KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Liquid Visions/The Lost Recordings

carsonstreet   6/24/2021   A Library, CD

Studio recordings from 2000. Lots of long tracks with beautiful instrumental parts. Spacy, garage, fuzz psychedelic jam rock. Liquid Visions was founded in Berlin in late 1994. They developed their sound which basically is a blend of garage/fuzz rock and spacey trips in combination with a light show when playing live. They were both ahead of their time and behind it. An acid blast from the past and the present. Very nice booklet tucked into the inside cover with lyrics.

Q-moog – "Arc of Blueness, The" – [SSR Records]

aarbor   6/23/2021   A Library, CD

Q-Moog is Roy Parker who was born in Brooklyn and relocated to the Detroit suburbs at age 12 when his mother died. There he was influenced by the music and musicians he found there. This is his first full length release from 1997. Some have described it as “leftfield” I would call it experimental – in a good way. He’s playing with contrasting sounds like crisp or sharp beats paired with amorphous sustained sounds. For me the standout track is Angela [7] which has lovely warm strings with beats. He took a break from the music industry and has re-emerged in recent years with new tracks and releases. Definitely a guy to listen to and to watch. AArbor

Lenoci, Gianni – "A Few Steps Beyond" – [Amirani Records/Amirani Contemporary]

aarbor   6/23/2021   CD, Jazz

Gianni Lenoci was an Italian jazz pianist, composer and educator who departed this life in 2019 at the age of 56. This (posthumous) album was released this year. It’s a live concert at the Talos Festival September 4, 2019 – his last concert, he died later that month. Here he’s a jazz pianist playing other people’s work. It’s an Ornette Coleman sandwich, with Jerome Kern, Paul and Carla Bley, and Gordon Jenkins as the creators of the sandwich innards. Classical themes sublimated in noir semidarkness, meditative glimpses, unexpected diversions. AArbor

Der Blutharsch – “Track of The Hunted, The” – [Wir Kapitulieren Niemals]

whngr   6/18/2021   A Library, CD

Fascistic Austrian Fetishism

Intermittently sullen and victorious war chants employing various synthesized instruments by one Albin Julius. Industrial/Ambient, minimal, hypnotic, and unnerving marches with folkish, martial underpinnings.

 
Beware the forbidden sounds venerating German heritage. What could be more dangerous than an idea? Julius has refuted any allegiance to the far right but has been connected with politically active conservatives, especially in the early years of Der Blutharsch, and would often utilize the imagery and symbology associated with National Socialism and German expansionism further strengthening associations with the likes of Douglas Pearce of Death In June and Boyd Rice. Curiously his output has more recently (d)evolved to include elements of a fuzzed-out (dark) psych outfit with several permanent players. However, “The Track of the Hunted” is an early work and thus is rife with the sounds that would one day trigger and propel Antifa into the streets to incite, harangue, bludgeon, and castrate any and all who refute their authority. Be careful what you think, modulate what you say, and suppress what you might do… they may be watching and they are prepared to persecute and to punish for the crime of wrongthink.

Owl, The – “#46 Hibernation” – [Owl Ripper Recordings]

whngr   6/18/2021   A Library, CD

Slightly Glitchy Drones

Barren and isolated. Hypnotic. Intermittently jarring. 

Remote. Hollow. The discomfort of dissociation.

Cold and digital. Brooding. Sonic paresthesia.


“Sound experiments since 1994. As THE OWL since Autumn 2018. Headphones advised.” States the bandcamp page of The Owl, also known as Paul Priest, an extremely prolific creator of albums veering through the realms of ambient, noise, and ambient noise. This album amounts to one of the few (and quite limited [30]) releases available on a physical format, it is interesting to note that The OWL primarily issues his sounds via a growing network of enthusiastic net-publishers and is readily available for correspondence if you are interested in making contact with a recluse who seems to possess indominable amounts productivity and dedication to his craft.

Sarabia, Chelique – "Revolucion "Electronica" En Musica Venezolana" – [Pharaway Sounds]

aarbor   6/16/2021   A Library, CD

José Enrique “Chelique” Sarabia is a Venezuelan poet, musician, publicist, and television producer. He has written more than 1000 songs. In 1971, he recorded an album of traditional and folkloric songs but gave them a modern touch, using specially developed electronic equipment. Chelique took traditional Venezuelan instruments like the cuatro and the bandola llanera, filtered them through oscillators, playing with feedback, tape delay, synthesized frequencies, echoing sounds. The result was this album. Originally, the album was sponsored by the Shell Company in Venezuela, given away to customers, employees, and friends of the company as a Christmas gift in 1973. It was called 4 Phases of Four – Venezuelan Music Electronically Developed by Chelique Sarabia. Once the exclusivity period with Shell was over, Chelique did a commercial release, this time using the current name which translates to The Electronic Revolution in Venezuelan Music. As a result, Chelique and his team were considered electronic music pioneers in Latin America. This album is a classic, some would say it’s ahead of its time, even today. [Tracks to check out: 2,5,9,10, 11, 12] AArbor

