggling Tuareg musician who rides around the desert on a purple motorcycle. AArbor 

Cramp, Dominic / Khoury, Mike / Greenlief, Phillip / Robair, – Compassion and Evidence -[Creative Sources Recording]

Max Level   11/3/2020   CD, Jazz

Electronics, keyboards, percussion, reeds, and viola in amorphous music/sound improvisations performed at Oakland’s Temescal Arts Center in 2018. Local improv stalwarts Greenlief and Robair are quite familiar to me; the other two players not so much. I enjoyed the electronic/keyboards/percussion angle the most, although it is nice to hear the reeds and viola come to the forefront every now and then. A couple of short pieces (3 to 4 mins) and a couple of longer ones (13 and 27 mins.)

Murderous Vision – “Abscission” – [Live Bait Recording Foundation]

whngr   10/23/2020   A Library, CD

Creepy Dark Ambient/Industrial Noise.  Not spooky in a supernatural way, more like discovering the ruins of a forgotten civilization, doomed because of avarice, conceit, and a myopic perspective on their relationship with the environment that they might have corrupted, poisoned, and destroyed due to lack of insight and empathy.

Dark rumbling textures, throbs, disembodied voices, a thumping primal beat, pulses, hollow distorted shouts that echo and decay, strobes, trembling drone, empty space, and other electronic abstractions layered to induce an unsettling, hypnotic, aural forray into humanity’s (none too distant) future. One where the skeletal artifice of civilization has been consumed by the earth, lying dormant and forgotten beneath the rubble and residue of time. 

Murderous Vision is one Stephen Petrus of Live Bait Recording Foundation and co-producer of the filmCity/Ruins, a film about the Industrial scene of Northern Ohio.

Isabella, Jasper and Simon Fisher Turner – "Savage Songs of Brutality and Food. By The Extreme Angels of" – [Soleilmoon Recordings]

cinder   10/21/2020   A Library, CD

“A child’s imagination is the finest open canvas ever. No rules rule.”
London sound artist Simon, recorded his 2 kids talking, singing, playing, putting on plays, etc and compiled them into an experimental kids album. It’s mostly from their childhood up until they hit pre-teen. The sounds behind are the typical haunting and beautiful explorations you get from Soleilmoon Recordings, so lovely. Having a British accent makes the little children voices so much more enjoyable and cute, too.

Three Point Circle – "Layered Contingencies" – [Palace of Lights]

cinder   10/21/2020   A Library, CD

A collaboration between K. Leimer, Marc Barreca, and Steve Peters. Lovely, meditative soft sounds and drones. Ambient is the defining word. Wafting tendrils and slow movement. Ghostly tones fill the abandoned, fog filled streets at night. Definitely something you could use to sedate your senses and fall into a calm dream state. 

Bruitisme 1913-2013 [coll] – [Influencing Machine]

lexi glass   10/21/2020   A Library, CD

This 2013 compilation commemorates the 100th anniversary of “The Art of Noises,” the manifesto of futurist artist and founding father of noise music, Luigi Russolo. Bruitisme features works from artists that continue to advance Russolo’s radical project into this century. The artists were selected by Zorin, a member of the pioneering French industrial group Le Syndicat (who contributed not just to the group’s extreme sound but also to its propaganda-inspired visual aesthetic) and its spinoff noise project Entre Vifs. Both of his groups appear here: Le Syndicat opens with a sound collage of a snarling traffic jam (T1) and Entre Vifs concludes the disc with a rhythmic, vocals-driven piece that sounds like a broadcast from an abandoned radio station (T6).  They’re accompanied by the sustained feedback blasts of Finnish artist Tommi Keränen (T2), the shredding psychedelia of Government Alpha (T3), the mind-control machine music of Rodger Stella (T4, if there’s a modern day intonarumori it would sound like this), and Lasse Marhaug with a track that sounds as if he’s stripping a piano to pieces, tossing its strings, pins, hammers and keys into the drum and tumbling them around inside (T5). Released by local experimental label Influencing Machine Records.

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