KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Klangwelt Station – Music Exhibition, The – [Listermusic]

Phil Phactor   1/27/2019   A Library, CD

Klangwelt (World of Sound) Station is a European trio composed of Meinrad Kneer on double bass, Dick Toering on guitars, and Johanna Varner on cello. While this is their first outing as a trio, Toering and Varner have collaborated previously, developing what they call “a new approach in improvising, based on classical and minimal music, and world music.” This disc is a set of 13 fully-improvised tracks, most of which clock in at 3-5 minutes. The variety of plucked and bowed strings on offer can fuse together to become one long string (à la Ellen Fullman) or fracture into something resembling a Bartók folk dance. The acoustics of the Church of Oostum in the Netherlands, where this was recorded, bathe everything in a beautiful resonance. Unique and very special stuff. Bassist Kneer also runs the Evil Rabbit record label.

Tender Age – “Becoming Real Forever” – [Sinis Records]

mickeyslim   1/23/2019   A Library, CD

Tender Age is Tauna Leonardo (Guitar/Vocals), Bryan Robertson (Bass), Elaina Tardif (Guitar/Vocals), Christopher Klarer (Guitar), and Olives (Drums). Recorded on a 16 track tape machine in a cabin on the Oregon coast in the summer of 2017.

Is it just me, or has music since 2016 gotten a little more somber? Probably just me… Tender Age plays somber, atmospheric, slo-fi pop. A space-aged teenage wasteland wet dream explosion. Angsty fuzzed out waves in a warehouse. Two black birds’ feathers rustling. A perfect cozy blanket of sound.

Mimmo, Gianni / Corda, Silvia / Orru, Adriano – “Clairvoyance” – [Amirani Records/Amirani Contemporary]

mickeyslim   1/23/2019   A Library, CD

“To be clairvoyant is to claim to see beyond the apparent, to intuit something over and above the brute facts given to ordinary senses.”

Here Gianni Mimmo (soprano sax), Silvia Corda (piano), and Adriano Orru (double bass) take improvisations to new heights. Abstract jazzic meanderings, floating among cosmos drawn tight by invisible strings, absconding to depths unseen. Bright-sounding dark tones. Recorded in Orru’s hometown of Cagliari, Sardinia.

Fossil Aerosol Mining Project – “Recounting of Night Time, The” – [Afterdays Media]

atavist   1/23/2019   A Library, CD

This is the fourth Fossil Aerosol Mining Project album to be added to the KFJC library. This installment picks up where their previous releases left off—beautiful, haunting collages of ambient sound with an edge of unease, and capable of carrying gauzy narratives. It’s not beauty for beauty’s sake—these are transmissions from the future, reporting on the impending decay of our civilization’s artifacts. Active since the 80s, FAMP uses found audio and field recordings run through processors and a mixing board. The results are like memories nearly recovered but then lost, thoughts drifting like sand across an empty plain, faded sunlight and dust on long-vacated structures.

Broken Bells Vs 伝助 (Den-Suke) – “Broken Bells Breaks Vol. 1” – [Shi-Ra-Nui]

Louie Caliente   1/22/2019   A Library, CD

Jazzy downtempo hip-hop beats and from Japan. Heavy (upright) bass licks, scribbly-scratchy turntables, out-of-place found sounds, and open-faced piano tinkering.

Some of the tracks bust out the beats pretty early on (T3, T5, T10, T11), others patiently allow the beat to arise out of thick abstract musique-concret murkiness (T1, T4, T6), but when it hits, man does it hit. The remaining tracks will absorb you so deep in the electro-orchestral opium soup that you won’t even care that there is no beat (T2, T7, T8, T9).

There’s not a lot of info out there about this release, at least not in English. From what I gather, this is a collaboration between two DJs: Broken Bells Beats (sometimes credited as B.B.B.) and Den-Suke. No idea who B.B.B. is (maybe a reader can help fill in the details). Den-Suke is Keiji Yamabe, owner of Tokyo’s ¿Los Apson? record store. This was released on the Shi-Ra-Nui, active since 1996, but completely unrepresented in the KFJC library (until today).

