KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Before The Revival – “O0” – [WV Sorcerer Productions]

lexi glass   2/4/2020   A Library, Cassette

Z.Y.Q. – a self-described “useless man” from Fuzhou, China – finds a use for the sounds from several genres of extreme music in his musical projects. As The Silent S, he explores lo-fi folk, dark ambient, and harsh noise, while his newest project Before the Revival alternates between pitch-black glitch techno and depressive black metal. On this 2019 debut cassette from BtR, the glitch sound is at the fore, with nine doses of bleak beats and low-end rumbles that together “describe a series of deep void and cruel universes inside his brain.” Once again, WV Sorcerer, the label headed by Chinese experimental artist ruò tán, delivers the desolation.

Filmmaker – “Unregulated” – [Opal Tapes]

lexi glass   2/4/2020   A Library, Cassette

Filmmaker is the alias of producer Faunes Efes of Medellín, Colombia. Unregulated, one of a slew of releases Efes issued in 2019, showcases his hypnotic take on dark electro. A slow, sludgy beat drives the killer lead track “Federal Bestiary” (T1). The pace quickens with the strobe light rhythms of “Unnatural Sciences” (T2) and the twisted synth stabs of “Inbred Indigo” (T3), and continues building with the driving “Dreamland Ops” (T4), and the high speed chase of “Bot Cells” (T5). The tape runs out too soon, fully dissociating into the hazy sunrise comedown of “Fading Life Drop” (T6). A 2019 release from Opal Tapes.

Durette, Liz – "Delight" – [Feeding Tube Records]

Cousin Mary   1/30/2020   12-inch, A Library

This is solo keyboard improvisation by Baltimore musician Liz Durette. Quite unique, sounding at times like a calliope, horns, accordion, piano, guitar and more. The cricket pieces are certainly insect like. Playful but not cute, often dissonant and weird. Very original and thought provoking. (Sounds pretty good at 45rpm, but determined it is 33rpm by matching track times printed on the album cover.)

Quintron – Erotomania

cadilliac margarita   1/30/2020   A Library

Recorded at his own Spellcaster Lodge in New Orleans, Mr Quintron is king of the mellotron, hammond, chamberlin, vibraphone, and his own invention, the drum buddy. Hipster exotica with forays into Dixieland and swampy blues, this is perfect mood music for a dimly lit hangout. His music always has the ability to go from whiskey on ice to all out sweaty dance jam with one deft flick of the keys. This is all instrumental —perhaps improvised—but some of his genius lies in always keeping the listener guessing. I love this freak!!

Wulkanaz – “Wulkanaz” – [Helter Skelter (Sweden)]

whngr   1/30/2020   A Library, Cassette

A barrage of 14 crushing Scandinavian rock-falls from Wagner Odegard aka Kumulonimbus of Tomhet and 1 dark ambient soundscape.

These short and not so sweet offerings are a concise distillation of black metal with ugly rock hooks. All the fat has been trimmed, excising the often monotonous drone of double kicks and buried, over-driven trem picked guitars in favor of a variety of tempos, melodies, and tonal pallets that coalesce in to a furious volley of catchy cvlt black metal-literate rock. It feels like a gauntlet being hurled down by Odegard, as if to say, I have more scope and breadth than our progenitors, more talent than the commercial black metal behemoths, more vision than the throngs of mimics and emulators, more fury than a Valkyrie during Ragnarök, and potentially much more fuel in the fire. A vehement onslaught of short-form black metal but there is so much more to Wulkanaz; finger picking, strumming, galloping palm-mutes, growling and rending guitars, spoken word, shrieking, slaughter, battering and pummeling. In tight, short succession and very little repetition. Almost as soon as a theme is established it is resolved, leaving us gasping for breath and begging for more. And there is plenty to go ’round as the replay value is concertedly high. Though the compositions and performances stand out on this album the recording and mixing are excellent as well. And the drums… Odegard’ employs the drumming of Daniel Rockmyr to glorious effect, allowing him the space to rule on his throne, unleashing a fusillade of percussive devastation. This album is an axiom of power and, in the opinion of this miserable volunteer, a new apogee in the genre as it continues to fracture, expand, and evolve.

