KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Livid – “Life Is Pain Life Is Shit” – [No Time Records]

whngr   2/20/2020   A Library, Cassette

Ghastly detuned bludgeoning.
This menacing two-piece out of Kenosha, Wisconsin draw down on your sense of well being with a furious rage. Dirge, guttural bellows, feedback, blast beats, seedy samples, hair lashing, and neck snapping hXc riffage. Shake, rattle, and roll yourself off the precipice, brush the gravel off yer face, reset your shoulder, spit out a coupla’ teeth, let the blood to stream down your scowling visage, drag yourself up the cliff, and do it all over again on side B. @Bear’s_D.licious_honey, @slam_pit_with_loaded_deer_rifles, @PowerViolence, @TravisBickle, @Spock, @realtree_nail_bat, @malice_aforethought, @bring_a_straight_edge_to_hammered_fight
FCC on “Coward” (A4-B4) “Fuckin’ bitch”

Araya, Felipe – “Punata” – [eh?]

mickeyslim   2/19/2020   A Library, Cassette

Found sound field recordings from Bolivia & Chile. Felipe Araya plays the Peruvian cajón, a wooden hand drum, in a very non-traditional, exploratory fashion.

Side A is field recordings made in Bolivia originally recorded onto mobile phone. Gysin/Burroughs-style cut-ups of sounds at Cochabamba market, at el Ojo del Inca, traditional folk sounds, muddy footsteps, faint voices with occasional sounds from Araya’s cajón.

Side B is a “silent session” recorded at a friends place in Santiago, Chile. Cajón and objects, starts as a minimal, playful exploration that evolves unhurriedly into an excellent crescendo.

Two 26-minute sides of well-done, found-sound, bliss…

As One – Planetary Folklore – [Mo Wax]

aarbor   2/19/2020   A Library

Kirk Degiorgio is As One. Here he is on Mo’ Wax from 1997. The sound is more jazzy [4,7,8] than the ‘70s soul and funk or Detroit Techno you hear in his earlier releases. There’s still a bit of funk present in the electronica here. – AArbor

SOFA SURFERS – Sofa Rockers Remixes – [Klein Records]

aarbor   2/19/2020   A Library

The Sofa Surfers are Mani Obeya, Markus Klenzi, Michael Hozgruber and Wolfgang Frisch of the Austrian posse of the ‘90s. Here are 2 of their tracks A1 and B1 with 2 gentle funky remixes of A1 by Richard Dorfmeister (of Kruder and Dorfmeister) – call it Downtempo, call it Trip Hop… but be sure to listen to it.   AArbor

Luke Honey – “Vastation” – [Skaven Electric]

lexi glass   2/19/2020   A Library, Cassette

Mysterious cassette of dark ambient electronics from a one-man project out of Cincinnati. Corroded drones layered atop venomous synths and ringing echos. Five tracks that seep slowly into intimate spaces, until the plug is pulled for an abrupt ending. Digging for the dirt on this tape didn’t turn up much – it is the sole release on Skaven Electric, apparently an Ohio label/dealer of “scrounged up goods for audio rats” – but that’s enough to know its waves will infest the playlists of KFJC’s more sinister shows.

New Improvised Music From Buenos Aires [coll] – [Esp-Disk]

Hemroid The Leader   2/15/2020   A Library, CD

14 tunes between 8:22 & 1:38. ESP Disk. Mostly jazz with chamber, electroacoustic & noise. Heavy, not swinging: repeated destabilizations, shocks & devaluation underpin tension, crisis & terror. Mouthpiece sounds, processed audio, silences. Inhabits a unique space, not the usual skronk. Cool book.

St. Hugh, William – “Saturnus” – [Aural Films]

atavist   2/12/2020   A Library, CD

The arrival of “Saturnus” provides ethereal sounds with orchestral-inspired keyboard instrumentation. Minutes stretch in a haze of drifting shimmers and the occasional dramatic surge of sound. This recording moves slowly like the score for a moody, somewhat eerie film. It’s very much a companion album to this artist’s earlier release “The Luciferian”, added to the library last August. Tracks are fairly consistent across the CD. To my untrained ears, all the tracks are pretty similar, so you might select based on how much time you need in your break clock, and you’ll get a consistent atmosphere of unease and wilting beauty. A couple tracks, like “Red Sun Rise” start out quietly. Tremorous dreams await.

