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Music Reviews

Call of The Void – “Buried In Light” – [Translation Loss Records]

atavist   5/29/2019   A Library, CD

Call of the Void conjures metalcore that flirts with crushing heaviness. They’d fit on a bill with bands like Integrity, Meshuggah, Premonitions of War…they’re not as punk as metalcore standard-bearers Converge, and they’re not as angular and mathy as Botch (pardon the dated points of reference). My favorite parts of the album are those where they allow themselves to introduce some additional textures to the overall onslaught, like the instrumental conclusions to tracks 3 and 4. Track 7, “Enslaved”, is a brief instrumental, and it has some interesting elements. This marks a turning point in the album, where the layers of guitar parts and percussion show a bit more depth and complexity. Track 8, “Re Death” has compelling wall-of-sound guitar harmonies, and track 9, the title track, builds on this trajectory. Tracks 10 and 11, “Wave of Disgust” and “Almighty Pig” return to simple, primal fury. By the time they reach the last track, they’ve fully returned to a pared-down and pummeling attack. The highlights are tracks 7–9. Three tracks have FCCs and are noted on the cover.

Noisem – “Cease to Exist” – [20 Buck Spin]

atavist   5/29/2019   A Library, CD

Blistering fast thrash metal. The metal blogs are generally giving this record favorable reviews, and I can see why: Noisem exhibits a studied appreciation and respect for the genre on a properly produced recording. They have the technical chops and an unapologetic scorn for our fucked-up society. If you like your thrash uncompromising, old-school, with production that delivers trebly distortion without turning muddy, go ahead and inject two to three minutes of spitting rage into your set. Aside from their appearance on a compilation added to the library six years ago, this will be Noisem’s proper introduction to KFJC. Keep an eye out for tracks with FCCs (1, 2, 3, 5, 8).

Dekonstruktor “Fuck Life We Go Further” – [Noname666]

whngr   5/29/2019   A Library, CD

Moscow three piece, Dekonstruktor intend to drown the listener with four depressive tracks from the fathomless depths of  Russian misery. Beginning with a plodding track reminiscent of 90’s era sludge. D-tuned and demoralizing with brooding (English) vocals, listeners will be pummeled by their despair, hopelessness, and antipathy.

I don’t like your name 
I don’t need your game 
I deny your life 
I deny your mind 
something wrong? 
maybe you don’t know 
see I hate your face 
I don’t like your ways 
-Excerpt from “Black Acid”

Seemingly influenced by Pacific Northwest fore-bearers of heaviness, Wipers, Melvins, and Thrones, Dekonstruktor are buried a little deeper the murky depths of a less accessible underground yet succeed in finding their own voice. Especially on the last two instrumental tracks which are more angular and employ noisy, unnerving electronics in lieu of guitars for an abstraction of melody while effect laden drums march us toward the precipice of our crumbling sanity. There is, however, a common thread tying these songs together, a hypnotic psychedelic element adds an interesting dichotomy to the hostility and sorrow.

Spectral Voice – “Eroded Corridors of Unbeing” – [Dark Descent Records]

atavist   5/21/2019   A Library, CD

Funereal doom passages punctuated by dark (dark!) blastbeat death metal. Heavy, ghostly passages with plenty of added atmosphere. It creates an aura of unrelenting doom. The production is heavy enough for the drums to get murky when the tempo increases, but make no mistake, it should be murky, like tumbling blindly through dark corridors, pursued by phantoms. Excellent guitar sound, with strong guitar harmonization. T3 is an instrumental that incorporates some nice clean guitar work before transitioning completely into a brief space of devolved atmospheric sounds. This sets up T4, with a simultaneously beautiful and despairing guitar line at the onset. Before long, crushing riffs return. T5 has some decidedly strange guitar work going on to begin; we are given the sense that the band will attempt some complexity as the track unfolds. Ultimately it doesn’t end on the most powerful and rousing note, and the first two tracks (“Thresholds Beyond”, “Visions of Psychic Dismemberment”) are probably the strongest. Light it up and let this cast a pall of black doom over the airwaves.

