KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Futterman Jordan Fielder – Southern Extreme [Drimala]

outlier   4/21/2005   CD, Jazz

With the left hand of Muhal Richard Abrams and the right hand stride of Jaki Byard, Futterman permeates Kidd Jordan’s Maurice McIntyre-like sound on tenor sax creating a Cecil Taylor/Jimmy Lyons dynamic with New Orleans spice taking the place of euro-classical overtones. Forceful searching runs of ts +pn swirling and winding in hyperballad style climaxing with screaming reed over Tayloresque arpeggio rampage. Compositions embrace complexity as another incarnation of the New Orleans riff style of pre-WWII Dixie jazz and cook up some distinctly Southern style avant garde on tenor sax, piano and drums.
3w: N’Orleans Avant Garde
-Outlier

The Brunos – Bloody Knuckles [Skunkman]

outlier   4/21/2005   A Library, CD

Flute, mandolin, violin, accordion and drums color the modern authentic renditions of Irish traditional music. These next gen Chieftains do the homeland proud with tunes ranging from uplifting ‘top o the mornin’ stuff to slower thoughtful traditional
dance tunes. The title belies the moods of the songs. Lyrical instruments sound like a chorus of voices at times. Vocals on two tracks (7,13). 1-6 are light and upbeat, 7-14 are more serious in tone and the last 3 do the serious trad dance thing. Trk 16 is a medley of 4 songs so don’t let the false ends get ya’. The musicianship and tone of the songs are bleeding orange and
green for ya’, so here’s spittin’ in the Queen’s eye !
3w: have another pinty
– Outlier

Residents – ?Animal Lover? [Mute]

outlier   4/21/2005   A Library, CD

Marvelous timing, metered (mostly female) vocals and gamelan percussion accents filtered thru the Residents? archaeological musical perspective with rhythm tracks based entirely on animal mating noises (cicadas and frogs, whales and humans for longer wave stuff). Some psychedelic electro march but mostly very beautiful, dreamy songs with delicate childlike hymnal vocals. They escape their signature sound to embrace conventional song
forms with a subtle, simple yet powerful sense of composition and arrangement. If the Residents aren’t on your short list of great American composers, this release will help you get your shit together.
3w:Western Culture Sainthood
– Outlier

Thollem and Rivera – ?Everything Is Going Everywhere” [Edgetone]

outlier   4/21/2005   CD, Jazz

Pn-dr Adventurous, articulate, precise and lyrical expression. Thollem is a native Bay Area composer/pianist virtuoso with shades of Bill Evans, Glenn Gould and Mose Allison. Pieces range from playful/bouncy to elegant/forceful, beautiful waltz to meditative fantasia. Unique is not adequate to describe the rich, priceless tones and clusters Thollem commands from all 88 with perceptive, percussive accents from Rivera. This isn’t
piano bar music and Thollem doesn’t want the chump change from your bar tab. Rather, he wants to induce contemplation of our world with sounds conveying urgency and incisiveness like political essays transcribed to music. The sounds can set your heart racing or cool you out.
3w: CLASSICAL JAZZ GENIUS
– Outlier

Br. Danielson – Brother is to Son – [Secretly Canadian]

Mac   4/16/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Br. Danielson
Brother is to Son
[Secretly Canadian]
Here we have the 6th full-length Danielson Famile release, and you’re
in for another romp through indie folk pop. This is Daniel Smith’s
(aka Brother Danielson) personal project but stays in the Famile mold
of lo-fi unconventional spiritual exploration. The term Christian
rock DOESN’T apply here. The nonsecular messages often don’t require
a religious context, and the music is a real treat.
The album has two halves – songs 1-5 are upbeat rockin’ jamborees
featuring Daniel’s acoustic guitar and distinct falsetto vocals
/yelps. The family backs up (and I mean family, the Danielson clan is
a modern Partridge family, hear track 10’s chorus: “Sisters and
daughters and brothers and sons are we.”). Backing up are heavy doses
of chorus singing (bordering on screaming) and a spattering of
instruments including classics: piano/electric guitar and down-home
goodness: banjo, jaw harp, and tambourines. The arrangements are
more complex than previous Famile releases and the result is
captivating. They sound like a country lo-fi version of the Shins.
Each song has a different raw sound, so don’t dismiss the album based
on one song.
Track 6 represents a transition to the second half of the half, where
Daniel tones it down and pours his emotion into slow, vulnerable tales
of spirituality. Of the three following songs, track 9 was my fav.
Track 10 brings it all back together with a solid upbeat finale of
family chorus.
Overall I’d call it the best Danielson Famile release to date.
– Brother Mac