Peru Boom: Bass, Bleeps & Bumps From Peru [coll] – [Tiger's Milk Records]

aarbor   6/16/2021   A Library, CD

Compiled by DJ Chakruna, this is an introduction to the movers and shakers of Lima’s tropical bass scene who are taking traditional folk music and cumbia into more modern dance styles like dubstep, techno, grime, house and electronica. Lima is where the Andean, African and European cltures meet, and that shows up in the music. These artists often use old rhythms and melodies, splicing and cutting up original tracks then adding in new electronic textures and beats. Chakruna’s ‘Sonido Chichero’ [12] is probably the standout track, but there are plenty of other worthy tracks [4,5,10,13,14,16] Enjoy! AArbor

Bellissima! More 1960s She-Pop From Italy [coll] – [Ace Records]

aarbor   6/16/2021   CD, International

A compilation of 1960s Italian pop songs and pop divas you’ve never heard of backed up by swingin’ bands. What’s not to like? Light weight? Sure. But fun! The Italian press gave animal nicknames to the country’s female pop stars: Mina was La Tigre (tiger) di Cremona, Milva – la Pantera (panther) di Goro, Patty Pravo – la Civetta (Owl) di Venezia, Rita Pavone – la Zanzara (Mosquito) di Torino, Marisa Sannia – la Gazella (gazelle) di Cagliari, Orietta Berti – l’Usignolo (nightingale) di Cavriago and Iva Zanicchi – la Aquila (eagle) de Ligonichio. [Some tracks I liked: 2,5,8,9,13-17] AArbor

Anderson/Pepper/Tamura/Petit – “Closed Encounters of the 4 Minds” – [Public Eyesore]

Max Level   6/14/2021   A Library, CD

One long improvisation, divided into 8 sections. Electric guitar, Korg MS2000, violin, saxophone, electronics, turntable, and other miscellaneous sounds. Fiery and unpredictable. On the loud side. Grabs your brain and demands your attention. Really far out and I love it. Recorded in one take at Martin Bisi’s legendary BC Studio in Brooklyn. Brought to us by the relentlessly interesting local label Public Eyesore.

Kevin Blechdom – “I Heart Presets” – [Tigerbeat6]

Max Level   6/14/2021   A Library, CD

2002 EP release from the nutty pop half of Blectum From Blechdom. I believe the title refers to the music being created with only the preset sounds of whichever synth gizmo KB was working with at the time. So it seems to have been cranked out fairly quickly without much work put into developing the sounds. But who cares, this EP is a lot of fun and the songs are enjoyable for sure. The first 4 songs zip by–Track 2 is only 47 seconds long–but Track 5 stretches out a bit at nearly 5 minutes long. It’s a cover of Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer” which doesn’t necessarily sound like it would be a good idea but it actually works in a poppy synth/sincere vocals kind of way.

Evans, Jessie -Heartwave – [Fantomette]

Thee Opinataur   6/9/2021   A Library, CD

Jessie Evans has a history in the Bay Area, where she was part of the synth goth band Subtonix in the early 2000s. After relocating to Berlin for a few years, she now calls Brazil home. Released in 2019, this is her third solo album. It’s reflective of her experience in her new life in San Paolo. Her lyrical verse is the star of this album, a deep, introspective, and heartfelt message to the world with an empathy for people around her, and authentic selflessness. 

Synth-Pop beats are the dominant platform throughout most of this album, with Machines, Cello, flute, guitar subtly mixed in. Known by many for her Sax play, she is thoughtful and particular when and where to incorporate. When she does play it, it’s understated with a soulful, sexy, and dream-like affection. Her voice is a mature, vampy, sultry, smokey experience. It can be hypnotizing to get distracted at times listening to the addictive poppy beats, but do try and separate and just listen to the extraordinary straight to your heart and soul lyrics. 

The opening track ‘Chariot’ is a shimmering potent synth-pop frenzy with a catchy chorus, but listen closely to the lyrics ‘While your cities falling, your government is balling’ is just a taste of this prayer. 

I couldn’t help but smile listening to her love song duet with her little girl Elladina in ‘Hold Onto Me’ You can feel, hear and experience her deep affection for her with every word she sings. 