Wang, Zijian – “Love Songs In Disillusion” – [WV Sorcerer Productions]

lexi glass   1/30/2020   A Library, Cassette

Written and recorded in the industrial zones near North China’s Bohai Bay, Love Songs in Disillusion is the debut cassette from experimental singer/songwriter Wang Zijian. A deep longing lies within these eight twisted love songs, composed of guitar and synth melodies, despondent vocals, spoken word poetry, and heavy industrial rhythms that might spring from the wasted oil fields where Wang lives and works. The heavy mood gently lifts at the tape’s end, with a dreamlike serenade (T7) and the cosmic visions of the epilogue (T8). Released in the Summer of 2019 on the French/Chinese experimental label WV Sorcerer Productions.

Hound Dog Taylor's Hand – "Hound Dog Taylor's Hand" – [Planned Obsolescence]

Thurston Hunger   1/27/2020   12-inch, A Library

Seattle project, contrabass leads the 4tet not strictly to rock, nor jazz. On the lead-off John Seman’s work is reminiscent of the guimbri styles of Joshua Abram’s work. Seman’s bass is a heavy anchor thoughout here. On “The Immensity of the Problem” he bum-bum-bum-BUMPS plus Mark Ostrowski on the drums to set up extended solos from guitarist Jeffery Taylor and then Greg Kelley on trumpet. Greg gets more muscle into his hustle here, as opposed to the intriguing but subtle Nmperign. Ah, Taylor is a Climax Golden Twin, he punks up “The Vulgar Ideal” (my fave track here – a ripper!). Things get a little sludgy on “Hostile Architecture” but like a lot of these songs, that serves as a launch-pad for solo ballistics. “Retrieval Technicians” finds a shade of moodiness, that nicely sets up when things come down to the WIRE on the closing track. Ending with “You Can’t Leave Now” is both funny and edgy (listen to Seman saw away on his contrabass). As a side note, KFJC has plenty of the six-fingered six-string slinger Hound Dog from whom the band takes its name.
-Thurston Hunger

Strafe F.R. – "Shadow Position" – [Touch]

Thurston Hunger   1/27/2020   12-inch, A Library

2019 release from this duo (Bernd Kastner and Siegfried Michail Syniuga are Strafe Fur Rebellion – aka Punishment for Rebellion). Electronic music tiling much more towards the factory than the dance floor here, the project has been putting out music since 1984. “Nachtmaschine” offers a few ghost vox in the machine (danke to Anna Nettra), amidst bubbling lava lamp gears and sci-fi fly-bys. Digital rain rattles – a pretty mellow trip. “Every Day XXL” has a loping beat, punctuated by burts of sound…some with voices, singing or EVP-esque. That “XXL” marked my spot! “Shadow Position” moves army boots to the club, a thumper strong enough to knock a toupee or three off, the title cut goes through some tune tunnels to ease up on the heavy breaks. “Isabella B” concludes the record, possible piano, prepared and otherwise also embedded in the electronics. Frau Nettra again adds a spectral hint of humanity between the sonic punishment. Not noise, but not merciful either. Short but covers a lot of territory, this Dusseldorf duo are not of the rinse-rhythm-repeat persuasion.
-Thurston Hunger

Black Cilice – “Transfixion of Spirits” – [Iron Bonehead Productions]

whngr   1/23/2020   12-inch, A Library

Murky depressive black metal. 

