KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Rita Mitsouko; Rita Mitsouko Virgin Records

Naysayer   2/3/2019   A Library, CD

First off: Rita Mitsouko ARE great, so back off. Second, Rita Mitsouko is not the name of the artist, it’s the name of the duo who are Catherine Ringer (singer) and Fred Chichin (guitarist), so those KFJC reviews from the past who list it as Mitsouko, Rita….sorry, not so. This confusion was international which led Catherine and Fred to switch their group name to Les Rita Mitsouko to hopefully stave off confusion. This album, “Rita Mitsouko” was Rita Mitsouko’s first full recordings. Hailing from the underground factory club scene of Paris, Rita hit it with their perfect blend of punk, altenative pop (when that was a good thing), French chanson and dance power, mixed with their sense of fashion and fashionista references. Their style is this infectious alter pop. None of my normal friends could ever get it but the cool folk, the clubsters, the punks…they would loose it when this stuff hit the sound system. “Marcia Baila” was the dance hit, an homage to Argentine choreographer Marcia Moreto, who Ringer studied with. There is also a song about Oum Khalsoum, the amazing internationally renowned Egyptian singer. The style is like Stereo Total and Sparks (whom they played with). Ringer’s vocals are this crazy warble from low to high registers, affected in a good way that growls and coos along to the beat. She sometimes sings around the beat, making for interesting interpretations. Chichin keeps his guitar steady with this great New Wave punk sound that has a bit of sarcasm in it, making it that much more enjoyable. The synth beats add to the frenzy. It’s pure pop snobbery and charm that still holds up. Club kids will party.

Wai Fat, Chan – Foo Cup Kwan Nan (Hardly Breathing) – [Fatsound]

Louie Caliente   1/29/2019   A Library, CD

Chan Wai Fat is a self-taught musician and composer from Hong Kong. He’s been active since the late 80s, playing in a number of noise-rock bands before later focusing on totally free improvisation. He is the founder of CIMG (Collective Improvisational Music Group), and has performed with John Zorn, Yamatsuka Eye, Fred Frith, and many others.

Foo Cup Kwan Nan (Hardly Breathing) is Wai Fat’s debut solo recording, released in 1996. Here he plays a variety of stringed instruments, including prepared guitar, Hawaiian steel guitar, octavilla (a 14-string Spanish instrument), and a damaged cello. All tracks are completely improvised and recorded direct to DAT, with “no overdub, remix, synthesizers, or pre-recorded samples.”

The center-piece of the album is the “12 Pieces for Prepared Acoustic Guitar” (T5-T16) which feature beautifully sparse and delicate guitar strumming and tinkering, as well as a few more “accidental” sounds. Wai Fat evokes similar peaceful moods with his pentatonic plucking on the Hawaiian steel guitar (T2) as well as on the octavilla (T20). There are some nice drones here as well — “Miles Away” (T3) is probably my favorite on the whole album. The final (listed) track “Songbird: Variation on a Theme by Kenny G” (T21) features the most energetic — often frenetic — noodling (again on the octavilla) with no discernible sign of Kenny G.

DJs TAKE NOTE:
1) The first track ends with the sounds of a skipping CD player. Do not panic, the CD is fine. I actually really recommend this one.
2) The final track (T22) is not listed in the liner notes, and is almost completely SILENT, except for the sound of the tape recorder, very distant birds, and an occasional footstep.

Liebman, Dave / Nakatani, Tatsuya / Rudolph, Adam – Unknowable, The – [Rare Noise Records]

lexi glass   1/29/2019   A Library, CD

Three generations of improvisors come together to forge “beautiful alchemy,” and the gold is captured on this 2018 studio recording from London’s Rare Noise. Dave Liebman is a jazz saxophonist who was mentored by Elvin Jones and Miles Davis in NYC in the 70s before going on to perform in many other groups, including his own ensemble. Adam Rudolph is a prolific percussionist (see his collaborations with Yusef Lateef and the group Hu Vibrational), specializing in jazz and African drumming styles. Tatsuya Nakatani, another percussion wizard, tours like crazy across the US, performing solo, with collaborators, and with his own Nakatani Gong Orchestra.

