Music Reviews

Schedule II – “Cop Polyp (A Drug-free America)” – [Self Release]

whngr   2/16/2022   A Library, CD

“Proto Noise-rock” three-piece with modulated samples of recognizable conservatives and an irate disc jockey who requires silence on Friday night, seven to nine and will enforce his demands with violence (and hard as fuck t’s). Considerable analog editing, respect for the pristine desert from which their inspiration was drawn and, ironically, a profound respect for the Federal Communication Commission (?).

Have it clean, have it dirty, and have it with a weird romantic longing for the 80’s and the sonic rebellion of its youth that express, though perhaps relatively subversive in its time, a kind of sweet innocence that is mercifully ignorant of the deluge of dumpster fires in humanity’s near future.

The clean version of “A Promise” (track 5) is the same as its vulgar counterpart (track 3) but with sharp edits removing the profanity that are exponentially more jarring than the profanity they censor.

This cassette comes from the present Music Director of KZSU, guitarist of  Conflict (Arizona not the seminal outfit from Eltham U.K.), and Bassist of Broken Horse, Bill Cuevas… but they are high biased, “pressed” at West World (San Francisco) in 1995 and recorded in:

Tucson, AZ – 1986

Boy Harsher – “Country Girl Uncut” – [Nude Club]

whngr   2/16/2022   A Library, CD

Perverted Vampires Strobe

Agustus Miller employs vintage (probably) synthesizers to drive minimalistic Dark/Coldwave/EBM/Synth-pop behind the narcoleptic vox of his life partner and front-woman Jae Mathews who explores blighted romantic themes amid echoes and pulsing retro-electronic beats. 
The duo run their label, Nude Club, from Northampton Mass between a dizzying tour schedule and producing visual media which informs their excellent and dream-like/other-worldly live performances.


Bren’t Lewiis Ensemble – “Toupee Made of Weather” – [BUFMS]

Max Level   2/15/2022   A Library, CD

Here we go again. I can’t even. This aggregation seemingly drops a new batch of twisted collage every two weeks or so. You can’t really call it music. Well you could but why would you? Random dialog, sound effects, manipulations, sort-of music. Everything taken completely out of context and assembled in new contexts that defy comprehension. Brain-bending as usual.

Epps, Stacy – “Awakening, The” – [Japanubia Musik]

puplaif   2/15/2022   CD, Hip Hop

all aboard the mothership. it’s 2008 and our captain is the multifaceted femcee, vocalist, artist, and human extraordinaire Stacy Epps. “The Awakening” is Epp’s debut solo album, a humble offering from her heart. 

it sounds like…

a boom bap dream. vocal clouds traverse sampled looped landscapes. the lyrical healer brings love and light. conscious messages of oneness and lived experience expressed through multiple voices.  tracks melt from one to the next, unfolding with surprising distinction. give it a listen to find out which ones you like. 

Bush Tetras – “Rhythm and Paranoia: The Best of The Bush Tetras” – [Wharf Cat Records]

Max Level   2/14/2022   A Library, CD

Long-running NY quartet active on and off (mostly on) for around 40 years. One of the early (1979-80) No Wave bands, they started with a sparse downtown funk sound and developed more of a dramatic rock sound with beefier guitars as the years went by. Pat Place (guitar), Cynthia Sley (vocals), and Dee Pop (drums) were the constant members—-original bassist Laura Kennedy passed away in 2011. RIP. I was familiar with much of their early material but by about 1990 or so I had lost touch with what they were up to. So I’m happy to have gotten caught up somewhat courtesy of this retrospective, gathering the best of the band’s work from start to finish. The most recent material here was recorded 2017-19. The tracks are all compelling and a blast to listen to. Highly recommended!!!

Dean, Dan – “Fanfare For The Common Man” – [Origin Classical]

Cousin Mary   2/14/2022   A Library, CD

These are familiar classical pieces, although not really war horses, that Dan Dean performs using only the variations of his voice to represent a variety of instruments. The result is polyphony that must have been an enormous amount of work. The elements of fun and feeling do not replace the originals that vary from piano solos to large orchestral symphonies. This is a novel musical experience.

Ah Cama-Sotz – “I Believe” – [Hands]

cinder   2/9/2022   A Library, CD

An industrial-techno and dark ambient project by Belgian electronic music producer Herman Klapholz. Blending tribal, ethnic and dark elements with heavy dance floor beats. It takes a seat sometimes and lets the melancholy ambient drones wash over you as you cool down from your teeth grinding two step. It definitely has that basement industrial club vibe going too. Lots of bald heads, black eyeliner and leather pants happening here. Even includes a cover of the classic, Warm Leatherette!

