KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Moses, Pablo – “Itinuation, The” – [Editer a Paris]

Hemroid The Leader   10/30/2018   CD, Reggae

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Contemporary roots reggae. Slick Harrison Stafford production features the instrumentalists. Uncomplicated, straightforward pop approach. Like Moses sings on Living In Babylon, “Not everything good for talk.”

Knaack, Donald – “Dance Music” – [RRRecords]

Hemroid The Leader   10/30/2018   A Library, CD

Knaack studied with Cage and is known as the Junkman, having written percussion music for junk, performing at the Kennedy Center For The Arts as well as the Vans Warped Tour. These are earlier compositions, written for a Polish experimental music festival and dance company. Knaack’s approach to percussion incorporates chance elements. It can sound like a teenager practicing along to the radio. Very challenging.

Grim, Wayne – “In Decline” – [Thee Obscurantist]

Hemroid The Leader   10/30/2018   A Library, CD

11 guitar improvisations re-orchestrated for small ensembles: guitar with cello. trombone, bass clarinet, or electronics. 2018 Edgetone release. Open-ended. Some tracks are more active than others. Wayne Grim lives in Berkeley, CA, attended Mills in ’98.

Fujita, Masayoshi – “Stories” – [Erased Tapes Records]

humana   10/26/2018   A Library, CD

How lovely and simple are the compositions on this CD, a collection of stories from nature rendered beautifully by Berlin-based Japanese vibraphonist Fujita. Hoshiko Yamane’s violin and Arturo Martinez Steele’s cello layer in on a few of the songs. Read the liner notes as you breathe in the images of birds, waterfalls, forests, and trees summoned by Fujita’s exquisite vibraphone. “Memories of the Wind” (track 8) will reverberate through your consciousness long after the last key is struck.

Your Ears Smell Bad [coll] – [Trashfuck Records]

mickeyslim   10/24/2018   A Library, CD

4-way split from Trashfuck Records/Pickle Dick Records. Lt. Dan is a hardcore/grindcore band, one track being recorded live from Zombieland! in North Oakland. Redsk is noisy noise, stormy and harsh, Noise Pancake style. ‘Seven Morons on Nyquil’ is cut-and-paste harsh noise with short poetic quips (a few FCCs in this one). Shanaynays with Shillelaghs clocks in as most harsh, with circuit-bent vocals and epic intros (i.e. ‘Olestra Molestra’). HEADCLEANER has two tracks, on fifty five seconds long, the other just over 15 minutes, which is spacey, thick ambient noise, with a Sal9000 quality. One in a series of other ‘Your Ears’ releases from this label. Solid weird shit that is sure to hit a note with broken ears station-wide.

FCC: 6

I.H.N.A.B.T.B. – “Magik Elektrik” – [Ihnabtb]

lexi glass   10/23/2018   A Library, CD

I.H.N.A.B.T.B. is “I Have Not A Breakfast Today Bitch!” a five-piece noise-rock freakshow from Moscow; this 2009 release is their debut album. I received this CD from Naysayer with a note describing the lead singer as “a cross between Bryan Ferry, Chris Cornell, and Frank N. Furter,” the first hint of the insanity to come. Next, I opened the CD find on the inside sleeve a painting of a dude fucking a horse. Things got weirder from there: the lead track opens with theatrical crooning about cardio?? before launching into a goofy post-punk workout. “Aphrodisiac” is a science-fiction double-feature ballad that degenerates into a skronking sax frenzy (T3), “Close” is a creepy cartoon cabaret (T4). There’s aggressive noise rock (T2, T8, T10) and hyperspeed punk (T5, T7), sleazy dom worship (T6). Completely absurd lyrics in broken English, after a few too many bottles of vodka. Intriguing, horrifying, often irritating (there’s a strong similarity at times to Gogol Bordello, who I totally can’t stomach). I’m still not even sure I like this, but I can say for certain these broskis are beyond bananas, and isn’t that a part of a KFJC balanced breakfast?

