KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Zolder Ellipsis – “Entropy Override” – [Lizard Records]

Jay Omega   11/3/2022   A Library, CD

Genre blending music from Tom Aldrich. Prog, jazz, jazz fusion, psychedelic, space, avant-garde, metal, modern classical, atmospheric, free jazz, it’s all here. It was supposedly highly influenced by Frank Zappa’s “Civilization: Phaze III”. I can hear the Zappa influence, but this is not Frank Zappa. The longer tracks are more challenging and may require multiple listens to appreciate. The shorter tracks are generally more accessible, though tracks 3 and 5 are fairly avant-garde.

Craig Gets ReanimatedProg-Jazz-Fusion. The music is like a cubist painting, switching from one view to another of an underlying musical theme. Challenging, but worth the effort.Zap GunProg-metal. A fun track that you can tap your toe to from start to finish. Short (1:33), but long enough to be fulfilling. Play if you want to sample the fringe of the metal domain without summoning any demons. Very accessible.Q+AAvant-garde. Zappa-esque. Drum and keyboard vignette.Imperial EnlightenmentProg-Free Jazz-Modern classical. Fairly abstract. Again, challenging but worth the effort.Magnetic ObjectsAvant-garde. Short vignette with Keyboard and vocalizations.Android Coronation BallProg-jazz fusion. Starts, Ends, and revisits the same ponderous depressing movement. Attempts are made to transcend through a cacophonous maelstrom into upbeat, or even funky grooves, only to plunge back into the dark chaos. Challenging, but worth the effort.The Antidote GameAgain, multi-faceted. Atmospheric, avant-garde, Psychedelic, free-jazz, fusion, space. There’s even, in my opinion, an homage to Mahavishnu Orchestra.In The HoleIt’s the savasana yoga track that will restore your mind after completing the technical challenges of this album. If none of the other tracks float your boat, then this track is for you.

Hauras – “Chant For A Broken Chalice” – [DECAYCAST RECORDS]

whngr   11/3/2022   A Library, CD

Roiling atmospheric compositions exploring the human mind at the end of civilization.. 

Inverted electronics, droning guitars, inebriated pulses, hesitant keys, quiet pitch shifted voices, sparing minimal percussive passages, delay, and an array of effects impart a slightly lonely feeling of contemplation. Disparate track lengths and oblique tangents feel like chapters in a story. Like an old man puttering around his apartment looking for reminders of what he was doing, repeatedly checking if he had locked the door, and refilling the cat’s water dish… His best years are long behind him but the dementia keeps him occupied. He’s never bored, there’s always something he forgot… and something to remember. Sure, he’s slowed down a bit over the years, but it seems like he’s just adjusted to the natural flow of time. He barely remembers when he had to fight against it, now he just leans back and lets time carry him to tomorrow… and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that… it’s easy.

Palette is Grey, Eggshell, and dilute Prussian Blue.

Hauras is one Howard Ryan whose alias translates to “fragile” in Finnish and hails from…

Oakland/San Francisco- 2021

LEMAT – “Ensemble of Organic Amazement Vol 1 and 2” – [Half Shell Records]

sam   10/31/2022   A Library, CD

LEMAT is a loose collection of artists wandering around the world as the whim strikes.  As they traipsed through Mexico, Germany and the US, they recorded the tracks found on this album.  Originally released as two EPs, both releases are collected on this CD.

15 artists are listed as contributing to the project, but the core seems to be drums, one or two guitars, and “vocals”, with other instruments contributing on an occasional basis on certain tracks.  Described as a “multi-ensemble project of psychedelic rock, freak folk and experimental music”, LEMAT tries to be several things at various times.

Swirly poppy chords with a torrent of various vowels at various pitches would be the best description I could come up with.

Track 9, “Rednaw”, is basically Track 1, “Wander”, backwards.

Messer Chups – “Visiting The Skeleton In The Closet” – [Guitaracula Records]

carsonstreet   10/31/2022   A Library, CD

Messer Chups is a surf rock band from Saint Petersburg, Russia. They have also been described as an experiment band. The group was formed in 1998 by composer and guitarist Oleg Fomchenkov. Visiting the Skeleton in the Closet was released March 15, 2022. Surf twang, spooky themes and just plain great surf music. Some vocals but mostly instrumental.

Sula Bassana – “Nostalgia” – [Sulatron Records]

carsonstreet   10/31/2022   A Library, CD

In the 20th year of Sula Bassana’s career he has released Nostalgia. Nostalgia is songs composed and recorded from 2013 to 2018 but finished during the last few years. The last overdubs and vocals recorded in 2019 to 2021. After some more electronic orientated albums, this one is more in the style of the rock orientated albums like Dreamer, The Night, Dark Days or Live At Roadburn 2014. The first two tracks include vocals which is rare on Sula Bassana albums. The title track features Mellotron, pure fuzz and has a jazzy side. All psych all the time.

