David Krakauer is a master of the clarinet and is influential in bringing klezmer music to modern audiences. His approach is to recreate the sound with new musical styles so as to make klezmer something organic and ever changing, not just stuck in a historic past. Associated with the Klezmatics and John Zorn, Krakauer got his experience in many right places. This live recording in Krakow features a paired down version of his group Klezmer Madness! including accordion, bass, drums and guitar (check out the wah wah!) plus the Canadian DJ Socalled who adds his turntable stylings with an excellent array of samples. Socalled really mixes the sound, giving it a new level of excitement and surprise. “Turntable Pounding” is this excellent track of male chorus and female singing samples mixed with the exceptional drum pounding out the beats. Krakauer’s clarinet skills float in, over and around the mix of sounds, leaving the listener breathless. His skill is heard on each track. This is one of those rare fusion type albums which actually sounds better than the individual parts. This is definitely a new sound. Trying to figure out how to categorize it – international, jazz, country, folk – better demonstrates its uniqueness. Just enjoy.
First off: Rita Mitsouko ARE great, so back off. Second, Rita Mitsouko is not the name of the artist, it’s the name of the duo who are Catherine Ringer (singer) and Fred Chichin (guitarist), so those KFJC reviews from the past who list it as Mitsouko, Rita….sorry, not so. This confusion was international which led Catherine and Fred to switch their group name to Les Rita Mitsouko to hopefully stave off confusion. This album, “Rita Mitsouko” was Rita Mitsouko’s first full recordings. Hailing from the underground factory club scene of Paris, Rita hit it with their perfect blend of punk, altenative pop (when that was a good thing), French chanson and dance power, mixed with their sense of fashion and fashionista references. Their style is this infectious alter pop. None of my normal friends could ever get it but the cool folk, the clubsters, the punks…they would loose it when this stuff hit the sound system. “Marcia Baila” was the dance hit, an homage to Argentine choreographer Marcia Moreto, who Ringer studied with. There is also a song about Oum Khalsoum, the amazing internationally renowned Egyptian singer. The style is like Stereo Total and Sparks (whom they played with). Ringer’s vocals are this crazy warble from low to high registers, affected in a good way that growls and coos along to the beat. She sometimes sings around the beat, making for interesting interpretations. Chichin keeps his guitar steady with this great New Wave punk sound that has a bit of sarcasm in it, making it that much more enjoyable. The synth beats add to the frenzy. It’s pure pop snobbery and charm that still holds up. Club kids will party.
MINA!!!! We can never have enough Mina. Finally, we have some Mina. Mina, also known as Mina Mazzini, was and is a European superstar who came onto the scene in the late 1950’s with her rock and roll stylings and then moved into pop stardom with pop songs and ballads. Known as an emancipated woman, her hip shaking and body twisting, her 3 octave range, her singing about religion, smoking and sex, her appearing pregnant by a married actor, all this and more got her much attention. The pregnancy got her banned for quite a while on TV and radio but the fans wanted her and she continued. This collection, “Bugiardo…” catches her in her pop ballad stage, and what a stage it is. Equal to some of the great singers of the time, her vocal range and emotion is stunning, connecting to passionate lyrics about love, lost love, independence, the one that got away. She never holds back, for sure. There is a bit of kitsch to these recordings which make them all the more worthwhile for me. I would be in the audience cheering her on while smirking a bit in complete glee. Pour me another cocktail.
Chan Wai Fat is a self-taught musician and composer from Hong Kong. He’s been active since the late 80s, playing in a number of noise-rock bands before later focusing on totally free improvisation. He is the founder of CIMG (Collective Improvisational Music Group), and has performed with John Zorn, Yamatsuka Eye, Fred Frith, and many others.
Foo Cup Kwan Nan (Hardly Breathing) is Wai Fat’s debut solo recording, released in 1996. Here he plays a variety of stringed instruments, including prepared guitar, Hawaiian steel guitar, octavilla (a 14-string Spanish instrument), and a damaged cello. All tracks are completely improvised and recorded direct to DAT, with “no overdub, remix, synthesizers, or pre-recorded samples.”