Disen Gage – “Big Adventure, The” – [Noname666]

atavist   5/21/2019   A Library, CD

If you like your instrumental progressive rock sounds seasoned with a dash of accordion, Disen Gage have crafted a sound you might like. Perhaps these 20-year veterans based out of Moscow don’t take themselves too seriously. T3 has some acid jazz freak outs thrown in; trumpet, keys lead the charge into brief moments of chaos before settling back into a relaxed groove underpinned by a thick bass sound. T4 is a standout because the intricate guitar work is so nicely realized. A cello joins, played with feeling but not overstated. T5 has a disco-esque guitar sound in the intro followed by a baffling mellotron (?) arrangement. These musicians are clearly not afraid to go just about anywhere with this genre-bending menagerie. Cue the Spanish-inflected acoustic guitar work, and a goofy keyboard “horn” arrangement that swerves into something almost polka-esque. The rapid changes from genre to genre nearly made me chuckle. Any type of time signature is fair game, whether it’s a waltz or an early-era rock-and-roll drive.

I think I can isolate the synthesizer work as the element that might be most polarizing for listeners; it’s the brand of synthesizer sound that so clearly wants to sound like something else (brass, string ensembles) but so clearly sounds like a tinny, underpowered synthesizer. I started wishing I could just listen to the guitar, bass, and drums and remove the keys entirely.

Throw one of these tracks into your set for a roughly six minute dose of nerdy progressive rock exhibitionism with campy pop sensibilities. Recommended tracks include “Chaos Point”, Enough”, and “Fin”.

Deux Filles – “Silence and Wisdom / Double Happiness” – [LTM Recordings]

lexi glass   5/21/2019   A Library, CD

Deux Filles is the experimental ambient project of Simon Fisher Turner and Colin Lloyd Tucker, formed in the early 80s and recently reunited in 2016. The inspiration for the project came to Tucker in a dream: the pair would become two French teenage girls who forge a friendship after experiencing horrible personal tragedies, together working through their grief with their music. Turner and Tucker fully embodied their alteregos, frumping it up in wigs, bows and pearls for the hilarious album photos (and even one live performance), and developing an elaborate backstory for their doomed characters. The filles released two albums in the 80s – 1982’s Silence & Wisdom and 1983’s Double Happiness – both attracting a cult following over the years, and now widely available again on this 2012 double reissue from Les Temps Modernes.

While the concept is a total joke, the music on these two records is anything but. Both albums offer beautiful, reverb-laden guitar ambience, that recalls the later work of Roy Montgomery or Liz Harris (A1, B1, B2, B3, B6). On Silence and Wisdom, there’s also serenades with whispered French vocals (A2, A5), melancholy piano melodies (A6), and fleeting samples of voices of young girls singing and playing or a twinkling music box (T10). But the mood darkens at times, with chants (A7), ragas (A9), and the eerie flute and voices of the title track (A14). These psychedelic hallucinations intensify on Double Happiness, as sounds and voices, like ghosts from the girls’ sad past, mysteriously appear. Maybe they are summoned by the recordings of spells and chants, hypnotically looping? The duo even tries to lead some chants of their own, and almost make it through with a straight face. But just as the haze feels too heavy, the tension breaks, with the light guitar of “Zacinthos” (B11) or the shimmer of “The Sun on the Sea” (B16).

Jahroom – “Cut-Price Goods / Nyx” – [No Name]

carsonstreet   5/16/2019   A Library, CD

Eleven instrumental tracks by Russian trio Jahroom (Alexander N. on bass, Timur D. on drums, Rasel R. on guitar). Guest artists on trumpet and saxophone. Jahroom experiments with several interesting genres including psychedelic, progressive, improv jams and a touch of reverb laden surf. The band has been together since 2010 and they released their debut EP Nyx in 2012, followed by Cut-Price Goods in 2016 and Snegiri in 2017. This double CD contains the Cut-Price Goods album and the Nyx EP. This is some really cool stuff on this record for you metalprogpsychsurfpunkadelic fans.