The Unknowable showcases each of the artists’ strengths over 13 concise tracks. Rudolph’s lively hand drumming lends a natural, organic quality, while Liebman’s warm saxophone and flute melodies match the others’ quick rhythms, or lengthen in broad tones to add contrast. Nakatani’s textures – metallic, electronic, dark, untamed – make the more traditional elements feel modern. Some pieces find the artists experimenting with unusual instrumentation – Liebman plays the Fender Rhodes on “Iconograph” (T10), and transforms his saxophone with spectral electronic effects on the title track (T4), and Rudolph plucks the keys of a thumb piano on the peaceful “Distant Twilight” (T9). This is challenging – but never difficult – material, and altogether a genre-less, generous, and enjoyable album.


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.

Monti, Maria – “Il Bestiario” – [Unseen Worlds]

lexi glass   1/23/2019   12-inch, A Library


Italian singer and actress Maria Monti began her career singing traditional ballads in the cabarets of Milan in the 50s, and later appeared in several popular films in the 60s. But in the 70s, her musical work veered off into strange new directions that are on full display on this lost 1974 record, a jewel unearthed and reiussed in 2012 by Unseen Worlds. On these ten tracks, arranged by avant-garde composer Alvin Curran, Monti brings to life the lyrics penned by poet Aldo Braibanti, accompanied by Curran’s synths and Steve Lacy’s free jazz saxophone. Il Bestiario has as many wildly varied styles as creatures in a zoo, from the intimate jazz of “Dove” (T2), the rollicking chanson “No no no no” (T3), the smoldering piano ballad “Il Serpente Innamorato,” the wistful folk and birdsong of “L’Uomo” (T6), and the midwinter’s meditation “Il Letargo” (T9), but all are connected by Braibanti’s lyrics that evoke surreal images of animals. The one exception to this theme is the album’s finale, an expressive, borderline-New Age reflection on the four elements, “Aria Terra Acqua e Fuoco” (T10). Like the recently reissued albums of Brigitte Fontaine and Lena Platanos, this is another instance of work from an adventurous female artist finally getting the wide release it deserves.

Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock / The Beast People [coll] – [Spite]

Louie Caliente   1/23/2019   12-inch, A Library

Split 12″ released in 2005, but featuring early works from both artists recorded a decade earlier.

Runzelstirn & Gurgelstøck is Rudolph Eb.er, Swiss experimentalist now living in Osaka, and founder of Schimpfluch-Gruppe.

Holy hell! Demonic moans and primal screams. Repeated punches to the face. Emergency whistles. Long periods of silence that only increase the tension before the sheer terror and panic kicks back in. Will leave you nauseated and sweaty.

The Beast People are old-school Michigan noise-makers Aaron Dilloway (Wolf Eyes, Universal Indians, Hanson Records…), Twig Harper (Nautical Almanac), and Nate Young (Wolf Eyes, Moon Pool & Dead Ban, Stare Case…). Their side of this split contains a series of pieces pulled from early (unreleased?) tapes.

Sputtering machinery. Groans and grunts. Warbling tape noise. Leaky valves. Glottal and esophageal scribblings. Abstract and disorienting.

 

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

atavist   1/23/2019   A Library, CD

Fossil Aerosol Mining Project: The Recounting of Night Time

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).

Sleepwalker – “Ichi-go Ichi-e” – [Sentient Ruin Laboratories]

Lord Gravestench   1/22/2019   12-inch, A Library

This post-metal band’s actual name, pronounced something like ‘Muyuubyousha’ consists of four Japanese characters and does indeed mean ‘Sleepwalker.’ Confusingly, there also exist both an American Black Metal band and a Japanese Jazz group of that name– and THIS Sleepwalker, unconnected to the other two BUT featuring Japanese and American members, might be described as a Black Metal/Jazz combo. The guitar/bass/percussion trio collaborate remotely, having never met: one from Japan, one Russia, one America. This 2018 LP is their second release. Its title translates as ‘For This Time Only, Never Again.’ The phrase is a Japanese proverb or cultural concept based on treasuring the ephemerality of one-time meetings with strangers, or so this gaijin believes after a quick Google search (is there any other kind).