FCCs on T4 T6 T11

Snake Charmer’s Beautiful Daughter, The [coll] – [Betley Welcomes Careful D]

Louie Caliente   10/23/2018   A Library, CD

Wow, where to begin? Yes, it’s noise, but not just ANY noise. This is REALLY FUCKING GOOD NOISE from two absolute masters of the craft. Fast, hard, and relentless, just how KFJC likes it.

Pain Jerk is Kohei Gomi, owner of noise label AMP and frequent collaborator with pretty much everybody in the Japanoise scene. Dogliveroil is Phil Todd (of Ashtray Navigations) and a rotating cast of friends. This collaboration CD was released on Todd’s venerable Betley Welcomes Careful Drivers label.

“The Eight Snake Stigmata” (T1) is Dogliveroil as remixed by Pain Jerk. Like feeding laxatives to an already spastic and inflamed colon. A non-stop barrage of heavy static blasts, screeching electronics, and glitched-out samples. So fast it’s hard to wrap your ears around it.

“The Snake Charmer’s Beautiful Daughter Is a Vampire!!!” (T2) begins softly, with spooky ghost-like synth sounds (maybe the snake charmer?). That quickly gives way to more spazzed-out static blasts similar to the first track. Half-way through, the noise breaks for a dialog from the classic vampire movie Nosferatu. Then a return to noise.

“Doggin’ The Nogginometer” (T3) is a live recording of Dogliveroil and friends. It begins with a poorly-performed and poorly-recorded sample of Strauss’s Blue Danube Waltz. The fidelity gets worse and worse, until drowned out by squealing feedback, sizzling electronics, distorted distortion, and what sounds like Todd screaming through a PVC pipe. The pace here is much less frenetic than the other tracks, almost minimalist in comparison (not really though). Definitely gets the crowd going!

“Pac Man” (T4) is solo Pain Jerk. To my ears, this is the harshest and most punishing track on the album. The electronics are more tortuous, the feedback is more piercing, and the static is more severe. Not to be missed!

Demoncy – “Enthroned Is The Night” – [Forever Plagued Records]

Lord Gravestench   10/21/2018   A Library, CD

Slithering forth from the accursed swamps of the Deep South, Demoncy was one of the earliest American acts in Orthodox Black Metal, formed in 1989 by core member Ixithra, who also played with the legendary Profanatica for a time (he was the one guy wearing shorts in their infamous “dicks out for Satan” promo photo). This is his 4th full-length album, released in 2012 after 8 years of silence, and recorded without assistance from any other musician.

Like Profanatica, Demoncy is an excellent rebuttal to the claim that Black Metal is never heavy. This is a solid set of in-many-ways-traditional “cold” BM, but presented in an outstanding mix that draws out the low ends, recalling certain Finnish projects with a similar thickness to their sound e.g. Beherit, Archgoat and Anal Blasphemy. Despite these touchstones, Demoncy plays pure BM without a Death Metal influence (OK, maybe there’s some Nunslaughter in there), bringing an atmosphere of elegance and nobility to the proceedings with riffs that are as simple as they are chilling.

Ixithra seems to be pretty serious about the spiritual dimension of this Satanic music and in this there is perhaps a kinship to early Black Funeral, another foundational USBM monster. The artist does not so much play here as practice, because at its dark heart this is ecstatic ritual music for the devoted. He’s based on the West Coast these days, so go see him with his live band if you don’t believe me.

Serpentine incantations, roaring walls of guitar and nervous skittering blasts make for a dreamy twilight atmosphere not bereft of menace. Hail the arcane aristocracy…

 

Bowles, Nathan – “Whole & Cloven” – [Paradise of Bachelors]

mickeyslim   10/17/2018   CD, Country

This is the third release from Durham, North Dakota native Nathan Bowles. He is one of the performers at 2018’s The Thousand Incarnations of the Rose festival as presented and broadcast remotely by KFJC. Nathan does it all, playing banjo, piano, percussion, and providing vocals. Most of the tracks are instrumental, which I include track 3, Blank Range/Hog Jank II, among since the “vocals” are more of an ambient hum.

