KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Jackson-Pratt – ” In The Night, I’m Lost In Love” – [Oxen]

whngr   10/9/2020   A Library, CD

Jackson-Pratt is the name of a device used to drain surgery sites so you probably can glean what kind of harsh-noise this is: In the red, splatter-misery. 2020 release on Oxen. An excellent accompaniment for clawing your respiration barrier off in a convalescent home and forcing blood laden piss from the filthy incision in your abdomen.

Spiral Wave Nomads -“Ten Color Ritual” – [Tape Drift Records]

mickeyslim   10/7/2020   A Library, CD

psychedelic zen garden,
imperceptible grains of sand
slowly spiral, like heavy smoke,
to the bottom of the hourglass.

lost in the the thick,
lush aura of greens
and blues and purples,
finding my way quietly
to the exit.

Eric Hardiman (NY) on guitar and bass, Michael Kiefer (CT) on drums, with special guest guitarist Erik Rutnik. Lush psychedelic soundscapes that transport you to a different plane. Soak it up!

Parra, Violeta – “Las Ultimas Composiciones De Violeta Parra” – [A.R.C.I. Music Chile]

mickeyslim   9/30/2020   CD, International

If, like me, you’ve never heard of Violeta Parra before, you, my friend, are in for a real treat.

Violeta Parra was a Chilean singer-songwriter, folklorist, and ethnomusicologist. She traveled across Chile, collecting over 3,000 traditional folk songs of her country which she was able to share with the world. Her enthusiasm for her country’s folk music evolved into her pioneering a roots revival they called “New Chilean Song,” effectively traditional chilean folk music with strong political themes of the time.

She traveled through Europe between 1955 and 1957, sharing some of the music she collected as well as her own songs. She later lived around Europe from 1963-1965, this time with two of her children and her granddaughter. for a few years with her children in the 1960s. During this time she became the first Latin American artist to independently exhibit their artwork at the Louvre.

Surprisingly, since she is basically a household name in Chile, this is the first Violeta Parra release for KFJC. 

Although these songs were the last she recorded, they are among her most well-known, “Gracias a la Vida” being the absolute gem here. The songs are very much in the Chilean folks music vein, with strong percussion and use of multiple types of guitars, including the charango, a tiny-bodied, 10-stringed guitar. Parra’s vocals are absolutely stunning. Her voice is hauntingly full, echoic, and strong, yet sweet and smooth. This was recorded and released in late 1966, a few short month before Parra committed suicide in 1967.

Unquestionably unparalleled. Do not miss this.

Buck Young – “Buck II: Where Do You Want It?” – [No Rent Records]

lexi glass   9/30/2020   A Library, CD

Here’s a record I never knew I needed to hear – a weird, whiskey-soaked mash of honky tonk, steel guitar twang, tape loops, harsh noise, campfire folk, and Conlon Nancarrow reanimating the out-of-tune piano in a saloon. Buck Young is the duo of Zoe Burke and Jason Crumer (his solo noise work as well as releases from his label No Rent Records can be found in our library). On their second album, the follow-up to their 2017’s Proud Trash Sound, they’re joined by an extended cast of characters that includes Joseph Hammer (tape music legend and member of the LA Free Music Society), Wyatt Howland (Skin Graft), and Rose Rae (Apologist), to create this experimental country masterpiece, that could play just as well Down on the Farm as it could on KFJC’s most extreme shows. 

Throughout the album, repeating loops of sampled guitar recall the disorienting effect of driving for hours across a flat, seemingly endless desert landscape, as heat shimmers on the horizon and giant scorpions crawl across the cracked soil. But the pit stops along the way are really where Buck II shines. Burke’s winning vocals feature on my two favorite tracks: the catchy “Ballad of Bruce McClain,” about the misadventures of a trio of train hoppers (T7), and the dreamy, despairing “Bell Jar of Whiskey” (T12). “Long Distance Phone Call” is a sloshed singalong about drunk texts to your ex and other regrets (T9), and the title track is a spoken word narration of a barroom showdown between a shit-talking guy from the local plant and a John Wayne-wannabe musician (T14). For weeks, I’ve been whistling along with this record as the country burns down around us – here’s hoping my fellow listeners also find it eases their misery.