Nyoukis, Dylan / Glass, Seymour – “No One Cares About The Drama Queen’s Potassium Intake” – [Chocolate Monk / BUFMS]

cinder   2/9/2022   A Library, CD

Creeky, plunky, itchy, splunky, experimental compositions from Dylan (Blood Stereo, Decaer Pinga, Chocolate Monk) & Seymour (Bren’t Lewiis, Glands of External Secretion, Bananafish). Sounds like they went into an orchestra room, decided to tie one arm behind their back and pick and plunk at things with their nose. There’s all sorts of strings – some close up and some further back in the mix, random animal sounds (cow? bird? honey badger?), possible horn droneage, manipulated found sounds & field recordings, trickling electronics, twisting of things, shaking of other things, skittering and scampering. Maybe it’s just the house mice recording their jams in the middle of night. 

Weston, G. Calvin – “Hydrogen 77” – [Self Released]

Max Level   2/8/2022   CD, Jazz

Super fresh, atmospheric jazz fusion from drummer Weston working in a trio format with fellow Philadelphians Richard Hill on bass, and Colton Weatherston on guitar. Impeccable musicians, all of them. Nimble, creative bass and drums keep this thing moving while spacy, unpredictable guitar lines (always with stereo delay effect) float on top. Bassist Hill is new to me, and I really dig his active interplay and funk exchanges with Weston, straight up a master drummer who is never afraid to drop in a ferocious accent when the time is right. The sounds are sometimes reminiscent of the late-80s trio Power Tools, a project I absolutely loved. Track 11 features a couple of guests on electronics and spoken word, with only Weston’s powerful drumming as accompaniment. Your head needs to hear this CD.

Faust, Maria – “Machina” – [Stunt Records]

Cousin Mary   2/6/2022   A Library, CD

Composer and alto sax player Maria Faust is a native of Estonia. This album suggests mechanical sounds and is said to be based on elements of water and the sea. Unusual instrumental combination of the alto and tenor saxophone, cello, piano and two basses. Jazz meets experimental meets contemporary classical. Compelling and poignant, highly recommended.

King Woman “Celestial Blues” [Relapse Records]

atavist   2/2/2022   A Library, CD

KFJC most recently encountered the work of Kristina Esfandiari on the brooding, electric Nghtcrwlr release “Let the Children Scream”. Here she returns to the guitar-driven King Woman, a project at times propulsive and furious, other times restrained and simmering, the sound of the loss that sinks and gathers in the pit of your stomach. The charisma in Esfandiari’s voice can lure you into the abyss and echo in your mind long after you remove the headphones. I suggest this could serve as the coronation Thurston Hunger hoped for when we acquired the Degrida/Sick Bed single in 2013. 

FCCs: Entwined (tr 6) and Ruse (tr 8)

Compagnia Nuove Indye [coll] – [Compangia Nuove Indye]

aarbor   2/2/2022   CD, International

Compagnia Nuove Indye is a label devoted to promoting young Italian artists, founded in 1992, in Rome by Paolo Dossena a composer, producer and lyricist. CNI defines the style of its artists as “New Popular Music” or “Contaminated Music”. In fact it includes pop, dub, ambient, jungle, cut-up, international and rock. This compilation is from 1997 and is a good representation of the sounds on the label at that time. Almamegretta who was launched by this label, has collaborated with Bill Laswell. AArbor

Rough Guide to Bollywood, The [coll] – [World Music Network]

aarbor   2/2/2022   CD, International

A good introduction to Bollywood music featuring the best known playback singers: sisters Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar ad Mohammed Rafi, as well as some newcomers; Chitra, Lucky Ali and Alka Yagnik. Bollywood films and their music have always been very popular. Bollywood music is the popular music in India. Even if you haven’t seen the films – the liner notes give you the plot synopses so you can introduce your listeners who haven’t seen and heard these classics to the films that go with these songs. You too can be an honorary Bollywood film connoiseur! AArbor

Sherman, Collin/Suitable Benchmarks of Reform

carsonstreet   1/27/2022   CD, Jazz

Based in New York, New York, Collin Sherman creates experimental electro-acoustic jazz, ambient, drone, and noise. Collin says of this album: Suitable Benchmarks of Reform, my thirteenth release, sticks to the same process I have used on past releases, where I play all of the instruments myself and overlay the parts. This album is essentially in two sections; the first being a collection of three independent tunes, and the second being a four-part suite.” Some tracks are completely improv (“Rival Machinations” track 2) and some are pretty close to traditional jazz (“Phalanx Strictures” track 1) but most are a very satisfying mix. Nothing here will take the paint off your walls.

