Kendra Amalie, 12-string guitarist and RYT 200 yoga teacher, is at the helm for this collection of four hazy, lazy, sometimes blissful improvisations. Opener Illusion of Separation wields guitar, cello, drums, trombones and electronics for a spaced-out stumble through the desert in the white-hot midday sun. Inferior mirages pulse and vibrate, is that a radio tower in the distance? On the flip side, Angh Oya Tung melds floating synths, disembodied voices, and a steady drum pulse for a pure bliss experience, highlighted by a wonky bassoon solo. Closer Prayer for an Infinite Skein is 10 minutes of slow burn highlighted by the cello playing of Taralie Peterson (Louise Bock, Tar Pet, Spires That in the Sunset Rise) and Amalie’s fuzzed out guitar, followed by an equally epic come down.
Call of the Void conjures metalcore that flirts with crushing heaviness. They’d fit on a bill with bands like Integrity, Meshuggah, Premonitions of War…they’re not as punk as metalcore standard-bearers Converge, and they’re not as angular and mathy as Botch (pardon the dated points of reference). My favorite parts of the album are those where they allow themselves to introduce some additional textures to the overall onslaught, like the instrumental conclusions to tracks 3 and 4. Track 7, “Enslaved”, is a brief instrumental, and it has some interesting elements. This marks a turning point in the album, where the layers of guitar parts and percussion show a bit more depth and complexity. Track 8, “Re Death” has compelling wall-of-sound guitar harmonies, and track 9, the title track, builds on this trajectory. Tracks 10 and 11, “Wave of Disgust” and “Almighty Pig” return to simple, primal fury. By the time they reach the last track, they’ve fully returned to a pared-down and pummeling attack. The highlights are tracks 7–9. Three tracks have FCCs and are noted on the cover.
Blistering fast thrash metal. The metal blogs are generally giving this record favorable reviews, and I can see why: Noisem exhibits a studied appreciation and respect for the genre on a properly produced recording. They have the technical chops and an unapologetic scorn for our fucked-up society. If you like your thrash uncompromising, old-school, with production that delivers trebly distortion without turning muddy, go ahead and inject two to three minutes of spitting rage into your set. Aside from their appearance on a compilation added to the library six years ago, this will be Noisem’s proper introduction to KFJC. Keep an eye out for tracks with FCCs (1, 2, 3, 5, 8).
Early 1980s Anarchistic punk from New Zealand with spoken / shouted lyrics, driving rhythmic guitar & percussion.
Original members Roger Allen and Lindsay McKay formed in 1983 with Tim Ord, and Sam Swann joining shortly thereafter. In 1985 they added Blaise Oarsman and Dave Appleton on guitar FOG? Eventually became ?FOG City Enterprises, an art collective operating “Red House” which became a hub for underground music and art in Auckland. The national arts council of NZ helped fund the release of the original 7” (re-released here on Bunkerpop), they disbanded in 1988, and it is unclear if they ever officially released any other music as a band.
25th Anniversary LP release of a 1995 Originally hand-made cassette, now the stuff of legend. These young men of the Bay Area Hip-Hop underground are scrappy and intelligent; gifted wordsmiths rapping about life as they knew it – The San Francisco Bay Area of the early 90s, when young artists like themselves might still be able to survive by working hard and not being afraid to take credit for their success. This is a slice of life, and it listens like a series of recording sessions and street corner jams, caught on tape. Private asides, background noise, sound bites, atmospheric blips, and brilliant improvisations.
Formed in 1979 out of Messina, Italy, the duo of Antonio “Eze” Cuscinà and Carlo Smeriglio only released 1 EP (tracks A1, A2 on this double LP) in 1983, and this is a collection of demos recorded to cassette between 1983-1985. Guitar and Synth. There are vocals, however, they are swallowed by production. If you want the lyrical scoop, have no fear, there is a nice insert that explains the melancholy stories behind each vocal track in fine detail. Very of the era. Very danceable.