Khôrada – “Salt” – [Prophecy]

atavist   5/15/2019   A Library, CD

Khôrada is comprised of members of Agalloch, and those familiar with that band will recognize their earnest, despairing songwriting style here. However, this project mixes in some different instrumentation, and has abandoned Agalloch’s ethereal screaming style of vocalization in favor of clean, though pained (and at times anguished), vocals. There are plenty of heavy riffs and kick drum flurries to be found in the high-gloss production courtesy of Billy Anderson, but also quieter, contemplative moments. Beautiful guitar melodies are a real highlight. Throughout, the lyrics grapple with our current era, one marked by unyielding apathy and insatiable corporate appetites at the onset of climate change. Rather than present unbridled fury at the world’s end, the sound has a sadness and desperation shading into resignation. If anything, I wanted this album to take that last step into complete abandon and destruction, but these compositions exhibit considerable restraint.

Moor, Andy / Kyriakides, Yannis – “Rebetika” – [Unsounds]

Louie Caliente   5/13/2019   CD, International

Rebetika is a type of Greek folk music dating back to the Ottoman Empire, popular in coffee shops, hashish dens, and prisons of the era. Lyrics often describe crime, drink, drugs, poverty, prostitution, and violence. The music is traditionally played on the bouzouki, a Greek instrument with Turkish roots, and can be accompanied by voice, accordion, cymbals, and a variety of other stringed instruments.

Here we have modern re-interpretations of 9 classical Rebetika songs for guitar and electronics from Andy Moor (The Ex) and Cypriot composer and sound artist Yannis Kyriakides. Almost all were recorded live.

Moor’s intricate guitar picking is sampled, layered, and looped. The Greek influence is pervasive, but Kyriakides’ electronic treatment takes it in entirely new directions. Traditional tunes melt into heavy drones. Notes and phrases are deconstructed into sparse collages, then congeal under their own weight into stuttering glitchy rhythms, harkening back to the urban nightlife where this music first took shape. Faint vocal samples (also Greek) heighten the dramatic tension on a few tracks, more like memories of vocals rather than vocals themselves. Love, joy, and sorrow.

Callier, Terry – "New Folk Sound of Terry Callier, The" – [Craft Recordings]

humana   5/5/2019   CD, Jazz

Fortunately for us this man’s smooth as silk voice and beautiful guitar work is making it into the KFJC coffers, because it is indeed a treasure. Recorded when Callier was 23 years old, released a few years later to an ungrateful audience, this sterling collection of mostly traditional folk songs shows off the young musician’s talents to a T. Although he would later be known for his jazz stylings, Callier lends his masterful voice to bring us some nostalgic songs from the fold tradition. Enjoy!

Rembetika: Songs of The Greek Underground 1925-1947 [coll] – [Trikont]

humana   5/5/2019   CD, International

Drugs, passion, jail, disease, and death are timeless subjects, as this 2-CD compilation from the Greek underground proves. Covering a span of 22 years, these folk songs might as well be set in current times, because all the banes of human existence stay consistent. We are self-destructive, addicted, and in need of escape. You don’t have to know what the lyrics say to understand that then, as now, music is one of the most helpful ways to communicate the human condition. “Rembetika” refers to the sound of disparate urban Greek music that have been grouped together since the 1960s as part of the Rembetika movement.

Mapuche [coll] – [Alerce]

Hemroid The Leader   5/3/2019   CD, International

Mapuche, ALERCA CDAE 0334

Early 80s rituals from unconquered Aracaunian (Chile/Argentina) jungle telepaths. Folded branches, rope knotting, & the secret language of triangles. Voices, jaw harps, horns and percussion.

1-6 VOX 7-15 INST

Africa [coll] – [Nonesuch]

Hemroid The Leader   4/24/2019   CD, International

New trainees

Beautiful, alien sounds from the 13 Explorer Series: Africa albums. Recorded ’69-’83, in Ghana, Nubia, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Uganda, Zaire, Kenya, and Tanzania. Cool booklet.
Ad-hoc, non-linear, or improvised situations. Recommended to just pick one.
Track 16 is a Rhinoceros.