The more I paid attention to her heart, the more I fell in love with her. 

Thee Opinataur

Zimpala – Almaviva – [Lacerba]

Thee Opinataur   6/9/2021   A Library, CD

Released in 2001, Almaviva was the first album from the collective out of Bordeaux, France known as Zimpala. Directing and producing this group of DJs, electronic and acoustic musical artists, and vocalists is French DJ and producer DJ BNX. Is it downbeat, house minimal, broken beat, Nu Jazz, lounge electronic? Why yes, yes it is; all of that and then some others sprinkled in. This is a pretty interesting and cool collaboration mixing in acoustic as well as electric instruments with their house tunes.  

 Things kick off with ‘To the Bass’, it takes you to the beach with a chill, bossa lounge experience to start things off. However, from there, things pick up beat-wise for a while until ‘Come Back’ cools things down. From that point on it’s an exotic mix of world fusion dance, erotic soulful vocals, and chill club music with a perfect tune, ‘New Home‘ to close this album out. All in all a nice groovy lounge trip. 

Thee Opinataur

Lake Oliver,Tchicai John, Osgood Kresten, Westergaard Jonas -Lake | Tchicai | Osgood | Westergaard – [Passing Thru Records]

Thee Opinataur   6/9/2021   CD, Jazz

Oliver Lake [Black Artists Group, World Saxophone Quartet] has collaborated with many of the jazz greats of the past 4+ decades. Recorded in 2003 in Copenhagen, Oliver Lake, Alto Sax, completed a tour of Denmark with Danish tenor saxophonist John Tchicai, drummer Kresten Osgood and bassist Jonas Westergaard. They immediately went into the studio afterward, the product of which is this release on Lake’s Passin’ Thru record label. All four artists contributed compositions to this album. Heavily steeped in swing with a vast amount of improvisation, and a bit of poetry and chanting mixed in on tracks 5 & 7 respectively.

To the ears, this recording feels like you are actually situated in a small intimate live space, not a studio, which is a great treat for the listener. Lake and Tchicai take turns leading us on several journeys throughout with timely phrasing and great energy. The youngest of this group, Kresten Osgood to me is the unsung star, his understated timing, and control to keep this quartet loose, free, and yet playing together as one is a thing of beauty. 

This album is such an engaging and pleasant experience. Its warmth will tickle that sweet spot in your body and brain and yet not let you get too comfortable as it insists on opening your mind and spirit to new places not yet experienced. 

Thee Opinataur

Meridian Brothers – "Salvadora Robot" – [Soundway Records]

Thurston Hunger   6/8/2021   CD, International

Yo por mi parte abrazo a nuestros señores robots. As long as Eblis Alvarez is involved in the not-so-artificial intel-y-gente. His crafty processed guitar feels like a Martian tickle to the ear. Weird enough for feet at the disco and in the mosh pit, splendid one-man mad scientist work, on several songs Eblis’ breaks into maniacal laughter in his Isaac Newton studio laboratory (a full band assembles for live gigs).

I like to pretend the first song is a reference to legendary SF band “The Residents” – it’s not, but both projects share a recognizable base masked behind strange sonic costumes. I think it’s his guitar mimicking a clarinet, but I don’t know. It’s all so lovingly tweaked. All songs have swift percolation, and party of percussion, while here Mr. Roboto es de Bogota, his tunes would put some carne on the skeleton bones in a Brazilian Carneval. The drums aren’t digital, but there are plenty of other synthetic waves at play. There’s more dancing arpeggios over staircases of sound than in an old Fred Astaire movie. There should be a full album cartoon video with Daffy Duck dance steps. Kinda wonder if Eblis’ Mom listened to
Raymond Scott during her pregnancy.

Enough reverb applied to make a surf fan weep, in Spanish. But they are tears of joy, this is one festive album and project. All tracks are fabuloso but “Un Príncipe Miserable y Malvado” wears the crown for me. Eblis is a master guitarist via computer wrangler, really look forward to seeing him play, maybe in KFJC’s pit in the future.