It’s ambient Appalachian folk meanderings. It’s cool and fresh, jumpy yet sedative. Some tracks are somber, others hopeful. This is folk for folks who don’t think they like folk.

Allien, Ellen – “Berlinette” – [BPitch Control]

Naysayer   10/14/2018   A Library, CD

From 2003, this is Ellen Allien’s second release on her own BPitch Control label. Berlin techno parties must have been a blast with sounds like this playing into the early morning. Here we have Allien’s charismatic voice singing over an eclectic mix of techno beats mixed in with glitch, tweak and odd computer modulated vocals and sounds. Each track is pretty unique, standing on it’s own as well as fitting together in the whole work. I’m finding this early work almost more experimental, more quirky than her later work. These pieces are not afraid of challenging the listener and of taking a chance. With beats. Always. One of my favorite finds over the last year.

ESG – “Step Off” – [Fire Records]

Naysayer   10/14/2018   A Library, CD

This 2002 release marked a return, of sorts. of the wonderful Scroggins family and their infectious stripped down funk sound. This time around, daughters have joined in and the beat is still pumping. Remember, ESG is all about the bass, and man is there bass. Simple bass lines repeated over and over almost take on the power of a vocalist. Without the bass, there is no ESG. Minimalism is the word for this funk post punk project. Some songs just have Renee Scroggins simmering vocals accompanied by bass. Others have that oh so familiar drum beat, a little guitar, some tambourine or other percussion thrown in. That’s it, but what an “IT”. A real joy to continue to hear them. Some of these tracks are even more stripped down then songs of the past, and a bit slower, but the sound, the beat, the thump thump thump is so infectious. Your head will bop and booty will shake.

Warwick, Dionne – “Odds & Ends” – [Rhino Entertainment Co.]

Naysayer   10/13/2018   CD, Jazz

Dionne Warwick is truly one of the greats. Unclassifiable for some: jazz, blues, gospel, soul, r&b, pop? Where does she fit in when actually she fits in everywhere. These 25 songs plus some promo material are from one of her golden eras when she was on Scepter Records and was working with the brilliant team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Recorded between 1962 and 1971, these recordings capture an era that in some instances, remains timeless. The quality and catchiness of Bacharach’s instrumentation, the depth yet simplicity of David’s lyrics, found their interpreter in the unique voice of Warwick. They were a trio made for each other and the continued hits demonstrated their quality. This collection comes from rarities and lost bits of the time. Many of the selections are recordings of her classics sung in other languages: French, German and Italian. When Warwick stole Paris in her concert tour, she was asked by many to record in their language and the results are here. Superb renderings of her choice work. Also there are alternate takes and some obscurities of equal quality. With each song, Warwick sings in her unique way, nailing the lyric with superb style and interpretation, rising above but not dominating the glorious orchestrations of Bacharach. Also, this was 1962 when the trio’s first hit came about. One can not disregard the barriers and walls of prejudice they overcame with this artistic relationship. A profound collection. And she is Whitney Houston’s aunt.

Levin, Daniel / Maneri, Mat – “Transcendent Function, The” – [Clean Feed]

Naysayer   10/10/2018   CD, Jazz

Daniel Levin (cello) and Mat Maneri (viola) have composed six pieces of improvisation using instruments not usually noted for duets let alone jazz duets. Using Jung’s comments about consciousness vs unconsciousness, they explore the freedom of improv with an organization of sorts that flows from melody to full on busrts of string sound. Classical, free form microtonal interplay between the two guide, float and battle throughout the selections. Whether bowed or plucked, the listener can never predict what will happen next yet each new phrase is a pleasure to the ear. Skronk and melody all in one.

Felix Da Housecat – “He WasKing” – [Nettwerk Productions]

Naysayer   10/10/2018   A Library, CD

Feixs Da Housecat, electronic pop/house music king supreme, plays it up with this 2009 release. Twelve tunes of bubble gum electro house catchiness, most with vocals by breathy, squeeky or monotone female vocalists which add an edge of naughty. (Think of his work with Miss Kitten). Songs about Prince,living in a platic world and machines are all just edgey enough to make you question. The electonic beats are a variety of riffs on old gaming system soundtracks (Elvi$), low rider street bass (Kickdrum, which will blow out the speakers) and of course early house. The lyrics are suggestive sometimes but fun. This is just fun. Felix knows his style and works it to the end. Dance happy.

