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Music Reviews

Archimboldos, Los – "Starcave Memories" – [Nonlocal Research]

aarbor   10/27/2021   A Library, CD

Los Archimboldos is a duo from Chile formed in 2017 by producer and musician Nicolas Carcavilla a/k/a Embassador Dulgoon and Felipe Crocco (co-founder of the Nonlocal Research label. This is their first release from 2019; and the first release on this label. The initial limited edition CD-R release apparently has an encrypted map to the Starcaves (which I couldn’t find). There are 10 relatively short (all under 5 minute) tracks described as experimental, abstract and “future jazz”. AArbor

Yuseinov, Ateshkhan – "Strange Suite" – [Riverboat Records]

aarbor   10/27/2021   CD, International

“Atesh” Yuseinov is from Bulgaria where he is apparently a cult figure. He is an amazing guitar player and has cultivated his own style of playing: combining the fast rhythms and changes of Balkan folk music with the freedom of jazz, and even adding in a beatbox [track 8]. Track 7 is the only traditional track with Atesh’s wife Venera Todorova as the vocalist. [Don’t miss tracks: 1,2,6,8,9] AArbor

Dam – "Dedication" – [Red Circle Music]

aarbor   10/20/2021   CD, Hip Hop

DAM is a Palestinian hip-hop group based in Lod, Israel. Formed in 1999 by brothers Tamer and Suhell Nafar and friend Mahmoud Jreri, who are Arab citizens of Israel. They’ve spent over a decade performing globally. The music is a fusion of East and West combining Arabic rhythms, Middle Eastern melodies, and urban hip-hop vibes. This is their first release from 2006. You’ll hear an excerpt of a speech by President Nasser, children, oud, bouzouki, rap and conscious tell-it-like-it-is lyrics – that you probably can’t understand. The English lyrics are in the booklet. AArbor

MISCELLANEOUS [coll] – [Language]

aarbor   10/20/2021   A Library, CD

According to the insert this is: “Music for Open Minded People”. From 1995 this compilation is the first of 2 only releases in the Miscellaneous series on Crammed Discs’ sublabel: Language. Cool dark electronics with noise and plenty of good rhythmic fun from the likes of David Toop, Fantomas, Ian Pooley and Endemic Void plus others. AArbor

Altin Gun – "Yol" – [ATO Records]

aarbor   10/20/2021   CD, International

Third [2021] release from Altin Gun – an Amsterdam-based project founded in 2016 by Jasper Verhulst. They mix Turkish folk, psychedelia, funk and rock. Here they add instruments not heard before in their music: synth, congas, drum machines and a Suzuki Omnichord. Some songs are taken from archaic sources: “Yekte” [11] is a traditional song from the Anatolian city of Kayseri, while “Arda Boylar”[7] comes from a region of the Balkans that once formed part of the Ottoman Empire. Every song works in the neo-disco psych environment; the despondency of the folk melodies blends with glittering pop production creating a stream of gilded melancholy. The music sits somewhere between 19th century Ottoman Empire, ’60s Haight-Ashbury, the bubblegum boogie of ’80s New York, and today’s pop. AArbor

Supersuckers – Must’ve Been High [Sub Pop Records]

beastofbourbon   10/18/2021   A Library, CD

“And it has been our search for the best rock-n-roll has to offer which has inevitably led us down that old dirt road to country. Simple, three chord songs, sung from experience, played on an old, beat up acoustic guitar-that’s what we’re talkin’ about here” – The Supersuckers

The fourth album from Seattle based punk band Supersuckers takes a turn down the country road with songs about life on the road, rowdy fans, addiction, UK punk legends, and a romantic duet (Kelley Deal) about being hungover. The lyrics stick to a punk attitude/sense of humor while the music has a bonafide Bakersfield/Texas Outlaw Country sound thanks to guest musicians Willie Nelson (uncredited vocals), Jesse Dayton (guitar), Brian Thomas (pedal steel/banjo), Brantley Kearns (fiddle/mandolin), Mickey Raphael (harmonica), and producer Randall Jamail. This is Cowpunk to the core

Beast of Bourbon

Lipstick Killers – Strange Flash – Studio and Live ’78-81 [Grown Up Wrong]

beastofbourbon   10/16/2021   A Library, CD

“You guys are the only fuckin’ reason I’d ever come down to this shithole. I wouldn’t do this for anyone else.”