Moscow three piece, Dekonstruktor intend to drown the listener with four depressive tracks from the fathomless depths of Russian misery. Beginning with a plodding track reminiscent of 90’s era sludge. D-tuned and demoralizing with brooding (English) vocals, listeners will be pummeled by their despair, hopelessness, and antipathy.
I don’t like your name
I don’t need your game
I deny your life
I deny your mind
maybe you don’t know
see I hate your face
I don’t like your ways
-Excerpt from “Black Acid”
Seemingly influenced by Pacific Northwest fore-bearers of heaviness, Wipers, Melvins, and Thrones, Dekonstruktor are buried a little deeper the murky depths of a less accessible underground yet succeed in finding their own voice. Especially on the last two instrumental tracks which are more angular and employ noisy, unnerving electronics in lieu of guitars for an abstraction of melody while effect laden drums march us toward the precipice of our crumbling sanity. There is, however, a common thread tying these songs together, a hypnotic psychedelic element adds an interesting dichotomy to the hostility and sorrow.
Once upon a time, in a little planet called Earth, lived a vomitory breed called the human race. They were the worst kind of bastards on this side of the galaxy….
This 2018 LP revives of one of the strangest and most obscure works from the archives of Trax, the Italian mail art network active in the 1980s that counted Merzbow and Colin Potter among its members. The Cop Killers was a collaboration between three Trax operatives – or “units” as they called themselves – Vittore Baroni, Daniele Ciullini and Mark Phillips. The trio met IRL in Florence in 1982 and live mixed their cassettes together into a single work. The 90 minute take is presented here in its entirety, original hiccups, fuckups and all.
Baroni wrote the original script for this “spoken word industrial opera,” about a future world where those who show signs of peace or happiness are met with torture and extermination by an army of killer cops called, confusingly, The Cop Killers. Baroni’s narration – in English and the “dead language” Italian – details the gruesome, pornographic violence of the sick society. His vocals are sped up and slowed down, and collaged with Phillips’ minimal synth rhythms, Ciullini’s ambient spacey textures, sci-fi sound effects, snippets of recorded voices and sex sighs. Images of the d.i.y. art and materials from the original traded tapes are included in the LP’s liner notes; together it’s a fascinating artifact from early underground cassette culture.
Funereal doom passages punctuated by dark (dark!) blastbeat death metal. Heavy, ghostly passages with plenty of added atmosphere. It creates an aura of unrelenting doom. The production is heavy enough for the drums to get murky when the tempo increases, but make no mistake, it should be murky, like tumbling blindly through dark corridors, pursued by phantoms. Excellent guitar sound, with strong guitar harmonization. T3 is an instrumental that incorporates some nice clean guitar work before transitioning completely into a brief space of devolved atmospheric sounds. This sets up T4, with a simultaneously beautiful and despairing guitar line at the onset. Before long, crushing riffs return. T5 has some decidedly strange guitar work going on to begin; we are given the sense that the band will attempt some complexity as the track unfolds. Ultimately it doesn’t end on the most powerful and rousing note, and the first two tracks (“Thresholds Beyond”, “Visions of Psychic Dismemberment”) are probably the strongest. Light it up and let this cast a pall of black doom over the airwaves.
If you like your instrumental progressive rock sounds seasoned with a dash of accordion, Disen Gage have crafted a sound you might like. Perhaps these 20-year veterans based out of Moscow don’t take themselves too seriously. T3 has some acid jazz freak outs thrown in; trumpet, keys lead the charge into brief moments of chaos before settling back into a relaxed groove underpinned by a thick bass sound. T4 is a standout because the intricate guitar work is so nicely realized. A cello joins, played with feeling but not overstated. T5 has a disco-esque guitar sound in the intro followed by a baffling mellotron (?) arrangement. These musicians are clearly not afraid to go just about anywhere with this genre-bending menagerie. Cue the Spanish-inflected acoustic guitar work, and a goofy keyboard “horn” arrangement that swerves into something almost polka-esque. The rapid changes from genre to genre nearly made me chuckle. Any type of time signature is fair game, whether it’s a waltz or an early-era rock-and-roll drive.