Wo Fat – “The Singularity” – [Ripple Music]

carsonstreet   10/31/2022   A Library, CD

Texas-sized psychedelic blues doom. They describe their music as “swampadelic visionquest of overdriven, fuzz-laden riffage and jazz-minded jam explorations”. Wo Fat has gained a reputation as one of the premier US Stoner Metal bands. Starting with The Gathering Dark in 2006, they have stayed true to the deep, dark blues that wails from within. During the last few years, Wo Fat have made appearances a number of iconic festivals in Europe and the US, including Roadburn Festival, Freak Valley Festival, Psycho California Festival, Sylak Open Air Festival, Desertfest Berlin, Desertfest London, Maryland Doomfest and Stoned Meadow of Doom. In summary – heavy and fuzzy.

Parashi – “Vinegar Baths” – [Carbon Records]

karma   10/26/2022   A Library, CD

Parashi is Mike Griffin. He has performed in a few bands, including Sky Furrows, whose self-titled album enjoyed recent glory on the KFJC hit list (Foreign Cities is my anthem). Vinegar Baths is based on improvisations with the 6-string bass and tape manipulation – the (unintelligible but powerful) vocals and guitar were added later. Unlike the lyrically dense and frenetic Sky Furrows, this album is a subdued soundscape that transports you to an open field somewhere in upstate New York. My favorite track is “Winding Song,” where Griffin lets his guitar technique and skilled vocals lead.

XEREX – “XEREX Meets Dracula” – [No Part of It]

puplaif   10/26/2022   A Library, CD

Who is Xerex? They’re described as “an anonymous musical project by brothers Karl & Jan from rural Jesse Germany. They’re conjoined twins who also happened to have been grown in a petri dish as elderly mathematicians in 1972.” This album is their first “invisible story” in the spirit of choose-your-own-adventure-style novels. Here is the adventure I chose: 

It all starts with a bidding welcome from Dracula. From there, I enter the cathedral to the sound of the echoing pipe organ. Church bells begin to ring, summoning others to join the trance inducing ambiance. Tracks fade with a breath of silence between them. Along the way I encounter electronic whirrs, insect like chirps, and what sounds like a small boat’s motor sputtering as it churns towards port. The adventure is at times pulsating, in other moments it meanders. I let it wash over me like a warm embrace. 

Pierson, Dax & Horton, Robert – “Pablo Feldman Sun Riley” – [Self Release]

Ms. Conduct   10/23/2022   A Library, CD

This re-release ushers in a season’s worth of plastic suns by Oakland-based composer Dax Pierson with contributions from experimentalist Robert Horton. This music is diurnal: A tribute to atonalist and minimalist classical composers with plenty of influence from the ancestors of experimentalist jazz and avant-garde lineages (a la Steve Reich & family). Drone and phase-shifting animates the elementals lending an earth-bound shamanic field to the compositions. Patterns, electronic pulses and consonant harmony stretch out like refracted beams of crystalline light. This album is solar slow but sunny all-the-same. For immersion in winter and third-eye animations.

Million Brazilians – “Strange Oasis” – [Nonlocal Research]

Ms. Conduct   10/23/2022   A Library, CD

At-once lushly sincere with tribal mysticism and playfully intoxicated with its own comic book-colored exoticism, this release from Nonlocal Research evades unity and easy characterization but travels through the imagined terrains of the pre-colonial Americas to navigate magical topographies with a videogame joystick. Atmospheric, damp, geologic, and aviary, this album probes into various corners of earhole ritualism. 

Parasite 2 [coll] – [Rural Isolation Project]

whngr   10/19/2022   A Library, CD

More devastating noise walls from East Texas label R.I.P. Cringe and wither in your corner fleshling. You are likely not made of the kind of stuff with the ability to absorb this double helping of protuberance.

No Visitors is one Matt Turner of Quttinirpaaq, Shit and Shine, among others from Austin, Texas.

Takeshita is one Tim Burkland of Possum Pussy, Pillow Humper, and Pizza Burrito among others and runs the Imploding Sounds label out of Seattle, Washington.

Austin, TX – 2022

Map 71 – “Void Axis” – [Fourth Dimension Records]

whngr   10/19/2022   A Library, CD

Strange Angular Synthesizer

… and arhythmic minimal scrapyard percussion with dispassionate spoken female vox in the vein of first wave industrial projects, SPK, Suicide, Throbbing Gristle.

Brooding dystopian poems provide structure for the discordant instruments and as drums crash and electronics pulse around her, she weaves on her syllabic skien, an atmospheric tapestry with unsound psychedelic evanescence acting as warp and chimeric disassociation the weft. Echoes abound on these relatively short tracks that while not having a traditional structure will revisit themes, sounds, and words that, as repetition does, tends to beat its way into one’s subconscious and will begin to mirror catchiness in a kind of perversion of pop.
Andy Pyne (Keller, Aeolipile, Raised By Wolves. Shrag, et al,) plays the instruments and beats the trash while 

Lisa Jayne (Wylde) unspools subliminal poetry and wields the scissors (she creates Map 71’s cover art in construction paper collage). She also performed on The Blue Tapes House Band’s, “Chase Me Before the Plague”, excellent nightmare fuel which I highly recommend.

Brighton, UK – 2018

Tinkerman Project – “Tinkerman Project” – [Fuk The Record Co.]

