Music Reviews

Fauna Flash – "Fusion" – [Compost]

aarbor   12/9/2020   12-inch, A Library

From 2001 this release showcases the work of Fauna Flash (Roland Appel and Christian Prommer) in a variety of styles from the electro dub of Mother Nature, to jazzy house, funk, breakbeats – even to hip hop (last track). Appel and Prommer are drummers and play with the Rainer Truby Trio and with Peter Kruder in Voom Voom. Very nice drum ‘n bass tracks throughout. Some tracks have vocals, some don’t. It’s an excellent mixed bag. Probably their best album. AArbor

Virulent Specter – “Upon a Dead and Derelict Throne” – [Black Gangrene]

whngr   12/5/2020   12-inch, A Library

U.S.B.M. No-fidelity, no members, no fucks given. Tilling the frost kissed barren soil of our fathomless despair. The tinny drums buried below stand out perversely like a horrible secret that everyone knows but dare not speak. That snare that rings through the murky drone of trem-picked guitars and goblin shrieks. The scourge of divinity and the essence of antipathy.
Each side of this tremendous LP were originally released as two tapes compiled and released with great attention to detail by Black Gangrene. Unfortunately in direct contrast with my own attention to detail as the A side already exists in the our Library on cassette. Whatever, it still fucking punishes like a sadistic warlord prowling the battlefield for fallen enemies to drag back to camp.

More is known about this recondite but you won’t hear it from me… ’cause I’m not saying, but I will say this, the lone soul behind this recording embodies the kind of ethos that captured my interest in Black Metal back in the 90’s. One where every aspect of the project are envisioned and executed by a single person, and that person has total creative control and exists primarily in isolation. The song of the recluse.

Stigmatism – “Promo Tape” – [Static Shock]

whngr   12/5/2020   A Library, Cassette

Montreal/N.Y. two piece HXC with conscripts for the road back when that was a thing (fml). Three tracks each under a minute. Lean, mean, and the opposite of pristine with a 46 second rendition of  The Animals’ We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. Play the tape, flay and scrape.

Sordid Crest – “Demo” – [Feral Heart]

whngr   12/5/2020   A Library, Cassette

Subterranean Black Metal two-piece from N.Y. and Texas though Metallum lists no members. No other information is available. Hideous, off-key guitar bends and a warped tape (effect?) that upset the equilibrium, thunderous buried drums, misery, cursed string interludes, screechy guttural vocals, wretched, profane, and ravishing.  Avoid at all cost or simply embrace your suffering.

Nace, Bill – “Both” – [Drag City]

cinder   12/4/2020   12-inch, A Library

Bill has been a concrete sound collaborator to many including Steve Baczkowski, Chris Corsano, Paul Flaherty, Greg Kelly, James Twig Harper, Samara Lubelski and Thurston Moore… but this release, besides a few cassettes back in the day, is being considered his first solo full length. Full of choatic guitar explorations, from harsh pedal effects, to twinkling and shimmering electric fried strings, darkness in rumbles, reverb echoes in hallowed caves, icy metallic and sharp. So good.

Cyrnai – “To Subtle-Drive” – [Dark Entries]

cinder   12/3/2020   12-inch, A Library

A reissue of her 4th release, from around 1990. Crynai is a rearranging of Carolyn Fok, her real name, and she hails from the bay area! By the time she was 16, she was influenced by Cabaret Voltaire, and Crass… and played in a few local bands. Always interested in her dad’s musical equipment, by 1988, she had used cassette 4-tracks, 8-track reel-to-reel 1/2 inch, a TASCAM 388 to DAT and floppy disk sampling to create her experimental sounds. In 1989 Carolyn discovered the first Digidesign digital recording software and changed the project to have more ethnic sounds and samples stemming from tapes collected during a trip to Egypt. So this reissue is the original 1988/90 album, with bonus tracks that were recorded around the same time period. There’s some rhythmic beats, some sound collages, lo-fi sounding excursions. Some vocals on a few, more in between murky layers. Sort of a hallucinatory dreamscape.  

Optic Sink – “Optic Sink” – [Goner Records]

cinder   12/2/2020   A Library, CD

Duo of Natalie and Ben out of Memphis Tennessee. A minimal electro post punk synth cold wave sound. Has an Adult. vibe with the sounds and deadpan female vox, but it’s more slow synth punk than synth electro. Repeated words over a drum machine and effects backdrop.