One might choose to describe this album as grey metal though that moniker has already been attributed to another. Perhaps trve grey metal is more apt. This is lo-fi one man black metal, simple and barren. Flat, dead. dreary and bleak. But not because of poor recording but of purposely burying everything in the mix. Like the microphone was hung from the mouth of a cave while Black Cilice performed deep within the bowels of this earthen grotte. Heavily distorted, repetitive, and simple trem-picked guitar, blast beats, frozen vapor enveloping a crypt, affected wails, all the elements are in place but they are obfuscated by distance or perhaps the walls of cthonic chambers. Much like the depiction on the cover of Transfixion of Spirits, a diaphanous shroud of fog conceals the scowling spectre whose malevolent intentions can only be speculated. And fittingly, little is known of this esoteric project’s curriculum vitae, though said to be the creation of a single soul from an undisclosed location in Portugal. Beautifully packaged by German label, Iron Bonehead, on grey vinyl. An excellent accompaniment to any afternoon spent alone drawing skulls, or casting spells but especially as the heavens weep ceaseless tears.

Sixx – “Sister Devil” – [Nuclear War Now!]

whngr   1/23/2020   12-inch, A Library

Stripped down sad boy rock in the vein of Bauhaus, early Christian Death, and Sisters Of Mercy composed and performed by local heavy metallers, Von (Goat, Kill, and Snake) who would, in time, establish themselves as one of the most cvlt black metal projects of their era.
Originally released as a demo in 1991 on 500 cassettes and then pushed into the craggy depths of obscurity, this recording is a slightly low fidelity but reasonably well recorded and rehearsed chorus drenched guitar adulation of the macabre. Some might venture, to a level absurdity. But not I. I adore this kind of thing, and as it came from members of a band that had such power, speed, and vision adds a layer of context. Another level of morbidity. Repetitive, unpolished, atmospheric, brooding… it is an excellent snapshot of a time and a place, that many of us would be unaware was happening in the inky shadows just up the peninsula. I can’t say if I would have totally appreciated Sixx in 1991, but I would have loved Von had I been aware of their existence. Their history is mysterious and contentious among black metal mavens but this recording puts the a final nail in the coffin of any debate as to their talent, range, and foresight. This L.P. is beautifully packaged by Nuclear War Now! which is, in the opinion of this miserable volunteer, a fitting label to introduce this stunning project to 2020.

Munition – “Gaze/Gauze” – [Absurd Exposition]

lexi glass   1/22/2020   A Library, Cassette

Munition is the alias of Dexter Outhit, a noise artist from Toronto. This cassette is his second release, and KFJC’s second library addition from Montreal-based label Absurd Exposition. Gaze/Gauze would stand well alongside the first Absurd Exposition release that we recently added, the excellent Base Waters LP by Rusalka; both works draw the sound of ocean waves into enveloping expanses of composed noise. This Munition version has an anxious, suspenseful feel, as deep pulses surface and mobilize into martial rhythms. The marching beats summon visions of ancient voyages, hunts on the high seas, naval warfare. One ~15 minute piece that repeats on Side B of the tape.

Barriga, Rodrigo – Silere/Continuo

Louie Caliente   1/21/2020   A Library, CD

Rodrigo Barriga is a Mexican composer who studied at Mills College. His work focuses on improvisation, communication, and openness. Silere/Continuo contains three new performances of his early works. The mood is seriously avant-garde, but playful and rooted equally in rock, jazz, and classical.

Continuo (T1) is a piece for voice trio, exploring harmony and resonance. Soaring acrobatics, shifting pitches, sustained gurgles, and raspberry trills.

Silere (T2-T5) features Barriga on electric bass alongside with electric guitar and drums. These pieces have lots of space in them and can take a while to warm up (many start with near silence), but they are well worth the wait. Quiet, accidental sounds flutter, slowly gathering momentum Cohesive grooves emerge abruptly out of thin air, but somehow remain intangible, and melt away before your ears.

Continuo (T6) again features Barriga on electric bass, this time paired with a trio of electric guitars. Collective concret noodling. Psychedelic time warps.