Alma Maru – “Alma Maru” – [Daft Alliance]

Max Level   1/24/2022   A Library, CD

Tense, pulsating drones with jagged edges. Multi-layered repeating patterns and glitchy things consumed by feedback and dirty electronics. Not pleasant but not unpleasant. The nine tracks, ranging from about 2 minutes to about 7 minutes in length, have no beginnings or ends—each track barges in abruptly to take over from the previous. Alma Maru is Nathan Berlinguette and Ryan Unks.

Blackwater Holylight – “Silence/Motion” – [RidingEasy Records]

humana   1/24/2022   A Library, CD

The tracks on this one progress from a “blackwater” feel with the black metal-ish lyrics of “Delusional” to a “holylight” at the end of a tunnel by the time you reach the more inviting vocalizations of “Around You.” The words are dark and depressing, and the four band members from Portland, Oregon certainly create an atmosphere worthy of their name. The rhythms and vocals arise from the murk of the guitars to create a mood worthy of the time we live in–black at times tinged with light.

Yoshimura, Hiroshi – “Green” – [Light in the Attic]

humana   1/23/2022   A Library, CD

This re-release of Yoshimura’s 1986 vinyl album is electronic, dreamy, somnambulant. Harps and strings mix in with other ambient sounds to create relaxing, soothing music like the rhyming track titles that flow into each other. This listening experience makes you feel like you’re walking through a tranquil Japanese garden or spa where water drips gently down a wall fountain. From Japan with love.

Flato, Steve/Microtonal Guitar

carsonstreet   1/12/2022   A Library, CD

Steve Flato is a composer and guitarist from San Diego, CA. He is interested in using the wide vocabulary of sounds and techniques found in experimental music to express and process his own internal experiences. He aims to use sound as a therapeutic tool by exploring anxiety, trauma, and loss and its potential for generating personal growth and meaning. Flato is concerned with process, chance, and the line between improvisation and composition, synthetic and natural sounds. A little drone, a little raga and a lot of great guitar. Experimental but strangely familiar.

Aural Hallucinations – "Hearing What You Want to See" – [Self Release]

carsonstreet   1/12/2022   A Library, CD

Although there are tacks listed on the back of the CD this is one long spacy/psychy track which runs 1:18:58. “Floating Thru Asteroids – Black Liquid – Running Squirrel – Terrorized Smoke Man – Ruptured Brain Valve – December Flashes Bye – Meditation 6 – Sour Lemon Kraut – Meditation 5 – Half Of A Stink Bug – Phat Werk – Meditation 1 – Drone” is the name of the track but Spidey does not like long track names so it will be shortened when you see it on the screen. Spoken word & Audio both with plenty of distortion and interesting twists and turns. Aural Hallucinations is a new project featuring Matt (ex-Elder) on multiple instruments (Synths, guitar, drums, bass, vocals) and Dr Space (Øresund Space Collective, Black Moon Circle, Doctors of Space) on synthesizer and mixing. They also collaborate with Luis Antero who provides us with field recordings made in Portugal. Aural Hallucinations says: “The music is meant to be listened to in one long session, therefore, we have not split it up into individual pieces. Have toke, a vape, a smoke and a really far out trip with Aural Hallucinations and we hope you get to hear what you want to see!!!”

Bipolar Explorer/Recordings For The Dark Outside

carsonstreet   1/12/2022   A Library, CD

The Dark Outside began as a pop-up radio station playing obscure new music in a remote forest. The Dark Outside FM is an eccentric radio station where 24 hours of tailor-made music, that’s never been heard before, is broadcast to the remote Galloway Forest Park in southern Scotland. It began in 2012 when the forest’s artists in residence offered “noise terrorist” Stuart MacLean, aka Frenchbloke, use of a radio transmitter and he “came up with this stupid idea to play music that nobody has ever heard to a place nobody might hear it,” he says. “As far as I know it’s the only radio station where you have to leave your house to listen to it.” Bipolar Explorer has gathered their contributions to The Dark Outside from the years 2019 to 2021 on this CD. Experimental tracks one and all so take a listen.

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