That’s what Keith Morris (front man of Black Flag/Circle Jerks) said about Lipstick Killers in a 1982 article in New York Rocker magazine. Lipstick Killers was a Sydney, Australia based band that was active from the late 70’s to the early 80’s. This double CD set features 45s, demos, and live recordings. The first CD is early recordings of catchy hard rocking garage/punk.  Their energetic hard driving songs really come through in the live recordings (including a 13th Floor Elevators cover) in spite of some of the vocals being lost due to microphone issues. During the 80’s, the band transitioned to new wave/rock, bringing their new sound to Los Angeles, California. CD #2 features these lighter, poppier tunes. The live set from Los Angeles 1981 shows that the band didn’t lose their edge when it came to live gigs. That energy is likely what Morris was talking about.

Beast of Bourbon

Uzel, Nezih – "Mevlana: Instrumental Mevlevi Music" – [Kent Elektronik]

aarbor   10/13/2021   CD, International

In Turkey, Rumi is fondly remembered by his followers as Mevlana — which means scholar. When he died in 1273, Rumi’s followers founded the Mevlevi Order, also known as the Order of the Whirling Dervishes, famous for the Sufi dance known as the Sema ceremony. The Mevlevi Ayin is a form of Ottoman art music that evolved around an organized religious ritual: the Whirling Dance ceremony of the Mevlevi Dervishes . It was based on musical composition and poetry, taking the form of an original cyclical suite format. The instruments which accompany Mevlevi music are: the Bendir – a wooden frame drum, the Oud (lute) and Ney (and end-blown flute). The Dervishes consider this kind of dance and music a form of meditation. The dervishes wear long white robes and very tall conical hats when they dance. Nezih Uzel was a very famous bendir player and dervish. He once said that this is music for participation rather than just listening. I was surprised by the gentleness and pace of this music which accompanies Whirling Dervish dance/meditations. AArbor

Shirley and Lee – "Complete Singles As & Bs 1952-1962, The" – [Acrobat Music]

aarbor   10/13/2021   CD, Soul

Shirley Goodman and Leonard Lee were teenagers in New Orleans who were pioneers of the boy/girl R&B duo style in the early 1950s. Their biggest hit was “Let the Good Times Roll” [Disc 1 track 23]. They hardly ever harmonized. Instead they sang separate verses and choruses using a call-and-response style, mostly because Shirley’s voice was piercing, sat in a narrow range, and she often sang a bit sharp or flat – hard to harmonize with. They recorded at the important Cosimo Matassa’s J&M Studios which created the New Orleans R & B sound. Shirley and Lee were dubbed “The Sweethearts of the Blues” although the relationship they supposedly sang about in their songs (on CD1) may not have been real. I preferred CD2 for the better arrangements and more interesting songs. AArbor

No Silence – Sounds of The Underground [coll] – [Psychic Eye]

Thee Opinataur   10/7/2021   A Library, CD

Released in December 2020, this compilation is jam-packed with 43 bands, heavily steeped in Oakland’s Darkwave and Punk scene. Curated by Akiko Sampson, the founder of Psychic Eye (who also performs in Yama Uba and the post-punk band Otzi) we find bands representing all regions of the US. Great care went into mastering these tracks by Michael Daddona of Ratskin Records who also contributed with his band Malocclusion. 

While many of these bands may not necessarily be familiar to KFJC, there are several, Anarchy-punkers Resist and Exist out of SoCal, Cold-synths L’avenir, from Baltimore, hardcore from Iconoclast, tripped out galaxy girl Maya Songbird and of course our dear friends Moira Scar.  

A wide range of genres fills this album, with large doses of Darkwave and Post-punk, as well as Dark punk, Goth, synth wave, cold wave, funk, hip hop, and more. It’s hard not to like any of these tracks, and I’m careful not to list favorites as there are far too many that simply stand on their own.  

