Music Reviews

Cliff, Jimmy – "KCRW Session, The" – [Universal Music Enterprises]

aarbor   1/27/2021   12-inch, Reggae

Born James Chambers, he started writing songs in grade school and became Jimmy Cliff at the age of 14 when he started playing professionally. This is a session recorded and broadcast live at KCRW on June 28, 2012 – one of his last recordings (he’s now 72). It’s just Jimmy and his guitar, it seems more folk or calypso than reggae. AArbor

Clinton, George & Parliament Funkadelic – "Live At Montreux 2004" – [Montreux Sounds]

aarbor   1/27/2021   CD, Soul

George Clinton et. al. Live at Montreux in 2004 playing some of their standards, but not all of these tracks are in our collection. The tracks here that are new to our collection are: Flashlight/Get Low (definitely worth a play), Yank My Doodle, Not Just Knee Deep (in which they get the audience to scat along with them), and a cover of Sentimental Journey. Of course some tracks are for late night listening. Enjoy! AArbor

Kenneth Gaburo Conducts New Music Choral Ensemble [coll] – [Neuma]

lexi glass   1/26/2021   A Library, CD

Choral music has always been deeply uncool, at least as long as I can remember, definitely since I was belting out the Ave Maria in grade school, and it seems even further back than that. In the 1960s, with the growing enthusiasm around electronic and avant garde music, there was “a general feeling that the voice was a very limited phenomenon, unreliable, and possibly not as interesting with regard to exploration as were other sound domains,” recalls conductor Kenneth Gaburo of the time when he formed the New Music Choral Ensemble at the University of Illinois. The group of 16 student singers was the first in the country to tackle contemporary works for voice.

This CD, collecting ten of their works recorded live in 1967, exhibits the stylistic range and technical difficulty of their repertoire, starting with Ben Johnston’s challenging jazz piece “Ci-Git-Satie” (T1) and Pauline Oliveros’ abstract collage of moans, shrieks, bleeps and groans on “Sound Patterns” (T2). Two of Gaburo’s compositions appear here, distinctive with their brass band freakouts and tape music insanity (T4 and T9). In contrast, other pieces have a solemn, beautiful air: Shallenberg’s “Lilacs” (T5) and Bassett’s “Notes in the Silence #3” (T6). The best pieces are saved for the disc’s end: Luigi Nono’s stunning “Sara Dolce Tacere” (T7) and Oliver Messiaen’s blend of French/Quechua/Sanskrit into an abstract dream poetry on “Cinq Rechants” (T10).

Sect Mark – “Worship” – [Iron Lung Records]

whngr   1/26/2021   12-inch, A Library

Roman Raw Ruthless

Diabolical four-piece put their filthy fingers on your fading pulse and unfurl eight heretical blasts of fury. Black HXC for black hearts. Tyranny and terror from this mysterious Italian project released in 2018 on Iron Lung. Upheaval pervades with their call to act; Worship… KFJC.

Cardboard Sax / Wasteland Jazz Unit [coll] – [Community College]

whngr   1/26/2021   12-inch, A Library

Two side-long noise tracks on this limited split from College Records (Ohio). Side A being the gentler and slightly more varied than the reverse. Though the woodwinds and horns credited to the album would imply some kind recognizable sounds, in fact the recording, amplification, and manipulation of these instruments mostly obfuscates the origin of these often cacophonous oddities.

A.) Cardboard Sax: Crunchy rumbles, echoing scrapes of feedback, thumps, whirs, and chirps. (John Olson, Holly Young, Daniel Dlugosielski)

B.) Wasteland Jazz Unit: Undulating harsh drone, amplifier abuse, in-the-red brown noise, shards of dissonance. (John Rich, Jon Lorenz)

This collection reminds this miserable volunteer of a migraine headache. Untenable and tumultuous, side A being the auras and onset, side B the full-on, hide in the dark, isolation and endure, cranium crushing existential crisis. You’ll have 16 minutes per side to revel in the abuse of your audience and plot your escape from Master Studio.

Credo In Deum – “Blood Soaked Sand” – [No Part of It]

whngr   1/26/2021   A Library, CD

Credo In Deum is one Robert LaBarge (Massachusetts). Formerly known as Budhist On Fire, this release is comprised of excerpts from LaBarge’s long form noise compositions. Repetitive abstract meditations in the key of seraphic upheaval. Percussive and perilous but the walls of harsh noise are few and far between, instead these tracks offer far more space for contemplation and introspection. Probing synth, tumbling tanks of petrol, contact mics of care, derisive bleats from infected AI, the fall of The Tower of Babel played in reverse, Goliath’s last breath, woe to the stray sheep who navigates the night amongst wolves and devils. Tumult and chaos for spiritually bereft.