Mister S   10/19/2022   A Library, CD

Songs of love and woe. Home bedroom production? Influneces by Ween? Doo Rag? Goofy, wack, irreverent, found recordings, commercial breaks, spoken-word. Funky electronic lo-fi gaming grooves. 60’s psych-folk rock. Blues jams. Lots on offer to sprinkle upon any playlist.

Track 13 for Jack Tar and the Blues Collective.

FCC’s if you listen close… “ass”… Track 12 

“F-bomb” Track 16 …. 

*Get the full story and decoder ring @

www.thetinkerman.com

Anthology of Exploratory Music from India [coll] – [Unexplained Sounds Group]

puplaif   10/19/2022   CD, International

A curated collection of works by India-born sound artists and musicians. No two tracks are alike, though there are some commonalities among the mix. This is pensive, intellectual music made through tinkering, experimentation, and manipulation. An exploration of sound and its connection to time and place, and its simultaneous etherealness. Field recordings, artificial intelligence, and traditional instruments all play a part in expanding interpretations of life and emotion through sound. Curiously, the human voice makes a very infrequent appearance. There’s a lot of beauty to be found here, best explored through close, immersive listening.

Clevenger, Nathan – “I had a Dream About Amnesia” – [Apoplectics]

carsonstreet   10/19/2022   CD, Jazz

Nathan is from Oakland, CA. i had a dream about amnesia presents two suites of new music, composed and recorded during the Covid-19 quarantine. Five Memos from the New Millennium (for Lee Konitz)’ is a series of pieces composed for soloists and duos to perform during lockdown.
Trio 2021(the last three tracks) is a suite of pieces for trio, composed on plague themes, and premiered live (in the studio) as part of the online festival, Unsolitary Music Series. Really impressive supporting cast including: Cory Wright (bass clainet), Kasey Knudsen (alto sax), Sam Bevan (bass), Mark Clifford (vibraphone) Johnn Finkbeiner (guitar), Lisa Mezzacappa (bass), Beth Schenck, Nathan Clevenger (piano, guitar, percussion) and Jordan Glenn (drums percussion). Minimalist with a classical feel on many tracks. Not in your face experimental but not trad jazz either. Very nice.

Bates, Steve – “All The Things That Happen” – [Constellation Records]

carsonstreet   10/19/2022   A Library, CD

Steve Bates is a musician and sound/video installation artist from Canada. All The Things That Happen is a gritty, iridescent, ambient billow rendering panoramas from a mix of lo-fi Casio SK-1 sampled textures and organ recordings made in Chile. All The Things That Happen is Bates’ sixth solo album since 2006. Free-jazzed cosmic synth noise. Andrew says of this album: “This was supposed to be an ambient record; quiet, minimal and sad. These tracks all started off that way but I kept reaching for more texture and noise. Somehow the noisier the record got, the less sad it was also.” This is still a very ambient album with lots of drone like qualities.

Aeon Station – “Observatory” – [Sub Pop Records]

humana   10/18/2022   A Library, CD

Kevin Whelan has written and performed some pretty great songs on this album, which starts out rather melancholy but picks up starting with “Fade.” Pianos, vocals, guitars, drums, gentle to rocking melodies that soothe or ignite your spirit. Family members join Whelan in this worthy project of observing life and time with an infinite lens.

Jim Witzel Trio & Quartet – “Feelin’ It” – [Joplin & Sweeney Music]

Cousin Mary   10/17/2022   CD, Jazz

Very cool guitar/organ/percussion (and on some tracks sax) sounds from Bay Area artists. Jim Witzel plays and teaches jazz guitar and there are three examples of his compositions on this album. Jason Lewis on percussion is also a local jazz educator and player. Bay Area native Brian Ho’s very fine jazz organ swings on solos and in the background. Dann Zinn’s sax on Witzel’s compositions takes it all to another level. The tracks that are covers give us a whole new perspective on these pieces. Recommended!

BSBLOrk – “10 yEars aLive” – [Public Eyesore]

karma   10/14/2022   A Library, CD

The Brasilia Laptop Orchestra (BSBLOrk, for short). is an experimental music collective based in the capital city of Brazil. This collective produces acousmatic, often-improvised music that serves as a social commentary. Issues tackled include – human-quantum connection and something called the holofractal theory (track 1), philosophy of fiction (track 2), climate change and The Great Filter (track 8), the pandemic (track 9), and nuclear war (track 11). The collective has performed all over Brazil, and some of these tracks are based on live shows (e.g. track 6). The tracks are very electronic. Very acousmatic. Very avant-garde. Very KFJC.

Everything But The Girl – “Walking Wounded” – [Atlantic]

humana   10/13/2022   A Library, CD

This comes to us from 1996, a treasure since this British pop duo hasn’t appeared live since 2000. “Walking Wounded” features Tracey Thorn’s hearty voice and Ben Watt’s beats, synths, abstract sounds, acoustic guitars, and vocals. Together they create catchy love songs that indicate how well they work together. There are two remixes at the end, but the standout tracks for me are “The Heart Remains a Child” (4) and “Flipside” (6). I love their music, and feel lucky we scored this CD.

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