FCCs on T7, T14

Mortuous – “Among The Lost/Mors Immortalis” – [Carbonized]

Lord Gravestench   9/30/2020   A Library, CD

These guys might be the best death metal band to come out of San Jose since Exhumed (or at least they’re tied with Plague Phalanx, although the two groups play such different styles it doesn’t seem fair to pit them against each another). 

Founded in 2009 as the solo project of guitarist Colin Tarvin (Bruxers, Deform, Disinhibition, recently joined Acephalix), Mortuous has since grown into a 4-piece that includes members and alumni of such Bay Area projects as Necrot, Augurs, Cartilage, Vastum, Atrament, Caffa, and the aforementioned Exhumed itself.

Mortuous’s excellent 2018 debut LP was highly regarded and widely heard, earning them a large following internationally. Prior to that point, this ridiculously hard-working band carved out a reputation as a cult act in Bay Area circles, opening a crazy number of shows and releasing two demo tapes. These demos have now been reissued on this 2020 compilation CD from the Carbonized Records imprint (run by their drummer Chad Gailey, who also happens to be a long-time KFJC ally and supporter).

Their 2012 demo tape (t.s 1-6 here) was originally added by KFJC back in 2014, but the material well deserves a second trip through Current. Especially noteable are its crushing guitar sound and absolutely insane drumming, the latter provided by long-time Exhumed bludgeoner Col Jones (no longer in Mortuous as of 2014).

The 2010 debut demo (t.s 7-10) was recorded by Tarvin pretty much on his own, although Derrel Houdashelt (another former Exhumed member) contributes lead guitar on t.8. These 4 cuts have a scratchier, lower-fi sound than the first 6. 

The two demos feature mostly the same collection of songs, but the playing and production differs so much you barely notice when listening through the whole CD. Even the vocalist is different. Both halves of this compilation are great and well worth your attention. 

“We exit from this world/Into the light we are led/Then could the reverse be true/For a dimension of the dead?”

Metal Preyers – "Metal Preyers" – [Nyege Nyege Tapes]

Thurston Hunger   9/29/2020   A Library, CD

Is AfroFuturism still defining itself, and is this part of that definition? Ritual and routers, digital electronics and digits on dry drums meet here in 15 tracks shaped by shamans Jesse Hackett (London) and Mariano Chavez (Texas to Chicago). Important in their electronic stew are the drums and beyond of Omutaba and Lawrence Okello along with the orations of Otim Alpha. The sounds that result are certainly of the ether but grounded in Uganda. The was released on the fine Nyege Nyege Tapes label similarly born within and without Kampala. More likely to paralyze than perculate a dancefloor, the pieces are short but not confining. “Slither Dripper” and “Night Walker” move in mysterious ways, and across boundaries as stealthily as the project itself aims to. Both of those tracks feature a tiny gully of silence in the middle to jump across, and intentional reset that for me is a pleasant jolt. Startled on-air DJ’s might disagree. Otim Alpha I believe sings/invokes on #2, #3, #6, #9 and #12. The title tracks, opening and closing, feast upon the illusion of beats with whistle/whirs of the electronic landscape. For quick pieces, a lot of shape-shifting at play.

The album is both comforting and foreboding, advanced and ancient, a bush of laptops, an e-cafe of ghosts.

Thurston Hunger

Fossil Aerosol Mining Project – "Scaath Catfish" – [Afterdays Media]

cinder   9/23/2020   A Library, CD

A densely fog covered trip down the rivers of an ancient faux bayou. This is Fossil’s ode to the water, mud, muck and scum of the twisted veins of aqua throughout the lands. Post-industrial sound design, field recordings, found sounds, static tones, distant birds chirping….a collage of ambient distortions and harmonic strings. Alien creature sightings and fluttering drones.