I think I can isolate the synthesizer work as the element that might be most polarizing for listeners; it’s the brand of synthesizer sound that so clearly wants to sound like something else (brass, string ensembles) but so clearly sounds like a tinny, underpowered synthesizer. I started wishing I could just listen to the guitar, bass, and drums and remove the keys entirely.
Throw one of these tracks into your set for a roughly six minute dose of nerdy progressive rock exhibitionism with campy pop sensibilities. Recommended tracks include “Chaos Point”, Enough”, and “Fin”.
Deux Filles is the experimental ambient project of Simon Fisher Turner and Colin Lloyd Tucker, formed in the early 80s and recently reunited in 2016. The inspiration for the project came to Tucker in a dream: the pair would become two French teenage girls who forge a friendship after experiencing horrible personal tragedies, together working through their grief with their music. Turner and Tucker fully embodied their alteregos, frumping it up in wigs, bows and pearls for the hilarious album photos (and even one live performance), and developing an elaborate backstory for their doomed characters. The filles released two albums in the 80s – 1982’s Silence & Wisdom and 1983’s Double Happiness – both attracting a cult following over the years, and now widely available again on this 2012 double reissue from Les Temps Modernes.
While the concept is a total joke, the music on these two records is anything but. Both albums offer beautiful, reverb-laden guitar ambience, that recalls the later work of Roy Montgomery or Liz Harris (A1, B1, B2, B3, B6). On Silence and Wisdom, there’s also serenades with whispered French vocals (A2, A5), melancholy piano melodies (A6), and fleeting samples of voices of young girls singing and playing or a twinkling music box (T10). But the mood darkens at times, with chants (A7), ragas (A9), and the eerie flute and voices of the title track (A14). These psychedelic hallucinations intensify on Double Happiness, as sounds and voices, like ghosts from the girls’ sad past, mysteriously appear. Maybe they are summoned by the recordings of spells and chants, hypnotically looping? The duo even tries to lead some chants of their own, and almost make it through with a straight face. But just as the haze feels too heavy, the tension breaks, with the light guitar of “Zacinthos” (B11) or the shimmer of “The Sun on the Sea” (B16).
The Bonnocons are a semi-mysterious collective based in Liverpool, but its members have Yorkshire and Lancashire roots. Their aim is “to achieve a kind of Transpennine hypnotic music” (the Pennines are a range of mountains and hills in England separating North West England from Yorkshire). The bonnacon was a mythical beast from the Middle Ages which defended itself from pursuers by spraying caustic feces out of its furry anus. They are a little doomy but more psych-space jamming than dooming. Kate Smith (yes Kate Smith) their vocalist shifts between yodel, yelp, chant and wail. “Ritualistic” music reminding me of GOAT – this is a fine piece of work.
Eleven instrumental tracks by Russian trio Jahroom (Alexander N. on bass, Timur D. on drums, Rasel R. on guitar). Guest artists on trumpet and saxophone. Jahroom experiments with several interesting genres including psychedelic, progressive, improv jams and a touch of reverb laden surf. The band has been together since 2010 and they released their debut EP Nyx in 2012, followed by Cut-Price Goods in 2016 and Snegiri in 2017. This double CD contains the Cut-Price Goods album and the Nyx EP. This is some really cool stuff on this record for you metalprogpsychsurfpunkadelic fans.