A far more insightful and credible review/examination exists on the reverse of this cd (and online) by Arvo Zylo, who in fact, assembled this collage of thoughtful soundscapes. One interesting morsel to note; LaBarge apparently converted from Buddhism to Catholicism which I have been struggling to wrap my fragile brain around since reading this disconcerting information. There is something so dark and convoluted in this action that, I must admit, adds an interesting if unrelatable dimension to this album.

Cloud Seeder – “Sea of Alexander Von Humboldt, The” – [Lather Records]

SlartiBartfast   1/24/2021   A Library, CD

Get lost in the psychedelic twisted sounds of Cloud Seeder’s sophomore release. While less raw than their first self titled release,  “The Sea of Alexander Von Humbolt” will guide you through  guitar driven psychedelia realms you never imagined. Full of random and pertinent sound effects and over dubs, this release will find you searching around the nearest impact crater for your lost Occipital Lobe. As a reminder, don’t forget your refreshments, and crank it up! Fuzz and feedback free to all.

Nels Cline Singers, The – “Share The Wealth” – [Blue Note]

SlartiBartfast   1/24/2021   12-inch, Jazz

This is a trippy, noisy, rocking, and fuzzy fusion/prog/psyche Jazz 2020 release from the sextet of The Nels Cline Singers. No singing here, except for one track with some guttural vocal whispers. This is a musical journey through a wide range of musical styles. Imagine taking a bit of DNA from the Mahavishnu Orch., Charlie Hunter, King Crimson, John Zorn, and a hint of Zappa, mixed it all together, and creating a finely crafted 2LP release on Blue Note. With Nels Cline (gt fx), Scott Amendola (dr), Skerik  (ten. Sax, fx), Trevor Dunn (bass, fx), Brian Marsella (keys, fx), and Cyro Baptista (perc.), “Share the Wealth” is bound to appeal to a wide array of musical tastes and ears. It will keep your mind swirling and your toes tapping.

Fantastic Negrito – “Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?” – [Cooking Vinyl Ltd.]

SlartiBartfast   1/24/2021   12-inch, Hip Hop

Funky, bluesy, original. beats put down by Oakland’s own Fantastic Negrito. As polished as it might seem on the surface, this 2020 release, “Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?”, brings together elements of jazz, blues, funk, rock, and plenty of soul. Not to mention there is ample amounts of emotional energy and hard biting lyrics found through out the tracks on this beautiful translucent green vinyl platter. Full of up beat tempos, hard driving beats, and plenty of heart felt soul, it’s a perfect LP to slip into a multitude of blues and funk sets. Mind the FCC’s

Zelienople – “Hollywood” – [Under The Spire Recordings]

SlartiBartfast   1/23/2021   A Library, CD

This is a two track release of dark, dreamy, ambient landscapes that fluidly flow from one droning dream to another from the Chicago trio of Matt Christensen, Brian Harding, and Mike Weis. Stretching the ever expanding time of creativity, Zelienople offer up two 20+ minute tracks that will lead you to a different musical rabbit hole altogether. Drifting between  a dream filled with anxiety and sombre thought, yet punctuated by sighs of relief. Sit back, relax, and exhale. Slarti says you will need your “Drug Legs” to get you through to your next musical journey. 

Troutman, Roger – "Many Facets of Roger, The" – [Warner Bros.]

aarbor   1/20/2021   12-inch, Soul

This is Roger Troutman’s first solo album from 1981. Before going solo he and some of his brothers started the band Zapp in 1979 and was signed by George Clinton. Zapp influenced West Coast hip hop because its music was sampled a lot. Later he collaborated with Bootsy Collins. Later in his career Roger was best known for his use of a specialized “Talkbox” to create interesting vocal effects. Apparently the cover of I Heard it Through the Grapevine and the song So Ruff, So Tuff on this album were very well received. Most of the tracks are funky and the last track is Blues. AArbor

Jimmy Castor Bunch, The – "Jimmy Castor Bunch, The" – [Cotillion Records]

aarbor   1/20/2021   12-inch, Soul

From 1979, this album is upbeat, funky and danceable. The last 2 tracks are notably slower than the earlier ones. Castor is vocalist and alto sax player here. He is best known for several songs (none of which appear on this album: Hey Leroy Your Mama’s Callin’ You (1967), the Bertha Butt Boogie (1975), It’s Just Begun (1972) and Troglodyte (Cave man). He also recorded a soprano saxophone cover of A Whiter Shade of Pale (1973). AArbor