Calle 13 – "Los De Atras Vienen Conmigo" – [Norte]

aarbor   9/23/2020   CD, International

[Cah-Yay Treh-seh] is a Puerto Rican band and this is their 2nd release from 2010. The band consists of 2 half brothers and their step sister. The lyric style is sarcastic  and satiric. Poverty is a topic discussed in the lyrics here. The sounds include cumbia and Eastern European stylings. This was a very popular album and won a Latin Grammy. AArbor  

Siti Muharam – "Siti of Unguja (Romance Revolution On Zanzibar)" – [On The Corner Records]

aarbor   9/23/2020   CD, International

Siti Muharam is the granddaughter of Siti Binti Saad, an early 20th century singer who pioneered a new style of taarab featuring female singers. Taarab had been formal court music that combined Arabic and Swahili lyrics paving the way for a new generation of female taarab singers. In this her debut album, Muharam further reimagines the taarab tradition into a style very comfortable to modern Western ears.                                                           Zanzibar is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean just east of Tanzania and South of Kenya. Unguja is the large island just north of the Zanzibar archipelago. Historically these islands have been meetings place of cultures: the Indian spice trade/the African slave trade… Muharam’s music, which includes Western instruments along with traditional ones (oud and tablas), it reflects the Eastern Indian and African influences resulting in a smokey, delicious sound.  AArbor

Taha, Rachid – "Made In Medina" – [Mondo Melodia]

aarbor   9/23/2020   CD, International

This is Rachid Taha’s 3rd album from 2001. The first track Barra Barra appears in the trailer for Far Cry 2 a computer game, and 2 movie soundtracks: Black Hawk Down (2001) and The Hunting Party (2007). The musical sound combines his Algerian roots, techno, early rock and punk. Taha was influenced by the band Galactic and guitarist Steve Hillage at the time of this recording. He wanted to record in New Orleans because he saw parallels between African and American music and between the music of the African slaves who came to New Orleans and that of the Gnawas, the black desert tribes who became slaves of the Arabs in North Africa. New Orleans is like Algiers, both French colonies at one time. He thought that some of the local Louisiana Zydeco drum patterns are remarkably similar to Rai. His next album after this one is considered his bestseller, Diwan. Sadly Taha died of a heart attack in 2018. AArbor

Toned – “Private Sector” – [Shhpuma]

Max Level   9/22/2020   A Library, CD

Abstract pieces by this electroacoustic trio featuring alto sax, electronics, and drum set. Often crazy, jagged, blurting, and in your face, other times more restrained and seemingly thoughtful. I especially enjoy it when Tom Weeks uses his sax to make unusual sounds—squeaks and pops and flutters. Track 5 has a different flavor than the rest— it starts quietly with what could be water sounds but may be electronics; about 2/3 of the way into the track things get louder with something that sounds like train noises but who knows what it actually is, and then it ends quietly. There are a couple of tracks with snippets of conversations added, and those don’t do a whole lot for me. I like this release because it’s weird and messed up, but I hear it as mostly coherent sound—which is good—rather than random stuff thrown in just to be weird and messed up.

Pantha Du Prince – "Black Noise" – [Rough Trade]

cinder   9/18/2020   A Library, CD

Gorgeous third release from this German producer. Said to be born out of a period of musical exploration in the Swiss Alps, his sounds are often labeled as minimal techno. This is so full of sound though, very earthy and rich. Lush electronics, intriguing dance-able beats, organic instruments, field recordings, bells, tropical flairs. All instrumentals except track 4 which features vocals by Panda Bear (Noah Lennox of Animal Collective), and track 7 also has vocals but I’m not sure who, himself perhaps? It’s optimistic and beautiful!    

Trou – “Grjóthaugr” – [No Part of It]

whngr   9/17/2020   A Library, CD

“Trou” (pronounced trū ), french for “void” is the mysterious and prolific  rhythmic noise, harsh industrial project from France ca. 2012 to present. Three gloomy tracks of mind wipingly repetitive dark ambient/industrial fare suitable for the final round of stripping your captive of their ego. Apply liberally to the feeble minded in order to gain control and begin supplanting capitulation for autonomy as you guide them towards self destruction and they bend to your terrible will. Originally self-released on cassette in 2017 this outing is another delectable/detestable disc from Chicago label No Part Of It.