The center-piece of the album is the “12 Pieces for Prepared Acoustic Guitar” (T5-T16) which feature beautifully sparse and delicate guitar strumming and tinkering, as well as a few more “accidental” sounds. Wai Fat evokes similar peaceful moods with his pentatonic plucking on the Hawaiian steel guitar (T2) as well as on the octavilla (T20). There are some nice drones here as well — “Miles Away” (T3) is probably my favorite on the whole album. The final (listed) track “Songbird: Variation on a Theme by Kenny G” (T21) features the most energetic — often frenetic — noodling (again on the octavilla) with no discernible sign of Kenny G.
DJs TAKE NOTE:
1) The first track ends with the sounds of a skipping CD player. Do not panic, the CD is fine. I actually really recommend this one.
2) The final track (T22) is not listed in the liner notes, and is almost completely SILENT, except for the sound of the tape recorder, very distant birds, and an occasional footstep.
Three generations of improvisors come together to forge “beautiful alchemy,” and the gold is captured on this 2018 studio recording from London’s Rare Noise. Dave Liebman is a jazz saxophonist who was mentored by Elvin Jones and Miles Davis in NYC in the 70s before going on to perform in many other groups, including his own ensemble. Adam Rudolph is a prolific percussionist (see his collaborations with Yusef Lateef and the group Hu Vibrational), specializing in jazz and African drumming styles. Tatsuya Nakatani, another percussion wizard, tours like crazy across the US, performing solo, with collaborators, and with his own Nakatani Gong Orchestra.
The Unknowable showcases each of the artists’ strengths over 13 concise tracks. Rudolph’s lively hand drumming lends a natural, organic quality, while Liebman’s warm saxophone and flute melodies match the others’ quick rhythms, or lengthen in broad tones to add contrast. Nakatani’s textures – metallic, electronic, dark, untamed – make the more traditional elements feel modern. Some pieces find the artists experimenting with unusual instrumentation – Liebman plays the Fender Rhodes on “Iconograph” (T10), and transforms his saxophone with spectral electronic effects on the title track (T4), and Rudolph plucks the keys of a thumb piano on the peaceful “Distant Twilight” (T9). This is challenging – but never difficult – material, and altogether a genre-less, generous, and enjoyable album.
Klangwelt (World of Sound) Station is a European trio composed of Meinrad Kneer on double bass, Dick Toering on guitars, and Johanna Varner on cello. While this is their first outing as a trio, Toering and Varner have collaborated previously, developing what they call “a new approach in improvising, based on classical and minimal music, and world music.” This disc is a set of 13 fully-improvised tracks, most of which clock in at 3-5 minutes. The variety of plucked and bowed strings on offer can fuse together to become one long string (à la Ellen Fullman) or fracture into something resembling a Bartók folk dance. The acoustics of the Church of Oostum in the Netherlands, where this was recorded, bathe everything in a beautiful resonance. Unique and very special stuff. Bassist Kneer also runs the Evil Rabbit record label.
Tender Age is Tauna Leonardo (Guitar/Vocals), Bryan Robertson (Bass), Elaina Tardif (Guitar/Vocals), Christopher Klarer (Guitar), and Olives (Drums). Recorded on a 16 track tape machine in a cabin on the Oregon coast in the summer of 2017.
Is it just me, or has music since 2016 gotten a little more somber? Probably just me… Tender Age plays somber, atmospheric, slo-fi pop. A space-aged teenage wasteland wet dream explosion. Angsty fuzzed out waves in a warehouse. Two black birds’ feathers rustling. A perfect cozy blanket of sound.
Mimmo, Gianni / Corda, Silvia / Orru, Adriano – “Clairvoyance” – [Amirani Records/Amirani Contemporary]
“To be clairvoyant is to claim to see beyond the apparent, to intuit something over and above the brute facts given to ordinary senses.”
