KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Haters, The – “Forti” – [Influencing Machine]

lexi glass   7/23/2019   10-inch, A Library

This double 10″ release commemorates the 40th anniversary of The Haters, one of the earliest and loudest progenitors of noise in the United States. Formed by G.X. Jupitter-Larsen in 1979, The Haters is a performance art project exploring physical and sonic destruction in endless forms. On Forti, Jupitter-Larsen pulls previously unheard material from performances throughout the project’s history and reworks the sounds into new compositions.

Side A features a recording of a 1989 performance in Denver, where a calculator installed with amplifiers was repeatedly drawn over sandpaper, creating persistent pulses both vicious and vibrant. On Side B, from a 1999 San Francisco performance, we hear Jupitter-Larsen’s original instrument the Untitled Title Belt – a wrestling championship belt fitted with microphones, distortion pedals, and noise generators – belting out pure buzzsaw bliss. Side C draws from the 2009 work “Audiothecary,” where noise emanates from a balancing scale fitted with amplifiers. From this seemingly simple setup comes a massive sound: screams and strings, a full orchestra of horror. Side D comes from a 2019 performance featuring another original analog instrument, the Totimorphous Ubiety Guide, a contraption made of springs and rods played by two musicians; a divining rod leading through a dark mine to metallic drones. This excellent retrospective arrives in advance The Haters upcoming 40th anniversary show in Oakland next month.

Rogue Squares – “Rogue Squares” – [Obsolete Units]

lexi glass   7/23/2019   A Library, Cassette

Rogue Squares are noise artist Carlos Giffoni and Elaine Carey of the LA experimental group Telecaves. This 2018 cassette, the duo’s first release, contains six concentrated doses of drone crafted from modular synths and treated guitar. Lodged in the core of these tracks are ambient soundwaves with the contrast cranked way up. Soft contours sharpen into hard edges, then, into defined shapes, that serve as the patterned surface for synthworms for writhe, wriggle, and wreak destruction, reaching peak infestation on T5. Released on Paul Haney’s (Rust Worship) label Obsolete Units.

Mommy – “Mommy EP” – [Toxic State Records]

whngr   7/18/2019   7-inch, A Library, Music Reviews

Hideously ugly, driving rock outta Queens that seems to revel in mental illness and the hopelessness of being young and damaged with little hope for the future. Noisy, fierce, and unrelenting these young men are thematically drawn to suicide, the morass of modern adolescence, self-harm, and psychiatric evaluation.
Lo-fi, feedback, sickening drum abuse, over-driven bass, samples and shredded vocal-chords. A soothing panacea for the deeply depraved inner child kept locked away in many a “well-adjusted” college-radio disc jockey.

Tanya Tagaq “Retribution” -[Six Shooter Records]

Devlyn   7/16/2019   A Library, CD

Oct. 21, 2016   Label: Six Shooter Records Inc.

Tanya Tagaq is an Inuk (Inuit) throat singer who has become a bit of a pop star by taking the techniques commonly used in her genre of native American music and extending it to new genres.

Tagaq honed her throat singing chops as a young woman by participating in throat battles with other woman in the remote Arctic villages she grew up in. These involved 2 women standing nose to nose making ridiculous sounds trying to gross out or break each other up.

1. The fist song , (Ajaaja 2:55) is the only sorta traditional Native American song on the album. Here Tagaq has written a simple call and response between a male and female singers behind a simple Inuk drum beat rather than the complex instrumentals and voicing found in the rest of the album. If you are into indigenous music go for it. If you are looking to see how how throat techniques could be used in Experimental, Ambient, Noise, Metal, Hip Hop or Pop music dive into other tracks.

2. For example, the 2nd song (Retribution 7:57) is perfect for Lauri Anderson fans (Oh Superman) on speed. It starts with Tagaq screeching, quickly moving on to her a recital of her poem about money and God. Meanwhile the underbed of rhythmical background chants and buzzes get more and more frenetic till she sounds like the little possessed girl from the Exorcist. As with most tracks, this one features 2 or 3 other throat singers along with Tagaq.

3. (Nacreous 4:01) comes off as a noise piece that starts and ends with a male throat singer doing that thing where he sings both a high note and low note at the same time with the same set of vocal chords. Then it layers in multiple voices, chanting and screeching into an inter-weaved hypnotic trance.

4. Tagaq screeches like an Eagle at the beginning of (Aorta 3:37) over a heavy metal-worthy drum beat & deranged gnashed-teeth voicings.  “Kill or Die”

5. (Centre 3:51) Features Shad’s hip hop and Tagaq’s breathy singing.

6. (Summoning 8:57) starts with Tagaq’s breathy singing over violin, with a whole Greek chorus of 50 voices for a background.  The song gets louder and louder and more frenetic as it goes on. This one is lovely experimental music. It would feel right at home in a Lexi Glass show.

7. (Cold 6:53) is a favorite. Another Lauri Anderson-worthy poem-song. Here the poem is about the unique physics of ice and the effects of global warming. Strings saw in the background and a steady rock drumbeat and male voiced drones drive the song steadily forward.

8. (Sivulivinivut 1:49) Is one of of the pretty free-form improvisations Tagaq and her trio of voice, violin and drum like to perform on the road. Short sibilant singing and spare violin. 