Alleyes Manifest – James Wavey Roses

cadilliac margarita   1/17/2020   12-inch, A Library, Hip Hop

Hip hop out of Oakland from James Wavey aka Alleyes Manifest aka Michael Bridgmon. This is trippy experimental psych- jazz- stoner funk- poetry. Chill, smart, & topical, with cleverly layered mixes, and intelligent word play. Lots of FCCs. All marked.

Dagger Lust – “Siege Bondage Adverse to The Godhead”-[Vrasubatlat]

whngr   1/16/2020   12-inch, A Library

TWR: Horrific aggro-tronic assault. Aggressive power-eletronics with grindcore drumming (sounds like a kit to my ear/not programmed), sludge elements, and power-violence vocals (guttural bellows and shredded screams/yells) out of Portland OR. At times plodding and lumbering, elsewhere blistering and cacophonous but almost always crushingly heavy with only track A4 (Perverse Divine) offering a brief, dark, reverbed out bass interlude between the barrages of doom, hate, and despair. Members of Ash Borer, Torture Rack,  Disgust, Pissblood, et alia, engage in a blinding attack of unhinged rage and semi-consensual tympanic membrane violation. Perfect for alienating listeners, an evening of self-harm, or a soundtrack to shooting the hostages. All cuts track, no discernible F.C.C.’s, no fun, and no remorse.

Headboggle – “Polyphonic Demo” – [Ratskin Records]

lexi glass   1/15/2020   A Library, CD

Headboggle, aka local experimental synth wizard Derek Gedalecia, is no stranger to the station – a small slice of his sizable discography lives in our library, and he recorded a session in The Pit back in 2009 – but for the unfamiliar, this 2019 Ratskin Records release provides a full immersion in the bizarre, beautiful Headboggle universe. Polyphonic Demo holds 44 one-minute tracks, each a tiny, wonderous world of electronic sound. Put the disc on shuffle – maybe you’ll land in the rough, bluesy groove of “Sister Synth” (T44), the mechanical march of “Stomp Ya Down” (T14), the ragtime piano and squishy beats of “Piano and Polyphonics” (T22), the minor key fanfare upon entering the “Buchla Club” (T26), or the slo-mo surge across the finish line in “Marathon Man Dance” (T7) – and catch a different glimpse of a facet of this strange gem of a record.

Father Befouled – “Holy Rotten Blood” – [Dark Descent Records]

atavist   1/14/2020   A Library, CD

Death metal with a satisfying amount of doom thrown in. Crushing, a bit atmospheric, unrelenting. Vocals are way down in the mix, but present, and it works. It’s all about those filthy guitars. The drums provide a pummeling barrage but aren’t the focus.

4:42 Full gallop of the apocalypse horse leads to a staggering breakdown.2:04 This song is more like an interlude, or an idea for a song that didn’t become a fully-fledged piece. Instrumental. 3:47 Intensity picks back up with this track. Funereal doom-reminiscent breakdown before a crashing end.4:16 Moderately fast-paced death leads to a trudging middle section before resuming the onslaught.3:42 Starts out relatively mellow. There’s a somewhat unhinged guitar solo in there.4:58 Features the heaviest, chuggiest riff on the CD.

Laddio Bolocko – “Live & Unreleased 1997-2000” – [No Quarter]

atavist   1/14/2020   12-inch, A Library

3LP box set release from 2015 offers six sides to explore full of psych skronk ecstatic noise rock improvisation. Not sure where to drop in? Select Side D. (A breakdown of each side follows below.) On the whole, it’s fun to listen to this genre of music getting made in real time, and with a frenetic, jangled, anxious energy as opposed to happier, tranquil, figure-it-out-eventually, meandering psych jam sessions. Laddio Bolocko go full out on many tracks, exhibiting notable stamina as they work through ideas while keeping their collective foot pegged to the floorboard, tempo- and intensity-wise. They also exhibit a chameleon-like interest in trying out different genres and textures. The best stuff on this collection is more raw and unhinged than the band’s studio releases, and points to the next evolutionary step, notably the Psychic Paramount, the reckless experimental outfit that absorbed half of Laddio Bolocko after its dissolution. Be sure to check out the liner notes printed on each disc sleeve if you’re interested in learning how the musicians lived in New York (both in Brooklyn and upstate), toured, and made these recordings along the way.