Akiko Sampson’s motivation for this compilation was to raise money for two relevant organizations that effectively push for institutional change in hostile local environments; BLM Louisville and The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, which represent migrants in ICE detention centers. Great music, even greater cause. – Thee Opinataur

Kondo, Toshinori – "Blow The Earth India" – [Subcontinental Records]

aarbor   10/6/2021   CD, Jazz

Toshinori Kondo, who departed this life last year, was a prolific Japanese composer, trumpet player and wanderer of the Earth. This release (from 2019) is a part of the series called “Blow the Earth” which he moved to Amsterdam to start in 1993. The film BLOW THE EARTH JAPAN came out in 2011 – it was his first project as a film director. He composed, performed and mixed all of the tracks on this album. After moving to New York in 1978, Kondo collaborated with many notable jazz musicians including: Bill Laswell, Eugene Chadbourne, Fred Frith, Ernaldo Bernocchi, John Zorn and Peter Brotzman. This is arguably one of his best releases. AArbor

Colombian Soul [coll] – [BBE Music]

aarbor   10/6/2021   CD, International

Dean Bagar a/k/a Tricky D a producer from Croatia, who now lives in Colombia, has compiled a magnificent collection showcasing the works of native Colombian musicians. Tricky D moved to Bogotá in 2013 after living in London, Berlin and Jamaica. He is active as a DJ, producer, remixer, and bass player, as well as teaching workshops on musical production. Since moving to Colombia, his new works contain Afro-Colombian influences. As a bass player, he’s now working on live projects which merge soul, dub and Afro-Colombian elements. His intention with this compilation was to find dubby, downbeat, minor tuned songs. Colombian Soul is soulful songs recorded by well-recognized Colombian artists. [ Most tracks updated traditional music: 6-world folklore and electronic dance music, 10 – Afro-Colombian reinterpreted, 11 – Latin drum ‘n bass, 12- Peruvian Cumbia reinterpreted, 13- Contemporary Colombian tropical, 14- Dub textures morphed with rolling bass, percussion and cumbia rhythms]. AArbor

AlHaj, Rahim Oud and String Quartet – "Letters From Iraq" – [Smithsonian Folkways]

aarbor   10/6/2021   CD, International

Rahim Al Haj has been an oud player since he was a child in Iraq. When he graduated from the Conservatory of Muisc in Baghdad he had won awards and had played in many parts of the world. When he refused to support Saddam Hussein’s regime he was twice imprisoned and tortured. Under threat of execution he went into exile in Jordan in 1991. Later he moved to Syria and then to the U.S. The 8 “letters” here are mostly very sad with accompanying very sad stories in the notes. Letter 7 is the most upbeat and Letter 8 is hopeful. According to Al Haj this is “Music to help us realize peace”. His wish is that this album will inspire listeners to choose love, wonder and hope. AArbor

Pom Poko – Cheater – [Bella Union]

Thee Opinataur   10/5/2021   A Library, CD


A hyper-energetic noise- pop, surrealist art-punk, math rock, and grunge with offbeat song structures. You never quite know which way any of these songs are going to swing throughout the album.

Feminist lyrics, incessant energy, chants, bright falsettos, sharp diction, yelps, and guttural Bjokian snarls, comprise lead singer Ragnhild Fangel’s voice, and it makes for infectious ear-candy.
Martin Tonne’s heavy guitar riffs, jagged jazz-grunge guitar work contend against bassist Jonas Krovel and drummer Ola Djupvik’s funky rhythm section.