Moonchy & Tobias – “Moonchy & Tobias” – [Tiny Room Records]

Max Level   1/22/2019   A Library, CD

Prepare to enter a fantasy world when you play this CD. Pat Moonchy does all the vocals and she is way out there–sometimes delicately childlike, sometimes firmly operatic, sometimes groaning in a creepy pitched-down voice, sometimes… well, you’ll have to play it and find out. Her musical partner Todd Tobias (connections to Guided By Voices) provides the instrumentation and it is spot on. Pretty acoustic passages here, some rocking stuff there, some weird industrial textures over there… and many surprises over the course of these 13 tracks. Drama + weirdness is the order of the day. Many of the tracks are short, I mean like a minute or two, but they are all evocative and kind of mind-blowing. Perfect for injecting little bits of drama and weirdness into your radio show.

Cabinet De Curiosites [coll] – [Monsterk7]

Thurston Hunger   1/18/2019   A Library, CD


Hodge-podge from the white-lodge and a donation by our
chief engine-ear, salud Monsieur Earl Grey! We get a
French fried compilation of world-wide ingredients.
Some of them quite aged as the liner sheets indicate
1982 Look de Bouk with Martial Canterel on board. The
collection is a blast, with plenty of toy joys, cartoony
tunes, and audio oddities to keep you on your toes while
still keeping your toes tapping. It’s often peppy in the
most charming, infectious way. Several artists summon
choirs, Daniel Padden (Volcano the Bear) and lead-off
Lionel Fondeville, so the album feels larger than a lot
of tinkerers tailoring their keys to your quirky needs.
Some faves, Sacha Gattino was sorta a what if Arvo Part
was happy but then he adds in bleepy ping pong. #12 A&E
has a japanese folk chant while playing Operation and
turns a wrenched ankle into Cibo Matto-esque rap-ture.
Tracks cover a lot in a short time, with speed traps
from De Felippis and magic monkeys with Wevie Stonder.
Wevie’s one of the few projects KFJC has connected with
in the past, several artists on here make their debuts
ANY where. Tres cool. Art Brut toot suite case.
Really a do not miss release! -Thurston Hunger

Savage Republic – “Aegean” – [Mobilization]

Thurston Hunger   1/18/2019   A Library, CD


Continuity is king in this Republic. They lost
their founder some time ago, but the band marches
on in this their most recent (2014) full length.
Literally marches, that heavy martial beat remains a
staple (opening track hits with huge cinematic action).
Slashing, reverby guitars with trace elements of
almost shoedive Lots of intros, voice shouted from the
ranks of rebellion. And this once upon an LA art
scene band return to their Grecian formula/friction
for this, with former Tuxedomoon-man Blaine
Reininger providing violin worthy of an oracle.
Emad Gabra’s oud slithers in on two others. Stella
Papanyydreopoulou sing soothes on the title track,
that’s really part of a song cycle from tracks 7-9.
The whole album is very well sequenced, a polished
flow to it. Themes appear and are reprised. “Omonia”
offers a brief different angle, hustle and funk with
a No-Wave verve, and cool male chant vox!! And right
before it short, sweet backwards “Exarchia.” If this
album is a riot, it is a well-structured one ;>
-Thurston Hunger

Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, Pelle – “Music For Voices an Instruments” – [Dacapo]

Hemroid The Leader   1/17/2019   A Library, CD

Postwar choral works from the Danish composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen performed by Vocal Group Ars Nova.
Unreasonable optimism becomes impotent through attempts to reconcile the ascetic and ecstatic. These works exist in crisis, as sober quandaries: the opposition of serialism and nihilism is a thing of the past now that sonic pluralism has opened new avenues of sensuality.
Ars Nova sings with beautiful intonation.

PG13 – “PG13” – [Edgetone Records]

atavist   1/16/2019   CD, Jazz

Thick riffs meet saxophone. Sax by P. Greenlief, guitar by J. Shiurba (sounds like he uses an octave pedal), drums by T. Scandura. Driving, mathy rhythms punctuated by freakouts. Would be a welcome addition to the collections of folks into Frank Zappa, King Crimson, Don Caballero, Combat Astronomy. A jazz record that fits in a rock set.