British guitarist, C Joynes has assembled an ensemble comprised of folks from Dead Rat Orchestra, guitarist Nick Jonah Davis and Cam Deas (who records both as a sound artist and an acoustic guitarist). The music they have created for The Borametz Tree (a semi-mythical tree found largely in travellers’ tales of the 1500s) is a difficult-to-describe hybrid of approaches and techniques. From swirls of North African string design accompanied by dream-time percussion, to banjo/fiddle duets that remind us of documentaries about the American Civil War, to flowing free-form jams where everyone piles on psychedelic licks this is a nice trip to take. Carson Street
Khôrada is comprised of members of Agalloch, and those familiar with that band will recognize their earnest, despairing songwriting style here. However, this project mixes in some different instrumentation, and has abandoned Agalloch’s ethereal screaming style of vocalization in favor of clean, though pained (and at times anguished), vocals. There are plenty of heavy riffs and kick drum flurries to be found in the high-gloss production courtesy of Billy Anderson, but also quieter, contemplative moments. Beautiful guitar melodies are a real highlight. Throughout, the lyrics grapple with our current era, one marked by unyielding apathy and insatiable corporate appetites at the onset of climate change. Rather than present unbridled fury at the world’s end, the sound has a sadness and desperation shading into resignation. If anything, I wanted this album to take that last step into complete abandon and destruction, but these compositions exhibit considerable restraint.
coffin nails squeaking open, a dust cloud rolling through, and the sound that keeps you awake
Portland’s weirdos Noa Ver and Zach d’Agostino. Both simultaneously play squelching, buzzing, droning electronics of their own design, while Noa uses a contact mic to produce screechy, screaming vocals, distant, like an old phone. Zach keeps a beat, sometimes, driving off into a short-circuited sunset. 100% homemade, analog sounds. Is that a violin? mamba bongoes? Who knows..? Who cares…? What does it all mean?
Is this the end of the world or a new beginning?
Maybe both, probably neither.
This will make you feel warm inside while it tears you apart. THIS RULES.
Local avant garde noise project. Two side-long tracks (A = 23 mins, B = 17 mins.) Voices and crashes and booming noises and guitar feedback and a flute and a sax. Highly questionable recording quality–To say “To say this is fidelity-challenged would be an understatement” would be an understatement. Imagine them playing at the far end of the NoiseHaus garage and someone recording them from 100 feet away on an old $20 Radio Shack microphone they found in a box in the basement. It sounds like that. But yeah, I love it. The band won’t tell us which side is which, so I had to guess. One side has a higher muck quotient than the other so I’m proclaiming that to be Side B (“Swallowed in Muck”.)
Kali Malone is an American electroacoustic musician and composer currently based in Sweden. As a master’s student at Kungliga Musikhögskolan, she studied alternative and ancient tuning systems, and for her thesis she worked as an apprentice to an organ tuner in Stockholm. It was during this time that she learned to play the organ and composed the four pieces on this album for Ascetic House. Malone recorded the dirges in a small rehearsal room at her school, using closely placed microphones to capture the sound. Stripped of the usual heavy reverb and volume, her playing has no hint of the gothic or the gospel. The organ radiates a warm, intimate sound, and yet there’s still an unsettling tension, created by her use of unusual intervals and fluctuating durations of the tones. Gorgeous work, at once comforting and confounding.
For three decades, Hiroshi Hasegawa has pursued sonic chaos in many forms: the improvised madness of C.C.C.C. with his (now ex-) wife Mayuko Hino, the psychedelic synthcraft of Astro, and several other radical projects. In the early 90s, Hasegawa pursued a different kind of noise with his solo project Mortal Vision, releasing a few works under this name, including 1992’s Nacht Musik, originally released on cassette on Aube’s label G.R.O.S.S. In 2016, the Italian noise label Urashima reissued the tracks from that tape on this all-black-everything LP. Mortal Vision stands out from Hasegawa’s work – and the entire early 90s noise scene – for its focus entirely on the sounds of heavily treated electric guitar. Heavy feedback sputters and spirals, waves of distortion shift from soft to shredded, complex patterns converge to single point, a long-held note. Despite the source instrument, not a trace of rock, punk or any wave of music at all can be detected in these singular dark visions.
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