Nital Etch – “Simalacrum” – [No Part of It]

whngr   9/17/2020   A Library, CD

Eerie Cinematic Vignettes.

Haunting, serene, and at times unnerving like dreams of lovers long passed, entropy, and the death of hope. A collection of modulated strings, samples, and ambient sound collage by Washington state’s Kevin Lewis culled from unreleased selections by this magnificent composer, released August 2020 by the label No Part Of It  (Chicago). In a word, perfect.

Alefa Madagascar! (Salegy, Soukous, and Soul From The Red Island) – [coll] – [Strut]

aarbor   9/16/2020   CD, International

An outstanding 2019 release from Strut which showcases the popular music of Madagascar during a heyday of Malagasy popular music. Most recordings from Madagascar are traditional instruments and music, this one is not. Salegy is a fast tempo local dance based on 5/8 and 12/8 rhythms [tracks 1, 4]. Soukous  is from the Congo, brought into Madagascar’s music in the ‘60’s via the radio,  along with music from Kenya, South Africa and Mozambique.  At that time the newer styles and instruments replaced many of the traditional ones. Be sure to check out the Behind the Scenes Alefa Madagascar! Video on Youtube. The liner notes give a very rich and well researched guide of music in Madagascar. AArbor    

 

   

Cafe De Los Maestros – [coll] – [Surco Recrods]

aarbor   9/16/2020   CD, Soundtrack

The soundtrack to a documentary movie directed by Miguel Kohan featuring interviews with  musicians and singers from Argentina’s Golden Age of Tango ( 1940’s and ‘50’s – before Astor Piazzolla). Uruguay’s Lagrima Rios appears here on the 2nd track on both CDs. Two CDs worth of lovely antique tango music, the grandmother musically speaking of what you hear from Gotan Project, Bajofondo and others these days.

AArbor

Mogerman, Sol – “Wishbone Bridge” – [Self Release]

mickeyslim   9/13/2020   A Library, CD

I’ve been sitting on this doulbe CD release for something like 6 years. I don’t know why I never opened it. I don’t know where it sat all these years, but after I found it when I moved back to the Bay, it STILL sat, unlistened, for two years. So sorry, folks…. Simply put, this is amazing. Amazing music from an amazing musician with an amazing story.

This album was recorded well before Mogerman moved from California to British Colombia in 1985, when he ended up having a stroke due to a terrible car accident that made him unable to play guitar for twenty years, making this possibly the only recording/release of music before his accident. He has gone on to become a clinical counsellor, specializing in restoration of self-image after brain injury and trauma. Aside from being a musician, he is also an accomplished author and artist

Half of these 20 tracks are quick, fast-paced acoustic guitar songs with witty lyrics taken from on his wife, Gundula’s, poetry. The other half are improvised, jazz-ic, acoustic, living-room jams. Even the composed tracks have a freeform feel. Enjoy!

Floral – “Floral LP” – [Choke Artist]

mickeyslim   9/13/2020   A Library, CD

a washed out daydream
just beyond the greying clouds
find its way out of the rain.

a hurried pitter patter on
eaves, beating as if a
morse code from the heavens
is finally saying,
“… maybe not one day.”

a knock at the door,

a bird finding sanctuary
underneath your windowsill,

nighttime arrives
and, now, rain
drifting off,
the moonlight glistens
off the puddles
from
the cracks
in the sidewalk.

Mountain View math-rock duo. Beautifully melodic syncopation from Nate Sherman on guitar and Ty Mayer on drums. Delicate, masterful, stunning.

Vapourspace – "Themes From Vapourspace" – [Full Frequency]

cinder   9/11/2020   A Library, CD

Mark Gage is the man behind Vapourspace. He’s been recording since the ’80s, but his first release didn’t come out until the mid-90s. When he moved to NY, he called Plus 8 label-head Richie Hawtin (aka Plastikman) and eventually signed a contract, releasing his debut 10″ and eventually touring with Orbital, Moby and Aphex Twin in 1993. This album is his first full length release. Killer mid-90s techno, acid and dance (my personal favorite era for it). There’s some more mellow, abstract ambient alien spaceship trax in there as well, so pick your bpm and let’s gooooo!

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