9 (Sulpher 3:00) Eeery ambient noise. Monks moan, Tagaq nashes and wails, violins saw.

10 (Rape Me 4:46) The one song on this album Tagaq did not write. This one is a Nirvana cover she can relate to given her deep activism trying to help women living in the Arctic deal with sexual assault. No words the FCC might object to, but it does repeat the words Rape me over and over again in Tagaq’s soft breathy singing voice

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Agathocles/Existench [coll] – [Mullet Death]

atavist   7/16/2019   7-inch, A Library

Split 7″ of Belgian (Agathocles) and Canadian (Existench) grindcore. There’s no time like the present to spray it, not say it. The Agathocles side is a simply filthy recording. The guitar has a weirdly hollow sound. The vocalist has a sort of “normal dude” style, akin to shouting “hey, move your car, dickhead!” So it’s raw and immediate and all those good things true grindcore should be. Existench bring a full-on chainsaw guitar sound with borderline comical put-the-microphone-in-the-back-of-your-throat vocal sound, but it works, once they lock in and get established. Longest track: 1:37; shortest 0:11. FCCs on Existench tracks 5 and 6; the latter is a clip of Trump talking about making America great (hate) again, followed by FUCK YOU! That’s the 11 second track. Less is more.

Organized Grime – “Organized Grime” – [Phat ‘n’ Phunky]

atavist   7/16/2019   7-inch, A Library

Pretty straight-up hardcore, a little bit emo-y, but not annoying. Comes right out of the gate with some super tight riffs. Two vocalists harmonize on the first track and the effect is a little weird, but not in a bad way. These are fast, high-energy tracks. “Boner of a Lonely Fart” is more melodic and poppy (pop-ish) and has some nice melodic chords, plus it takes its time, clocking in at 2:49. All five tracks are pretty fun, but…

only track 1 is FCC-free.

Esplendor Geometrico – “Selected Tracks 2, 1995-1998” – [Geometrik Records]

atavist   7/16/2019   12-inch, A Library

This double LP contains a number of tracks not found on the other records in the KFJC library by Spanish industrial pioneers Esplendor Geométrico. As industrial music goes, these are mild sounds that skirt the boundaries of electronic dance music, but seldom cross over to that genre. I found the record has, at times, a hypnotic quality ideal for working. The audacity of many of these tracks is their refusal to add anything else above a seemingly spare structure of beats and vocal samples—as if that should be enough. And typically it is enough. ES establish a script and stick to it. The record is extremely consistent throughout, almost to a fault. There are no high highs and low lows. Some tracks have more industrial textures and metallic sounds happening, while others are a bit more organic and borderline danceable. Highlights: track B1 is a bit more insistent and high-energy, like Kraftwerk with their hair on fire; B2 has a cool ethereal looped sample over a mechanistic beat; C1 has some intensity and a broader range of sampled sounds and clanging rhythms; C3 brings something vaguely drum corps and primal, adding just a few sounds along the way, like a buzzing cricket sound; and D3 kind of sticks out for the more playful sounds employed and the use of what could be the chanting of Tibetan monks—less industrial and much more EDM.

Par Avion – "Surf The Friendly Skies/Nashville Surfline" – [Self Released]

Cousin Mary   7/13/2019   A Library, CD

Three piece surf music band from Southern California headed up by guitarist Bernard Yin (who has been in many bands including Brazil 2001), his wife bassist Rebecca Ramirez, and Derek O’Brien on drums (Social Distortion, Agent Orange). Excellent playing on these tracks, with some Latin, spaghetti Western and country tinges. Good twang and reverb and I hear that these guys actually surf!

Young Barons, The – "Bitchin'" – [Self Released]

Cousin Mary   7/13/2019   A Library, CD

The Young Barons are aptly named – a teenage surf music trio from Rockaway Beach (Pacifica). These covers of surf classics are well played and arranged, great energy overall. Authentic and yes, indeed, bitchin’!!

Pengo – “File Under WTF???”

carsonstreet   7/12/2019   A Library, CD

The album title says it all. Different genres and parts of genres on every track. Pengo has been around for over ten years and used to be known as “heavy psychedelic” but now can’t be categorized. On File Under WTF Pengo has created its own strange time-space universe. First two tracks noisy, scratchy and spacey. Best tracks 4, 6 & 7. Worst track 5 – long spoken orgasm about a train engine – zzzzzz.

Alias – “Fever Dream” – [Anticon]

Dangerous Dan   7/10/2019   A Library, CD

Brendon Whitney, also known as Alias, is one of the founders of the Anticon Label. Fever Dream is 42 minutes of mostly instrumental electronic hip hop beats. Atmospheric landscapes that are tripped out and lush. More on the side of indie electronic music but rooted in early hip hop. A dash of R and B and psychedelia for good measure.

Acid Mothers / Guru Guru – “Psychedelic Navigator” – [Important Records]

Dangerous Dan   7/10/2019   A Library, CD

A collaboration between Mani Neumeier of Guru, as well as Kawabata Makoto and Atsushi Tsuyama of Acid Mothers Temple. Improvisational jazz mingled with psychedelia. Two generations coming together for a jazz/ psychedelic free for all. Mesmerizing chants, exceptional flute playing and a dose of throat singing make a compelling release from this super star trio

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