Carthy, Martin – “an Introduction to Martin Carthy” – [Topic Records Ltd]

Naysayer   1/16/2019   Blues, CD

Martin Carthy is a British folk singer whose influence is far and wide in the world of folk and blues. Having started in the early 1960’s with the group The Three City Four, he went on to perform with Steeleye Span, members of Fairport Convention for the group Albion Country Band and also with Brass Monkey. He is known for his arrangement of the traditional tune “Scarborough Fair” which was then used by Simon And Garfunkel without acknowledgement. This collection of 17 songs, many traditional, is Carthy playing solo with his acoustic guitar. He likes to use alternative tunings and has a distinctive picking style which emphasizes the melody” of the song. Each song is a rich story, filled with passion due to the guitar work but also because of Carthy’s unique vocals. The vocals follow, add to and play with the guitar work, creating drama in the rendering of each songs tale. There are tearjerkers a plenty plus songs of humor. He is a hero of modern day bard, Richard Dawson. Just a wow of a voice and guitar playing.

Modular String Trio – “Ants, Bees and Butterflies” – [Clean Feed]

Naysayer   1/16/2019   CD, Jazz

Modular String Trio is not what it’s name says. It’s a quartet with a string trio inside of it. Violin, cello and double bass make up the trio. while a modular synthesizer makes this group the quartet. Hailing from Poland and the Ukraine, the quartet’s musical interplay extend the meaning and understanding of jazz, pushing those boundaries with superb exploratory sounds that are unique yet make sense. The trio is a combination classical sound (strings) but with very obvious improvisational jazz roots. The violin and cello bounce around each other’s notes like butterflies, bees and ants moving through their space. The bass does less than keep it together but rather adds to the complex journey of sound. Add to this the modular synthesizer playing its own brand of improv, bleeping and squonking throughout the string’s interplay. And then, the contrabass player, Jacek Mazurkiewicz electronically processes his instrument in real time!!! What does this mean?…. a truly unique, enjoyable, but not easy listen of music in a new take.

Enbilulugugal – “Another Fucking Pointless Enbilulugugal Compilation” – [Self Produced]

lexi glass   1/15/2019   A Library, CD

2015 compilation of three old releases from this disgusting black metal noisecore band from Central California. Non-metalheads might delight in the sound of all of black metal’s conventions as they are fed slowly, hooves first, into a meat shredder, maybe with some contact mikes fitted onto the blades to pick up every delicious gargle. The tracks from the 2002 split Memento Mori (T1-T8) have more of a noisewall quality with lots of pervasive static, while 2002’s YOU WILL BE GLUTTONED!!! (T9-T15), with all its samples and aggressive electronics, resembles PE. Maybe they should’ve just given up back in 2001, as the Filthy Satanic Pork demo from that year is my favorite stuff on here: just confusing guitar torture (I especially enjoyed the sloppy shredding on “Smearing Feces Into the Face of the Fucking Catholic Bishop”, T19), lead vocalist Izedis Apirikubabadazuzukanpa’s nonstop strangled howls, and a thick crust of distortion.

T12 FCC SHIT

Mania – “Little Pieces of Violence” – [Phage Tapes]

Louie Caliente   1/15/2019   A Library, CD

Mania is Texan Keith Brewer, well-known for his psycho-sado-sexual power electronics project “Taint”. “Little Pieces of Violence” is his latest full-length album, released on Phage Tapes.

8 untitled tracks soaked in uncomfortable tension. Surprisingly sparse at first. Echoing rumbles, dragging metal, banging pipes. The pieces build in intensity, exposing the pure hatred and agony within. Piercing screeches. Electronic sizzlings. Feedback enters the mix, followed by screams of rage and horror. The layers compound and magnify. Earfuls of raw aggression. Watch the levels!

Features some nice dentally-damaged album artwork from Brewer himself.