Side A: a side-long excerpt from an extended jam made shortly before the saxophone player joined the band. The keyboards featured prominently over a driving drum line give this track the most conventional psych jam feel in the collection. That is, until the end, when the jam devolves into some Casio-keyboard mayhem. Made in the band’s living/rehearsal space in Brooklyn.

Side B: recorded at a house in the Catskills where the band lived for a while, during the same year Laddio Bolocko appeared in the KFJC Pit. B1: an assemblage of multiple sessions/ideas. amorphous noises and drones rise and fall. piano and determined munching of potato chips or similar snack gives way to some strange western saloon crossed with a science experiment. eerie scifi vibes. B2: noodlings and wanderings, particularly on sax. B3: percussion-driven composition with other noisy and sax-induced parts.

Side C: more from the Catskills sessions. C1: a bit more smoothed-out sibling to B3, driving percussion with minimalist keyboard element. C2: starts out mellow; drums, bass, and sax. it’s mellow but there’s always some tension brooding under the surface. C3: recorded audio detritus lends some interesting sonic textures. C4: the elusive guitar resurfaces in this amalgamation of attempts and explorations. bass and drums tend to keep things held down while other sounds flit about. C5: sharp, high-pitched machine whine with some sort of drum machine going in the background. C6: ritualistic drums, twisted carnival organ, redlining sax squawk.

Side D: return to Brooklyn. D1: brief, cool-sounding bass line with drums and sax. D2: probably the standout track on the collection. The guitar establishes a driving rhythm and the band begins to build structures around it. The drummer, bassist, and sax player had heard the guitar part for a few minutes before laying this track down, so the spontaneous ignition happening here is pretty amazing. Mesmerizing result. D3: Part B to the previous track’s Part A. Adds synth to the mix, guitar soars, and plays like a sinister doppelgänger to the pt. A’s beauty. Super rad, down to the moody dissolution to close it out.

Sides E and F were recorded live in Slovenia. These are driving, straight-ahead, full-throttled tracks that should fit in a variety of sets. A couple tracks are live versions of tracks found on the studio album “As If In Real Time”. E2 is a quick shot of adrenaline. E3 provides a glimpse into the band’s ability to play with dynamic range and respond to each other in a live context. Tension built and released. F1: another version of the track included in the Live From the Devil’s Triangle v1 compilation. The end of this track bleeds right into the F2, where they get into a live jam. F3 closes out the collection with a melding of the eccentricity of the Catskills jams and the intensity of their live improvisations. Breakdowns amidst the freakouts allow the sound of the audience to come through.

Rusalka – “Base Waters” – [Absurd Exposition]

lexi glass   1/8/2020   12-inch, A Library

Rusalka is the project of Vancouver noise artist Kate Rissek. Her work over the past decade includes several solo cassettes and split releases (with MK9 and The Rita, among others), and now in 2019 her first full-length LP washes onto KFJC shores. On Base Waters, Rusalka uses a theremin and electronic effects to harness the power of the seas on two sidelong pieces. A sunken ship ascends back to the ocean surface on “Sinking Blood Deep” (T1). The vessel’s weathered hull – massive walls of corroded noise – rises from the depths; its horns sound, lights flare, and engines roar once again. On “Reflection Underneath Waves” (T2), field recordings of waves transform into massive columns of noise standing amid powerful swells of sound, a raw expression of the creative and destructive forces of the sea. Beautiful, compelling work, released on Montreal label Absurd Exposition.

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