KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Nubdug Ensemble – “Volume One: The Machines of Zeno” – [Pest Colors Music]

Max Level   7/20/2021   A Library, CD

Cheerfully progressive circus cabaret pop. Nine varied yet strangely catchy tracks rush by in just under 20 minutes. Nubdug picks up where local weirdo conglomeration Vacuum Tree Head left off a couple of years ago. For this project, ex-VTH maestro Jason Berry recruited ten contributors, many of whom are well-known in the bay area music community, such as Myles Boisen, Amanda Chaudhary, Sheldon Brown, and Amy X Neuburg. Good humor shines throughout, and the playing is exceptionally tight as these very skilled players veer through the intricate arrangements. The ensemble consists of sax, clarinet, flute, bassoon, keyboards, electronics, occasional vocals, violin, and guitar… with a phenomenal fusion-flavored bottom end provided by bassist Brett Warren and drummer G. Calvin Weston (Ornette Coleman, James Blood Ulmer.) Throw this CD on and spend 20 minutes wondering what’s coming next.

Murray, Kevin / Sato, Kazuto / Weeks, Tom – “Hard Boiled” – [Wolfsblood Records]

Max Level   7/19/2021   CD, Jazz

Great playing by this drums/bass/sax trio. Three long tracks of (I’m assuming) improvised creativity. I’m used to hearing saxophonist Weeks on alto, but on Track 2 he moves over to baritone and it’s a nice change. On that same track, upright bassist Sato switches to electric bass guitar for a while and then switches back. Murray on drums is supportive throughout and plays interesting parts without calling attention to himself. These guys are a high-functioning outside free jazz unit and it sounds like they get off on playing with one another. What more can you ask for?

Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats “Blood Lust” [Rise Above Records]

atavist   7/16/2021   A Library, CD

Evocation of the caveman dawn of doom rock, refried brain wake and bake of the early seventies. The summers after the summer of love got hotter and love gave way to Blood Lust. Released in 2011, the second of five releases (so far), featuring the original power trio configuration of this Cambridge UK project. Vintage signal chain and capture. Grooves, solos, clean falsetto vox. Sonic accompaniment for smoke-fueled sorcery. Track 9, a bonus track for the CD format, has 34 seconds of near-silence at its beginning. Track 6 is an early favorite.

Unbecoming – 12/31/17 – [Self Release]

Max Level   7/13/2021   A Library, CD

My finely honed detective skills on the world wide web turned up absolutely nothing regarding this CD. Who is it, what is it, why is it, and so on. Looks like I’m on my own. Well OK, what we’ve got here are five pieces of incomprehensible, likely recorded 12/31/17. No credits listed. It’s music, I guess, but only barely so. I hear a guitar somewhere in there, and I think I heard a bass. And then there is a lot of unidentifiable stuff completing the picture. A guy’s voice is in the mix most of the time but I can’t tell what he’s on about. Are these actual songs or improvised rambling? Not sure. All tracks equally recommended. Spin the wheel and try your luck. Reminds me of the kind of stuff you might get from the Bren’t Lewiis Ensemble or maybe Thinking Fellers—it makes no sense but then again, what does? Very KFJC.

Map 71 – "Ex-Socialite Needs a New Invention" – [Foolproof Projects]

Hemroid The Leader   7/13/2021   A Library, CD

Behold the newest addition to our catalog of UK’s Foolproof Projects, Map 71’s 3-song, 12-minute EP “Ex-Socialite Needs A New Invention.” Spoken word, percussion and synthesizer. Drummer Andy Pyne (West Hill Blast Quartet, Kellar, Aeolipile) and Brighton poet Lisa Jayne constitute Map 71, a noise-poetry homage to “first wave industrial stuff- Throbbing Gristle, SPK, Whitehouse, … Suicide.”

Marley, Bob and The Wailers – "Burnin' (Deluxe Edition)" – [Island]

Hemroid The Leader   7/13/2021   CD, Reggae

2004 2CD set. CD1 the classic basic common groundation reggae thing that everyone knows so well from hotboxing again&again in high school parking lots.
CD2 previously unreleased live show. Roadblock thing. One of Tosh’s last shows as a Wailer. Bunny stayed in Jamaica & did not go to England. Skeletal. Melody Maker 12/1/73 called the gig an “instant classic,” that the Wailers had “rightness to the music that flows intuitively from them.” Lively Up Yourself runs over 13m. No More Trouble favors Tosh vocal in the arrangement.