Sista Monica – “Get Out My Way” – [Mo Muscle Records]

humana   1/10/2019   Blues, CD

This CD is a jewel traveling to us from 1995 and debuts the rich, hearty, nourishing voice of blues singer Sista Monica. Listen to the lyrics and you’ll learn that she moved to Santa Cruz. It’s true that her voice is an instrument, and though she is known for her blues, she stirs in elements of soul and rock and gospel (in the last song you can hear her gospel singing roots). This is a great add for our library. Sista Monica may have left the world, but her voice reverberates on.

Voicehandler – “Light From Another Light” – [Humbler]

lexi glass   1/8/2019   A Library, CD


Voicehandler is the Oakland duo of vocalist Danishta Rivero (of Las Sucias) and percussionist Jacob Felix Heule (of Sult, Beauty School, and a collaborator of Bill Orcutt, Tom Djll and many others). This 2018 album is the follow-up to their captivating 2015 debut, Song Cycles. Compared to that record, these three pieces feel fuller and more direct. Heule’s drumming springs out of the gate with rhythms that move from scattered to spare, melding with Rivero’s bubbling electronics and swarming vocals. Her voice bursts with possessed ravings, distorted phrases, throaty utterances, and, at times, resembles free playing on a brass instrument. On T2, Rivero’s electronics gradually transform her voice into an intense, terrifying chorus before vanishing into black static that rumbles into T3. Here, the duo’s conversation is converted into pulses of energy traveling over long-distance lines. But interference creeps in, obliterating everything save for the whispers of a dark spell. Totally magical. (Even more so when witnessed live – they put on one of the best shows I attended in 2018 – so check them out!)

Cluster Lizard – “Prophecy” – [Prostir Records]

lexi glass   12/19/2018   A Library, CD

Cluster Lizard is the duo of Dmytro Fedorenko and Kateryna Zavoloka. Together, they run the outstanding Ukrainian electronic label Kvitnu, but issue their personal work, including this 2018 album, on their own outlet, Prostir. Fedorenko has described Kvitnu’s sound as “blasting experimental music… explosive, wild and rude, so as not to make it background music,” and that’s just what he and Zavoloka achieve on Prophecy, a maximalist, monstrous sci-fi space odyssey. Each of these six long-form tracks moves through moments of quiet beauty, building intensity, and massive surges of raw energy. The signature Kvitnu dark techno rhythms are here, but they are layered with deep, expansive drones, blistering solar-flare synths, and quaking beats. Beautiful, cosmic sounds at a scale that assures you of your total insignificance in the universe.

New Primals – “Wraith” – [Self-released]

atavist   12/18/2018   A Library, CD

This is mathy, angular, high-energy noise rock. Jangly guitar spars with a spazzed-out rhythm section. The vocals stay above the din by sort of shouting, but not screaming. The cd is comprised of six tracks, each coming in right around two minutes or less. It vaguely reminds me of things I was listening to in the early 2000s, like Drive Like Jehu, Decahedron, Dillinger Escape Plan (emphasis on vaguely). Vocals weirdly reminiscent of Polvo. A quick shot of adrenaline to liven up the set.

Bren’t Lewiis Ensemble – “Worst Utopia Ever” – [BUFMS]

atavist   12/18/2018   A Library, CD

This marks the 13th Bren’t Lewiis Ensemble addition to the KFJC library. The weirdness prevails unabated. Twittering, jittery samples. Shimmers, disassembled spoken audio. Coughing amidst an ambient room mic. Layers of spacey synths, tinny fuzz guitar. Track 2 leads off with “Red pubic hair”, so, that might be an FCC. Track 4 almost has a sort of gamelan element. Crashing percussion in upheaval. Irreverent, unstructured experimentalism abounds.

Bang On a Can – “Industry” – [Sony Classical]

humana   12/7/2018   A Library, CD

Cellos, marimbas, woodblocks, oh my! Composers who are classically trained and yet value uptown as well as downtown elements, minimal jazz within structures that allow for musical freedoms galore. This is what Bang On a Can is all about. Julia Wolfe, Louis Andriessen, David Lang, and Michael Gordon are the composers featured on this unique CD that offers the ultimate challenging listen.

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