Tsurubami – “Shohjohkisshotan” (C3R)

outlier   4/10/2005   A Library, CD

More wall of sound at the event horizon stuff. Streaming, screaming, flashing beams of sonic iridescence shimmer in the complex polyrhythmic density laid down by Nobuko-dr and Hiroshi-bs. Kawabata-gtr orbits the rhythmic nebula with an interstellar cosmonaut’s awareness and vision. Like an Abstract Expressionist piece, density can be mistaken for congestion and distortion when infact the complexity is necessary to capture the ultra-physical (read extra-tonal) qualities of the subject. This is the audio companion for the Leave No Tripper Behind program.
3w: Immaculate Interstellar Iridescence
– Outlier

Fuchs, Wolfgang – “Six” (Rastascan)

outlier   4/10/2005   CD, Jazz

Free sextet of Fuchs-bcl+ss, Djill-tr, Perkis-elec, Robair-perc, Shiurba-gtr and MATTHEW SPERRY (1968-2003)-bs honor Sperry’s life with 6 remarkable soundpieces. (1,2) are sound factory tours that begin at floor level and build up to a collective form at a time-enhanced perspective. (3) takes a more symphonic path in coagulating the sounds while (4,5) are of a free jazz form and texture. (6) returns to free-form soundstorm with wind chatter interludes. The soundpieces stand on their own but knowing this is the document with which Sperry’s friends honor him gives it a very special place in free music.
3w: Sperry’s Spirit Resurrected
– Outlier

Tiner and Baggetta, Kris and Mike – “There Just As You Look For It” (pfMENTUM)

outlier   4/10/2005   CD, Jazz

Acoustic guitar and trumpet post-jazz possibilities are explored by two young jazz improvisers of west and east coasts respectively. Baggetta’s style is of Spanish influence with a Derek Bailey sound of chimes and tweaks, giving Tiner’s chamber trumpet sound a percussive fabric to play into. Space is the canvas, timing is relative. The full timbre and resonance of tones suspend in time, then evaporate into the surrounding wake of sound. Evening is the mood and all is calm as these young lions of free music eloquently pursue the masters’ path.
3w: Acoustic Magical Post-Jazz

Hay, Emily – “Like Minds” (pfMENTUM)

outlier   4/10/2005   CD, Jazz

A collection of various projects undertaken over the decade by the phenomenal Emily Hay, experimental vocalist-flutist from SoCal. Pieces range from surging winds and street smart rhythms in experiment (1,5,7,11) to free vocals with percussion and/or electronics (6,8,9,10) to song structures of Dadamah-like magic (3,12) to post-classical virtuoso conversations (2,3). The lyrical phrasing and instrumentation keep the experimentation in the musical dimension. Hay’s vocals are about hearing what the voice can do as an instrument. Infusion of unrestrained vocal energy into the trio/quartet creations thru evocative utterances over and in between flute expressions bring you intimately into her soundspace, moving beyond words to true emotive convergence between artist and listener as the sounds are shared.
3w: Emotive Evocative Expression
– Outlier

EXIAS-J electric conception – “Balance of Chaos” (PSF)

outlier   4/10/2005   CD, Jazz

Free music exploration of the organic guitar sound with smart electronics in support. Enters the same sonic space as Wired but less orchestral. Cavernous, echoes with deep resonance and some eastern psych meditations (less tribal than Tohosara and less wall of sound than Tsurubami- last two tracks excepted). Flowing sonic energy that reaches climax in an AMM style with 2 gtr-pn/synth-elec-bs-dr. Guitar tones cast the sonic beams by which the unit is led, the path is true and free.
3w:
– Outlier

Milton, Anthony – “Sirens” (Last Visible Dog)

outlier   4/10/2005   A Library, CD

New Zealand acoustic psych folk with an air and wood sound, occasional guitar in distress strumming and solos. Slightly angered, spacey Direen and Morley influenced songs with a serious folk mentality. Occasional early Dead C blownout acoustic sound with clever lo-fi drums that give the vocals an edge of tension accented by steady, sometimes furious strum. Traveling rhythms that have phasing qualities and evolving structures but the center of gravity is on a steady path to psych folk truth.
3w: NZ PSYCH FOLK
– Outlier