Pattern Recognition (coll) – [No Part of It]

Max Level   7/12/2021   A Library, CD

2020 compilation of thirteen noise, semi-noise, and otherwise strange tracks released to benefit collage artist Bradley Kokay, who suffered massive losses when his studio was destroyed by fire. (This label No Part of It tends to use Kokay’s art on its releases.) I only know a few of the artists—GX Jupitter-Larsen, irr.app.(ext.), Illusion of Safety, and that’s about it—but I find just about all the tracks worthy and grounds for further research on the artists. A wide variety of listening experiences available here. Track 3 is a woman strumming some kind of instrument and talk-singing in German. Track 4 consists of two sections of cool burbling/blorping sounds with some other stuff between them. Track 9 is subtle sound art on the quieter side. Track 13 finishes things off with ten minutes of harsh auditory hell, just the way some people like it.

Harlem In Vogue: Poetry Jazz of Langston Hughes [coll] – [Fingertips Records]

Thee Opinataur   7/8/2021   CD, Jazz


This compilation consists of four separate recordings from 1958-60. . The first ten tracks
are Langston Hughes accompanied by Leonard Feathers All-Star Sextet. The next eleven
tracks are Hughes’s poetry with Charles Mingus & The Horace Parlan Quintet. Six tracks
of Hughes poetry follow, closing with two tracks from Bob Dorough’s interpretation of
Hughes poetry. While Hughes did most of his writings years earlier, these were his first
attempts to bridge the jazz and written word. The ‘Weary Blues’ with Leonard Feathers
Quintet as well as ‘Motto/ dead in there’ are some of the best works on this lengthy
compilation. However, while some of his most important works such as ‘I have known
rivers’ and ‘I too’ are wonderful to hear from the author’s own voice, they could have
used some accompaniment. The last two tracks put this otherwise fine collection to
shame as the quality of Bob Dorough’s interpretation of Hughes falls completely flat. A
fine historical piece overall – Thee Opinataur

Infantino, Antonio -Tara’n Trance- [Amiata Records]

Thee Opinataur   7/8/2021   A Library, CD

Antonio Infantino was many things in his home country of Italy, visual artist, musician, artist, anthropologist, and poet. For several decades beginning in the mid-1960s, he revived and popularized the traditional Tarantella music of southern Italy. 

The tarantella’s origin is connected with Tarantism, a disease or form of hysteria that appeared in Italy in the 15th to the 17th century and that was obscurely associated with the bite of the tarantula wolf spider; victims seemingly were cured by frenzied dancing. 

On this album, he collaborates with electronic master Eraldo Bernocchi creating a contemporary new spiritual rave. 

These tracks will get you out on the dance floor whether you like it or not. Staying primarily in traditional Tarantella’s 6/8 timing, as well as 4/4 it spans the centuries harmoniously, making the old new again. You can envision the rural ancient days of peasants crying out, delirious, upon being bitten by the wolf spider. Modern-day victims trance, spinning uncontrollably, aching to be relieved of the toxin flowing through their veins. Hypnotic voices pulsating throughout, Italian, English, Arabic, Hebrew, as well as other regional dialects. Lose yourself in its maniacal rhythm.

–Thee Opinataur

White, Tony Joe/Smoke From The Chimney

carsonstreet   7/7/2021   CD, Country

Tony Joe White, nicknamed the Swamp Fox, was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist, best known for his 1969 hit “Polk Salad Annie” and for “Rainy Night in Georgia”, which he wrote but which was first made popular by Brook Benton in 1970. White was a pioneer of the Louisiana swamp rock sound. Smoke From the Chimney, released posthumously, is composed of previously unknown home recordings. White’s eclectic legacy has persevered through decades of influence, covers and popular culture. Smoke from the Chimney captures Tony Joe White’s signature style in its purest form and serves as a living testimony to one of the most gifted lyricists and storytellers music has ever known.

Mouri, Katsura & Olive, Tim – “Various Histories” – [845 Audio]

lexi glass   7/7/2021   A Library, CD

Japanese experimental turntablist Katsura Mouri uses prepared records and portable players to generate buzzing surface noises, while Tim Olive’s noisemaking method of choice is playing found metal objects amplified with magnetic pickups. These five tracks, recorded in Kyoto between 2010-2012, meld their sound spectra, and the result is much darker and dangerous than I had expected. Edited and mixed by Mouri, these beautifully crafted compositions intersperse deep poisonous rumbles, harsh textures, black shimmers, hypnotic vibrations, to a high-pitched flatline finish on the final track.

Microsolutions to Megaproblems [coll] – [Soul Jazz Records]

cinder   7/7/2021   A Library, CD

A great collection of beats from Soul Jazz’s electronic side label – MtM. Quirky techno, leftfield, some house, IDM, ‘avant hip-hop, twisted disco, deep jazz’ and the such from artists Kit Clayton, Kid 606, Sutekh, Hu Vibrational & others, and remixes from Daedelus, Corker/Conboy, Telefon Tel Aviv. Soul Jazz always puts together incredible compilations, it’s nice to hear a techno outing from them! They’re all upbeat, happy, fun and summery sounds. Dip in! 