While the frenzy of rock ‘n’ roll guitars is the fuel behind the band’s songs, Fanglel’s strong voice powers along during the unprocessed rock instrumentation in the first 6 tracks as well as the more contemplative nuanced tracks in the last few songs on the album. – Thee Opinataur

TONTO’s Expanding Head Band – “Zero Time” – [Real Gone Music]

SlartiBartfast   10/5/2021   A Library, CD

TONTO’s Expanding Head Band – “Zero Time”

Don your “space oddity” suit with anticipation, strap yourselves into the space capsule, and prepare for liftoff! Originally released in 1971, “Zero Time” will take you on an electronic, psychedelic, ambient trip to the outer rim of the galaxy. TONTO (The Original New Timbral Orchestra) is the first and largest multitimbral polyphonic analog synthesizer in the world built by Malcom Cecil who took a Moog III and kept adding custom modules to TONTO while making sure it was ever expandable. Each note that is played has the tonal quality of a different instrument and Cecil and Robert Margouleff play it to perfection. TONTO’s Expanding Head Band will guide you through a meditative and introspective cosmic journey that at times propels you through moments of psychic challenge and expansion while TONTO provides that galactic trip heard inside your space helmet. 

Doctor Who: Series 11 – [Silva Screen Records Ltd.]

Sir Cumference   9/26/2021   CD, Soundtrack

Segun Akinola’s music for Doctor Who is very much a departure from the music of Murray Gold, who had been the composer for the programme since its return in 2005. My initial impression at the time of first broadcast was amazed. While this soundtrack release has the opening titles first, viewers didn’t get to hear the familiar tune until the end of the first episode (nor the opening arrangement until the second!) but it feels more like the original radiophonic produced signature. The sound track release is divided into two types. Disc one is more of the hard science fiction, future stories. For these you get more of that old-school feel (some tracks even remind me of some ’80s film scores) with a more ambient feel at times – but in your face when it’s required. Where as disc two is comprised more of the historical based adventures with a more orchestral – and appropriately indigenous (for the story) – sound. My standouts are the new opening theme – I just love that bass drop – and the music from “The Demons of Punjab” with the mix of the new western and classical Indian (and even this old-schooler can’t help but love the Indian version of the titles!)

Central African Republic: Gbaya Music – Thinking [coll] – [Ocora | Radio France]

aarbor   9/22/2021   CD, International

The Gbaya are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Central African Republic. This is music of a Gbaya village called Ndongue. Music is performed either solo or in groups. Neighboring villages may have music that sounds quite different. The songs relate to activities: love songs, entertainment songs, lullabies, mourning or hunting songs. These are “Thinking Songs” which are performed by men with rattles and sanzas: thumb pianos: a small wooden resonator with metallic “tongues” as keys. The tongues can even be made with recycled ribs of an umbrella, or spokes of a bicycle wheel. Sanzas can be enhanced with metal rings that extend the resonating time or the instrument can be placed in a gourd (see cover picture) to increase the volume. The music is lovely: fluid, melodious. The audience can enter into the performance if they know the words or if a call/response is desired. The first 3 tracks are ensemble, and the last four are solos. All tracks were recorded in 1977. AArbor

MAP 71 – "Belladonna Sunsets" – [Fool Proof Projects]

aarbor   9/22/2021   A Library, CD

Another spoken word with drums, noises, etc. release from MAP 71. MAP 71 is Andy Pyne (drums, noises) and Lisa Jayne (words, voice, art). They like to push the envelope of what can be achieved with voice, synth and drums. This four-track EP is more dub-ish than the last one we added. The vocals are covered with echo, and the drums tend in a more tribal direction. Nude [1] is lovely with spacey echo and dubby drums, Aces [2] is more echoey with a rumba rhythm on the synth and disorienting drum patterns. Confessions of an Adrenaline Addict [3] is the sparsest track with tribal energy and a siren that seems a bit dystopian. Girlface Occupation [4} is lively and playful and rumba-ish. AArbor

Night Beats/Outlaw R & B

carsonstreet   9/17/2021   A Library, CD

Night Beats is the brain-child of Native Texan Danny Lee Blackwell. The soundtrack of a generation, the band’s R&B inspired Western Psychedelic sound is a reckoning, a shoot-out at dawn, the ear-splitting peel-out that leaves nothing but a cloud of red dust in its wake. They’ve toured around the world and shared the stage with the likes of Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, The Black Angels, Roky Erickson and The Jesus and Mary Chain. Blackwell says of the album: “Outlaw R&B is music for the borderless, the free, the outcasts and the forgotten.” Released June 4, 2021. Very good stuff – play it.

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