Hauras – "in these coming days" – [Helen Scarsdale Agency]

Thurston Hunger   12/2/2020   A Library, Cassette

KFJC’s Helen Scarsdale diet continues, with this 2020 cassette from Hauras (aka SF’s Howard Ryan see his Snickers lying on the HiFi in our library). Percussion free, clouded sounds – guitar/bass/synth. Ryan’s voice when it appears blends with the murk, “flint, michigan” both sings of and in contaminated water. His singing is soft and buried like a deceased kitten. Occasional “narration” drops in via what sound like air traffic controllers (sometimes reversed) – clarity is not desired Clarence, and I don’t know the exact frequency Kenneth. Hauras prefers to not touch ground, just stay aloft…in what may well be a decommissioned aircraft/bedroom studio. On a later listen, the aforementioned narrator in reality is a police dispatch. So fire up some old Robin Rimbaud/Scanner to cross-pollinate maybe?

-Thurston Hunger

Transmitting From Heaven [coll] – [Exist Dance]

aarbor   12/2/2020   A Library, CD

Michael Kandel and Tom Chasteen are the masterminds behind the Exist Dance label which they started in 1991. They also produced music as Tranquility Bass. They also used other monikers including: High Lonesome Sound System (breakbeats), Up Above the World (Goa trance). Kandel was considered a pioneer of electronic music psychedelia and ambient trip hop. They were definitely ahead of their time. Transmitting From Heaven was originally released in 1993, then re-released in 1999 this is a classic collection of their work. Most (maybe all) of the tracks are by Kandel and Chasteen with different monikers. The classics are: Cantamilla, I’m So High, They Came in Peace (which features Asian bird songs collected during a trip to Asia), and Mya Yadana. “Transmitting from Heaven” was the name of their studio in L.A. AArbor

Vis Invis Electrique – “Electrique Kiss!” – [Lost Treasures of The Underworld]

Jay Omega   12/1/2020   12-inch, A Library

This is electronic, art-noise-rock created by a married duo from Brooklyn. The tracks form a set of hypnotic vignettes that all follow a basic formula – one or two bar electronic and percussion groove loops with added, and slightly buried, guitar and synth tracks. The tracks capture a range of styles within this limited structure. While each track is a blend of styles, the following groupings might guide your selections. Surf (Tracks 3 and 7), Noise (Tracks 1 and 4), Pop (Track 2), and Psych (Tracks 5 and 6). Also, the homogenous textural forms of the tracks lend themselves to be used as beds.

Sowell, Matt – “Organize Or Die” – [Feeding Tube Records]

Jay Omega   12/1/2020   12-inch, A Library

This is solo acoustic guitar. Mostly distinctly American music (i.e. blues and folk), but with some international influences (e.g. Sehkarhji has a Indian feel with a sitar sound). Matt Sowell hails from Minneapolis, and describes himself as “American Primitive”. It’s contemplative, lonely, and melancholic. Reminiscent of the empty despair captured in Ry Cooder’s “Paris Texas”, or the woven rhythm and melodies of Leo Kottke, though more profound than Kottke and without the “wow-factor”. A review on Bandcamp described it as having “reflections on the darker textures of our human condition”, which really nails it. I can imagine Otis Redding listening to this when he spent the day sittin’ on the dock of the bay.

Bukowski, Charles – “Solid Citizen” – [Chinaski]

SlartiBartfast   11/29/2020   A Library, CD

Hamburgh Germany…Charles Bukowski…Live…What could be better! Here is a live reading by Bukowski on the international stage. One of his last. The material the Buk presents in this live performance is some of his best. While drumming out the hum drums of the common human being, he fends off constant heckling from the Hamburgh crowd with the ease of a blur VW bug traveling minstrel. Buyer be ware, this is Bukowski. FCC’s fly like ravens in the wickedly cold fall evenings. Many of which fall outside of the actual reading itself and land like a cold hard curse word that makes it for adults only while others are attempting to contemplate the meaning. I highly suggest any and all FCC free readings.

Big Blood – “Do You Wanna Have a Skeleton Dream?” – [Feeding Tube Records]

SlartiBartfast   11/29/2020   12-inch, A Library

This is Big Blood’s 19th entry into the library and it is as worthy of any other. It starts out with a recording of Colleen Kinsella and Caleb Mulkerin’s daughter at the age of about 3 I’d guess with a 9 second introduction to the album. Quinnisa, Colleen and Caleb’s daughter is about 13-15 at the release of the album and sings lead and backup on many of the tracks as well as, plays guitar, bass, percussion, keyboards and other instruments. Quinnisa certainly compliments her parents creativity and talent, transforming this duo into a true family trio. The LP starts out with a very heavy Motown sound and continues into the dreamy landscape Big Blood is know for. One of my favorites is “Insecure Kids” where Quinnisa sings lead and plays lead guitar. Magical. Are we all not secure deep down……

Revenant Marquis – “Anti Universal Compassion” – [New Era Productions]

whngr   11/27/2020   12-inch, A Library

No fidelity spooky black metal with synth interludes from Wales. Dark, brooding and buried. Wet, caves of despair cloaked in a fog of misery with strange off-key hooks and brooding laments for the spiritually bereft. Solo project of one highly prolific and recondite, S. The sole member of this prolific Welsh abomination. Having released six(6) LP’s (one of which is single sided) since 2018 the one you now hold being the third and perhaps most visually striking. Who can deny the appeal of impending erotic violence or the allure ritual sex magic? “Not I.”, said the miserable sonic goblin, “Not fucking I.”