Frequently surprising without being jarring, ‘Ichi-go Ichi-e’ manages not to sound stitched together even though it literally is — members improvise their parts and combine them via remote collaboration, following the melancholy dream logic of their collective vision where it takes them. The finished product seems to draw evenly upon Depressive Black Metal, Japanese Psych Rock, Avant-Jazz, Trip-Hop, Morris Minor’s Prog 8-tracks, and traditional Eastern musics of various kinds. While comparisons to certain other BM vivisectionists may be apt up to a point (Mamaleek, Diapsiquir, Oranssi Pazuzu, Clouds Collide) they have a pretty unique sound going on, exploring a vast breadth of style on this fairly brief album. I was nodding my head to a jaunty Jazz lick one moment, then splattered by nocturnal slashers the next; and that’s how people grow up. Vocals, like important thoughts, are mostly howls and whispers. Like a heroin addict’s last shot, this shit works much better than it ought to. I guess that must mean some amount of consideration went into it. Play it for everyone you’ll never get to know.

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

Scarcity of Tanks – “Garford Mute” – [Total Life Society]

Thurston Hunger   1/18/2019   12-inch, A Library


Clevelad Matthew Wascovich fronts a pretty snazzy revolving
door. Borbetomagicians and Sun City gargoyles have visited
at times past. On this release the crew includes Minuteman
Mike Watt, Weasel Walter wreaking drum punishment and
stealing the show, Steve Mackay. Steve’s sax really stands
out on his work during side C of this gatefold grinder.
When he first shows up on the shutdown breaks in “Us Pushy”
things sizzle a little differently. Wascally Wascovich
looks to pump up Stooge energy, and the abstract lyrics
professed over punk does connect back to Watt’s early
ways. Maybe a hint of “Camper van Beefheart” in the mix
too, but mostly the song are choogling guitar 4 by 4, with
rhythm guitar (Doug Gillard of GBV?) up front, and then
other guest guitarists kinda noodling around the chords.
Gets a little airtight at times, that’s where Mackay (RIP)
was so crucial for me. Wascovich kinda punches his poetic
pontifications, with a heavy right hook on the chosen
title/repeated mantra. Double-tracking his speaksong,
especially through effects early on in the record thickens
things. “Everything Zenith” is an outlier with its Paris,
Texas slide while a blindman cuts hair big scissors.
“Dunedin Signal” is also a little different as the chord
heavy distortion thins out some, still plenty o’ noodleage.
I wonder if he didn’t publish his lyrics to focus just on
the rock core? Been marching to the beat of his latest
favorite drummer for a decade straight in his Scarred City,
while we were sleeping on this, SoT released a new album.
-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.

Self, Colin – “Siblings” – [RVNG]

Naysayer   1/16/2019   12-inch, A Library

Colin Self is quite the accomplished composer, academic and activist. Schooled at Evergreen State College, School of Art Institute of Chicago and Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, he’s got the credentials. Having worked in NYC with a number of radical alternative queer groups as well as being a part of Holly Herndon’s trio, his experience in experimentation and community is full on. “Siblings” is the final part of a six part opera series named “Elation”. Dealing with themes of alienation and empathy through his overall look at multi-species flourishing of non biological family systems, gender, understanding, social control and social transformation. A lot of ideas coming out at the listener.
The 11 songs contain lush, operatic choral pieces dealing with stories of identity and ideas of family. The heady lyrics are rich and ready for listeners to sink their teeth into. The instrumental pieces are new IDM: shattered explosions of bits of pieces of samples and sounds brought back together in a new jittery way. Exquisite.
References pop into my head: Chicago Footwork artists, Holly Herndon, Genesis P. Orridge, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Antony.

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.

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