Peterson, J. – ‘Refusal’ – [Wonderland Media]

Lord Gravestench   2/12/2020   A Library, Cassette

Sound artist Josh Peterson runs the Force Neurotic label. This 2019 cassette release consists of two very dark 20 minute pieces. Both are rambling and disquieting sound collages accompanied by the artist’s voice reading found texts from criminal cases. The A side piece deals with murders and the B side piece concerns unsolved disappearances. The compositions have a desolate attitude, combining melancholy and eeriness in a turn somewhat comparable to the films of David Lynch. Manipulated and damaged tapes of spelunking piano and other tuneless, toylike instruments, field recordings of public places, mournful clanking, desperate scrabbling.

Peterson intones, whispers, and declaims the dry facts of an uncertain number of these sad cases. Forensics. Autopsies. Surveillance footage. Traumatised family members trying to make sense of it all. The last few minutes of side A assume the aspect of Power Electronics, as piercing and squealing electronic tones back a more aggressive, urgent vocal delivery. Subtler side B ends with peaceful field recordings from a natural spot. Is it a hopeful epilogue… or is that what it sounds like where the poor girl’s body is buried?

The scrambled cut-up texts, intimately delivered, will remind some people of recent work by Sutcliffe Jugend and Consumer Electronics, and indeed Peterson has published a book with Philip Best’s Amphetamine Sulphate press. No FCCs but some edgy stuff (postmortem description of “anal injuries”) on side A.

Grim – “Psycho Sun” – [Steinklang Industries]

whngr   2/12/2020   12-inch, A Library

Semi-solo project of Japanese avant-noise artist Kunagawa Jun of White Hospital evokes feelings touring a sanitorium with a variety of lunatics with an array of diagnoses and varying degrees of instability.
Indecipherable, unhinged mantras informed by the traditional folk music of Tibet wind through the album, sprinkled with organ and elements of musique concrete. Tribal drums interlaced with arrhythmic scrap yard percussion, haunting terrestrial melodies (A6-Radio Wave Church), electronic abstraction and alien instrumentation at times both beautiful and sad (B2- Glorious Tower), elsewhere primal and frightening (B3-Dharma), the album closes with the title track which borrows (perhaps unintentionally) from Devo’s – Mongoloid, pierces it with buried squeals of feedback as Kunagawa unspools his depiction of a mad monk losing his way upon The Path of the bodhi.
Compelling and challenging, stark and complex. Psycho Sun is raw and extemporaneous while simultaneously appearing carefully cultivated and refined. Both ritualistic and improvised, reverent and profane with an emphasis on contrast very much in line with Kunagawa’s visual aesthetic; there is beauty within the horror and a lucidity beneath the madness.

Impiety- ‘Salve The Goat: Iblis Exelsi’ – [Nuclear War Now! Productions]

Lord Gravestench   2/12/2020   12-inch, A Library

Formed in 1990, Singapore’s Impiety were one of the first extreme black/death metal bands from East Asia. They are still active to this day, and still revered within the international “war metal”/“goat metal” scene. This 2017 LP from NWN! is a collection of their earliest, rawest shit: 1993’s ’Salve the Goat’ 7” (A1-A2), 1992’s ‘Ceremonial NecroChrist Redesecration’ demo (A3-B3), and 1991’s rehearsal demo (B4-B7).

Fans of the rottenest blackdeath bestiality from Canada (Blasphemy), Brazil (Impurity), Finland (Beherit), and the USA (Nunslaughter) will be well at home here. It is excellent material like pretty much everything else from this project. Be advised that A3, B3, B4, and B7 are brief intro/outro-type synthstrumentals. Elsewhere caveman grunts and howls chase compressed and lumbering walls of bass, guitar, and cymbal noise as we lurch through cleverly composed yet Metal-Blade-proof devilworship rituals. Nasty.