Electric Machine Gun Tits – “Pink Guts” – [Self Released]

Naysayer   10/10/2018   A Library, CD

Electric Machine Gun Tits are Naoko Nozawa (vocals and synth) and Tora Fujimoto (vocal and guitar). Several years in the bay area, from Japan, singing in English and Japanese. Power, power, power. Hard drum machine pounding, raucous rhythm guitar, screamed repeated phrases for lyrics about pineapple junkies, fake fur, monkey brain and sushi. Cheap electronic toy noises from Naoko who yells and laughs insanely while wearing a rainbow unicorn plushy. Intense rideculous fun. You will be covered in cooked ramen. Fox and I have seen them twice, opening for Bob Log and Shonen Knife and both times they kind of stole the show. Like riding a roller coaster going 0 to 100 in 2 seconds flat.

Nowottny, Marianne – “Studio Recordings 2008-2018” – [Abaton Book Company]

Max Level   10/9/2018   A Library, CD

Ten years worth of offbeat pop stylings from the versatile Ms. Nowottny, sharing the billing here with her All American Band. She sings and plays keyboards and a few other things, and the band adds guitar, bass, banjo, piano, melodica, and more. A wide range of music on this CD, including stately torch songs with piano, some trip-hoppy moments, country-flavored tunes, and some twisted concoctions that could be Kate Bush with a Casio out in the garage. My two least favorite tracks are the cover tunes: “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’ is a downer–it sounds like a version the house band on Twin Peaks might have done, and “Danny’s Song” (by Kenny Loggins) is done pretty much straight ahead and is no more interesting than the original version. Track 5 is a snazzy instrumental.

Jones, Chelsea – “Heathens” – [Self Released]

Thurston Hunger   10/3/2018   A Library, CD


Top-notch lo-fi, cherubic acoustic folk numbers
that pick up grit in lyrics and feedback on some
of the numbers. Eardrumheadrupture percussion
on #10. DIY worn on the literal CD sleeve, in
“No Compression/No Masters. Cut around the
ides of March 2015, I imagine the sting in
these songs remains for Jones. The lead off
number is a searing noisey joy, tooth in ear
material that doesn’t really return. The
pain afterwards is mostly conveyed vocally
and lyrically. Her voice keens and slices
corners through the flatness of a field
recorder. Like the long lost little sister
of the Mountain Goats. A little banjo on
the knee in #6, plenty of scrapes and bruises
on the knee elsewhere. That intersection of
raw and sweet makes for a Happy Meal for
Mikey and me, hopefully you too.
-Thurston Hunger

Tokunaga, Yosuke – “11 Cloths” – [TOST]

Thurston Hunger   10/3/2018   A Library, CD


2017 release. possibly part of a “garment” series
(“11 Buttons” was another release paired with this).
This is comfy ambience, steady clank of sampled and
digital percussion, more like a mechanical heartbeat
than a rhythm. Soothing waves of synth, topped off
by samples of oceanology and ornitholgy, perhaps
striving for a natural relaxation. A Tokyo storm
shelter sound seeker, well I’m not even sure he’s
out of Tokyo, but I envision a guy trying to look
out past the skyscrapers and earscrapers. The album
has a uniform feel, you can easily soak into one
track and find yourself floating three tracks down.
Tokunaga’s segues are frequently seamless, dipping
for a gentle cross fade. Some repetive samples move
at a faster rate than the steady click/clank/pulses of
percussion. Check out “slab” as a masterful stitching
of such squiggling sounds, it also has volume-pedal
breathing of white wave noise. When this album both
soothes and unsettles it is at its most striking.
“slab” and “Diagonal” provide such frayed threads
in this overall sleek suit.
-Thurston Hunger

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