Here Gianni Mimmo (soprano sax), Silvia Corda (piano), and Adriano Orru (double bass) take improvisations to new heights. Abstract jazzic meanderings, floating among cosmos drawn tight by invisible strings, absconding to depths unseen. Bright-sounding dark tones. Recorded in Orru’s hometown of Cagliari, Sardinia.
This is the fourth Fossil Aerosol Mining Project album to be added to the KFJC library. This installment picks up where their previous releases left off—beautiful, haunting collages of ambient sound with an edge of unease, and capable of carrying gauzy narratives. It’s not beauty for beauty’s sake—these are transmissions from the future, reporting on the impending decay of our civilization’s artifacts. Active since the 80s, FAMP uses found audio and field recordings run through processors and a mixing board. The results are like memories nearly recovered but then lost, thoughts drifting like sand across an empty plain, faded sunlight and dust on long-vacated structures.
Jazzy downtempo hip-hop beats and from Japan. Heavy (upright) bass licks, scribbly-scratchy turntables, out-of-place found sounds, and open-faced piano tinkering.
Some of the tracks bust out the beats pretty early on (T3, T5, T10, T11), others patiently allow the beat to arise out of thick abstract musique-concret murkiness (T1, T4, T6), but when it hits, man does it hit. The remaining tracks will absorb you so deep in the electro-orchestral opium soup that you won’t even care that there is no beat (T2, T7, T8, T9).
There’s not a lot of info out there about this release, at least not in English. From what I gather, this is a collaboration between two DJs: Broken Bells Beats (sometimes credited as B.B.B.) and Den-Suke. No idea who B.B.B. is (maybe a reader can help fill in the details). Den-Suke is Keiji Yamabe, owner of Tokyo’s ¿Los Apson? record store. This was released on the Shi-Ra-Nui, active since 1996, but completely unrepresented in the KFJC library (until today).
Prepare to enter a fantasy world when you play this CD. Pat Moonchy does all the vocals and she is way out there–sometimes delicately childlike, sometimes firmly operatic, sometimes groaning in a creepy pitched-down voice, sometimes… well, you’ll have to play it and find out. Her musical partner Todd Tobias (connections to Guided By Voices) provides the instrumentation and it is spot on. Pretty acoustic passages here, some rocking stuff there, some weird industrial textures over there… and many surprises over the course of these 13 tracks. Drama + weirdness is the order of the day. Many of the tracks are short, I mean like a minute or two, but they are all evocative and kind of mind-blowing. Perfect for injecting little bits of drama and weirdness into your radio show.
Hodge-podge from the white-lodge and a donation by our
chief engine-ear, salud Monsieur Earl Grey! We get a
French fried compilation of world-wide ingredients.
Some of them quite aged as the liner sheets indicate
1982 Look de Bouk with Martial Canterel on board. The
collection is a blast, with plenty of toy joys, cartoony
tunes, and audio oddities to keep you on your toes while
still keeping your toes tapping. It’s often peppy in the
most charming, infectious way. Several artists summon
choirs, Daniel Padden (Volcano the Bear) and lead-off
Lionel Fondeville, so the album feels larger than a lot
of tinkerers tailoring their keys to your quirky needs.
Some faves, Sacha Gattino was sorta a what if Arvo Part
was happy but then he adds in bleepy ping pong. #12 A&E
has a japanese folk chant while playing Operation and
turns a wrenched ankle into Cibo Matto-esque rap-ture.
Tracks cover a lot in a short time, with speed traps
from De Felippis and magic monkeys with Wevie Stonder.
Wevie’s one of the few projects KFJC has connected with
in the past, several artists on here make their debuts
ANY where. Tres cool. Art Brut toot suite case.
Really a do not miss release! -Thurston Hunger
Continuity is king in this Republic. They lost
their founder some time ago, but the band marches
on in this their most recent (2014) full length.
Literally marches, that heavy martial beat remains a
staple (opening track hits with huge cinematic action).