Freedom Satellite – Soul Samba – [Vienna Scientists]

aarbor   2/12/2020   12-inch, A Library

Jurgen Drimal and Gernot Ebenlechner are Freedom Satellite. This is their first (electronica) release from 2000 which helped launch the Vienna Scientists label. The tracks on the A side: Soul Samba and Savor are 2 of their best known tracks and well worth a play (as are the 2 on the B side). – AArbor  

KUMASI TRIO – Fanti Guitar in West Africa 1928, Vol. 1 [coll.]

aarbor   2/12/2020   A Library

These rare recordings from 1928 are some of the first ever to feature African music played on Western guitars.  Kumasi is a city in Ghana which in 1928 had an open air market and one of the first British department stores in Africa. The trio is H.E. Biney and Jacob Sam (whose real name was Kwame Asare) on guitar, and Kwah Kanta on percussion. The trio were brought to London to record 36 double-sided records. This is considered the first recording of “highlife”. For reference – Amponsah is a standard highlife song.  AArbor

GENTLE PEOPLE, THE – Journey

aarbor   2/12/2020   A Library

The Gentle People are a combination of 1990’s club culture (Electronica) and 1950s cocktails and tiki kitch (Lounge). Think sugar coated/easy listening with vocals and nostalgic cheeseballness. Their names are Dougee Dimensional, Honeymink, Laurie Lemans, and Valentine Carnelian.This is their single Journey remixed by the likes of Aphex Twin (whose Rephlex label they record on) and Hazchem. I especially recommend the remixes. AArbor

Boni, Raymond/Gilles Dalbis – Selenites: One Kenichi Dream – [Mazeto Square]

Max Level   2/11/2020   A Library, CD

Two French guys playing the soundtrack to what seems to be a dream story. Boni on guitar and harmonica, Dalbis on drums. All instrumental, very abstract, quiet and loud places, hard to tell what they are getting at sometimes. The 15-minute Track 1 starts with 3 minutes of solo drumming. Dalbis has a nice touch with the brushes. Boni’s guitar comes in gently and… eventually all hell breaks loose like you suspected it would. There are shades of Derek Bailey in Boni’s playing and he adds to that a lot of processed guitar sounds and some overdubs. He plays harmonica on Tracks 2 and 5; he has an unusual approach, that’s for sure. It sounds to me more like an accordion in a style reminiscent of Pauline Oliveros maybe? Track 3 features some flying-fingers abstract blues guitar and it’s pretty nice. Dalbis adds surprising percussive touches throughout the record. I don’t really understand the dream story–something about HG Wells and an alien civilization living inside Earth’s moon, and at some point a modern manga character shows up and does something or other. Perfect music for an oddball dream like that.

Brovold, Bill – “Stone Soup, The Michael Goldberg Variations” – [Public Eyesore]

Louie Caliente   2/11/2020   A Library, CD

All the tracks in this soup are made from the same stone: four sparse notes plucked on a clattering, slightly detuned acoustic guitar. The recording of these scattered notes was given to 12 different musicians who each add to the sound in their own way.

Brovold’s minimalist guitar work maintains center-stage through all the tracks, and most retain the drony spacey feel of the original, though all have a unique perspective. Rhys Chatham (T3) augments the guitar with meditative chants and whistles. Fred Lonberg-Holm (T4) turns it it into a kinetic blissful sun salutation. Franz Shultz (T7) adds twangy steel guitar. Karen Haglof (T10) creates soothing psychedelic explorations. Probably the most unique of the bunch is the pairing of guitar with punchy beats and percussive grinds from Leonardo ProtoPeople (T5)

The album is inspired by Bach’s Goldberg Variations (composed of an aria and 30 variations), and a folk tale wherein an entire village contributes small ingredients each to a pot that originally contained nothing but a stone, yielding a delicious soup.

The album is hand-printed and colored by Brovold.