Periferico: Sounds From Beyond The Bubble [coll] – [Sonic Arts Network]

Hemroid The Leader   4/24/2019   CD, International

Periferico means periphery

Big-concept mixture of instrumental, field recording, electronic, even rap sounds.

Emanating from threatening zones of silence, defying commodification and ruining the world-view, this 2007 CD was the 10th in the Sonic Arts Network CD series, selected by Angolan composer/theorist Victor Gama to pierce prophylactic safe zones.

Nilssen-Love, Paal – “New Japanese Noise” – [PNL Records]

lexi glass   4/23/2019   CD, Jazz

Norwegian free jazz drummer Paal Nilssen-Love brings together a killer lineup for this one: saxophonist Akira Sakata, guitarist Kiko Dinucci, and Japanoise legends Kohei Gomi (aka Pain Jerk) and Toshiji Mikawa (of Hijokaidan/Incapacitants). New Japanese Noise is the companion release to New Brazilian Funk (recently added to our library); both are recordings of explosive live sets recorded at the 2018 Roskilde Festival in Denmark. “Stiff Upper Lip Jeeves” (T1) blasts off with propulsive drumming, furious sax, damaged guitar, and – bubbling up into whatever free space is left over – brilliant rainbow electronics. The energy just barely lets up with the rock-inspired grooves of “Up the Line to Death” (T2), “Eats, Shites, and Leaves” (T3) finds Sakata’s strangely beautiful clarinet figures beset by rustling, then raging, rhythms. In the showstopper “The Bone People” (T4), Sakata’s maniacal growls summon a storm of howling evil spirits. The quintet bows out with a(nother) blast on the encore “Birdsong” (T5).

Cex- “Being Ridden” – [Temporary Residence]

cadilliac margarita   4/23/2019   A Library, CD

From 2003, this was the 5th album from the prolific  musican-composer-record label founder (tigerbeat6) Rjyan kidwell, who uses the moniker CEX interchangeably to identify himself. A frequent collaborator of longtime friend and business partner kid 606, Cex is a talented wordsmith who hits hard with hip hop inspired rhymes over electronic beats. You can’t really pigeonhole this record into any one category. It’s electro hip hop with mixed with folk and fuzz guitar. There’s even some field recording-type ambiance. He was clearly dealing with one hell of a broken heart in early 2000s. and (not) hung up on his ex who may have been called Melanie? Or Katie? Or both? It’s fantastic, pain fueled, and dark, but delivered with a sense of humor that saves it from being a total sad bastard affair. Since 2003 he has recorded several more albums, and I have no doubt they’ve each been unique and that he’s continued to experiment and evolve.

Andy Bey and the Bey Sisters

cadilliac margarita   4/23/2019   A Library, CD, Jazz

Broad collection of standards from The Bey Siblings of Newark, NJ— recorded between 1964-1965. Their voices are deep and rich, and blend together like smooth cream. Andy is also a self-taught pianist, while his sisters Salome and Geraldine vocalize and harmonize. Together they pay homage to some of their greatest musical influences. Pop, Jazz, Blues, Gospel. They touch on several vocal styles…most are slow burners, but there are few upbeat bangers in the bunch.                                             <3!!! Caddy 

Eddie Russ – Fresh Out

cadilliac margarita   4/23/2019   A Library, CD, Jazz


Here is Eddie Russ on funky electric piano, accompanied by smooth sax, electric guitar, percussion, flute, and strings. He played with many jazz greats including Sarah Vaughn, Stan Getz, and Dizzy. Recorded in Detroit in March 1974, this has that cool 70s loungey jazz vibe in spades. Mellow grooves. Very pleasant.                                     <3!!! Caddy

Striations – “Collection 1” – [Oxen]