Coughin’; Vicars – “Post Omission Overtures” – [Self Released]

whngr   11/27/2020   A Library, Cassette

Rock from Britain reminiscent at times of Killing Joke or early Wire, elsewhence The Cure, Joy Division, ersewhile Echo and the Bunnymen or maybe The Fall. Building on the well-laid foundations of their forebearers, there is a something slightly retrospective about CV but not necessarily derivitive. An homage to post/death/goth/punk perhaps while still offering their own unique, and in my miserable opinion, exceptional voice to the arena (killing floor). A majestic sermon for the lost, an admonishment for the defeated, draped in lavish guitar effects. A shouting chant bellows above the angular and terse rhythm. Reverb and chorus swell and fade like shadows in the dreary pre-dawn of a deserted Liverpudlian landscape. We are being watched…

FCC on 3 Karma RuminationTrack 7 is an unlisted reverse tracked, somber and heavily affected guitar signal. Coughin’ Vicars is helmed by Russ ‘WeasHELL’ Longmire aka @sketchstance and credited as Roman Remains, vocalist, artist, skateboarder, and man of the 11th hour. Limited, numbered, and hand crafted on this second run of cassettes released by the artist.

Kult Offenzivy – “Tak Jsem Ji Prizval K Sobe” – [New Era Productions]

whngr   11/27/2020   12-inch, A Library

Cold, inscrutable Czechian Black Metal. Grim and fierce. Guttural and hypnotic. There is little variety on this LP so wherever you drop the needle you’ll find buried blast beats, anemic trem-picked guitar, and stolid, grim pharangeal vox in Chechen. What it lacks in virtuosity it makes up for with pure unadulterated spite.

A slightly cryptic entry in Mettallum states:

“Some session members are also in Sator Marte, Dirris and Valraukar, but the main person and former behind Kult ofenzivy isn’t a member of any other bands.”

Horrid Red – "Radiant Life" – [Soft Abuse]

Thurston Hunger   11/25/2020   12-inch, A Library

Fourth full length from this band with Bay Area roots and a distinctly Teutonic tincture. Bunker Wolf sings in his native German tongue (while titling the songs in English) his voice is perhaps the most rough, brazen instrument on the record. Edmund Xavier (Glenn Donaldson) along with
Clay Ruby veer far from their Jeweled Antler daze and Burial Hex nights respectively. The drum machines here are happy little robots, not hammering industrial death magnets. No trace of sonic cthonics, or hazey
texture-based Blithe drone drifters. These songs have pep. And polish, while they would fit in with ein track from Cassettencombinant, they eschew the raw for refined. The German words I cannot decipher, I will say their songs “Still Suffering” and “Last Flower of Youth” both feel really happy to me. Hell “End of the Age” even has digital handclaps. Maybe Wolf is singing poems from Rilke, somehow I don’t think so? The title track has a nice slinky vibe to it (cool clinking percussion and a bass line that prowls).
The song before it “Pity The Sun” rang a doppelganger bell to “Under the Milky Way.” That might just be me. It also kinda echoes “Nothing in My Heart” from Horrid Red’s debut. That album had a more punk bent (or see the older Teenage Panzerkorps with Bunker Wolf aand Edmund/Glenn), this is solidly pop, but both have the unmistakable bite of Wolf’s vocals.
BTW: This one’s on the stellar Soft Abuse label, just saying a FreakWeek focus on that label would be mighty tasty.

-Thurston Hunger

Tobin, Amon – “Bricolage” – [Ninja Tune]

aarbor   11/25/2020   12-inch, A Library

Bricolage is Amon Tobin’s second album from 1997, the first released under his own name, and his first on the Ninja Tune label. It was a departure from his first album, Adventures in Foam as Cujo (which KFJC owns), incorporating a heavier blend of jazz melodies and intense jungle rhythms.  The track Easy Muffin has appeared in a soundtrack, an ad and other places online so you may have heard it before.


Snowboy Presents – New Vintage Volume 1 [coll] – [BBE]

aarbor   11/25/2020   A Library, CD

21 versatile tracks of “New Vintage” Jazz, Latin, Swing, Funk, Rockabilly, Mambo and Northern Soul from a wide range of artists assembled by Snowboy to accompany the Vintage festival in the UK. The musical experience at the Vintage Festival covers decades, genres and styles that have affected Britain over the years. They even have Vintage Nightclubs to suit all musical tastes  AArbor 

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