Sandoz Lab Technicians – “Live at MacDougal Art Gallery” (C.PSI.P)

outlier   4/10/2005   A Library, CD

Tim Cornelius, James Kirk, and Nathan Thompson ascend to the heights of drone with a 45m free music piece that ranges from a subway station fuge to flowing rivers of strings and winds in electrified vapor. Sounds billow outward like clouds, surging in a collective waveform flux. Dense textures that move up to cacophony’s edge, stepping back to sense the void of where the sounds have vacated. Similar to Sakada or Organum, always exploring the essence of music in the NOW.
3w: Free Music Installation
– Outlier

Islaja “Palaa Aurinkoon” [Fonal]

Thurston Hunger   4/8/2005   A Library, CD, Format

This must be the sound that hibernating animals hear telling
them to claw through the ice and snow back to sunlight. It
starts with faint toy piano tinkering under a prayer of sorts.
Islaja is a Finnish femme intoning that prayersong. Her voice
is a warm whispered remembrance of the sun shining through
icy keyboards, bare-tree guitar scrumbling and other bits of
cold, crystalline sound from various Kemialliset brothers and
sisters helping out. On “Rukki” her voice becomes both a fly
buzz and then a phone-call-from-beyond singing ahh-eee-o-ah,
ah-eee-o-ah. Regrettably on other tracks the lyrics are as
wordless to me, as I speak not a lick of Finnish. Using a
translater, I just found the title may mean “burn sun” (but
this is not to say “paivetys” or sunburn) still I stick with
the notion that this has that chill of other free folk from
Finland (and the fine Fonal label). Most songs melt slowly
the title track has little Terry Riley keyboard spirals and
a clap and stomp rhythm. We’ve got to track down her first
release. Tune in, turn on, snowdrop out.

Radar Brothers “The Fallen Leaf Pages” [Merge]

Thurston Hunger   4/7/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Jim Putnam and his brethren create a swirling ocean of song.
Rococo crests of soundwaves lap at the melodies, melodies
that sink like extravagant luxury liners. I mean the chord
patterns almost always descend, in that “Dear Prudence” kind
of way. It’s a good sinking feeling. Like such lush liners,
the movement is stately, so there you are slow dancing on
the Titanic’s top tier, your date has gleaming hollywood
gloss liberally applied to her lips as she whispers along
with Putnam’s vocals. His vocals do their best to stay
afloat, tentatively bobbing up at the very tip top of his
range. As befits the son of a recording engineer/equipment
inventor, Putnam gets along swimmingly in the studio…and
these tracks awash in production seem to flourish rather
than drown. Very thick synth in the forefront of most cuts,
dollops of doo-woppy vocals on some tracks. But below all
the billowiness, the lyrics often twist in little wry
tweaks. A corpse here, a bucket of blood there, a stable
full of manure… I like the holes those lyrics punch
through the pretty, cloudy consistency of this fine album.

Tarantula – “S/T ” – [Self-Released]

lombard   3/29/2005   A Library, CD

Tarantula is a young-ish 4-piece band from New York. They cite influences from both classical and the rock world and are comprised of cello, violin, guitar/bass, drums/percussion, glockenspiel, and melodica. This release has an upbeat, European gypsy-music/chamber rock feel to it, especially with the prominent strings. It’s all instrumental music that the band describes as “melancholic melody.”

-Cynthia Lombard

Roberts, Alasdair- “No Earthly Man”- [Drag City](CD)

lombard   3/29/2005   A Library, CD

Scottish folk-inspired musician Alasdair Roberts initially caught the attention of Will Oldham when he was in Appendix Out. Even back then he acknowleged folk inspirations, including Vashdi Bunyan, who he covered on one album. This release explores even older Irish, Scottish & English traditional songs. The lyrics are intense on these ballads about poisoning, fratricide, shipwrecks, infanticide and lost love. “A Lyke Wake Dirge” is a charm song, traditionally sung while viewing a dead body. Voice-with strongly accented vocals-is prominent. A beautiful, mesmerizing release.