Slashing, reverby guitars with trace elements of
almost shoedive Lots of intros, voice shouted from the
ranks of rebellion. And this once upon an LA art
scene band return to their Grecian formula/friction
for this, with former Tuxedomoon-man Blaine
Reininger providing violin worthy of an oracle.
Emad Gabra’s oud slithers in on two others. Stella
Papanyydreopoulou sing soothes on the title track,
that’s really part of a song cycle from tracks 7-9.
The whole album is very well sequenced, a polished
flow to it. Themes appear and are reprised. “Omonia”
offers a brief different angle, hustle and funk with
a No-Wave verve, and cool male chant vox!! And right
before it short, sweet backwards “Exarchia.” If this
album is a riot, it is a well-structured one ;>
Postwar choral works from the Danish composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen performed by Vocal Group Ars Nova.
Unreasonable optimism becomes impotent through attempts to reconcile the ascetic and ecstatic. These works exist in crisis, as sober quandaries: the opposition of serialism and nihilism is a thing of the past now that sonic pluralism has opened new avenues of sensuality.
Ars Nova sings with beautiful intonation.
Thick riffs meet saxophone. Sax by P. Greenlief, guitar by J. Shiurba (sounds like he uses an octave pedal), drums by T. Scandura. Driving, mathy rhythms punctuated by freakouts. Would be a welcome addition to the collections of folks into Frank Zappa, King Crimson, Don Caballero, Combat Astronomy. A jazz record that fits in a rock set.
Martin Carthy is a British folk singer whose influence is far and wide in the world of folk and blues. Having started in the early 1960’s with the group The Three City Four, he went on to perform with Steeleye Span, members of Fairport Convention for the group Albion Country Band and also with Brass Monkey. He is known for his arrangement of the traditional tune “Scarborough Fair” which was then used by Simon And Garfunkel without acknowledgement. This collection of 17 songs, many traditional, is Carthy playing solo with his acoustic guitar. He likes to use alternative tunings and has a distinctive picking style which emphasizes the melody” of the song. Each song is a rich story, filled with passion due to the guitar work but also because of Carthy’s unique vocals. The vocals follow, add to and play with the guitar work, creating drama in the rendering of each songs tale. There are tearjerkers a plenty plus songs of humor. He is a hero of modern day bard, Richard Dawson. Just a wow of a voice and guitar playing.
Modular String Trio is not what it’s name says. It’s a quartet with a string trio inside of it. Violin, cello and double bass make up the trio. while a modular synthesizer makes this group the quartet. Hailing from Poland and the Ukraine, the quartet’s musical interplay extend the meaning and understanding of jazz, pushing those boundaries with superb exploratory sounds that are unique yet make sense. The trio is a combination classical sound (strings) but with very obvious improvisational jazz roots. The violin and cello bounce around each other’s notes like butterflies, bees and ants moving through their space. The bass does less than keep it together but rather adds to the complex journey of sound. Add to this the modular synthesizer playing its own brand of improv, bleeping and squonking throughout the string’s interplay. And then, the contrabass player, Jacek Mazurkiewicz electronically processes his instrument in real time!!! What does this mean?…. a truly unique, enjoyable, but not easy listen of music in a new take.
2015 compilation of three old releases from this disgusting black metal noisecore band from Central California. Non-metalheads might delight in the sound of all of black metal’s conventions as they are fed slowly, hooves first, into a meat shredder, maybe with some contact mikes fitted onto the blades to pick up every delicious gargle. The tracks from the 2002 split Memento Mori (T1-T8) have more of a noisewall quality with lots of pervasive static, while 2002’s YOU WILL BE GLUTTONED!!! (T9-T15), with all its samples and aggressive electronics, resembles PE. Maybe they should’ve just given up back in 2001, as the Filthy Satanic Pork demo from that year is my favorite stuff on here: just confusing guitar torture (I especially enjoyed the sloppy shredding on “Smearing Feces Into the Face of the Fucking Catholic Bishop”, T19), lead vocalist Izedis Apirikubabadazuzukanpa’s nonstop strangled howls, and a thick crust of distortion.
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