Lord Gravestench   4/19/2019   A Library, CD

Striations, active in the underground Noise scene for nearly a decade, is Oakland’s Mike Finklea. He has performed twice on KFJC, on one of those occasions hosted by yours truly. This 2019 CD on LA’s Oxen label compiles two cassette releases: 2018’s ‘Trauma Code,’ originally on the Gutter Bloat label, and ‘K.P.’ (‘Killer’s Party’) his 2017 effort for Oxen. In the liner notes, Finklea writes that these recordings are “of an exploratory nature,” significant because his usual M.O. involves obsessive control over the structured chaos of memorised compositons. This is indeed more free-form and improvisatory in sound than other works, conforming more to the Harsh Noise stylings of artists like Macronympha and K2. That said, these pieces are at least more Power Electronics than Harsh Noise in that they focus on sustained tension rather than sludgy textural fetishism. “None of this material is what I WANT Striations to sound like.” The liner also includes special thanks “to all hazmat and first responders.”

‘Trauma Code’ (t.s 1+2), mastered by Miscreant’s Sam Torres, is inspired by car accidents. Each 25-minute track passes through balanced phases of relative restraint and full-blown sonic assault. Baleful low-end drones, abject metal-scraping, earsplitting feedback. T.1 begins with synth piece possibly sampled from the score of a 70s or 80s film. Later there’s a sample of a medical examiner calling for the clearing of highway shoulders to reduce crash fatalities. It’s a public health problem, she says. I certainly found myself driving more carefully when playing this in my car. T.2 continues the exploration of scrap metal, hissing static and uncomfortably high frequencies. There is a ‘Red Asphalt’-like sample from a crash scene where it sounds like some girls are trapped in a burning car. In a possible pun on “auto fatality,” the second sample on this side is another medical examiner(?) discussing the most extreme/unusual suicide cases he’s encountered. “Someone who takes on a speeding locomotive at 70MPH is not one of those people you’d expect to be calling for help.“  According to the artist, second and third instalments in the ‘Trauma Code’ series are in the works.

‘K.P.’ (t.s 3+4), recorded by M. Chami (Crown of Cerberus, Koufar), concerns the death of Junko Furuta, whose 1989 murder at the hands of 4 Yakuza-connected classmates scandalized Japan. Imprisoned for 40 days, she was raped hundreds of times and tortured until unrecognisable before finally dying of her extensive injuries. Close to 100 people had knowledge of her imprisonment, but due either to complicity or fear of retribution, none reported it to police. Her body was eventually discovered encased in concrete. Although perhaps more synth-driven, both of these 15-minute pieces continue in an aesthetic vein similar to ‘Trauma Code’: nonlinear, screeching, throbbing electronic/concrete noise. Maybe some distorted vocals. No samples on these ones, but plenty of implicit violence all the same.

‘Collection 1’ is a ghoulish encounter with the biological truth of death, up close and personal. Hear, see, feel, smell, taste the end.

Cilia, Martin – “Espresso Martino” – [Bombora Creative]

Devlyn   4/17/2019   A Library, CD

Stripped down, Australian surf. All but one track features a lead guitar, a drum, and a quiet bass. Track 2 “The Rise and Fall of Flingle Bunt” adds an organ to the mix.

The album provides songs of every tempo: “Walking in Sand” is a spooky zombie shuffle. “Telstar” is a cowboy-movie-worthy ditty with horsey trotting drumbeats. “The Worm” is a brisk walk. “Mermaid Beach” features a dreamy melody worthy of luring sailors to their deaths. “Surfability” is all jangly freneticism.

Most of the songs (1,3,5,6,7,9) are originals. Tracks 4 and 8 are reworks of familiar instrumental hits from the early 60s. 

What makes this Australian surf rather than American surf? One-a name like “Flingle Bunt” rarely shows up in American surf and Two-the water goes down the drain backwards. 

Track Listing: 

Return of the Surf Guitar 2:29The Rise & Fall of Flingle Bunt (featuring Mental As Anything) 2:38Surfabilly 2:32Sleep Walk 4:17The Worm 3:16Walking in Sand 3:43Makua Beach 4:10Telstar 3:03Albatross 3:14Mermaid Beach 2:08

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