-Cynthia Lombard

Cooper-Moore & Assif Tsahar “tells untold” [Hopscotch]

Thurston Hunger   3/29/2005   CD, Format, Jazz

Tsahar’s Hopscotch label as been delivering pure beauty as of
late, whether en masse with Underground Orchestras or in more
subtle style as with these above-the-clouds duets. While I
remain a charismatic agnostic, it is still hard not to hear
the harp as a heavenly harkening. And there’s something about
the thumb piano, that seems to summon up otherworldly vibes
as well. This release even pipes in a shofar, a ram’s horn
for ancient atonement. But this album doesn’t strictly serve
up its spoils past mortal coils, there’s rootsier-than-the-
holes-in-a-bluesman’s-shoes “diddley-bow” on “Deviations”
and the CD closer as well. It’s a one-string, rubber-band
thing that rumbles and stretches. Or if you want neither
angels nor men, how about computer? While not credited, #8
has Assif spiraling tenor scurries into what sounds like
a bubbling cauldron of circuitry (but possibly a homemade
concoction of Cooper-Moore?’) For as much competing bliss
and brimstone as is found here, this album hangs together
supremely. At once refreshingly relaxing, and gloriously
gnashing. The melody at the end feels like coming home,
the rest of the joys are definitely otherworldly.

Cluck, Diane “Oh Vanille / Ova Nil” [Important Records]

Thurston Hunger   3/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Even without a few heartfelt harmonies dubbed in, and the
gracefully guided crack of her voice, the words alone cut
right past the ear to the heart. “And you fade from me like
you know I’m dying.” Ouch. But really you’ve got to hear her
vocalize that sentiment, it winds up catching the body
language of hurt, all in an ornate loneliness despite being
surrounded by a 1000 midwives. Is it a paean to a child lost
during childbirth?’ Listen to “Bones and Born Again” and tell
me. The recipe here is simple enough an acoustic guitar (oft
a 12 string rattler!) and some songs in a shaky voice, I
guess you’ll want to hear her soon. Shaky…but unswerving.
And that weird (New England?) clip to her voice, like a lost
Roche sister? Enunciation of renunciation? Arrow of my
sparrow? These songs take flight, like the woman singing
pretty sad songs strung on a clothes line. Stringing songs
along. They can dry out their tears and catch the scent of
her breeziness. Coaxed, comforted. An essential album for
those with souls cracked but intact.

World Psychedelic Classics Vol. 3: Love’s A Real Thing: The Funky Fuzzy Sounds Of West Africa [coll] – [Luaka Bop]

Hunter Gatherer   3/28/2005   CD, International

In this amazing compilation released this month (3/2005) from David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label, we are treated to music recorded in West Africa in the early to mid-70s. While the music is surely African in origin, it is under the heavy influence of the Western pop and rock sounds of the previous decade. The result is like hearing James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Latin and Cuban rhythms held up to an African aural fun house mirror.

Of course the very deepest roots of most Western music have origins in the cultures of Western Africa, and maybe this is why these twelve tracks sound so natural and strange and familiar all at the same time. The liner notes do a great job putting this in context, but the gist of it is that cheap record players, imported vinyl, and cheaper studio technology all came together to make this music possible.

All tracks are strong, so picking a track at random is not a bad way to decide. I particularly like 1 (check out the video on the CD, too), 3 (lots of yelps and call-and-response), 7 (in which a bunch of countries are scolded: ‘Do you think this world is yours? Better change your mind?), 8 (this is one of the ‘funky and fuzzy’s referred to in the title), and 10 (a little surfy and with steel drums). 4 is an instrumental.

–Hunter Gatherer

Boom Bip — ?Blue Eyed In The Red Room? — [Lex]

Hunter Gatherer   3/21/2005   A Library, CD

Boom Bip is Cincinnati native and producer/musician/smartypants Bryan Hollon. This is his second full-length solo album, released in March 2005. (He has also released a collaboration with Dose One which we have in Hip hop/CD and a remix album called Corymb (A/CD).)

The music on this album is clean, beautiful, cerebral, and airy (on most tracks at least) electronic music. Above all it is cerebral. You could actually hum along with some of the songs. Live instruments appear (guitar, drum, autoharp, strings), though usually highly processed.

Two of the stand out tracks feature vocals. Do’s And Don’ts starts with a mantra of thou shall not believe/thou shall not be led and launches into a litany of choices one has to make. By the end of the song, the mantra and the litany are buddies. Vocals by Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals.

Another stand out track is The Matter (Or Our Discussion) with ethereal and beautiful vocals Nina Nastasia that contrast with the blunt 5a.m. truths of the lyrics. The song should make sense to anyone who has ever fallen out of love.
–Hunter Gatherer

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