Mirry – "Mirry" – [Dutchess Records]

cinder   7/7/2021   A Library, CD

Whimsical, child-like reminiscences, warm sunny days, the hum and scratch of old vinyl…
An enchanting story of Tom Fraser’s great aunt, Mirabel Lorber (Mirry), who had recorded a number of piano compositions which she had kept secret from her family. While cleaning out his recently passed grandfather’s house, Tom came across an old scratched Transco record and along with his brother-in- law Simon Tong, brought to life this perfect marriage of sound. He’s re-imagined her piano recordings with added electronics, strings, found sounds, hiss of old records, and fantastical memories. It’s insanely lovely, very cinematic and caring. I imagine she’d be proud. 

Nihill – “Grond” – [Hydra Head Records]

whngr   7/2/2021   A Library, CD

Longform Gnostic Black Metal from the Netherlands.

Clean, harsh, and artful in their portrayal of deep suffering.

Noisy interludes. 

Skulls crushed, serpents writhe, whispers hushed, sun dies.

Sounds large and perhaps high-minded but this does not detract from the power.

Hypnotically repetitive and demonically representative.

Nihill hung it up in 2019 when their lead screacher/bellower (Michiel Eikenaar) succumbed to cancer at 42.This album constitutes their second release in 2009.

Trio Da Kali – "Trio Da Kali" – [World Circuit]

aarbor   6/30/2021   CD, International

Trio Da Kali are from Mali in West Africa. They come from illustrious musical ‘griot‘ families which makes them “hereditary musicians” – very clear from their excellent playing and musicianship. Da Kali means ‘to give a pledge’. In this case the pledge is to a musical heritage that dates back to the early 13th century. The line up of balafon (a xylophone) bass ngoni (a lute) and female singer is also based on ancient tradition, although these days it’s an endangered tradition. This is their first recording from 2015. Their subsequent recordings were all done in collaboration with the Kronos Quartet. These 3 are arguably the best of the up-and-coming generation of musicians in this tradition. The first track is unaccompanied vocal and the rest have instrumental accompaniment. AArbor

Classical Vocal Art of Persia [coll] – [Jvc Musical Industries]

aarbor   6/30/2021   CD, International

Poetry is very important in Iran. Between the 10th and 15th centuries a succession of important poets from Iran made poetry the national art of Iran. The most frequently sung lyrics come from Iranian poetry. Here we have poems by Rumi and Hafez, who were strongly influenced by the Sufi tradition of Islamic mysticism, set to music. It is a poetry which is both religious and sensual. Passionate love for God and longing for union with God is represented metaphorically by the desperate passion of a man for a woman of incomparable beauty. There are 4 long-ish tracks, each from a different composer. AArbor

Zone Six – “Live Wired 2004” – [Nasoni Records]

SlartiBartfast   6/29/2021   A Library, CD

Psychedelic, spaced out, jams from Zone Six circa 2004’s Live Wired. With ample progressive ear tickles, Live Wired is an exemplary musical specimen of stoner, kraut rock and psychedelia. This line up includes Dave Schmidt on spacebass, Martin Schorn on synth, Julius-K on guitar, and Walt Jahn on drums. Tracks 1-5 recorded live 8, Oct 2004 at Sudhaus Tubingen, and Track 6 at Schlachthof Lahr 16, Oct 2004. Grab your refreshments and enjoy the mindful, musical experience.

Octopus Inc. – “Mere Things & Mindless Creatures” – [Kracfive]

aarbor   6/29/2021   A Library, CD

Octopus Inc. is Noah Sasso of Chicago. This is his very first release from 1999. He’s definitely playing with sound here. The music is either gentle, subtle or sustained, then sometimes crunchy or chunky. He plays rough against smooth, metallic beats with a smooth melody. Or sometimes [as in track 5] squitchy liquid beats. Sasso is still creating and releasing records under several aliases. AArbor

Tirelli, Armando / El Profeta

carsonstreet   6/24/2021   A Library, CD

One of the most famous progressive rock masterpieces from South America carrying a resounding resemblance to the 70’s Italian prog scene. Armando Tirelli wrote this concept album and performed all the keyboard work on the album (piano, mellotron, synths, organ). The soft vocals are by Armando and are in Spanish. Inspired by the writings of Gibran Khalil – yes The Profit – required reading in the hippie codex. Often referred to as symphonic prog. Uruguay’s gift to progressive rock.

Sherpa / Tanzlinde

carsonstreet   6/24/2021   A Library, CD

Tanzlinde is the debut album of the neo-psych band Sherpa from Abruzzo, Italy. You can hear influences of psychedelia and Krautrock invoking thoughts of Popol Vuh and Robert Wyatt. Eastern culture’s traditional music is also reflected here. Tanzlinde means a linden tree under the leaves of which the people find time to get back to themselves and connect to their deepest feelings. It’s a metaphor for strength but fast growing and so is the music. This album becomes better and more intense with every listen… released December 27, 2016.

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