NOISE: In Theory and Practice [coll] – [Norcal Noisefest]

lexi glass   2/11/2020   A Library, CD

This limited-run 2019 compilation was released at the 23rd Norcal Noisefest, the annual celebration of crazed cacophony that’s terrorized Sacramento every fall since 1995. Curated by noisefest mainstay Instagon, the comp features new works from the artists that performed at the 2019 event. So, of course, you’ll find strange sounds of all stripes: the layered womens’ vocals of Mourning Dove (T1), the binaural buzz of Chopstick (T3), the bright blips of Thirteen Hurts (T6), Mini Mutations‘ spoken word stream of consciousness (T7). Novacain sickens with sax, piano and a deadbeat drumbeat (T10), Seattle’s rEEk delivers strikes supplanted by silence (T13), SF’s Filthmilk has a metal breakdown (T16), Crank Sturgeon‘s trapped in a tangle of live cables (T19), while Crank Static offers some unique Valentine’s ideas for you and Your Baby (T20 – FCCs). The comp rounds out with the toasty crunch of a bowlful of Microwave Windows (T24), an easy listening FM radio station possessed by demons courtesy of Xdugef (T26); finally, Infinexhuma abandons us in the void (T27).

Vastum – “Orificial Purge” – [20 Buck Spin]

atavist   2/10/2020   12-inch, A Library

The Bay Area’s Vastum have unleashed their latest release, and it continues in the vein of their previous works, including “Hole Below” from 2015. This is considered old school death metal, and the band is frequently compared to Bolt Thrower, a band active from the mid-80s to the early 2000s. The old-school element comes from the riffs that are heavy and at times complex, but played at medium tempos that are seldom mind-bendingly fast or glacially slow. Two vocalists work well off each other: Daniel Butler and guitarist Leila Abdul-Rauf, whose distinctive vocal style can be found in other projects known to KFJC, like Saros and Hammers of Misfortune. An early favorite is Abscess Inside Us (A3). An off-kilter time signature teeters on a razor wire edge before dissolution swallows the end of the track. On its heels, the title track has a great intro, dripping with ghastly atmosphere. Generally, this record rewards a close listen, and each track has its merits. Borderline mathy/proggy structures are woven to support the overarching goal: to paint a bleak picture of shame, pain, and anguish from violence, including sexual violence. Riffs are held in check, so that the ultimate release covers the sky in darkness. To be sure, Vastum flashes the blades of previous recordings, but the cuts here are new, fresh, and deep. The haunting guitar solo in the final track crushes.

Drumwerx – "Drumwerx" – [Nosecandy]

humana   2/9/2020   A Library, CD

I know nothing about this CD except what it sounds like, and it sounds like its title. Lots of short tracks with some longer ones sprinkled in that put you in mind of being inside of a video game. A drum machine is likely the source of the frenetic, upbeat, ricocheting sounds that reverberate through your brain long after the CD is through playing. It’s always Playtime, after all! (Oh, yeah, and the band may be from Oxnard, CA.)

Allred, Joseph – "Traveler" – [Feeding Tube Records]

humana   2/9/2020   12-inch, A Library

These amazingly mellow and pretty folk tunes come to us from Joseph Allred in Boston. Allred is a master at guitar and banjo, enveloping the listener in layers of comforting acoustic notes and occasionally adding his voice to sing along. The cute illustrations of the tracks and the clever album design are in keeping with the homey feel of these tracks. Definitely in my sweet spot.

Million Brazilians – "Urban Fossickated Octave" – [Feeding Tube Records]

humana   2/9/2020   12-inch, A Library

Million Brazilians have moved to Maine where Caleb Mulkerin of Big Blood is. He did the tape loops and treatments on this album, as well as the engineering, recording, mixing, and mastering. Suzanne Stone’s alto sax is pretty great in the way it keeps the jazz feeling going amidst all the weird wonderfulness that makes this band hard to pinpoint. Grant Corum is of course on board, bringing especially interesting vocal directions to “Ectoplasm Programmed Dream (with Guide),” and Tom Kovacevic adds piano and synth at the end of Side 1. This is an almost droning, building aural experience and just right for the KFJC library.

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