-Thurston Hunger

La Locura De Machuca [coll] – [Analog Africa]

Thurston Hunger   6/8/2021   CD, International

Flight/release #30 for commander Samy Ben Redjeb and the Analog Africa airlines destination Columbia and the late 1970’s. Gleaning craziness from an old label run by Dr. Machuca (check the fine liners for details), who dumped his day job for the love of discos and an Afro-Columbian groove best captured raw in a take or two at most. Apparently “Tucutru” was a bit of a hit sort of a tone poem that takes three steps up and three steps down. Like that song, this album never stops moving. Some instros, like “El Campenero” and “Wabali” which cooks like a happy day outside at the barbecue. Female singers saunter in “Caracol” which gets pretty tropicalia, on “Te Clavo La…Mano” there’s a siren whispering sweet nadas and on “A Otro Perro” a woman sorta yodels ole. Otherwise there’s plenty of men and geetars, thin and gritty. Some double-lead lines, check out the opener which has a kinda Tom Ze itch to scratch. The other Samba Negra track, “Long Live Africa” may be a nod to Ikenga Super Stars but it’s in its own funky universe. My favorite, cheap synth never sounded so good. That “band” and many others here may just be made up friends and studio musicians from the good Doctor to recreate/Columbian-ize African tunes. Definite DIY vibe throughout. “Juipiti” whistles as it did Analog Africa #12
Killer label! -Thurston Hunger

Soldier, Dave – "Eighth Hour of Amduat, The" – [Mulatta Records]

Thurston Hunger   6/8/2021   CD, Jazz

KFJC’s worship of Sun Ra is well known, and we are not alone. Professor-purveyor-pilot Dave Soldier helps keep Sun Ra alive, with no less than Marshall Allen among the crew for this 2017 release. There may be no air in space, but this release launches with an aria and then includes a dixieland space walk. Track two, electronics, deep tuba, maybe an erhu and Bastet (cat God) on vocals? Harp ripples in on #3, strings both classical and angry angular guitar are summoned. Impressively, sax forces are Marshall’d; Mr. Allen served many tours on Sun Ra’s interplanetary journeys and judging by his playing on here, he has not aged a single note, though he may be 90+ in Earth years. The combination of natural sounds (water beneath the boat, birds on the breeze) along with the swelling choir, help the journey, but the EVI from Allen and Soldier’s own digital squiggles are nice sonic spikings. Ultimately this is an opera, and Sahoko Sato Timpone shines brightest, but the gravity of Sun Ra’s creativity pulls it all together. -Thurston Hunger

Miralia / Stranahan Duo – "S/t" – [Self Release]

humana   6/6/2021   A Library, CD

These are three long forays that will take you through aural images of whale song and have you experiencing exactly what the terms “crescendo” and “decrescendo” mean. Percussionist Paul Stranahan and electro-acoustic artist Lisa Miralia have composed a sound on this release that ranges from the first metallic sounding cries (that must be one agonized whale!) through delightful atmospheres created by bells, Tibetan singing bowls, and gongs to an cacophonous freak-out of sound that gradually and soothingly diminishes into a dream of wind chimes. Perfecto!

Sagan – "Anti-Ark" – [Seeland Records]

cinder   6/5/2021   A Library, CD

A beautiful, cosmic space trip from collaborators Wobbly, J Lesser and Blevin Blectum! Three weirdos from the bay area, Wobbly’s been a part of Negativland for bit as well as his own projects and other collabs, Blevin Blectum has Blectum From Blechdom, and J Lesser has toured with Matmos as well as his own stuff. It’s their second release together as Sagan, and it’s ‘a recursive love letter to the early decades of space travel and the High Frontier, when the lines between hard scientific research and emotional wanderlust melted away to reveal an optimistic vision for mankind’s shared future.’ It’s got those twitchy itchy Wobbly beats, along with lots of zips and zaps, quirks and wiggles, squiggles and programmed electronic spastic schitzo.

DJ Paul Nice – "Shaolin Buddha Beat Mix" – [Mdfm]

cinder   6/5/2021   CD, Hip Hop

Killer martial arts mix by producer DJ Paul Nice. Originally from Poughkeepsie, he relocated to Manhattan in the ’90s and eventually spent some time out here making a big name for himself, “one of the more sought after beatsmiths during the thriving indie hip hop scene of the late 90’s.” This is funky, instrumental hip hop beats with sample clips from various kung fu films. Fun, upbeat and black belt worthy!

Reynolds, Graham – "A Scanner Darkly" – [Lakeshore Records]

cinder   6/5/2021   CD, Soundtrack

A musical journey sculpted from many different genres, creating an interesting soundscape. There’s twinges of soft country-surf, loungey bar Lynch’s, electronica, whirli-gigs, xylos & violins…. an overall dark vibe. The film tells the story of identity and deception in a near-future dystopia constantly under intrusive high-tech police surveillance in the midst of a drug addiction epidemic… so that sets the tone. There’s whimsical sounds, dark brooding ventures and tripped out tracks. Music made by Graham’s Golden Arm Trio, and the last 2 are one each from Jack Dangers (Meat Beat Manifesto) & DJ Spooky!

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