Towards a Total Poetry [coll] – [Recital]

aarbor   1/20/2021   12-inch, A Library

Don’t be fooled by the word “Poetry” in the title. This is more performance art than poetry! Paul Vangelisti a poet and broadcaster affiliated with KPFK, he’s the guy behind Los Angeles Theatre of the Ear (L.A.T.E.). This is a broadcast from March 1980 on KPFK. The tracks are sung, squawked, scatted, shrieked…. Enjoy! AArbor

Hertz, Jack – “Mechanics of Blue” – [Aural Films]

mickeyslim   1/19/2021   A Library, CD

Off of the Aural Films online record label that makes soundtracks to movies that don’t exist, comes this release from Jack Hertz. In the liner notes, Hertz writes that Mechanics of Blue “reflects on the industry of unhappiness (…) entities that design products to make us feel afraid, unattractive, or unwanted. Cloaked in commerce. Branding, deception, fear, propaganda, gamification, subversion, trust, social engineering and other methods are exploited to get us to do what we do not want”

Myriad of different sounds meticulously put together, crunching, grinding, deep blue guitar twangs, wings flapping, voices in the background, synth waves, abstract wisps, and much more. Sometimes beat-driven, sometimes ambient-driven. 

The songs create tiny worlds within the mix. Some tracks feel like being underwater like you’re a mermaid, other times you’re floating above the rings of Saturn, other other times in the thick of an undiscovered, unexplored jungle. 

It’s majestic, like an acid trip where you’re thinking a million things at once and seeing the world for the first time.

Euphotic -“Isopleths” – [Public Eyesore]

mickeyslim   1/19/2021   A Library, CD

the bells ring for no one.

over what was once dry land,

Orion reaches farther

into the void.

as you reach the apex,


the crickets pound 

tin cans

and penguin bones.

no way down,

no way out,

no one there

to hear your cosmic


softly fading,




noisters cheryl leonard on driftwood, sand, rocks, feathers, marsh reeds,penguin bones, pine needles and oyster shells; tom djll on trumpet and electronics; and bryan day on his own invented instruments. excellent easy-to-listen-to-and-drift-away noise from those who know best. DO NOT MISS.

Creation Rebel – The Best of Cutting Edge Hip Hop [coll] – [Cutting Edge]

aarbor   1/13/2021   CD, Hip Hop

Two CDs full of Japanese hip hop from 1995-2000. A variety of outfits with lyrics mostly in Japanese, although if you listen really carefully you’ll catch some FCC language hiding amidst the intense vocals and rhythms. I liked the variety and the Japanese-ness of the hip hop, although sadly all the liner notes and a number of the tracks were not only in Japanese but in Kanji. AArbor

Worrell, Bernie – "All The Woo In The World" – [Tidal Waves Music]

aarbor   1/13/2021   12-inch, Soul

Bernie Worrell (who died in 2016) was a founding member of Parliament/Funkadelic, also known for his work with Talking Heads. This is his first solo album, originally released in 1978. Featured artists include: P-Funk alums like George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley and Eddie Hazel. One reviewer described it as “so funky you can smell it through the dust jacket.” This beautiful slab of orange vinyl has much of what you’d expect from Funkadelic: layered sounds, amazing horns, toe-tapping midtempo beat – a classic platter of cosmic slop. AArbor

Brown, James and The Famous Flames – "Tell Me What You're Gonna Do" – [Rumble Records]

aarbor   1/13/2021   12-inch, Soul

This is a 2015 re-release of an early 1960’s album by James Brown and the Famous Flames when they’d had a few hits, but hadn’t quite made the big time. James has gone beyond just being a “blues singer” or a gospel singer and is singing ballads and covers here as well. What I love is the energy and intensity of his singing here – a star on the way to super stardom. AArbor

Body Double -“Milk Fed” -[Zum]

mickeyslim   1/12/2021   12-inch, A Library

Crunchy, post-punk indie tastiness from Oakland’s Candace Lazarou and Noah Adams. This is the freshman release of this duo coming hot off the Zum Audio press (more or less). This new project is sure to turn some heads, and KFJC is getting a jump start on the action.

Each short track is like a vacation into a romantic era poem, full of melancholy and  disturbed musing. Float above the clouds, watching as the world below eats itself alive. Static on the TV doesn’t bother you, because why would it? It’s all just a dream anyway…

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